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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Constitution clear on tenure, says Jonathan

PDP agonises over loss of Southwest NEWS Page 6

NEWS Page 2

•Memo reveals plot to reclaim region

•‘No point fighting for political leadership’

VOL. 8, NO. 2446 TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2013



•IN HOLID AY MOOD: Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola addressing a huge crowd of participants, invited guests, tourists and spectators during the 2013 Lagos Carnival held at the Tafawa HOLIDA Balewa Square, Lagos…yesterday

Opponents list Tukur’s sins as PDP crisis goes on

Licensees to lose idle oil fields By EmekaUgwuanyi, Asst. Editor



OR failing to develop the marginal fields allocated to them since 2003, the beneficiaries may forfeit such assets next year. The Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Osten Olorunsola, told The Nation that the marginal fields awarded in the 2003 bid round but left undeveloped till date will be withdrawn by the Federal Government. Continued on page 2


LL is still not well with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as forces opposed to National Chairman Bamanga Tukur plan to convene an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting. Backed by some governors,

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

the anti-Tukur party chiefs are compiling breaches allegedly committed by Tukur. The party’s last NEC meeting was held in July, last year, contrary to the quarterly provision in the PDP Constitution. Tukur has been avoiding a

NEC meeting, following an alleged plot to pass a vote of no confidence in him. A source close to the planners of the NEC, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “Some powerful interest groups Continued on page 2

Women, kids among 19 killed in Kaduna attack

Palace vandalised Gunmen kill three policemen in Kano

A •Yero

TWO-DAY raid by unknown gunmen on four communities in Kaura Local Government Area, Southern Kaduna, has left 20 people dead, villagers claimed yesterday. The police said 19 died. The gunmen, believed to be nomadic herdsmen, allegedly invaded the villages on Saturday night and con-

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna and Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

tinued their raid on Zilang, Taliki, Zangkan and Mafang hilltop communities – home to many villagers - till early Sunday. All four communities are located on the boundary between Kaduna and Plateau states.

Council chairman Kumai L.J Badun attributed the killings to gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, who apparently launched reprisal attack over the poisoning of two cows in Mafang community. The council boss told reporters that the attack began from Atakar chiefdom. He said: “There was a young

man, Aboi Stephen (21), in Mafan who had been complaining that cows have been grazing into his dry season farm. “I was told that the cattle destroyed a good portion of the farm and that there was no end in sight to the destruction. Continued on page 2




NEWS Women, kids among 19 killed in Kaduna village attack

PDP crisis: Opponents list Tukur’s sins Continued from page 1

within the Peoples Democratic Party are said to be pushing for the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party. “They want to invoke the relevant sections of the PDP Constitution in an attempt to make Tukur address issues affecting the party. “They are also planning to make Tukur to account for alleged breaches of the PDP Constitution. “If Tukur does not convene NEC meeting, they will seek the consent of two-thirds of party members to call for the session. “The move becomes necessary in view of Tukur’s leadership style in the last one year, which has fragmented the party, which prides itself as the largest in Africa. “The proponents of the management audit of Tukur’s style asserted that this is in line with the national chairman’s belief that PDP is greater than any individual and party members should subject themselves to the rules and regulations of the PDP.” Another top source listed Tukur’s alleged breaches as follows: •deliberate failure to convene the PDP NEC meeting and removal of some NWC members; •operation of a parallel National Working Committee(NWC); •shifting of the party’s official functions to personal residence; •polarisation of the NWC; •alleged refusal to operate the principle of accountability which would allow stakeholders of PDP to be carried along; and •disobedience of court order and refusal to honour the provisions on freedom, equality and justice; violating the independence of the Judiciary and fundamental rights of members of the party, as well as promoting divisions among various interests in the PDP. The source said: “The consensus of some governors and PDP leaders is that Tukur should step aside and face the PDP disciplinary committee. Continued on page 60

Continued from page 1

“Only the Fulanis own cattle there. About two weeks ago, two cows were found dead, apparently of poison. The owner of the cows was said to have publicly warned Aboi of the grave consequences of his actions. I don’t know if it was Aboi that poisoned the cows or not or even if they had died of poisoning. “Then, one day, Aboi was found missing. A search by the villagers found his corpse. He had deep machete cuts all over his body and his throat was slit open. “Upon that discovery, women and children mobilised to the palace of the chief of Atakar, Chief Tobias Nkom-Wada, and accused him of inviting the Fulani into Atakar land in the first place. They vandalised the palace. And the chief is now living in his personal house in Tachire here. “On seeing what the women and children did, the Fulani started moving out en masse to their kinsmen in Kanawuri areas of Plateau State, which also has some

“Marginal fields’ awards of 2003 will expire sometime next year. If the beneficiaries are not actively working on them, we will take them back. That is what the guideline says,” Olorunsola said. As part of measures to develop indigenous capacity in the exploration and production segment of the oil and gas industry, the government introduced the marginal fields programme. Marginal fields are those assets considered to be commercially unviable by the oil majors because of their small production level, which in usually

Continued on page 60

Boko Haram: ex-militants give govt ultimatum on action plan •US President Barack Obama high-fives his doubles partner while playing tennis with children during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC...yesterday PHOTO: AFP

Licensees to forfeit undeveloped marginal fields next year Continued from page 1

number of Atakar speaking villages. “On their way, they shot a young man that same day in Kanawuri area and that pitched them against the Atakar people in Plateau State and they fought for days. “The fighting led to the burning of some structures in Atakar, as you read in the papers. The displaced residents had to relocate to this council, where we opened the first refugee camp for them at Mifi. But we have closed it and merged it with the other camps because it was too vulnerable too. “When the army moved in last week, the Fulanis left Kanawuri in Plateau, staged a comeback to this place with their arms last Saturday. By 3pm, they attacked Mafan, Zalang, Taliki and Zangkan villages up the hills while able bodied men were either in the farms or in the market. “They went on, unchallenged from 3pm on Saturday till Sunday morning. When the army arrived at the scene on Sunday morning, the officer in charge told me that they

between 1,000 and 5,000 barrels per day and with reserves of not more than 10 million barrels. In February 2003, the government awarded 24 of such marginal fields to indigenous firms. The belief was that such companies would reenter at least one of the wells in no distant time from the period of award. But 10 years after, only seven out of the licensees have been able to produce from those fields. The DPR chief gave several reasons for the inability of most of the licensees to bring their assets on stream. He said: “If you look at the marginal field players, they

all had problems, which include litigations and funding issues among others. But now, they are all maturing and are all doing well. “But for Nigerians that have oil blocks, especially in the frontier areas, they have also tried because they have to go through exploration, appraisal, development and then production. Many of them are still going through those stages. It is not easy because from exploration to first oil, it could take 15-20 years. Many of them are still trying and hopefully, they will come on stream soon.” Olorunsola, also gave reasons behind government’s

efforts to develop local capacity. He said Nigeria currently has 388 oil blocks out of which 173 have been awarded. The other 215 were yet to be awarded. Out of the 173 awarded blocks, 90 are held by indigenous firms, which contribute only six per cent to the nation’s production, amounting to 150,000 barrels per day, while the multinational oil companies hold 83 blocks, which contribute 94 percent to total output, Olorunsola said. Most of the marginal fields’ licensees have complained about their inability to secure Continued on page 60


OME ex-militants have served the Federal Government a seven-day deadline to act decisively on the Boko Haram insurgency and on the activities of other ethnic militias or see them return to the Niger Delta creeks. Their ultimatum was contained in a seven-point communiqué issued yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, by the Coalition of Ex-Concerned Agitators and the Social Restoration Foundation (SOREF). Besides the ultimatum, the exagitators alleged in the communiqué that the amnesty process had been hijacked by people who did not mean well for the youths of the Niger Delta. According to them, most of the people being trained and empowered under the amnesty programme by the committee had nothing to do with the struggle that brought about the amnesty. The communiqué was signed by “Commander” Bestman Pro-

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

bel, representing the ex-agitators; Dr. Terry Bagia for SOREF, as well as Ronald Onuosa and Comrade C. Opurum as consultants. But the Amnesty Office, through its Head of Media and Communication, Dan Alabra, described the allegations as spurious and unfounded. Alabra, in a telephone chat last night, warned that security men would do their job, if the ex-militants decided to return to the creeks. Alabra said: “Unknown exmilitants could issue ultimatum but they should remember that some of them who returned to the creeks after the Federal Government’s amnesty offer regretted doing so.” The ex-militants’ communiqué reads: “We wish to sternly warn all ethnic militias threatening the peace of the nation, especially the Boko Haram boys, that ours was not an ethnic agenda and that all Continued on page 60

Constitution clear on maximum tenure, says President


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday drew the attention of the political class to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, which stipulate the maximum term for office holders. Jonathan, who spoke during the dedication of the All Saints’ Anglican Church built by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu in Aninnri Local Government Area of Enugu State, said that politicians should be ready to subject themselves to the provisions of the constitution. It was not immediately clear whether President Jonathan, who has not declared his intention to run again in 2015, was responding to the criticisms that have followed his purported ambition. According to him, no individual could stay in office for life, even where the constitution does not stipulate the maximum term of tenures. Dr. Jonathan said: “There is no point fighting for political

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

leadership that is transient, to the extent that you want to even burn a house down because they perceive you are not too comfortable with a particular situation, be it at the local level, be at the state and federal levels. These are transitional leadership.” “Today, we have a constitution that defines the maximum tenure that any individual can stay in office. And even if the constitution does not define, no leader will stay there for life. I think, collectively, we should think more about our own country, think more about leaving behind a society that our children will be happy with.” “I believe no leader can do everything for the society. But, think about some key things and do those ones, but try and do those ones very well. What I can promise Nigerians is that with your support, we will succeed. We have our chal-

lenges, no doubt about that, but we are committed that we will make these little changes that will make a different in our lives,” the President said. He enjoined prominent Nigerians, who enjoy dual citizenships, to join hands with his administration towards building a country everybody will be proud of. Corroborating the position of the Primate of the Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, that those who are well endowed should join hands to build the nation, the President said: “I want to concur with what His Grace said, that if we leave Nigeria and go elsewhere, you may have different passports that can take you to many countries without even visas; they will still regard you as a Nigerian. You cannot fit in properly, until you come home.” “So, let us join hands and build a nation that we, our children and children yet unborn will be happy with. Just like

the Primate said, political leaders are transient; they come and go. As a leader, you always pray that as you go, you leave good footprints behind.” Commending the Deputy Senate President for building a church - in line with his covenant with God - the President said: “Ike has been able to build a church for Mpu community. We have to thank God for giving Martias (his late father) a son like Ike.” Dedicating the church, the Primate of the Anglican Communion, the Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, congratulated Ekewremadu for being chosen by God to build the church. “Of all you have ever done in your life, this is the best. You have applied your money to do something that brings glory to God,” he noted. Calling on other wealthy individuals who have the resources to build a church to emulate Ekweremadu, he said: “We want to encourage you to spend money to the glory of

God.” While praying for President Jonathan, Rev. Okoh said: “He came to this position through your grace, may he not be disgraced out. There may be people who are not happy with him, may you protect him from their powers. Give him the grace as the man who transformed this country. May he not go home empty handed. May our destiny as a nation be fulfilled.” Stressing that being religious remains a strong factor going for Nigeria, he said that it was a shame that the country was still being confronted with various challenges. His words: “It is a shame that we have not been able to harness this powerful resource to the benefit of our country. It means somebody is not sincere. We must all work hard to deliver our country together. We should have a new resolution to go out and transform our society. It is wisdom, therefore, to build this place (Nigeria) and this government in power should be a transition to the new order.”

•Dr. Jonathan

ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678






‘Achebe was T

• President Goodluck Jonathan cutting the tape to open the All Saints' Anglican Church, Mpu, Enugu State...yesterday. With him are Senate President David Mark (right), Minister of State for Foreign Affairs 1, Prof Viola Onwuliri (left), Bishop, Diocese of Awgu/Aninri, Rt Rev Emmanuel Ugwu (second left) and Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Revd. Nicholas Okoh (third left).

•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (middle), his wife, Olufunso (second right), Pastor Leke Sanusi of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Victory House, Old Kent Road, London (left), Otunba Ayo Balogun (second left) and Chairman, SIA UK Forum, Mr. Muyiwa Coker (right) when the governor held a meeting with Ogun State indigenes in London.

HE Principal of the Kings College, Lagos, Otunba Dele Olapeju, has described the late Prof. Chinua Achebe as Africa’s cultural ambassador. The Principal of the college, Otunba Dele Olapeju, spoke while distributing copies of the book to the pupils during the school’s cultural programme. Senior Secondary 1 and 2 pupils of the college will write a test on the late Achebe’s first novel, Things Fall Apart, on April 22. Olapeju said: “Welcome back test on the book will hold April 22 for SS1 and SS2 students. We are not giving you the book for the fun of it. It is a compulsory test to promote the reading culture.” He said the school would give copies to parents and others who love to read. He said the books were distributed to inspire the young ones to read and write like the late Achebe, describing the late literary icon as Africa’s cultural ambassador. “Achebe remains the cultural ambassador of Nigeria. We recall he started as a young author. His books are found in the nooks and crannies of the world. After his death, we read his profile during our assembly. Learning that he had written a lot of books, many pupils were challenged to achieve similar feat,” he said. One of the pupils, Izuchukwu Nneji, said he looked forward to reading the book having watched the movie produced long before he was born. “I hear he was a prolific writer. I have watched the film. My mother kept the CDs and she also told me

• The GOC 82 Div. Enugu, MajGen. Adebayo Olaniyi (left) and Commander 103 Battalion Enugu, Lt. Col. Mohammed Ibrahim, dwhen the GOC visited Enugu... yesterday. PHOTO: OBI CLETUS

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

the story. Now that I have the book I will read so I can enjoy it more,” he said. Anambra State indigenes living in Aba,

What is the role of a storyteller?


• From left: Ace musician Mike Okri, songstress Stella Monye, Head, Events and Sponsorships, Etisalat Nigeria, Ms Modupe Thani and Fuji musician Adewale Ayuba at the Legends Night edition of the Etisalat-sponsored Nigerian Idol season 3... on Friday.

