TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Vol. 30, No. 12,929
U.S. deploys troops to find abducted Nigerian schoolgirls From Mathias Okwe, Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Kanayo Umeh, Terhemba Daka and Karls Tsokar (Abuja) and Ali Garba (Bauchi) O augment efforts to find T Nigerian schoolgirls who were taken hostage by Boko Haram, the United States has deployed 80 troops to Chad. The White House announced this yesterday in a significant escalation of Washington’s contribution to a crisis that has drawn global consternation. Quoting a White House statement, the Washington Post stated: “these personnel
• UN Security Council to designate group today • Bomb scare in Bauchi market • Delegates reject swap deal with terrorists • APC celebrates, benefits from terrorism, says PDP • Obasanjo, Moghae blame crisis on poor leadership, corruption will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area.” President Barack Obama is believed to have notified Congress about the
deployment. The unit will remain in Chad “until its support resolving the kidnapping is no longer required,” the statement said. The Pentagon recently dispatched a team of eight ex-
perts to the Nigerian capital to help search for the more than 200 schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram, a group that holds sway over remote areas in northern Nigeria. They are working with roughly two dozen other U.S.
law enforcement and intelligence personnel, advising the Nigerian government on the recovery effort. On Tuesday, a Defence Department spokesman, Rear. Adm. John Kirby, called the search for the missing girls tantamount to finding “a needle in a jungle.” “We’re talking about an area roughly the size of West Virginia, and it’s dense forest jungle,” he told reporters. The abduction of the girls in mid-April from a boarding school in the town of Chibok went largely unnoticed outside of Africa for weeks. But
their plight began making headlines in the United States recently as calls for their return gained significant traction on social media. Several U.S. female lawmakers and first lady Michelle Obama have joined the cause, posting photos on Twitter using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Besides ,in response to Nigeria’s demand that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should blacklist the Islamic terrorist sect, Boko CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
...DAY 38 Auto dealers contemplate increase in price over new policy - Page 21
Wife of former President of Mexico, Matha Fox (left); former President of Mexico, Vincente Fox; former Interim President, Ernest Shonekan; Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; his wife, Funsho and former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola during the 2014 Ogun State Investors Forum in Abeokuta …yesterday. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU
27 feared dead in Borno attacks By Our Reporters
State, as the United • Death toll in Jos blasts now 76, say police Plateau States (U.S), United Kingdom
FRESH casualty figure in A Tuesday’s bomb blasts in Jos emerged yesterday as the • NUT orders closure of schools today Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Olakpe, told journalists that the death toll had risen to 76. Meanwhile, violence yesterday erupted in Borno State, as gunmen suspected to be Boko Harammembers attacked Alagarno, Shawa and Kopchi vil-
• Army to deploy new recruits to N’East • ‘How insurgency threatens vaccination’ lages in Askira/Uba and Damboa local councils of the state, killed 27 people and torched several
houses before fleeing. Also, more condemnations have continued to trail Tuesday’s bomb blasts in Jos,
(UK), the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, the National Conference delegates, among others, deplored the dastardly act. And, the African Development Bank (ADB), which condemned the Boko Haram phenomenon in Nigeria, has
doled out about N5 million ($50,000) for the search and rescue efforts of the kidnapped Chibok students. In a related development, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has directed all public primary school teachers across the 36 states and the FCT to shun work today in solCONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Lupita Nyong’o inspires African women to stop bleaching - Page 33 Suspected Fulani herdsmen rape, rob Benue housewives - Page 5 Nigeria to host World PenCom summit - Page 5
Jonathan postpones visit to Ekiti, APC leaders blame PDP for insurgency - Page 8
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2 | NEWS Thursday, May 22, 2014
Death toll in Jos bomb blasts now 76, say police CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 idarity with other stakeholders seeking the release of the abducted girls. All the teaching personnel have also been directed to mobilise and hold “Bring Back Our Girls” rallies in their respective states. Similarly, to beef up personnel in the war against insurgency in the North-East, all the personnel currently being recruited into the Nigerian Army are to be deployed to the troubled zone, even as the authorities have said the army has performed very well in fighting the insurgents. Moreover, insurgency in Nigeria is having a negative
tool on efforts to immunise children and reduce preventable deaths, World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. Information Minister, Labaran Maku, has blamed what he called non-challant approach of northern governors to governance as the factor encouraging the escalation of terrorist acts in the region. However, unconfirmed sources said that the number of deaths in Jos blasts may have hit 200, just as the Zonal Director of the National Emergency Agency (NEMA), Malam Abdulsalam Mohammed, told journalists that more corpses were still being recorded, adding that it is extremely difficult to arrive at a particular figure. According to Mohammed, “it will be out of place to give a figure now as we are still recovering more corpses.” The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, visited the scene of the blasts yesterday from where he proceeded to the Government House and was received by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Ignatius Longjan. The police chief told the deputy governor that the government would not tolerate
what had happened, adding that investigation into the blasts was ongoing, promising that whoever is behind the dastardly action will be brought to justice. Eyewitnesses in the affected Borno villages said that the gunmen came in various Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles laden with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Alagarno and Shawa villages are in the forest, and about 175 kilometres south of Maiduguri, the state capital. A resident of Alagarno, Chinda Madu, yesterday in a telephone chat said: “The gunmen burst into our village in the wee hours of Wednesday and woke us up with sporadic gunshots chanting God is great in Arabic, before setting many of our houses on fire at about 1.45 a.m.” The Borno State Police Commissioner, Tanko Lawal, also yesterday confirmed the incidents, but said no arrests had been made. In a statement by the U.S. envoy in Abuja and made available to The Guardian yesterday, the U.S. condemned the multiple bomb blasts in Jos on Tuesday as well as the bombing in the Sabon-Gari neighbourhood in Kano on May 18. It added: “These vicious attacks on Nigerian civilians and the abduction last month of more than 200 school girls in Chibok are unconscionable acts and starkly demonstrate the criminality of the perpe-
trators who continue to target defenceless civilians. Also, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, has said that the U.S., France and the Europen Union (EU) will help Nigeria win war against Boko Haram and promote bilaterial relationship between the two countries. Speaking in Lagos yesterday with Nigerian business leaders, entrepreneurs and students, she said: “I want to offer my condolences to the families in Jos following the tragic attacks on Monday. And to the northern town of Chibok where hundreds of families are without their daughters today.” The UK Foreign Secretary said: “I condemn this cowardly, inhumane crime. My thoughts are with those who have been bereaved or injured. “This attack on the market was a transparent effort to create tension between different groups in a city well known for its diversity where people of different ethnicities and religions live alongside each other. It has resulted in death and tragedy for both Christians and Muslims alike. A statement by Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said the explosions the very day the Senate extended the emergency rule in the three North-East states was a sign that the prosecutors of this war are far more determined than we are ready to admit.
Ekweremadu said the culture of bombing was completely alien to the country and called for a united front against it. He said: “We cannot continue to live this way. I hope and pray that we see to the end of this insurgency, the bombings and destruction of innocent lives in our country. Delegates at the National Conference yesterday observed a minute silence in honour of Nigerians that lost their lives in the Jos blasts. Gen. Jonathan Temblong, a delegate on the platform of North-Central who raised the motion, called the attention of the conference leadership to Order 7 Rule 5, which hinges on matters of urgent national interest. He said the twin blast that killed people in the heart of the city was detonated at the peak of a market activities when there was concentration of humans in the area, killing “women, children, and passers-by. The apex Islamic organisation in the North, Jama’atu Nasri Islam (JNI), has urged the Federal Government to act proactively against Boko Haram and root the menace of terrorism out of Nigeria, just as the Islamic leaders condemned the Jos bomb blasts. The World Council of Churches (WCC) and a Muslim leader, Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, have described as heinous and condemnable the twin bomb blast in Jos. In a joint statement made
available to The Guardian, the General Secretary of the WCC, Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, who is also the chairman of the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (RABIIT), said the horrific acts which have just occurred in Jos do not represent in any way either of their two religions. The ADB’s President, Dr. Donald Kabureka, announced the donation yesterday in Kigali, Rwanda, at a sideline activity marking the Bank’s 2014 Yearly General Meeting (AGM), which focused on optimising ‘Gender Dividend.’ According to Kabureka, the ADB will not only assist the kidnapped school girls in efforts to bring them back safely to their families, but will also rebuild and furnish the burnt Government Secondary School at Chibok to enable the affected students and other girls in the area realise their education dreams. NUT’s President, Michael Olukoya, who gave the directive at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, disclosed that about 173 teachers have been killed so far in the Boko Haram insurgency. Meanwhile, the Sultan of Maine/Sorowa in Niger Republic, Alhaji Abdu Kachallah, has assured diplomatic relations and surveillance of border areas with Nigeria to check Boko Haram insurgency.
UN Security Council to designate group today CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Haram, following its kidnap of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, the council will today discuss the group’s status. At a briefing on the girls’ rescue mission, coordinator of the centre and Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, said the Federal Government was eagerly awaiting a stiffer action against the group, which violent campaign has claimed over 12,000 in Nigeria. And yesterday, a false alarm triggered by a kerosene stove at Wunti Market in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, threw the entire area into confusion as the item, thought to be a bomb, sent buyers and sellers scampering for safety, just as shop owners closed down their businesses and fled. The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Haruna Mohammed, said the Ordinance Disposal team immediately responded to the “false alarm” by moving to the scene and “cordoned the place,” only to discover that it was kerosene stove and not explosive devices as alleged. Also yesterday, some delegates at the ongoing National Conference in Abuja staged a protest at their National Judicial Institute (NJI) conference venue demanding the release of the abducted students, now in the den of terrorists for 37 days. Leader of the group, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said Boko Haram must produce the girls alive, adding: “We cannot accept our girls to be swapped for the release of Boko Haram criminals, who
are being held by security agencies across the nation’s prisons. We want them back alive.” Other delegates who participated in the protest included Mrs. Bola Ogunrinade, Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Issa Aremu, leader of Market Women at the confab, Mrs. Felicia Sanni, and former PDP women leader, Mrs. Josephine Anenih. Meanwhile, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rose from its meeting yesterday accusing the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) of celebrating terrorism and profiting from insurgency. Briefing journalists shortly after the meeting, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, lamented that despite the twin bomb explosions on Tuesday in Jos, Plateau State, which killed about 118 persons, as well as yesterday’s killing in Borno State, the APC still went ahead with its scheduled rally in Ekiti State. Metuh said that APC, taking advantage of the tragedies occasioned by the Islamic terrorists and insurgents, had suddenly gained its voice in the media by engaging in blame game as well as making political profits out of terrorism. The party cautioned Nigerians and the international community to be wary of the APC, which he accused of mischief in joining to make the country ungovernable so that the doomsday prediction that Nigeria would split would become reality. However, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Mozambican counterpart
and one-time winner of the MO Ibrahim Award for Leadership, Mr. Fetus Moghae, yesterday traced the resurgence of insurgent groups such as Boko Haram to leaders’ inability to professionally manage their human and capital resources creditably and transparently. Both spoke at two separate sessions at the ongoing 2014 Annual General Meeting of the African Development Bank in Kigali, Rwanda. The two sessions were on “Service Delivery and African Leadership Progress Tracking.” According to Obasanjo, Nigeria or any other African country has no business being poor, yet the continent has remained let down due to the corrupt tendencies of its leaders. Speaking specifically of Nigeria, he said the leaders often abandon their predecessors’ policies for new ones just to line themselves with wads of currencies through new contract plans. The Plateau Police Command urged the people to pay special attention to strange things at public places, especially motor parks, market places, schools and places of worship, and report any suspicious person(s) or object(s) within their neighbourhood to the nearest police station or these emergency numbers: 08151849417 and 07013490795. Moghae advised that while it was necessary to invest in security of the country, it should never be the priority in place of service delivery, which is a potent strategy of averting insecurity, noting that as President of Mozambique, he had no army be-
cause he didn’t need one. He further advised President Goodluck Jonathan to continue with the war against Boko Haram but not rule out negotiating with the killer group in spite of its continued atrocities. Nevertheless, Metuh noted that while the PDP had to call off its rally in Ekiti in honour of the bomb blast victims in Jos and Kano, the APC was celebrating in the same state just the next day after the blasts. “Do they only excel when we have violence in this country? After they spoke, we had violence in Jos, then in Kano and now in Borno,” he said. “APC is happy gallivanting, trouncing like castrated individuals. We are worried that APC celebrates each time there is bombing in the country. Does APC enjoy better publicity each time there is bombing.” He added: “Since violence and confusion are their only sources of impetus, Nigerians can now deduce why the APC, which is a party made up of elements who vowed to make the country ungovernable for the PDP-led administration, must continue to use all instruments at its disposal to promote division, cause mayhem and encourage all actions that will embolden insurgents and their supporters. “When we compared the APC manifesto to that of the Janjaweed, we went beyond mere political statement. The truth may still be hidden for some time but it has a way of expressing itself. We urge Nigerians, therefore, to make their deductions. Again, the question: Which party is benefiting from this spate of bombings?”
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News Nigeria set to host World PenCom summit By Gregory Austin Nwakunor TILL basking in the successes recorded at the World Economic Forum Africa (WEFA), and the investment potentials that the forum has thrown up in the country, Nigeria is set to host the first ever World Pension Summit on the continent in July this year. The World Pension Summit ‘Africa Special’ will bring together leading players from the continent’s pension industries, as well as key figures from across politics, business and finance to exchange expertise and increase international cooperation on the continent. According to a statement, the Abuja event will also mark the 10th anniversary of the enactment of the Pension Reform Act 2004, and the formation of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) as the regulator of pension matters. Since its formation, the statement claims, PenCom has worked to create a more conducive regulatory framework for Nigeria’s pension sector, which-with an excess of $23 billion of pension funds under managementwill play a key role in Nigeria’s economic development. In the statement, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, acting Director General of PenCom, said: “We are delighted to bring the World Pension Summit to Africa. A number of African nations are experiencing strong economic growth supported by the rising investment in natural resources and robust private consumption.
INEC to distribute permanent voter’s card in 10 states HE Independent National T Electoral Commission (INEC) is to begin distribu-
Prof. Bolanle Awe (left); guest of honour, Prof. J.F Ade-Ajayi; his wife, Chstie; and guest speaker, Prof. Michael Omolewa, at the Roundtable on Development of Africa/Nigeria Historiography and the Role of Prof. J.F. Ade-Ajayi, held as part of activities for Ade-Ajayi at 85 celebration at University of Ibadan… yesterday. PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM
Suspected Fulani herdsmen rape, rob Benue housewives From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi HERE is tension in Mbagwen community in Guma Local Government of Benue State as Fulani herdsmen numbering nine yesterday stormed the area and raped two house wives (names withheld). The Guardian learnt that the Fulani men also robbed the two women of their money and other valuables at gunpoint. It was further revealed
that the women who are said to be in their early 20s had just, along with their husband and children, returned to their village following return of normalcy to the troubled council. They had spent about two months in Makurdi due to the invasion of their domains by the Fulani marauders. Narrating the ordeal to The Guardian, a source said the suspects had invaded the
‘Why Ibadan deserves South-West’s only new state’ By Abiodun Fanoro HE purported decision by T the National Conference that the only new state to be created from the South-West Nigeria is Ijebu from the present Ogun State and not Ibadan from the present Oyo State, has been dismissed by Oyo State Stakeholders on State Creation. Dismissing the decision, the stakeholders, in a statement jointly signed by Jare Ajayi and Wole Akinwande, affirmed that at no point did delegates from the region endorse the creation of Ijebu state.
The duo, while dismissing the purported decision said: “Oyo State Stakeholders on States’ Creation has been reliably informed by many delegates at the confab that at no time did any formal meeting hold to endorse the creation of the said Ijebu State.” The stakeholders, using demographic statistics quoted from the 2007 National Census Report, declared that from all verifiable data available, objectively speaking, if any state was to be created from the South-West, it must be from the present Oyo State.
According to the duo, “from available data, Oyo State has the largest population and land-mass when compared with other states in the region. “Incontrovertible data and records affirm that the present Oyo State is the largest in terms of population and other demographic indicators in the South-West.” The group, which lamented that Ibadan was the only provincial and regional capital that is yet to be elevated to the status of a state, noted that the opportunity had now presented itself for the injustice to be re-dressed.
house of the victims when their husband was out of the village, pounced on the women and took turn to rape them while the daughters who were said to be less than eight years escaped into the bush. It was learnt that the herdsmen, after beating and raping the women, made away with N60,000 as well as two handsets. The victims who could barely walk were said to have been taken to an undisclosed hospital in Makurdi, the state capital, for treatment. Later, when The Guardian spoke with the two victims in Makurdi, they narrated their ordeals that the leader of the gang (who is at large) had come to their homes earlier in the day and asked to be given water to drink and while he was being served with water, the herdsman on noticing the absence of the head of the household asked for his
whereabouts and the unsuspecting women told him that their husband had travelled out of town. They said the herdsman then left and only to resurface in the yard later with eight others, brandishing guns and asked them to lie down and submit to them or risk being shot. They explained that four of the herdsmen who were armed had fired shots into the air terrifying them to submit forcefully. They confirmed that even as they submitted, the herdsmen beat them up and collected their money and handsets. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Daniel Ezeala, who confirmed the incident said only one of the rapists has been arrested while other eight are at large. He promised that the security men were on the trail of the run away rapists.
ORTY- six major indusFment tries with a total investof about $7.3 billion have established various businesses in Ogun State within the last two years. Governor Ibikunle Amosun who disclosed this in Abeokuta yesterday also re-
vealed that over 30 other companies are at various stages of completing establishment of their industries in the state. The governor who spoke at the second edition of the State “Investors Forum” ascribed the phenomenal increase to enabling environment that his administration has succeeded
in creating since the first edition of the Investors Forum in 2012 which focused on showcasing opportunities and creating an enabling environment in the state. Amosun told the large audience which included the former Mexican President, Mr. Vicente Fox that “Today we have created an enabling
UNIBEN VC critically ill, flown abroad From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City ICE Chancellor of the UniV versity of Benin (UNIBEN), Professor Osayuki Godwin Oshodin Obaseki has been flown to a London hospital following alleged food poising which he suffered a few months ago. Obaseki had a few months ago alleged plot to assassinate him by some staff of the university who were sacked by the Governing Council of the institution over improper conduct early this year. It was later alleged that he was poisoned through food. Sources close to the family said he was flown abroad last weekend after all efforts to clear the poison from his system failed. Meanwhile, a Benin socio-cultural organisation, Benin National Congress (BNC), has vowed to fish out the perpetrators, just as it appealed to security agencies to arrest and prosecute those involved or they may resort to self help.
Ooni wades into OAU, students feud over fees From Tunji Omofoye Osogbo ONI of Ife and the chairman, Osun State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Okunade Sijuwade (Olubuse II) has intervened in the dis-
pute between the students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State and the school management over the new fee regime introduced by the institution.
Ogun attracts $7.3b foreign investments in two years From Charles Coffie Gyamfi and Gbenga Akinfenwa, Abeokuta
tion of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) from tomorrow, Friday, May 23 to Sunday, May 25, 2014 in 10 states, in the first phase. The states are: Taraba and Gombe (North East); Zamfara and Kebbi (North West); Benue and Kogi (North Central); Abia and Enugu (South East); and Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa (South-South). Also, the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) is to take place in the first phase in the aforementioned states from Wednesday, May 28 to Sunday, June 1, 2014. Under phase two, the distribution of permanent voter cards will commence from Friday, July 18 to Sunday, July 20, 2014 in the following states: Yobe and Bauchi (North East); Jigawa and Sokoto (North West); FCT and Kwara (North Central); Anambra and Ebonyi (South East); Ondo and Oyo (South West); and Delta and Cross River (South-South).
environment for investment to thrive and improve our investment climate and thus make our state an investors destination”. Fox, who delivered the keynote address, stated that he had no doubt that in the 21st century Africa will be one of the most powerful continents to move the world economy.
“For instance”, the governor disclosed, “between the hosting of the first edition of the Ogun State Investors Forum and now, about 46 major industries with a total investment of about $7.3 billion have established businesses in the State while 30 others are in their various stages of the completion.
The Ooni, who spoke through his second in command, High Chief Lowa, the Adimula of Ife, while addressing the protesting students at the palace of the monarch, said Ooni would prevail on the school authorities to revisit the hike in tuition fee in order to allow peace to reign. The students had on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest tagged “Save Our Soul” with the students wielding placards lamenting the sudden increase in school fees by the school management from N20, 000 to N72, 000. Oba Okunade, through his second in command, alongside 13 other chiefs at the palace wondered at the sudden and huge increase.
NEWS Thursday, May 22, 2014
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ISSUES IN THE NEWS
Global coalition against Foreign Affairs Editor, OGHOGHO OBAYUWANA examines the global coalition against terrorism in Nigeria and the need for greater vigilance by the nation’s security agents RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan was under P pressure at a special forum in France to combat the terror war in Nigeria The country is smarting from this all-important summit in Paris, which held in concert with leaders of the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom, the United States (U.S.) and four countries bordering her –Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. At last, the world is standing up to terror that is threatening to cripple the “giant of Africa.” This new initiative came on the heels of collective expression of outrage by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) over the abduction of nearly 300 school girls from Chibok in north east Nigeria by the terror group Boko Haram. The global body has stated that it was working out “appropriate measures” against Boko Haram. Apart from freeing the seized school girls, the coalition may also be involved in assisting to end the terror unleashed on Nigeria by Boko Haram. Boko Haram is a fundamentalist group founded in 2002 to oppose the propagation of western education originally but it has since brought out other dimensions after launching its first military operations in 2009 against the state, individuals and other institutions. The group was then led by Mohammed Yusuf, who was killed in 2009. Abubakar Shekau is the current head of the sect. Thousands of citizens have lost their lives in bomb attacks on public institutions, churches and other locations by Boko Haram. The havoc perpetrated by the group has lead to a global coalition against terrorism in Nigeria. The leading nations in this coalition include the U.S, UK, France, China, Canada and Israel. Forces, equipment and resources are being sent to Nigeria to combat Boko Haram. Over 40 eminent personalities from around the world are also calling for concerted effort to free the abducted girls. Thus, there now exists a worldwide movement with social media campaign – BringBackOurGirls. World leaders, celebrities and rights activists have been part of this. The support teams in Nigeria, how many more coming? On the broad road that now leads to Nigeria, the United Nations Security Council has lead the crusade. Once the most powerful organ of the global body frowned at the threat and violent activities of Boko Haram, everyone joined with the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha
Jonathan Power urging Council to act quickly in designating Boko Haram as a terrorist group and a threat to global peace and security. The Americans have now sent in an intelligence, logistics and communications team that includes 16 military personnel aside the inter-agency cooperation team already on ground. They have begun sharing commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerian authorities and using manned aircraft with the government’s permission for intelligence purposes. Special forces and additional assistance may be sent if requested. On its part, Canada said she fully supports transnational efforts against terrorism in Nigeria. Backing the proclamation from Ottawa after its bi-national commission meeting earlier this month in Abuja, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Christian Paradis, said the
ECOWAS Chairman, Alassane Ouattara agreement will bring prosperity and stability to both countries. Also, Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, who was in Abuja for the World Economic Forum pledged strong support by Beijing against all terror groups in Nigeria, starting with freeing the Chibok girls. British Prime Minister, David Cameron also promised that Britain would do everything to help find the missing schoolgirls. Speaking on the importance of tackling extremism globally, Cameron disclosed that: “I rang the Nigerian president to offer help and we agreed to send out a team that includes some counter-terrorism and intelligence experts to work alongside the bigger American team that is going out there.” France is providing equipment and intelligence sharing. Various theories have emerged seeking to outline
the remote causes of terrorism in Nigeria. One of this pointed at jettisoning of a 30-year framework for neighbourhood security cooperation among the nation’s neighbours. The agreement between the Republic of Benin, Ghana, Togo and Nigeria signed in December 1984, was meant in part to deal with security challenges that may arise from countries sharing common borders, which may be vulnerable to external destabilising forces. Instead of a leading nation in the West African sub-region like Nigeria with a history of porous borders to extend the mechanism to countries such as Niger, Chad and Cameroon, it failed to tap into the security cooperation. The quadripartite agreement was meant to ensure common security surveillance, entrench legal cooperation in the fight against
Terrorism knows no boundaries and the fight against it cannot be a localised one. West African leaders have also finally declared that Boko Haram has become a regional Al-Qaeda that threatened all nations in the region. But a major chink in Nigeria’s armour has been its porous borders. Dialogue on Irregular Migration and Border Management has therefore become part of the war against terror. It is in recognition of this that senior immigration officials from Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon and Chad have been meeting to create a platform for building formal policy and operational structures of cooperation and coordination between the Nigerian Immigration Service and its counterparts in neighbouring countries.
trans-border crimes as well as facilitate the apprehension and trial of offenders in the territory of member states among others. Today, according to diplomats, Nigeria is paying the price of this laxity through unprecedented carnage and heavy death toll inflicted by terrorist groups. Summary of a policy document on the failed regional security cooperation made available to The Guardian says that Nigeria ought to have leveraged on the capacity of the security framework. Need for security sector reforms It is instructive to note that as the world comes together to combat terrorism in Nigeria, Security Sector Reform (SSR) has become firmly established as an essential element of ensuring multi-dimensional peace and security of states. Effective SSR contributes to conflict prevention by making security institutions effective and accountable. This also ensures safety and security among the population. To show the importance attached to the SSR at the sub-regional level, ECOWAS is also drawing up a regional framework on SSR and governance. The aim of this initiative is to enable the regional body fulfill its role of assisting member states to put in place early warning mechanisms and rapid response to threats to regional peace and security. Also to be adopted is a Code of Conduct for Armed
Forces and Security Services and a Conflict Prevention Framework, which contain elements of security sector governance. Interestingly, these instruments seek to address transnational threats to safety that are beyond the capacity of countries in the sub-region. Such threats include transnational organised crimes, piracy, human trafficking and terrorism. One wonders why great personalities worldwide are getting involved in the campaign to secure the release of our abducted girls? It may be a desire to create an international moral force. From the Vatican, Pope Benedict tweeted his support: “Let us all join in prayer for the immediate release of the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria...” But beyond papal indignation, angered by the cruel disregard for fellow humans by Boko Haram sect, a group of over 40 eminent individuals from around the world have been calling for global effort to free the school girls. Among the global business, civil society and religious leaders are Desmond Tutu, Bill and Melinda Gates, Aliko Dangote, Rupert Murdoch, Mo Ibrahim, Ted Turner and François-Henri Pinault. They have all called for urgent action to release the school girls. In their open letter last week, the high-level group called on the Nigerian authorities and the international community to “mobilise all necessary resources and expertise to help locate and free the missing girls.” The letter reads: “...We urge all local, national and regional governments, with the full support of the international community, to dedicate their expertise and resources – from satellite imagery to intelligence services, to multinational corporations’ supply chains – to #BringBackOurGirls.” The campaign has been signed by: Mar tti Ahtisaari, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Member of the Elders; Mohammed Azab, representative of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar; Aïcha Bah Diallo, Chairperson of the Forum of African Women Educationalists; Ela Bhatt, founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India and Member of the Elders; Bono, co-founder, ONE; Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and cochair of the B Team; Gro Harlem Brundtland, Executive Chair of the UN Foundation and Member of the Elders; Susan A. Buffett, Chairman of The Sherwood Foundation, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and the Buffett Early
NEWS Thursday, May 22, 2014 7
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ISSUES IN THE NEWS
terrorism in Nigeria In the days ahead, this campaign being carried out by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is expected to help the nation’s Immigration Service to build structures for widening its cooperation and collaboration with neighbouring immigration institutions, in the recognition that migration management is not just a national issue. Childhood Fund; Kathy Calvin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the UN Foundation and B Team Leader; President Fernando H Cardoso, former President of Brazil and Member of the Elders; Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and former Prime Minister of New Zealand; and Aliko and Halima Dangote of Dangote Group. Also, Bineta Diop, African Union Special Envoy for Women Peace and Security; Andrew Forrest, founder of the Walk Free Foundation; Bill and Melinda Gates, cofounders and co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE USA; Mort Halperin, Senior Advisor to the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Policy Centre; Arianna Huffington, Chair, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group , and B Team leader; Mo and Hadeel Ibrahim , Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Abdoulie Janneh, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; Guilherme Leal, co-founder of Natura and B Team leader; Graça Machel, Member of the Elders; Mark Malloch-Brown, former United Nations Deputy Secretary General; Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet Wireless and B Team leader; Phumzile MlamboNgcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women; Amina J. Mohamed, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advisor; Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana and Chairperson of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa; Rupert Murdoch, Chairman of NewsCorp and Chairman/CEO of 21st Century Fox; Jay Naidoo, Chair of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister of Nigeria; Ronald Perelman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.; François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering and B Team leader; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and B Team leader; and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Member of the Elders signed the letter. Other signatories are, Salim Ahmed Salim, former
Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity ; Toyin Saraki, founder of the Wellbeing Foundation; Bobby Shriver, co-founder and Chairman of (PRODUCT) RED and co-founder of DATA; Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, BishopChancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, The Vatican; Ted Turner, founder and Chairman of the UN Foundation and CNN; Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Honorary Member of the Elders; Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and B Team leader; President Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico and Member of the Elders; and Jochen Zeitz, former Chairman and CEO of PUMA and co-chair of the B Team . The IOM initiative and ECOWAS involvement Terrorism knows no boundaries and the fight against it cannot be a localised one. West African leaders have also finally declared that Boko Haram has become a regional AlQaeda that threatened all nations in the region. But a major chink in Nigeria’s armour has been its porous borders. Dialogue on Irregular Migration and Border Management has therefore become part of the war against terror. It is in recognition of this that senior immigration officials from Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon and Chad have been meeting to create a platform for building formal policy and operational structures of cooperation and coordination between the Nigerian Immigration Service and its counterparts in neighbouring countries. The initiative, part of the European Union (EU)-funded project “Promoting Better Management of Migration in Nigeria,” targets broad areas of collaboration, including data collection, intelligence gathering and sharing, combating organized crime, irregular migration, management of regular migration, human trafficking and smuggling of migrants and security in border regions. Also important are the challenges of documentation as well as streamlining of entry and exit protocols. The Nigerian government recognizes that the country is an important destination for migrants. It is also a source, transit, and destination point for human traf-
The UN building in Abuja attacked by Boko Haram ficking, especially of women and children. And sadly it is now a transit hub for terrorists. A major challenge that is now being tackled is the fact that Nigeria’s national borders, about 4,047 square kilometres (with Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger) are not only complex to manage but also cut across communities, ethnic groups, and even families, with centuries of close economic, social and cultural ties, which do not respect borders. With the activities of terrorist groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria’s north east and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the Sahel region increasing, international attention on the effects of irregular movements in Nigeria’s north eastern frontiers is mounting. In the days ahead, this campaign being carried out by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is expected to help the nation’s Immigration Service to build structures for widening its cooperation and collaboration with neighbouring immigration institutions, in the recognition that migration management is not just a national issue. ECOWAS member states chiefs of security and intelligence met in Accra, Ghana, last week to agree on regional measures to help Nigeria deal with incessant terror attacks by Boko Haram. It began with last week’s solidarity visit to Nigeria by the Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Ghana’s President, John Dramani Mahama with a special message to President Jonathan. The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, said that, “ECOWAS already has a terrorism strategy approved by regional lead-
ers and the meeting is to enable the security officials agree on concrete measures in response to the specific situation in Nigeria in the spirit of regional solidarity and because whatever affects any member state should concern us.” The ECOWAS strategy was actually developed in response to the regional security dynamics manifested in acts of terrorism, drug and human trafficking, piracy and other forms of organised transnational crime. The summit in Paris last week dedicated to security in Nigeria is seen as a great step in both regional and international efforts to combat the terror unleashed on the nation by Boko Haram. The decisions at the summit are expected to strengthen cooperation between regional states. All the states reaffirmed their commitment to human rights, particularly the protection of the girl-child who are victims of violence and forced marriage. The world is now awaiting the implementation of coordinated patrols to combat the insurgents and locate the missing school girls. Nigeria and her immediate neighbours are also to establish an intelligence unit and a regional counter-terrorism strategy in the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. It was agreed at the summit that the United States, United Kingdom, France and the European Union will coordinate this regional cooperation through technical expertise, training and support for borderarea management programmes. They also agreed to support marginalised groups and their fragile populations, and particularly women who are exposed to violence. Now, with about 6,000 French troops operating in
Mali to the northwest or the Central African Republic to the east, France seems to have an interest in preventing a deterioration in Nigeria’s security. Like its Western allies, Paris has ruled out any military operation, but French President said Rafale fighter jets based in the Chadian capital, N’djamena – just 60 km from the Nigerian border – would be used for reconnaissance missions. When global leaders gathered in Abuja recently for the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA), President Jonathan said the presence of the delegates and the fact that the forum could hold
at such period was already “a major blow on the terrorists.” He also said that, “the kidnap of these school girls is the beginning of the end of terror in Nigeria.” As the world awaits the follow up to the Paris summit (ministerial level) to be hosted by the United Kingdom next month to review progress on the Paris plan of action, it is expected that Nigeria, which is a member of the U.N. Security Council, would do more to quell the insurgents, given the rate of global support it is getting at the moment.
8 | NEWS Thursday, May 22, 2014
Ohanaeze woos Diaspora Igbo From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia N its bid to reach out to Igbo Iwing in the Diaspora, the youth of Ohanaeze Ndigbo - the Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), has appointed United States (U.S.)-based publisher of Masterweb, Chief Charles Okereke, as its international coordinator. By his appointment, Okereke, who is based in Wisconsin, is tasked with establishing OYC structures in foreign countries and facilitating their inauguration in conjunction with the wing’s National Executive Council (NEC), the group said. Accepting the appointment, Okereke told The Guardian that as coordinator, ambassador-at-large and media consultant to the group, he would soon start setting up foreign chapters, having made contact with Spain already. He disclosed that some undisclosed Igbo organizations in the U.S would hold an Igbo Unity Rally in Chicago from July 11 to 13, during which the Chicago chapter would be set up.
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Presidency directs new panel to resolve gas-to-power issues From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja
Targets 6,000MW by December
OPE for improved elecH tricity generation from the thermal plants was rekin-
ria’s total power output is from gas-fired plants, according to the Ministry of Power, yet several efforts on that front over the years have only yielded repeated assurances from government to government. The new committee, with a task force status, has a 12point term of reference to, among others, develop a policy framework that would ensure availability of gas and strategies for curbing vandalism of gas infrastructure. It also has to work to increase gas-fired plants’ contribution
dled yesterday, as the Federal Government has directed its new emergency committee to resolve the perennial gasto-power challenges. Also, government has set for itself a December 2014 target of 6000MW generation based on “realistic calculations.” Nigeria is yet to perfect its gas-to-power project for its thermal plants, therefore the unending fluctuations in power supply. At least 70 percent of Nige-
to the grid from the current 70 to 85 percent by December. The panel has 11 members drawn from key stakeholders in the power sector, Presidency and petroleum resources, and has the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Power, Mr. Beks Dagogo-Jack, as chairman. It is co-chaired by the Group Executive Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. David Ige. Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, who inaugu-
rated the panel in Abuja, said the development was a directive from the Presidency, which wants an immediate solution to the gas-to-power challenges. He urged members of the taskforce to ensure the success of their assignment. Noting an “obvious gap in gas supply, made worse by vandalism,” the minister regretted that the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) was conceived with no adequate provision for gas. He said: “We cannot be giving gas to the world through export while we are in dire need of gas to fire our plants.”
Workers give Bauchi ultimatum on salary arrears From Ali Garba, Bauchi AUCHI state civil servants B have given their state government up till tomorrow to pay their April and May salaries, come what may. A statement on Tuesday by the state chairmen of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), Hashimu Mohammed Gital and Mohammed Usman respectively, explained that workers have worked and deserved their pay. The labour leaders described the delay in paying workers’ salaries as unethical and immoral. According to them, the resolution followed their emergency meeting, where it was also decided that government should restore all illegal deductions from workers’ salaries.
Enugu indigenes task Chime on rotation agreement HE people of Uzo-Uwani loT cal council of Enugu State have called on Governor Sullivan Chime to intervene over what they described as “attempts to marginalise the area” by denying them a seat in the House of Representative in 2015. In a statement by a group, the Concerned Indigenes of Uzo-Uwani Local Council, the people alleged that the rotation agreement between them and neighbouring IgboEtiti local council on the Nsukka Federal Constituency seat was about being breached by their present representative in Abuja. The statement by its chairman, Mr. Ignatius Onodugo, and secretary, Thomas Omada, asked Chime to quickly intervene and ensure that the agreement is upheld, stressing that the incumbent Stella Ngwu (from Igbo-Etiti) was elected in 2011 based on the agreement.
Again, he stressed the need for the public to be patient with the new owners of the electricity utilities because, “in the short run, we must expect disruptions, but reports making the rounds indicate that there is remarkable improvement nationwide.” Meanwhile, the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison Madueke, said her ministry was working hard to develop stringent framework to meet, on immediate and long-term, with other key players and the private sector in the development of gas infrastructure. Other members of the committee include the NNPC Group Executive Director (Energy and Power), Dr. Joseph Dawna, Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, Mr. Iyowuna Victor Briggs, and the Executive Director, System Operations at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Shahid Mohammed. There were also Jonathan Kwame Okeh, the Managing Director, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), Mr. Rumundaka Wonodi, Mr. Frank Edozie, and Director of Power, Ministry of Power, Sanusi Garba, who will serve as secretary.
‘Senate may assign roles to monarchs’ From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia RADITIONAL rulers’ quest T to for constitutional roles to enable them participate
International Consultant, Standard Trade Development Facility, Bruno Duko (left); Trade Advisor/Project Supervisor, International Trade Centre, Ludovica Gluzani; Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, and Director, Product Development Department, NEPC, Henry Otowo, during World Trade Organisation/Standard Trade Development Facility Project on ‘‘Expanding Export of Sesame seed and Sheanut/Butter through Capacity Building for Public and Private Sectors” in Abuja yesterday. PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY-ELUKPO
Benue Assembly approves N11b bond for state From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi OVERNOR Gabriel G Suswam’s proposal to access N30 billion bond from the capital market to complete ongoing projects was approved yesterday but slashed to N11 billion by the Benue State House of Assembly after a rowdy session. Suswam had justified the bond on the basis that the state was losing 40 percent of revenue inflow from the Federation Account, and consequently, finding it difficult to
meet critical developmental projects. Reading the letter on the floor of the house, Speaker of the House, Mr. Terhile Ayua, said that the bond, if so collected, would enable the government complete all critical projects and programmes it had embarked on. However, the motion for approval was countered by the Minority Leader, Mr. Benjamin Adanyi, who argued that the motive for the bond was not in the interest of the masses, and that approving it
would mean enslaving the masses. Adanyi recalled that on March 7, 2012 a N13 billion bond was approved and nothing had been heard of the funds till today. He asked the state government to furnish the House with detailed information on how it expended the proceeds of the previous bond before its present request would be approved. That was seconded by the Minority Whip, Mr. Terkimbi Ikyange, who pointed out
Suswam’s letter failed to state how the funds would be applied if approved. He further noted that the amount the government was seeking far outweighed its 2014 budget deficit He insisted that the tenure of the present administration would soon expire and that the debt burden of such huge amount would be shifted to the incoming administration. When the speaker put the matter to vote, 17 members voted for N11 billion while only six voted against
more actively in the nation’s administration, maintain peace and stability in their domains and uphold the culture and tradition of their people may soon be attained. This follows a hint by Senator Nkechi Nwaogu during the 40th coronation anniversary of the traditional ruler of Isuochi in Umunneochi council of Abia State, His Majesty, Eze Godson Ezekwesili, where she was conferred with Ihie Abia 1 of Isuochi (First Light of Abia in Isuochi). According to Nwaogu, the Senate was already working to assign some undisclosed constitutional roles to monarchs, “so that the decisions they take would be more effective and recognized.” She commended the Abia traditional rulers for collaborating with the state government in maintaining peace and security, among others.