• The late Prof. Achebe

NE of the worst things about human memory is its enduring habit of playing elaborate tricks on itself. Dialogue gets rewritten, plots get revisioned, sets get rebuilt and whole lives are restaged. So maybe it’s not surprising that I remember meeting Chinua Achebe in my freshman year at Michigan State University. It wasn’t Achebe, the ground-breaking, award-winning Nigerian novelist whom I met that year. It was Okonkwo — the flawed, tragic hero of Achebe’s classic, precolonial novel “Things Fall Apart.” That’s right. I read a book. It was that simple. Nor was I special in that regard. Since the initial publication of “Things Fall Apart” in 1958, the book has sold more than 8 million copies in scores of countries around the world. It has been translated into more than 50 languages. I’m one reader among millions. So why did Achebe’s death this month feel so personal? Maybe because it was. Maybe this is one of the most personal relationships human beings can share — that of audience and performer or more precisely story hearer and storyteller. Certainly Achebe considered it personal. As a writer, he made it plain that there is a vital link connecting who we are, what we fight for and the stories we tell. When we are telling stories, we are not only at our most dangerous but at our most free, Achebe said: “Storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right to freedom of the human spirit ...” It‘s a writer‘s duty to make people uncomfortable, he said. “Writers don‘t give prescriptions,” he wrote in one of his later novels. “They give headaches!” And perhaps most penetrating was the observation he made in his most famous novel, “There is no story that is not true.” So there I was, off on my own for the first time in my life, a boy on the edge of manhood, reading Achebe’s account of the clash between pre-colonial Africa and European colonisers. His story, written in English because it was the only language he knew that would do the job, was rife with Igbo folk tales, proverbs and songs. But it had something else, too — a new way of looking at life. It provided me with brand new definitions of what it meant to be human and vulnerable and civilised and afraid. And I remember finishing the last page and closing the book and trying my best to pretend that something wasn’t leaking from my eye. And now decades later it’s impossible to pretend that this writer from a far-off land hasn’t somehow staked a claim in my personal world. All right, maybe he wasn’t a friend, and maybe he wasn’t a father. But he was no stranger either. It’s hard to define who he was. Apparently others had that problem, too. In 1980, the famous African-American novelist James Baldwin met Achebe and recognised something in him. “It’s very important that we should meet each other, finally, if I must say so, after something like 400 years,” Baldwin said. Achebe died after a short illness in Boston, Mass. He was an Igbo, a Nigerian and a citizen of the world. He spent his last two decades teaching literature in the United States. So maybe it was just bad timing that I didn’t really meet him face to face in my freshman year. Or maybe I met him in exactly the way I needed to — through a story of amazing power that disturbed me, plagued me with questions and rewrote a chapter of my life. •Clayton Hardiman is a Chronicle columnist.




sAfrica’s literary ambassador’


Achebe remains the cultural ambassador of Nigeria. We recall he started as a young author. His books are found in the nooks and crannies of the world

Abia State also described the late Achebe as a literary icon. In a tribute by the Association of Anambra State Development Unions (AASDU), its president, Dr. Sylvester

Okolo and secretary, Dennis Okafor, described the renowned writer as a man who transformed the landscape of the contemporary African literature.

The union said the late Achebe used his works to redefine African literature, highlighted Africa’s heritage, history and culture. The group said the late author used Things fall Apart to reunite Nigerians and Africans at home and in the Diaspora. The statement reads: “He was responsible for redefining African literature and highlighting African’s glorious heritage, history and culture especially when juxtaposed with modern consideration, colonialism and post colonialism. “It changed the perception of Africa as a people without a culture. His book, Things Fall Apart as Maya Angelou once said ‘is a book wherein all readers met their brothers, sisters, parents, friends and themselves along the Nigeria road’.” The group said the late Achebe would be missed for his outspokenness against bad governance and lack of leadership. “He rejected two high National Honours (2004 and 2011) third highest honour in the country, citing pervading corruption and other issues. “Truthful and fearless, his voice always resonated with an authoritative candour on matters that affect the nation or Africa. “He was a doughty and dogged fighter who didn’t shy away from the battle arena once he perceived any decadence in the moral fabrics of the society. “Nigeria nay Africa, in fact the world will miss this great and intellectual writer and fighter whose sand print will continue to traverse the universe for eternity.”

He lives on through his works


RIDAY, March 22 will remain etched in the minds of lovers of literature the world over as a day like no other. This is the day Chinua Achebe (born 1930) passed on in the US where he lived and worked. A week has passed, and a lot has since been spoken and written about the fallen giant who, following the publication of his most famous novel, Things Fall Apart (1958) and, several more other works thereafter, he has come to be known as the father of African literature. It is, however, impossible to exhaust what ought to be said about this great man. Why, this is the creative writer who, probably more than any other author, played the most important role inculcating pride in a people whose culture underwent centuries of colonial subjugation. Albert Chinualumogu Achebe (for that’s his name in full), inspired us, not through intellectual treatises or cultural theory of the likes of Léopold Sédar Senghor with his Negritude, Kwame Nkrumah with his pan-Africanism or Julius Nyerere’s Ujamaa and Self-reliance. Achebe’s liberating tool was (mainly) the novel, which, being fictional became vehicle with which he was able to tread, as they say, where even angels fear. I developed a special liking for Achebe mainly due to his simple and candid use of the African idiom, carefully rewoven in English to tell the African story. Like when he says through his characters that “proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.” Just look at the beauty of imagery “eating words.” It’s a depiction of the man’s courage to use English in a way that isn’t really English, for among the native speakers of this language, you only “eaten (your) words” when you recant what you said earlier, admitting that your earlier assertion was wrong. In my secondary school days, it was considered a mark of brilliance putting

into use Achebe’s figures of speech to suit a particular situation. We came to know of eneke the bird which, according to the Igbo (Achebe’s ethnic group), when asked why he was always on the wing, it replied: “Since men have learned to shoot without missing their mark, I have learned to fly without perching.” What does that teach us? You just can’t be too careful in this world – trust no one! The bird eneke is very central on Igbo’s folklore. Like this one I quickly recall: “When you see eneke dancing on the middle of the road, know that his chick is nearby.” We are thus cautioned against going headlong against weak-looking, arrogant chaps. Beware their godfather! Or how about the the foolish dog who believed it could put off a furnace with its puny fat? And if you have to eat a toad, go for a fat one! Okwonko, Achebe’s main character in Things Fall Apart is so ambitious and industrious he becomes so rich it becomes hard to associate him with Unoka, his carefree, lazy father. He is thus described: “Looking at the king’s mouth, one would think he never sucked his mother’s mouth.” We could go on and on. But the major thing here is: Chinua Achebe told the African story with a liberating effect, something Africans needed as they emerged from colonialism, with many of our people undergoing identity crisis. A graduate of Ibadan University, where he read English, History and Theology, he put his learning into good use entertaining the world telling African’s story from an African perspective. His style of writing puts paid to the argument by scholars such as Ngugi wa Thiong’o, yet another great Afri-

can writer, that our story can only be truly and beautifully told in African languages. But then, take it or leave it, the world is one and much as we need to cherish our indigenous languages, the world must be made to hear our story. The use of English is one effective way of doing that and Achebe ably demonstrates it through his various works including, besides (my favourite) Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964 ), A Man of the People (1966) and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). He also authored numerous essays, children’s books, poems. In his latest work, published last year, There was a Country: A personal History of Biafra, he gives his account of secessionist war (which he supported) of May 30, 1967 to January 15 1970. Chinua Achebe visited Tanzania in November 1960 and, according a recent article by columnist Ahmed Rajab, had encounters with among others, Mwalimu Nyerere, Bibi Titi Mohamed, Chief Adam Sapi Mkwawa and Kiswahili’s foremost author Shaaban Robert (1909-June 22, 1962). To the best of my knowledge, Achebe’s only book which has a Kiswahili translation is Things Fall Apart – Mohamed Mlamali’s 1972 Hamkani si Shwari Tena and Clement Ndulute’s 1973 Shujaa Okonkwo. (Playwright Dr Edwin Semzaba Ngoswe says he is uneasy with Mlamali’s Swahili title for it sounds like it were a translation of No Longer at Ease. I concur.) Chinua Achebe is gone, but only in his physical form, for, like other literary greats of the world, he lives on through his great works. •Abdi Sultani wrote this tribute for The Citizen

Magical Chinua Achebe goes


S it merely my imagination that we have recently lost more well-known people than is usually the case? Even as we drove back from our funeral to Kampala from Kabale, news reached us Chinua Achebe, arguably the best-known (and best ever) writer in Africa had died, aged 82. Chinua Achebe: the name rolls off the tongue, as poetry, as magic. (What’s in a name, asked Juliet. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet!” Maybe; but could you imagine Chinua Achebe as a butcher or sandal-maker?) His fellow Nigerian countryman, Wole Soyinka, is the better rewarded writer, having bagged the Nobel Prize, plus not far short of a million US, but for me, and a multitude of others, that should have gone to Achebe (profuse apologies, Wole!) Ask a million African schoolchildren who have read African literature, and I bet most will say Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is the best book ever written by an African. And that it would rank at the highest level beside those from any other continent or time. I first met him and other mainly African writer-lions, but also some Black American ones, in 1962, at a Writers’ Conference at Makerere University, from which I had just recently graduated. Wole Soyinka was there too, and others: Zik Mphahlele, Dennis Brutus, Lewis Nkosi, Alex La Guma (South Africa) John Pepper Clark, Chris Okigbo (Nigeria), Kofi Awoonor, Cameron Duodu, Efua Sutherland (Ghana), Langston Hughes (US), who won my everlasting friendship (though I never saw him again) when praising the lyricism in a short story of mine, which some participants had judged of no political merit! Ah, there were many other writers there, but memory (from which I list these) and space, are my masters… Thereafter my meetings with Chinua Achebe were perforce infrequent, and mainly where birds of the writing feather were gathered together! Once, or perhaps twice, we crossed paths on teeming London streets. He always had a smile for me, of warm but perhaps quizzical nature. I heard he had been reduced to a wheelchair by an accident, and gone to the US semi-permanently. I wondered whether his heart for Nigeria (without Biafra) had broken. But I never forgot Chinua Achebe, much less now! We who were alive at that hour when his first book, Things Fall Apart came out, when he was merely 27, were astounded and captivated by its writing power. But also by how, through its Igbo protagonist, Chief Okonkwo, an older, African, civilisation, was submerged by a later, European, one. Thus it could be called a song of defeat, but sang in heroic tone, and fashioned elegantly into an English with Igbo undertones: technically a magical and miraculous feat. The book, it is no exaggeration to state, blew our minds. But equally those of countless others: it went into more than 50 translations, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. Four other novels followed: No Longer at Ease (1960) Arrow of God (1964), which some, but not I, consider his greatest achievement: I stick with the first book, Things Fall Apart (which to me seems nearer to perfection), then satirical A Man of the People (1966) and finally Ant-

He (Achebe) was the same man who refused honours from his own Nigeria, saying the leaders there who offered them had not done enough for their citizens. Elsewhere he accepted numerous awards, including over 30 honorary doctorates

hills of the Savannah (1987), his kind of summing up of his and other African writers: to me seemingly an afterthought. There were some children’s books too. He also brought out Beware Soul Brother (1971), an award-winning collection of poems, and Girls at War and Other Stories (1972), a volume of short stories. These last two came from his experiences of the Biafran War. This was that calamitous civil war of an attempted secession, by Biafra from Nigeria, in which more than a million, a huge majority of them Biafrans, perished. Surprisingly, Chinua Achebe, the most peaceful person you could ever meet, believed firmly that only an independent Biafra, to which its people could retreat, would ensure the survival of the Igbo, of whom he was one. He said, “I believe our cause is right and just. And this is what literature should be about: right and just causes.” From this came his often-repeated statement, “Let the hawk perch and let the eagle perch”: Equality! A friend of his from earliest schooldays was the Okigbo I met, brilliant poet who chose to fight for Biafra in this war, and died, some say shot in the back while ordering his troops to follow him where the fighting was fiercest! Chinua Achebe might seem mild, but not if he thought something was not right. In America when giving a lecture at Massachusetts University, he denounced Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in forthright terms, finding it condescending and even racist to Africans. Many in the audience, to their shame in my view, walked out. But he was the same man who refused honours from his own Nigeria, saying the leaders there who offered them had not done enough for their citizens. Elsewhere he accepted numerous awards, including over 30 honorary doctorates. He must have glowed particularly at the tribute from Nelson Mandela: “There was a writer named Chinua Achebe, in whose company the prison walls fell down.” •John Nagenda wrote this tribute for New Vision of Uganda




•Students wings of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islam beating a police officer in Rajshahi...yesterday

•The police officer in coma


2015: ACN control of Southwest is setback for PDP, says secret memo •Party leaders demand heavy patronage from Fed Govt to dislodge ACN


ARELY two years after the loss of the Southwest, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)is still in dilemma on how to wrest power from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Some PDP leaders have told Governor Ibrahim Shema’s peace panel that the control of the Southwest by the ACN has dampened the morale of members of the party. They said to regain any state in 2014 or 2015, PDP members in the zone need heavy patronage from the Federal Government. But, in one of the secret memos to the peace panel, the party chiefs claimed that there appears to be no hope for PDP because of the crisis in Ogun State which led to the removal of three members of the National Working Committee. The sacked members are exNational Secretary Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; ex-National Vice-Chairman (Southwest),Segun Oni and a former National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha. The panel had been looking into the problems facing PDP in the Southwest and how to dislodge the

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

ACN. But some of the memos said regaining the Southwest is herculean. The memo reads in part:” Today, the threats of the opposition in making dangerous incursions into the PDP in the zone are real, as a result of several factors, including the subject under reference which has brought about great disenchantment among PDP members in the zone. “Quite naturally, the loss of PDP governments in the last elections to the Action Congress of Nigeria in five out of the six states in the Southwest zone dampened the morale of members of our party in the zone. “I must also state that the losses suffered by our party could be ascribed largely to internal struggles for political offices and positions, particularly the feverish struggle by the governorship aspirants which split PDP down the line. “Whoever has bothered to study the pattern of reaction of the electorate in the South-west would agree that the zone is inhabited by independent-minded people, whose reactions to political issues

are determined by several factors, including the high level of education and political sophistry, as well as their reactions to matters pertaining to their political leaders and environment.” They claimed that the recent removal of three NWC members is a setback for the anti-ACN project. The memo added: “ It is to be noted that the leadership of the PDP in the Southwest came on the scene with a very strong determination to evolve a drastic change, inspiring new political aims and aspirations, and a change that would earn our Party the control of the Governments of the Southwest states from 2014, when governorship elections are scheduled to hold in Osun and Ekiti states. “I am convinced that Southwest PDP, within the relatively short period of His Excellency, Segun Oni’s leadership, did everything possible to provide a responsible leadership that guaranteed an enlightened followership and which did everything possible to bring about the unity of members of the PDP in the zone. “I would say, with every sincerity that the Southwest PDP

was, until Oni’s removal, led with every sincerity and purposefulness that allowed us to plan and strategise effectively to neutralise the opposition and their antics.” The leaders asked for huge political patronage to be able to check ACN. The memo said: “ From available indications, one issue that has been of great concern to the supporters of our great Party has been that of political patronage. “Several times, they have canvassed the feeling that the zone is not adequately catered for in the distribution of political offices at the national level. “I must state that the absence of PDP governments in the Southwest states must have naturally narrowed down the level of patronage which could have been supplemented by political appointments in the states and local governments. The situation could be said to have increased dependence on the Federal Government and by implication, its responsibilities and prerogatives. “Those of us in leadership positions made sure to impress it on our political followers that PDP


at the national level would do everything possible, within reasonable limits, to satisfy the aspirations and support of the PDP in the Southwest zone for the national leadership of our great Party. “We could still do this by catering for diverse interests by tilting appointments at the federal level generally, in favour of the Southwest zone, which is generally believed to be disadvantaged at the moment. “The incidents treated in this compilation are very strong factors that cannot in any way be divorced from heightened fears of irrelevance and negative feelings nursed by a considerable number of members of the PDP in the zone.”

El-Rufai hits back at Atiku on Pentascope contract •Insists ex-VP approved failed management contract •Ex-FCT minister’s allegation dismissed FORMER Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir elRufai yesterday insisted that exVice-President Atiku Abubakar approved the management contract with Pentascope for the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL). He said Pentascope was not foisted on NITEL as being alleged in some quarters. Since Pentascope management of NITEL went awry, there had been shifting of blames by some government officials in the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. Some had blamed el-Rufai for the failure of NITEL. Others criticised the former Vice-President who was then the Chairman of the National Privatization Council (NCP). But el-Rufai’s book, “Accidental Public Servant,” stirred the hornet’s nest on NITEL which forced Atiku to voice out. However, in his reaction to the controversy through a statement by his Media Advisor, Mr. Muyiwa


FROM Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

Adekeye, the former FCT Minister said the leadership of BPE also neglected its responsibilities in supervising Pentascope management contract. The statement said: “On Pentascope, we see the same pattern of muddying the waters with falsehood. As chairman of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), Atiku gave his approval in writing on February 21, 2003 for the management contract with Pentascope to be signed. The memo on which Atiku minuted his approval, is dated 20th February 2003, and was initiated by the director of BPE that was covering the DG’s duties at the time. “By the virtue of the high office he then held, Atiku knows that Pentascope was not foisted on NITEL but emerged from a properly advertised and competitive selection process. “After the failure of the first attempt to sell NITEL, it had been decided that there was need for a management contractor to keep the mo-

mentum of preparing the company to operate like a private entity and to preserve its assets. Pentascope resumed in NITEL on April 28 2003, shortly before El Rufai left the BPE to become a minister. “The Pentascope contract terms included obligations by the BPE to monitor the contract, and for the NITEL Board to set up an Executive Committee to supervise day to day operations in NITEL. “Between the new BPE leadership that neglected its responsibilities, the NCP which Atiku chaired and which failed to supervise the BPE and the bureaucrats and politicians around the Ministry of Communications, the management contract was frustrated and terminated in 2005. “When a former vice-president asserts that NITEL was making N100 billion in profit annually, the mind must boggle that someone so unconstrained by fidelity to facts had once been saddled with significant responsibilities. NITEL never made such profits. “NITEL had never paid a single dividend to the FGN until the BPE

forced it to pay N3billion in 2001! While the politicians and bureaucrats were fighting to reclaim ministerial control of NITEL (and the inflated equipment contracts that came with it), the company was fast losing market share to the new kids on the block, the GSM companies that understood how to create and sustain value. “It is to be hoped that Atiku will respond to the other matters concerning him in the book, but this time he must ensure that facts trump the braggadocio.” But the former Vice President has again dismissed those allegation. He said they are not new. In a statement by his Media Office, Atiku said: “The interesting thing is that those spreading these allegations couldn’t come forward with any iota of proof against me. I was also accused of selling African Petroleum to myself, using a front. However, when the facts eventually emerged in respect of this particular allegation, my traducers were disarmed and were forced to retreat. Indeed, I was the most investigated

public office holder under the former administration and, if this allegation was valid, it could have been conveniently used to bring me down and tarnish my name. Thank God I survived this smear campaign, just like others before it. “The Senate conducted a public hearing on privatisation under my leadership as the chairman of the National Council on Privatisation. That was the best opportunity for those accusing me of selling public assets to myself to come forward to prove the allegation. Surprisingly, they never did because they relied mainly on hearsay. A cabinet member in Obasanjo’s government, who was promoting this idle rumour, was eventually left looking small because he didn’t have the facts to substantiate his allegations against me. “On Pentascope, people should direct the questions to El-Rufai himself. The Pentascope scandal was one of the issues investigated by the National Assembly and it accused El-Rufai of ignoring wise counsel by imposing the company on NITEL.”



NEWS Oke hails Appeal Court’s ruling

Osun NLC, JNC, TUC to meet today on proposed strike


HREE labour leaders in Osun State yesterday explained why they called for a four-day warning strike. The congress, they said, will meet today on whether to go on with the strike or suspend it. The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Alhaji Saka Adesiyan; Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council (NJC) Bayo Adejumo and the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Francis Adetunji, said it was to remind the state government of its agreement with workers 19 months ago. They spoke with reporters at the NLC Secretariat in Osogbo, the state capital. Reacting to calls by some labour leaders urging members to ignore the proposed strike, Adesiyan said the congress would meet today to decide whether or not to suspend the strike. He said several attempts to get the governor’s attention failed, hence the deci-

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

sion to go on a warning strike. Adesiyan said after two meetings with Governor Rauf Aregbesola on the implementation of the minimum wage for senior civil servants, the governor called for negotiation. He said: “Since January, nothing concrete has been done to set up the committee and several warning letters were sent to the government as reminders. Based on the government’s noncompliance, labour was constrained to issue the notice of a warning strike to press home workers’ demands.” Adejumo, who was accused of being a retired federal worker, said he still has over five years to spend in service. He said he, Adesiyan and Adetunji are the recognised labour leaders and not “disgruntled elements in the labour movement, who are

fighting for their personal interests”. Adetunji denied knowing one of those dissociating themselves from the proposed strike. Mrs. Tola Nosegbe, who said she is the Vice-Chairman of TUC, is one of those dissociating themselves from the proposed strike. Adetunji said Mrs. Nosegbe works with the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) in Akure, Ondo State, and cannot speak for Osun workers. On Sunday, some labour leaders, including the Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Comrade Akinyemi Olatunji; leader of the Medical and Health Workers Union, Comrade Femi Adebisi and TUC Vice-Chairman Comrade Tola Nosegbe, and others dissociated their unions from the proposed strike and urged workers to disregard it.

Two held for Ekiti killing


HE police have arrested two suspects over last weekend’s shootings in Erijiyan-Ekiti, in which a man, Ayo Jeje, was killed. Commissioner of Police Sotonye Wakama yesterday

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

said investigation was ongoing to uncover the masterminds of the shootings and their motives. Wakama said: “We have

arrested two suspects, who the people said were part of those who fired shots during the mayhem. We have no evidence against them, but our investigation will show if they are culpable or not.”

Youths decry ‘neglect’ of Yoruba


HE Coalition of Yoruba Youths has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to address the “neglect” of the Yoruba by his administration. Speaking with reporters at the weekend in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, the group’s Chairman, Mr. Wale Ayeni, and National Publicity Director Niyi Ojo said the “imbalance” is obvious and cannot be ignored.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

They said no Yoruba person occupies the first 20 political positions in the country. They urged the president to prove that he is the leader of all Nigerians by correcting the imbalance. Ayeni said: “We are opposed to the present situation, in which the Yoruba cannot be found in the top 20 positions in the country. It is

worrisome and we believe President Jonathan can correct it. “We are not opposed to any group or zone association. We hold every other race as brothers and supporters in the development of the country. We even see other ethnic groups as partners in what we are demanding.” The group urged youths to shun acts that would compromise the country’s peace and progress.

ARG backs Fayemi for second term


PAN-Yoruba group, the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Ekiti State chapter, and a political group in Ekiti North Senatorial District, the John Kayode Fayemi Group 2 (JKF 2), have backed calls for the re-election of Governor Kayode Fayemi. They said the Fayemi administration has developed the state and should be given another opportunity to do more. They said Fayemi’s endorsement for a second term by the “majority” showed that the governor was chosen for the position by God. Speaking with reporters in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, ARG Chairman Elder Bunmi Awotiku said: “The people have called for Fayemi’s return. They waited a long time for him and his achievements in his short time in office must be sustained by returning him as governor.” JKF 2, which has 23 members and is led by Mr. Kayode Olaosebikan, said: “God is in favour of Fayemi’s

The ruling has vindicated our stance that the decisions of the Justices of the lower tribunal were jaundiced. Issues regarding leadership are too sensitive to be handled with levity. The ruling is a challenge to the lower tribunal to stand above sentiments

•Labour may suspend strike

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

return as governor in 2014. His administration’s eightpoint agenda has positively touched all parts of the state in less than two-and-a-half years. “This administration has transcended barriers in the implementation of programmes and projects. Its development and empowerment drive has been non-partisan.

“Its endorsement by the people is an attestation of his success and it is well earned.” Reacting to calls in some quarters for the rotation of the governorship seat among the senatorial districts, JKF 2 said there is no zoning in the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). It said Fayemi is the first governor produced by Ekiti North District and should be given a second term.

Orji condoles with Awolowo family


BIA State Governor Theodore Orji has condoled with the family of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo on the death of Mr. Oluwole Awolowo, publisher of the Nigerian Tribune. He described it as a loss to the nation. In a statement by his media aide, Ugochukwu Emezue, Orji said he received the news with “shock and sadness”. He said the late Oluwole would be remembered for

From Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia

his contribution to the growth of the media. Orji said although the late Oluwole was the son of a great man, he was humble and gentle. He sent his condolences to Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun; the deceased’s mother, Mama H.I.D. Awolowo; and the people of Ogun State. Orji prayed God to give them the fortitude to bear the loss.



HE candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last October’s governorship election in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, at the weekend praised the judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, which set aside the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal. Oke said the Appeal Court’s ruling showed that

the Judiciary has men of impeccable character, who are determined to ensure justice at all times. Oke approached the Appeal Court to challenge the February ruling of the lower tribunal, which struck out the name of the PDP from his petition. The Justice Andoverr Kaka’an-led tribunal struck out some paragraphs in Oke’s petition and did not allow him present more facts to prove the alleged illegal injection of names into the voters’ register. The five-man appeal panel restored PDP as a petitioner in the case. It also restored some paragraphs of Oke’s petition.

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

The Justice Habu Gumelled panel dismissed the preliminary objections by the Labour Party’s (LP’) candidate, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, on the grounds that it was incompetent and an abuse of court process. Oke hailed the Justices of the Appeal Court for their courage. He said: “The ruling has vindicated our stance that the decisions of the Justices of the lower tribunal were jaundiced. Issues regarding leadership are too sensitive to be handled with levity. The ruling is a challenge to the lower tribunal to stand above sentiments.”

OOU to mark 30th anniversary with colloquium


HE Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, will on Thursday hold a colloquium on education at the DLK Events Centre on Moshood Abiola Way in Abeokuta, the state capital. The theme of the colloquium is: “Nigeria tertiary education in crisis: The way forward”. This is part of activities marking the institution’s 30th anniversary. OOU’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council Dr. Segun Oshin said

the choice of the theme was influenced by the deterioration of tertiary education, which he said needs the urgent attention of stake holders. The speakers include the Chief Executive of Higher Education in the United Kingdom (UK), Prof. Craig Mahoney, former Ghanaian Minister of Education and Member of Parliament Prof. Dominic Fobih and former Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Tax Fund, Prof. Yakub Mamud. There will be a panel of discussants on the topic.



NEWS Soyinka to inaugurate Odu’a Hall of Fame


OBEL Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka will tomorrow inaugurate a historical centre, the Odu’a Hall of Fame and Museum, established by Odu’a Investments Limited. It is located on the 24th floor of the Cocoa House in Dugbe, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. In a statement, the company’s Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr. Victor Ayetoro, said: “The Hall of Fame and

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Museum will serve as a centre of attraction with audiovisual display and documentary of some distinguished individuals, who have contributed immensely to the growth of the nation and stand out in their chosen fields. It will also showcase objects of historical or artistic values relating to the Yoruba.”

‘Oyo has improved’ From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


HE Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in Oyo State, Mr. Yekeen Popoola, has hailed the urban renewal programme of the Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration. Popoola, who is the chairman of Irepo Local Government Transition Committee, said the programme has improved the aesthetics of the state. He said the beautification of the cities has confirmed that the Oyo people are not as dirty and resentful to modernity as was previously believed, adding that the state’s “pacesetting position” has been restored. Popoola urged residents to embrace the positive change introduced by the Ajimobi administration by obeying the laws and cooperating with the government to improve the state. He said council chairmen have, in the last 15 months, impacted positively on the grassroots in line with the transformation and restoration agenda of the Ajimobi administration. Popoola said: “Development requires the joint effort of all stakeholders. Citizens need to support the government by fulfilling their obligations and remaining law-abiding.”

Church for dedication


HE newly completed Cathedral of the United African Methodist Evangelical Church at No. 3, Akinsola Lane in Abule Ijesha, Lagos, will be inaugurated and dedicated on Saturday. Elder Statesman Chief Arthur Eze is the Chairman of the occasion. The Osile of Oke-Ona, Egbaland, Oba Adedapo Tejuosho and the Alaye of Odogbolu, Oba Adedeji Onagoruwa, are the Royal Fathers of the Day. The Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Rev.

Sunday Ola Makinde, will deliver the Sermon. The event will be coordinated by the Baba Ijo, a retired Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya; the Iya Ijo, Chief Mabel Kehinde Komolafe; the Otunba Baba Ijo, Chief Folorunso Oladepo; the Otun Iya Ijo, Chief Mrs. Patience Adeleke; the church’s Patron, Senator Anthony Adefuye; former Minister of Commerce Mrs. Nike Akande and former Regional and Zonal Chairperson of Lions International District 404B, Dr. Funke Adebajo.

•A tractor demolishing a property on a pipeline in Lagos...yesterday


HE Federal Government has been urged to give a posthumous honour to Lt. Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, a former Military Governor of the old Western Region, who was killed in a military coup in July, 1966. The organisers of the Adekunle Fajuyi Festival Project (AFFP) made the call while briefing reporters on the forthcoming maiden edition of the Adekunle Fajuyi Festival, 2013. They said the late Fajuyi should be accorded his “rightful place in the scheme of things in the country”. The event starts on July 22 and ends on the 29th. It would feature an international peace conference, culture and art exhibition, peace concerts, rallies and many other events.” The organisers, led by Mr.

‘Why Adekunle Fajuyi should be honoured’ From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

Femi Alufa, in a statement, said: “It is time the Federal Government named a standard monument, hospital or academic institution after him.” The Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, said: “Fajuyi exemplified courage, peace, patriotism and loyalty to one’s fatherland. “He symbolised the unity of the country. The virtues he exemplified are absent in many people today, which explains the problems currently facing the country. “The late Fajuyi had an op-

portunity to save his life, as the coup plotters only wanted to kill Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi, the then Head of State, who visited Fajuyi at his Ibadan base. “But Fajuyi chose to die with his guest, remembering the proverb ‘Aepa alejo oni sakin’, meaning ‘you cannot claim bravery when your guest has been killed.’ “He could not, as governor, have thrown Ironsi out to be killed like an unwanted dog. He died with him.” Alufa said the festival has become necessary to sustain the late Fajuyi’s legacies. He said: “The annual festival will be the ultimate hon-

our to celebrate the universal value of peace, patriotism, selfless leadership and courage which the late Fajuyi symbolised and to teach these lessons in service to humanity.” One of the late Fajuyi’s sons, Donald, urged the people to sustain his father’s values and vision, so that his efforts to keep Nigeria together would not be in vain. He solicited the support of state governments and corporate bodies in making the festival a success, saying: “Nigeria’s heroes should not be confined to a corner in the history of the country.”

Oyo MDAs get 14-day ultimatum From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


HE Oyo State Signage and Advertising Agency (OYSAA) has given Oyo State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) a 14-day ultimatum to change their signages to the new one approved by the state government. This was contained in a statement by the Director of Press in the Ministry of Information, Mr. Fatai Ogundairo. OYSAA is responsible for the registration of billboards, banners and signposts in the state. He said anyone who fails to beat the ultimatum would have their signposts removed. Having removed dilapidated signposts and billboards in Ibadan, Ogbomoso and Oyo, Ogundairo said the agency would soon proceed to Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun. He said the agency’s goal was to transform Oyo State’s outdoor space to attract investors and promote economic activities. •Rivers State Commissioner for Health Sampson Parker (in white) and others displaying the Best State award won by Rivers ... yesterday.