FG, states to spend N1b on GDP compilation From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja HE Federal Government, states and donor agencies T are to spend N1 billion this year on compilation of State Gross Domestic Products (SGDP). Under the project, the Federal Government would contribute N323 million, representing 30 percent while the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are to contribute N522 million or 50 percent of the total cost. Donor partners would contribute N208 million, representing the remaining 20 percent. The Supervising Minister for National Planning, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, who dis-
closed this in Minna at a twoday national conference of Directors of Planning, Research and Statistics (DPRS) in the public service, said that six states have been selected to represent the six geo-graphical zones in the pilot scheme. The states are Niger (NorthCentral), Gombe (North-East), Kano (North-West), Lagos (South-West), Anambra (South-East) and Cross River and Rivers from the SouthSouth. According to him, the Niger State GDP has been on upward growth from 2009. “The first phase for the six pilot states’ GDP has been concluded, awaiting the validation of the report, while efforts for the second phase, expected to end by December
this year, is presently under way,” he said. “The GDP survey is categorized in three parts - agricultural sector, industrial sector and the service sector - while 243 (members of) staff were deployed for the phase of the project, with 2,239 establishments visited during the survey.” Yuguda said the Niger State survey showed that its economy was diversifying, with the industrial and service sectors witnessing a surge, while the agricultural sector remained the dominant player, engaging over 60 percent of the population. He urged the state to invest in mechanised farming technology to improve food pro-
duction and irrigation services, as well as good investment in the tourism sector to harness its potentials. According to Yuguda, “the GDP compilation is intended to be a veritable platform upon which states’ economic activities can be proactively measured, collaboratively coordinated and sustainably managed for improved and evidence-based data management in the country. He disclosed that it is also the first time a hybrid approach will be adopted in development planning in Nigeria with common instruments and methodology for the compilation of SGDP, adding “GDP is a key barome-
ter for measuring the level of economic activities in any economy and the concept of the compilation of SGDP is novel across the globe.” Yuguda argued that in a federating entity like Nigeria, When SGDP compilation is properly conducted, it provides the most comprehensive and reliable measure of economic activity at the subnational level. More so, the result of the pilot survey is expected to assist in identifying gaps in the developed survey instruments and give a guide ahead of the general survey, and also enable states to own the process of compiling state-level GDPs.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014 | 9
Representative to the Director, Ford Foundation, Joseph Guitarr (left); contributing author, Dr. Pat Oyelola, Ebun Clark and her husband, Prof. JP Clark, Prof. David Okpoko, Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya and his wife, Victoria, book reviewer, Prof. Ola Oloidi, and Dr. Kunle Filani, at the launch of Prof. Onobrakpeyas’ book, “Mask of the Flaming Arrows,” at the Ford Foundation Office in Banana Island, Lagos. PHOTO:CHARLES OKOLO
Chief Executive Officer, Frontier Advisory, Dr. Martyn Davies (left); Chief Executive, Regional Management and Strategy, Africa, Barclays Africa Group Ltd., South Africa, Kennedy Bungane; Chairman, Deloitte Nigeria Governance Board, Olufemi Abegunde; Division President, Sub-Saharan Africa, MasterCard, United Arab Emirates, Daniel Monehin; Partner, Deloitte East Africa, Joseph Eshun; and Managing Director, Consulting, Africa, Thiru Pillay, during a breakfast session hosted by Deloitte Africa for business leaders at the recently concluded World Economic Forum in Abuja.
Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko (2nd left); administering a dose of oral polio vaccine on a child, during the flag-off ceremony of the May 2014 Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week, at the Mother and Child Hospital, Akure, on Monday. With him is the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju (left).
Vice Chairman, Tantalizers Ltd, Mr. Folu Ayeni; Group Managing Director, SO&U Limited, Mr. Udeme Ufot, and Managing Director, Shell Pension Administrator Fund, Mrs. Yemisi Ayeni, at LEAP Africa’s 9th CEO forum in Lagos.
Managing Partner, Jasek Consulting Limited, Joseph Okonmah (left); Project Cordinator, Top 50 Brand, Taiwo Oluboyede; and Managing Director Top 50 Brands, Oluwadare Victor, during Top 50 Brands Nigeria press conference in Lagos. PHOTO; OSENI YUSUF
Women under the aegies of Igbo Ladies in Support of Good Governance protesting in Lagos the abduction of and demanding the safe return of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram.
Director of Operations, UACN Property Development Company Plc, Brian Greenaway (left); Finance Director, Sade Ogunde; Managing Director, Hakeem Ogunniran; Vice Chairman, Lagos Chapter, Association of Professional Wowem Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Angelique Ikwuka, and Publicity Secretary, APWEN, Monsurah Alagbe, at the APWEN courtesy visits to UACN in Lagos PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
President/Chairman of Council, Nigeria Institute of Training and Development (NITAD), Dr. Kayode Ogungbuyi (right); Managing Director/CEO, Wormspring Waters Nigeria Ltd, Mrs Folake Oshiyemi, and 1St Vice President (NITAD), Rev. Tunde Salawu, at the 13th induction ceremony of NITAD in Lagos.
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10 | Thursday, May 22, 2014
WorldReport Mubarak jailed for corruption in Egypt court in Egypt has senA tenced former President Hosni Mubarak to three years in prison after finding him guilty of embezzling public funds. His two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were also convicted and given four-year terms. The three were also fined $3m (£1.8m) and ordered to repay the $17.6m they were accused of stealing. Mubarak, 86, is also on trial for abuse of power and conspiring in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that forced him to resign. He was found guilty of the charge relating to the protesters in 2012 along with former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, and sentenced to life in prison. But in January 2013 the Court of Cassation upheld an appeal by the two men against their convictions on technical grounds and ordered a retrial. In August, a court ordered Mubarak’s release from prison and transfer to a military hospital in Cairo, where
he is being held under house arrest. Gamal, the president’s onetime heir apparent, and Alaa, a wealthy businessman, are also being retried on separate corruption charges. In February, the Mubaraks were accused of diverting $17.6m meant for maintenance of presidential palaces to renovate their own private residences in Cairo and on the Red Sea coast, as well as a family farm. They denied the charge and asserted at the trial that the prosecution’s case was “completely unsubstantiated because it never happened”. But yesterday, Judge Osama Shaheen told the court: “He should have treated people close and far from him equally. “Instead of abiding by the constitution and laws, he gave himself and his sons the freedom to take from public funds whatever they wanted to without oversight and without regard.” Mubarak sat in the caged dock in a wheelchair, wear-
ing a grey suit. His sons stood beside him in white prison uniforms. One of their lawyers, Mostafa Ali As, said they would appeal. Four other defendants in the case were acquitted. It was not immediately clear whether the 23 months that Mubarak and his sons have spent in custody would count towards their sentences. The state-run newspaper, alAhram, reported that the court had ordered that Mubarak be transferred to Torah prison, where his sons are being held.
Mali launches offensive against separatist town ALI has launched a miliM tary offensive yesterday to retake control of a northern Tuareg separatist stronghold, the government said, and witnesses reported intense fighting with machine gun and heavy weapons fire. The clashes threaten efforts
Middle East trip will be ‘purely religious’, says Pope OPE Francis has said that P his upcoming trip to the Middle East would be “purely religious” and aimed mainly at improving relations with other branches of Christianity and praying for peace in the region. “It will be a purely religious trip,” the Argentine pope
told some 50,000 pilgrims at a general audience in St Peter’s Square ahead of three-day trip to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories starting on Saturday. Francis said the main reasons for the trip, billed a “pilgrimage of prayer” by the
French President, Francois Hollande (left) with President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Joseph Kabila prior to a working meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP
Vatican, were to meet with the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I and “to pray for peace in that land which has suffered so much”. The visit kicks off on Saturday when Francis flies to Amman and meets Syrian refugees.
to find a peaceful solution to the long cycle of Tuareg rebellions in the desert north. It also upsets plans by France and several West African countries to combat Islamist militants operating elsewhere in the region. Malian soldiers and Tuareg separatists clashed on Saturday while Prime Minister Moussa Mara was visiting the town of Kidal. At least eight soldiers and eight civilians were killed. The army had been reinforcing its positions since then, in preparation for an expected campaign to retake Kidal. “At around 10 a.m., the Malian armed forces launched operations to secure and take control of Kidal. The operations are ongoing,” a government
statement read on state radio said. A Defense Ministry source said the army had begun an assault on the regional governor’s office in Kidal after it was seized at the weekend by Tuaregs from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). “The combat will continue until we achieve the total liberation of the town,” the source said. Spokesmen for the ministry and Mali’s United Nations peacekeeping mission confirmed fighting had restarted but declined to give further details. “These aren’t just shots, it’s fighting. There’s been shooting for an hour without interruption,” Kidal resident Assikadaye Ag Warzagane told Reuters by telephone. A Kidal trader said that the town’s main market had been destroyed in the fighting. Attaye Ag Mohamed, an MNLA official in Kidal, accused the Malian army of starting the clashes and called on the U.N. mission and international community to press for a ceasefire. Meanwhile, France is sending an extra 100 troops to Mali after an outbreak of violence this week in the north of the country between government forces and Tuareg separatists, an army spokesman said.
North Korea threatens to strike South’s warships ORTH Korea threatened N Wednesday to launch an attack on South Korean warships without warning if there was even a “trifling” provocation near their disputed Yellow Sea border. A South Korean naval ship fired warning shots Tuesday after three North Korean patrol boats crossed the sea boundary. The North’s military accused South Korea of “an intentional grave provocation” at a time when North Korean vessels had been chasing Chinese boats fishing illegally in the area. In future South Korean naval vessels near the border would be the target of “precision” strikes without warning if they were involved in “any trifling provocations”, it said in a statement on the official KCNA news agency. “We are willing to go for a showdown right now if the puppet rogue is desperate to stand face-to-face with us,” it said. It is not uncommon for North Korean patrol boats and fishing boats to cross the sea border into the South. Two North Korean patrol boats violated the sea border last month, just before US President Barack Obama arrived in Seoul for a twoday visit.
Ukraine boosts security for poll as U.S. warns Russia HE United States piled the T pressure on Russia yesterday over its actions in Ukraine, where the authorities are mobilising tens of thousands of police for a presidential vote in the face of a bloody insurgency gripping the east. Vice President Joe Biden threatened further sanctions on Moscow if it disrupts Sunday’s presidential ballot,
being viewed as crucial to prevent all-out civil war on Europe’s doorstep. In a key step demanded by the West to ease tensions, Russia said its troops were packing up and moving back from the Ukrainian border, but also again demanded that Kiev halt its offensive against the proMoscow separatists fighting in the east.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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Focus Litigation threatens local content, cabotage laws By David Ogah HEN the 2010 Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry W Content Development Act, which clocked four years a few days ago, and the 2003 Nigerian Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act were passed by the National Assembly and assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan and former president Olusegun Obasanjo respectively, there was tremendous excitement within the maritime, oil and gas sectors. Both Acts were aimed at increasing the participation of Nigerians and Nigerian companies in the oil, gas and maritime business, through systemic capacity development and by constant utilization of Nigerian human and material resources. The Acts were the cumulative result of various attempts, spanning decades, by the government and stakeholders, to evolve composite value in all activities in the petroleum and maritime sectors and, by extension, make Nigerians derive maximum benefits from oil and gas exploration and shipping activities within the country. The local content law made it mandatory for all contractors in the sector to present the Nigerian content plan before any contract could be awarded. The Act also made it compulsory for any investment in the oil and gas sector to comply in the areas of employment generation, expatriate quota and provision of facilities. The investments are exploration, exploitation and drilling activities. Others include provision of mobile drilling rigs, production platforms, supply vessels and various barges for pipe-laying and other works. Also included are jack-up rig and drill ships for drilling operations, anchor handling tugs, floating petroleum storage and offloading systems. Nigerians are to participate in the lifting of the nation’s crude oil and gas, and the carriage inward and coastal trading of refined petroleum products. They are also to be engaged in the various segments of marine transportation in the oil and gas sectors. With the Act in place, expectations about job creation, transfer of technology and expertise, engineering and fabrication technology development, engagement of indigenous-owned vessels and equipment, and improved income per capital are high. The protagonists of the Act were determined to rescue the petroleum industry from strong foreign dominance that had been in place since the oil and gas were discovered in the country. The Nigerian Cabotage Act, promulgated 11 years ago, had the same intention as the local content Act: to ensure capacity development, that would enable indigenous players participate actively in the lucrative shipping business within the country’s coastal areas, by giving Nigerians the right to lift items, including petroleum products, from one point to another within the country. Fashioned after the Jones Act of the United States of America (USA), the Act however provided for a waiver, giving the Transport Minister the power to direct the award of contracts to foreigners, in areas where Nigerians have no capacity to operate. The laws attempted to direct energy from previous unsuccessful efforts, which included the establishment of various research, development, training, education and support funds, and in the case of the petroleum industry, the enactment of the Petroleum Act, which made it mandatory for the employment and training of Nigerians by operators. International oil companies were thus compelled to include technological transfer, local content utilization, recruitment and training of Nigerians as components of their contractual agreement. But what was initially seen as a source of hope for Nigeria, is now a subject of litigation at the Federal High Court in Lagos. LADOL, a Lagos based oil and gas logistic company, has dragged Samsung, a Korean company to court, over the $3.8 billion Egina FPSO contract awarded by Total Oil Company. The contract was initially lauded for being a local content milestone in the country. The Egina Project was considered as a deviation from previous total projects, which achieved less than 50 per cent of their local content targets and consequently resulted in little or no job creation in the country. Located at 130 km from the shore in deepwater Oil Mining Lease (OML), the $3.8 billion Egina FPSO is, no doubt, of strategic importance to
A typical oil rig Nigeria’s future economic growth, considering its projected production capacity of 200,000 barrels per day (b/d), and a storage capacity of 2.3 million barrels. The project is expected to take off in full swing at the end of 2017, in which Nigeria’s deepwater production potentials would have been reinforced. In all ramifications, the project is to be first of its kind in Africa. It gave the impression that the country was now ready to address the economic losses it had suffered in its over 50 years of oil exploration activities. Apart from the billions of naira that would be conserved for government, the project also gives the country the added advantages of taking technology and skill transfers to a new level, giving the country the full benefits of deep offshore experience, just as hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created through the ancillary services. Samsung allegedly entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) and subsequently won the contract in collaboration with the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL), as its local content partner. By the terms of the contract, Samsung allegedly agreed to build a $120 million fabrication yard in LADOL’s base, off Takwa Bay in Lagos, for the fabrication and other local needs of the entire project. The value of the local content in the contract is believed to be about $214 million. Pursuant to the local content requirement, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) took up the challenge and not only spelt out the guidelines under the enabling laws, it also made it clear that the Board had no objection to the award of the main contract scope. This allows Samsung to perform over 80 per cent of the EPSO work scope in Korea, including the FPSO Hull and over 20,000 MT of fabrication), provided that such could not be undertaken in Nigeria for now. In a memo dated June 9, 2013, the NCDMB, following the bickering that greeted the contract award, insisted that ‘‘the Nigerian Content scope must be awarded in such a way that Nigerian companies with current capabilities are utilized in the performance of the works. Samsung will be encouraged to build capabilities in Nigeria with their bidding local partners (LADOL), in such a manner that does not place the Nigerian Content commitments for the Egina project at risk.” Instructively, several integration of fabrication, production, storage and off-take vessel
(FPSO) projects had been undertaken on Nigeria’s behalf by multinational oil companies in many parts of the world. Unfortunately, none of the major projects was carried out within the country. All these had cost the country huge sums of money in foreign currencies and had led to large scale capital flight. Nigerians were only deployed to the locations where the constituent parts were being constructed in places across the globe, just to ensure that the jobs were done according to specifications. They were not sent there for training or to acquire the needed skills. In some cases, when some components had to be fabricated in Nigeria, they were shipped at very high costs to the yards in South Korea for integration. The implication is that Nigeria has been creating jobs for foreigners and boosting foreign economies through such projects. Between 1999 and 2012, deepwater fields were developed by the joint venture companies, through the PSC arrangement for Yoho, Bonga, Agbami, Akpo and now Egina. Sadly, none of them can boast of tangible and enduring legacies for a country that is saddled with a high youth unemployment rate. This time, the government thought it wise to award the integration of fabrication, production storage and off-take vessel (FPSO) of Egina to the joint venture of Samsung and LADOL. The intention was to create employment opportunities for Nigerians and also for them to acquire technical skills. If the contract is properly executed, it would create opportunities in the future to domesticate the construction of such projects and Nigeria could become a hub for such activities in Africa. The project would turn around the fortunes of the maritime, oil and gas and industries, with the attendant multiplier effects on other sectors. The facility, when completed, will also create the market for other items such as steel products. Unfortunately, the multi-billion dollar project is now a subject of litigation as LADOL, last month, insisted that it has legal right to undertake the local contract aspect of the job. The contract awarded to the two contending companies assumed litigation following alleged schemes by Samsung to exclude the indigenous firm from the juicy job. Counsel to LADOL, Prof. Fidelis Odiah
(Queens Counsel, SAN) had earlier sought 19 reliefs against Samsung and other defendants before Justice Chukwujekwe Aneke of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos. He is asking for the declaration that the contract awards by Total to Samsung on or about 15 March, 2013 is subject to the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010. In his submission at the hearing recently, Oditah noted that since the Nigerian Content Act 2010 was enacted for the benefit of all Nigerians, his client, being a Nigerian entity, has the right to sue for local content breaches, wherein the relevant government agency fails to do so. LADOL, according to him, is a local content partner to Samsung, based on the contractual relationship his client had with Samsung to construct Egina FPLO Platform for Total in 2014. The contract, he said, also involves the construction of a training school at LADOL’s base to train Nigeria Engineers and a fabrication yard, which would provide between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs. He noted that after the award by Total, Samsung decided to take the project to Korea, thereby denying LADOL the benefits of the project. Efforts to get Samsung’s comments proved abortive as at press time. Similarly, an indigenous firm, Polmaz Limited, had dragged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) to the same Federal High Court in Lagos, over their alleged breaches of the Cabotage Act. The two companies were alleged to have awarded oil-lifting contract to foreigners, in contravention of the provision of the Nigerian laws The company urged the court to determine whether Nigeria’s shipping laws had not restricted foreign flagged vessels, not owned or built by Nigerians and registered in Nigeria, from engaging in domestic coastal shipping trade within the country’s territorial waters. The aggrieved company also asked to court to declare that the operation of the foreign flagged vessels and their foreign owners engaged by the two oil companies in the domestic coastal operations, were in clear violation of Section 5 of the Nigerian Merchant Shipping Act and several sections of the Coastal and Inland Shipping ( Cabotage) Act of 2003. However the court has since dismissed the suit for lack of evidence, even as it but it echoed the right of ship owners to challenge any violation of the Cabotage Act
Thursday, May 22, 2014 www.ngrguardiannews.com
Disbursed N60bn of govt’s N100bn revival fund to textile firms gone down the drain By Godfrey Okpugie
• Insecurity in northeast aggravates operators’ woes
HOUGH about 38 textile firms got N60bn from government’s N100bn intervention fund to the textile industry, the hostile business environment in the country has made beneficiaries unable to utilize the funds effectively. General Secretary of the National Union of Nigerian Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Issa Aremu, who confirmed in a recent media report that 38 textile firms benefited from the N100 billion Cotton Textile and Garment (CTG) Revival Scheme, however, said that there was a need for the Federal Government to increase the fund and make it easier for textile firms to access it at zero interest rate instead of the current 6 per cent. “We are happy with the provision of the N100 billion CTG intervention fund by the Federal Government. So far, 38 companies have benefited from the fund and this has gone a long way in revitalising some of the textile firms that had closed down,’’ Aremu said. Mr. Jayeola Paul Olarewaju, director general of the Nigerian Textile, Garments & Tailoring Employers Association in an interview with The Guardian in Lagos disclosed that as at the middle of last year (2013) the Bank of Industry (BoI) confirmed that, so far, about N60bn out of the N100bn had been given out as loans to the operators of the three segments that constitute the textile industry namely, Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG). He declared: “Government’s promise in 2006, that it would give revival fund to the textile industry came into fulfillment in 2010. The fund was meant for refurbishment of machines or carry out a complete overhaul of machines or buy new ones ABANDONED: Atlantic Textile Mills,Lagos; Nigerian Textile Mills and disused machines at a textile firm based in Ogba, Lagos. and for working capital. “But before the intervention fund, the banks were not prepared to do business with the industry because it was virtually a dead industry. You know a lot of companies had retrenched their workers and closed shop. When the intervention Osilaja requests women who have By Gbenga Salau fund came some of the operators were able go bicycles at home to come out withO encourage cycling among the out fear on that day to ride them to back to business and within one or two years they women folk, The Cycology Riding exercise themselves. And for those were stabilized. The rate of retrenchment went down. There was no more closure and within two Club, Lagos has concluded plans to who have been looking forward to hold the first Fabulous Women riding bicycles but have not had the years we only had one or two closure. Cycle Festival in Lagos on June 1. opportunity, he said, this is an “The fund, to some extent, assisted the industry On that day, there is going to be a opportunity for them to come out, because some of the operators who took the monmammoth gathering of ladies in as bicycles would be available for ey were able to restore their operations. Ikoyi to embark on bicycle riding them to rent. “However, the business environment in the carnival to celebrate women’s He declared: “It is going to be a country is still not conducive. Apart from the cycling exercise. wonderful experience for women banks’ reluctance to grant credit to the textile Speaking on the event, Mr. Yemi and we are looking forward to them firms because of the negative perception of the Osilaja, a trustee of the club, said having a great time.” industry the other major problems affecting the that all over the world cycling has Explaining the mode the riding industry now include influx of foreign fabrics, become a major part of lifestyle for will take, he said all participants which account for about 80 percent of the textile many reasons. would ride through Bourdillon products in the country, the insecurity in the “The first reason,” he said, “is well- Street, where a section of the road northeast and poor power situation. being. Cycling has been noted to would be marked for the proreally help to check weight, cardio- gramme that is expected to last for “A lot of the locally produced clothes used to be vascular poor situations, bring carried to Maiduguri and beyond and those who about three hours. blood pressure down and keep fit. “We have already discussed with used to sell the products there are not able to do This is why more governments and PathCare to give free healthcare, free so now because of insecurity. This has seriously affected the industry to the extent that those who people are trying to create opportu- test for sugar level, blood level. We are also talking to sponsors, who took loans from the intervention fund are finding nities for cycling. “Now in many organised cities all may want to use the opportunity to it difficult to pay back to BoI. The euphoria of the over the world, evening time is associate with women through their loan is dying down even as high cost of producbeing used to do cycling as a means products,” he said, adding that the tion is crippling the few that are still operating of transportation just to encourage ride would be in phases and the disnow. people to ride bicycles. In Nigeria, The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of there is no provision on our roads tance each participant is expected to cover would not be more than a kiloBoI, Ms. Evelyn Oputu, some years ago, debunked to do cycling but I assure you, very metre. widespread report that the fund was a grant to soon we will begin to have road “It is just to introduce and re-introthe textile industry. She described it as a loan, and with bicycle route because I am duce women to cycling. This is why not an intervention fund, as has been widely disvery confident that, even if no state it is not a race; it is just for them to seminated. starts this in the country, I know come out to see the benefit of According to her, the fund is being raised by the Lagos will set the pace some day to cycling. Those who have not been Debt Management Office, through a Federal Govbe ahead of Abuja, though Abuja is riding would get some lessons on over due to have cycle routes on its riding. It is going to be on smooth ernment bond. All of us know that raising fund roads. through bond attracts fees and expenses. This road free of traffic. It is a wonderful “The first edition of the exercise programme planned to be a quarteraccounts for why DMO is raising the bond-funded billed to take place in Lagos is being ly event,” Osilaja said even as he facility in phases. “It is, therefore, inconceivable organized to be a grand occasion to enjoined women to come out to ride that such funds will be given out free of charge. I, motivate women to come out en bicycle on that day to help their therefore, think that the six percent interest rate mass to introduce them to the ben- weight, vascular, blood pressure and payable on loans to the CTG sector is a fair deal.” efit of cycling. This is what the Fabu- make them more healthy and beauBut Aremu has made a passionate appeal for the lous Women Cycling Festival is all tiful. fund to be given to the textile firms and allied about. It is for fitness and for fun.” industries at zero interest.
Fabulous Women Cycle Festival debuts in Lagos T
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Thursday, May 22, 2014 13
Fresh concerns as ‘Federal Task Force’ hits Lagos roads ated with certificates, issued uniforms and they have been deployed to man Lagos roads; duplicating the functions of HE hidden mission of a group of men on whose black the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Lagos State Trafuniform is inscribed ‘Federal Task Force,’ is giving Lagos fic Management Authority (LASTMA) among others. authorities serious concern. “This is really disturbing,” Alawiye-King said, recalling The State’s worries dated back to last December, when the that the House had on two occasions requested the State’s newly recruited men often in black uniform were noticed Commissioner of Police to investigate who they were but undergoing Para-military training at Old Toll-Gate and Bada- nothing was heard about their mission. gry axis of the State under the banner of SUREP. He said: “Remember the Minister of Works, as head of the The concern, however, rose to its peak on Tuesday, as the alleged supervising ministry, recently disowned the men took to some Lagos roads controlling traffic. group. So, who owns them and what is their mission? Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Iku“They are dressed in black and battle-ready. We need to foriji has, however, given assurance that the state governagain call on the relevant authorities to investigate this ment would get to the root of the matter. group of people immediately. That was how the crisis in While agreeing with speculations in some quarters that it Lagos Island started and the effect is still with us till date,” was a serious security concern he, however, promised that he said. the Legislature would immediately take the matter up with Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Lola Akande also Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), as the Chief Security Offi- confirmed seeing them on the road. cer of the state, to nip their excesses in the bud. He said: “Seeing several security agencies around can realMember of the House, Wahab Alawiye-King, who had run ly be scary. I wonder what is happening in our state. They into the men, brought the issue to the House under Matters are usually in groups of about 50. It is about our safety. We of Urgent Public Importance on Tuesday. Alawiye-King, repalready have one too many security issues on our hands, resenting Lagos Island II Constituency, noted that though so we should be worried about this unknown group and the matter had been raised on the floor of the Assembly sev- where they came from,” she said. erally, but there now appears to be some disturbing develop- There is speculation that presence of the ‘Task Force’ may ments on the activities of the group. not be unconnected with oncoming 2015 general elecHe noted that the uniformed-men had been trained, gradu- tions. The two buildings built on the water channel. Leader of the House, Dr Ajibayo Adeyeye drew the lawmakers’ attention to a group threatening to wreck havoc in Lagos during the coming election, adding that the Paramilitary group might have been stationed to carry out that threat. Lagos Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, also condemned the appearance of the group Lagos, adding that it was unusual in any civilised society. switch off power from the changeover According to Ipaye, uniform symbolizes authority. But By Tope Templer Olaiya, knob and continued pushing water where unknown uniformed men suddenly takeover the Assistant Lagos City Editor out of my house,” he said. roads is not done anywhere. The state government had Victor blamed the early flooding of earlier carried out investigation and discovered that they T is just early days into the rainy the areas on the construction of the had no legal or administrative structure backing them. season but the annual exodus of But the state will not fold its arms and allow this ugly and some Jakande Estate residents in Jakande-Isheri road, particularly the bridge being built at Bucknor juncillegal action to continue unchallenged,” he assured. Ejigbo, away from the disaster zone, which is popularly referred to tion, which has obstructed water comin the area as ‘Sewage/Water Corpo- ing from Ailegun area of Ejigbo and rechanneled it into Water Corporation. LAGOS ASSEMBLY DIARY ration’ has begun in earnest. He implored government to conWith the incessant heavy rainfall as earlier predicted this year by the struct a channel that will drain water into the Oke-Afa canal. Nigerian Meteorological Agency “Though channeling the flood to Oke(NIMET), residents are relocating Afa canal will reduce the pressure, but from the area in droves in a bid to ing Badagry I Constituency, Suuru that the market should be renovated doing so may adversely affect some By Wole Oyebade save their lives from severe flood. to be in line with the Mega City status Avoseh were in agreement with A visitor to the lowland area, situ- structures along the way. That is the OTWITHSTANDING their reservaOlulade, as they suggested that the of Lagos; the occupants be relocated, ated between the Jakande Low-Cost dilemma facing some landlords in the tions on the project, the Lagos State pointing out that the Council had pro- project would have better be done area, either to fold their arms and Housing and Bucknor, would be House of Assembly has approved the vided an open space for about 250 con- by a new LCDA administration. watch their houses submerge in the taken aback by the squeaking relocation of shop owners in Ogba Retail tainers. Balogun, who said though he sounds of frogs and other amphibi- water and collapse or do the needful Market to pave way for demolition and The committee further recommend- approved the project because of the ous reptiles in the overfilled drains. by removing all obstruction to allow reconstruction of the market. Mega City argument, however, ed that those occupants that would free flow of the flood.” While flood from the upland The approval was granted at Monday’s not want relocation should be comasked rhetorically: “But at what cost Another resident said for there to be areas – Ejigbo and Isheri Oshun – plenary after hours of debates on condi- pensated with the sum of N150,000 to the people we are representing?” permanent solution, two houses at finds its way to the drain channel at tions of relocating over 500 occupants each. He observed that a Kee-Clamp of Sewage area, the indiscriminately Tony Ochuba Street, off CAC Goshen that are currently aggrieved over the N1m, with initial payment of N200, When completed, the committee Land Avenue, would have to give way. erected structures on the drain’s planned reconstruction by Ojodu Local advised that the existing occupants 000 and the rest (N800, 000) “We can’t because of two buildings put passage way often cause flooding Council Development Area (LCDA). payable over two years at N26, 000 should be given “preferential treatthe lives of a whole community in danin the area. It would be recalled that the shop own- ment” in the new market with 25 per per month is just too expensive for Last week, the restoration of elec- ger. We are not yet in the peak of the ers, last year, petitioned the House, urg- cent price rebate, adding that yam, a pepper and meat seller. tricity supply immediately the rain rainy season and flooding is this severe ing the Assembly to quash the reconBalogun said: “Which means they pepper, meat and fish sellers among in the area. So, we must do something started averted the tragedy that struction plan. others must also be accommodated in would have to sweat it out every to save the area from the impending would have befallen some resiThe House ordered its House Commit- the first and second floors of the promonth to pay this sum. Don’t fordisaster.” dents in the area. tee on Transport, Commerce and Indus- posed four-story ultra-modern market. get, this is what these people do to Millions of Lagos residents living in A resident, Mr. Victor Osuagwu, try to conduct thorough investigation support their families. If you ask The ultra-modern market, due for Lagos lowlands may now be living in told The Guardian that his family on the matter. completion in 18 months, will consist me, there is no urgency in this matwould have been electrocuted if he danger as the state begins to witness Presenting the report of its findings to of five categories of shops with prices ter at all. Yes, Mega City status is another round of heavy rains. Two had not immediately switch off the House on Monday, Chairman of the ranging from N1m to N5m (N500,000 good, but it can wait and we will months after the Lagos State governpower supply from the switch Committee, Bisi Yusuf said that though per sqm). Least of the categories, Keeget there.” board the moment the light came. ment had issued a warning that the the occupants were unanimous that the Clamps – for pepper and meat sellers – Deputy Speaker of the House, Taistate would witness 263 days of down“We were still battling with the market was due for renovation but wo Kolawole, who presided over cost N1m, payable in two years. flood and all of us were hurriedly pour, there has been low compliance some shop owners were dissatisfied the plenary, added that the 10sqm Lawmaker representing Epe II Conclearing our valuables from harm’s with government’s advice for those because they had just paid huge sums of stituency, Segun Olulade expressed size of N5m at the market is more way when suddenly power supply residing in areas deemed as flood money to acquire containers from forreservation on the choice of such proj- expensive than the same size in zones to evacuate. was restored. The water in our mer developer, coupled with unsatisfac- ect almost at the tail end of the council Tejuoso Ultra-Modern market. homes had risen beyond our knees Areas generally regarded as flood tory relocation conditions the LCDA and administration. He was concerned on Lawmaker representing Ikorodu I and was almost getting to the wall zones and lowlands prone to flooding new contractor had provided. what becomes of the project after the Constituency, Sanai Agunbiade socket level when the light came. In include Agboyi Ketu, Ajegunle, parts of After due investigation and several added that there was no justificacurrent tenure must have expired. the midst of that confusion of what Ikorodu, Apapa-Iganmu, and Ijorameetings with the LCDA officials, the tion for compensating occupants Chief Whip of the House, Dr Rasak Badia. to pack, I immediately went to contractor, the market leaders among Balogun and his colleague represent- that willingly refused to relocate. others, the committee recommended
By Wole Oyebade
Seeing several security agencies around can really be scary. I wonder what is happening in our state. They are usually in groups of about 50. It is about our safety. We already have one too many security issues on our hands, so we should be worried about this unknown group and where they came from
House okays reconstruction of Ogba Retail Market N
Mass exodus as flood sacks Jakande Estate residents
14 Thursday May 22, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Politics The National Conference Debate
‘People must have inputs through referendum’ Ibrahim Eddy Mark, an indigene of Rivers State and a one-time Secretary-General of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has spent several years in Borno State as a legal practitioner. He is sad that a once peaceful and accommodating state has been turned into a war theatre. By his estimation, it will take another 50 years for the state to return to its former status (if it does at all). He told Mohammed Abubakar in Abuja that both Federal and Borno State governments sholud de-emphasise the blame game and find solution to the systemic failures responsible for the current state of insecurity. should do because it cannot search anything to this level, and the Director-General had confessed that. That is why we now have the Americans or the Europeans coming to help us because it is theirs that can search out all those things. These are the problems that we have, and that is where we got it wrong because successive governments had allowed it. And this government is also part of the problem because you must also say what you have done to ameliorate what you found on the ground.
UE to lack legal backing, the debate is on now D as to the modalities for implementing the outcome of the National Conference, whether it should be subjected to a referendum or sent to the National Assembly for ratification. How do you assess this scenario? We should start from the first premise; what is the function of the National Assembly? The National Assembly is there to make laws, and the conference is an aggregate or meeting of Nigerians to fashion out or look at some of the talking points, drawbacks and those things that Nigerians say were not done rightly. There is nothing wrong in the confab; there is also no illegality therein, but what happens is that whatever is the outcome of their deliberations cannot be law except the National Assembly so acts and makes it a legislation. On the issue of referendum, I belong to an association, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and we have been talking that the National Assembly should subject its amendment process to a referendum so that we can have that inputs, that clothing of Nigerians that have actually participated. Yes, they are the elected people on our behalf, but there is nothing wrong, too, in you taking what you have agreed to do back to the people. What the House of Representatives did during the constitutional review was good because they told every member to go to their constituencies and show them the proposed amendment, whatever they said, the sessions they agreed on should be binding. That is type of thing that is akin to this referendum; in fact, that was a referendum. There is nothing wrong in embarking on a referendum. Even the constitution has a referendum clause in state creation. So, there is nothing wrong in amending and saying we should go there. Once we are talking, it makes you feel that yes, your voice has been heard; your voice has not been shut up; you have not been made to look as if you are stupid. We will talk; the minority will have their say and the majority will have their say. And you will be contended that you have spoken and there is no how something good will not come out of it. Thus, there is no doubt in my mind that the outcome of the conference should go back to the National Assembly because they are the people who can legislate on it and make it to be binding and to be law. But the National Assembly can subject it to a referendum through the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is the body charged with the responsibility of doing that type of thing. A referendum is like an election and since we have an electoral body in place, it will not be too bad, in conjunction with INEC, to do the referendum. Referendum means this is what we have agreed to do; do Nigerians agree? If they agreed, it has passed and if they said no, you would leave it. As an observer, how would you assess the proceedings of the confab so far? Have delegates lived up to the expectations of the people? Initially, when they started, some comments by them were not salutary; they were not good for the country’s unity. People were just making statements that could divide us. They were behaving as people who had come to the confab with a fixed mind: ‘No matter what anybody say, this is what I believe.’ But I think when the Chairman and some people spoke, they sheathed their gunpowder and no more talking along that line. They are trying to be more business-like, nationalistic, and find solutions to the problems bedeviling our country. Thank God that they went into committees, and are back in their plenary. Before long, I believe they will come out with the outcomes that would serve the general interests of Nigerians. I got to know some of them; they are doing a good job, and on the right course. We should
O we then agree with critics, who accuse the D administration of acting too late and slow to the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls?
Mark pray for them so that whatever is the outcome will be such that will move our country forward. IGERIA appears to be at a crossroads given N the way insecurity has gone so far. What is the missing link; where did we get it wrong? The insecurity in the country has been there for a long time but what I think made it obvious is the act of terrorism that crept in and I believe that our military or the armed forces and the police were not trained for it and therefore not ready for it. It is like they were overwhelmed by this terrorism. I know that terrorism is an international problem; it is a worldwide phenomenon. Nobody can tell you today that they have countered terrorism. Even in Turkey, it has been for more than 40-50 years; in Britain, it is still there; in United States of America, it is still there and in all those Arab countries. The only difference is that they have been able to bring it to the barest minimum, where it is no longer posing a national threat to their sovereignty or being together. We were having these pockets of robbery and kidnapping, pockets of insecurity, which were not there before. But now, we have it on a wider scale, a scale that has overawed us. But Nigerians must be part of the fighting this insecurity, because if you say you are leaving it to the soldiers alone, it would not work. We must be able to ask ourselves some basic questions: These people that are coming close to us,
how did we get to this level? We must be able to open up to the armed forces or security agencies generally and give them information that will assist them to fight this new type of insurgency. I’m also of the opinion that we are ill-equipped for what has befallen us, and it is not something that started today. There is rot in this country of national institutions — people not doing what they are supposed to have done. It is the culmination of this rot that made us unable to respond effectively to a problem because we did not do the thing we were supposed to have done. If periodically, over the period of 20-30 years we had been equipping all these institutions to the level they were supposed to be, they would not be overwhelmed the way they are now. It would have been a thing that maybe after initial hiccups, they could pick up. But you can see the problem we have. Ordinarily, we should not be going outside to look for planes, satellites; Nigeria should have all these things. We would have been training because we would be prepared that this thing could happen any time. We did not need to wait until it happened here before finding solutions or how to fight it. So, you can see that we don’t have the gadgets here; there is nothing anybody will tell you except somebody who is not sincere. The satellite image we said we had in Nigerian Communication Satellite can’t do what it
I don’t believe in blame game, as far as this Chibok girls’ saga is concerned. What is the solution to getting these girls back because when you start a blame game, you will leave the issue, which is more important to us — that is getting these our daughters out. That is why the government raised a committee to go and find out what had happened because there is this distrust between the Federal Government and the Borno State Government. That is why the Sambo Committee was asked to go and find out what happened; whether everybody did what they were supposed to do. You can see that there is a disconnection between the state where this happened and the Federal Government; and it has been showing in successive days. The governor is accusing the Federal Government of not doing enough and the Federal Government is telling the state government, at least from this lady who was leading the famous ‘Bring Back Our Girls,’ saying that when they went to the Defence Headquarters, they were saying that the Borno government was not cooperating. And when they went and see the Borno governor, he was telling them a different story. You cannot, for sure, say that this person or that person was slow in responding; you can only say that there has been suspicion, maybe from day one and that is what has put us in this mess today. As somebody who was a resident of Borno for a number of years, how would you describe the turn of events in the state? I’m talking to you with a heavy heart; my eyes are filled with tears. I stayed in that state for 17 years, and they were very good people. The place was more of a mini-Nigeria; every other person was welcomed. We knew each other; we were very friendly with people. In short, it is a place you would like to come and stay. Crime was low. Unfortunately, this thing (insurgency) crept in and it is like everybody abandoned or underestimated it and now that place is lost. It will take more than 50 years to get it back again, if it will get back to what it used to be, because then, people felt secured; you could come there and rest. So, I’m appealing to governments, both federal and state, to sheath their swords in the interest of the state; let everybody think of how to sort out that problem. At least, let the basic necessities of life be given to the people because the primary goal of government is to provide security for its people. Every government is under oath to do so. The security issue is not for the Federal Government alone, but all the tiers of government; they are the governments on ground. The primary responsibility of these three tiers is to provide security of life and their property, and they should do their best in tandem. They should come together and leave politics out of whatever is happening so that even if we can’t be back to the old days, we can get back to something considered as a minimum standard that is approved for people living in that place. That is my wish and my prayers — that at least, they can reclaim their place.