NDDC, professionals give free medical services in Ondo


BOUT 1,500 people in the coastal area of Ondo State yesterday benefited from the free medical services of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Ilaje League of Professionals (ILP). The groups organised the free services separately. ILP Chairman Benson Obayelu and the Coordinator of NDDC’s free medical mission, Dr. Bode Obayelu, said the programmes were aimed at

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

improving the people’s health. Speaking at Igbokoda, headquarters of Ilaje Local Government, after the programmes, they urged corporate organisations in the area to fulfill their responsibilities to their host communities. The NDDC team’s coordinator said the coastal areas contribute much to the economy and its people must be catered for. He said it took his team five

days to move round the two councils in the area. The NDDC team’s coordinator said over 500 patients were operated on and 200 were treated for minor ailments. He said people from neighbouring councils of the Okitipupa and Irele also benefited from the exercise. The NDDC team’s coordinator praised the state’s representative on NDDC’s Governing Council, Mr. Dele

Omogbemi, and workers in its state office for making the programme a success. ILP’s director said the group was created to champion the cause of the people as agents of positive change through lifeimpacting programmes. Benson, who is Bode’s elder brother and a former Director in NDDC, said 800 people benefited from the mission. He said ILP has taken over the NDDC’s water project at Igbokoda GRA.

AD opens Oyo office


HE Alliance for Democracy (AD) yesterday inaugurated a new office in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. AD’s Deputy National Secretary Chief Babatunde Tijani, who opened the office located at Adamasingba, said the party might adopt Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as its presidential candidate in 2015. Tijani, who represented the National Secretary on the occasion, assured them that AD would meet their aspirations. Urging Nigerians not to be indifferent to the struggle for

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

the enthronement of true democracy, he said: “Democracy cannot be for the people unless it is by the people. The solution is for you to participate in politics.”

‘Democracy cannot be for the people unless it is by the people. The solution is for you to participate in politics’





NEWS Gunmen kill UNIMAID lecturer

U •Former Head of Interim National Government Chief Ernest Shonekan (left); Central Bank Deputy Governor Mr. Tunde Lemo; Mr. Mosadioluwa Abimbola; former President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Michael Ayo Oni and other guests at the Easter Concert at The Apostolic Faith Church, Lagos... at the weekend. PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA •Former Ogun State Governor Aremo Olusegun Osoba and former Minister of Commerce and Tourism Mrs. Bola Kuforiji-Olubi at the Lagos Water Regatta at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, the weekend.

NKNOWN gunmen shot dead a lecturer in the Mass Communications Department of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) at his home in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. Eyewitnesses told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Malam Murtala Mohammed was shot at his 202 Housing Estate, opposite the university campus. “He was shot at a close range by a group of teenagers after observing the Suhri (2pm) prayers in front of his

house,” a witness said. Also, Malam Yusuf Ibrahim, a neighbour of the deceased, said the victim appeared to have been trailed by his killers from the university campus before coming to his house. “Apparently, the killers must have trailed him from the university campus where he had gone to perform some official assignment in the morning,” he said. Ibrahim also said the killers fled after shooting the deceased several times. Malam Ahmed

Mohammed, the UNIMAID Chief Information Officer, said he heard about the incident in the afternoon. He said the university authorities could not take immediate action because the lecturer was killed outside the campus. “I learnt that his remains were taken to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) mortuary by operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF), who were alerted by neighbours following the event,” Mohammed said.

Let’s resurrect dead things in Nigeria, says Makinde



•Chairman; Eti-Osa Local Government Local Council Development Area, Alhaji Owolabi Yisa (right) presenting the council’s budget to the House’s Leader, Kabiru Sulaiman

•L-R: The chairman of the occasion, Mr. Bunmi Olaopa, National Chairman, Association of Industrial Pharmaceutical of Nigeria (AIPN), Dr. Lolu Ojo and the Chairman, Board of Fellows, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mr. Ade Popoola, at the AIPN’s bi-monthly meeting in Lagos. •Ogun State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Mr. Olumuyiwa Oladipo, representing Governor Ibikunle Amosun (right) and Bishop, Diocese of Remo Methodist Church, Rev. Babatunde Abiodun Taiwo, at the Remo Diocese Annual Synod and inauguration of Oko-Sagamu Circuit

•The Head of Marketing and Public Relations, Chicken Republic, Mrs Susan Rotimi (left), addressing news conference at the launch of Spicy Crunch in Lagos. With her are Chief Operation Officers Mr. Kofi Abunu (middle) and Assistant Manager Ms Omolabake Afuwape. PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN

HE Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr Sunday Ola Makinde, has called for the resurrection of the dying peace and love in Nigeria. The cleric said an egalitarian society must be built in Nigeria to ensure that dead things are resuscitated. “Let us join our hands together, irrespective of our tribes, to build a new nation. Whatever is falling, let Nigerians try as much as possible to resurrect it. The security is dead, we should resurrect it. Employment generation is dead, we should resurrect it. Peace is dead, we should resurrect it. Love is dead, we should resurrect it and then build an egalitarian society,”


By Amidu Arije

he said. The Prelate spoke yesterday in Lagos at the dedication and official opening of the Sunday School building of the Hoare’s Memorial Methodist Cathedral, Yaba, Lagos. Dr Makinde noted that the power sector needs a spiritual intervention because power generation has been declining. “We are looking for a saviour in the power sector. It transcends the knowledge of humans. We should go spiritual. It is a problem and it is a disgrace to this nation. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo could

not do it; the military could not do it. Then let’s go spiritual, and it shall be well,” he said. On the importance of the Sunday School building, Dr Makinde said it would prevent crimes in the society as it would serve as a training ground for youths. He added: “The importance of the Sunday School building is that we are bringing in the young ones, to catch them young, so that we can have few evils in the society. The crimes being committed today are committed by the young ones. But if we catch them young, the crimes will not be there. That is why we have built this to train young Nigerians.”

Nigeria to represent Africa at UN IGERIA is the only Afsummit on MDGs rican country invited

to the United Nations (UN) for a high-level substantive session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the proposed Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) in Geneva, Switzerland, in July. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals, Dr. Precious Gbeneol, announced this in a statement yesterday in Abuja. The MDGS Office will, therefore, hold a national workshop to prepare a report to be presented by the Nigerian Country team, led by Dr. Gbeneol, as Nigeria’s National Voluntary Presentation (NVP), at the MDGs meeting. The statement by the Office Deputy Director (Communications), Mrs. Ken Offie, said the workshop would hold on April 4 and 5 at the Chida International Hotel, Abuja. Critical input from stakeholders from several local sectors and relevant UN entities

From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

are expected to form the core contents of the NVP to be delivered at the ECOSOC forum. The workshop, which is being organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology as well as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, will have a keynote address to be delivered by the Minister of National Planning, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman. It will also have in attendance representatives from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), stakeholders in related sectors and the public. Nigeria has, in line with the theme of the international event, indicated that it will highlight its use of science and technology, especially the Nigerian MDGs’ Information System it developed in conjunction with the

Earth Institute of Columbia University and the United Nations Country Team. This is a guide for the investment of the annual $1billion negotiated as Debt Relief from the Paris Club for pro-poor activities in the report to be presented at the forum. Mrs Offie added that emphasis would be on the accomplishments and challenges encountered in the implementation of the National Development Strategies and Policies that are in the guidelines for the preparation of the National Report. “We intend to highlight the utility of the Nigerian MDGs Information System in both the report and the NVP as a crucial tool that has had impact on the implementation of Internationally Agreed Development Goals (IADGs), including the MDGs in Nigeria,” the statement said.

40m Nigerians hypertensive, says don


VER one billion people are afflicted by hypertension-related diseases worldwide, a Professor of Medicine, Ibraheem Katibi, has said. This, the academic stressed, accounts for about 30 per cent deaths. Delivering the 126th inaugural lecture of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Katibi said about 40 million Nigerians are affected by the disease. The don maintained that hypertension is no respecter of race, gender or age. In a lecture entitled: The Choice is Yours but the Burden is Ours, Prof Katibi said 80 per cent of the deaths occur

in the middle and low income countries, including Nigeria. The academic, who teaches at the College of Health Sciences of the university, said: “The genesis of hypertension is sometimes traceable to the free choice we make during spouse selection, pregnancy, delivery, events in early childhood and adult life. “It has been reported that offspring who have hypertensive parents have a 27.2 per cent increased risk of becoming hypertensive than the general population. When only one of the parents is hypertensive, the risk is

reduced to 5.7 per cent.” Warning against indiscriminate salt intake, the don noted that excessive salt consumption and obesity have been directly linked to high blood pressure. The don urged the government to ban highly salted food items to ensure the wellbeing of the people. He added that cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, take the lion’s share in the country among leading causes of death and disability. Katibi urged the government to improve funding of cardiovascular research in particular and health research as a whole.





At the moment there is an average of about 18 hours per day of constant power supply to different parts of the country. This feat was brought about by the implementation of the integrated power sector reform programme anchored on the power roadmap. - Minister of Information, Labaran Maku

Eko explains outage during Jonathan’s church service


HE management of Eko Electricity Distri bution Company has blamed the cause of power outage at Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), in Lagos where President Goodluck Jonathan and some prominent Nigerians worshipped on Easter Sunday on the generator. The President was delivering his speech when power went off. But Eko Electricity Distribution Company explained that the church chose to use its generator, which eventually broke down. The electricity distribution firm said that it was when the church couldn’t find an immediate

• Ikeja Electricity works on Ikeja sub-station By Emeka Ugwuanyi

solution that it contacted the utility firm for intervention. It said: “About 11.50am on Sunday, 31st March, 2013, during the Easter Sunday service at Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, (TBS) Lagos, there was electricity supply interruption to the church. About 12 minutes later (i.e. 12.02pm) supply was restored back to the church. “Investigation conducted by Eko Distribution Company officials after the incident, revealed that the church was taking electricity supply from their private generating set

‘High interest rates killing businesses’


IGH interest rates on loans offered entrepre neurs and businesses by banks is slowing the growth and development of the real sector, the Group Managing Director (GMD), Odu’a Investments Company Limited, Adebayo Jimoh, has said. Jimoh told The Nation that most businesses are struggling because of the high rate of interest on loans by banks and other financial institutions. This he said makes it almost impossible for them to make profit in the face of rising costs of production. Describing the future of business in Nigeria as bleak should things remain the same, Jimoh said: “If the high interest rate regime continues and the inflation rate is said to be coming down, it does not tally. It creates a bleak future for industry because industry will

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

not be able to get into meaningful activities that would enable them to make profit, have returns and pay back these loans. “There will be a limit to which you can increase your prices if the interest rates are low and the money supplied into the economy is also being highly regulated, whereas the interest rate in banks are still high, so there is a mismatch. So its a bleak future for industry if the interest rate continues this way,” he said. He called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to find a way of reducing the rates. “My appeal is for the banks to find a way of at least, bringing down interest rate and the CBN through its monetary policy regime can do this,” he added.

OPEC to cut exports, says agency


HE Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will trim crude shipments through to the middle of April, while

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa-$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N10.6 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -9% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending -22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $48b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472

refiners perform seasonal maintenance work, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements. The group that supplies about 40 per cent of the world’s oil will reduce crude exports by 370,000 barrels a day, or 1.5 per cent, to 23.69 million a day in the four weeks to April 13, the researcher said in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude Angola and Ecuador. “April is definitely the low point of the second quarter,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. “The refinery maintenance season peaks in April and drags on into May. The recovery in refining capacity and the increase in crude demand it generates doesn’t really show up in loadings until early May.” Global refinery output in the second quarter was forecast at 74.8 million barrels a day, by the International Energy Agency in its month report. “Asian maintenance will constrain crude runs through mid-May. Only in June are runs forecast to rebound in a big way,” the IEA said.

when the power interruption occurred. The church’s electrical maintenance crew led by Abiola, swung into action immediately, and after an unsuccessful attempt to restore supply from the generating set, decided to bring in the public (PHCN) power supply (which had been available to them for use) through their changeover arrangement at

about 12.02pm. “Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) area, including Our Saviour’s Anglican Church receives electricity supply from Macarthy 11kV feeder (exBerkley 3x15MVA, 33/11kV Injection substation located by Moloney Street, Lagos.” It added: “Our events log records indicate that all through Sunday, 31st March,

2013 (from 1.00am up till today, Monday, (yesterday) 1st April, 2013, Macarthy 11kV feeder has been healthy, and in service, delivering electricity supply to customers in TBS area”. In another development, the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, said it is working on the major cable fault that occurred at Police Training College (PTC) injection substation at PHCN PTC Undertaking office opposite the

Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. In a statement, the firm’s Assistant General Manager, Mr. Pekun Adeyanju, said that areas, including Ikeja GRA, General Hospital, Computer Village, Olowu and environs, were affected. He said the management has appealed to the affected customers to be patient, as the company’s engineers were working seriously to restore power.













Tuesday, APRIL 2, 2013


* The Environment * Mortgage * Apartments * Security * Homes * Real Estate



•A multi-storey office complex in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Not yet Uhuru for construction The construction sector is yet to realise its potential, despite Nigeria’s huge infrastructure deficit. Over the last three decades, according to a research by Vetiva, crop production, crude oil production, wholesale and retail have recorded a 27-year Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28 per cent, 29 per cent and 26 per cent, while the sector’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at CAGR of 21 per cent during the same period. It is, therefore, evident that Nigeria is far behind in the construction sector. Below are the developments that have taken place in the past three months, writes OKWY IROEGBU-CHIKEZIE. •Continued on page 18 •Eko pearl city

•Kogi flood victims decry N3,000 palliative

- PAGE 18

•Edo spends N160b on roads, drainages - PAGE 18




Not yet Uhuru for construction T

HE Federal Government has made good its promise of build ing a second Niger Bridge linking Asaba, Delta State capital, with the Southeast and Southsouth. It has mobilised the contractor with N100 million, which according to the Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen, is for ‘procurement’. The ministry has also reconstructed the ‘Bridge Head’ in Onitsha, the Anambra State commercial hub. But, the drains, unfortunately, are filled with sand and refuse which, if not cleared before the rains start, will exacerbate flooding in the state, according to scientific predictions. Last week, road contracts worth N47.8 billion were awarded by the Federal Government for 13 roads across the country. The minister said though the contracts were awarded at the end of last • Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen year, the contractors were only mobilised to site last January. Some of the roads are in Cross River, Benue, of terrorists are curtailed, roads in the Imo, Abia and Ebonyi states. The Port zone may be worse for it. The rumoured near collapse of the Harcourt/Enugu Road has become an albatross for the government as the third Mainland Bridge was also dispatch-up work executed by the Fed- pelled as the Federal Government eral Roads Maintenance Agency dispatched bridge experts to investi(FERMA) at some portions have not gate the alleged tremor on the bridge, offered succour to those who ply the which was given a clean bill of health. highway. Users of the road are Housing clamouring for its total overhaul and Nigeria with a population of over reconstruction. After the cancellation of the conces- 160 million, advertising the construcsion agreement on Lagos/Ibadan tion of 8,069 houses with 58,632 perExpressway last year, observers had sons as beneficiaries and the supexpected that the contract would have posed 1,703 projects on ongoing, is been awarded to a competent contrac- not only ridiculous but alsoa far cry tor. But, to their dismay, nothing has from national demand. One of the been done to allay the fears of the pub- key achievements of the ministry relic on the fate of road users in the first cently, is the review and approval of new housing policy and the drive to quarter. The East/West Road in the Niger deliver housing through public-priDelta is also not free from vate partnership (PPP). On the heels of this, the ministry controversy.Allegations of insufficient funding and sacking of incom- of Land, Housing and Urban Develpetent contractors delayed its unveil- opment is partnering with the private ing in the first quarter. It is hoped that sector to seek alternative housing those in charge would do the needful models, such as dry housing construction models and form technoland deliver the project on schedule. The restiveness in the northern part ogy, which has the capacity to proof the country has equally delayed duce high number of units in the projects or made contractors to aban- shortest possible time. The minister don them as they are abducted and said her ministry is working tirelessly killed indiscriminately by the to create an enabling environment for developers to operate by asking state ‘terrorist’gangs. Observers said except the activities government to built infrastructure that will aid the private sector to op-

The state went to the extent of forming climate change clubs in secondary schools and spreading its good news of climate change mitigating tactics amongst all strata of the citizenry. It also formed advocacy groups to reach target audience, such as traders, artisans and others which is not the same at the federal level.


•Minister of Lands, Housing & Urban Development, Ama Pepple

•Minister of Environment,Mrs Ibrahim Mailafa

erate. To underscore the seriousness of the government, the Land, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Ama Pepple, in Abuja vowed not to inaugurate any estate project with less than 500 housing units. She said it was necessary if meaningful contributions towards reducing the nation’s huge housing deficit are to be achieved. Similarly, Pepple restated her commitment to the provision of low-cost housing for the teeming populace. To accomplish this, she said she had started discussions with state governments to make land available for the construction of low-cost housing units across the states of the federation. “The challenge of providing affordable houses to our teeming population has continued to engage the attention of this administration. We have re-energised and re-focused, but we do have challenges relating to cost of land, cost of building materials and the cost of interest on mortgages that make it difficult for houses to be cheaper than what they are today,” she said. But stakeholders are of the opinion that with all the challenges enumerated by the minister in the housing sector it may yet be a while before appreciable success can be recorded in the sector. However, a fortnight ago, the Fed-

eral Government approved N1 billion for the upgrading of slums in Kano, Lagos, Rivers, Kogi and Abia states to improve the quality of housing and living standards of the majority of the people in the country. She revealed that the ministry is running a housing census with a firm with a view to having an accurate data on the nation’s housing deficit and regretted that the government does not have a reliable data to ascertain the actual gap in the housing stock of the nation.

Environment Nigerians are still waiting for carefully thought out national environment policies especially action plan on climate change. Officials from the ministry have attended international conferences on environment and the public are waiting anxiously to see the implementation of negotiations from such world foras. Some schools of thought believe the Federal Ministry of Environment may just exist in name with nothing to show for it. Their impacts were only felt in press clips during the massive flooding of some states. Conversely, Lagos State has held international conferences on climate change where experts presented papers with the fifth in the series held last month.

The government has done very little in this sector as the majority of the urban dwellers depend on boreholes as a major source of water supply while the rural dwellers depend largely on streams and non-safe water sources for their domestic use. This lack-lustre attitude of the Federal Government was evident when the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, at an event in Plateau State assured participants that the challenges facing the water sector in the country would be over by 2025 without giving the basis for such assumption. The inadequacy or lack of safe water and improved sanitation services in the country is manifested in the prevalence of water and sanitation related disease such as diarrhea, which results from poor sanitary/hygiene habits and consumption of water of poor quality. It is the second major cause of infant mortality after malaria and the third major cause of under-five mortality. The prevalence of diarrhea is higher in the rural setting than urban areas and in the northern zones than the south. Reports say an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 diarrhea-related deaths occur among children below five each year. One major problem in this sector is the wide disparity between the demand for water and sanitation. Knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) studies reveal a wide disparity in the priority ranking of water supply and sanitation by communities where water is considered the topmost priority of most communities and pit latrines (as an indicator for sanitation demand) is viewed as the least problem.

Kogi flood victims decry N3,000 palliative


ANDLORDS affected by last year’s flood in Kogi State, from Ajaokuta Local Government, have described the N3,000 palliative given to them by the state government as an insult and a lack of concern for the plight of its citizenry. In a protest letter, signed by the leaders of the group, Pastor Zacchaeus Momorebe, Suleiman Agidi and James Oguche, a copy of which was made available to reporters at the weekend, they condemned the paltry sum. The statement noted that despite the over N1 billion donation, the state government claimed to have received from the Federal Government and other individuals, it couldn’t take care of the victims. The victims, who staged a protest to NUJ Press Centre, said: “We were subjected to rigorous exercises of registration in the camps, documentation with the Ministry of Lands to confirm the approval status of each building with town planning, yet nothing happened. We have lost all we have laboured to build. Our houses were submerged and household items destroyed. We are now destitute in our land and all the government could do for us is N3000. Is it how the government should treat it citizens?” they lamented. The victims lamented that, despite the huge sums of money received by the state government in

From Muhammad Bashir Lokoja

trust for the victims, only such a meagre sum was considered enough compensation, saying the group was compelled “to ask the Governor, Captain Idris Wada, the rationale behind the disbursement.” They said President Goodluck Jonathan on his visit to the state during the flood promised to ensure that the victims were rehabilitated to start a new life, wondering why the state government gave them stipends. They alleged that their members at Gadumo community and Old Polytechnic quarters were paid theirs on March 28, stressing that the amount was unacceptable and laughable. The group urged the government to investigate the disbursement, saying it was heartless for the state government, which asked them to relocate to other locations, to give them N3,000. Reacting to the development, the Commissioner for the Environment, Abdulrahman Wuya, said the money was not compensation, but an assistance to the victims. According to him, the state government has other post flood plans for the people and asked them to be patient with the government, saying the money was small because of the number of people affected.

All attempts to reach the Director of Ajaokuta Local Government Area, John Echejo, who supervised the disbursement for the council, proved abortive as he neither picked his calls nor replied a

text message sent to him. But a member of the committee, who spoke on anonymity, claimed that they received N7 million to be distributed to the over 20 communities in Ajaokuta

affected by the flood It would be recalled that the state government last month said that it released N15 million to Ajaokuta Council for disbursement to flood victims.

Edo spends N160b on roads, drainage upgrade


HE Edo State Government has spent N160 billion to build new roads, rehabilitate old ones and upgrade its drainage. Governor Adams Oshiomhole said he embarked on massive infrastructure development due to his belief that it is key to economic growth. He spoke at an event organised by the Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors &Valuers (NIESV) in Benin. He also said his administration intended to invest in hydrocarbon for gas to power and fertiliser manufacturing in the state. On housing, the governor, who was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Stephen Ideheren, said the state has earmarked 1,500 hectares of land for massive housing production to make housing affordable to the low and medium income groups in the state. Oshiomhole also said his administration was set create a new Gov-

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst. Editor

ernment Reserved Area (GRA) with world-class facilities to bridge the gap in upscale housing. According to him, Geographic Information System (GIS) has been introduced for the public to access land information without hitches. This is in addition to rolling out a development plan for the state until 2020. The governor said his priority this year was to complete all projects, build low to middle income skill acquisition centres and also build capacity in the public service. Speaking on the sideline at the event, the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, harped on the importance of infrastructure development. He said no nation could develop without competitive infrastructure. He said the provision of infrastructure would not be complete if the human capacity was not developed to be at par with it.

•Gov Oshiomhole

Anyim, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Political Affairs in his office, urged estate surveyors and valuers to imbibe ethics and morals in the discharge of their duties. He also harped on the need for collaboration with the government in her quest to bring down the prices of houses to make it affordable to the majority of the people.





NDIC and depositors •Payouts to depositors was long awaited, but it was, in most instances, too little and too late.


O the Managing Director of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, the corporation may well be on course to bringing the saga of failed banks to a closure. Speaking at the 24th Enugu International Trade Fair, he claimed that the corporation had paid N90.13 billion to depositors of 48 failed banks as at December 2012, out of which over N10 billion was paid in 2012 alone. Another N2.50 billion was said to have been paid to depositors of the 103 closed micro finance banks (MFBs). The shareholders of the defunct Alpha Merchant Bank, Nigeria Merchant Bank and Pan African Bank (in-liquidation), got a largesse in the cumulative liquidation dividend of N373.04 million, N620.0million and N293.0million, respectively, during the period. For the hordes of frustrated depositors and shareholders it is, no doubt, a case of being better late than never. Unfortunately, the corporation failed to state the amount outstanding in favour of the depositors, which would have provided a basis to evaluate its performance. However, the corporation still deserves some credit for pushing relentlessly to bring the unfortunate saga to a closure. But the question, of course is – what kind of closure? The question is pertinent because the banks in

this category were those that actually had their licences revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) between 1994 and 2006. We consider it unimaginable that a class of depositors would have to wait for nearly 18 years to get their deposits refunded to them. How will the NDIC compensate those that have died? And did the corporation make adjustments for the factor of inflation in the final payment? The above, however, nowhere compares to the fact that a definite date is even far from set for closure to the saga. No doubt, the larger portion of the blame would go to the intransigent shareholders who tied down the banks’ liquidation process through court actions. The managers who ran the banks aground would also share in equal measure. Litigation of course meant that the NDIC – even if it wished to – could not proceed with the winding down process until the cases were disposed of. Unfortunately, the NDIC itself seems to have been ill-served by its own tardy bureaucracy soon after some of the cases were decided. The entire saga cannot but bring to mind the crass delinquencies that typified the era. This was no doubt compounded by the stark inability of the regulators to come to speed with the dynamics of the period, the result of which the process of banking consolidation be-

came an avenue for some smart Alec operators to prey on the system. We saw instances in which capital issues were aborted after which the issuers vanished into the impunity-suffused atmosphere of the era. Till date, no steps were taken by the regulatory authorities to get the issuers to refund prospective investors their money, not to talk of the issuers and their cohorts being brought to book. If only for the sake of the industry and the investing public at large, an early resolution of the failed banks saga has become imperative. Settling the depositors is however only one of two-parts to the closure; the other part is for the authorities to revisit and punish the iniquities of the era. Without both, there can be no talk of a closure.

‘If only for the sake of the industry and the investing public at large, an early resolution of the failed banks saga has become imperative. Settling the depositors is however only one of two-parts to the closure; the other part is for the authorities to revisit and punish the iniquities of the era’

CJN and judges • The ax awaiting six judges is a good sign for the Nigerians court


HE Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, has shown courage in tackling the rot in the judiciary, and deserves commendation. The praise is in her capacity as chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC) saddled by the constitution with the responsibility of disciplining judges. Uncharacteristically, the NJC has in the past few weeks sacked two high court judges for complicity in the matters that came before them. Indeed, her predecessor, Justice Kastina-Alu, was severely criticised during his tenure as CJN, particularly for turning into a the NJC into cess-

‘In congratulating Justice Mukhtar on her strong leadership of the NJC, we must ask her to show similar strength in rendering justice to Justice Ayo Salami, the removed President of the Court of Appeal. Interestingly, by her own findings as chairman of an investigating panel, Justice Salami deserves to be saved from the meddlesome impudence of the executive arm of government’

pool craven morality, corruption charges, supine subservience to the executive branch, thereby making the supposedly august body ineffective in dealing with cases of misconduct among judges. But it appears Justice Mukhtar is set to wield the big stick to clean up the judiciary. Among the two judges, Justice Thomas Naron was sacked for his demeaning relationship with Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s counsel appearing before him, while Governor Rauf Aregbesola sought to reclaim his mandate as governor of the state of Osun. Justice Charles Archibong on his part was sacked for his role in discharging and acquitting Mr. Festus Akingbola, former chief executive of Intercontinental Bank, in scandalous circumstances. The big news is that six other judges would soon be sanctioned for their misconduct in the performance of their duties. It is believed that Justice Abubakar Talba, who recently sent shock waves across the country for a lenient sentence handed over to Mr. John Yusuf who stole N32 billion pension fund, is among those over whom the ax looms. In congratulating Justice Mukhtar on her strong leadership of the NJC, we must ask her to show similar strength in rendering justice to Justice Ayo Salami, the removed President of the Court of Appeal. Interestingly, by her own findings as chairman of an investigating panel, Justice Salami deserves to be saved from the meddlesome impudence of the executive arm of government. We also urge her to set clear templates for judicial conduct, especially with respect to election petition tribunals. Such clear standards must also apply to the general conduct of judges,

especially in the trial of corruption cases and terrorists’, the two major scourges of modern-day Nigeria. We have no doubt that the CJN is experienced enough to understand that the rule of law is critical to the survival of democracy. Whether as individuals or corporations, the rule of law is germane to the protection of life and property, which our constitution has eminently defined as the very essence of government. Judges remain the fulcrum of these noble intentions of a social contract between the government and the people. It follows that they must be incorruptible for the society to be peaceful. It is also important that the other arms of government extend the necessary support to the NJC and its leadership. One of the best ways to show support for the judiciary is through obedience to the judgments of the court. Another way is by resisting the temptation to intimidate judges or meddle in their affairs. In spite of the fact that our judiciary is not yet federalised, it is important that the president and governors continue to evince support and understanding to the NJC in its effort to sanitise the judiciary. As shown in the case of Naron and Archibong, the executive has a role to play in the effort to save our judiciary from debilitating corruption. We also note that some of the corrupt judges could have been weeded out before appointment if there was thoroughness in the selection process. The selection process must therefore be stripped of cronyism and corrupt influences. One way to help the process is to expose potential appointees to the scrutiny of the public and ask their colleagues for input.