Thursday May 22, 2014 POLITICS 15
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
2015: How Sarakis service their followers From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin S the battle for the soul of Kwara A thickens, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) holds the aces. The party, which had lost some members to the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), is relying on a structure that cuts across the 193 electoral wards in the state, to retain its status. While the PDP members are still basking in their successful hosting of President Goodluck Jonathan and holding most of their meetings in the ancient town of Ilorin, the APC is spreading “mobilisation tokens” across the wards, the strongest points where elections are won and lost. Besides, the APC is in firm control of the cadre of true voters in Kwara Central senatorial districts — the aged women. The mostly unlettered women, in thousands were the ‘darling’ of the late doyen of Kwara politics, Dr. Olusola Saraki. Saraki would keep them around himself, doling out food, clothes and money to them. Thus, they formed the bulk of the voters that made the politician thick. He would often appeal to their emotions, and accommodate them in his ‘Ile loke’ Ilorin residence and instill in them a sense of their importance in shaping the political landscape of the state. Understanding the importance of musical genres in keeping the women together, Saraki had on his payroll three local musicians, Igi Jegede, Pele Wura and Ayansola, who took turns to render traditional tunes to the dancing steps of the ‘Saraki wives.’ Even though two of Saraki’s children (Bukola and Gbemisola) are asymmetrically engrossed in politics, and understand the importance of the group left by their father, Bukola, the former governor of the state, seems to be in firm control of his father’s harem of ‘political wives.’ While Bukola is regarded as the indisputable leader of the APC in Kwara, Gbemisola, a two-term senator, is viewed as a very strong factor holding intact the soul of the PDP in Kwara. Following his father’s footstep in providing welfare packages for the people, Bukola has opened ‘succour’ collection centres for the women in Ilorin. Thus, without any need for authorisation, the women, already divided into groups, take their turn on weekly basis to get undisclosed “weekly perquisites.” Alhaji Suleiman Yusuf, an aide of the former governor, who is the Senator representing Kwara Central, said the gestures “are just the other side of our political leader (Bukola), who hates seeing people in need of necessities of life.” Stressing that Bukola apparently inherited this trait from his late father, Senator Yusuf said, “Our
Bukola leader doesn’t make noise on this. He believes that with or without politics, he should not allow the aged women to go into their graves famished.” For Alhaji Alhassan Maryam, the interim Publicity Chairman of the PDP in the state, Bukola’s gesture is narrow in the sense that it focuses on aged women alone. He pleaded that, “we should not narrow down this (political) struggle to Bukola and Gbemisola; it goes beyond them and we should just see it that way.” “If Bukola is taking care of the aged, best of luck to him,” he said. “We (the PDP under Gbemisola) are not just taking care of the aged, but the youths, men and women irrespective of their age.” Another section of the society that the APC government has subtly touched is the two prominent drivers’ unions, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, (RTEAN). A few weeks ago, the state government rolled out 500 cabs on soft loans to some 500 commercial cab operators under the aegis of the two unions. Afolayan said the kind gesture from the government was basically aimed at spreading the gains of democracy to the cab operators, adding, “soft loans were equally given to various artisans in the state, irrespective of party affinities, to assist them in expanding their businesses.” WEAPON arguably in favour of A the local APC is having a distinct leader, whose voice is not only respected, but also carries with it a seal of authority. This reduces bot-
Following his father’s footstep in providing welfare packages for the people, Bukola has opened ‘succour’ collection centres for the women in Ilorin. Thus, without any need for authorisation, the women, already divided into groups, take their turn on weekly basis to get undisclosed ‘weekly perquisites.’ Alhaji Suleiman Yusuf, an aide of the former governor, who is the Senator representing Kwara Central, said the gestures ‘are just the other side of our political leader (Bukola), who hates seeing people in need of necessities of life. Our leader doesn’t make noise on this. He believes that with or without politics, he should not allow the aged women to go into their graves famished.’ But Alhaji Alhassan Maryam, the interim Publicity Chairman of the PDP in the state, said Bukola’s gesture is narrow in the sense that it focuses on aged women alone. ‘If Bukola is taking care of the aged, best of luck to him,’ he said. ‘We (the PDP under Gbemisola) are not just taking care of the aged, but the youths, men and women irrespective of their age.’
, Gbemisola tlenecks and disputes, especially while apportioning offices ahead of elections. Bukola, ‘The Leader,’ represents the Alter ego of the party and he is trusted with the ability to give direction at all times to the party. Whereas the PDP, while it is difficult to dismiss with a wave of the hand its growing opposition to the ruling APC in Kwara, lacks a clearcut leader, someone like Bukola, whose voice can instill the muchneeded discipline within the party when the need arises. However, a stalwart of the PDP in the state, Rex Olawoye, said the alleged father-figure posture within the APC “is what is actually making many of them (members) to decamp to the PDP.” “In our own case, we have senatorial leaders who are well-respected but not godfathers,” he said. “When the need arises to take concrete decisions, we do it effortlessly. “Ours is an open-field game where appointment is purely on merit and in that case, we have the tendency to provide good leadership when we eventually form the next government in Kwara.” Indeed, in the PDP Kwara are such leaders as a former senator representing Kwara South senatorial district now Special Adviser to President Jonathan on National Assembly Matters, Makanjuola Ajadi; incumbent Senator Simeon Ajibola; John Dara, Olawoye, Lola Ashiru, Dr. Femi Ogunsola, and Segun Olawoyin. These are great leaders of the people from Kwara South. In Kwara Central are Gbemisola; the Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Professor Shuaib Oba AbdulRaheem; Lasisi Jimoh, Dele Belgore (SAN), and Hakeem Lawal, son of former governor of the state, Muhammed Lawal. The roll call of leaders within the local PDP equally covers those from the Kwara North senatorial district. While Olawoye sees the de-centralisation of powers within the PDP in the state as a weapon of strength, the interim Secretary of the APC in Kwara, Yemi Afolayan, believes that the development would soon “tear the party apart.” Afolayan, in a chat with The Guardian, said: “In their party (PDP) today, there is no sense of direction. There is no solid structure for them to build anything upon. “We learnt that all of them wanted to be governor at the same time. So, we are watching them with keen interests. “It is a matter of time for them to scatter because the situation pre-
Ahmed dictably will lead to chaos and grievances.” But Ajadi said Afolayan’s view remained a wishful thinking “of a dreamer who should wake up from his slumber.” According to him: “Everybody in Kwara State today wants a change for better. It is not an offence to have personal ambition as a politician. “But what Afolayan, who is my good brother, doesn’t realise is that we are all mature within the state’s PDP. The supremacy of the party is never compromised and that will continually be our watch word.” NE area of concern to political O analysts in Kwara today is whether the incumbent, Governor Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, will run for a second term in office in the 2015 elections. The situation is surprisingly one area that has defied permutations. Ahmed, a former Finance Commissioner under the Bukola Saraki administration, emerged victorious in the last election due to the support of Bukola, who solidly backed the aspiration of the Share, Ifelodun local government areaborn politician. This was against the wish of his father, Saraki, the kingmaker of Kwaran politics. The older Saraki had expectedly preferred his biological daughter, Gbemisola to Ahmed, to assume the position of governor. But Bukola strongly objected to this scenario of exchange of baton from him (Bukola), after eight years as governor, to his sister, Gbemisola, for another four years, and possibly eight years in the same family. Thus, father and son parted ways
politically for the 2011 elections, with the elder Saraki forming another party on whose platform Gbemisola contested the governorship and lost to Bukola-backed Ahmed. Although the family reconciled after the election, the governorship flame is still burning in Gbemisola, who had dumped his father’s sponsored party for the PDP, which is strategising to capture power from the APC-led government of Ahmed. Presently, there are no visible signs to explicitly show that Governor Ahmed will either get the APC ticket or not. What is clearer, though, is that no other APC governorship aspirant has showed interest in the Ahmadu Bello Way, Ilorin office of the Governor. No aide of Governor Ahmed or any party official was willing to talk on the rather “sensitive matter.” A source, however, told The Guardian, under “strict” condition of anonymity, that the political calculation of the opposition (PDP), picking their candidate, would determine “who will carry the banner of the APC in the 2014 governorship election in Kwara.” The source said: “But I can assure you that our leader (Bukola) will not carry out any unpopular move in this respect. “We believe in the power and efficacy of prayers; that is why we are praying for him (Ahmed) at all times.” While all hands are on deck, awaiting the candidates for the polls, the only certainty is that it would be a straight fight between the APC and the PDP.
A weapon arguably in favour of the local APC is having a distinct leader, whose voice is not only respected, but also carries with it a seal of authority. This reduces bottlenecks and disputes, especially while apportioning offices ahead of elections. Whereas the PDP, while it is difficult to dismiss with a wave of the hand its growing opposition to the ruling APC in Kwara, lacks a clear-cut leader, someone like Bukola, whose voice can instill the much-needed discipline within the party when the need arises. However, a stalwart of the PDP in the state, Rex Olawoye, said the alleged father-figure posture within the APC ‘is what is actually making many of them (members) to decamp to the PDP. In our own case, we have senatorial leaders who are well-respected but not godfathers. Ours is an open-field game where appointment is purely on merit and in that case, we have the tendency to provide good leadership when we eventually form the next government in Kwara.’
16 | Thursday, May 22, 2014
Conscience Nurtured by Truth
FOUNDER: ALEX U. IBRU (1945 – 2011) Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it. Uthman dan Fodio 1754-1816
Editorial The problem of power supply HAT Generating Companies (GENCOs) of the newly privatised Power Holding T Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are getting jittery over proper metering of consumers and inadequate supply of gas to power plants, and are adducing these hiccups as reasons for the deteriorating electricity supply, is distasteful and unacceptable. It is a gratuitous insult to the collective intelligence and sensibilities of Nigerians, besides portending danger to the prospect of optimum electricity supply in the land. Since November 2013 when the electricity sector was privatised and handed over to new investors, the rationale behind that exercise has been far from being justified. An increasingly diminishing capacity of the GENCOs and the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) is very evident in the pervasive darkness and economic lull. In spite of the criminally high tariffs that have come with the regime, the worsening power outages are also a sad development for Nigerians who had had high hopes for steady power supply. Moreover, besides killing small businesses and subjecting the populace to low quality of living, it is also a mockery of a nation that seeks to be one of the most industrialised nations in the year 2020. Barely six months into the new electricity regime, complaints and excuses from actors in the projects have begun to parry the real need for optimum electricity supply. First, the chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sam Amadi, who blamed the deteriorating power supply on the non-utilisation of the 2, 859 megawatts owing to gas shortage. Next was the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Egbin Power Plc, Mike Uzoigwe, who, speaking on behalf of the generation companies, listed the fact that consumers are not metered and the issue of gas as factors “impinging on our moving forward,” adding “we can never over-emphasize the problem the lack of gas is causing in the industry.” It is an insulting and shameful paradox that Nigeria, with one of the largest liquefied natural gas reserves in the world could have the effrontery to adduce shortage of gas as the principal reason for the failure to generate power. According to World Bank estimates, Nigeria currently loses an average of about $2.5 billion (N350 billion) annually to gas flaring. Nigeria is said to have a natural production of over two billion cubic feet (2bn cf), out of which 60 per cent is flared, while 90 per cent of the remaining 40 per cent is exported as liquefied natural gas (LNG). It is argued that the volume of gas flared is capable of generating up to six gigwatts of electric power annually. At this stage of global development in terms of electricity generation and supply, excuses such as these ones, are not the kinds Nigerians should be burdened with. When the new power regime came on board Nigerians expected that the new investors would have done their homework, identified the challenges of the sector, and prepared to address them before acquiring the assets. On this understanding, Nigerians were assured at the establishment of these companies that incessant blackout would be a thing of the past. As it is, the situation is far worse than where we were; thereby making the attainment of 20,000 megawatts by 2020 not only unrealistic but also inadequate. It is becoming clear that even on matters as crucial as power, Nigeria has put the cart before the horse. Plants were built before thinking of the economics of gas management. Pipelines to transport gas are either old or vandalised and the modalities for gas supply were overlooked. In classic profligacy and wastefulness, the little percentage of gas accruable for local consumption cannot even be harnessed. This scenario is a testimony to how articulate the government can be in terms of planlessness and lack of focus, thus raising questions about the real intention of the privatization of the power sector. Did the government consider what the GENCOs needed to work well? Were the GENCOs a mere give-away? Or is it a case that they were bought cheaply? Upon deep reflection, the whole exercise advertises a lack of national interest and portrays privatization as an indiscriminate sharing of public assets. The folly in the privatization of power supply could be observed in the domino effect on the telecommunication and aviation industries. Already service providers are blaming their inadequate services on the absence of reliable power supply, which they claim is responsible for high overheads. If any solution is to be found in sight, the boards of these companies should be held accountable. In synergy with the authorities and other stakeholders in the sector, they should begin to think outside the box for alternative forms of energy to generate electricity. All over the world, countries desirous of fast-tracking their economic base towards a production level of global influence had made use of alternative sources of electric power generation. This is true of the United States as it is for China and South Africa, where coal-fired electricity has been developed to augment other sources of electricity. Nigeria’s coal reserve is estimated at two billion metric tonnes, of which 650 million metric tonnes are exploitable. Analysts maintain that if serious mining of this mineral resource is revitalised, Nigeria could generate cheap electricity and additionally earn about N5 billion yearly from exports. One of the major points of Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign was his promise to provide electricity for the populace, on the basis of which he solicited and received votes into office. His administration should have the honour to make true this promise. And Nigerians must hold him to the promise.
Remembering Professor Jadesola Akande IR: The Women Law and There is no doubt that she Abuja (2013) gave an Annul lecSNigeria Development Centre would also have been in the ture in her memory. (WLDCN) joins the vanguard of the leadership of family and friends of Prof. Jadesola Akande OFR who passed on to glory on April 29, 2008 in prayerful remembrance of the late sage. She was the founder/Executive Director of the Centre and an exemplary leader. Six years gone, but her memory and legacy are very much alive. She was not only a scholar per excellence, a teacher of teachers, a social crusader for good causes but also an icon of the women’s movement in Nigeria and indeed, Africa. The Professor of Law and one-time Vice-Chancellor held, at different times, leadership of the Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD), the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and the Zonta Club International, amongst others. Today, we still miss her in many ways, particularly as the ongoing National Conference seeks to fashion out a new structure and constitutional framework for the Nigerian state. She would have been leading the women’s voice constructively on the various issues confronting the current socio-economic environment of Nigeria such as youth unemployment, feminization of poverty, the insecurity and menace of Boko Haram and violence against women and girls.
global marches to protest and call for the search and rescue of the 234 Chibok school girls. We feel proud that many of the present leaders are Prof. Jadesola Akande’s mentees. The Women Law and Development Centre Nigeria (WLDCN) in collaboration with the Jadesola Akande Interactive Forum (JAIF) Advisory Committee made up of the late sage’s professional colleagues, associates and mentees under the leadership of Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa and Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye are determined to continue her legacy and vision by persistent advocacy for those causes that she stood for in her lifetime. We take this opportunity to thank the organisations, groups and individuals who, in many ways, have continued to advance this legacy and so immortalised her noble name in the past few years. The Lagos State University (LASU) instituted scholarship scheme in her name. The Federal University of Technology Akure named a newly completed female hostel in her memory. The Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) instituted an annual lecture in her memory. The Nigeria Law School in
The National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) gave her a post-humus award to mark Nigeria’s Centenary 2014 (100 years of amalgamation). The More Women Movement/Female Leadership Forum gave her an award in memoriam for her contribution to encouraging more women in politics and decision making. WLDCN also wishes to thank all our friends, associates and development partners for their support over the years; in particular, Gender and Constitutional Review Network (GECORN), under the leadership of Women Advocate, Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), the Legal Resource and Documentation Centre (LRRDC) to mention but a few. We must not fail to acknowledge the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), the Deputy Governor Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulure and the First Lady of Lagos State Mrs. Abimbola Fashola who have continually advocated on the issue of violence against women, which the late professor passionately worked on. Her legacy and vision live on!!! May her gentle soul continue to rest in peace. • Kezia Awosika, Lagos
Thursday, May 22, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Opinion Painful dilemma of dialogue with Boko Haram By John Cardinal Onaiyekan HE world renowned Catholic prelate, His T Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, once defined dialogue as “You talk I listen; I talk and you listen.” He certainly knew what he was talking about, because he was for many years the President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, the agency of the Holy See for dialogue with people of other faiths. There has been much talk about dialogue not only in the past few weeks with the abduction of over 250 schoolgirls by Boko Haram, but since more than three years ago. Unfortunately, there has been quite a lot of ambiguity and confusion in what we mean by dialogue, leading to inconsistency in the practical steps that have been taken. It is no wonder that little or no progress has been made in this line. It seems to me that the major short coming is that there is too much talking and not enough listening, on all sides of the discussion. Dialogue means talking and listening across lines of differences, seeking common grounds on which to build some measure of agreement. It does not ignore nor deny differences, but rather seeks to honestly identify the point of difference and how to live with such differences in order to avoid conflict, especially violent conflict. We have been following with grave concern the deep dilemma of government as regards whether and to what extent it can engage the
Boko Haram in dialogue over the release of the abducted girls. But would like to say that what looks now to be confusion and contradiction is in the nature of dialogue. On the one hand, the government is right to reject the demand of Boko Haram to swap the girls for their imprisoned comrades. There is no parallel between innocent schoolgirls and terrorists detained for violent and heinous crimes. Besides, no government can ignore the unspeakable consequence of setting such a precedent. But on the other hand, government cannot abandon our girls in the forest or wherever at the hands of their abductors. There must be a way of bringing them back home to their families, safe and as sound as possible. At this moment of writing, we have no news yet of their whereabouts. And even if and when we find where they are, rescuing them by force of arms would entail the kind of danger and risk that even the parents of the girls would be unlikely to sanction. The only option left therefore is some form of dialogue and hard bargain that would bring the girls back without setting a dangerous and unacceptable precedent. It is here that we might evoke the wisdom of Cardinal Arinze’s definition of dialogue. Boko Haram has spoken and government has listened. The government has spoken. Let us hope that Boko Haram is listening. In this game of haggling, it is possible that the last word has not yet been said by either party. Are there no other less obnoxious demands that
Boko Haram can make? They may well be ruthless and wicked, but they are certainly not foolish. Are there no other options which government can offer? The dialogue has started. I would like to hope that neither side has considered the dialogue closed. Whatever the case, to make any progress calls for great wisdom and patience. There is also need for effective and mutually trusted intermediaries, people who can listen to both sides and talk to both sides. This is obviously not a matter for publicity, least of all for scoring political points. The scarce success of the famous “dialogue committee” formally inaugurated with pomp and pageantry some time ago should teach us that this is not the best way to go. Perhaps a small group of carefully chosen wise men and women, including religious figures, especially of the Muslim faith, working quietly in the background, with deep sense of patriotism and honesty, devoid of all sectional political agenda, might be in a better position to achieve some success. Some days ago, the French President, Mr. Francois Hollande, called a summit of the heads of state of Nigeria and its neighbours. Also in attendance were high level representatives of the European Union, the USA and UK governments. The purpose we are told was to improve cooperation in dealing with the Boko Haram which has become a regional and even global menace. For as long as they continue killing, raping and abducting innocent people, destroying prop-
erty and causing general insecurity, they should expect more intensive and coordinated military action against them by Nigeria, her neighbours, and the international community. But the loud noise of guns and bombs on and from both sides need not smolder the necessary quiet and salutary whispers of dialogue and background negotiation, which in the long run would be in the best interest of all concerned. Is there any head of state able and willing to call a summit that would provide an effective forum for serious dialogue that would include also elements of the Boko Haram? That line of action, no matter how unlikely, should not be rejected outright. President Jonathan said in Paris that “the abduction of young innocent school girls in Chibok represents a watershed and a turning point”. The unknown plight of these girls and the anguish of their parents touch the heart of everyone. We pray for their safe return. The dialogue for their release would be only a starting point for the larger objective of convincing the terrorists, with both “stick and carrot”, in their own interest, to cease fire and embrace negotiation, for the peace and progress of our great nation. For this we should pray, even if it requires a miracle. God bless Nigeria – and bring back our daughters. • John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, wrote this as third in the series of his Letter from Rome. The second such letter was published in this column last week.
The real cause of Boko Haramism By Obayi Chikezie N his article with the caption “The Colonial roots of Boko Ipage Haramism” published in The Guardian of May 14, 2014 on 13, Anthony Akinola claimed that Boko Haram has its roots traceable to the colonial periods. This is questionable. We must rely on history to put the records straight and educate ourselves better. We must situate the reasons why the colonial masters introduced the policies which we now term as being responsible for Northern underdevelopment. In this case, various factors contributed to the northern backwardness in terms of development. The first is the abuse of religion and the influence of Arabism, but the most poignant is the elitist factor. The Fulani Jihad which began in 1804 and the defeat of the Hausa indigenes of the northern part of what is today known as Nigeria, ensured that Islam and by extension Arab civilization was firmly operational in the North long before the period of western colonization. Even during the colonial era, Lord Lugard found the political administration of the area as administered by the Emirs suitable. Hence, he introduced the Indirect Rule in the region and allowed the Emirs and other traditional rulers direct control of the people while they in turn paid tax and royalties to the colonial administration. Indirect Rule was practised in the extreme form in Northern Nigeria more than in the South and was responsible for the lack of active development in all fields. In this case, the decisions of the colonial masters were implemented by the Emirs who in turn reported back to them. The second reason was Lord Lugard’s policy towards the North. To forestall possible destabilization of the political arrangement in the region, Lord Lugard barred the Christian missionaries from evangelizing in the North. Lord Lugard’s policy made it mandatory for the missionaries to seek the permission of the Emirs before they could preach the gospel in any part of the North for fear that Christian doctrines might upset the traditional order and thereby undermine the system of Indirect Rule. However, he did encourage missionary activities in some areas in the North and two CMS schools were allowed to open in Bida and Zaria in 1903 and 1905, respectively, but only at the specific invitation of the Emirs of those areas. As a result, the social integration between the people from the North and South was restricted. Commenting on the situation, Prof. Nwabueze said: “The British colonial government in Nigeria discouraged, initially at any rate, such a policy of social integration. Southerners living in the North were segregated in separate stranger’s quarters outside the walled periphery of the native towns referred to as Sabon gari. As a re-
sult, contact between the two peoples lacked that degree of closeness and intimacy necessary for the fostering of a common national identity and the opportunity for promoting mutual understanding through a shared communal life was lost”. The segregation policy when viewed against the backdrop that the early Christian missionaries were the conduit pipes through which western education and civilization got to Nigeria, will clearly explain why the North is relatively backward. The missionaries and traders were the pathfinders of British imperial rule in Nigeria. Since the missionaries came in through the South, it was possible for them to settle there and also implant their culture and civilisation. If we take the year 1885 when the declaration for the protectorate over the Oil Rivers was made to put to rest the quest by Germany and France over the area as a starting point, the Colonial period in Nigeria would have lasted for three quarters of a century. On the other hand, if we consider the colonization of Lagos in 1861 as the starting point, then the colonial period would have spanned ninety-nine years. During this period, the South was exposed to western civilization more than the North. The North on the other hand had one hundred and fifty one years of exposure to Arabic civilization. If you juxtapose it with western civilization, assuming that it is Arab country that colonized Nigeria, the North would have been more developed than the South. On the eve of the amalgamation of the South and the North, the population of children in Western type primary schools in the South was 35,716 compared to 1,131 children in the North. On the other hand, the North had over 140,000 children in Koranic schools compared to 50,000 in the South. The South had eleven secondary schools whilst there was none in the North. Whilst one cannot rule out the geographical conditions prevailing in the North and the cultural differences between the North and South, the Lugardian system and the influence and strength of Islam in the North were the dominant factors responsible for the underdevelopment of that part of the country. On the attainment of Independence, the segregation policy abated and the process of effective reintegration commenced. The northerners began to fraternize with the southerners and at the same time embraced western civilization. Though initially the Northerners were sceptical about relationship with the South as shown in 1956 when the issue of independence was mooted. But the scepticism was later put to rest when they discovered that the southerners meant well. It is a fact that of the over 50 years of Nigeria’s Independence, the North had had more shots at the presidency (both military and civilian) than the South. But to what extent has the northern leaders used this opportunity to empower their youths?
The northern ruling elite are satisfied with giving their youths fishes to eat rather than teach them how to fish. It is appalling that in the 21st century, while virtually every family in the South could boast of a university graduate, the North is yet to attain such a level. The National Bureau of Statistics report from 2010 to 2012 showed Niger State as the poorest state in the federation, and the North East Zone the poorest region. Yet the northern elite own and control 80 per cent of the crude oil and gas produced by indigenous companies. In the words of Ross Alabo-George, “…greed and senseless chase for power by the Fulani aristocrats and political elite of the North are responsible for the extreme poverty of the North”. Some of these elite are multi-billionaires and are even richer than their states. Among the northern elite is a clique of politicians with a mean and crooked disposition and mindset. They keep the society stagnated in order to maintain their sadistic grip on it and protect their privileges and properties. Their major interest is not Northern interest but self-interest projected as the North’s interest. This deception is ingeniously projected to conceal its narrowness and criminality, giving it a national acceptance and sectional backing. They are more concerned about their personal political relevance, personal economic interest, and not bothered about the misery and hardship ravaging their kinsmen. They are not interested in freeing their kinsmen from abject penury unlike their counterparts in the South. They only desire that their progeny inherit their status as exploiters and dominators over the children of the downtrodden. Rather than empower their youths by sensitizing them to embrace western education, they feel satisfied having illiterate youths that can easily be manipulated to work as political thugs and errand boys. These youths are often used to attain the selfish interests of the elite and later dumped. This accounts for why in the twenty-first century, we still have some northern youths propagating ‘Boko Haram’ which in short means western education is bad. The consequence is terrorism and the implication is that northern Nigeria is gradually reversing inexorably towards the Dark Ages. This is the root cause of Boko Haramism. Finally, the economic, political and social ills bedevilling Nigeria should be traced to the maladministration of Nigeria by Nigerians and not the British colonial masters. In fact, as a master creator who is interested in his creations, the British government had stood solidly behind Nigeria in all her travails since independence including the current campaign to bring back the kidnapped girls by Boko Haram. • Chikezie, an author, resides in Lagos. Email: email@example.com
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Opinion Women in Nigeria, arise! rity, of bestiality and of insouciant buccaneering – it is women that are the primary victims. HE events of the last six months or so in Nige- They also lose husbands, children, parents, ria and the tepid, almost reclusive responses possessions, etc. The emotional, psychological to their manifestations tend to give the impres- and mental trauma they go through is gory sion that the Nigerian women folk have lost and remains with them throughout life. The their claim to the patrimony or cherished tradi- situation calls for sustained affirmative actions tions of their forebears. Stories are told with glee on the part of women. of the deeds of great courage or of the epic roles Women leaders seem to have lost the creative played by certain named women in antiquity indignation to speak up; the indignation that who confronted the challenges of their time and cannot rest until justice is done or upheld in etched their names and the causes they fought each case. The National Council for Women Sofor in gold. Moremi, Queen Amina, are leg- cieties (N.C.W.S.) ostensibly the umbrella body endary by their sheer audacity and courage. In for women organisations, an erstwhile vithe immediate pre-independence period, the brant, socially-responsive and ubiquitous alter dare-devilry of Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti, the ego of women’s groups, now bears the official forceful wit of Margaret Ekpo and the death-dar- badge of caution, taciturnity and “siddon ing indifference of Aba women rioters in con- look.” It can however be conveniently put forfronting the status-quo and establishing the ward by its apologists that this body which is basis for enlightened protests or conscientious sui generis is quietly, unobtrusively plying its objection is proof positive of the intrinsic pos- causes and matters. But the measure of our session by women of the fire that burns inside analysis or judgment will be the expectations of all that are imbued with a disquieting spirit. of the people, particularly in times like this, reThese avatar women represented the antithesis garding its self-appointed roles or objects. The or negation of complacency, cowardice or month-long manic snatching of young girls philistinism. Morbid stories of abduction, rape, from their school to yet undiscovered destinaforced marriages, paedophilia, etc. almost un- tion, the indeterminate number of the vicknown forty or so years ago are the juicy or tims, the abject lack of information regarding screaming headlines of today’s newspapers. The the efforts to retrieve or capture them from reaction of the aforementioned pacesetter their abductors and the conflicting or selfwomen to today’s gory headlines is decidedly denying announcements regarding their situpredictable. They would mount the rostrum, ation all call for serious excoriation by women hold vigils on lawns, picket official residences, groups and their leadership. One readily reshout themselves hoarse concerning the enor- calls the forward-looking leadership of the mity of the situation or circumstance and ap- NCWS by Mrs. Hilda Adefarasin and her team peal in sorrow and lamentation, not in mock in the 1970s; galvanizing efforts for optimal seriousness, to the nimble minds of their audi- achievement of stated goals and objectives, marshalling points for properly situating the ence. The elliptical outpourings of concern, grief or argument regarding the centrality of womanangst, the double-speak of some women leaders, hood in the affairs of the nation, and generally the mock seriousness of their “rallies” and the providing fitting representation concerning bathos resulting from the anti-climax repre- the position of women on issues. Women and their affairs naturally find their sented by politically-inspired or instigated protestations regarding one of the latest pains place at the very heart of the complexities of or anguish that is searing the soul of the nation historical and social experience. As mothers – to wit, the maniacal abduction by Boko Haram and guardian angels, they pilot the direction of girls from an institution of learning all deny of history in the nexus of hopes, aspirations the epic even as they do not answer strictly to and enthusiasms that enliven the individual, the conventional heroic or epic form. The social or group will or purpose even as they protests by women in respect of this unspeak- cheerfully tend or nurse the small human able brigandage have been token and lacking in being in their care. The role of the woman in the requisite moral or intellectual force that the upbringing of the child is so fundamental should attend them. In situations as we cur- that she has become a veritable force among rently have on our hands – situations of insecu- us. As a result of the perceived moral up-ism of
By Alade Rotimi-John
women, she has become a disturbing presence as she subverts our inclination to moral turpitude, decadence or degeneracy. The mother is wont to admonish her children to be of good behaviour, morally upright and socially suave even as she is protective of their individual idiosyncrasies or limitations. In times of crises or gloom or even of misunderstanding within the family, her effort is in the direction of an invitation to order, peace and tranquillity. Her anxiety does not bespeak despair or despondency but derives from an intensely felt commitment to the family ideal or group vision. This point may be elucidated by the understanding of the central ideas of traditional African thought regarding the place of the family within the context of the larger society. These ideas have however received undue bashing from external forces which are panel-beating them into unidentifiable amalgams. The attributes or principles associated with our primordial values which are generally regulative of culture and society; order restraint, suavity, resolution of conflicts or their frontal confrontation in critical situations are being daily eroded in the conflict of cultures scenario which globalisation and its antecedents portend. It is not strange today to have or see mothers who encourage in their children looting, thieving or bare-faced corruption or who engage in these vices themselves. The societal values of hardwork, honesty and reward have been overtaken by an appreciable degree of foreign cultures or influences. Some of these cultures were notorious for their plundering of the artefacts of the native people and for robbing and terrorizing the people. Happily, nature has endowed the woman with special spiritual powers or qualities to enable her perform the physical and spiritual roles ordained for her for reversing our plight or sorry state. These powers were pronounced upon her at creation even as the man was oblivious of her possession of them. Some of the spiritual powers or qualities are exemplified in such attributes as valour, beauty, grace, knowledge and understanding which the woman freely possesses. Negative qualities identified in women and which are erroneously regarded or presumed to be the intrinsic nature of womanhood are a result of the unfortunate overshadowing by sheer force of circumstance of the aforementioned superb qualities endowed her. Marine possession, greed, sexual im-
morality, vain pride, resentment of woman leadership, arrogance, quarrelsomeness, gossiping, slandering, hypocrisy, nagging, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. are vain-gloriously touted as the “nature” of womanhood. Women are of a gentle soul, in the sense that Confucius used that much-abused word [gentleman], with a courtliness that oozes from an intellect that is always ready to learn and a warm heart and a gentle manner. For the dignity and integrity which they bring to family life, to the cause of communal peace and friendship and to every relationship of life, we owe women an enormous debt of gratitude. Many men will bear testimony to the encouragement and generosity they always experience at the hands of women. The instant they enter into a matter or situation, the room comes aglow and alive even as the whole scenario changes. In graceful, yet graphic and forceful prose women leaders and their faithful followers have, over the ages, received commendable commentaries for heroism, commitment to cherished values and gentle kindliness. This is one such fitting commendation. The legion of civil society organisations committed to the welfare and interests of women and children may have been scandalised by the events leading to and conducing to the Chibok school macabre tale. But the kind of collaborative action or synergy among them or with other similarly committed bodies plying subject matters in other social spheres is scandalously absent. We must all as a body united in the purpose of our avowed social contract, trenchantly protest the untold betrayal of the traditional principles or values of social cohesion of the shameless disregard of the tenet of inviolability of the benign provisions of the Constitution respecting the right of others to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and of the criminal insouciance or impunity that have been our collective lot these 30 or more days. We need to engage one and all for bringing to bear on the conscience of the nation the seriousness of a situation in which the future of young persons is gravely altered or their destinies demonically impaired or destroyed. The role of women in this effort is key to the achievement of our common purpose. Women should arise to their covenant responsibilities and purpose. • Rotimi-John, a lawyer and commentator on public affairs, wrote from Abuja.
The renegades of Sokoto politics By Kande Ibrahim HE armchair critics who always look for reason, even where T there is none, to criticise Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, the former governor of Sokoto State, are living in denial. They do not want to publicly admit the fact that the table has turned and that Bafarawa has returned as the arrowhead of Sokoto politics. For sure, Bafarawa, at some point, had his low moments following the high level conspiracy that he faced. But that was then. The emergency leaders have played full time. They are on their way out. Trying to make Bafarawa an issue cannot help their case. It is demeaning for them to make Bafarawa, a national politician, to become a local champion, when he is one of the most prominent politicians that we have in this country. That he comes from Sokoto is a pride to the people of the state. I expect budding politicians in the state like Governor Aliyu Wamakko and Aminu Tambuwal, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to recognise the pre-eminence of Bafarawa and queue behind him. Political renegades in the state should borrow a leaf from the likes of Muktar Shagari, the Deputy Governor of the state, who recognise and respect established political leaders such as Bafarawa. These emergency leaders of Sokoto politics are the architect of their misfortune. Their leader, a victim of hubris, overestimated his importance by challenging his guardian angel to a duel. Now he is in for a rough, drag-out fight with those who nurtured him. The result is easily imagined. Wamakko as a reigning PDP governor reportedly worked against the emergence of Goodluck Jonathan as the President of Nigeria. But when Jonathan emerged as president, he did not hold that against Wamakko. A vicious and unforgiving president would have hunted down Wamakko for that. But Jonathan did not do that. Instead, he helped Wamakko to emerge as governor for a second term. But this presidential gesture seemingly did not impress Wamakko who, instead, took
advantage of it and began to feel that he can ride roughshod over Mr. President. That is the problem. Wamakko chose to bite the finger that fed him. That was why he was unrelenting when the G.7 Governors were fighting Jonathan. Today, Wamakko and his co-travellers have left the PDP. They found a new home in the APC. Interestingly, the wise ones among the PDP governors stayed back. They refused to jump ship. Here, we are talking about governors Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Sule Lamido of Adamawa State. These two governors were not carried away by the misplaced populism that enveloped the other five governors. They knew that the solution to whatever problem they were having with the PDP did not lie with defection. That is why after the exit of the five governors, they buried the hatchet. Today, they are working harmoniously with the leadership of the PDP. The other five governors who did not have the patience to take it easy are today kissing the dust. They must have regretted their actions. Whereas the other governors who joined in the misadventure are quietly nursing their wounds in their respective states, Wamakko is apparently worried that Bafarawa is working with the President. For want of an appropriate appellation, his political detractors resorted to calling Bafarawa a serial defector as if their master has not defected enough. Wamakko, having moved from ANPP to PDP and now to APC, qualifies also as a serial defector. Therefore, he has no moral justification to accuse another person of defection. That is, if we assume that defection is a vice in Nigerian politics. But we know it is not. Therefore, the hirelings should stop making an issue out of it. Misplaced aggression has led to a situation where Bafarawa has been made the butt of insults and unsavoury remarks. But someone needs to remind opponents that Bafarawa did not ask them to quit PDP. They left on their own. They should not therefore visit their frustration on him. If Wamakko were as wise as Babangida Aliyu and Sule Lamido, he would not have led his followers into the blind alley that they have found themselves.
They lost the final battle on February 8, when Bafarawa was received into the PDP by President Jonathan. On that day, Sokoto stood still for the real man who defined politics in the state. The lion has returned to take care of his territory. For the PDP, Bafarawa was, and remains, a big catch. The party celebrated his entry into PDP. They know that with him, Sokoto is now firmly in the hands of the PDP. Bafarawa is the bride that the PDP has been looking for in order to have Sokoto in its kitty. Now, those who left PDP in their moment of rash reasoning are crying wolf. They want to play the dog in the manger. They do not want PDP. Yet they do not also want anybody to have anything to do with the PDP. They want the best of all possible worlds. But it is not too late for the renegades to retrace their steps. Since they are pursuing their own political agenda via the platform of APC, they can go ahead and concentrate their energy on their quest. I expect them to be decent about it. They should stop beating about the bush by making Bafarawa the issue in their campaigns. Bafarawa is their leader and will so remain. After the coming elections, those of them who can see clearly can scamper back to Bafarawa’s camp. As a kind-hearted man, he is going to accept them back. Already, the very repentant ones are returning. There is no shame in recognizing and acknowledging one’s superiors. But even those who do not want to join the big man should strive to stay on their own. But they should leave bitterness and acrimony out of it. They do not need to blackmail anyone or try to give the dog a bad name in order to hang it. One of the biggest problems of the Nigerian polity is the ceaseless attempt to pull down one’s opponents. Bafarawa’s opponents are experts in this venture. But the man they are trying to pull down rather than lose sleep, is busy thinking about how he can use politics for the common good. He did much of this when he was the governor of Sokoto State. Those who are eager to rub shoulders with him should emulate his good ways. That way, Sokoto State and, indeed, Nigeria will be the better for it. • Ibrahim wrote in from Sokoto.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Thursday, May 22, 2014 19
TheMetroSection ‘I spent one week without a bath ’ • Permanent Secretary’s wife recounts her ordeal in the den of kidnappers From Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt ORMALLY, I take my bath two times daily, but I stayed one week in my abductors’ camp under a mangrove without bath, no shelter, no house, heavy rain fell on me, under a scorching sun and I wore only one cloth throughout. I went through a terrible experience within the period, so I can imagine what the Chibok girls, who have been held captive for the past one month, are going through right now. Most of them must have seen their menstruation, I wonder how they are able to manage the situation. It’s, indeed, a dreadful experience.” These were the words of the wife of the Permanent Secretary, Special Service Bureau, Office of Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Mrs. Edith Okari as she reeled out her ordeal in hands of her abductors to The Guardian recently. Narrating how and when she was abducted, Edith, a graduate of Business and Secretarial Administration from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, said: “I own a business at No. 31, Aggrey Road, Port Harcourt. At about 8.00p.m. on April 25, I was attending to some customers who came to hire my truck for drinks, after negotiating with them, I decided to escort them and before I knew it, we heard gun shots and immediately, two young men came into the shop and asked us to lie down on the floor while two others outside kept shooting sporadically into the air to scare the people. So, among the people lying down, they picked me up and dragged me to a waiting vehicle, I was not blindfolded, they took me to a water front at Ndoki and there was a ready flying boat waiting and it zoomed off.” On where she was taken to, Edith said: “Sincerely, I do not know where they took me to because it was in the night but I knew it took them about two and half hours to get to their destination. We finally got into the mangrove where they dragged me further into a deep bush. That was where I stayed with them for one week and within that period, there was no shelter, heavy rain fell on me, scorching sun came on me and I was wearing just one cloth throughout,
Mrs. Okari no house, it was just under a mangrove. “We got there on Friday night, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, they didn’t allow me speak to my husband, so I was troubled and eager to speak to my husband and when they called my husband, they demanded for N100 million ransom for my release but my husband told them that he did not have that kind of money and they said, I would remain there.” “I was there for one week, they brought food, pleaded with me to eat so that I would not die, but I had no appetite. You know when you are in a place like that, you will not have appetite, but somehow, they would threaten me that if my husband fails to bring the money, they will kill me and hang me. But miraculously on the seventh day, I was just there praying within me, and there was an encounter.
They heard some footsteps in the bush and they dragged me further inside the thick forest because they thought that some persons were coming to rescue me. Two people would stay with me there while two would go to the water-front. Then, on the eighth day, May 2, I noticed they were running, beckoning on their friends that security agents were coming, so they ran and left me there and I became very afraid. This time, they refused to take me along. Then, a few minutes later, I saw some security personnel and they said, Madam, let’s go. “Initially, I was afraid because after spending one week there, everybody I saw became a suspect. But I reluctantly followed them and that was how I miraculously came out.” The mother of three with an aged mother at home insisted that no kobo
was paid for her rescue. She, however, attributed her release to the efforts of the state government, the security agents in the state and that of God Almighty. “They told me that they were not from Rivers State but I noticed they were speaking Ijaw language. “They became very angry when my husband said he did not have N100 million and prevented me from speaking with him again. But I kept pleading with them that my husband did not have such money as a civil servant that even if he had to borrow, nobody would lend him such amount of money without any collateral. So, the following day, they told me that if my husband could bring up to N70 million, they would let me go. They later brought it down to N50 million and later N30 million before I was miraculously rescued by the security agents. “I was really very worried. I thought of my husband, my children, my aged mother, people around me whom I usually cater for. I cried and there was nobody to say sorry. After crying for hours, I would clean my eyes”. Edith who hail from Ogu community in Ogubolo Local Government Area of Rivers State stressed the need for security agents, the state and Federal government to step up efforts in the fight against kidnapping and criminal activities. She warned: “ If the menace is not checked, it would definitely affect the economy. It could increase unemployment. Because if I had stayed there more than one week , the my business could be affected and the shop closed. Those working for me would be unemployed. We are praying for government to create more avenue for job opportunities for those unemployed youths who want to work. I am sure some of them, especially the desperate kidnappers, might not be willing to work for salaries because of what they get from their criminal acts. May God help us”. “I advice the kidnappers to desist from the criminal acts and look for something meaningful to do with their lives because they cannot continue with this nature of business forever. Someday, they will get old and have children, what lessons will their children
Widow alleges fraudulent withdrawal of her money from bank’s ATM By Odita Sunday
HE widow of the late Mr T Bakare, Mrs. Olukemi Iyabo Bakare, has petitioned the United Bank For Africa (UBA) over alleged fraudulent withdrawal of money from her account at the bank through the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). She has also blamed the bank for the sudden disappearance of more than N1million from her account without her authorization. Writing through her lawyer, Babatunde Osoba, Bakare urged the bank to credit her account with the missing sum without further delay. “ We are solicitors to Mrs. Olukemi Iyabo Bakare (herein after referred to as our client) and have her instruction to write to you this letter. Our client informed us that she opened a savings account with your Tinubu branch sometime in 1992 after the demise of her late husband who was one of your staff until his death in November 1991.”
“Since then, she had been operating her account with the branch well. She relocated from Lagos to Abuja in November 1999 as a result of transfer by her employer, but despite the transfer, she still maintained that account at Tinubu branch.” “That sometime in November 30, 2009, she visited your Ikorodu branch with her ATM card to check her balances with a view to printing a ministatement, but the statement could not be printed but her balances were correct. On Sunday, December 6, 2009, she travelled back to Abuja and on her way home in Abuja, she branched at your branch in Asokoro, in order to print a mini-statement; to which she discovered that her account had been tampered with.” “She reported the incident to the manager in Asokoro who advised that she should go back to Lagos to report. She had been on this with your Tinubu branch since last year, travelling to and fro Abuja in
order to seek redress with a view to collecting her money,” the counsel said. According to him: “We wonder how this issue of fraud came about as we are aware that our client had been very careful with her ATM card. We are also aware that in UBA, the highest amount that could be collected from your ATM is N100, 000.00 at once and per day, but going through her statement, which we are enclosing for your perusal carries a very huge figure, which we cannot comprehend. We are, therefore, urging you, Sir, to please use your good office to investigate this issue with a view to paying back the money to your customer, who is a widow.” “Our demand, therefore, is that the sum of N1, 475,626.10 (one million, four hundred and seventy five thousand, six hundred and twenty six naira, ten kobo) plus interest be credited to her account from December 2009 within 21 days failing which, we will not hesitate to take legal action.”
The management of the UBA through its Head, Legal Support Department, Mr. Arafat Yinka Balogun, had disclosed that there was nothing the bank could do since the widow had a ‘weak pin’. According to a statement signed by Balogun and his colleague, one Anu Odubiyi: “We refer to your letter dated November 8, 2010, on the above matter. Please, be informed that the bank carried out an extensive investigation into your client’s claims and our findings are that a total of N1, 475,521.10 was withdrawn from your client’s account on the 5th and 9th of December, 2009. “Find below a breakdown of the withdrawals/web purchases: i) N479, 000.00 was withdrawn via ATM terminals as stated below ii) N1, 500.00 were transaction charges for the ATM withdrawals from another bank’s ATM; iii) N995.021.10 was utilized via POS purchases with details
stated below; iv) The said withdrawals/purchases were preceded by several successful balance enquired via a number of ATM terminals in various locations around Lagos metropolis between the 1st and 5th of December 2009; v) There were no incorrect PIN tried before commencement of the alleged fraudulent transaction which showed that the user had the correct PIN details of your client.” “Whilst sympathizing with your client on her financial loss, we reiterate however, that the sums withdrawn from your client’s account was made possible because your client’s PIN was a weak PIN thereby making it easy for fraudsters to guess and use her PIN illegally. Having chosen a PIN that can be easily assessed, the bank cannot be liable for the loss resulting there from. Please, advise your client to ensure that in future, her PIN is not one that can be easily guessed to prevent such losses in the future.”
Briefs Diocese of Lagos Mainland open Synod NGLICAN faithful from the A Diocese of Lagos Mainland will open their synod on Thursday evening at the Cathedral of St. Jude, Freeman Street, Ebute Meta to discuss urgent matters facing the Church and society. The four-day annual synod, which is the 2nd session of their 3rd Synod, will hold in two venues, the Cathedral of St. Jude, Ebute Meta and All Saints’ Church, Yaba. Whilst the opening and closing Holy Communion services on May 22 and 25 will hold at Ebute Meta, the opening ceremony on Friday, and the business session on Saturday are at Yaba. The theme is: “Service to The Lord ” and it is expected that in the face of rising insecurity in the land, the need to be hopeful and remain focused on the benevolence of God will echo throughout the synod. The chief host is the diocesan bishop, the Most Rev Adebayo Akinde, who doubles as the Archbishop of the Province of Lagos. This year’s session will feature robust deliberations from representatives from various parishes that make up the diocese on issues of common concern. They will be joined by dignitaries from within and outside the diocese to share fellowship and compare notes on urgent matters of public concern. Established in August 2006 as the 95th diocese of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Diocese of Lagos Mainland is the youngest of the four Anglican dioceses in Lagos State.
Quill Awards holds Saturday in Lagos HE 2013/2014 Quill Awards T organised by Promasidor, holds on Saturday, May 24, at the Grand Ballroom, Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos at 5.00p.m. The award, according to the organisers, “is a platform to reward journalists for dedicated news reportage on industry, education, corporate social resposibilities and nutrition.” “Winners will be given befitting prizes and an opportunity to add to their knowlege and skills. It was first launched at the Promasidor Media Brand in March 2012.
Olowookere for burial HE death has occurred of T Deaconess Christiana Anuoluwapo Omolara-Eni Olowookere. She died in a London hospital on May 12, 2014, will be buried on Friday, May 30, 2014 at Ikoyi Vault and Gardens, after funeral service at her residence, 10, Amuda Alli Street, Millennium Citi Centre Estate, behind UPS, Gbagada, Lagos.
20 Thursday, May 22, 2014
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Thursday, May 22, 2014 21
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Business AfDB mobilises $500m for Africa’s Infrastructure Fund From Mathias Okwe, Kigali Rwanda pull of resources is being A put together to frog- leap the African continent from its under-developed, poor and conflict-stricken status to a more prosperous, industrial , strong and competitive one, like their counterparts in the developed world. The African Development Bank (AfDB), which announced the initiative yesterday through its President , Dr. Donald Kabureka at its ongoing 2014 yearly general meetings holding in Kigali, the Rwanda capital, said while the plan is to raise a war chest of $500 million to the prosecution of this onerous task, the bank’s board has already approved a $100 million
• Wants enforcement of Basel 111 protocols on banks investment and the immediate release of the first tranche of $20 million to the fund to enable it kick- start the implementation of the immediate infrastructure projects it already has. The Africa 50 Fund, according to the bank, is a practical action plan to transform the fortunes of the Continent to a position it wants it to be in the next 50 years which is the theme of this years meeting in Rwanda. The Fund, according to the plan, is to be autonomous of the ADB and would seek for investors from among the African Central Banks whose savings are held in American , European and Asian markets
and are not attracting returns as well as other identified investment platforms, including Nigeria’s Soverign Wealth Fund (SWF) The action comes as African finance experts and investors on Tuesday rose against the poor perception that investment in Africa was the most riskier and unanimously declared that the perception was misplaced and a hyped one by foreign investors who have continued to under value the African assets for selfish reasons. The experts, who gave this position included Nigeria’s Managing Director of the Sovereign Wealth Fund ,( SWF), Uche Orji, who appeared on a
panel to discuss the topic : “ Reducing Perceived Riskiness of investing in Africa’s Infrastructure.” Others who appeared with Orji were the ADB President, Dr.Donald Kabureka , the Vice President, World Bank, Africa Region,Dr. Muktar Diop ; Phuti Mahanyele, CEO, Shanduka Group; Tshepo Mahloele, CEO, Harith GP; Fund Manager, Pan Africa Infrastructure Development Fund, Helen Tarnoy, Founder & Managing Director, Aldwych International and Mahesh K. Kotecha, President and Founder, Structured Credit International Corp. The AfDB President shed some light on the Africa 50 Fund and the African in segment risk perception : “ For far too long
Africa’s risk has been under valued because Africa’s risk has. Even over- exaggerated. But that seems to be changing and I think the financial crisis has accelerated the change . The African Continent has risk just like you have in America and Asia and all other places. “Specifically to infrastructure, if you look at the 1980s and early 1990s when telecommunications was something done by only governments there were all sorts of things that were done in communication and then there was deregulation and strengthening of the regulatory environment and then there was this explosion in telecommunications and IT related enterprises . Of course there still huge gaps in the sector, but I think we have come a
long way in that area.” He continued : “ Now, we have come to a point where governments resources is not increasing considerably in relation to the gaps that we have even in relation to the funds we have in the capital market , which is just like a drop in the ocean and there is a mismatch in the development . “So what we have decided to do in the Africa Development Bank is to create a vehicle for the funding of Africa infrastructure. We call it Africa 50.”
Auto dealers contemplate increase in price over new policy By Moses Ebosele the implemenFtiveOLLOWING tation of the new automopolicy by the Nigeria
Former President, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Dr. Oba Otudeko (left); Oba Akiolu Rilwan, Oba of Lagos; Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Oscar Onyema; Chairman/Founder, Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc, Aderemi Makanjuola; and Chief Executive Officer, Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc, Olabode Makanjuola at the Fact Behind the Listing of Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc at the Exchange,on Tuesday,in Lagos.
U.S. imports N4.2tr goods under AGOA By Roseline Okere
. Power Africa investments in electricity hit N3.3tr
HE United States of T America imported $26.6 billion (N4.2 trillion) from
who made this disclosure while speaking to a group of business leaders in Lagos yesterday, stated the United States is the largest source of foreign direct investment in Nigeria, with a total stock valued at $8.2 billion in 2012. He assured of President Obama’s commitment to deepening the relationship between America and all the nations of Africa, and developing a new level of mutual understanding and respect based on a shared commitment to freedom, democracy, social progress and economic growth. Pritzker said: “In Nigeria in particular, the opportunities are abundant. You are home to the largest economy in Africa, and one in five people on the Continent are
Nigeria and other African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) beneficiaries in 2013. Besides, the U.S government, under the Power Africa initiative is providing technical assistance to the Federal Government as it privatises electricity industry, an effort that could add 2,000 megawatts over the next five years. Already, the U.S. Government has committed $7 billion (N1.1 trillion) toward Power Africa, and has secured additional commitments totaling $14 billion (N2.2 trillion) from 35 private-sector partners. The U.S Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker,
Nigerian. Not only do our governments stand together as partners and friends, but our companies – as evidenced by this trade mission – are eager to forge stronger partnerships in Nigeria”. He disclosed that the U.S government is pushing for the seamless renewal of the AGOA, of which Nigeria is the top beneficiary. “As many of you know, AGOA allows 6,400 products from eligible Sub-Saharan African countries to enter the U.S. duty free. For 2013, U.S. imports under AGOA totaled $26.8 billion. Going forward, our hope is that Nigeria will take advantage of AGOA to diversify its economy, fulfilling the vision of the legislation. In fact, AGOA is a key topic that I will discuss in Ethiopia
later this week with members of the African Union”. She added that the U.S Commerce Department itself is dedicating more human resources to Africa. According to her, Nigeria is already home to one the U.S largest commercial service teams on the Continent. “These dynamic individuals work every day to help American companies find new partners and customers here. And I am pleased to say we just announced that we are increasing our footprint across Africa. We intend to expand our commercial service in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Libya. And for the first time ever – we will open offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique.
“A third measure that will benefit Africa is an opportunity that will grow entrepreneurship on the continent – the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship. “Here in Nigeria, where youth unemployment is roughly 40 percent, we want to support innovators as they launch new startups and create jobs. This is crucial for long-term stability and economic growth. The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, or PAGE, is a group, one chair of 11 well-known and very successful U.S. entrepreneurs who have committed their time, networks, advice and ideas to advancing entrepreneurship all over the world. Africa will be an ongoing focus for this high-profile group”.
Customs Service (NCS), indications emerged yesterday that automobile dealers may adjust prices upwards with effect from next month. Customs agents under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agent (ANCLA) had recently staged a protest at the Tin Can Port in Lagos against the policy. Managing Director of one of the auto firms who spoke with The Guardian yesterday on condition of anonymity appealed for caution on the part of the NCS. According to the auto dealer, the policy designed by the Federal Government to aid local automobile production may boost smuggling and deny the Federal Government revenue. He said: “For now, the issue is still very sensitive. We are aware of the proposed policy. One thing is certain. We cannot sell our products at a loss. Some of us (dealers) may meet this weekend to take a common position.” Under the new policy, the duty on used imported vehicles has increased from 20 per cent to 35 percent. He also advised the Federal Government to “give human face” to the implementation of the proposed policy, adding that it may further encourage smuggling from neighbouring countries. But, the Customs Area Comptroller (CAC) for Seme Border, Willy Egbudin, who also spoke with The Guardian yesterday, said the existing collaboration between Nigeria and neighbouring countries is capable of curtailing smuggling. The NCS recently flagged-off a new vehicle transit scheme designed to facilitate shipment of automobiles into Nigeria from Benin Republic, Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic. Under the scheme which has commenced at Seme Border point, imported vehicles are to be handed over to NCS as part of measures to curtail smuggling, enhance transparency and accountability.
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22 BUSINESS Thursday, May 22, 2014
Lagos requires 5000mw for stable power supply By Kamal Tayo Oropo T least 5,000 megawatts A of electricity will be required to attain stable power supply in Lagos State, the State Government has declared. State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Taofeek Tijani, who disclosed this at a ministerial press briefing in, Ikeja, said the figure was a result of a power audit recently conducted by the state government to ascertain the power needs of the state. Tijani, however, pointed out that only 1,000 megawatts was being supplied from the national grid, blaming the deficit for the inadequate power supply in the state. “Lagos requires 5000 megawatts of electricity, the total national generating capacity as of now is about 4000 megawatts with the state getting just 1,000, so there is a huge deficit in the state “ he said. The commissioner said the state government was building Independent Power Projects (IPPs) and taking other strategic steps to gradually address the deficit. Tijani said Alausa, Akute and Island Power plants had been completed and that the three IPPs had enhanced power supply by about 35megawatts. “The 10.4mw Alausa IPP had ensured that we de-commissioned about 140 generators as the secretariat now enjoys uninterrupted power supply, a situation that has also saved about N600million daily usually spent on running cost for generators and paying electricity bills. “Also, the Island IPP is providing stable power supply to government’s institutions like Island Maternity Hospital, Massey Hospital”, he said. He added that the on-going 8.8MW Ikeja IPP and another 6mw plant in Lekki were nearing completion. The commissioner said the
completion of the two projects would bring the total megawatts generated from IPPs to 47mw. Tijani said the state government was partnering with some major players in the oil and gas industry to
ensure adequate supply of gas to the power plants. On solid minerals, Tijani said the government had discovered some quantities of limestone and bitumen in the state through a geological mapping carried out in
some parts of the state. Tijani, who noted that the minerals were found in little quantities, however said investigation was on going for possible discovery of the minerals in commercial quantities.
The commissioner said government had granted no fewer than 208 licenses to companies to commence sand mining operations. He said the licensing was to regulation of sand mining in the state and check illegal
sand mining activities. The commissioner warned those still engaged in illegal sand mining activities to desist from the illegality, saying offenders would be made to face the law.
AMCON completes EOIs’ phase for Mainstreet Bank HE Asset Management T Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has announced the successful completion of the submission of Expression of Interest (EOIs) phase of the divestment of its shareholding in Mainstreet Bank. AMCON said in a media statement signed by Head, C o r p o r a t e Communications, Strategy
& Research, Kayode Lambo, that in confirmation of the earlier comment made by the corporation that the timeframe given was adequate for serious interested parties to submit all requested documents, a total of 25 EOIs were received. According to the company, this spanned a diverse group of interests, which
included local and foreign banks; and local and foreign investment groups. “It is worthy of note that the number of requests received for this advertisement exceeded expectations and the corporation is impressed with the profiles of the entities”. It noted that the bidding process has not yet begun. “All successful EOI appli-
cants will now be required to submit further information in order to enable the advisers perform a due diligence on them. At the completion of that exercise, the successful applicants will proceed to the next stage, which will be the due diligence phase. That phase is expected to take four to six weeks after which they will be
required to submit their bids. “This process has included a thorough search for reputable advisers who have been engaged. AMCON remains committed to fairness and transparency in the entire process as it look forward to the next steps in the divestment of its shareholding in Mainstreet Bank”, Lambo added.
Managing Director, CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Company Limited, Kelechukwu Mbagwu (left),President, Fidelity Bank Multi- Purpose Cooperative Society, Chima Igboenyesi (Third right) and other officials during CMB’s signing of MoU with the bank’s Cooperative Society in Lagos.
MasterCard boosts international cash-less transactions in Nigeria IGERIAN merchants in N the travel and hospitality industry expressed renewed enthusiasm for the country’s move towards a cash-less society, after attending a workshop hosted by global payments and technology company, MasterCard. Held in Abuja, the workshop was attended by more than 100 merchants from the hospitality industry, including representatives from leading restaurants and hotels. The training session focused on card acceptance best practices, with an emphasis on card security, fraud identification and management, signage at points of sale and cardholder support. The Vice President and Area Business Head, MasterCard, West Africa, Omokehinde Ojomuyide, explained that the training supports the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Cashless Nigeria policy and its drive
to boost international payment card acceptance. “MasterCard’s vision for Nigeria is a world beyond cash. We are intent in fully supporting the Central Bank of Nigeria in achieving
its goals of increasing electronic transactions in Nigeria. While progress is being made by Nigerian consumers, we are now working with the Central Bank, our licensed banks
and merchants to increase the number of cashless transactions made by international travelers to the country,” says Ojomuyide. Nigeria is becoming a popular destination for interna-
tional travelers, and plays host to major events such as the World Economic Forum on Africa. The local tourism industry also provides 866.000 jobs, making it vitally important for mer-
AFC’s CEO, Andrew Alli, wins African Banker Icon Award HE African Banker has to the establishment of best processes and strong gover- development of the contiawarded Andrew Alli, global practice in the conti- nance practice, are key factors nent”. T President and Chief Executive nent. Previous winners of the in the Corporation’s success. Officer Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) with The African Banker Icon of the year,2014. The ‘Icon’ category is awarded to an individuals or institutions for their outstanding contributions in the field of business, banking and finance. They are chosen by the African Banker awards selection committee, who noted excellence in AFC’s area of expertiseinfrastructure financing, its role in helping to change the perception of Africa, and, its contribution
In according the award, the committee highlighted Alli’s significance in putting infrastructure investment in Africa on the map, having successfully led AFC through another landmark year of high returns, improved shareholder value and establishing infrastructure investment as a true asset class inand of itself. The committee, in its citation stated that “the unprecedented expansion of the AFC’s portfolio under Andrew Alli’s leadership, as well as the positive influence of new business
“We commend Alli’s leadership and vision in transforming a start-up operation into a structured, growing and profitableinstitution, setting a powerful benchmark for excellence and transformational impact in the field of infrastructure investment in Africa. “Africa’s reputation in finance today is in large part owed to the achievements of leaders like Andrew Alli, and the African Banker wholeheartedly acknowledges AFC’s ongoing contribution to the economic and social
award include Dr Ngozi O k o n j o - I w e a l a ; Dr.EleniGabre-Mahdin, who successfully launched the Ethiopian Securities Exchange; Michael Joseph, founder of M-pesa; and Adebayo Ogunlesi, Managing Partner Global Infrastructure Partners and Chairman, AFC. Alli, in accepting the award, stated:“ I am both privileged and humbled to accept this award and in doing so to recognise the contribution, tenacity and commitment of my management team and the entire staff of the Africa
chants to subscribe to global best practice, especially as they service a growing international clientele who prefer to use electronic payments rather than cash.
Finance Corporation. “The corporation has been able to leverage the expertise of its professionals in originating, executing and delivering on infrastructure mandates. While international capital will be fundamental in bridging the investment divide, that capital will have nowhere to go if Africa does not focus on the development of bankable, sustainable projects.” AFC was established in 2007 as a public-private partnership with a vision to be the leading African financial institution, financing infrastructure development on the continent.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014 INTERNATIONAL
Russia, China’s gas deal hits deadlock HE presidents of China and T Russia failed to sign a $400 billion gas supply deal at a meeting on Tuesday in Shanghai, prolonging negotiations that started more than 10 years ago. Talks are continuing as the two countries seek a compromise, Alexey Miller, chief executive officer of Russian gasexporter OAO Gazprom (OGZD), said in a statement after Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping signed bilateral agreements that didn’t include the gas deal. Russian officials said before the meeting that the two sides were very close to a deal on gas price, opening the way to building a pipeline linking the world’s largest energy pro-
ducer with the biggest consumer. That has been the stumbling block throughout the past decade, though with Putin facing sanctions from the U.S. and Europe after he annexed Crimea, an agreement had been seen as more likely than at previous summits. “It shows that Russia is not willing to cut a low-price deal just to make a political point with the west,” said Chris Weafer, founder at Macro Advisory in Moscow. “The danger is if a deal is not concluded this year China may switch its efforts to secure pipeline gas elsewhere.” The two countries are working out pricing, and an agreement could be reached at any time, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s
EU delays decision on German mobile networks merger plans UROPEAN anti trust regulaE tors have again extended the deadline to rule on the proposed merger of two of Germany’s mobile networks. The deal between Telefonica Germany and KPN’s E-Plus will now be decided on the July 3, much later than originally planned. The EU said the delay was for procedural reasons. It is not thought to be due to issues with the merger itself. The German government had been trying to pressue the EU to let it decide on the matter as an internal affair, but the European Commission insisted on taking the merger into its own review process first, citing concerns about a reduction in competition in
the market. The merger between Telefonica O2’s majority owned German subsidiary and KPN’s E-Plus network would see the local market reduce to three mobile networks. Telefonica Germany is understood to be in talks with a number of MVNOs that it would offer preferential access in order to smooth the regulatory concerns. Under the terms of the rmerger, KPN is selling its stake in E-Plus to Telefonica Deutschland for EUR5 billion, and a 20.5 per cent stake in the merged company. The total implied transaction valuation for E-Plus is EUR 8.55 billion.
Zimbabwe to limit banks shareholding profile IMBABWE has drafted a law Standard Chartered owns 100 Z that will prevent institu- percent of its Zimbabwean tions from owning more than operation. Stanbic Zimbabwe 25 per cent of a bank without authorization from the southern African nation’s finance minister. Individual shareholders will be limited to holding five per cent, according to the 2012 Banking Amendment Bill, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News from Treasury officials. The bill will also prohibit banks from buying their own stock or making loans using their shares as security. Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) and Barclays Plc (BARC) control banks in the country. Zimbabwe Finance Minister. Patrick Chinamasa said last month that there is no plan to force all foreign-owned companies to sell or cede 51 per cent of their shares to black Zimbabweans. The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, which counts among its members the units of Barclays and Standard Chartered, discussed the proposals in the amendment bill with the Finance Ministry about three weeks ago, said Chief Executive Officer Sij Biyam. “We don’t have much control as to when the process would be finalized, because that is a political process,” Biyam said in a telephone interview yesterday from the capital, Harare. Barclays owns 67.71 per cent of Barclays Zimbabwe, while
is a wholly owned unit of Johannesburg-based Standard Bank Group (SBK) Ltd. The amendments aim to improve banking governance, introduce greater transparency and allow regulators to monitor bank holding companies more easily, according to the bill. Zimbabwean banks will also be required to display the rates of interest they charge at all branches and publish them every six months in newspapers. Chinamasa said last month that Zimbabwe will decide how much of foreign companies black citizens should own “sector by sector.” The government is “quite comfortable” with the injection of foreign capital in the banking industry because it “will increase the volume of credit to the productive sector,” he said. The easing of the indigenization requirements signaled by Chinamasa last month comes as Zimbabwe’s economy shows signs of deflation caused by a fall in consumer spending since elections last year. The government of President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, is trying to revive an economy that was 49 percent smaller last year than it was in 2000, according to ZimTrade, a state agency that promotes trade and investment.
spokesman, said after Tuesday’s meeting. Gazprom shares fell as much 3.93 rubles, or 2.7 perc ent, to 144.1 rubles in Moscow today. The stock traded at 144.9 rubles at 6:19 p.m. local time. “It’s time we reached an agreement with the Chinese on this issue,” Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Moscow yesterday. “It is very likely that there will be a contract, which means long-term contracts.’ Gazprom plans to build a $22 billion pipeline to China able to carry as much as 38 billion cubic meters (1.34 trillion cubic feet) annually after years of false starts. The company may begin supplying
China in 2019 to 2020, Russia Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in March. That amount of gas is almost a quarter of China’s current consumption and about 10 percent of its estimated demand by 2020, said Gordon Kwan, head of oil and gas research at Nomura International Hong Kong Ltd. For Gazprom, it is about 20 per cent of gas sales in Europe, the company’s largest export market. The deal has been delayed because Russia wanted to use sales contracts in the EU as a benchmark price, while China proposed a lower price, based on its imports from central Asia. ‘‘I believe that in the long run the price will be fair and total-
ly comparable to the price of European supplies,” Russia’s Medvedev said yesterday. Gazprom’s average price in Europe was $380.5 per thousand cubic meters last year. CLSA Ltd. forecasts a price for Russia’s gas of $9.50 to $10 per thousand cubic feet ($335 to $350 per thousand cubic meters) delivered to the Chinese border. That target, worth almost $400 billion over a 30-year contract, compares with the $10 per thousand cubic feet China pays for imports from Turkmenistan and is substantially lower than liquefied natural gas at about $15, CLSA said. “If the Russia-China gas deal isn’t signed in the near-term, the window of opportunity
may be closing fast as other supply sources enter the market,” Xizhou Zhou, director of China Energy at IHS Inc., a consultant, said before today’s meeting. LNG projects in Australia will begin operations next year, making global gas supply “much more abundant,” according to Zhou. Gazprom’s proposed pipeline exports to China may well have to compete with LNG terminals being built in Russia. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be in China at the same time as Putin. All will attend the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Shanghai, said Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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Thursday, May 22, 2014 | 25
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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Thursday, May 22, 2014
Appointments Akure varsity’s graduate body charges government on youth unemployment From Niyi Bello, Akure ORRIED by what it called “the geometric growing rate” of youth unemployment in Nigeria, a body comprising graduates of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), has called on the Federal Government to “set aside for universities special funding that can be utilized by the institutions to provide
solid empowerment for students which they can rely on after graduation”. The body, Federal University of Technology, Akure Muslims Graduate Association (FUTAMGA) which held its 8th Annual Conference at the university campus during the weekend, also called on university authorities to find “distinct ways of increasing their
Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) focusing on the provision of job opportunities for graduates in addition to having industrial centres where small and medium scale industries are established to enhance work-study opportunities for undergraduate students.” The body’s National Chairman, Dr. Buliaminu Kareem who
Past President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria(CITN), Aiyewumi Titusl(left); Vice- President, CITN, Mrs. Olateju Somorin; and Special Guest of Honour, Hajia Rabi Mohammed, at the 30th Induction Ceremony of CITN in Lagos.
NYSC allowances take N60 billion From: Karls Tsokar, Abuja HE allowances of members participating in the mandatory National Youth Service scheme gulps N60 billion annually, even as Corp members would be posted to oil companies, banks and other hitherto delisted sectors. The Director General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Brigadier-General Johnson Olawumi disclosed this in Abuja when he appeared before the National Conference Committee on Civil Society, Labour, Youth and Sports. He said, “The scheme expends so much in settling the allowances of the corp members” excluding the cost of “kits and other logistics. He said the institution in its drive to ensure that every qualified Nigerian is given the opportunity to serve, is already working out modalities to post corps members outside of the initial four (4) areas. The new areas include oil companies, banks and telecommunication industry, which were hitherto not included on the list. Olawumi said Corp members would be deployed outside of the four (4) cardinal areas, which include health, education, agriculture and rural development. According to him, the body discovered that vacancies that exist in the four key areas couldn’t accommodate the
number of corps members being posted out. “By government policy, we are to deploy members to four key areas, talking of health, education, agriculture and rural development. Over time however, we found out that when we post corps members to these areas, we still have some that do not have places for their primary assignments. “We are therefore looking at expanding it beyond these four key areas to places like oil industry, the banking sector and the telecommunication industries,” he said. He however stressed that the body would put some regulations in place to check the abuse of corps members by those organisations. He decried that some banks in the past used and dumped corps members, adding that, in view of that, stringent measures would be put in place to protect them. On the possibility of expanding the skills acquisition and entrepreneurial programmes, Olawumi disclosed that the states has already developed them and are in place to train and empower corps members. He pointed out that there were evidences to show that many corps members had started benefitting from the programme. He said the scheme had assisted corps members to become job creators, rather than becoming
job seekers after the one year compulsory service. The NYSC boss further said the body was working to ensure a youth empowerment fund to enable corps members assess interest free loans adding that the only collateral that would be required is the NYSC discharge letter. “What we are looking at with the youth empowerment fund is to have a pool where those corps members who have acquired skills throughout the service year will write business proposals. “We will look at them and if we find them suitable, refer such corps members to the administrators of that fund so that they can advance on loan. Such a loan if approved will be interest free and there will be no issue of bringing collateral. “Since the corps members will just be passing out at that time, we will hold the discharge certificate as collateral. Olawumi said NYSC tried the process with Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) under War against Poverty Programme and there was 100 per cent response by corps members in repayment of loans given to them. Also commenting on the deployment of corps members to Adamawa, Yobe and Maiduguri, Olawumi said there was a policy not to deploy corps members to those states.
spoke at a press conference that heralded the two-day conference also called for a review of the country’s university curricula in such a way to make the current efforts of infusion of entrepreneurial programmes more pragmatic and fruitful in the quest to make the graduate not only employable but to be independent. According to him, “the present entrepreneurship programmes that are being undertaken in Nigerian universities for students should not only focus on academic curricula but extend to relevant practical skills in order to create sustainable skills that will attract support from private and public financial agencies. “This will reduce the number of graduates’ dependence on government jobs after university education as a result of the combined academic knowledge and practical skills acquired by them from the universities that transform them to self-employable graduates.” The body also called for a diversification of the national econ-
omy to shift focus from dependence on petroleum exports to the development of agricultural resources which apart from having the capacity to sustain the entire economy but also capable of providing the needed platform to create mass employment and industrial growth. His words: “The dependence of the country on petroleum as the major source of revenue had resulted to an uneven distribution of employment to Nigerian graduates and has created undue forms of rivalries among various ethnic groups in the country. “As such, diversification of economy should be encouraged and improved upon especially in the areas of agriculture and engineering. Agricultural and Engineering departments of Nigerian universities and research institutes should play prominent roles in boosting technological advancement of the country through provision of relevant implements and machineries for the manufacturing and agro-based industries. “This will create employment
opportunities for the youths and generate revenue as well and should be embraced by the governments at all levels of the country. In the same way, government should pay special attention on farming and empower youths that have interest in farming by provision of grants or interest-free loans to them while farm inputs should get to the peasant farmers at the grassroots for increased farm produce yields and poverty alleviation among rural dwellers.” In addition, the body also wanted the government to create conducive atmosphere for industrial growth through the provision of infrastructural facilities stressing that “sustainable and adequate infrastructural facilities such as road, water etc should be of paramount importance to the government to provide and to create enabling environment for industrial operations and accidents on our roads. Good public power supply is the foundation of sustainable entrepreneurial practice without which all efforts made on sustainable production of capital goods will prove abortive.”
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APPOINTMENTS Thursday, May 22, 2014
Expert urgues focus on job creation By Faith Oparaugo
HE Managing Director/Sub-Saharan Africa Head, Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citibank, Peter Crawley, has urged the governments at all levels in Nigeria to focus on job creation. Basically, he pointed out that the creation of high value-adding jobs would stimulate the growth of the country’s economy. Speaking at the Citibank conference tagged “Leveraging New Frontiers for Treasury Management and Efficiency,” Crawley said the country has a young urbanising population, insisting that there are lots of investment opportunities in the country’s recently rebased Gross Domestic Product. According to him, the rebased GDP is in excess of half a trillion dollars. The challenges I foresee are more around creation of jobs and creation of high-value adding jobs. Creating high value-adding jobs is where the real test of Nigeria’s depth is going to be measured. “The second thing I see is the diversification of the Nigerian economy. Again there are opportunities as well as challenges around those opportunities. That is clearly under the rebased GDP. “But the challenges are around infrastructure. These
include the building of roads, electrification and others that would enable the country maintain a stable diversification,” he added. In addition, he noted that the country’s rising consumer class offers huge opportunities for investors. Crawley explained that the essence of the conference was to bring the international bank’s corporates clients together with its global colleagues to share best practices, understand the direction of the Nigerian economy in comparison to what is hap-
pening in the global economy. He commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for initiating policies that would transform the payment system. “Clearly, the CBN has a very well thought out payment system Vision 20:2020. There are series of initiatives and policies that have come out of that such as the cash-lite and the financial inclusion agenda that talk well to Citi’s strength.“Citi has been in the country for 30 years, operating globally for 200 years and
CITN tasks govt on tax policy By Toyin Olasinde
HE President of Charted Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Mark Dike, has tasked the government at all levels on the need for professionals to drive policies, processes and administration of tax system. Speaking at the 30th induction ceremony of the institute, Dike basically, he pointed out that a viable tax system is a critical panacea to the challenges that we are facing in national development. ‘‘Unless and until the government of Nigeria begins to work the talk of enforcement of the tax laws, any drive for enhanced tax revenue in Nigeria will continue to be a moonshine’’, he said.
He added that ‘for increase revenue generation government at all level desists from the unwholesome practice of selective enforcement of tax laws and discriminatory granting of waivers and incentives which are diametrically against the core cannons of national tax policy. Dike advised the new elected officials to be prudent and accountable in all there dealings, especially in professional services rendered to clients. According to him ,the success of every professional body lies in its members, noting that CITN count on your cooperation and active involvement in all institute’s activities as this is one of the ways you could contribute your quota to the growth of the institute.
being one of the pioneers of products like the ATM in the 1960s, as well as delivering online banking to Nigeria in the past decades,” he added.
The Head, Treasury Department and Trade Solutions, Citibank Nigeria, Mr. Segun Adaramola, advised the federal govern-
ment to develop critical sectors of the economy in order to grow the economy and support the accretion of the external reserves.
NECA trains students on entrepreneurial skills By Chuka Odittah, Abuja ITH the sole aim of W impacting business consciousness in the young ones, the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has begun training entrepreneurial skills among secondary school students. The training programme anchored by the Women in the Entrepreneurial business, under the aegis of NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW), said in Abuja that the training is aimed at the spirit of selfreliance and entrepreneurial acumen in the students. Speaking on the initiative in Abuja, the Chairperson, Planning Committee of the NNEW ‘Teenpreneurship’ initiative, Mrs. Eucharia Akukwe, described the project as social service to the country, adding that the scheme aims to provoke entrepreneurial spirit in young Nigerians, especially at the early stages of their development.
Akukwe, who said the pilot project was first carried out in Lagos by NECA, a parent association of NNEW, also noted that the scheme would be replicated in Port Harcourt, Calabar among other areas. While condemning the rising cases of unemployment in the country, especially among young graduates, she stressed that the ‘Teenpreneurship’ initiative seeks to equip students with vocational skills to make them self reliant, even as they pursue their academic dreams. Mrs. Akukwe declared that with such an initiative, students would have been exposed to entrepreneurial mindset, which would stay with them for life. The initiative, which is supported by Seven Up Bottling Company, Flour Mills Limited, in conjunction with LEMIK Ventures, Mrs. Akukwe, further said the aim is not just at promoting healthy mentoring, model-
ing and development of only students, but also women entrepreneurs. She expressed the hope that by October, a Micro finance bank tailored at meeting the needs of women in business would be set up by the organization. The students were trained on baking, IT skills, social media and website creation, maximizing potentials, handling money, business idea generation and how to make skills work. At the end of the training, students of JSS Jikwoyi, JSS Garki, Shinning Star College, JSS Jabi, the Covenant Academy received certificates of participation. Also awarded certificates of participation were Royal Family Academy Wuye, New Foundation Schools, Word Of Faith Group of Schools, AlMustaqeem Islamic Center, Julie Darling Children Orchestra, Ar-Rahman International School, the and King of Kings Academy. End.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014 | 29
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30| Thursday, May 22, 2014 APPOINTMENTS
PATHS2 trains over 200 enumerators By Wole Oyebade O measure the success rate of its’ intervention programme in Nigeria, the Partnership for Transforming Health Systems II (PATHS2) has trained 222 officials to conduct an evaluation survey in households and health facilities. The survey, scheduled to begin next week, will hold in PATHS2 focal states of Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos States. A total number of 182 enumerators and 40 supervisors last week converged in Lagos for a weeklong intensive training programme, to develop expertise in household and health facilities data gathering. The National Population Commission (NPC), Bureau of Statistics, Federal Ministry of Health, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Practical Sampling International (PSI) will be supporting the exercise. PATHS2, funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), is a six-year project in Nigeria. It is aimed at strengthening health system, for improved outcome in maternal and child health. The project was recently extended by another two years in Enugu and Lagos States, and by six months in the northern states. National Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor for PATHS2 project, Dr Yisa Ibrahim told The Guardian that the 2014 evaluation survey was to consolidate on Baseline survey conducted in 2009, and mid-
line assessment in 2012 to determine progress of the project. He added that the survey was a critical measurement of the project that interests DFID, “to be sure that their funds are properly utilized and whether they are making any difference
in the lives of Nigerians they are supporting.” “PATHS2 has been assisting States to implement programmes of their choice. So, this survey is between PATHS2 and the states to jointly evaluate what had been achieved in their respective states. It is to
gather data on improvement on provision, access to services and information to the health system as a whole,” he said. The field enumerators and supervisors have been drawn from the focal states and communities, to break cultural and religious barriers. Pilot
phase of the programme is scheduled for this week, prior to the main survey that would last for six weeks. The survey questionnaires were grouped into four categories. The questionnaires will gather information on status of the health facilities, logistics and availability of commodities,
status of health service providers and health seeking behaviour of households. Representative of PSI, the consulting firm in the survey, Taofeeq Akinremi noted that the evaluation hopes to reach a sample size of 12,500 households across five states and 962 facilities, using tablets for data collection.
PMDAN ends certification, 2014 AGM Director of Sterling Bank promotes 386 HE Project Managers and council meetings around The Communications, Bosah T Development Association of the world.” N line with its commitment while 69 staff moved from the Nigeria (PMDAN) has ended its He said membership of the Ugolo expressed confidence International Project association is open to all inter- that “PMDAN will change Ito rewarding excellence, Executive Trainee grade to the Management Association ested individuals and corpo- Nigeria’s way of implementing hardwork and dedication, Senior Executive grade. (IPMA) Level C and Level B Certification exercise held in Port Hacourt, Rivers State during which it also conducted its Annual General Meeting. According to the president of the association, Dr. Chinwe Mgbemere, “with the conclusion of the certification exercise, PMDAN, a not-for-profit organization is set to develop project management competencies in Nigeria and Africa through interaction with project practitioners and developing relationships with corporate organisations, government agencies, higher institutions, training organisations and consulting companies . “We are the umbrella organization in Nigeria for promoting and advancing the academy and professional development of project managers’ competency in programme and portfolio management. Our PMDAN is the Nigerian member-association of IPMA and collaborates globally with other IPMA member-asociations like the APM in the United Kingdom and attending board
rate organisations willing to abide by the by-laws and code of ethics and conduct of the association.
projects as PPPM competencies are viewed as catalysts for beneficial change towards an efficient economy.
NITAD inducts new members, graduates first PGD students By Felix Kuye HE Nigeria Institute of Training and Development (NITAD) has inducted a new set of members with a charge to adhere strictly to the ethics of the profession and make practical contribution to the growth of the nation and the citizenry. At the event held at NECA House, Ikeja, the institute also held graduation ceremony for the first set of its professional postgraduate diploma students. In her lecture titled “Redefining Workplace Learning in the 21st Century”, the guest speaker and Managing Director of Warm Spring Waters Nigeria
Limited, a subsidiary of UAC of Nigeria Plc, Mrs. Folakemi Oshinyemi, took the audience round the world of workplace training, exposing professionals to the contemporary challenges in the. She dwelt essentially on the changing attitude of trainees and how it defines the success or failure of training programmes even as she focused on the opportunities presented by new technologies to achieve success in training and development exercises. Present at the event were the President and Chairman of Council of NITAD, Dr. K Ogungbuyi, First Vice President, Rev. B.A Salawu and The Second Vice President, Mrs. J.K Jolaoso.
and boosting productivity among staff, Sterling Bank Plc. has announced the promotion of 386 staff across all cadres following the conclusion of its full year 2013 appraisal exercise. The Bank in a statement noted that the promotion exercise was based on merit using a transparent and robust performance management system in line with global practice. Out of this, 368 staff was promoted in the junior and Middle Management cadre while 18 Senior Management staff was elevated. According to the breakdown of figures made available to The Guardian,14 managers were promoted to Senior Managers, 15 from Deputy Managers to Managers, 26 from Assistant Managers to Deputy Managers, while 80 Banking Officers were promoted to Senior Banking Officers. In addition, 128 Senior Executives were promoted to Banking Officers
Mayimele is South African Tourisms new Global Manager, Communications OUTH African Tourism has Sment announced the appointof Ms Risuna Mayimele as Global Manager, Communications effective 2nd May 2014. Prior to joining SA Tourism, Mayimele has most recently worked as a Marketing Manager for SABC3, where she headed up Marketing and Communications for the channel, which was also voted the best TV channel in the Star Readers’ Choice Awards under her marketing tenure. Her career spans over 13 years, as a Marketing Communications practitioner. She has years of experience in Marketing Research and Strategic Planning in the advertising and media industry.