Stop the fossil-fuel subsidies


ONSUMERS AREN’T paying nearly enough for their energy, and that’s a massive problem for the planet. Big Middle Eastern oil exporters hold the price of gasoline within their countries well below what it should be. Ukraine does the same with natural gas. In sub-Saharan Africa, electricity prices are artificially lowered. The United States isn’t the worst actor — but it, too, is far from clean. In the most thorough accounting yet of what people pay for their electricity, petroleum, natural gas and coal, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) just found that virtually every country in the world engages in this kind of corrupt economic distortion, at a staggering cost of $2 trillion in 2011. How is that possible? Partly because the IMF didn’t look just at explicit supports listed in government budgets. Its economists also factored in what policymakers are refusing to do. Burning fossil fuels produces a range of negative side effects, such as pollution. The only economically rational response is to build those costs into the price of energy through an efficient tax. Governments that refuse to levy such a tax — ours and many others — are in effect asking many to suffer in order to prop up the over-consumption of some. Economically, the effect is identical to more familiar forms of subsidy. Despite the popularity of many energy-subsidy schemes, the net result is a big drag on world prosperity. Government policies that make prices artificially low encourage people to use too much energy, resulting in pollution that dirties local environments, congested streets and global warming. At the same time, subsidies distort investment; instead of allowing capital to flow to where it would do the most good, they push it toward fossil-fuel production — and away from enterprises that would more usefully employ some of the money, such as clean energy. Supports also hurt government budgets by diverting resources away from worthier state spending. And they disproportionately benefit the wealthy. Every country in the world would benefit from the honest pricing of energy. The Group of Eight recognized this in its summit at Camp David last year, when its member countries recommitted to eliminating fossil-fuel supports. Yet the Obama administration has resisted pressing for a carbon tax, and Congress is even worse. Developed economies, meanwhile, can’t be the only ones to move. Developing nations in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America spend more than advanced countries do, the IMF reckons. Broadly applied reform would neutralize concerns that manufacturers will unduly suffer in countries trying to do the right thing. It would also result in some serious environmental benefits, reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 13 percent. Active U.S. leadership will be necessary. The United States must show that it is willing to put a charge on carbon dioxide emissions, so that the price of energy in the United States better reflects its true cost. As it does so, it will be in a stronger position to press others to make the obvious reforms. - Washington Post

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IR: Nigeria is burdened with multiple socio-politicalproblems that have left many disenchanted. The systemic decay, apart from nauseating, leaves many gasping for fresh air. In the effort to situate the problem, many self-righteous folks trade blames as to where the problem of Nigeria lies. To some, it is our leaders while others hold colonialism responsible. Such naïve conclusion especially the one that holds the hugely corrupt PDP responsible for our woes merely distracts our attention from successfully situating the problem. Nigerian problem can aptly be summed up as “frail institutional set-up that thrives on ignoble culture of impunity and corruption”. It is caused by Nigerians, not the PDP. Except we want to feign ignorance, we all know that the root of our problem is dearth of morals. Decayed moral fabrics make it possible for us all to break rules of engagement in and out of government. While elected/-imposed officials can afford to steal, sycophancy and greed make us hail the criminals. We have all refrained from doing what is right to build our nation. We can and should thus blame ourselves for our socio-political- woes and not lay it at the door step of the PDP when we have all failed the nation. A careful analysis of our problem, shows a collective failure of all to do the needful.


The real trouble with Nigeria How is the PDP our problem when we have all failed in our bit of nation building? Strong institutions need resolute people to succeed. We are people that want convenient laws...laws we obey when it favours us? Show me the nation that is built up that way and I will congratulate Nigerians for building Nigeria. Our estate will nose-dive as long as our collective docility in the face

of nation building continues. I personally don’t support corruption that the PDP and indeed political life of the nation has come to be known for, but that will not make me situate our problem where it doesn’t belong. Nigerians are the problem of Nigeria. Our ignoble sense of entitlement with zero percent sense of responsibility to nation building is our problem.

Way out? We must stop finding help where there’s none because such would amount to an exercise in futility. We must see beyond the PDP and be willing to selflessly build the Nigeria of our individual dreams. Fixing our socio-politicalwoes in Nigeria must go beyond political groupings. Until we experience mental shift that will birth to attitudinal change in us all as Nigerians, the circus of ineptitude

A lesson in religious tolerance


IR: As Christians celebrated Easter, commemorating the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, I will like to call the attention of different religion bodies all over the world to the Scottish church which showed love to their Muslim counterparts. According to the Daily Mail of London, a Scottish church became the first in the UK to share its premises with Muslim worshipers. Last month, St John’s Episcopal Church, Aberdeen welcomed hundreds of Muslims to pray five times

a day in their building as the nearby mosque was so small that they were forced to worship outside. The minister of the church, Rev Isaac Poobalan, handed over part of the church hall to Chief Imam Ahmed Megharbi who led prayers in the main chapel. Rev Poobalan said that he would not be true to his faith if he did not offer to help. He said: “Praying is never wrong. My job is to encourage people to pray. The mosque was so full at times, there would be people out-

side in the wind and rain praying. I knew I couldn’t let this happen – because I would be abandoning what the Bible teaches us about how we should treat our neighbors… It’s a big building and it remains empty on a Friday lunchtime which is when they need the place most as that’s when they are at their busiest”. Rev. Poobalan said he wanted the move to help build bridges between Christians and Muslims after some initial resistance from his congregation.

Chinua Achebe, a tribute


IR: I first encountered Professor Chinua Achebe in the Literature class handled by Basorun Seinde Arogbofa at the African Church Grammar School, Oka-Akoko via Things Fall Apart, which, with Julius Caesar, Mayor of Casterbridge and West African Verse, were the compulsory texts for the 1974 May/June examination. But I met the man himself at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he had just returned from the United States as a Professor of English with a new Mercury Monarch that was the cynosure of all eyes

in governance and impunity in the society will continue. For if we gather under any guise with same mind-set that has led us to this sorry state of affairs, we are of all men most miserable. Political grouping not people oriented, can at best, bring about cosmetic changes that will mock essence of the real change we all yearn in our polity. We must thus soberly come to that point where we will say, enough of the mess we have plunged our dear nation Nigeria. Until we are ready to come to the table of nation building with patriotism in our wings, can we actually get to the promise land when we ply the wrong route? Attitudinal change is the way out! • Oyejide Victor, University of Ibadan

on campus. Achebe defined my world as a youngster, especially as a literary scholar, though I studied and taught History all my post-secondary life. He defined for virtually all non-Igbo, the Igbo personality, precolonial Igbo agricultural/rural life and the parameters of social mobility, definition of wealth, influence and power in that society. His role in inaugurating and sustaining the Heinemann African Writers Series, which is now defunct, made him the Father of Modern African

Literature. That feat made literature by Africans accessible to young readers of my generation and sustained the reading culture that is practically missing among the youth today. He cemented his place in history as one of the two all-time leading literary figures out of Africa, the other being the Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka. Even in death, Achebe will continue to define the African literary landscape, being (I presume) the most widely read novelist from Africa. He was far less successful as a politician or

pan-Nigerian social critic, but he won respect and praise, and empowered the dwindling number of academics with a social conscience, by spurning the poisoned chalice of tainted national honours presented by successive bankrupt Nigerian governments. His place in history is secure as there cannot be another Chinua Achebe. • Professor Ayodeji Olukoju, FNAL, Vice-Chancellor Caleb University Imota, Lagos State

It’s also worthy of mention that the mosque received the help the church offered in good spirit. Sheikh Ahmed Megharbi reportedly said: “what happens here is special and there should be no problem repeating this across the country. The relationship is friendly and respected.” I urge different religious bodies all over the world to learn from this. We must learn to live together in harmony and in love and try to even help another in time of need. I believe there is no religion that preaches violence, therefore the religious leaders must preach peace, tolerance and friendliness among their members so that there can be peace in our world. Religious leaders must learn from Pope John Paul ll who was the first Pontiff to visit the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus in may 2001, when he embarked on a pilgrimage that took him from Greece to Syria to the island of Malta. I believe it is the same God who created all of us in different religions; therefore we must love our neighbor as ourselves regardless of our religion differences because our God is love. • John Tosin Ajiboye Osogbo, Osun State






ACK in the formative years of the Second Republic (1979-1983), when parties were being formed; and old political war horses being lobbied to join new parties, there was so much pull on Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s first – and last – ceremonial president. So enchanting was the lobby that a famed cartoonist hit on an even more enchanting cartoon, depicting a beaded Dr. Azikiwe, in feminine make-up, bejewelled, and, 08054504169 (Sms only, please) haps perfumed – doesn’t perfuming come with the bridal territory? – as “Bride of the Year”! Now, the Great Zik appears resurrected in the fierce partisan attention for APC, the hottest acronym in to suggest the merging parties change their new name from Goodluck Jonathan’s Federal Republic. Indeed, APC would apAPC because, it claimed, some phantom bodies had staked a pear the bride of the century, in a political wedding conceived in claim to the acronym. Then, all hell broke loose! intrigue and sponsored by millennial mischief. To be sure, the INEC suggestion was hardly a language of What really is hot about APC, hitherto some popular but inreason or logic. It was rather a language of power and imnocuous drug; or, in security-defence circles, some motorised hardpunity, carefully coated in cunning, suggesting a ruling party ware called armoured personnel carrier? Nothing really, except proxy-INEC conspiracy to scuttle a putative merger. high-stake politicking. Indeed, Prof. Attahiru Jega, INEC chair, was quoted on a Realpolitik? Maybe: for in a prebendal Nigeria where loss of radio programme to have suggested the merging APC conpower is tantamount to loss of everything, it could be exsider a name change; while denying INEC had registered treme folly, indeed, for the regnant power holders to let go any APC; and that the electoral umpire would strictly folof their trove without a fight. low the laws guiding party registration. That is clearly the contrived APC drama, no doubt orchesAlso, many a Nigerian, quite adept at abandoning their trated by a panicky Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), scared viewpoints, even if the other party is so cavalier with bad stiff of a looming opposition merger; but casually waved faith, had started parroting the crass legalism: whoever raced on by many Nigerians as “politics”. first to INEC owned the acronym, even if common sense Here, a brief back-grounding is apposite. With fan fair, could conclusively prove it was stolen property! merging Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigerian Many even accused the legacy parties of “carelessness”, People’s Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change meaning they should either have kept their new name like (CPC) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance a lamp under a bushel, or rush post-haste to INEC to an(APGA), announced All Progressives Congress (APC) as their nounce it, despite legal provisions that merging parties new name, complete with symbol and slogan, en route to may not approach INEC until the legacy parties’ national formalising the fusion after each party’s respective convenconventions endorsed the exercise. Great indeed is the tions, as prescribed by law. ardour of those who base their conviction on getting wise Then, from the blues, came the APC scramble: first, Afriafter the fact! can People’s Congress, which request application came from That was the stage before INEC declined one of the APC a naive but pathetic young lawyer who reportedly got N30, wannabes registration, on the pretext, quoting Section 222 000 and a telephone handset as initial payment; and later, of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that names and adAll Patriotic Citizens. dresses of the party’s national officers were not registered Somehow, the Independent National Electoral Commiswith INEC. But is this legal deus-ex-machina, fatal to the sion (INEC) kept the dirty drama under wraps until it tried case of one APC, a dummy to alert its phantom cousin to perfect its act, and only postpone the final registration crunch? That decision has expectedly sent one Onyinye Ikeagwuonu, pro tem chairman of the putative party, into a lather of cant. He railed of a “brewing storm”; and an alleged conspiracy against his party. With all due respect to the man and his holy rage, his rant only reinforces the déjà vu – that the subversive political pond that bred the likes of Arthur Nzeribe, Abimbola Davis and Daniel Kanu, notorious anti-democratic elements of the Babangida-

epublican ipples

Olakunle Abimbola

APC vs. APC vs. APC

‘With this APC skirmish, it is clear clean election in 2015 cannot be entrusted to INEC alone – such is the panic, paranoia, desperation and cunning of the Jonathan Presidency’


AST week, the House of Representatives renewed their bid to oust Arunma Oteh, Director General of the Security and Exchange Commision (SEC) with a third resolution calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to sack her. It followed it with a letter dated March 27 to the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala drawing atttention to the 2013 Appropriation Act, Item 9, Part E, Clause 10 which expressely stated that “All revenue however described including all fees received, fines, grants, budgetary provisions and all internally and externally generated revenue shall not be spent by the Security and Exchange Commission for recurrent or capital purposes or for any other matters, nor liabilities thereon incurred except with prior appropriation and approval by the National Assembly”. It advised SEC “ to refrain from making any expenditure until a budget has been approved by the National Assembly for that purpose.’’ It also warned: “You may also not source and spend any monies whatsoever as this will be a clear infringement of the constitution of the a federal Republic of Nigeria and shall be viewed as such.” Nigerians must wonder at how a probe meant to unearth the shady practices that led to the collapse of the capital market in 2009 became not just an inquisition for an individual appointed in 2010 to salvage the situation, but has since transmuted into an instrument for the decapitation of the capital market institution itself. Nigerians will recall that the Oteh saga began March 13, 2012 when the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets and other Institutions commenced a public hearing “to identify the manifest causes of the markets’s near collapse with a view to finding lasting solutions.” A bit of the background seems necesary at this point if only to illustrate the extent of the legislative overeach that threatens to undermine the basis of separation of powers between the executive and the legislature. The capital market had plunged from an all time high of N13.5 trillion in capitalisation in March 2008 to less than N4.6 trillion by the second week of January 2009. Same for the All-Share Index which also plummeted from about 66000 basis points to less than 22000 points during the same period. In the atmosphere of wide-ranging allegations of infractions against operators and regulators at the time, an inevitable consequence was the forced exit of the Director General under whose watch the market ran into storm. Hence the exit of Musa Al Faki in April 2009. In January 2010 – some eight months after, Arunma Oteh was drafted by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua to spearhead the capital market restoration. Barely two years after, the historic probe by the House to “to identify the manifest causes of the markets’ near collapse” (which predated Oteh’s appointment)

Policy Sanya Oni 08051101841

Oteh/Reps duel became an exercise in wild chase after the wind. This background is necessarily for principally two reasons. First, the facts of the issue appears to have either been lost or deliberately muddled up in the controversies that have generated much heat but very little light. The second reason is to remove any pretensions that the House is driven by altruism and to underline what is clearly its vengeful mission to cut Oteh to size. No doubt, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since the March 2012 public hearing when Oteh accused the chair of the House Committee on Capital Market, Herman Hembe of demanding a N39 million bribe from SEC for the hearing. She had equally accused Hembe of demanding N5million from the commission to enable him travel to the Dominican Republic to attend an emerging market conference without embarking on the journey. That was after the committee accused her of mismanaging the affairs of the commission in her barely two years in office. Of course, her accusers had in turn alleged that she spent N61.1 million to rent an official apartment after blowing N30 million in hotel accommodation at Transcorp Hilton in eight months (seven months more than she was entitled). Another N850,000 was said to have been spent on meals for a team of experts in one day (a figure hotly disputed with proof to show that only N84,300 was spent). Yet another N42.5 million was said to have been spent to procure three Toyota vehicles without a tender’s board meeting in breach of the Public Procurement Act 2007. And then, there was the matter of two consultants brought in by Oteh from Access Bank. It is noteworthy that none of the charges relate to the committee’s terms of reference. Coincidentally, by June 2012, Oteh’s House of SEC was literally on fire. This time, the issue centred on an alleged misappropriation of N3 billion on SEC Project 50 put up to

Abacha era, is not about to dry up! What is not clear is if the citizenry would allow such rascality to snowball into a needless crisis, the end of which no one could predict. What might be INEC’s motives, by legally clobbering a phantom APC? A genuine effort to ensure good faith, common sense and good conscience, without which even the law is nothing but an empty code? Or a foxtrot off a partisan dais, to which it had inadvertently (?) been drawn? Whatever the motive, Prof. Jega

and his INEC should pick up the history books and behold the self-imposed odyssey of the Michael Ani Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO), that mid-wifed the Second Republic. Chief Ani was doing just fine as a seeming independent arbiter until Richard Akinjide, SAN, national legal adviser to the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) soon to become the ruling party, proffered the controversial twelve-two-third legal joker, which FEDECO avidly accepted, just to escape a looming electoral runoff. Sure, NPN won that electoral trick; and even the highest court in the land endorsed that “victory”. But the Second Republic vanished in that bog of legal rascality, before it physically collapsed some four years and three months after. That brought the most virulent strain of military rule ever unleashed on this country. Should anyone essay 1979-era pranks, this polity might just lose more than a legal republic. The House of Lugard could come crashing down! To avert this tragedy, the opposition must press their right to APC, no matter the level of official plotting and subversion. That is the only way to subdue the bully tactics. Also, with this APC skirmish, it is clear INEC alone cannot be entrusted with clean elections in 2015 – such is the panic, paranoia, desperation and cunning of the Jonathan Presidency. Even with Jonathan’s good luck charm in 2011, Nasir El-Rufai claimed in his book, The Accidental Public Servant (page 466), that a PDP hierarch in Kaduna State “confessed” that 800, 000 phantom votes were added to Jonathan’s tally, just to make the 25 per cent requirement. If Jonathan and allies could pull such alleged stunts when the good luck man was riding high, and Jega was the exemplary electoral arbiter, what would a desperate president not do in these rapidly diminished times? Eternal vigilance, they say, is the price of freedom. Rigging – and a serious, soulless one at that – would come with the electoral territory from 2014. The opposition must seriously mobilise to make such venture hugely risky and unprofitable.