Thursday, May 22, 2014 | 31
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ScienceGuardian Male with poor sperm quality at higher risk of premature death
ASTRONOMY With JK Obatala
Stars, planets clusters herald dry season (15) “galaxy” is a gargantuA an system of stars, gas and dust. The shapes vary.
Millions of sperms swimming towards an egg to fertilise it, but only one can emerge successfull EN who are infertile M because of defects in their semen appear to be at increased risk of dying sooner than men with normal semen, according to a study led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine, United States. Men with two or more abnormalities in their semen were more than twice as likely to die over a roughly eight-year period as men who had normal semen, the study found. Smoking and diabetes — either of which doubles mortality risk — both get a lot of attention, noted the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Eisenberg, assistant professor of urology and Stanford’s director of male reproductive medicine and surgery. “But here we’re seeing the same doubled risk with male infertility, which is relatively understudied.” Infertility is a widespread medical complaint in developed countries, where about one in seven couples is affected at some point. But this is only the third study worldwide, and the first in the United States, to address the question of a connection between male infertility and mortality, said Eisenberg. Results from the two earlier studies, one in postwar Germany and another of more
recent vintage in Denmark, were conflicting. In the new study titled “Semen quality, infertility and mortality in the USA,” to be published online May 16 in Human Reproduction, Eisenberg and his colleagues examined records of men ages 20 to 50 who had visited one of two centers to be evaluated for possible infertility. In all, about 12,000 men fitting this description were seen between 1994 and 2011 at Stanford Hospital & Clinics or between 1989 and 2009 at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. At both clinics, data were available for several aspects of a patient’s semen quality, such as total semen volume and sperm counts, motility and shape. (Dolores Lamb, PhD, and Larry Lipshultz, MD, of Baylor were senior authors of the study.) By keying identifiers for the patients to data in the National Death Index and the Social Security Death index, the investigators were able to monitor these men’s mortality for a median of about eight years. “We were able to determine with better than 90 percent accuracy who died during that follow-up time,” Eisenberg said. “There was an inverse relationship. In the years following their evaluation, men with poor semen quality had more
than double the mortality rate of those who didn’t.” While no single semen abnormality in itself predicted mortality, men with two or more such abnormalities had more than double the risk of death over the eight-year period following their initial fertility examination compared with those with no semen abnormalities. The greater the number of abnormalities, the higher the mortality rate, the study found. “Eisenberg and colleagues provide empirical evidence in support of the evolving literature suggesting that human fecundity influences health and disease across the life span,” Germaine Buck Louis, PhD, director of the division of intramural population health research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, wrote in an accompanying editorial, “Male fecundity and its implications of health and disease across the lifespan,” in Human Reproduction. “Human fecundity may be both informative and predictive about continual health status and later-onset disease.” Of the 11,935 men who were followed, 69 died during the follow-up period — a seemingly small number. This reflects, first and foremost, the
patients’ relative youth: Their median age was 36.6 years. But it also reflects the fact that men who get evaluated for infertility tend to have a higher-than-average socio-economic status and have accordingly better diets, education and access to health care. Moreover, men who are concerned about infertility are men who want to have children. “If you’re trying to have a child, you’re probably reasonably healthy at the moment and in mental shape to be planning for your future,” Eisenberg said. In fact, the men seen at the two medical centers — both those with and those without semen abnormalities — tended to die at slower rates than the general U.S. male population. Nevertheless, within this select group, the difference in death rates between those who had semen abnormalities and those who didn’t was statistically significant. Those with two or more semen abnormalities were more than twice as likely to die during the follow-up period as those without any. This difference remained despite the investigators’ efforts to control, where possible, for baseline health differences between the two sets of patients..
While no single semen abnormality in itself predicted mortality, men with two or more such abnormalities had more than double the risk of death over the eight-year period following their initial fertility examination compared with those with no semen abnormalities. The greater the number of abnormalities, the higher the mortality rate, the study found.
But most galaxies are flattened, rotating structures, often with spiral arms emanating from a central bulge or hub. The disc-like part is the galactic “plane”—the cosmic pasture, of the Giant Molecular Clouds (GMCs). In our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way, some 4000 of these rotating behemoths romp and rove in the spaces between stars. Formerly thought to be “empty,” the interstellar medium (ISM)—as astronomers call it—is now known to be rich in both organic and inorganic particles. This includes, of course, atoms and molecules of hydrogen as well as the micron-sized bits of carbon and silica, commonly dubbed “cosmic dust”: The raw materials from which stars are made. In fact, the ISM, particularly the spiral arms, is the main area of star formation. “Star formation is…going on in spiral galaxies,” notes Clare Dobbs of Exeter University (U.K.), “because of their reservoirs of molecular gas, the fuel for new stars. The discs of spiral galaxies are comprised not only of stars as we clearly see from Earth, but also gas”. Dobbs estimates that one to four solar masses of material is processed into stars each year, most of it in ISM: “This is where this gas accumulates into cold, dense, molecular regions known as molecular clouds, in which new stars are formed. Most star formation occurs in…giant molecular clouds”. The density of GMCs, astronomers have found, is not uniform. The clouds contain “clumps,” where the concentration of mass is more than in surrounding areas. The clumps are cold regions, where heat offers no effective resistance to the inward pull of gravity (remember the age-old rivalry!). According to Fix, star formation begins with the fragmentation of GMCs, as dense “cores” form within many of these clumps. Cores, he notes, come in two types: Cold cores, in which stars of one solar mass or less form and warm cores, where clusters of more massive are born. Concurring, Yale astronomer Richard B. Larson observes that “most of the recently
formed stars in nearby molecular clouds are located in compact clusters associated with massive dense cloud cores; it thus appears that the formation of compact clusters… is the dominant mode of star formation, at least in well-studied nearby starforming regions”. The closest region of intense star formation to us, is the Orion Giant Molecular Cloud—about 400 to 450 light years away. It contains the famous Orion Nebula, which is visible to the naked eye. Among the three bright bodies that make up the “Sword,” the Orion Nebula is the fuzzy object in the middle. Unfortunately, this series has extended into the rainy season; and Orion constellation now sets at dusk. Nevertheless, it would still be worth your while to bone up on this nebula, over the next six month: Especially if you are a teacher or a lecturer. So let me jump start you, as I close the serial. What makes the Orion Nebula so easy for us to see is not only its comparatively close proximity but also its self-luminous quality. It is an emission nebula, consisting of ionized hydrogen (HII) atoms, which interact with free electrons to generate light. An “Ionized” hydrogen atom is one whose single electron has been knocked off, either by collision with another particle or by high-energy radiation. In this case, says Larson, the ionizing agent is a cluster of more than 500 young hot stars, whose four closest members form the much studied “Trapezium”. Says he, “The Trapezium cluster is closely associated with, and appears to have formed from, a dense clumpy molecular filament that contains three currently active sites of star formation…” Intense ultraviolent radiation from these new stars, is responsible for the bright glow of the nebula. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science puts in, finally, that the Orion Nebula is really a large bubble of hot (10,000 K) gas, breaking out of the cooler Orion Giant Molecular Cloud. “In images of the Orion Nebula and other Hii regions,” it reminds us, “we are often staring into a cavity in the GMC that has been carved out by the radiation and winds from [hot blue and white stars]”.
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SCIENCE GUARDIAN Thursday, May 22, 2014
World Health Assembly alerts over rising child obesity By Chukwuma Muanya HE Sixty-seventh session of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the world’s health policy-making body, which began Monday in Geneva, Switzerland has alerted over rising cases of childhood obesity and its link to serious health complications and an increased risk of premature onset of illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) position is supported by a study published yesterday in Science, which concluded that being born big may mean a higher lifetime risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more. According to a statement by the WHO, the number of overweight or obese infants and young children aged zero to five years increased from 31 million globally in 1990 to 44 million in 2012. In the WHO African Region alone the number of overweight or obese children increased from four to 10 million over the same period. The WHO warned that if current trends continue the number of overweight infants and young children will increase to 70 million by 2025 and without intervention, obese infants and young children will likely continue to be obese during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. To address the situation, WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, in her opening address to the Health Assembly announced the establishment of a high-level
• Scientists reduce sickle cell disease progression in mice • Chukwu calls for universal coverage • Over 10 million African children affected
Chukwu Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity and the election of Dr Roberto Tomas Morales Ojeda, Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, as its new President. Five vicepresidents were also appointed from Bahrain, Congo, Fiji, Lithuania, and Sri Lanka, representing their respective regions. Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, in his address to the Assembly on Monday said Nigeria is committed “to improving health outcomes and contributing to tackling poverty by increasing the coverage of health
services, developing/improving comprehensive policies and strategies for health systems, promoting prepayment and pooling mechanisms, in collaboration with other sectors, to cover the entire population, and implementing public equity funds to cover the health cost of the poor and vulnerable; as well as monitoring and evaluating progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).” Chukwu who is also the Chairman of the African Union Ministers of Health, Chukwu, requested the WHO in collaboration with relevant stakehold-
ers to support African countries to develop their health financing mechanisms in order to move towards and sustain universal health coverage, support the documentation and sharing of experiences and intensify efforts to mobilize governments and partners to scale up investment in human resources, the upgrading of infrastructure and equipment, production, procurement and supply of quality and safe medical products and health technologies. Also, new preclinical research on the molecular mechanisms responsible for sickle cell disease could aid efforts to develop much needed treatments for this devastating blood disorder that affects millions worldwide. An international research team led by biochemists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), United States, reduced the sickling of red blood cells in a mouse model of the disease. Results of the study appeared yesterday in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. The scientists did this by manipulating a small molecule known as sphingosine-1phosphate (S1P), which they report is found in elevated levels in people with sickle cell disease. Chan said she is deeply concerned by the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity in every region of the world, with the increase fastest in low- and middleincome countries. “In the African region alone, the
number of overweight children increased from four million in 1990 to 10 million in 2012. This is worrisome. As the 2014 World Health Statistics report bluntly states, ‘Our children are getting fatter,’” she said. To gather the best possible advice on dealing with this crisis, Chan announced that she has established a highlevel Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. The Commission - co-chaired by Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to New Zealand’s Prime Minister, and Dr Sania Nishtar, founder of Pakistan’s health policy think tank, Heartfile – will produce a consensus report specifying which approaches are likely to be most effective in different contexts around the world. The recommendations of the report will be announced at next year’s Health Assembly. Chan said health has an obligatory place on any post2015 development agenda. “I think this is clear,” she said. Chan said the global strategies and action plans recently approved by Health Assemblies are already giving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) a second life. “The Global Vaccine Action Plan aims to exceed the target set for reducing child mortality. During this session, you will be considering some highly ambitious new goals for tuberculosis and neonatal mortality,” she said. The WHO D.G. added: “We can move forward on very solid ground. Pursuit of the
MDGs has saved many millions of lives and spared untold human misery. Health is blessed with a legacy of lessons, best practices, and innovative instruments for securing funds, purchasing life-saving interventions, and developing new products for diseases of the poor. “…For the post-2015 agenda, I see many signs of a desire to aim ever higher, with ambitious yet feasible goals. Many more endgames are already on the table. End preventable maternal, neonatal, and childhood deaths. Eliminate a large number of the neglected tropical diseases. End the TB epidemic.” The study’s senior author and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the UTHealth Medical School, Dr. Yang Xia, said: “Our research could lead to therapeutic opportunities. We validated our findings in isolated blood cells from patients with sickle cell disease.” The sickling of red blood cells is the hallmark of this disease. Normally shaped like a donut, the diseased cells instead have a crescentlike appearance. This can lead to anemia, chest pain, lung problems and stroke. Xia’s lab screened approximately 7,000 metabolites for functional differences between sickle cell disease mice and controls. They found that sickle cell disease significantly increases S1P and that S1P is generated by sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1).
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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NaturalHealth Lupita Nyong’o inspires African women to stop bleaching • 77% of Nigerian women- highest percentage in the world-use skin-lightening products on regular basis
Lightening is rampant in Africa, where women are destroying their skin and their health in the quest for a lighter complexion. What does it take to end this disastrous practice? By Savita Iyer-Ahrestani SCAR-winner Lupita O Nyong’o’s heartfelt speech on beauty, delivered at
Lupita Amondi Nyong’o (born March 1, 1983) is an actress of dual Kenyan and Mexican citizenship. On February 27, 2014, at the Essence Black Women In Hollywood luncheon in Beverly Hills, she gave a speech on the beauty of black women and talked about the insecurities she had about herself as a teenager. She said her views about herself changed when she saw South Sudanese supermodel Alek Wek become successful.
Reducing just six risk factors could prevent 37m deaths from chronic diseases EDUCING or curbing just R six modifiable risk factors - tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, salt intake, high blood pressure and blood sugar, and obesity - to globally-agreed target levels could prevent more than 37 million premature deaths over 15 years, from the four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs): cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease, cancers, and diabetes, according to new research published in The Lancet. Worryingly, the findings indicate that not reaching these targets would result in 38.8 million deaths in 2025 from the four main NCDs, 10.5 million deaths more than the 28.3 million who died in 2010. This is the first study to analyse the impact that reducing globally targeted risk factors will have on the
United Nation’s (UN’s) 25x25 target to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by 25 per cent relative to 2010 levels by 2025. Using country-level data on deaths and risk factors and epidemiological models, Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London, United Kingdom (UK), and colleagues estimate the number of deaths that could be prevented between 2010 and 2025 by reducing the burden of each of the six risk factors to globally-agreed target levels - tobacco use (30 per cent reduction and a more ambitious 50 per cent reduction), alcohol use (10 per cent reduction), salt intake (30 per cent reduction), high blood pressure (25 per cent reduction), and halting the rise in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. Overall, the findings sug-
gest that meeting the targets for all six risk factors would reduce the risk of dying prematurely from the four main NCDs by 22 per cent in men and 19 per cent for women in 2025 compared to what they were in 2010. Worldwide, this improvement is equivalent to delaying or preventing at least 16 million deaths in people aged 30-70 years and 21 million in those aged 70 years or older over 15 years. The authors predict that the largest benefits will come from reducing high blood pressure and tobacco use. They calculate that a more ambitious 50 per cent reduction in prevalence of smoking by 2025, rather than the current target of 30 per cent, would reduce the risk of dying prematurely by more than 24 per cent in men and by 20 per cent in women.
the seventh annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon hosted by Essence magazine in February 2014, moved many to tears. If you’re not familar, during the speech, Nyong’o shared a letter she received from a girl who decided against lightening her skin after Nyong’o “appeared on the world map and saved me.” Who hasn’t admired the actress’s gorgeous dark skin (which looks amazing against every color in the rainbow) and radiant smile? The graceful and talented Nyong’o has created waves everywhere, but even so, there are corners of our world where people have no idea that she has become the new icon for black beauty. Yetunde Mercy Olumide, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Lagos in Nigeria, and a consultant physician, dermatologist and genitourinary physician, for instance, would wager a bet that on the streets of her hometown, few have any inkling as to the furore Nyong’o and her speech have created. And yet Nigeria is one of the countries most affected by the key issue Nyong’o raised in her speech: the ever-present desire so many darkskinned women have to be light. In Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa, but also in India, the Caribbean, and Asia, this pernicious desire is deeply ingrained in the national psyche. Beauty standards and perceptions aside, “the social aspect of self-image and acceptance are all associated with lighter skin,” says Lester Davids, molecular cell biologist in the department of human biology at the University of Capetown in South Africa. “The idea is that with lighter skin, you’ll get a better job, a better life, partner, income, etc. All those aspects are quite rife still within the psyche.” Why African Women Bleach Researchers pinpoint Apartheid-era South Africa as a major driver in the quest for lighter skin in that country and across Africa. Read more about the social history of skin lightening here. Undoing the complex layers of history and social mores upon which the desire for lighter skin is based is no easy feat, but for scientists like Davids and medical praction-
ners like Olumide, the greatest and most pressing problem associated with the quest for lighter skin is the widespread usage of skin-whitening creams in their countries and in other parts of Africa—a craze that often has disastrous and even dangerous consequences and for the time being, shows little signs of abating. “Right now, I will tell you that the usage [of these creams] is on the increase,” Olumide says. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 77 percent of Nigerian women—the highest percentage in the world—use skinlightening products on a regular basis. Usage is sky-high in South Africa, too, and in both countries, as well as in other parts of Africa, it’s fueled by the widespread availability of a plethora of cheap, purported skin-whitening products. Many of these are homemade, Davids says, but others flood in across the borders from various African nations, as well as from India and Japan. “It doesn’t take long to copy a cream from a big cosmetic house that promises to remove dark spots, pigmentation, etc., and sell it at five or 10 times cheaper for a much poorer market,” Davids says. “The problem is that a lot of these creams have been tainted because of chemicals and compounds added in unscrupulously without a scientific base.” While the wealthier segments of African society can afford to buy better quality, properly regulated products, and can avail of dermatological guidance for their proper usage, the lack of education that prevails in many nations on that continent, coupled with the overarching goal of lightening the skin, results in a gross abuse of cheap creams, and the disastrous consequence of this, Davids says, is one of the biggest problems Africa as a whole faces today. Medical disasters Skin-whitening creams contain three main ingredients: hydroquinone, a phenol that lightens the skin by inhibiting the enzyme that generates color and also aids in evening out the skintone; corticosteroids that slow down and reduce the number of pigment cells; and mercury, which inactivates the enzyme that leads to the production of melanin. In the U.S., their usage is
strictly regulated: No over-thecounter cream can contain more than 2 percent hydroquinone, for example, and any cream with more than that concentration must be prescribed by a dermatologist with specific guidance to be used for limited time only. In Africa, however, there are no strict controls on the composition of skin-whitening creams. Worse, “a layperson will take the cream and put it on their skin and see it works and even if they’re told they have to put it just once a day, they think that if you put on more it will work faster and do more,” Davids says. “So people slap the cream on 10 times a day and it does work effectively, but the concentration of the compound becomes toxic to the skin and toxic to the cells.” Prolonged usage of these creams irreversibly damages the skin. Not only do the hydroquinone and corticosteroids in the creams kill the pigment-producing cells, the rest of the compound actually activates other cells to produce more pigment. The result: A blotched, uneven complexion that’s a far cry from the desired result. Fighting Skin Bleaching in Africa An anti-skin-lightening activist in Ghana is successfully reaching rural villages with her message that dark skin is beautiful. Read her story here. In fact, the prolonged usage of any skin-lightening cream, even if its hydroquinone content is at or below the prescribed level, can result in exogenous ochronosis, or a permanent darkening of the skin. But prolonged usage of these creams in developing economies has even more dire consequences, since strong corticosteroids thin the skin out and large amounts of mercury will eventually be absorbed into the blood stream, and can result in brain, gastrointestinal and kidney problems. “In our countries, women bleach all over the body and this thins the skin to such an extent that wounds don’t heal properly after surgery, so a Csection or a fibroid operation or a tummy tuck don’t heal, and ruptured incision wounds lead to severe infections and death,” Olumide says. Grassroots Education In her speech, Nyong’o confessed to skin-lightening pressures she herself has felt. She attributes her confidence in
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SCIENCE HEALTH Thursday, May 22, 2014
‘How Lagos reduced infant deaths’ By Wole Oyebade PECIAL Adviser to the Lagos SHealth, State Governor on Public Dr. Yewande Adeshina has said that under-five and infant mortality rates in Lagos state have reduced due to various health interventions being implemented in the State. Adeshina who disclose this today during a press briefing to signal the commencement of the first round of year 2014 maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) week in Lagos noted that various health interventions being implemented in the State have in no small measure contributed immensely to the success achieved in improving the Maternal and Child Health Indices in the State. According to her, underfive and infant mortality rates in Lagos state have reduced from 157 per 1,000 live births and 75 per 1,000 live births in 2008 NDHS to 65 per 1000 live births and 45 per 1000 live births respectively as reported in the 2011 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 4. “These figures are still high and this is an indication that we still have lots of work to be done in this regard before the year 2015. The full implementation of the MNCH strategy nation-wide could prevent up to 72 per cent of neonatal deaths, more than 70 per cent of under-five deaths and twothirds or 62 per cent of maternal deaths”, the Special Adviser posited. Adeshina added that the main objective of the MNCH Week is to improve the
healthcare seeking-behaviour of the whole family especially pregnant women and caregivers of under-five children stressing that the MNCH Week is being celebrated with the provision of an integrated, high-impact and no-cost package of protective, preventive and promotive services to the whole family. “These services are free and they include, routine immunization; vitamin A supplementation; growth monitoring and promotion; malnutrition screening for all underfive children; de-worming of all children from 12 months to 59 months of age; and distribution of insecticide treated nets (ITN) to all under-5 children and pregnant women who come to register during the Week”, She said. Other services to be offered during the week according to her include, antenatal care; immunization of pregnant women and women of child bearing age against tetanus infection; distribution of routine antenatal drugs such as blood tablets, and malaria preventive drugs to pregnant women; family planning services such as counseling, distribution of condoms, and other commodities and distribution of Informative, Educative and Communicative (IEC) materials. The Special Adviser that added other services such appropriate counseling of caregivers on key household and community practices such as exclusive breastfeeding for first 6 months of life, importance of regular and proper hand washing, com-
Members of civil society organisations during a sensitisation match to office of Lagos State governor, in protest of Federal Government’s PHOTO: WOLE OYEBADE plan to introduce Genetically Modified seeds into agricultural sector…recently plementary feeding and importance of birth registration, as well as HIV counseling and testing, referral Services and birth registration for under-five children who have never been registered will also be offered. She urged families and caregivers to visits designated health posts along with their under five children during the week-long celebration to avail themselves of the services that would be provided which she describes as “highimpact, low-cost maternal, newborn and child health
interventions.” Adeshina added that other specific objectives of the week-long celebration are the needs to “promote the utilization of health facilities by pregnant women, newborn and children, mobilize pregnant women to attend four focused antennal care visits, deliver tetanus toxoid to eligible women of productive age, provide children six to 59months with vitamin A every 6months, distribute and promote the use of long lasting insecticide treated nets for under five children,
pregnant and lactating women.” “It is thus a week of action for mothers, adolescent girls, caregivers, newborns and under-five children through the existing routine activities. The plan is to consolidate on the gains recorded in the last round as registration of more births is expected and the practice of birth registration enhanced,” She noted. Adeshina stressed that maternal and peri-natal health has emerged as the most important issue that determines global and
national wellbeing because every individual, family and community is intimately involved in pregnancy and the success of childbirth as the loss of a child increases the tendency of a woman to want to get pregnant again. The Special Adviser opined that the week-long exercise will also increase population coverage of needed low cost, high impact interventions and thereby contribute to the reduction of morbidity and mortality in mothers, newborns and children less than five years of age in the state.
recent years while it remained stable or decreased in developed countries,” he said. The aim of World Hypertension Day, usually held on May 17, is to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer and modern epidemic. Omaruaye added that the prevention and control of hypertension have not received due attention in many developing countries including Nigeria, although it is one of the most modifiable
risk factors for heart-related diseases. Awareness, treatment and control of hypertension are extremely low in Nigeria as health care resources are overwhelmed by other priorities. “This is why New Heights Pharma has joined to raise awareness of the causes and consequences of high blood pressure, to provide information and to encourage adults to check their blood pressure regularly with validated and registered devices that Omron Health care offers,” Omaruaye said.
NHP urges regular check on World Hypertension Day By Wole Oyebade S the world commemoA rates Hypertension Day 2014, experts have urged Nigerians to know their Blood Pressure (BP) numbers via regular check. So doing, Nigerians can stem the tide of the silent killer called hypertension and its attendant incidences of stroke, heart attack and sudden deaths that are of high prevalence today. The experts under the aegis of New Heights Pharma Ltd, at a commemorative event in Lagos observed that hyper-
tension is currently at alarming rate due to poor monitoring and awareness among Nigerians. Hypertension or high blood pressure is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. Blood pressure is summarised by two measurements, systolic and diastolic, which depend on whether the heart muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed between beats (diastole). Normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100–140mmHg systolic (top reading) and 60–90mmHg
diastolic (bottom reading). According to World Health Organisation 2012 Report, one in three adults has hypertension. The challenge is that many people are often unaware of the disease condition until they suddenly come down with stroke, heart attack or just slump and died. Managing Director of New Heights Pharma, Ogheneochuko Omaruaye observed that a recent studies in Abuja, Enugu and Lagos also confirmed the WHO statistic, as they found that 32 per cent Nigerians are hypertensive, though lesser in rural
area with an estimate of 12 per cent. Omaruaye said the incidences of hypertension are “frightening and mind boggling,” especially with the rate of sudden deaths and heart attacks, due to poorly controlled hypertension in the country. According to him, “It is on this ground that we decided to add our voice to the movement for proper monitoring of blood pressure because trends of prevalence suggest that hypertension has increased in economically developing countries in
How to boost health insurance, by AGPMN By Joseph Okoghenun OCTORS under the aegis of Lagos State chapter of the Association Of General And Private Medical Practitioners Of Nigeria (AGPMPN) have called for the need to raise increased awareness among stakeholders on the advantages of health insurance as away of boosting the scheme in Nigeria. The doctors, who spoke in Lagos during media briefing to announce the association’s activities to commemorate World Family Doctors Day this week, added that having functioning health insurance was the best way to reduce mortality rates and boost lifespan in Nigeria. The theme of the World
Family Doctors’ Day, which was commemorated on May 19, is “Universal Health Coverage”. The imperative of the theme, AGPMPN said, cannot be overemphasised as Nigeria has been in a dilemma oh how to raise health insurance from the current paltry 6 per cent coverage to achieve universal health coverage. Lagos State AGPMPN Chairman, Dr. Jimmy Arigbabuwo, advised that steps should be put in place to boost health insurance in Nigeria, adding that health insurance was capable of pulling the nation’s out “ of poor health indices”. The AGPMPN boss explained that there was need for regulatory authorities to punish
those who are frustrating the scheme in Nigeria to pave way for its success, even as he lamented that some states in federation have refused to join the scheme in spite of its numerous advantages. He listed the challenges facing health insurance in Nigeria to include underinsurance , poor data collection, inadequate supply of actuary scientists among others. The family physician said enabling environment should be created for stakeholders to operate in, adding that there should enough enlightenment for stakeholders on the operative dynamics of health insurance to boost the scheme in
Nigeria. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), in many countries, millions of people suffer because they cannot access the health care they need, or because paying for health services pushes them into poverty, adding that universal health coverage would ensures that all people can use health services without financial hardship. Lagos State AGPMPN Second Vice-Chairman, Dr. Ganiu Salandeen, added that universal health coverage would make it easier for patients to receive affordable and accessible healthcare without unnecessary burden on the patients so that the poor and the rich would have equal healthcare in a relaxed atmosphere.
Reduce patients’ waiting time, board tells health record officers By Joseph Okoghenun HE Registrar of Health T Records Officers’ Registration Board of Nigeria (HRORBN), Alhaji Ibrahim Mami, has urged health records officers across the country to evolve strategies for shortening patients’ waiting time. Reacting to reports of extended waiting time for patients who are visiting at hospitals for the first time, Mami said health record officers should explore the option of digitising their operations in line with global practices to help prevent patients from spending long hours on queues to access records. Mami said: “Situations were countless man hour is lost to manually capturing patients’
details has the potential to overload the health system just as it places patients and their relatives under undue stress. Health records officers often have to sort through huge piles of cards to locate the appropriate ones for patients and this take a lot time.” The Registrar observed that advances in technology has made it easier to digitize records. “The time it takes to call up health records can be significantly shortened with digitization making it a winwin situation for all,” he said. Mami warned that the board will not hesitate to sanction any health record officer found to be exploiting people through extortion and racketeering associated with the long queues of patients waiting to register at hospitals.
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Group to hold Nigerian hospitals exhibition By Chukwuma Muanya S part of efforts to stop or rather reduce the number of Nigerians that travel abroad for advanced and affordable medical services and the over N80 billion ($500 million) the country looses annually to the situation, and showcase the services available and obtainable in the country, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) in collaboration with Guild of Medical Directors (GMD) and James Daniel Consulting will on July 2 to 4, 2014, hold the first Nigeria Hospitals Exhibition and Fair 2014 in Abuja and later in the year in Lagos. The group in a statement by James Daniel Consulting said the three-Day Exhibition/Fair and Conference would continue in 2015 at Kano and Calabar, and in 2016 at Enugu and
Bauchi. Other partners to the group include: Nigeria Medical Association (NMA); Nigerian Laboratory Association (NLA); National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN); National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS); other stakeholder in the healthcare value chain; the States Ministries of Health; and the media According to the statement, the exhibition will enable all major public and private hospitals in Nigeria to present to the general public the available facilities and their specialties and the capabilities of the personnel within Nigeria. It reads: “The idea is to communicate to the public that we actually have a lot of
healthcare facilities that equals some of the best in most other countries that they go to for medical care .It is also important to inform the general public that so many of our Nigerian doctors that emigrated abroad are Nigerian bound and are establishing advanced medical care centres in most states of Nigeria. “This also intends to
improve the medical tourism in Nigeria and hopefully bring in other African countries to Nigeria for medical treatments and check up and also get Nigerians to do their medicals as much as possible in Nigeria. Therefore boosting the medical sector in Nigeria. “This will save travel cost and visa time. This is also especially good in case of
mother was a victim and survived the disease through the aid of a foundation - Susan Komen’s foundation – got motivated to put up a similar cause. For her, the idea of the big hat brunch is to socialize, “my mum goes for her chemotherapy during the week, and in the weekend, she will putting
the free screening and dialysis programe offered by the Kidney centre, which ended last week. The village houses trauma, surgical and Kidney centres among others. The three-day programme held in collaboration with the
The screening exercise was part of a health conference organized at the centre with the theme: Sudden DeathHealth Care Challenges and Prevention. A total number of one thousand and eighteen people together with an earlier free
her wig, dress up and socialize, and that is what we are doing, to make it a fun thing. More people especially women now look forward to it and I think we had more women putting on hats unlike last year”. Continuing, she said, we organize free screening four times in a year and we encour-
age women to participate. After screening and something is found, they are referred to the Lagos state teaching hospital who then refer them to us for assistance and after filling out the application finances form, the organization determines the amount of support that can be rendered to them”, she said.
Mansard fulfils pledge to sponsor training fellowships in urology ANSARD Insurance has M made good its promise of annual funding of the Postgraduate Training Fellowships in general urology at the Pan-African Urological Surgeons Association’s Initiative for Urological Training in Africa (PIUTA), Ibadan Centre, University of Ibadan and University College Hospital, Ibadan. The company made a cheque presentation to the association at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan recently. In making the presentation on behalf of Mansard Insurance plc, Mr. Tope Adeniyi, the Chief Executive Officer of Mansard Health Limited disclosed that Mansard remains committed to promoting the overall well-being of her immediate customer base and larger society via aiding the delivery of quality, affordable and technology-driven healthcare solutions to Nigerians. On hand to receive the Mansard team on behalf of PIUTA were Professor Ayotunde Ogunsehinde, Acting Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, E. Oluwabunmi Olapade-Olaopa, Professor of Surgery/Director, PIUTA Ibadan Centre, UCH; Olubunmi Faluyi (Mrs), Deputy Registrar/Secretary to the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan and Mr. S. A. Ayansina, Financial Controller, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. Mansard incepted funding of training fellowships in Urology last year as it sponsored four resident doctors of UCH to the Pan African
Urological Surgeons’ Association (PAUSA) conference in Accra, Ghana. One of the travel awardees, Dr. Ijeoma Chibuzo won the ‘Best paper award’ for her paper, “The UCH Bladder Manikin’’, an innovative home-grown model designed by urologists at the UCH to train doctors on how to drain the bladder in an emergency. Ten other Lecturer/Consultants, resident doctors and a PhD stu-
of money making in medical business. There will be Master Classes in Clinical Governance; Nursing Care; Hospital Marketing; Hospital Facility Management; Hospital Business and Financial Management; Access to Finance; Template for group practice; and Health Logistics and Transport.
Ondo Trauma Centre offers free screening, dialysis cause of death among young Care for Life Catholic Centre screening exercise carried out VER a thousand people people. under the Catholic Diocese of by the Centre in February 2014 O thronged the Ondo were in attendance. There were According to the Ondo. Medical Village to benefit from
Foundation harps on breast cancer awareness By Ijeoma Opara S part of efforts to increase the awareness of breast cancer and reduce mortality rate in women, Run For A Cure Africa, a foundation that assists breast cancer victims organized a big hat brunch to celebrate mothers. The founder, Run for a cure Africa Ebele Mbanugo whose
emergency or when a patient is critically ill and needs urgent professional medical care. This will go a long way in catering for the low income and poor citizens.” According to the statement, the business conference will run a master class for senior healthcare executives on the financial aspect of healthcare business and equip them with knowledge
dent were awarded MANSARD-PIUTA Fellowship Research Grants for various studies in Epidemiological/Translation al, basic and clinical science research projects. Speaking on behalf of PIUTA,
Professor Olapade-Olaopa thanked Mansard for the funding; he disclosed that the support and commitment to PIUTA will go a long way in helping the association break new grounds in the area of public health research.
355 men and 663 women of between two and 120 years for both gender. They were all screened for hypertension, diabetes, obesity, blood in urine and protein in urine. They all received counseling on non communicable diseases and their prevention The free screening exercise was conducted in four centres. A total of twenty six volunteer staff of the Kidney care centre participated in the exercise with the staff spread across Ondo and Akure. This was in collaboration with volunteers from the Catholic churches. The establishment of the Trauma Center, which the Kidney Centre is a part is as a result of the high rate of road accidents which is the leading
Commissioner for Information, Mr Kayode Akinmade, the structures were put in place and eventually equipped with outstanding facilities that would emphasize the uniqueness of the centre. “It is a 100-bed health institution established to give quality treatment to patients who have health challenges that regime surgical intervention. It is the product of a vision to tackle physical injuries which are medically referred to as trauma.” The Commissioner said, adding that the state’s Trauma and surgical centre is a level of facility which has the capacity to give care and genuine chance of survival in terms of equipment and personnel” he said
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SCIENCE & HEALTH Thursday, May 22, 2014
NACA denies plan for mandatory pre-marital HIV test *UNAIDS calls for scaled-up action to find vaccine *Alhassan, at 50, promises improved access to care By Chukwuma Muanya HE National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has denied recent reports in some national dailies which insinuated that the new National HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan compels intending couples to carry out Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) test, as a precondition for marriage. The report attributed the statement to the Director, Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, TB Leprosy and Malaria, Yakubu Usman Abubakar. However, NACA, in a statement issued yesterday and signed by the Director General, Prof. John Idoko, said there are no plans to enforce pre-marital HIV test. Idoko said no part of the newly developed National HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan stipulates or recommends compulsory HIV testing for intending couples or any group or individuals. Meanwhile as part of activities to mark HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) is urging for global efforts to be stepped up to find an effective HIV vaccine and accelerate progress towards ending the AIDS epidemic. Also, NACA’s Director of Resource Mobilization, Dr Emmanuel Onu Alhassan, at an event to mark his 50th Birthday in Abuja promised that the agency was doing everything in its power through awareness campaign to ensure that Nigerians access care. Alhassan explained that testing is voluntary and cannot be forced on anyone but added that young people should avail themselves of the opportunity to access care. Alhassan was born on May 18, 1964 to Mr. Maha Aye Alhassan and Mrs. Laruba Christiana Alhassan (nee Laruba Egah) in Iyale, Kogi State.He is a graduate of University of Jos with Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Lagos and PhD Psychometrics at the University of Ibadan. The National HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan (2013 – 2015) provides strategic direction and guidance for HIV programming in Nigeria. It has been informed by the an expanded evidence-base including the Nigeria Reproductive Health Survey (NARHS), epidemic appraisals, findings of the mid-term review of the National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS, and other studies undertaken at the regional and state levels. Idoko said the goal of the National HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan is to scale up evidencebased programming using targeted interventions and standardized intervention packages at scale. Idoko explained: “The national HIV prevention Plan is essentially a strategic document designed to provide direction for HIV prevention programming in the country. It focuses on ensuring that the prevention priorities and
goals set by the country and the President’s comprehensive response plan (PCRP) are achieved. One of those critical goals is to avail 80 million men and women knowledge of their HIV status, and there are set standards and approaches for achieving this. “Compulsory testing before marriage is not one of them.” NACA, however, urged the general public that no one should be compelled to get tested for HIV. “However, HIV testing is the gateway to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and everyone is therefore encouraged to know his status. NACA remains faithful to its mission and mandate to the Nigerian people.” UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, said: “Although great strides have been made in preventing new HIV infections alongside expanding access to treatment, we still don’t have an effective HIV vaccine. Finding a vaccine for HIV will be the push we need to achieve zero new HIV infections.” There have been important breakthroughs in vaccine research in recent years. The RV144 trial, conducted in Thailand and reported in 2009, showed that a vaccine could lower the rate of HIV
Alhassan infection by 31 per cent and provided important clues as to how a more effective vaccine might work. Follow-on studies are now aiming to
increase the level and durability of protection. Recent advances in understanding how the virus behaves, and how the
immune system responds, have greatly increased the likelihood of finding an effective vaccine. For example, vaccine trials in monkeys have prevented and cleared HIV infection. Ensuring sustained funding for HIV vaccine research will help to transform promising concepts into effective and affordable HIV vaccines. President and Chief Executive Officer of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Margie McGlynn, said: “Research is bringing us closer to a vaccine every day, thanks to the tenacity of scientists and support from many donors and communities. Only with sustained commitment can we all continue to build on these promising efforts to develop a rich pipeline of vaccine candidates.” Meanwhile, it is estimated that about 3.2 million people are living with Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and about 220,393 new infections occurred in 2013. According to the new National HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan (2013 – 2015), which is the third in the series of developing national prevention plan, the HIV prevalence in the general population is estimated at 3.4 per cent while the HIV prevalence among pregnant women, according to antenatal sentinel survey, was 4.1 per
cent in 2010. According to the NACA statement, it is therefore important to note the following: *The new National Prevention Plan does not have any part that stipulates or recommends compulsory HIV testing for intending couples or any group or individuals. *The HIV Counselling and Testing Standard Operational Procedure does not recommend compulsory testing. As a matter of fact, individuals are expected to give consent to be tested before such test can be carried out. *Stakeholders around the country have fought tirelessly to achieve the newly passed Anti-Stigma law by the National Assembly. HIV testing is voluntary and not compulsory. The meeting during which Abubakar was misrepresented was intended to afford the stakeholders an opportunity to validate the content of the National Prevention plan, which was developed through a consultative process with the states. Abuabakar who is also the Director of Bauchi State Agency for the Control of AIDS (BASACA) was among stakeholders interviewed after the event and was quoted to have said that, “intending couple will be made to undergo compulsory HIV test before getting married”.
MLSCN to enforce CBN circular on imported lab equipment By Chukwuma Muanya ETERMINED to reduce the D number of sub-standard, fake, expired or poorly stored and distributed test kits, equipment, reagents, chemicals and other laboratory equipment in the Nigerian market and ensure accurate and reproducible results for effective medical diagnosis, treatment, surveillance and forecasting, the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) is set to enforce the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) circular on mandatory certification for all imported medical products. CBN on April 24, 2014 issued a circular directing that all importers of medical laboratory equipment must obtain a certificate of registration from MLSCN before applying for any custom clearance. Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of MLSCN, Prof. Anthony Emeribe, said the Council is empowered by the Act establishing it to regulate various ramifications of medical laboratory services including infrastructure, training, processes, product and practice. Emeribe decried the indiscriminate importation of laboratory test kits in Nigeria. He said the scenario is the major cause of misdiagnosis, treatment failure and preventable deaths in the country. Emeribe said the thrust of Council in line with its assigned duties as enunciated in Cap M4, LFN 2004, is to regulate various ramifications of medical laboratory services, including infrastructure, training, processes, products and practice. Emeribe said the Council has been unrelenting in its efforts to drive the culture of quality and efficient health laboratory care to the public with a view to stemming med-
ical tourism for quality health care abroad with attendant capital flight, as empirical data have confirmed that 60 to 70 per cent of indices required for effective medical diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, surveillance and forecasting are based on accurate and reproducible health laboratory results. He said over 50 per cent of public health in-vitro diagnostics including test kits, equipment, reagents, chemicals in the Nigeria open market are sub-standard, fake, expired or poorly stored and distributed. Emeribe said this is the bane of quality test results, as against less than 17 per cent for fake or sub-standard drugs and food products. Emeribe said in conformance with its mandate to regulate the production, importation, sales and stocking of in-vitro diagnostics in Nigeria, MLSCN recently completed its ultra-modern Public Health In-Vitro Diagnostics Control Laboratory in Lagos for validation, verification, listing and registration of In Vitro Diagnostics (IVDs) in Nigeria. The Laboratory, which is the first of such a specialized laboratory in West Africa was commissioned on September 5, 2013, by President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Emeribe said no reputable regulatory agency can stand aloof, while such a chaotic state of affairs remains. He said apart from establishing the IVDs Control Laboratory, the first of such a specialized laboratory in West Africa, the Council has also mapped out a comprehensive policy to ensure that henceforth, only IVDsequipment, kits, reagents and consumables that meet international standards would be allowed to be manufactured, imported, distributed or used in the country.
He further explained: “The resources and confidence that Council has brought to bear on this project so far; will certainly help us upscale medical laboratory services in the country with positive implications for our health indices. If all of usregulators, practitioners, importers, marketers and even patients- join hands in taking on the noble, virtuous and altruistic task of ensuring that only the right, verified and certified IVDs are brought into the country and used in our medical laboratories, quality would soon become the hallmark of health laboratory care in our country. This we believe is the dream of all Nigerians.” The specific functions of the MLSCN Public Health IVDs Control Laboratory, according to Emeribe, are as follows: listing of IVDs manufacturers, importers and marketers in Nigeria; registration/certification of IVDs; pre and Post market validation of kits, reagents and chemicals; diagnostic equipment verification and validation; advocacy for planned preventive maintenance for all health laboratory equipment for use in Nigeria; and advocacy for formation of national, African regional and global body for manufacturers, importers and marketers of IVDs with appropriate codes of manufacturing, distribution and business ethics. Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, enjoined manufacturers, producers and importers alike, of diagnostic laboratory reagents and chemicals to submit their products to MLSCN’s Public Health InVitro Diagnostics Control Laboratory in Lagos for necessary testing, analysis and certification. “Doing so is not only an ethical requirement but indeed compliance with extant laws,” Chukwu said. Chukwu further explained: “The Public Health In-Vitro
Emeribe Diagnostics Control Laboratory in Lagos marks the beginning of a new era in the production, importation, storage and sale of diagnostic laboratory reagents and chemicals in Nigeria was necessitated by the general principle underlying the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government and is aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals on Health, which is largely dependent on a strengthened health system, the laboratory being a critical component of the health system. “The Laboratory will obviously strengthen the regulatory function of MLSCN of Nigeria with respect to the verification, validation, listing and registration of in vitro laboratory diagnostics and the attainment of its key performance indicators which must necessarily be similar to those of other regulatory agencies in the country.” However, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) dis-
agrees. The new President of NMA, Dr. Kayode Obembe, warned that the circular would set a “dangerous trend in the nation’s health sector.” “The circular is very dangerous; it is completely wrong that one would have to go the MLSCN to get an approval in order to import medical laboratory equipment,” Obembe said. The NMA president explained: “Already, importation of medical products is being regulated by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).” He observed that regulatory agencies “are already established so that standards will be maintained, if we go on to proliferate, it is very destructive and very devastating, any action we can take, the NMA will do that, we are not going to rest because it is for saving lives.” Obembe further told jour-
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Thursday, May 22, 2014 SCIENCE HEALTH 39
Health workers want kidnapped girls flown abroad for medical rehabilitation From Emeka Anuforo and Chuka Odittah, Abuja
• UNFPA plans trauma relief
group of health workers has advocated overseas treatment for the abducted Chibok girls upon their return from captivity. Speaking in Abuja at a roundtable organized by Ipas, an international NonGovernmental Organization (NGO) focusing on women’s reproductive health and rights, said the mental physical and mental tortures the girls went through require foreign expertise to normalize. Stakeholders at the oneday meeting convened in Abuja by Ipas to unveil its new Country Director, Dr. Lola Mabogunje, cited stigma as one of the most critical problems the abducted girls and their immediate family would have to contend with for a long time, unless they receive professional rehabilitation services abroad. According to the meeting, the Chibok girls are at the mercy of their abductors who may have been subjecting them to sexual harassment or rape, adding that in the end, many of the girls may return with unwanted pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted diseases. These stakeholders drawn from the various field of medical practice, legal and media sub-sectors, also called on international organizations like United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) and other child right groups to coordinate efforts from the international community to support successful rehabilitation of the girls abroad. While arguing that the rights of the girls and parents to privacy are sacrosanct, the stakeholders also said the most effective way to keep the students away from prying eyes of the media is to fly them abroad, in an effort to help reintegrate them back into society under best professional care. They emphasized that the girls upon their return should be made to undergo thorough medical therapy to help them in the speedy recovery from shock among other trauma effects resulting from the over onemonth long abduction by the militias. Other tests recommended for them include, Hepatitis B and other variants, Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) tests, and psychiatry support services. Also, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said yesterday that the tragedy of the abduction of the Chibok girls underlines that much more needs to be done, and as such the body says it is urgently scaling-up its life-saving reproductive health and violence prevention and response interventions. UNFPA is already looking forward to the release of the girls and has started planning for series of psychologi-
cal support programmes to reintegrate the girls back to the families and the community afterwards. Specifically, the UN body is playing high premium on the need to support the parents and families of the abducted girls as the trauma, stressing that the trauma they are presently undergoing is better imagined. UNFPA is leading a coalition of partners to, among other things, provide psychosocial therapy to stabilize the parents of the victims and prepare them to offer the necessary assistance to their children, when they are released. Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said in a statement: “The main objective of this intervention is to provide for the sexual and reproductive health as well as socio-psychological wellbeing of the girls abducted at Chibok in the immediate post-release period as well as other girls that have had similar experiences since the beginning of the insurgence.” Stressing how shocked he by the abduction of 276 young girls in Chibok, he noted how the prevailing conflict in Northeastern Nigeria had had devastating impact on women and girls over the past year. “Even prior to the current crisis, the situation was dire: only 43 per cent of pregnant women accessed antenatal care; and almost 30% of women had experienced gender-based violence,” he stated. He said the coalition of partners and stakeholders, which would work to implement this initiative met in Abuja last week and agreed to work together under the coordination and leadership of UNFPA in conjunction with the Federal and Borno State Ministry of Health as well as Non G o v e r n m e n t a l Organizations. His words: “These girls are our daughters and sisters. We therefore have the responsibility to demand for their safe return. And for us at UNFPA, we have the duty to ensure that they are fully reintegrated into their community, once they are back within their families, and to provide for their wellbeing. “We will also provide immediate diagnosis and treatment to the victims to ensure total health, including their sexual and reproductive health. We will initiate programmes that will encourage the girl’s reintegration to the educational system to enable them complete their education. Specifically in the coming days, UNFPA with a coalition of partners will build the capacity of a Core team in Borno on emergency Humanitarian Response in line with United Nations
guidelines and also conduct a mapping and situational analysis to provide relevant information that will inform a robust response.” He stressed further: “The abduction of the girls at Chibok and the situation of other women and girls in the region put them in a high risk situation to a variety of sexual and reproductive health issues, including increased rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as HIV and hepatitis, sexual abuse, teenage pregnancies and psychosocial trauma. “UNFPA’s Country Office in Nigeria began to respond to the crisis in the region in late 2013. The intervention has aimed to restore access to essential reproductive health care for about 450,000 people, including 18,000 pregnant women in Borno and Adamawa States. We have provided psychosocial and medical services for survivors of sexual violence and monitored incidence of gender-based violence.” In her remark, the new Ipas Country Director lamented the absence of rights of rape victim in Nigeria to safe abortion because such an act is outlawed. She however warned that most of the girls and their parents might resort to unsafe abortion processes in order to get rid of the unwanted pregnancies. Also, the Medical Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has expressed grave concerns over the state of health of the abducted young girls. The group said the girls could be suffering complications such as severe anxiety, intense fear, hyper vigilance, exaggerated startle response, restlessness, headaches, sleep impairment, nightmares, palpitation, elevation of blood pressure, muscle aches, gastrointestinal complaints and chest pain among other ailments. The MDCAN President, Dr. Steven Oluwole in a statement made available to the Guardian in Abuja, observed that some of the long term medical side effects the abducted students may face over a long period of time include tension type headaches, migraines, hypertension, myocardial infractions, asthma, peptic ulcers, skin lesions. Others are, diabetes mellitus, depression, arthritis, accelerated aging, memory failure, infections, poor sleep, and depression. The body which condemned renewed attacks on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Borno, Kano and other parts of the country, decried government tardiness in efforts to rescue the abducted girls, more than one month after they went missing from their school premises.
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44 | NATURAL HEALTH Thursday, May 22, 2014
African women and skin bleaching CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33
Free radicals and cancer HERE is a microscopic T organelle inside the 100 trillion cells of the body known as the mitochondria. This mitochondria has been described by some as a furnace or even a factory. It is in the mitochondria that the metabolism of glucose is carried out with the reduction of oxygen to water to produce the energy that is utilized for different functions in the whole human body. In this biochemical process to produce energy, that is otherwise known as Adenosine Triphosphate ( ATP), four electrons are required at different stages. In over 95per cent of the times, the number of electrons required are complete. However, there are instances when the number is less than four and at such times what is released are atoms of oxygen with a single electron orbitting in the outer space around the nucleus of the atom. Usually, there are two electrons orbitting and such an atom (molecule) is balanced. The atom with a single electron is known as a free radical. It is unbalanced, unstable with a violent movement. The free radical is highly reactive, always seeking a negative electron from its immediate surrounding to connect to so as to become stable. Since all the cells of the body utilize oxygen for energy production, these free radicaals are generated in all these cells. Usually, these free radicals can be contained and immediately neutralized within the cells, but occasionally they may escape from the cells into the blood circulation. Throughout the day, the 100 trillion cells of the body are releasing billions of free radicals. As they attempt to become electrically balanced, they grab an electron from another molecule, which becomes a free radical itself. A chain reaction becomes established with a cascade of free radicals and a lot of damaged molecules and cells. In an attempt to grab a negative electron, a free radical may attach itself to a cell membrane in or outside the cell, the wall of the blood vessel, carbohydrates, fats, proteins and the DNA in the nucleus of the cell (this is what I shall discuss in a moment as the cause of cancer). Free radicals that are not neutralized as fast as they are generated can give rise to certain other dangerous and highly destructive free radicals. Of particular significance is the superoxide free radical, which remains dangerous and reactive even if it has grabbed an electron from another molecule. For instance, it can react
with hydrogen atoms to form hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which technically speaking, is not a free radical, but can stimulate the production of a lot of other free radicals. These free radicals may react with minerals such as iron and copper in the body to give rise to the highly dangerous hydroxyl free radical. Other sources of free radicals These include; *improperly managed and excessive exercise. *Excessive stress. *Air pollution and cigarette smoking. Also inhaling of cigarette smoke by a non-smoker. *Illnesses and infection. *Medicines and ultraviolet radiation. *Polluted food. *Acidic and impure water. Free radicals and cancer As I stated earlier, whatever the free radical gets attached to as it seeks a second negative electron becomes damaged. This process of damaging structures in the body by free radicals is known as oxidative stress. One of the structures that they can attack and damage is the DNA inside the nucleus of the cells. The DNA contain the genetic code of the human being and when it becomes damaged it can lead to mutation and loss of the ability of the cell to replicate. The start and stop signal for cell division can also be disrupted. Furthermore, the free radical can cause the DNA to fuse with other proteins inside the cells through a process known as cross-linking. This also hinders the ability of the cell to replicate. In all these cases the outcome is cancer. Fortunately, there is a defence system that GOD, our Creator incorporated into our bodies. This is known as the antioxidant defence system and this will be our topic of discussion next week Thursday.
her appearance to the trailblazing South Sudanese British model, Alek Wek. That kind of strong message is extremely important for Africa, Davids says, and can go a long way toward altering the psyche and, eventually, toward minimizing the usage of lightening products. But for now, voices like Lupita’s are loudest in the West, Davids believes, since the celebrities who stand out in Africa are either light skinned themselves or, like Nigerian-Cameroonian pop singer Dencia, whose cream “Whitenicious” was a sellout hit, they actually further the idea of skin whitening. In fact, even ads for products that have nothing to do with skin lightening tend to feature people with lighter skin. No Skin-Bleaching Models Allowed Meet the fashion designer taking a stance against skin lightening- she won’t use models who bleach their skin. Read her story here. What’s needed in Africa is a concerted, all hands on deck approach, Olumide says, beginning with education at the grassroots level on the dangers of using skin-lightening creams, and including doctors, scientists, governments and corporations. Organizations like the Medical Women’s Association
of Nigeria have taken this up as their cause, she says, and “we have medical students who have a health week and go to markets and enlighten people on bleaching cream.” There is a lot of work to be done, but “I am hoping that we will get there, that we will become proud of our skin color, and we should because we are not under racial pressure,” she says. “We are just doing what we are doing and skin lightening has become a vicious circle.” The Social History of Skin Lightening in Africa Although there’s evidence that the desire for whiter skin— among women particularly— goes back much farther than that time, “in South Africa, like in the U.S. in the slavery and post-slavery eras, the possession of dark skin was associated with lower social status, since social status was legislated by color,” says Nina Jablonski, distinguished professor of anthropology at Penn State University and author of “Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color.” “If you were a ‘black’ or a ‘bantu’ and you had light skin, you might be able to pass as a ‘colored’ and be accorded somewhat more privileges and the ability to move somewhat more freely. Or, if you were a light-skinned ‘colored’ person, you might be able to pass as ‘white’ and have no restric-
tions. So in those contexts, lightness was very strongly favored.” In Apartheid-era South Africa, the manufacturing of bleaching creams similar to those that had been developed as a cottage industry in the southern U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries began in earnest and today, that industry is still flourishing in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. Lupita Nyong’o Is Inspiring Change Her moving speech about beauty brought attention to the rampant skin-bleaching crisis in Africa. Hear her speech here. “You would think that 22 years into democracy in South Africa, the trend would have changed, so it is fascinating to us to figure out why it hasn’t changed to lighter people wanting to darken their skins,” says Lester Davids, molecular cell biologist in the department of human biology at the University of Capetown in South Africa, who works closely with Jablonski. “It just shows that the power of marketing and also the power on the psyche of a nation of what was enforced in those earlier years has still not lifted.” Here in the U.S., the tide shifted after the Civil Rights and Black Pride movements began and took root, and there is evidence that the sale of skin-
bleaching products actually came down, Jablonski says. As the industry evolved and controls were more strictly enforced, the dialogue moved to one about evening out skintone and maintaining healthy skin, as opposed to actually lightening or whitening it, since arguably, the higher amounts of melanin present in darker skin can result in more pronounced hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Nevertheless, dermatologists warn that the prolonged usage of over-the-counter creams to even out skintone can also have an adverse effect. And on a deeper level, anthropologists like Jablonski argue that although the semantics may be different today, the underlying desire for lighter skin among many darkskinned women even in the U.S., albeit not directly expressed, is still very much present. “When you have a beautiful young woman like Lupita Nyong’o, with her glowing health and beautiful dark skin, women look at her and say ‘thank you,’ but they also look at Beyonce [Knowles] and other very light-skinned African-American women who have the whole package of light skin, straight light hair and so on,” Jablonski says. “This is a very strong signal to go against because there are so many more of the Beyonce type.”
Consultant Physician, Dermatologist & Venerologist and author of the book Textbook of Skin Diseases And Sexually Transmitted Infections, Emeritus Professor Yetunde Mercy Olumide (left), Husband of the author and Chief Presenter of the book, Mr. Adekunle Aina Olumide, and Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Professor Akin Osibogun, at the Media Presentation of the book at the Conference Hall of the Nigerian Academy of Science, University of Lagos.
‘NHIS will not compromise on service quality’ HE National Health T Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has again stressed its commitment to ensuring that enrollees under it enjoy access to the highest quality of healthcare service at all points of encounter. The Executive Secretary of the Scheme, Dr. ‘Femi Thomas, gave the assurance recently in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, while flagging off a nationwide User Satisfaction Survey under the NHIS/Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Maternal and Child Health (MCH) project, at the Primary Health Centre (PHC) Agbongbon, in the Ibadan
South Local Government Area. According to Thomas, the NHIS/MDGs MCH project is one of the Scheme’s top priorities, designed to ensure that pregnant women and children under-five receive quality of healthcare provided in NHIS Operational Guideline. He said the project also offers additional opportunity to the Scheme to work in the front line to defend the rights of pregnant women and children under five to life and good health, thus saving the nation the global embarrassment of her poor statistics of maternal and child mortality. He explained that the User
Satisfaction Survey was aimed at getting feed back from enrollees on the standard of services rendered to them by providers, stating that “the programme is also to keep healthcare providers abreast of the operations and guidelines of the Scheme in their respective assignments as stakeholders”. Thomas used the occasion to appeal to state governments yet to buy into the project to do so without further delay, to boost the chances of the survival of pregnant women and children in the country, noting also that health insurance may soon become a crucial determinant
of electoral fortunes in the country. He particularly called on the Oyo state government to step up payment of its counterpart fund under the project, to enable the Scheme extend coverage to many more women and children in the state. Earlier in his remarks, the General Manager, Planning Research and Monitoring, Dr Bode Adeoye, called on service providers under the project to make high quality the primary content of their services, stressing that the failure or success of the NHIS/MDGsMCH programme in the affected local government areas depends largely on their per-
formance as providers. Adeoye stated that the Scheme has cumulatively enrolled over One Million, Six Hundred beneficiaries in the special project since inception in 2008, adding that one of the objectives of the survey is the protection of the right of enrolees to easy access to top quality healthcare services under the project. He also advised them to update their record of financial transactions for accountability and transparency, as well as report to the Scheme any delay in payment by the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs).
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Education ‘How to improve innovation in Nigerian universities’ *With Eco-Marathon, Nigerian students have proven that they can compete with the best globally Sola Abulu is the International Relations Manager for Nigeria at Shell International, Netherlands. In this interview with EMEKA ANUFORO at the recently concluded Eco-Marathon in Rotterdam, Netherlands, she speak of the hidden innovative potentials of Nigerian students and posits that given the right environment, world class curriculum and policy support, Nigerian students had the potential to compete with the best in the global technology community. HAT is the history behind the participation W of cars produced by students of the University of Lagos and University of Benin in this car of the future competition? Shell Eco Marathon is a competition that Shell has been sponsoring globally as part of its support for science and innovation, and also education and there has been competitions in Europe, in Asia and also in America. This year, I would say, is the first time that a country from Sub Saharan Africa was actually asked to participate in the Shell Eco Marathon in Europe. Before now, we have had other African countries like Tunisia, Morocco participating in some educations of the Shell Eco Marathon in Europe. This is the first time that a country from Sub Saharan Africa would participate and we are very happy at Shell International, and also as Shell Nigeria for that opportunity and that it was my country, Nigeria that has broken that. This is a competition that has a 30-year history behind it. For Shell Nigeria, we have always supported education, innovation and science. We have several interventions in terms of scholarships, which go to secondary schools every year. Over 3000 scholarships go to university undergraduates every year and we have tens of thousands of scholarships to secondary school students that go to the Niger Delta mostly and other parts of Nigeria. Our NNPC-Shell cup is also another intervention in sports. Recognizing that our country is a football loving country and there is a lot of talents in terms of our football, we promote youths and education in sports, to ensure that students don’t have to choose between education and sports. The Shell Eco Marathon just a continuation of that intervention that has always happened in the area of education and youth development. We have a university liaison team, which has always had a liaison in Nigeria. We have a professorial chair in some of the federal universities in Nigeria, and the choice of schools that will be a part of this competition was on the basis of that university liaison outreach which we have had also for several decades as Shell Nigeria. So, the schools that were initially chosen: Ahmadu Bello University, University of Lagos, and University of Benin, were brought here last year to come and look at what the competition was about and what was happening. Like I said, it is a continuation of our ongoing intervention and support and also partnership in education, and the people of Nigeria. So, the three universities came and had a look at what was going on, and they took up the challenge. This has been a wonderful experience for the students because it an opportunity for them to test practically what they have learnt on school and what they are doing in the outside world. The school from University of Benin (UNIBEN), for instance, has about three students from production engineering, and they having to develop a product has made them see the difference between when one designs a
Abulu concept and try to bring it out through the whole production process. For us, that learning is more important than any other thing. It is an exercise. It also made them understand how you develop products to standards, because by subjecting them to safety inspections, technical inspections, they understand the role of standards, because if you are producing any product in terms of production engineering, it has to meet the standards. It is either export standards, safety standards, technical standards, quality control standards and they are learning all of that here. So, this is a real life practical experience for them for the challenges that they will face in their work and profession as they move outside of the university. In other countries where it operates, participating students at the marathon are sponsored by different companies, as you can see here. Apart from the Shell Eco Marathon sponsors like HP and Michelin, each of the country teams, or the students from the country teams have companies that supports them from their countries. That is the only way you can have what is called a funnel of interventions using this. This is just one platform. There should be several platforms. There are all sorts of programs that can go within a university learning environment. So, the Shell Eco Marathon is one of several potential platforms. We would like that as these students go back and their stories are being told, many other people also, many other companies, sponsors and partners get involved, to begin to see how they can make this something that is sus-
tainable without our universities, because an experience that we saw is that there is a big difference between design, concept, and actual hands on experience. This is something that gives them that hands on experience, which is useful for them. I think that it is something that universities can latch on to. It is something that other people, companies and sponsors can come into. Was there a competition before the three universities were eventually chosen back in Nigeria? It was based on our university liaison. We used the universities where we had a professorial chair in engineering with. So those universities that we already had a relationship with, and we already been working with their engineering departments were the universities that we chose. We then spoke to those universities and asked them to give us the best students, from fields in engineering in particular, because we knew what this challenge would entail.
So, we were in the best position to give the criteria for the students that we knew that it could be most useful for. We didn’t want to bring students into an area that would not be useful for them. It was all about ensuring that those students who were already in professions that had a seat, with the kind of skills that Eco Marathon would bring would form the core team. Of course, as the team grew, they began to do other things, there was room for people to help with art, design, communication, publicity, so that it is not only people from core engineering. As you know, students that we have here are the core team, while we also have some members, extended members of the core team, who didn’t come to Rotterdam, and also other supporters who were within the larger team, but also on campus. There was now room for those people from multi diverse skills to come in. But the initial core team was very strong in mechanical engineering, electrician engineering, production engineering and all those other skills that would be useful. So, they came here last year and they were able to see things for themselves. We were able to organize a technical visit to Technical University Delft, Netherlands where they went to the workshop, and they saw what other students who had been veterans of the Shell Eco Marathon, who had done this for over 10 years, to see the different evolution of cars, and they talked them through the models and how they ensured that this was something that was embedded in the university system. When the students got back, they were now able to set up a team, bearing in mind that it should have a mix of 500 level students, 400, 200 and 100 levels so that there is that continuity. We are very pleased that everything that they have learnt were useful. They adsorbed all of the experiences, all of the learnings, all of the instructions that were given to them, both from the technical university that they visited for one week last year and the things that they observed while at the Eco Marathon in 2013 and they used them to work out a program for themselves, which is why I think they were successful to come here and actually achieve technical and safety qualification. There is so much jubilation over the students’ cars passing technical and safety inspection and not in winning the actual race. Why is that so? We have about 200 teams here today. Out of the 200 teams, there are several who have been here before, who did not actually pass through that technical and safety inspection. You and I know that even for the established auto manufacturers, we have heard cases of very prominent companies having to recall their cars in recent times over safety things. So, even established automakers sometimes have problems with safety and technical things, depending on something that was missed out, actually in the production process. Building a car from scratch, and being able to get it to a point where it meets technical and safety standards to be able to be certified to race in a track with other cars is a major achievement. For us as Nigerians, it is the first time. There are so many firsts to celebrate in this. It is not even about racing or winning and all of that. It is about the first team to build a car, first team to test a car that moves, to pass technical evaluation and safety. And there is a distinction between the two. If you noticed, there was a tag for technical and another tag for safety. Both were passed, meaning that it is a safe car. It is a car to drive on a racetrack with other vehicles. It will not cause injury to the driver and to other people. It is a major achievement. It sends a mes-
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If you noticed, there was a tag for technical and another tag for safety. Both were passed, meaning that it is a safe car. It is a car to drive on a racetrack with other vehicles. It will not cause injury to the driver and to other people. It is a major achievement. It sends a message home, to the young ones and to everybody in Nigeria, that really, with the right opportunity, the right platform, access and the commitment of decision makers and everybody involved, the sky really is the start point for our youths and the future of our country, Nigeria.
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46 Thursday, May 22, 2014 EDUCATION
Most Zamfara secondary schools teachers are NCE holders, says govt committee From Isah Ibrahim, Gusau VER 80 per cent of secO ondary school teachers in Zamfara State are holders of the National Certificate in Education (NCE), certificate, Chairman of the State Secondary Schools Education Assessment Committee, Professor. Tukur Adamu has said. Presenting the report of the committee recently at the Conference Hall of J. B. Yakubu Secretariat Conference Hall, Gusau, during a state education stakeholders meeting, Tukur disclosed that despite the national standard that restricted NCE holders from teaching senior secondary students, majority of the teachers across public schools in the state were not graduates. He attributed the problem to poor salary and lack of motivational strategies for teaching profession in the state, pointing out that from the committees assessment, it was discovered that the difference between the salary of NCE holders and labourers working in the state was only N200. Professor Tukur who said his committee has discovered that a total of 974 graduate applicants, who are indigenes of the state, were looking for job, calling on the state government to
look into the possibility of recruiting more teachers from among the applicants. He said findings by the committee revealed that most secondary schools in the state were without laboratories, good classroom blocks, furniture, chairs and tables, examination halls, adminis-
trative blocks and beds, even as a high number of students were taking their lectures and sleeping on the floor in their respective classes and hostels. According to him, when the committee was inaugurated last year, it was told that the state had only 37 private secondary schools, but the com-
mittee found out that over 70 private secondary schools were operating in the state without their operations being monitored. In his remarks, the state governor, Abdul’aziz Yari Abubakar, expressed dissatisfaction with the parlous state of the education sector in the
state, attributing the situation to a high level of corruption among all stakeholders. He said the constitution of the committee was informed by the outcome of a similar exercise carried out in primary schools, where government was able to address some of the major challenges
and gaps identified by the committee. The governor revealed that his administration would study the report and develop an action plan with a view to improving the sector and put an end to the deteriorating condition.
160 Niger Delta youths for further studies in U.S., UK By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku total of 160 youths from A the Niger Delta region who are proceeding to various universities in the United States and the United Kingdom for further studies, under the Special Scholarship Scheme of the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, have undergone a predeployment orientation. The training programme, in partnership with Kaplan International Colleges of United States Pathway Programme (USPP), is part of the reintegration programme of the Amnesty Programme instituted by the Federal Government for Niger Delta militants. The event, which took place at Eko Hotel and
Suites, Lagos, as one of the last activities before the beneficiaries depart the country was titled: “A Testimony of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Investment in the Nigerian Child.” Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku at the event said that the successful collaboration with Kaplan International Colleges by President Jonathan resulted in the admission of 138 youths into 10 universities in the United States, while the remaining 22 are off to universities in the United Kingdom. He revealed that the foundation class, which was instituted last year by Kaplan in Nigeria to pre-
pare the youths for studies abroad, had 180 youths on board of which 160 performed well leaving the remaining 20, who will be placed in different universities in Nigeria. Kuku, however, advised the youths to make the best use of the opportunity given to them by the country and do their families and the country proud, urging them to draw inspirations from their compatriots in the U.S. whom he said are winning awards as a result of their academic excellence. Meanwhile, Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Abdul Ningi says the importance of the scheme and its rightfulness can never be too much in the reintegration and pacification of a people, who are richly
blessed with natural resources but have, for a very long time, been neglected and degraded by that resources. He disclosed that these were the reasons the late President, Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua made him chairman of a committee charged with the responsibility of bringing peace to the region, of which amnesty was one of the road maps. He said: “I have taken time to visit the nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta and I have a clear perspective of what it is and looks like. No reasonable human being has any reason not to identify with what is happening over there. The poverty, the degradation of humanity should be of serious concern to the country. When you go there, you
ask your inner conscience about the neglect of the people who have resources at their backyard but who have nothing to do because of the terrible environmental degradation.” Ningi advised the beneficiaries to go abroad and acquire the requisite knowledge, come back and become good ambassadors of their region and the country in general, even as he urged handlers of the scheme to ensure that the youths come back to Nigeria after their studies to impact on the nation. The youths were full of gratitude to the Federal Government for empowering them promising to make good use of the opportunity presented them.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014 EDUCATION
Government to resuscitate school feeding initiative • Osun feeds 500, 000 pupils daily, to issue smart card for school meals From Tunji Omofoye (Osogbo) and Kanayo Umeh (Abuja) HE Federal Government has announced that T it would intensify efforts at resuscitating homegrown school feeding in all schools around the country. Already, 12 states have been selected for the pilot scheme of the programme. The states are Bauchi, Osun Edo, Enugu, Imo, Kano, Kogi, Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun and Yobe and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, disclosed this in Abuja recently at an event to promote homegrown school meals for pupils. It was at the instance of the Federal Government and Partnership for Child Development (PCD). Only Kano and Osun state governments are currently implementing school feeding programmes on their own country. Tagged “Investing in School Feeding in Nigeria: Opportunities for Advancing Homegrown School Feeding Programmes for the Benefit of School Children and Farmers in Nigeria, the minister noted that the programme if well implemented, would help achieve a lot in the education sector. According to Wike, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr. Mac-John Nwaobiala, some of the objectives of the homegrown school feeding include but not limited to increase in school enrolment, combating malnutrition, provision of special safety net for the less privileged in the society among others. Earlier this year, the PCD, in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) and with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme. HGSF, modeled in part after programmes developed by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), works with governments to develop and implement school feeding programmes, improving the diets and education of students while also creating jobs and supporting local agriculture. Starting with five countries that were either already running school food programs or had demonstrated an interest in them and a capacity for implementation–including Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Mali, Kenya, and Ghana–HGSF hopes to create a bigger market for rural farmers through demand created by purchasing only locally grown and processed food for school meals. In his presentation, the Osun state Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, said his administration would soon begin the issuance of smart cards to p u p i l s enrolled under the state elementary education. Aregbesola said though the programme had been devoid of manipulation since it was repackaged in 2010, digitalising it would further enhance its sanctity. “We are advancing to a point whereby nobody would manipulate the process. By the end of this month, we are going to issue all our students, particularly at the elementary level, with electronic smart cards with which they will be registered and their consumption of meals on the point of sale terminal documented. And, once they so do, all that the caterers needs to do is to take their POS to the bank, where the number of students fed will be analysed. We are digitising the process in such a way that there can’t be any human manipulation. This means it is one programme that is worthy of every naira and kobo
that has gone into it,” said the governor. Aregbesola, who informed that the sum of N601, 400 was paid out daily to each of the 3,007 community caterers engaged in the school feeding programme as transport fare, added, “today, with Osun’s elementary school enrolment figure of almost 253,000, the implication is that of increasing our annual expenditure on O’MEALS to about N3b. And, this does not include staff salary.” Speaking on the significance of the school feeding programme in the state, he said it was consistent with his government’s goals of banishing hunger and poverty, creating work and wealth amongst others. “The objectives behind O’MEALS are improvement of the nutrition and health of our school children; increase in school enrolment, retention and completion; and reduction of poverty and stimulation of small and medium scale enterprises development,” he stated. In her remarks, Executive Director of PCD, Dr Leslie Drake, urged the different tiers of government in the country to collaborate and ensure the success of the project. “The meeting is an excellent example of highlevel inter-ministerial collaboration at the federal and state levels to design sustainable school feeding programmes, which will improve the lives of children and small holder farmers across the country, “ she said. She also expressed the readiness of her institution to support any state that shows interest in the campaign. Meanwhile, the Osun State deputy governor, who doubles as Commissioner for Education, Titi Laoye-Tomori, says the number of public primary school pupils being fed daily by the government under “O Meals” programme has risen to 500,000 from the initial 155,318 pupils in 2012. She added that the success of the programme has attracted the attention of the Federal Government, states and foreign partners, who would soon converge on Osogbo, for a conference on its implementation. Laoye-Tomori, who gave a breakdown of the figures briefing newsmen in Osogbo on benefits the programme has brought to the state, stressed that the programme has significantly increased enrolment and retention of pupils in schools. According to her, “We started with the feeding of 155,318 pupils with one meal a day as at 30th April, 2012, and by the beginning of this academic session, the figure had risen to over 500,000 pupils being fed daily. The cost of feeding 155,318 pupils was N7.7m per day, N38.5m per week, and or N169.4m per month. Presently, it costs N3.2b to fund this programme on a yearly basis.” She claimed that critics of the programme were not being fair to her principal considering the impact the programme has had in the educational development of the state, as well as the accolades it has received accolades from persons within and outside the country. She added that the programme has boosted the production capacity of local farmers particularly poultry and beef suppliers, who supply the protein contents of the menu, stressing that Osun farmers were involved in all the components of the food menu, a development that has led to empowerment and increased prosperity of smallholder farmers.
Why Ondo free school shuttle programme is successful, by Akinmade of school certificate, they are NDO State Commissioner gramme is basically a social civil servants and they are O for Information, Mr. responsibility effort of govtrained to look after the vehiKayode Akinmade, says the ernment and one of the carfree school shuttle programme initiated by the state government has been successful because of the political will displayed by Governor Olusegun Mimiko, and the operational design of the programme, which made it civil servant driven project. Akinmade, who was fielding questions from newsmen in Akure, in company of his counterpart from the transport ministry, Nicholas Tofowomo, said, “The pro-
ing heart programmes of Governor Mimiko.” Akinmade added that the programme, which clocks two next month, “is one of the ways the government has been able to demonstrate its sincerity to serve the people and justify its mandate.” Speaking in the same vein, Tofowomo said, “The free school shuttle was started here in Akure. The drivers we employed have a minimum
cle if they break down, and we have transport operations unit in the ministry with a director, who drives the concept. “…So, our vision is to guarantee safety on our roads, to make the roads very accessible to everybody, and to even let our children feel the impact of meaningful transportation system in the state. That is what gave birth to the free school shuttle buses system,” he added.
“Furthermore, the state government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, in collaboration with Osun-based Agro Business Company, invested the sum of N253m in the implementation of Osun Fisheries Out-
growers Production Scheme (OFOPS). The scheme has empowered 462 fish out-growers for mass fish production in the state. Presently, the scheme supplies about 400 metric tonnes of fish weekly for the O-Meals programme,” she
Thursday, May 22, 2014 45
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Education ‘How to improve innovation in Nigerian universities’ Sola Abulu is the International Relations Manager for Nigeria at Shell International, The Netherlands. In this interview with EMEKA ANUFORO at the recently concluded EcoMarathon in Rotterdam, she speak of the hidden innovative potentials of Nigerian students and posits that given the right environment, world class curriculum and policy support, Nigerian students have the potentials to compete with the best in the global technology community. Excerpts: What is the history behind the participation of cars produced by students of the University of Lagos and University of Benin in this car of the future competition? HELL Eco Marathon is a competition that Shell has been sponsoring globally as part of its support for science and innovation, and also education and there have been competitions in Europe, in Asia and also in America. This year, I would say, is the first time that a country from Sub Saharan Africa is actually asked to participate in the Shell Eco Marathon in Europe. Before now, we have had other African countries like Tunisia, Morocco participating in some of the Shell Eco Marathons in Europe. This is the first time that a country from subSaharan Africa would participate and we are very happy at Shell International, and also as Shell Nigeria for that opportunity and that it was my country, Nigeria that has broken that. This is a competition that has a 30-year history behind it. For Shell Nigeria, we have always supported education, innovation and science. We have several interventions in terms of scholarships, which go to secondary schools every year. Over 3000 scholarships go to university undergraduates every year and we have tens of thousands of scholarships to secondary school students that go to the Niger Delta mostly and other parts of Nigeria. Our NNPCShell Cup is also another intervention in sports. Recognising that our country is a football loving country and there is a lot of talents in terms of our football, we promote youths and education in sports, to ensure that students don’t have to choose between education and sports. The Shell Eco Marathon is just a continuation of that intervention that has always happened in the area of education and youth development. We have a university liaison team, which has always had a liaison in Nigeria. We have a professorial chair in some of the federal universities in Nigeria, and the choice of schools that will be a part of this competition was on the basis of that university liaison outreach, which we have had also for several decades as Shell Nigeria. So, the schools that were initially chosen: Ahmadu Bello University, University of Lagos, and University of Benin, were brought here last year to come and look at what the competition was about and what was happening. Like I said, it is a continuation of our ongoing intervention and support and also partnership in education, and the people of Nigeria. So, the three universities came and had a look at what was going on, and they took up the challenge. This has been a wonderful experience for the students because it is an opportunity for them to test practically what they have learnt in school and what they are doing in the outside world. The University of Benin (UNIBEN), for instance, has about three students from production engineering, and they have to develop a product that has made them see the difference between when one designs a concept and tries to bring it out through the whole production process. For us, that learning is more
Abulu important than any other thing. It is an exercise. It also made them understand how you develop products to standards, because by subjecting them to safety inspections, technical inspections, they understand the role of standards, because if you are producing any product in terms of production engineering, it has to meet the standards. It is either export standards, safety standards, technical standards, quality control standards and they are learning all of that, here. So, this is a real life, practical experience for them for the challenges that they will face in their work and profession as they move outside of the university. In other countries where it operates, different companies sponsor students participating at the marathon as you can see here. Apart from the Shell Eco Marathon sponsors like HP and Michelin, each of the country teams or the students from the country teams have companies that support them from their countries. That is the only way you can have what is called a funnel of interventions using this. This is just one platform. There should be several platforms. There are all sorts of programs that can go within a university-learning environment. So, the Shell Eco Marathon is one of several potential platforms. We would like that as these students go back and their stories are being told, many other people also, many other companies, sponsors and partners get involved, to begin to see how they can make this something that is sustainable without our universities, because an experience that we saw is that there is a big difference between design, concept, and actual hands-on experience. Was there a competition before the three universities were eventually chosen back in Nigeria? It was based on our university liaison recommendations. In other words, we used the uni-
versities where we had a professorial chair in engineering. We spoke to them asking them to give us the best students, from fields in engineering in particular, because we knew before hand, what this challenge would entail. We didn’t want to bring students into an area that would not be useful to them. It was all about ensuring that those students who were already in professions that had a seat, with the kind of skills that Eco Marathon would bring would form the core team. Of course, as the team grew, they began to do other things, there was room for people to help with art, design, communication, publicity, so that it is not only people from core engineering. As you know, students that we have here are the core team, while we also have some members, extended members of the core team, who didn’t come to Rotterdam, and also other supporters who were within the larger team, but also on campus. There was now room for those people from multi diverse skills to come in. But the initial core team was very strong in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, production engineering and all those other skills that would be useful. So, they came here last year
and they were able to see things for themselves. We were able to organise a technical visit to Technical University Delft, The Netherlands, where they went to the workshop, and saw what other students who had been veterans of the Shell Eco Marathon, who had done for over 10 years. When the students got back, they were now able to set up a team, bearing in mind that it should have a mix of 500 level students, 400, 200 and 100 levels so as to ensure continuity. We are very pleased that everything that they learnt was useful. There is so much jubilation over the students’ cars passing technical and safety inspection and not in winning the actual race. Why is that so? We have about 200 teams here today. Out of the 200 teams, there are several who have been here before, who did not actually pass through that technical and safety inspection. You and I know that even for the established auto manufacturers, we have heard cases of very prominent companies having to recall their cars in recent times over safety concerns. So, even established automakers sometimes have problems with safety and technical issues, depending on something that was missed out in the production process. Building a car from scratch and being able to get it to a point where it meets technical and safety standards, to be able to be certified to race in a track with other cars, is a major achievement. For us as Nigerians, it is the first time. There are so many firsts to celebrate in this. It is not even about racing or winning and all of that. It is about the first team to build a car, first team to test a car that moves, to pass technical and safety evaluations. And there is a distinction between the two. If you noticed, there was a tag for technical and another tag for safety. Both were passed, meaning that it is a safe car. It is a car to drive on a racetrack with other vehicles. It will not cause injury to the driver and to other people. It is a major achievement. It sends a message home, to the young ones and to everybody in Nigeria, that really, with the right opportunity, the right platform, access and the commitment of decision makers and everybody involved, the sky really is the start point for our youths and the future of our country, Nigeria. Do you hope to bring more universities into this in the future? When you start something, it is usually good to take it step by step. When we started in 2013, it was a challenge. We started with three students; today we are here with two. A lot depends on how things go on from now. And I will say, this is still the Shell Eco Marathon Europe. It is not the Shell Eco Marathon Africa. Even before the students came here, they first had to present a design. They went through a qualification stage even before they were allowed to come here. It is because they passed that stage that showed that they were able to build a car that even made them come here. There are some teams from other parts that actually applied and failed the process. There were majorly two stages of qualification and any team that failed in any of them would
CONTINUED ON PAGE 48
If you noticed, there was a tag for technical and another tag for safety. Both were passed, meaning that it is a safe car. It is a car to drive on a racetrack with other vehicles. It will not cause injury to the driver and to other people. It is a major achievement. It sends a message home, to the young ones and to everybody in Nigeria, that really, with the right opportunity, the right platform, access and the commitment of decision makers and everybody involved, the sky really is the start point for our youths and the future of our country, Nigeria.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014 EDUCATION
‘Music, another multi-sensory approach to learning’ By Ujunwa Atueyi
N recent years, school curricula in Nigeria have shifted from the conventional reading and writing to development of human self through extracurricular activities. Researches have also indicated that participation in extracurricular activities affect students’ academic performances positively. It is against this backdrop that school heads and managers under the umbrella
body of Association of International Schools’ Educators of Nigeria (AISEN), regularly engage students of member schools in extra curricular activities including music. Last weekend, over 700 students from 27 schools took turn to thrill parents, teachers and their peers with classical, traditional, jazz and rock music at the 10th Anniversary Music Festival of AISEN. The event was held at the Muson
Centre, Lagos. Speaking at the concert, AISEN President, Mrs. Ekuah Abudu, commended the student’s display, saying those of them that may wish to take to music as a profession in later life could easily become stars considering the level of their exposure to music and all its concept. Abudu, who said, “Music allows children to express the creative part of their lives, described the students’ per-
formance as “exhilarating, beautiful and very lifting.” For the Principal of Global International College, Mrs. Bisi Layiwola, children who are exposed to music early in life make use of all sides of their brain. Said she, “There is something that music does in every individual’s life. Those who have found the music side of their life are on the way to living a more balanced and fulfilling life. These children are using
all sides of their brain, they can think, create, compose and sing same song other people have sang. We are not just all mathematics and science, there is also music in our lives.” According to the Music Director, William AlloteyPappoe, music helps children to concentrate, build confidence alongside enjoying it. “Bringing out beauty of sound from a script is an awesome experience.”