• The Republican went on leave, even as the Republic rippled on without let. Thanks for your anxious enquiries during that period of rest. It’s sure nice to be back!

commemorate the golden jubilee of the capital market. She was slammed with a compulsory leave by the Board of SEC to pave the way for unfettered investigation by an independent audit body. A month after, that is on July 17, 2012, the federal government, on the strength of the auditors’ findings, gave her a clean bill of health on the corruption allegations although the report found her wanting for administrative lapses. She was thereafter recalled her to her desk. Thereafter, the Hon. Ibrahim El Sudi ad hoc committee which took over from the Hembe-led committee took over proceedings. Miffed that the Presidency recalled the embattled SEC DG without the committee’s clearance, it insisted that the federal government ought to have waited for it to conclude investigations. From then on, the two sides simply dug in. Whereas the executive opted to carry on, the committee went for broke: it found that the appointment of Oteh violated sections of the Investment and Security Act 2007. In its opinion, the embattled DG did not have 15 years experience in the Nigerian capital market hence the recommendation of her ouster. The House didn’t bother to explain how her appointment scaled through the eagle eye of the confirming authority – the Senate. That is a matter for another day! The danger of legislative overreach is real; more troubling however is that it is becoming the rule rather than exception. We saw it in the case of NCAA boss Harold Demuren. It also played out in the case of Abdulrasheed Maina, the erstwhile boss of the presidential task force on police pensions. In both cases, the lawmakers literally held the gun to the head of the executive as it dared it to risk not carrying out its orders! In Oteh’s case, the lawmakers have long resolved that it is either she goes or they will bring down the roof on everyone’s head! And where does it lead? Nowhere but the highway of tyranny. Withholding the appropriation of SEC is worse than abuse, it is tyrannical. And who says legislative arbitrariness is more tolerable than executive? It is doubtful that the House has endeared itself to Nigerians on the matter. The opposite seems more likely. And that is sad.

‘The danger of legislative overreach is real; more troubling however is that it is becoming the rule rather than exception’





N Friday March 29, the National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and two-term governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, clocked 61 years. The man at the forefront of the emancipation of the common man from the clutches of poverty through enduring democratic ideals and values thus added another eventful year to his industrious and selfless career which has seen him carry the lorry-load of hopes and aspirations of the common man wholly on his shoulders. Right from his sojourn into the murky waters of Nigerian politics, Tinubu’s policy has been to serve the people irrespective of race, religion or creed. He has always shown the willingness to abandon a personal cause for a collective one. Through actions and utterances, Asiwaju Tinubu has put himself forward as a man the common man in the country can trust to lead the battle against neo-colonialism in the country. To achieve his aim, Tinubu is always ready to humble himself aligning with people and groups of like minds who believe in his selfless ideas. Therefore to

‘He excelled during his eight-year reign as governor of the most populous and most important state in the country. And when the two terms allowed by the constitution expired, the thought of giving the people the best always galvanised him into singlehandedly recommending a successor many did not even think of’


T is the prerogative of the President in Council to grant clemency to anyone who has been under one kind of punishment or the other. The Nigerian Constitution section 175(1) states that the President may grant any person ... convicted of any offence ... a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions. In other words, presidential pardon is an act of grace which exempts individual(s) from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime the individual might have committed. This legal discretion on the part of the President is not a privilege enjoyed only by the Nigerian Presidents, even the President of the United States enjoys such a privilege. It is reported that former President Clinton of the United States granted 140 pardons on his last day in office and defended his action by stating that the framers of their constitution vested such broad powers on the President so that he would have the freedom to do what he deemed to be the right thing regardless of how unpopular such a decision might be. So what offence has President Goodluck Jonathan committed in granting pardon to some offenders including his former boss, former Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha? I think the

‘The essence of forgiveness is divine not human. It is in this connection that Shakespeare said in one of his works that “if Justice by thy plea consider this, that in course of Justice none of us shall see salvation, we do pray for mercy and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy’

Celebrating a consummate bridge-builder By Wahab Alawiye-King him, race, religion, status and creed do not matter; inasmuch you are ready to serve the people. The writer will never forget the events leading to the election of the Senate President during the aborted Third Republic during the transition programme of Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Tinubu came into the Senate then as the favourite to clinch the position. He had the highest number votes among senators; he was representing the biggest and most influential senatorial district in the country; he is rich; and above all, had in his firm grip more than the needed number of senators he required to win. Therefore, the position was his to be taken. But when the leadership of then Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) decided that the South-west should stake a claim for the presidency and it became obvious that taking the senate presidency will jeopardise the region’s strong claim for the nation number one office, within seconds Tinubu jettisoned his ambition and handed over his political machinery to the anointed candidate of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu. Asiwaju continues to show that he is a man who will never waiver in his determination to ensure that the generality of the people do not suffer even at expense of his personal comfort. One can still remember the persecution he faced during the Abacha regime. He was declared wanted, arrested and detained and later hounded into exile for his belief even when he had the option of joining Abacha government and accepting other juicy carrots thrown at him by the agents of

that particular government. Suffice to add the role he played in financing human rights and pro-democracy activists in exile with his personal money even when his investment at home was being decimated by the agents of the military junta. His simple message has always been, “we have to liberate the common man and we will not relent until this is achieved”. The advent of the current democratic dispensation has more than brought to the fore the selfless traits of the ex-governor. He excelled during his eight-year reign as governor of the most populous and most important state in the country. And when the two terms allowed by the constitution expired, the thought of giving the people the best always galvanised him into single-handedly recommending a successor many did not even think of. In making his choice, Asiwaju jettisoned friendship, sentiments and selfish interest to settle for Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN. Today Lagosians are praising him for his foresight and majority of the people of the state have come to realise that Tinubu has their interest at heart. Since his sojourn into party politics in the current dispensation, he has always been yearning for a party that will be people-oriented and take interest of the people as the fulcrum of its manifesto. Not a few Nigerians believe that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which controls government at the centre has nothing positive to offer the country. After more than 13 years of controlling administration at the centre, PDP has left the country worse off which makes it

Theology of political pardon By Emele Mba Uka opposition to the President’s action is due to a wrong understanding or wrong interpretation of the concept of forgiveness. The essence of forgiveness is divine not human. It is in this connection that Shakespeare said in one of his works that “if Justice by thy plea consider this, that in course of Justice none of us shall see salvation, we do pray for mercy and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.” Essentially, forgiveness is divine. Since theology helps any religion to give an intellectual explanation of its beliefs and practices, even so, we can interpret the concept of forgiveness theologically to mean a spiritual factor that does not measure or limit the number of times it forgives an offender. Why? Because forgiveness is a thing of the spirit; a quality of the spirit. All spiritual sensibilities or realities such as love, mercy, grace, joy and forgiveness can not be measured or limited. They are by their very nature spiritual not physical. Forgiveness is a reality of the spirit. It is to be practiced at every opportunity. The spirit of forgiveness is to forgive 70 times seven i.e without counting. So says our Lord Jesus Christ in Matt. 18:21-27. Good human relationships are impossible without a forgiving spirit. Offending others is common to all. We are all sinful and we all offend others. If we kept score, there would be little time to do any other thing. To keep relationships healthy, sweet, strong and stable, we need to note at least four things. That sinning, failing and offending others are common to us all. That offending others is usually unintentional. All of us offend others, but we are

often unaware that we have offended them. Keeping this in mind helps us to forgive others when they offend us. We offend others as much as they offend us. We are as human as the next person, and we need forgiveness as much as the next person. Finally, the common response to being offended is to react: react by withdrawing, or engaging in retaliation or vengeance, or retreat into self-pity or in to a spirit of un-forgiveness. The attributes of an un-forgiving spirit are basically those of ill-nature, selfcenteredness, and spiritual immaturity. Un-forgiveness reveals that a person has not grown to be like Jesus Christ in understanding, compassion, mercy and love. There is a parable in Matt. 18: 28 – 35 where the king forgave his servant who could not pay the huge debt the servant owed him. The lesson here is that we all are bankrupt (unable to pay) God what we owe Him. Sin makes a man bankrupt and puts him in debt to God. We are made so bankrupt by our sin that nothing can pay our debt yet God forgives us all our debt. In spite of this, we often find it difficult to forgive our fellowmen who have wronged us. Why? The reason is shown in the story below. In the same parable quoted above, the servant who was forgiven saw a fellow servant who owed him. He reacted severely by attacking the debtor; and attempting to squeeze the payment out of him. He got angry and showed malice, no mercy. The offended servant rejected the cry for mercy and refused to forgive. He acted selfishly although his reaction was in accordance to law and justice. The man really owed the servant. The debt was a just and legal debt. The servant had every right to demand and force payment. Such is justice. But remember as Shake-

imperative to dislodge the ruling party from the centre through legal democratic means. For Tinubu, the task of emancipating the people should be undertaken with all seriousness and commitment. He has successfully achieved the Southwest part of the task but going national is more onerous task. He would not shy away from associating with people and groups of like minds, the result being the formation of the mega party, All Progressives Congress (APC). Asiwaju has not relented crisscrossing the length and breadth of the country to sell the gospel of APC to the people. Indeed, this consummate bridgebuilder deserves all the best wishes on his birthday and I can only wish him many more happy returns of the day in his mission to serve the people selflessly and tirelessly. • Alawiye-King is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly

‘Since his sojourn into party politics in the current dispensation, he has always been yearning for a party that will be people-oriented and take interest of the people as the fulcrum of its manifesto’ speare would put it if justice by the plea, consider this, that in the course of justice none of us shall see Salvation, that is why we plead for mercy, and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy. Again, let’s remember the divine point here: The King, (God), does not act towards us legally, executing justice; He has compassion and mercy upon us and forgives us, wiping out all our debts. The question is how often should we forgive our brother? The divine answer is as many times as he offends you. So let us have compassion and mercy, and not demand justice per se. Do not execute the law; do not trample an offender underfoot; do not act cruelly, swallowing him up and destroying his spirit. Love him and forgive him ‘just as Christ in God forgives you’ (Eph.4:32). So I proffer Christian theological perspective to the concept of pardon to mean a divine spiritual virtue that reminds us that to err is human and to forgive is divine. There were many sick people at the pool of Bethsaida, but Christ chose to heal only one person. That was an exercise of his discretion. Even so, President Jonathan should be allowed the freedom to exercise his presidential discretion in granting pardon to his former boss. • The Most Rev. Prof. Uka is Prelate and Moderator of The General Assembly, The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria.

‘Good human relationships are impossible without a forgiving spirit. Offending others is common to all. We are all sinful and we all offend others. If we kept score, there would be little time to do any other thing’





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Gwarinpa residents hail end to noise pollution - Page 26

NIMET to farmers: ‘Farmers, don’t plant plant now’ now don’t

Two districts for housing scheme - Page 27


Patient needs N4m lifeline

- Page 28

HE weather can be tricky. It can lead you astray. So, beware. That was the message sent out by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) to farmers in the Federal Capital Territory and environs. The agency warned the farmers not to be deceived by the early rains, and should wait a while before planting their crops. The General Manager, Public Weather Services, Mr. Wilson Sampson gave the warning in Abuja. He said: “The onset of the rainy season, according to the 2013 Seasonal Rain Pattern Prediction, is April 16, 2013. “Farmers should, therefore, wait until that time before planting. “The rains we have been experiencing since the beginning of the year in Abuja can be classified as false rain and many farmers might see it as the beginning of the rainy season. “When we go by the 2013 forecast, the actual rainy season in this part of the country is around

From Bukola Amusan

April 16, which is about two weeks from now. “The rains we have now are irregular and will dry off in the soil in no time. We advise farmers around here not to plant until the appropriate time when the soil will have gotten enough water that can sustain the crops.” Sampson further said that if farmers went ahead to plant with the present rains, it might lead to the destruction of any type of crop, stressing, however, that the

rains had helped to calm the temperature. Recall that the Director-General of NIMET, Dr Anthony Anuforom, had, on January 25, addressed a news conference in Abuja to alert farmers that it was not yet the onset of the rainy season, after the first rain in Abuja on January 10, 13 and 24 respectively. Anuforom said: “The rainy season has not started. What happened between January 10 and January 24 was as a result of InterTropical Discontinued (ITD) lines whereby the cool air blowing from

The onset of the rainy season, according to the 2013 Seasonal Rain Pattern Prediction, is April 16, 2013…Farmers should, therefore, wait until that time before planting…The rains we have been experiencing since the beginning of the year in Abuja can be classified as false rain and many farmers might see it as the beginning of the rainy season

the Sahara Desert meets with the wet, warm air from the ocean. “When the hot air and cold air meet, the process of mixing generated a lot of convection which caused a lot of moisture to be swept into Nigeria and led to the rains.” He explained that it was the same system that resulted in the severe winter in Europe, adding that “another causative factor is the low pressure system moving from the west to the east. “When it goes through the northern part of Africa, it pulls up the ITD and a lot of moisture is swept into the atmosphere in Nigeria and that led to the rain. “We expect that when that system passes, it will relax again and harmattan will come again before the heavy wind in relation to the transition period before the normal rainy season. “Our prediction last year was that during this year, the harmattan will not be so heavy as to cause severe destruction in aviation or flight cancellations,” he said.