After watching the children perform, a teacher from Day Waterman College, Lyn Newell said, “I think side-byside, we are looking at Nigerian musicians of the future. Aside from that, students who get in top universities around the world, are often requested to have extra curricular skill and music is a top priority, because of the mathematics in it, the timing, the notation, it helps do mental things with your mind, in fact, it is a brain gym.”
GEC lists benefits of overseas education to Nigerians, others By Ujunwa Atueyi PART from obtaining the A Golden Fleece and attendant opportunities that come with overseas education, studying abroad exposes students to new knowledge and expertise from around the world, which ultimately benefit their respective economies. According to the President of Global Education Counselling (GEC), Mr. Theo Theodorou, it also provides opportunity for expansion of one’s worldview as well as help in analysing problems from an international perspective. Speaking at the just concluded GEC university education fair, held in Lagos, Theodorou stressed that overseas programmes offer students competitive edge in job markets considering today’s era of globalisation. He said the essence of the fair was to give Nigerian students ample opportunity to consider a wide range of study opportunities, and also have independent views of the suitability of a particular institution and course, based on their own specific needs and budgets. Prospective students who turned up at the Lagos venue of the fair were provided with firsthand information and prospectus of the partner institutions, available programmes, courses, scholarships opportunities and sundry financial implications. Organised ahead of the September 2014 and January 2015 admission windows in partner institutions across the United Kingdom (UK), Europe, Asia and North America, participants at the fair interacted with representatives of eleven universities present who were present.
According to Theodorou, “The desire and thirst for learning is so high on the agenda of Nigerian parents and students. Studying in our partner universities, which provide over 200 programmes offered at all levels, ensures that students are more open to new knowledge and expertise. We don’t compromise on quality, we offer students the best education opportunities that they desire to follow in reputable and accredited institutions worldwide.” “We provide adequate information on universities that offers scholarships, both regional and academic scholarships. We also advise them to go through the British Council where they can get information about organisations that offer scholarships in the world. And when these students complete their programmes, they go back and add value to their society and the world at large.” Theodorou, who noted that Nigeria was the third country in the world that sends the highest number of students abroad to study, after China and India, added that this shows the passion for education and drive for excellence in learning that Nigerians desire. “At one of my partner universities, there was a survey undertaken by the university to see, which national group in the postgraduate programmes achieved the top academic results, and do you know who came top, of course your beloved country, Nigeria and it was such a proud moment for all at GEC. Nigerians are enjoying the benefits of overseas education to the fullest.” Also, the International Marketing Manager, University of Bedfordshire, UK,
British Council partners Virgin Atlantic to support young entrepreneurs ORRIED by the rising W unemployment statistics in the country and its after effect on Nigeria graduates and the nation’s economy, the British Council in partnership with Virgin Atlantic Airways, has announced an entrepreneurial competition tagged “Enterprise Challenge”. The “Enterprise Challenge”, aimed at encouraging Nigerian youths to be independent, according to the organisers, is an online competition, which seeks to give young, brilliant minds the opportunity to further develop their skills and bring their innovative ideas to the fore for possible future development. In his comment, the British Council’s spokesperson, Desmond Omovie, noted that the competition, which would be a battle of the best minds,
was designed to test a range of consumerist skills and would take place in three task cycles over a five- week period. According to him, “Participants will compete for the opportunity to win flight tickets to the United Kingdom (UK) aboard Virgin Atlantic Airways and an opportunity to meet and be mentored by one of UK’s foremost entrepreneurs and Chairman of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson. The competition is open to Nigerians currently domiciled in Nigeria and those studying in the UK, who fall within the 18 to 35 year age bracket. He said the overall aim was to promote the development of entrepreneurial skills among Nigerian youths.
At one of my partner universities, there was a survey undertaken by the university to see, which national group in the postgraduate programmes achieved the top academic results, and do you know who came top, of course your beloved country, Nigeria and it was such a proud moment for all at GEC. Nigerians are enjoying the benefits of overseas education to the fullest Mr. Nicolae Pavel, remarked that one of the reasons why large number of Nigerians were interested in studying abroad was because Nigerian universities’ contents were not in tune with global trend. According to him, “It is not
that Nigerians are looking down at their educational system, but the issue is that education managers in Nigeria are looking at local and regional issues. In the UK, we invest billions in education, our facilities are world class and our stu-
dents have global experiences as they are exposed to global scenario. “Nigeria is still a developing nation because she choose to, there is no way a country can develop with local and regional contents… and it is only
through education that things can change for good in Africa. Ninety per cent of our graduates get job within six months of their graduation because they are well prepared to work anywhere in the world, not just in our locality or region,” he stated. He therefore, called on policy makers in the Nigerian education sector to take a second look at the country’s educational contents at all levels and provide learning based on international scenarios.
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50 Thursday, May 22, 2014 EDUCATION
Board’s chairman, Anosike flays administrators over decay in colleges of education From Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja HAIRMAN, Governing C Board, Federal Colleges of Education (FCOE), Senator Emmanuel Anosike, has blamed school administrators for the decay in some federal government-owned colleges of education. Anosike, whose board just returned from a tour of the colleges, noted that though budgetary allocations have been very minimal, most schools lacked basic idea of how to judiciously utilise available resources, stressing that it was a sheer case of misplaced priorities. According to him, the tour was necessary to enable board members personally assess the situation on ground with a view to making recommendations to the government on the way forward. Anosike lamented in most colleges, available infrastructure were the ones provided by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). Those embarked upon directly by the schools were abandoned at different levels of completion. His words: “We decided to tour federal colleges of education to see things for ourselves and be able to advice
the system accordingly. However, we must commend TETFund for putting in place, most of the structures found in the colleges. Since money released by the federal government is often minimal, some projects last as long as four years. “Surprisingly, when you get into some of the colleges, you will see the issue of misplaced priorities, where managers left what was important and began to do what is not. There is a college with a total student population of about 13,000. Unfortunately, hostel provision could only accommodate about 1000 students. Yet, the college provost was busy building mini stadium and guest houses,” he said. Anosike, however, observed that while some colleges have remained backward due to poor management, others were highly organised and maintained standards that could compete favourably with most universities in the country. “Generally, we are excited. Our tour has given us a picture of what our colleges are like. The system has tried. I never knew the system even provides grants for PhD research. The small problem we are having comes majorly from managers of those schools. “Most of the problems attrib-
Surprisingly, when you get into some of the colleges, you will see the issue of misplaced priorities, where managers left what was important and began to do what is not. There is a college with a total student population of about 13,000. Unfortunately, hostel provision could only accommodate about 1000 students. Yet, the college provost was busy building mini stadium and guesthouses
Anosike uted to the federal government are caused by managers of those institutions,” Anosike stated adding, “We also discovered that some managers of colleges do not know how to operate laptops, yet they are canvassing the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT). That is where regula-
tors have to work. We are making out all these reports, at the end of the day, we send to the system to deal with the issues.” Decrying the quality of graduates churned out annually by the nation’s tertiary institutions, Anosike said measures were being devised to curb students’ apathy to read-
ing. According to him, the board is collaborating with schools to insist on 95 per cent class attendants before any student would be allowed to sit for examinations. “The critical problem of poor quality graduates comes from within the school environments. Some colleges are very strong with quality products while in others, some students don’t attend lectures, yet they want to pass examinations and get results at the end of the day. “But we have resolved that every class will have a register and make attendance mandatory. Every lecturer should be able to tell students that if they miss classes thrice, they may not write their examinations. We are trying to market this to the school provosts and some of them are buying in. We know some student bodies will oppose it, but are ready to push for it,” Anosike said.
On the lingering phase-off between the federal government and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), the board chairman said: “What happened is that we have completed one step and we are telling the people what we have done. “At the same time, whenever we get to a school, we try to meet with the unions, appealing to them to go back to school while negotiation continues. On their part, they want guarantee because there has been credibility problem over time. “But we are pleading with them. Already, they have their impressions about the Labour Minister supervising Education Minister respectively due to different approaches adopted by each of them in the course of negotiation… But I know we are getting to the end of the strike action,” he noted.
DFID, partners institute support fund for girls’ education in Africa By Olawunmi Ojo O entrench gender equality T in education in Africa and improve learning outcomes for girls, the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID), has launched a Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) project. The project, estimated to help up to a million of the world’s poorest girls improve their lives through education, is to be implemented in Afghanistan, Nepal, Nigeria, Ghana and13 other African countries. The initiative calls on nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), charities and the private sector to find better ways of getting girls in school and ensuring they receive quality education to transform their future. Described as Sub-Saharan Africa’s first interactive distance-learning project, GEC is to use cutting edge technology to deliver a scalable solution to the long-standing problem of providing a good quality teacher to thousands of students that currently have no access to one. According to a statement issued by DFID, there are three categories of the GEC, namely, strategic partnerships, step change projects and innovation projects. And under the strategic partnership, the first partnership between DFID and Discovery Communications would see the Discovery Project invest about £12.3 million in girls’ education in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. This would in addition be match-funded by DFID.
“To get more girls in school and ensure quality education, the Discovery Project will reach over 1.2 million marginalised girls, and achieve a wider impact for boys and members of their families and communities in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria by establishing 1,000 learning centres in schools, providing technology, exciting video programming and training to 8,000 teachers on using media to improve teaching and learning, as well as implementing community outreach strategies “It would collaborate with girls and experts to develop nationally broadcast television discussion shows where issues of gender can be woven into the public dialogue “In addition, it would train and support communities on how to develop their own action plans to address gender marginalisation issues, including supporting selfformed girls clubs for in and out-of-school girls to encourage them to attend, stay and succeed in school,” the development agency said. A second partnership between DFID and the CocaCola Company is to bolster the educational and economic opportunities of more than 10,000 marginalised girls and young women in Nigeria. Together, The Coca-Cola Company and DFID will invest nearly £7 million in an initiative known as ENGINE (Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises). The investment comes as part of the UK Government’s Girls’ Education and The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20, which seeks to enable the economic
empowerment of 5 million female entrepreneurs across the global Coca-Cola value chain by 2020. ENGINE will establish over 170 learning spaces where girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 19 will meet for academic support and training sessions over a ninemonth period. About 5,400 girls who are still in school will receive after school tutoring, as well as training to advance their leadership and entrepreneurship skills. Already, the DFID-funded project has taken off in Ghana, with GEMS Education Solutions, Ghana as anchor under the title, MGCubed (Making Ghana Girls Great!) education project.
The project uses innovative education technology to deliver good quality lessons ‘virtually’ to over 8,000 boys and girls over two and half years (5,000 marginalised girls) in the Volta Region and Greater Accra Region of Ghana. It will equip classrooms in 72 government primary schools with solar panels, satellite modems, computers and software, projectors, mics and webcams so that they can log onto the server and receive live interactive lessons broadcast from teaching studios in Accra. Initially, two hours of English Language and Maths lessons per day will be provided for five days per week, plus
two hours of after-school gender-sensitive training for 4 days per weeks exclusively for marginalised girl students. The technology is particularly innovative because solar panels ensure power is stored, ensuring that virtual lessons can still be delivered despite the infrastructure challenges in the region that can lead to an intermittent supply of power. The project, according to a statement by GEMS Education, Ghana, has the potential to deliver a teacher student ratio of 1:1000 – giving access to high quality education to those who have not had it before. “Its interactive methodology benefits pupils but also helps
local teachers change their teaching methods. The system can deliver formal school training and informal afterschool training. The project is scalable since additional users can be added at a marginal cost. It can also be extended to include adult education in other areas such as health, enterprise and agriculture. “Within these deprived communities, MGCubed specifically targets girls most educationally at-risk, that means inschool girls aged 7-14 who are at risk of dropping out, and girls who are not in any formal education. Currently, girls between 7-24 years spend more hours on household chores than boys,” the statement added.
IMIM boss, Ijioma, cautions on use of new media From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri HE President T Institute of Communication
of the Mass and Information Management of Nigeria (IMIM), Dr. Chukwuemeka I. Ijioma, wants educational institutions at all levels and other users of the social media to take the advantage of the positive side of the platforms to advance developmental courses in the country. In his welcome address at a this year’s national conference of the body recently at the auditorium of the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, Imo State, Ijioma said, “Apart from re-defin-
ing social relationships, political leaders are now harnessing its (social media’s) potency in developing their political clout and promoting their political interests.” At the conference, which theme was “Celebrating Our Centenary: The Dawn of the New Media, Governance and the Democratic Space,” the president said that the theme was apt in view of the gains and pains, which the social media bears in equal measure. The former rector of Abia State Polytechnic said the emergence of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo among others, if put to good use,
was capable of assisting journalists and others users to effectively carry out their duties in the global community. Also speaking, publisher of Champion Newspapers, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, said his love and interest in communication matters led him to establish the newspaper more than two decades ago. The occasion witnessed several lectures by seasoned academics, admission of new fellows into the body as well as induction of new members. At the event, award were presented to Iwuanyanwu, the Provost of the AIFCE, Dr.
Blessing Ijioma, a former Managing Director of Champion Newspapers, Chief Bob Ogbuagu, the Managing Director of the African Independent Television (AIT), Mrs. Oluwatosin Abimbola Dopkesi, owner of the Zanders FM, Owerri, Chief Kennedy Zanders, the General Manager of Orange FM, Mr. Olumuyiwa Tokunbo Jegede, the first Vice President of the IMIM, Alhaji Rabiu kera, a former member of the House of Representatives, Jibrin Abdulmumin, Lt. Col. Ibrahim Ja’afar, Mohammed Idris and Daude Zuye- Nda Ageni for their contributions to humanity.
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52 Thursday, May 22, 2014 EDUCATION
‘We will make the difference in Nigeria’ A fortnight ago, the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, Adamawa State held its Sixth Commencement Ceremony, where it also turned out its first set of higher degree holders. Of the over 280 new graduates, Ahmad Idris Ahmad and Lotana Jessica Nwosu stood out like shinny stars, carting home 13 academic and service awards. For the first time, the school is producing joint valedictorians. Like their counterparts in the Class of 2014, they believe that with the training, exposure and experiences acquired, they would serve as game-changers in the country, writes ENO-ABASI SUNDAY. ELDOM do fresh Nigerian Senthusiasm, graduates exude so much confidence and verve about the years ahead. In fact, more often than not, they are usually sceptical about what the future holds for them. Matters are not helped as Nigerian schools’ curriculum, which places little or no emphasis on entrepreneurial skills, the quality of teaching and learning believed by many to be below par, among several other factors, have joined forces to condition many fresh school leavers in the country to remain perennial job seekers. Additionally, the growing lack of self-confidence as well as glaring evidences of joblessness, which their predecessors have got to endure over the years, further fuels the fears nursed by this class of Nigerians. But the Class of 2014 of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), like their predecessors believe that with the all-round American-style university education they have received and the experiences they have been subjected to, they have been sufficiently equipped to play key roles in helping the Nigerian society realise its full potentials. Already, graduates of the institution, which prides itself as Nigeria’s premier development university, have taken the school’s values of curiosity, rigour, ambition and hard work into their respective fields of human endeavours, where they want to contribute their quota to changing the country. Two nights before the Sixth Commencement Ceremony of the institution, some of its brightest products were treated to a dinner and also inducted into the school’s Honour Society. Amongst the inductees numbering over 25, were the joint valedictorians in the Class of 2014, Ahmad Idris Ahmad and Lotana Jessica Nwosu. The society is an association created to foster academic and ethical excellence, and it represents a long-standing tradition in American colleges and universities. Every spring semester, sophomores and juniors who have attained a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 and above (on a four point scale) are invited to apply for membership. After interviews with execu-
Ahmad tive members of the society, final applicants are selected. After induction, a 3.5 grade point average is likewise required to maintain membership status. Over the years, the society has played an active role in AUN’s intellectual life, as role models and tutors across a range of courses and disciplines – as well as actors and innovators in community service. In accepting membership of society, AUN students commit themselves to upholding the highest possible standards of integrity, intellect and service to others. This explains the strict educational regimen Ahmad and Nwosu especially had to maintain to emerge joint valedictorians. Other new members of the society are Hephzber Obiorah, Tolulope Awoderu, Ebuka Williams, Donatus Edi, Ifechukwu Onwurah, Khadija Ali, Aisha Ali, Chikaodili Chukwuneke, Olamide Oshodi, Donatus Edi, Nneka Oringamje, Ifeoma Iwobi, Adams Brown, Stephanie Uwagwu and Abiton Omatsone others. Afeez Bakare, Chidubem Arachie, Fatima Bulama, Fareeda Abdulkareem, Nkechi Okonkwo, Onuche Idoko, Celeste Ukam, Osarumwense Evbuomwan, Paul Onwurah, Olonade Oluwatope and Sakina Ardo complete the latest batch of former students to people the elite club. Having been taught by some of the world’s best lecturers sourced from around the globe, and in Nigeria’s first fully ‘‘wireless” campus where computer literacy is taught and required of all, and in a school that has developed a strong community service programme, where students go out into the local community to learn the reality of poverty; of the chal-
lenges of development; to see what is working and what is not, to test new ideas and discard old misconceptions, the fresh-mint graduates strongly believe it was time to put into concrete terms, what they have been taught. However, an inkling into the excellent academic records maintained by the joint valedictorians was hinted at on the eve of their graduation, where both won 13 academic and service awards, with Nwosu carting home seven and Ahmad, six. Those they won jointly included the Overall Best Graduating Student Award in the School of Arts and Science, Corporate Award for Academic Excellence sponsored by Intels Nigeria and the Haruna Musa (Valedictorian) Award. Boyish looking, slim built Ahmad is a classic example of the saying the great things come in small packages. He arrived at the institution to major in Petroleum Chemistry, having heard so much about the AUN. Described by many as a focused and determined student, whose dream is to work very hard and acquire a Ph.D, at about 26 or 27 years of age, and be addressed as ‘‘Dr. Ahmad.” He credits his Alma mater with helping him pin down a career path. The 2014 joint Overall Best Graduating Student wants to hurriedly acquire knowledge so as to spend the better part, or the rest of his life teaching, nurturing and helping other young people achieve their dreams. Ahmad, son of a Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) officer has not always dreamt of imparting knowledge into younger people. By his admission, his worldview took a 360-degree turn around during his time at AUN. “To be honest, my initial motivation for choosing Petroleum Chemistry as my
major was to make money. The plan was simple for me. Get a B.Sc in a petroleum related field, work in an oil company, and make my clean oil money. Because of my overall experience here, I can tell you, my thinking has changed. Why? We all have hearts, and we are humans. When you participate in community service and you see women as old as your mum struggling to learn how to read and write, when you go to secondary schools and their teachers cannot even speak correct English, when you enter classes and you see students on the floor in a classroom with neither ceilings or windows, when you go to an orphanage and you see kids with no one to take care of them, when you go to hospitals that are poorly equipped and the medical doctors are on strike and people are dying, when you see a graduate with a degree without a job, and when you see a mother shedding tears because her children don’t have food to eat, trust me, your perspective in life changes,” he told an august audience in his valedictorian speech. During her speech at the graduation ceremony, President of the school, Dr. Margie Ensign urged the new graduates never to remain passive or docile in the society they were pouring into as they have been brought up as problem solvers and solution providers. Specifically, she said, “There are many things you can’t be silent about now in Nigeria: girls being kidnapped, young people being killed, women and men losing their spouses, high levels of poverty, lack of accountability for criminal acts including violence in the North, maternal mortality rates remaining among the highest in the world, very low levels of literacy, high unemployment rate and a large
portion of the youth without hope. If one chooses to remain silent…well, these are the results. So what I am here to plead is that you use your education to impact Nigeria. Use it to impact lives in whatever community you choose to live in. Use it to change your profession, your community, and your country. Use it to change the world.” Ahmad could not agree less with Ensign. According to him, “We have a country where there is a gap between the leaders and the followers. The leaders don’t really have a clear picture of what’s happening with their people. AUN connects you with the less privileged, where you can have first hand information on their problems. With the tools acquired in a worldclass institution, you can easily provide appropriate and long lasting solutions. “We are backwards because we depend too much on the government for a lot of things. AUN teaches you that an individual can provide solutions to the basic needs of any community. We can initiate sustainable projects and find ways to fund them. We must not always wait for help, which might never come. That is how we can put the education to practice.” The core of education at AUN has been participatory. And this includes participation in classes, in research, in group projects, participation in local development projects through community service and participation in the many activities of student life. These interactions, especially with the local community, many of them say has bolstered their sense of community. According to Ahmad, “This kind of exposure changes your perspectives about life. AUN makes you
realise that you have a thousand reasons to be grateful when you see the conditions of others. You can see that this type of mind set eliminates the problem of greed, and consequently corruption. AUN teaches you how to make the problems of the less privileged people your concern, and not to be a selfcentered citizen. This, I believe, reduces selfishness, and ultimately pave way for development in any environment.” Insisting that he was ready to offer to Nigeria his “absolute best,” Ahmad, assured further that for him and his colleagues, “We can offer our country our time and all our resources. We can offer our country hope. Nigeria is our country, and we can accelerate its development.” Nwosu, an Economics major, who joined AUN in 2010 has been greatly impacted by the institution and still cherishes the memory of her time there. According to her: “The welcome I received was unexpected but highly appreciated. Everything was easy and well organised. The orientation programme was helpful and assisted me in integrating into the university system. Professors at AUN are not only interested in teaching; they are interested in our overall development.” Expectedly, she says, “My experiences at AUN have shaped and prepared me to achieve my dreams.” And like Ahmad, she intends to go for graduate study where she hopes to obtain both her Masters and PhD in Economics, and thereafter become a university faculty member, where she will pass on the knowledge she has accumulated to future generations. “Education is one of the most effective tools of change and improvement in any society. When the Europeans came on their mission of “civilisation” to Africa, their initial approach was to frighten people with their guns. When they realised that the people always went back to their old ways, they decided to use a more effective tool of changeeducation. Education has always been my avenue for change. I am privileged to have attended a university that places a lot of importance on giving back to the society. The community service programme, gave me the opportunity to witness firsthand, the level of illiteracy in Nigeria. Going into the villages to discover that most of the women had no formal education was disheartening,” Nwosu told The Guardian. Nwosu, who said her little community service efforts further exposed her to the fact that these women were interested and dedicated to getting a formal education, but lacked the opportunity to do so, however, lamented that the abduction of Chibok schoolgirls by Islamists, apart from affecting the abducted girls path to being educated, has also created fears among some Nigerians, whom she said might restrict young girls from getting a formal education. “I hope to create awareness CONTINUED ON PAGE53
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NUC wants more schools to offer Actuarial Science From Kanayo Umeh, Abuja N a bid to equip Nigerian Iedge youths with both knowland skills to reduce unemployment in the country, the National Universities Commission (NUC) is to extend Actuarial science programme to all Nigerian universities. The Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Julius A. Okojie made the disclosure at a one-day stakeholders meeting on manpower development for Nigerian universities and key players in the pension sector, organised by the commission in Abuja. Professor Okojie said the problem of unemployment in the country could easily be addressed when youths are trained in various skills right from the university level, saying, “Actuarial science is the solution to Nigerian unem-
ployment problem.” “We have realised that making any impact in terms of development is not just about getting university education, but getting proper university education. And a combined package of good education and skills can mould our youths and make them become independent workers, even if they don’t get employment,” Okojie stated. He noted that even where some have graduated in courses that require skills, they were still not “skillfully” knowledgeable in their fields. “When someone says he studied computer science or actuarial science in the university, he has simply taken courses, but does not have much practical knowledge. Therefore you can be an accountant and not be employable,” he said. “We are now in a global econ-
omy, so a graduate cannot afford not to be at par with his colleagues around the world. We must combine proper education with good skills acquisition,” Okojie added. The NUC boss who said that only Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, and the University of Lagos (UNILAG) were running the programme at present, assured that the commission was planning to involve more universities to commence the p r o g r a m m e .
“We are at the stage of building the capacity of our manpower now. After we have gotten the required manpower, we will expand the programme to involve more universities. We are losing lots of benefits from Actuarial science and we want to utilise the programme to empower our youths.” Earlier, the Dean of Faculty of Administration of ABU, Zaria, Dr. Siraj Abdulkarim, said the school was planning to establish a Faculty of Actuarial
Science in order to expand the programme to cover other critical areas of human endeavour. The school, he said has, however, managed to sustain the programme, which was started in1975, with the cooperation of the British Council, Nigeria Insurance Cooperation, the National Pension Commission and others. The school would soon send a proposal to the NUC for consideration in this regard. Among others, the meeting,
which has since ended, was expected to galvanise the required funds for the training of teaching staff of Actuarial science to produce the required manpower for the sector. It was also expected to produce a more robust and internally acceptably curriculum that would be in tune with contemporary times. Representatives of the Tertiary Trust Fund (TETFund), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), PENCOM, NIACOM, ABU and the University of Lagos were all part of the meeting.
Njodi emerges UNIMAID VC-designate By Mohammed Abubakar and Oludare Richards, Abuja ROFESSOR Ibrahim P Abubakar Njodi, has emerged as the new Vice Chancellor-designate of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID). He take is to take over from Prof. Mala Mohammed Daura, whose five-year single tenure ends on June 3. Njodi’s appointment was announced at the end of a special meeting of the university’s Governing Council held at Kanem Suits, Abuja. Njodi, 55, was until the confirmation of his appointment on Tuesday, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Services) of the university. A graduate of the university, Njodi obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical and Health Education in 1985; Masters of Science in Health Education from the same institution between 1988-1991 and later obtained a PhD in Health Education from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), in 2003. To emerge tops, Njodi scored the highest vote of 90.1 per cent in the interview held by the Joint Council and Senate Selection Board on April 24 beating two other candidates to second and third places respectively. They include pro-
fessors Husaini Isa Marte of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department of the university, who scored 71.2 per cent, while Abubakar Kudiri also of the same university scored 69.5 per cent. A statement by the university’s spokesman, Malam Ahmed Mohammed made available to The Guardian in Abuja, Tuesday, said the VCdesignate joined the services of the university in 1987 as a graduate assistant in the Faculty of Education and rose through the ranks to become a professor in 2006. Besides, he has held various memberships and chairmanships positions in the university at both departmental and faculty levels as well as that of professional organisations and associations. According to Mohammed, “Njodi is a widely-published academic and has held various administrative positions in the university. He is a certified teacher registered with Teachers’ Registration. Council of Nigeria (TRCN) and also a member of the Nigerian Association for Physical, Health Education and Recreation Sports and Dance (NAPHER-SD); Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) and League of Researchers in Nigeria (LRN).
Proprietress, Channel of Hope Schools, Mrs. Bukola Shonde, Managing Consultant, Early Years Consult, Mrs.Funsho Chikezie, and Prof. Georgianna Duarte, University of Texas, Brownsville, USA during the Teachers’ Edusummit, organised by Early Years Africa in Lagos… recently
Bank rolls out programmes for Children’s Day celebration By Ujunwa Atueyi HEAD of the 2014 A Children’s Day celebration, Sterling Bank Plc, has rolled out strategic programmes to delight and make this year’s celebration a memorable one for Nigerian children. The programmes, which includes a mathematics competition for primary school pupils; “My One Bank” competition; mother and child expo and Children’s Day party, the Group Head, Strategy & Communications of the bank, Mr. Shina Atilola, said is aimed
at contributing to the improvement of the education sector and appreciating the Nigerian child. In a statement, made available to The Guardian, Atilola, hinted that “Support Mathematics” competition, was in line with the bank’s “One Sterling Education” initiative, designed to encourage students embrace mathematics, which they often see as a difficult subject. He said free forms are available at the bank, while students are expected to obtain an examination slip from the
branch to allow them sit for the examination at the Dola Hall of Caleb International College, Lagos on Saturday, May 24, 2014. “Successful students would be alerted via SMS two days after the examination inviting them to an award ceremony which will hold on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at the same venue.” As part of the reward system, students would be entertained at children’s day party on Saturday, May 24, 2014, at Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island, Lagos. “My One Bank” competition,
he said, is open to children between the ages of five and 17, same for Mother and Child Expo. “Participants would be given the opportunity to draw a bank of their dream, with the type of products they would offer and identification of their potential customers. The project will run for three months starting from May 24, 2014. “Mother and Child Expo” which will hold between May 24 and 25, at The Haven, Ikeja, is designed to encourage financial culture among children and their mothers,” he added.
Gloryland School seeks release of abducted Chibok girls By Emeka Nwachukwu
TUDENTS of Gloryland International College, Aguda, Lagos, have joined the rest of the world to demand for the release of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents over a month ago. The female students, led by the management of the school, matched to the Lagos State House of Assembly to state their grievances over the abduction of fellow students and future mothers, describing it as an “inhuman and barbaric act, which requires the collaboration of all to overcome.” With placards bearing such inscriptions as, “Our girls are not spoils of war,” among others, the girls lamented that the abducted girls’ education had been halted, adding that
their abduction was a painful psychological and emotional trauma. In their letter to Governor Babatunde Fashola, entitled, “Peaceful Protest for the Release of Abducted Chibok Girls,” the students said they shared the lofty dreams and aspirations of the innocent girls for the future of the country hence their search for formal education. One of the students, Miss Taiwo Oreoluwa on behalf of colleagues said, “Our minds are not at rest since the girls were abducted more than a month ago. We are lending our voice to the national outcry. These girls have been missing for too long. The Boko Haram insurgency is assuming a higher dimension on daily a basis. If we fail to lend our voices and do nothing because it’s happening in the
North, how are we sure it wouldn’t get here? “We don’t know what they’ve been eating or what they’ve done to them. Anybody that has information on how to get these girls should not hes-
itate to provide it and aid the immediate release of these innocent young girls,” she said. The Principal of the school, Mr. Oluwafemi Oladipo, decried the ugly development
and appealed to the government and relevant organisations to immediately address the issue of abduction of teenagers in the country. He appreciated the empathy shown by Nigerians and other
people across the globe, who are protesting and demanding the release of the abducted girls, “as this is not a healthy development in the country hence the worldwide condemnation of the act.”
‘We are ready to serve CONTINUED FROM PAGE 52 among my peers and let them know that there are children out there whose parents cannot feed them properly or provide them with a formal education. Being conscious of this at an early age, will hopefully elicit the desire in the next generation of Nigerians to make effective contributions that will bring about improve-
ment in all aspects of our lives when they find themselves in places of authority. I hope to achieve this by organising a program that will bring privilege children in contact with the children who are living an impoverished life.” Nwosu, who says she now understands the depth of Nigeria’s problems and can also see the changes, the improvements and the strengths of her citizens, added that she has also learnt
to not only see and criticise Nigeria’s problems, but also to think about solutions to these problems. I strongly believe every Nigerian has a little to offer this great country. I was privileged to attend a university that places great importance on giving back to community. With the education I have received and the experiences I gained, I hope to give back to Nigeria by not only doing my civic duties and obligations, but
assisting in my own way to solve the problems that Nigeria is facing in whatever form I find it. I hope to be a role model to women in Nigeria …and to show the youths that they can succeed by their hard work alone and not by falling into the trap of corruption that is so prevalent in this country. To show Nigeria as a whole that problems can lead to greatness and only create chaos when we dodge them or make attempt to take short cuts.
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MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY
AS AT 21-05-2014
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FMDQ OTC to license first batch of dealing members Stories by Helen Oji MDQ OTC PLC (FMDQ) in FFinancial collaboration with the Markets Dealers Association (FMDA) has announced the licensing of the first batch of its dealing members, comprising of banks and discount houses operational in the Nigerian financial market. Activation of other membership categories (Dealing Member – Non-Banks and Associate Members – Clients and Brokers) will commence subsequently. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) through FMDQ as a market organiser and selfregulatory organisation is coordinating the registration of FMDQ Dealing Members in order to streamline trading operations in the capital market with relevance to best practices. The event, which is slated for May 21, 2014, according to the firm, represents the formal activation of the capital market presence of FMDQ Dealing Members, as well as the collaboration with key regulators to further develop the over-thecounter (OTC) market. According to the Managing Director of the company, Bola Onadele, FMDQ as a self-regulatory organisation has embarked on a mission to strengthen the Nigerian OTC market through improved governance and capacity enhancement in order to facilitate FMDQ’s mission of empowering the OTC
financial markets to be innovative and credible in support of the Nigerian economy. “Following its launch in the Nigerian financial market landscape, FMDQ as a SEC licenced OTC market has begun delivering on its “GOLD”; Global Competitiveness, Operational Excellence, Liquidity, Diversity) agenda and strategic initiatives for the re-engineering and transformation of the OTC market. FMDQ is highly focused on its transformation agenda and within its short existence has added unprecedented transparency to the OTC markets, implemented a trading and surveillance system, reformed the NIBOR, improved on market regulation and risk management etc. The Chief Executive Officer of FMDA, Wale Abe said: “FMDA is delighted to see one of the short-term goals of the idea behind the establishment of FMDQ OTC come into early fruition with the licencing of its Dealing Members ahead of their registration with the Securities & Exchange Commission. This is quite obligatory given the increasing interest of global investors in our emerging economy. I strongly believe that this step will further assist to promote transparency and enhance ethical and professional practice in the market; which ultimately will espouse market efficiency and market deepening.”
SFS Capital launches fixed income product for investors FS Capital Nigeria limited Sfinancial (a member of the Skye Services Group) has launched a fixed income collective investment product for investors in the capital market. The SFS Fixed Income Fund is a collective investment scheme registered by the Securities & Exchange Commission and has a top rating of AA (Double A) According to the Prospectus released by the company, , the Fund has a target to give all investors a minimum return of 12 per cent p.a. irrespective of the time of entry and exit, noting that the fund must remain with the fund manager for at least one month in order to qualify for the return. Exit from the investment takes a maximum of five days after a request is made. The investment product, according to the company, invests exclusively in fixed income products such as federal government bonds, CBN treasury bills (with ‘AAA’ rating) and blue chip corporate bonds and commercial papers with a minimum of
‘A’ rating. Other parties to the fund include: Skye Trustees (Trustees), Skye Bank Plc (Receiving Bank), Securities Africa Financial Services (Stockbroker) and Stanbic IBTC Plc (Custodian). According to the company, it is the first investment product to utilize the NIBSS standing instruction platform, which enables both local and international investors to participate in the investment process through standing instructions from any Nigerian Bank with as low as N10,000.00 by completing a simple form. It is also eligible for institutional investment by Trustees, insurance companies, cooperative societies and Pension Funds due to its ‘AA’ rating and SEC registration. SFS Capital Nigeria Limited, the fund manager, according to the company, is a member of the Skye Financial Services Group while its board of directors include Dr. Layi Fatona ,Dr Yemi Kale ,Yemi Gbenro ; Dimeji Sonowo and its Managing Director, Patrick Ilodianya .
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Experts, stakeholders list impediments to forest reserves ON-COMPLIANCE with N and enforcement of forestry laws, neglect by the major stakeholders as well as indiscriminate timber and non-timber products harvesting are some of the major factors militating against the growth of forest reserves and other allied produce in Nigeria. The impediments were identified by experts and stakeholders at the 30-year anniversary of tree planting in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State tagged, “BisiRodipe Forest Show. “ The President, Tree Planters Association of Nigeria, Giwa BisiRodipe, University of Ibadan Forest Economics, Professor Labode Popoola and Ogun State Forestry Commissioner, Mr. Adebayo Fari, were among those who spoke on the occasion. Rodipe raised the alarm over the pitiable condition of the forestry industry in the country. According to him, despite the Federal Government’s effort in distributing tree seedlings in the last 10 years, the nation has continued to lose her forest landmass from 40 per cent at Independence to two per cent at present. He noted that Nigeria has suffered a lot as a result of the neglect by major stakeholders in renewable natural resources management as well as afforestation and reforestation programmes. The trees planters’ boss stated that the present situation has provided the needed impetus for a rethink and heightened awareness of the private sector on the profitability of investment in forestry.
Rights groups fault Kano council poll, seek cancellation From Murtala Muhammed Kano. IVIL society groups and electoral observers have faulted the just-concluded local council election in Kano State, maintaining that the election was not free and fair. The organisation under the aegis of accredited civil society observer groups said that the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) failed to conduct elections in seven local council areas, alleging large-scale electoral fraud. Addressing journalists yesterday, spokesman of the group, Victor Oyenikachi alleged that the election witnessed “massive rigging, ballot paper stuffing and ballot box snatching by political thugs in Fagge, Tarauni, Madobi, Nassarawa, Gwale, Kofa Mata and Kibiya local council areas of the state.” Victor further alleged, “The exercise was also characterised by military intimidation of innocent voters and police interference on the process. We also witnessed political campaigns in form of chanting party slogans and spraying of money to induce voters in polling units. In some places electoral materials arrived the various polling units very late when voters had already left after a long wait.”
Rodipe who has planted more than three million trees since inception stressed the need for sustainable source of raw materials and the present opportunities for carbon credit and “REED” which are the benefits of forest protection in the face of global climate change which has aroused greater interest of the private sector in timber production. He also pointed out that forest and allied products had ceased to be part of the major economic activities of Nigeria which has lost over two million workers and become a net importer of plywood since the closure of the largest wood industry in Africa. “As a leader and a surviving industry in wood sector, we have been at the forefront in our campaign for afforestation since 1984,” he added. While commending Rodipe’s efforts to make Nigeria to become a sustainable forest nation, Popoola noted that while others were busy investing in economy, the renowned tree planter has
• Urge more participation of people in tree planting deemed it fit to invest in humanity over the years to mitigate effects of climate change. Popoola condemned the
call by some Nigerians that the country’s forests should be destroyed because of the terrorist Boko Haram’s insur-
gency, particularly owing to taking of the Chibok schoolgirls hostage. On his part, Fari noted that Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s administration has distrib-
uted more than a million seedlings to private establishments, individuals and local farmers to help reduce the effect of climate change in Nigeria.
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For The Record Audacity of the pen in a challenging Keynote speech presented by Prof. Gambo, of the Department of Mass Communication, the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, at the Second Ibru Legacy Lectures, organised by the Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, University of Port Harcourt, on Thursday, May 15, 2014. By Danjuma Gambo Introduction OLLOWING the violent suppression of the 2009 religious uprising by a group in Maiduguri, the Nigerian government came under the impression that, like other similar religious conflicts in the past, it was the end of the problem and that the state security forces and services would simply resume their businesses, as usual. Little attention seemed to be paid to the possibility of a transmutation of the conflict into its present form: a national, regional and global conflict, variously labeled as “terrorism,” “insurgency,” “security challenge,” “security situation,” “freedom fight,” etc., by the media, public commentators, analysts and other interested parties. Therefore, the sudden re-emergence of the group under a new umbrella, using guerrilla tactics in their fight against the State and perceived opponents took many Nigerians by surprise. The renewed, violent campaign, which is in its fifth-year, has a devastating impact on the political, economic and social life of Nigerians, particularly in North-eastern Nigeria. The ruthlessness, audacity and sophistication of the attacks have taken security operatives by storm. Similarly, the ease with which gunmen carry out attacks, and the huge casualty figures arising from those, have also put to question, the ability of the State to secure and care for its citizens. People are killed, maimed, kidnapped, displaced and public infrastructure plundered at will. The on-going conflict exacerbates poverty, massive human suffering and increased death toll in different parts of northern Nigeria. Nigerians seem to have lost confidence in the system and have resorted to fasting and praying for divine intervention. According to the Human Rights Watch World Report (2013), attacks by the militant Islamist group… and abuses by government security forces led to spiraling violence across northern and central Nigeria. This violence, which first erupted in 2009, has claimed more than 3,000 lives. The group, which seeks to impose a strict form of Sharia, or Islamic law, in northern Nigeria and end government corruption, launched hundreds of attacks in 2012 against Police officers, Christians, and Muslims who cooperate with the government or oppose the group (HRW, 2013:1). In its 2013 State of World’s Human Rights Report, the global human rights monitor, Amnesty International, observes that violence and insecurity for Nigerians have intensified, with at least 1,000 people killed in attacks by insurgents in central and northern Nigeria. It also reports that while the Nigeria Police and soldiers carried out unlawful and summary killings with impunity, thousands of people were forcibly evicted from their homes in different parts of the country. Unlawful detention and arbitrary arrests were commonplace. In April 2012, the insurgents bombed the offices of Thisday newspapers in Abuja and a block of offices housing three newspapers in Kaduna. At least, seven people were killed in that incident. Similarly, in May of the same year, the insurgents issued a warning to 11 other national and international media houses against continuing with what it saw as the negative coverage of its ideas and activities. Long before then, the Niger Delta militants held sway in most of the oil producing regions of Nigeria with groups such as the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF) and the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) engaging in a similar violent campaign with the aim of maximizing control over oil resources from the region. All over the world, journalists are always at the centre of a variety of conflicts. According to the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Somalia, Philippines, Mali and Libya remain some of the deadliest countries for journalists in the world.
According to the CPJ, since 1992, at least 1,054 journalists in different countries lost their lives. In the same period, about 19 journalists in Nigeria lost their lives in the line of duty. The most recent ones closely related to the current security challenge are Zakaria Isa of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Maiduguri; Enenche Akogwu of Channels Television; and Sunday Gyang Bede and Nathan S. Dabang, both of The Light Bearer. Other journalists, who have lost their lives elsewhere, are Molhem Barakat, Freelance (Syria); Mohammed Mahmud, Universal TV (Somalia) and Mick Deane, Sky News (Egypt). While some of them were murdered, others died in crossfire/combat or in dangerous assignments (CPJ, 2013). Most violent conflicts are rooted in political, sectarian and ethnic differences across different regions of the world. Others are struggles to control resources or to maintain hegemony. Reporting conflicts of different kinds is not strange to journalists, but the unfolding insurgency in Nigeria seems to pose a new challenge to individual journalists, the media regulatory framework for the practice of journalism, and journalism as a profession. Since the resurgence of the conflict, journalists in the country continue to do their best by using whatever traditional tools and approaches to report, comment on or analyse issues and events arising from the different quarters. Similarly, subscribers to the social media continue to report, share and debate issues related to the conflict, some with very little regard to public sensibility. As Nigeria approaches the 2015 General Elections, there are fears that the unfolding conflict in the Northeast may not allow the nation’s Independent National Electoral Commission to organise free, fair and credible elections there. Despite assurances that the political grounds would be stable before the elections, it is feared that struggle for political power by greedy politicians might further complicate the already difficult security situation. Substantial positive and negative commentaries continue to be published and broadcast on the origins, parties, rationale and consequences of the conflict on the governments and people of the affected states. As in other conflicts covered by the media, one of the major issues related to the media is the allegation that some journalists and media houses have, either deliberately or otherwise, involve themselves beyond their professional calling or that by their reports, they had taken sides with one of the parties involved. In the context of the professional calling of journalism, these are weighty allegations that must not be ignored or treated casually. Going by the numerous examples of insurgency in other parts of the world, what is happening in Nigeria is not to be expected to vanish overnight. It is increasingly becoming a multi-dimensional, complex phenomenon that might take quite some time to resolve. Therefore, the media and individual journalists must prepare to handle it more competently for the benefits of the profession and in the public interest. It is contended that Nigerian journalists, like the Federal and State Governments, are not prepared for the current security challenge, but must now rapidly learn from their mistakes and from the experiences of other countries that have found themselves in similar situations. Therefore, this paper is not an excursion on the
Gambo doctrinal basis of the ongoing campaign of violence, the moral issues raised by ordinary Nigerians on who is right or wrong, or with the handling of the issue by the Nigerian government. It does not also deeply examine the theoretical, political, economic and social dimensions and effects of the violence on Nigeria and Nigerians. Rather, it is an attempt to explore the professional calling of journalism and what issues journalists, their employers, training institutions and the state are required to do in order to effectively report the present security challenges within acceptable professional framework. Specifically, it anticipates experience sharing, frank discussion of practical issues as they relate to day-to-day handling of matters related to the pen and its audacity in Nigeria and beyond. The Mass Media and Conflict CONCERN for the roles of journalists in conflict management rests on three pillars. First, on the basis of theory, it has emerged that the mass media have inherent capacity to act on the human mind either positively or negatively. For example, following Noelle-Neumann’s Allpowerful Model and the import of McCombs and Shaw’s Agenda Setting (1972), Dennis and Merrill (1991) identified media ubiquity, cumulation of media messages and consonance of journalists as important factors in shaping the people’s disposition to issues and events. Consequently, they conceptualised three forms of media power: The power to provide information; the power such information exerts on the mind and the effect of such information on the human mind. Based on these, they reached three conclusions; one, that the mass media are powerful in supplying information and setting the public agenda; two, that the media are next most powerful in affecting the thoughts, opinions and attitudes of members of the public and, three, the media are least powerful in affecting the actions of members of the public (Batta, 2009). The second pillar stands on the assumption
Like in most violent conflicts all over the world, Nigerian and foreign media houses and individual journalists within and outside the affected states were caught up in this strange, unfolding scenario. Many have fallen victim of the violence. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, following the bombing of the Abuja office of ThisDay newspaper in 2012, the insurgents released an 18-minute video in which they threatened to attack 14 media, after accusing them of biased reporting and crimes against Islam. The group singled out three international broadcasters and 11 local newspapers and accused them of misrepresenting the group’s activities; inciting the public to support the government against the group; and attacking Islam in their reporting, among other allegations: ‘These media houses have committed a lot of offences that are detrimental to Islam, and we don’t have the power to forgive them. We will take revenge on them by God’s grace.’
that because the media are major sources of information on conflicts, they are seen as critical factors in escalating or de-escalating conflicts. Importantly, according to Pate and Dauda (2013:2), the media go beyond providing information per se because most of the time, individuals use such information to form opinions on very serious issues in material life. Studies have established that there is a relationship between issues considered important by the media and issues that the public also consider important. Even if they may not tell the people what to think, the media are found to often direct our minds on what to think about. The third issue relates mainly to the quality of coverage of different types of conflicts, regardless of location, parties involved and the consequences of such conflicts. In this context, we go along with Batta (2009:172) that beyond reportage or coverage, the critical questions are: What sort of reportage? What sort of coverage? Is it coverage that builds peace and helps to resolve conflicts or is it the coverage that fans conflicts and endangers peace? Another key question is: Are journalists and those who train them adequately knowledgeable about peace studies? Answers to these questions are imperative because with the spate of violent conflict in Nigeria, it is everyone’s stake, including media scholars and professionals to de-escalate conflict and promote peace in our nation. The above questions are not entirely new to communication scholars, particularly against the accusations leveled against a section of the media for their penchant for generating and exacerbating conflicts. For example, in, 2002, Nigeria’s Thisday newspaper published a story on that year’s Miss World Beauty Pageant entitled, “The World at their Feet.” The author of the article, Miss Isioma Daniel, had written that, “The Muslims thought it was immoral to bring ninety-two women to Nigeria and ask them to revel in vanity. What would Muhammad think? In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from among them.” Many Muslims in Nigeria and in other parts of the Muslim world considered some part of the article not only offensive and blasphemous, but also denigrating to the Holy Prophet Mohammed. Consequently, riots broke out in Kaduna, which led to the burning down of ThisDay’s office by some Muslim youths. The day’s edition was also burnt at its Circulation Annex office. The protest even spread to the Federal Capital Territory and a Fatwa (Death Sentence) was passed on the publisher, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena and Editor, Eniola Bello (Eni-B). Although the newspaper apologised for the outrage, more than 100 lives were lost in that avoidable incident, with the burning of houses, churches and mosques. Similarly, in 2005, the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in what was regarded by Western governments and some scholars as the exercise of free speech, published 12 cartoons, which included a caricature depiction of the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb on his head. Expectedly, many Western countries did not do anything significant to douse the tension that ensued, but in Nigeria, the publication led to violent reactions in most parts of the country, with attacks and counter-attacks on Muslims and Christians. The protests also spilled over to many other parts of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, resulting in the killing of innocent lives, torching of foreign embassies and boycotting Danish products, among other things. The controversy and destruction of lives and property that followed the cartoons were avoidable. Although freedom of speech is guaranteed in many national and international legal instruments, that must be exercised by the media, in particular, with high sense of responsibility. Those who ought to know its limits must not use it to provoke adherents of any religion.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 53
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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environment (1) CONTINUED FROM PAGE 52 One of the most recent attempts to answer the question of quality of coverage of conflict by the Nigerian media is by Okoro and Odoemelam (2013). The researchers set out to identify the pattern of frames adopted by Nigerian newspapers in the coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency. They analysed four newspapers (The Guardian, Daily Sun, The Vanguard and Thisday) to find out the framing patterns in the reportage of the insurgency. Their findings indicate that… a total of 57 frames (were) used by The Guardian newspaper in the coverage of the Boko Haram activities in the year 2012. Out of this, 17, representing (29.8%) was devoted to the response frame in its reportage of Boko Haram. This was followed by 13 (22.8 %). Powerlessness frame was 0 (0%). Political frame was 5 (8.7%), while Human interest and Conspiracy frames were 2 (3.5%) each. Attribution of responsibility frame was 5 (8.7%) and Ethnicity was 3 (5.2%). This showed that The Guardian newspaper used more of Response frame than any other frame. Meanwhile, Human interest and Conspiracy frames were the least used 2 (3.5%) each, while the powerlessness frame was not used at all (p.91). In an earlier study of two Nigerian newspapers, The Punch and Vanguard, Obukoadata (2009) sought to identify “dysfunctional effects in events that have been reported about the (Niger Delta) region” and “ways at mitigating such effects with a view to resolving conflict in the region and building peace.” In discussing the findings, the scholar observes: “Again, front-page prominence given to stories about the crisis in the region was discovered to be unduly negative. Although it conforms to the axiom that good news is bad news, managing the Niger Delta requires a clear departure from stereotypes and conventions to interactions and tolerance. “The tendency to negatively report the region was manifest in the avalanche of adjectives, words, phrases used in describing activities in the region (p.101) It is observable that the response frame is the most prevalent, indicating that most of the reports analysed within the period were more about the responses of the state to the insurgency with very little attention to resolution of the conflict.” The argument relating to causal relationship between media reports and escalation of conflicts will take quite some time to settle. Even of recent, Rasak (2012:9) is of the view that the moment a conflict erupts, the mass media begin to seek for exclusive and bizarre scenes to report even if those scenes do not serve any purpose for the society. Also, during conflicts, the media exaggerate casualty figures without credible and reliable sources, such as the police. Even when they report from the same conflict spot or police press release, they still give conflicting figures of casualty. These days, very few newspapers quote police sources; most times, they quote unreliable sources and thereafter hide behind background and deep background forms of attribution. As if orgy scenes are not enough, the media use chilling and gory photographs that on their own can instigate more violent conflict. We all, or some of us still remember what happened during the Shagamu conflict when newspapers and television showed the pictures of dead bodies, believed to be Hausas, loaded in trucks being taken to the mortuary. Within hours of dissemination, spontaneous reprisal killing of Yoruba started in the North. The ongoing discourse on the mass media and conflict presents quite difficult issues for practicing journalists and the media in general. First, although they are professionally required to see and report issues from a neutrally disinterested position, not all of them can resist on-the-job pressure. The tendency is to be human, but the total content of the media at any given point in time is a reflection of the collective decisions of reporters and editors. Editors, in particular must bear responsibility for whatever allegation or accusation that comes their way. The integrity of the editorial decision-making process, whether in Nigeria or abroad, stands to gain from research.
The above findings and discussion are not entirely new, but instructive: that no matter how we choose to examine the media, they remain key players and victims of conflicts themselves. Just as much as they are blamed for causing or exacerbating conflicts, they deserve credit for resolving many. What is required of them is to be constantly guided by evidence. Unfortunately, media coverage would remain the same for Nigeria because in the media industry, research hardly attracts investment, and research findings, as necessary and significant as they are, remain on the corridors of eggheads in the academia. Even the media regulatory agencies, such as the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), do not seem to instill the culture of research and disciplined use of data in planning. There is a wide gap between academic researchers and the media industry, which keeps a lot of useful information away from media professionals. Consequently, editorial decisions remain distant from evidence. A New Security Challenge SINCE end of the Nigerian Civil War, this country had never witnessed this magnitude of devastation occasioned by the recent ethno-religious, political and communal conflicts. Since the end of the war in 1970, ethnicity and religious intolerance have led to incessant recurrence of ethno-religious conflicts, which have given birth to many ethnic militias like the O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC), the Bakassi Boys, the Egbesu Boys, the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), and the Igbo Peoples Congress (IPC). Others include the Arewa Peoples Congress (APC), the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and the Ohanaeze N’digbo (Daily Trust, 2002 and Salawu, 2010). With the emergence of these ethnic militias and the deep divides between the various ethnic groups, religious intolerance has become more violent and bloody with more devastating results. Using the ethnic militias as the executors of ethno-religious agenda, Nigeria has recorded numerous conflicts in different parts of the country with varying consequences. The most outstanding ones are the Maitatsine religious disturbances in parts of Kano and Maiduguri in the early 1980s; Jimeta-Yola religious disturbances (1984), and Zango Kataf crises in Kaduna State (1992). Others are the Kafanchan College of Education Muslim Christian riots; Kaduna Polytechnic Muslim-Christian skirmishes (1981-1982); and the Cross vs. the Crescent conflict at the University of lbadan (1981-1985). Yet, other early ethno-religious conflicts include the Bulumkutu Christian-Muslim riots (1982); Usman Danfodio University Sokoto (1982); and the Muslim-Christian Clash during a Christian procession at Easter in Ilorin, Kwara State (1986) (Salawu, 2010). In all these, parties to the conflict were known and the weapons and methods they used were also conventional. However, the sudden upscale of the Niger Delta insurgency introduced very strange elements in terms of strategy, tactics and weapons. The conflict in the Delta has a very long history, from the days of Adaka Boro through the Saro-Wiwa-led Ogoni struggle to the presentday agitation by different groups of militants (e.g., the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), and the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF) for resource control. The intensity and diversity of the agitation elicited the use of military force to pacify the Niger Delta people. For example, in the 1960s, when Adaka Boro led a revolt against the Nigerian State, it was violently crushed by the military. Similarly, in the 1990s when Ken SaroWiwa led the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), the Abacha-led military government executed him and all his principal supporters. Consequently, the multiple militant groups that emerged in the region introduced a violent gorilla campaign, including sabotage, kidnapping, killings and bombings, all of which targeted oil installations, foreign oil workers, government functionaries and politicians.
Even with the introduction of the Amnesty proThe blackout that ensued forced many resigramme by the Federal Government, the region dents to resort to traditional means of commuis yet to be stabilised, as there are occasional nication or on the few cyber cafes in the state clashes between troops of the Joint Task Force capitals. Such cafes have since been put under and some militants. security surveillance to reduce the possibility of Like the Niger Delta conflict, the current secu- their being used to breach security. rity challenges in Borno State and other parts of However, desperate callers had to travel long Nigeria’s Northeast region started on a small distances (Maiduguri to Dambam in Bauchi scale in 2009, when the insurgents staged a vio- State, or Yola to Zing in Taraba State) to make lent campaign against the Nigerian State. ‘vital’ calls. When telephone network was evenIn almost the same fashion as in the case of tually restored to Yobe State, many residents of Saro-Wiwa and others, the state used its military Maiduguri (including some journalists) were might to violently suppress the group. Barely forced to travel regularly to Damaturu, just to one year after the suppression, the group went make telephone calls. underground and, like the Niger Delta miliIt was in this situation that many people lost tants, began a violent gorilla campaign in 2010. their lives in motor accidents or to the activities From the onset, the campaign by the militants of insurgents, who blocked the roads at will, was restricted to Borno and Yobe States, target- killed many travellers and destroyed property. ing mainly the police. But since then, it has Like in most violent conflicts all over the world, spread to most states in the Northeast and other Nigerian and foreign media houses and indiparts of the country, including Abuja, the Fed- vidual journalists within and outside the aferal Capital. fected states were caught up in this strange, Although there is a dispute as to whether it is unfolding scenario. Many have fallen victim of actually the group that is responsible for all the the violence. destruction in the region, the campaign has According to the Committee to Protect Jourbeen widened to include remote encampment, nalists, following the bombing of the Abuja ofdrive-by shooting, elimination of perceived op- fice of Thisday newspaper in 2012, the insurgents ponents, bombings, kidnappings, car snatching released an 18-minute video in which they and bank robberies. threatened to attack 14 media, after accusing The most recent event was the kidnapping of them of biased reporting and crimes against Islam. more than 200 girls from the Government Girls The group singled out three international Secondary School in Chibok. broadcasters and 11 local newspapers and acOverall, there is hardly any family in Borno cused them of misrepresenting the group’s acState that is not affected by the unfolding con- tivities; inciting the public to support the flict, which takes new dimensions by the day. Ac- government against the group; and attacking cording to the United Nations Office for the Islam in their reporting, among other allegaCoordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UN- tions: OCHA), nearly 300,000 people in Borno, Yobe, “These media houses have committed a lot of and Adamawa States — 70 percent of them offences that are detrimental to Islam, and we women and children — have fled their homes don’t have the power to forgive them. We will since early 2012. take revenge on them by God’s grace.” The Office of the United Nations High ComThe international media mentioned in the missioner for Refugees (UNHCR) puts the figure video included the Hausa services of the Voice of of internally-displaced people in Nigeria at America, Radio France Internationale and a New more than 470,000. Many victims are staying York-based citizen reporting news site, Sahara with families in other parts of Nigeria. An esti- Reporters. mated 60,000 or so have sought refuge in The 11 Nigerian newspapers were Thisday, Cameroun, Chad, and Niger since May 2013 (Re- Punch, Daily Sun, Vanguard, Guardian, Nation, liefweb, 2014). Tribune, National Accord, Leadership, Daily Trust, The situation is further compounded by the and Peoples Daily. counter-insurgency operations of the military, The group also claimed responsibility in the including human rights violations such as re- video for the April 26, 2012, coordinated attacks striction of movement, molestation of innocent on the offices of three newspapers (Thisday, The civilians, extra-judicial killings and burning Sun, and The Moment) in the capital, Abuja, and down of houses, business premises, markets, Kaduna. The group justified the attacks by schools and hospitals. blaming Thisday for “dishonouring our In both the Niger Delta and the Northeast re- prophet, Mohammed (SAW) during a beauty gions, the Federal Government continues to use pageant in Kaduna in November 2002.” force to tackle the menace. In 2013, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan TO BE CONTINUED. declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, the three states most affected by the insurgency, by declaring that more troops would “immediately” be deployed to the states. The President had made a similar move in 2012 following a spate of attacks, but then the law affected only specific local government areas in the same states. However, contrary to the case of Plateau State in 2004, when President Obasanjo used emergency powers to suspend all democratic structures in the state for six months (owing to what the president described as the failure of the state Governor, Joshua Dariye, to act to end a cycle of bloodletting, violence between the Plateau State’s Muslim and Christian communities that claimed over 2,000 lives since September 2001), such structures were kept intact in the three states and left to “discharge their constitutional responsibilities.” However, after more than one year of emergency rule, it is obvious that the action has not fully achieved the desired objective of stabilising the region. In a desperate attempt to enforce the state of emergency, the Federal Government suspended mobile telecommunication services in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States for six months in May 2013, thereby further alienating the states from the rest of Nigeria. Long before the declaration of full emergency, the insurgents had destroyed many telecommunication facilities in most parts of Borno and Yobe States. Ibru
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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SPORT Thursday, May 22, 2014 77
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Sports AFN still optimistic of success despite injury to Bahamas-bound athletes • U.S. Embassy stops 400m star, Akerele Oduduru, who was invited by Akerele, who won the second
By Gowon Akpodonor
HE chances of Team Nigeria making appreciable impact at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in Bahamas this weekend may have been reduced following the injuries that have ravaged their camp in the United States of America. Back home, the United States’ embassy in Lagos has stopped men’s 400m speed star, Omeiza Akerele, from traveling with the team.
and third legs of the AFN Golden League in Ilorin and Akure, was expected to jet out yesterday to USA to boost the team in Bahamas. He has been in Lagos pursuing his visa, which was turned down by the US embassy yesterday. A disappointed Akerele returned to Benin City yesterday with a promise to continue with his training. The Guardian learnt yesterday that sprinter, Divine
Nigerian golf team debuts in African Youth Games From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja ISTORY would be made H in Gaborone, Botswana, where a Nigerian golf team
Lagos and Ogun states battling for honours in the volleyball event of the on-going DAWN Games holding in Lagos. The competition involves secondary schools’ students representing the six states of the Southwest region. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI.
Keshi’s team not yet equal to USA ’94 set, says Amuneke From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja ORMER Super Eagles attacker, Emmanuel Amuneke, says Nigeria was yet to raise the class of Eagles players that would be comparable to the 1994 African Nations Cup and USA World Cup team raised by Dutch coach, Clemence Westerhof. Looking at the personnel in the Super Eagles 30-man provisional World Cup squad picked by Coach Stephen Keshi, Amuneke said the names did not come as a surprise to him. He called on Nigerians to channel their energy towards supporting the team for a successful outing in Brazil, rather than bicker-
ing over the inclusions or exclusions of certain players. The Golden Eaglets Chief coach, who spoke at the FIFA Technical Centre in Abuja, also noted that it would be wrong to draw any form of comparison between the Super Eagles 1994 squad with the current one, arguing that his generation had better quality players than those in the present team. “Right from the qualification period, Keshi has been inviting many players in his determination to build a strong team. “I think all we can do is to support him with prayers instead of dissipating energy on who should make or not
make the team list. We should wish them all the best and hope that our players participating in the World Cup should realize how important the tournament is to the country and their career to give in their best,” he noted. Asked to compare the 1994 squad with the current squad, the Eaglets’ chief coach said: “They are totally a different generation in the sense that our set was blessed with many good players in different positions. After our generation, much gap was created until we realized that depending on our previous achievements couldn’t help us.”
DAWN Games 2014
Lagos wins volleyball gold, as Oyo qualifies for football final By Samuel Ifetoye EAM Lagos yesterday emerged champions of both the boys and girls volleyball event decided at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. The Lagos teams defeated Oyo 3-0 in the final of the boys’ category and beat Osun also by 3-0 in the girls’ event to take the two gold medals in both events. Team Ogun won the bronze medal in the boys’ event, while in the girls event Team Ogun went home with the bronze medal. In the football event played at the Agege Stadium yesterday, Team Oyo beat Team Lagos by a lone goal to qualify for the final. The highlight of event at the main bowl of the Teslim Balogun Stadium were the finals of 110 metres hurdles for boys and girls, as well as the 400 metres for boys and
girls. In the 400 metres for boys, Roland Iruedo of Team Lagos won gold in a time of 51:33 seconds, Glory Oiboweme of Team Ogun ran 51:46 seconds to settle for silver while bronze went to Emmanuel Bamidele also of Ogun, who put in a time of 51: 69 seconds. In the girls’ event, Maria Diamond of Team Lagos won gold in a time of 58:16, silver went to Folasade Olotu of Team Ogun in time of 59:16 and the bronze went to Victoria Aloku also of Team Lagos in 60:12. In the boys’ 110 hurdles, Noah Nbeke of Team Lagos won the gold medal in 16:22 seconds, while Team Ogun settled for both the silver and bronze medals through Tope Karonwi and Japheth Lament in 17:77 and 18:72 respectively. In the girls’ version of the
event, Vivian Akunna recorded 16:99 to cart home the gold medal, Memunat Oseni also of Lagos got the silver in a time of 17:04 seconds, while Aminat Onaopepo of Team Osun took the bronze medal. Team Lagos continues to dominate the swimming event, as its athletes yesterday won both the gold and silver in the 200 metres freestyle for boys and girls, as well as the 100 metres backstroke for boys and girls. Team Oyo won the bronze in 200 metres freestyle girls and boys and also took the bronze in backstroke for girls, while Team Ogun won the bronze for the backstroke for boys. The 100 metres breaststroke for girls gold medal went to Team Oyo, while Team Lagos settled for both the silver and bronze medals.
would be participating in the African Youth Games, which begins today. Already, there is excitement across the Nigerian golf community because of the significance of the involvement of four young players in the games, the country’s first participation in the event in any international all-sport
meet. Expressing the Nigeria Golf Federation’s delight in presenting the first ever golf team for Nigeria at the games, NGF President, Peter Deshi, said the participation of the Nigerian youth golfers was made possible by the recent approval by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to list golf as one of the sports that would compete for medals at the Olympics Games beginning from the 2016 edition in Rio, Brazil.
the AFN alongside Akerele for the Bahamas trip, declined the the offer. He could not be reached for comment yesterday. At the team’s camp in USA is top sprinter, Obinna Metu, while others, including Bukola Abogunloko, Josephine Ehigie and Ada Benjamin were said to have been knocked down with various degree of injuries. Other athletes reportedly injured in the team’s camp are Rita Ossai and Chukwudike Harry. However, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is optimistic that the contingent would put up a good show in the event, which is holding at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau. Female quartermiler, Patience Okon, was expected to leave Nigeria for the USA yesterday. AFN President, Solomon Ogba, has maintained that the relays would be used to assess the strengths of the country’s relay teams in preparation for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Thursday, May 22, 2014 SPORTS
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‘I want to make Nigerians proud’ By Mitchell Obi E wakes up every morning with a smile. It is a way of welcoming the best of the day and even in the moments of distress and drawbacks; he struggles to keep a cheerful face. The smile carries with it a certain influence and charm and Stephen Okechukwu Keshi has learnt to spare and spread it in every tight situation. “Can you imagine yourself not smiling? They will think the world is collapsing on you. And that’s not how to
treat life,” says Keshi, understandably, as he talks about the award he picked up in Lagos two days ago. ”I really appreciate the efforts of the organizer and I had to be in Lagos. That’s my way of encouraging them to keep up the awards.” After the accolades and the unceasing support from Nigerians, the Super Eagles’ head coach is in the mood for work and ready to sweat, as they say, from the sidelines. “I’m not feeling any pressure. We are used to the
We’ll try to win game by game. We’ll go there and do our best. We have 32 countries playing for a trophy, so it could be for anybody. Above all, as I have said many times, I want to make Nigerians proud. It’s not about Keshi, It’s about the team. It’s about Nigerians and that’s it you know. As long as the boys give me what I want, Nigerians are happy and the Africans, which we’re representing are happy, that’s it.
The ‘Big Boss’ wants Nigerians to smile again.
pressure and the tension of competition. Nothing is going through my mind. Just to see my players start off the training session. That’s all”. Keshi will be welcoming the home-based Super Eagles in his 30-man provisional list this weekend and the contingent will be leaving Abuja for London on Sunday. They will be united with Europe-based Eagles to begin training for the game against Scotland on May 28. Interestingly, some of the players not named in his list have accepted their fate without bitterness. “They were obviously disappointed but majority of them told me coach we’re with you. We are behind you and thank you for the opportunity. It’s a good feeling. We just need to get prepared. That’s all.” Truly so, the Boy’s scout motto of “Be prepared” is ringing loud in his head and he is impressed with the level of support and organization from the Nigerian Football Federation, who have gone ahead to arrange quality friendlies for the team and ensure the camping site is tailored to meet the demands of the competition. “I think we are much more organised and some people in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are doing a wonderful job. It’s a lot better and that’s how it should be. We should be going forward and not backward.” Given this high level of padding from the NFF, the government and the people who are expecting a measure of excellence in the World Cup, is there any expectation from the former captain of New Nigeria Bank FC, Stade d’Abidjan, Anderlecht FC of Brussels and Strasbourg FC of France. “We’ll try to win game by game. We’ll go there and do our best. We have 32 countries playing for a trophy, so it could be for anybody. Above all, as I have said many times, I want to make Nigerians proud. It’s not about Keshi, It’s about the team. It’s about Nigerians and that’s it you know. As long as
My World Cup story…Keshi
Reward for hardwork… Keshi with the Nigeria Pitch Awards’ Best Coach of The Year 2013 trophy presented to him in Lagos…on Monday. the boys give me what I want, Nigerians are happy and the Africans which we’re representing are happy, that’s it.” The big question now is whether the boys chosen can deliver. Keshi is quick to point out: “I’ve known them for almost two years. So they know what I want and I
Can you imagine yourself not smiling? They will think the world is collapsing on you. And that’s not how to treat life.
I think we are much more organised and some people in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are doing a wonderful job. It’s a lot better and that’s how it should be. We should be going forward and not backward.
know what they can give me. We are on the same page.” It should be a page filled with enthralling, pace-setting accounts of Nigeria’s exploits like the story of Keshi himself.
Hopefully, it will bring back the smiles on the faces of Nigerians and Africans. It will be so long a smile as we wait on the kick-off of June 12 – indeed another page! • A Mastersports International Presentation
Thursday, May 22, 2014 Sports | 79
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Countdown To Brazil 2014 World Cup
Enyeama: Eagles will make the semifinals F all goes according to IVincent plan, Nigerian goalkeeper, Enyeama, will play in his third FIFA World Cup next month. He is fresh off winning the Marc-Vivien Foe award given to the best African player in France’s Ligue 1, and following up on his impressive performances for the Super Eagles at South Africa 2010, Enyeama has high expectations. Although Nigeria have struggled in their last two World Cups, the Lille custodian tells FIFA.com that the African champions can make deep in-roads in Brazil after being drawn into Group F against Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina. “I think we are going to make big progress,” Enyeama said. “We are focused on the World Cup, to make Africa the proudest continent. Ghana almost reached the semi-finals four years ago. We are going to achieve a better result and be the first African team
to get to the semi-finals of the World Cup.” The 31-year-old first played for Nigeria at Korea/Japan 2002, when coach Festus Onigbinde gave the then 19year-old a starting place in their final group game against England, after the team had already been eliminated. Enyeama’s outstanding display helped the Super Eagles to a goalless draw and was a sign of things to come for the Kaduna-born goalkeeper, who took over the No1 jersey from Ike Shorunmu when the veteran retired shortly after that World Cup. Since then, Enyeama has been an ever-present for his country, shining at South Africa 2010 and last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup, and winning the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2013 - a tournament the West Africans are hoping to defend in Morocco next year. It will be the third time in a row that Nigeria will be facing Argentina at the World
Cup, but more importantly for Enyeama, a match-up with France in the second round could be on the cards: “If we play against France, it will be interesting, but if we play against Switzerland, it will also be interesting. The important thing is to qualify. “Playing France for a place in the last eight is not really what matters to me right now, I just want the team to make it to the second round. But maybe we will come out first, and then we will not have to play against France.” Enyeama started his career with Ibom Stars, before moving to Nigerian giants, Enyimba, with whom he twice won the CAF Champions League. A short stint with Heartland FC followed. He then embarked on his overseas career in 2005 when he joined Bnei Yehuda in Israel. His performances with the side were so impressive that Israeli glamour
Enyeama club Hapoel Tel Aviv put in an offer and Enyeama made the short move across town. With Hapoel he played in the UEFA Champions League and even managed to score a goal in the play-
Ohanaeze Lagos Unity Cup debuts ll is set for the first edition kick off on August 9 and end of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo A on December 14 with about Lagos State Unity Cup compe80 town unions in Lagos partition, which the apex Igbo body is planning in conjunction with a promotional outfit, Scorecard Productions Limited. According to the organisers, the competition open to all the Igbo speaking town unions in Lagos State, is aimed at unifying all the people from the region living in Lagos State and beyond. The competition is billed to
ticipating. A release by Scorecards Productions, reveals that “this unique event, which is in honour of the late Eze Igbo Gburugburu, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, will also serve as a platform to honour other worthy Igbo sons and daughters, both the living and the dead, who have contributed immensely towards the cor-
Nigerian Sports Award hails Okagbare for Diamond League triumph RGANISERS of the O Nigerian Sports Award (NSA), Unmissables
Christopher Itodo from Kaduna State won the U-16 boys title at the Midwestern Oil & Gas Junior Championship.
Okoene lists gains of corporate sports sponsorship ANAGING Director of Midwestern Oil & Gas M Company, Adams Okoene, yesterday in Lagos re-emphasised that corporate organisations should see sponsorship of sports events for youths as an investment and not necessarily as a corporate social responsibility function. Speaking at a post tournament parley with organisers and stakeholders in Lagos, Okoene, whose company sponsored the inaugural Midwestern Oil & Gas Junior Championship, said, “when we sponsor sports events for youths like these we touch many, many lives and the company in turn reaps goodwill and recognition. When we engage and empower our
youths, we are investing. It is more than a responsibility. “Over 1000 school children and this crowd of spectators now know something about Midwestern. The players all have mementos, which they will take home to their parents and they also have the chance to become good tennis players. “We see this as an investment and money well spent. We look forward to continuing with this sponsorship and possibly at a higher dimension.” He concluded.” The tournament, organised by the International Tennis Academy, attracted 20 new players in the four age categories - boys and girls 10, 12, 14 and 16 - and a total of 158 players registered.
Incentives Limited, have commended Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare for her outstanding performance at the Shanghai Diamond League. Okagbare, who is also the reigning fastest woman in Africa, displayed an excellent performance at the event setting new records and winning the women’s Long Jump and 200 metres events. Blessing Okagbare won the Sportswoman of the Year and the Track & Field Star of the Year awards at the 2013 edition of the NSA for her exploits and excellent performance in the world of sport. According to the General Manager, Unmissable Incentives Limited, Kayode Idowu, Nigerian Sports Award is very proud of the achievement of Blessing Okagbare at the Shanghai Diamond League, dominating the track and field event with two Gold medals in Long Jump and 200 metres race. ‘’On behalf of the award panel and all sports loving
Nigerians, we want to congratulate Blessing Okagbare, the winner of the Sportswoman of the Year at the 2013 edition of the Nigerian Sports Award for making Nigeria and indeed Africa proud in the Diamond League by setting a new record,” he said. Idowu noted that Okagbare’s feat at the Diamond League has justified the two awards she bagged at the 2013 edition of the Nigerian Sports Award. He also commended Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan who coincidentally won the Sports Governor of the Year in 2013 for the unflinching support of the Delta State Government to Okagbare who hails from the state by sponsoring her trips and training and also supporting her education. Idowu used the medium to restate that nomination is on for 2014 edition of the Nigerian Sports Award. He called on Nigerians sports enthusiasts to visit the official website for the award, www.nigeriansportsaward.c om to nominate their sports personalities for the different categories.
off round against Red Bull Salzburg. He joined Ligue 1 club Lille in 2011, but failed to break into the first side and returned to Israel in 2012, where he joined Maccabi Tel
Aviv on loan, winning the championship with them. He returned to Lille a year later and was made first choice goalkeeper by coach Rene Girard and has not looked back since.
porate advancement of the Igbo nation. “Some other worthy sons and daughters to be honoured during this competition include the late Chinua Achebe, late Chief Ralph Uwechue, Kanu Nwankwo, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Mikel Obi, Emmanuel Emenike, Christian Chukwu, Emmanuel Okala, Chioma Ajunwa, Mary Onyali, Mr. Peter Obi, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, as well as those in the sports media, music and movie entertainment and many more.” Speaking while signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Scorecard Productions Limited, President of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo Lagos State Chapter, Chief Fabian Onwughalu, appreciated the track record of Scorecard
Productions Limited in promoting grassroots football. He called on Ndigbo in Lagos to use the competition to bond together for the development of their various towns. The president inaugurated the sports committee for the competition, headed by Marcus Agubataoffia, with Henry Amobi Muoghalu as the secretary. Also speaking at the event, Managing Director of Scorecard Ltd, Akonam Obiefuna, promised a befitting tournament that would achieve the aims of the sponsors. He revealed that registration has commenced with Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states to be represented by 14 towns each, while Rivers and Delta would feature five towns each.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
By Elizabeth Uwaifo HEN I arrived in London from Nigeria in 1982, one of the major challenges I had to deal with was the feeling of isolation - not seeing people who look like you. While I did not let that feeling derail my plans to study and pursue my legal career, I became very appreciative of the sight of others of my colour, I developed a bond with Africans and a special bond with Nigerians, I felt we were kindred spirit. The recent unfortunate events in Chibok, Borno State has forced us as Nigerians to hold a mirror to ourselves, look in it and decide whether we like what we see. If we do not like what we see, what do we do? Stories abound of atrocious killings inflicted by Nigerians on Nigerians - by Boko Haram, ritual killings and otherwise. Why would we as Nigerian inflict such pain and suffering on other Nigerians? We will not ordinarily inflict such atrocities on our own children or those we love and care about. Perhaps a rediscovery of our consciousness of our bond as Nigerians will facilitate respect and love for one another. I feel strongly about our finding what unites us as I believe that this spirit will help us pull together to greater success as a nation. I wish to hear the thoughts of fellow Nigerians on this subject and I will start the discourse by sharing my personal perspective. I really became appreciative of my Nigerian heritage when I came to England. I am Ishan from Edo State and left Nigeria for England at the age of 21. Before leaving Nigeria I was not particularly conscious of my Nigerian heritage. My nationality was what it was. I had no reason to think about it whether positively or negatively. I had issues and challenges to address and my nationality did not feature among my concerns. On getting to England and realising for the first time that those in my new community did not look like me or speak like me, it became heartwarming to see faces like mine and comforting to hear an accent or a name that I recognised as Nigerian. I came across very few Nigerians - less than five that I was aware of at my university, none at my block of residence and only a handful known to me socially. I felt a sense of solidarity with the Nigerians I got to know. In my loneliness I yearned for home; for the Nigeria I left behind. I had a sense of pride about where I was from. There were times when I would be frustrated by the fact that I was not communicating effectively with those around me. When others expressed difficulty in understanding me I would say to myself - I come from a country where people all speak like me and they are fine. As I struggled to get through the cold weather, rain and snow to get to my lectures, I picked up on the negative images that were portrayed in the Western media about Nigeria and I felt protective of my country. They did not know Nigeria like I did I said to myself. They did not know the hardworking, resourceful, brilliant, kind-hearted and empathetic Nigerians that I knew. I was driven to show that I had received quality education in Nigeria which placed me in a position to compete with the best in England. My Nigerian heritage gave me a sense of iden-
Stories abound of atrocious killings inflicted by Nigerians on Nigerians by Boko Haram, ritual killings and otherwise. Why would we as Nigerian inflict such pain and suffering on other Nigerians? We will not ordinarily inflict such atrocities on our own children or those we love and care about. Perhaps a rediscovery of our consciousness of our bond as Nigerians will facilitate respect and love for one another.
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What does it mean to be Nigerian?
tity, a comfort and a feeling that there was a group of people to whom my success mattered. During that period, I would request traditional Nigerian music - music by Sir Victor Uwaifo, Osayomore Joseph, Sunny Okosun, Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, IK Dairo, Rex
Lawson and Onyeka Owenu to name a few. My friends and siblings in Nigeria were at the time into Western pop and soul music and thought I was crazy. I loved to collect carved wooden ornaments and pictures of people in Nigerian traditional clothes. They not only reminded me
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Nigerians have been through a difficult period. Many families have experienced worsening economic conditions, poor infrastructure has made it difficult for average Nigerians to work their way out of the poverty trap and poor living conditions make daily life a constant struggle. Faced with challenges that compel us to focus on our needs we risk losing touch with our common bond as Nigerians
of home but they also represented my identity which I guarded jealously. Would I have felt so passionate about Nigeria if I had not left Nigeria? Or if my environment in England had not included so few Nigerians? Whatever the answer to those questions may be, the fact remains that my being Nigerian meant something to me and was a positive influence on me. Nigerians have been through a difficult period. Many families have experienced worsening economic conditions, poor infrastructure has made it difficult for average Nigerians to work their way out of the poverty trap and poor living conditions make daily life a constant struggle. Faced with challenges that compel us to focus on our needs we risk losing touch with our common bond as Nigerians. Furthermore, does our familiarity with one another put us at risk of losing our appreciation of one another? So what is it that connects you with other Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic origin, sex, religion, political affiliation or social status? Your thoughts are as good as mine. • Uwaifo, a partner in international law firm, Fasken Martineau, wrote in from London.