Gwarinpa residents hail end to noise pollution


HE Department of Development Control of the FCTA has been praised for tackling noise pollution in the Gwarinpa Estate of the territory. The residents also commended the department for halting the activities of illegal land developers in the area. The Development Control Director, Yahaya Yusuf, in a chat with Abuja Review was happy that the hard work of the department to ensure a clean and planned city is being appreciated. He said the department’s effort has pitched it against illegal developers in its bid to sanitise the environment and ensure that developers build in line with the master-plan. Yusuf said the department was thrilled to receive a letter of appreciation from the residents of 3rd Avenue, Gwarimpa Estate recently. The director said: “This is not the first time that we are being appreciated, but the way the encomium is pouring in now, it shows the public now has a better awareness of what we do and how it is to their own advantage in the long run”. In the appreciation letter, the neighbours thanked the department for its swift response in

handling noise pollution by the Grundies Night Club. The residents said they are grateful that the Department brought the illegal activities of the night club located at the heart of Gwarimpa residential estate to a halt. According to the letter, the activities of the night club, which includes activities of commercial sex workers, music and fighting, disturb their sleep at night. Part of the letter read: “We appreciate the demonstration of your leadership quality which has once more come to bear as evident in the way the FCT development is being controlled.” Yusuf said: “It is quite a testimony that will propel the Department to do more, as we cannot afford to rest on our oars now.” He said, “We shall continue to work until the Abuja Master Plan is restored.” “The Department of Development Control was set up to Control development in the Federal Capital Territory in line with the Abuja Master Plan” “The Department approves designs that are in conformity with laid-down standards, and issues Building Plan Approval to deserving developers, monitoring and ensuring strict compli-


ance. “These regulations have not gone down well with developers who do not have approval

either because they submit substandard designs, or just choose to erect structures without recourse to the Department. There are also developers that commence development without all the necessary land documents, in which case approval

cannot be given. Before Building Plan approval can be granted, a developer must possess Right of Occupancy (R of O) or Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) from lands Department and duly signed by the FCT minister,” he added.

2,500 youths to benefit


HAIRMAN of Abuja Municipal Area Council Micah Jiba has said that over 250 youths drawn from the 12 wards will benefit from the AMAC Sure-P skill acquisition programme. Mr. Jiba further said that the programme which is the third batch, is part of his administration’s efforts to uplift the youth and take them out of the street, adding that education and youth empowerment are his first priorities since the commencement of his administration.

from SURE-P “This is the third batch of SureP programme. The first batch of 150 youths was trained in recharge card selling and this batch is undergoing various training such as driving, tailoring, and sanitation, among others,” he said. He therefore urged the youth and residents to be law-abiding and disciplined during the period of their training.

Man remanded over rape


•Abaji environment

Union advocates peace in Abaji


HE Abaji Rural Area Development Association (ARADA) has made a case for peace and stability in the area. The chairman of the association, Alhaji Salihu Usman Sokodeke made the appeal at a meeting in Nuku Town of Abaji Area Council. He congratulated its members for the victory of Hon. Yahaya Garba the new chairman of Abaji Area Council, even as he called

Stories from Bukola Amusan

for more cooperation and unity in the area for rapid development of the area. The outgoing chairman of the council, Alhaji Yahaya Musa Muhammad who addressed the members during the meeting, called for more commitment and unity, adding that the association is mainly for people at the grassroots. “Therefore, the need for co-

operation, unity and focus is highly important,” he said. Yahaya further congratulated the members for the victory of their member in the just-concluded FCT area council elections. In his address, the incoming chairman, Hon. Garba Yahaya thanked all members of the association for their support for him during the campaign. He promised to operate an open door policy for the progress of Abaji Area Council.

HE police have arraigned one Chidi Odo of CBN Quarters, Apo before a Karu Upper Area Court over an alleged rape of a minor. Police prosecutor Mr. Mohammed Garba told the court that the complainant reported the matter to the Apo Police Station on March 23, 2013. Garba told the court that on that day, Odo allegedly had carnal knowledge of a 13-year-old girl, a sister to the complainant. He said the offence contravened Section 283 of the Penal Code. The section reads in part: “Whoever commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment for life or for any less term and shall be liable to a fine.” Odo confessed to the court that he had sexual intercourse with the consent of the girl. He said that the girl asked him to have sex with her because she wanted to get pregnant so that she could send the baby to her elder sister in the village. After the charges were read to

Whoever commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment for life or for any less term and shall be liable to a fine

Odo, he pleaded not guilty. The presiding judge, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, ordered that the accused be remanded in prison. “You are to be remanded in prison because this offence is not ordinarily bailable,” he said. He adjourned the case to May 14, 2013 for further hearing.




Two districts for housing scheme Stories from Bukola Amusan

•Senator Mohammed


ESIDENTS of two districts of the Federal Capital Territory are to benefit from the social housing scheme in the satellite towns. The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed made this disclo-


HE Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide has said that the administration will refocus and improve the funding of Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) to enable it realise its mandate. The minister, who made this known while receiving members of the AEA Board in her office, urged the agency to come up with more innovative projects and programmes such as the Shea Butter initiative that would generate employment and create wealth. The AEA, which was established in 2005, is the FCT vehicle for small and medium enterprise

sure while receiving the new Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni-Aji who paid him a working visit in Abuja. The minister said that within these two districts, namely Wasa and Mamusa in the Abuja Municipal and Kuje Area Councils respectively, Civil Service Housing Scheme would be given top priority to address their housing problems. Senator Mohammed revealed that apart from these, the FCT Administration would take steps to designate some areas in the satellite towns for civil service housing scheme. The minister reiterated that the Social Housing Scheme has been tailored to take care of the housing needs of the masses especially those who have suffered

from one form of problem or the other like demolition exercise. He emphasised that his administration would strengthen collaboration and partnership especially with the members of the Organised Private sector to fast track the delivering of these low cost houses to the populace. The minister recalled that about 50 hectares of land had been al-

located to an American firm to build social housing to the low and medium income earners. While congratulating the new Head of Service, the minister described the appointment as personal accomplishment, which is a brainchild of the statesmanship of President Goodluck Jonathan. Speaking earlier, the new Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji

The Social Housing Scheme has been tailored to take care of the housing needs of the masses especially those who have suffered from one problem or the other like demolition exercise

Bukar Goni-Aji assured that his tenure would build on the existing government policies and programmes. Alhaji Goni-Aji remarked that his tenure would assiduously work on staff housing and transportation; believing that this will go a long way in curbing corruption in the civil service. “I also intend to work on reducing the delivering timeline to achieve concrete results in the Civil Service without necessarily compromising the professionalism of the service itself,” he stressed. The FCT Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, FCT Acting Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Nuhu Ahmed and the FCT Chief of Staff were among the top FCT Administration officials that received the Head of Service and his entourage.

More funding for enterprise agency development, wealth creation, employment generation and poverty reduction. Akinjide said: “The issue of employment generation, poverty reduction and wealth creation is of top priority to the FCT Administration. It is at the heart of the transformation agenda. We will refocus, re-energise and increase the funding of AEA so as to achieve its objectives. “While the administration is committed to funding the AEA, I will also advise that the agency

devise ways of attracting multilateral funds. We are encouraged by the commitment of members of the board of the agency, and I want to assure that the FCT Administration will support the agency.” Earlier, the Director of Admin and Finance in the Social Development Secretariat, Alhaji Salisu Kallamu, who represented the chairman of the Board, explained that the agency was assisting new and existing entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles to growth through access to finance, proper

business planning and development of entrepreneurship skills. “The agency is constantly working towards provision of qualitative training and motivation for entrepreneurs, mentoring for start-ups and access to timebound financial services through the establishment of Kwali Micro Finance Bank with branches in all the area councils within the territory,” Kallamu stated. He solicited the support of the FCT Administration to enable it execute its projects and pro-

grammes such as the establishment of Abuja Talent Academy, NYSC Entrepreneurship Programme and Abuja Creative Enterprise Group, among others. Meanwhile, the FCT Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, has appointed Ms. Aisha Abubakar as the acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Abuja Enterprise Agency. Abubakar replaces the former Managing Director of the agency, Ms. Altine Jibrin, who has retired from the civil service.

by Dr Aina Emmanuel, said there were plans to open other centres in different area councils so as to boost the socio-economic activities of the territory, urging the incubates to take the

incubation process with all seriousness so that they can be self-employed. Director of FCT Agency for Science and Technology, Mrs Rosemary Umanah, said the incuba-

tion centre project took three years to materialise, adding that the idea was to help people with ideas actualise their dreams. Over 20 intakes were inaugurated at the ceremony.

Adult education boosted with incubation centre


HE National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI) has built a standard incubation centre for the development of adult education in the Federal Capital Territory. A director in the NBTI, Dr Abdumalik Ndagi, said this in Abuja during an orientation programme organised for new intakes of the FCT Agency for Science and Technology’s Incubation Centre located in Karu, Abuja. Ndagi said the centre will allow commercialisation of innovations, creation of jobs and enhancement of economic growth when fully operational. He advised the new intakes to be responsible by obeying rules and regulations, urging them to keep their units clean, keep daily records and be focused. He added that there would be monitoring, mentoring and training in addition to strict admission and strict exit process. The Director-General of NBTI, Prof Gambo Laraba Abdullahi, who was represented by one of the board’s directors, Alhaji Abdul Shittu, said the board had cooperated with other agencies to build capacities for incubates in different equipment fabrica-

•The Abuja incubation centre

tions and had helped the same to access funds totaling more than N200 million. The FCT Secretary for Education, Alhaji Kabir Usman who was represented at the occasion




More funds for Abuja Enterprise Agency Stories from Bukola Amusan

•Oloye Akinjide


HE Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide has said that the administration would refocus and improve the funding of Abuja Enterprise


WO districts of the Federal Capital Territory are to benefit from the social housing scheme in the Satellite towns. The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, made this disclosure, while receiving the new Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni-Aji that paid him a working visit in Abuja.

Agency (AEA) to enable it realise its mandate. The minister, who made this known while receiving members of the AEA Board in her office, urged the agency to come up with more innovative projects and programmes such as the Shea Butter initiative that would generate employment and create wealth. The AEA, which was established in 2005, is the FCT vehicle for small and medium enterprise development, wealth creation, employment generation and poverty reduction. Akinjide said: “The issue of employment generation, poverty reduction and wealth creation is of top priority to the FCT Administration. It is at the heart of the transformation agenda. We will refocus, re-energise and increase

the funding of AEA so as to achieve its objectives. “While the administration is committed to funding the AEA, I will also advise that the agency devise ways of attracting multilateral funds. We are encouraged by the commitment of members of the board of the agency, and I want to assure that the FCT Administration will support the agency.” Earlier, the Director of Admin

and Finance in the Social Development Secretariat, Alhaji Salisu Kallamu, who represented the chairman of the Board, explained that the agency was assisting new and existing entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles to growth through access to finance, proper business planning and development of entrepreneurship skills. “The agency is constantly working towards provision of qualita-

The issue of employment generation, poverty reduction and wealth creation is of top priority to the FCT Administration. It is at the heart of the transformation agenda. We will refocus, re-energise and increase the funding of AEA so as to achieve its objectives

tive training and motivation for entrepreneurs, mentoring for start-ups and access to timebound financial services through the establishment of Kwali Micro Finance Bank with branches in all the area councils within the territory,” Kallamu stated. He solicited the support of the FCT Administration to enable it execute its projects and programmes such as the establishment of Abuja Talent Academy, NYSC Entrepreneurship Programme and Abuja Creative Enterprise Group, among others. Meanwhile, the FCT Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, has appointed Ms. Aisha Abubakar as the acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Abuja Enterprise Agency. Abubakar replaces the former Managing Director of the agency, Ms. Altine Jibrin, who has retired from the civil service.

Two districts for housing scheme The minister said that within these two districts namely Wasa and Mamusa in the Abuja Municipal and Kuje Area Councils respectively, Civil Service Housing Scheme would be given top priority to address their housing prob-

The social housing scheme has been tailored to take care of the housing needs of the masses especially those who have suffered from one form of problem or the other like demolition exercise

lems. Senator Mohammed revealed that apart from these, the FCT Administration would take steps to designate some areas in the Satellite Towns for Civil Service Housing Scheme. The minister reiterated that the Social Housing Scheme has been tailored to take care of the housing needs of the masses especially those who have suffered from one form of problem or the other like demolition exercise. He emphasised that his administration would strengthen collaboration and partnership especially with the members of the Organised Private sector to fast track

the delivering of these low cost houses to the populace. The minister recalled that about 50 hectares of land had been allocated to an American firm to build social housing to the low and medium income earners. While congratulating the new Head of Service, the minister described the appointment as personal accomplishment, which is a brainchild of the statesmanship of President Goodluck Jonathan. Speaking earlier, the new Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni-Aji assured that his tenure would build on the existing government policies and programmes.

Alhaji Goni-Aji remarked that his tenure would assiduously work on staff housing and transportation; believing that this will go a long way in curbing corruption in the civil service. “I also intend to work on reducing the delivering timeline to achieve concrete results in the Civil Service without necessarily compromising the professionalism of the service itself,” he stressed. The FCT Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, FCT Acting Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Nuhu Ahmed and the FCT Chief of Staff were among the top FCT Administration officials that received the Head of Service and his entourage.

“The money I had when this thing started has been used on dialysis. I had N2million then and you know I have to do dialysis twice a week which cost N25, 000 per session. So, I spend N50, 000 weekly and I have used all the

money. I have been doing that for the past eight months now and I need help. “The situation has really affected my family because I am the family’s bread winner,” he appealed.

Patient needs N4m lifeline


HIS boy must not die. Please, help us. He must not die. Afeez must not die.” That was the agony of a mother when our correspondent visited the Byazhin, Kubwa home of Afeez Agboola. Afeez Agboola, a marine engineer, was bubbling with life and had great dreams after completing his education in the United Kingdom where he obtained a degree in Marine Engineering. His dreams were big. Currently, he works as a marine surveyor in a private oil servicing company in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The salary was also attractive which gave him the confidence to take up the responsibility as the family breadwinner. However, seven months into the job, he took ill and was later diagnosed with a kidney problem at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Choba Rivers State. He carried out series of tests to confirm the ailment. So, for the past eight months, he has been on dialysis and this has eaten deeply into his savings as he spends N50, 000 every week. Besides, Afeez has lost weight considerably, and seldom goes out. His dreams seem to be eclipsing. Still hopeful, fortune smiled on him. He has been able to get a donor, a thing that has

From Vincent Ikuomola

rekindled his hope and dreams. But there is a snag here. He needs about N4million to carry out the kidney transplant. Such huge sum of money he cannot afford now. His organisation had informed him that since he had only worked for just seven months, they could not pick his bills. To worsen the situation, Afeez lost his dad, a retired civil servant in the process. Right now, Agboola is at a loss as to where to raise the money. All hopes to get the money seem to be fading. He is therefore appealing to well-meaning Nigerians to come to his aid. “My name is Afeez Agboola. I am a marine engineer but I am now a marine surveyor. I work for an oil servicing company in Port Harcourt. I have worked for the company for seven months and I am still with them. They said since I am still new with them, they cannot pay for the operation. “I have kidney failure which was detected by doctors at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. “I have a donor. We did all the tests in the United Kingdom and he is a match. It is just the money

•Afeez Agboola

to carry out the operation that I need now. “If I am to do the surgery at St. Nicholas Hospital, it will cost me N4.5million. But it is less than 3.5million in India. Right now, if I can get N4million, then I will be able to go for the operation.



president has powers to grant pardon to anyone he deems fit and ‘ The proper. No doubt, the exercise of such powers must be judicially and judiciously done as lawyers would put it, and so far, the president has prudently exercised those powers See page 34


‘Our Judiciary has been polluted’

• Prof Smith

Prof Imran Oluwole Smith is the Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos (UNILAG). He is the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to get the job. An alumnus of the Hague Academy of International Law, Netherlands, he is a legal consultant and member, Council of Legal Education. He is a Professorial Research Associate, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK, and has been an Expert Witness on Nigerian Law before the High Court of Justice in England on several occasions. He is the author of many books cited by lawyers and the courts. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK, and the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Smith, in this interview with JOSEPH JIBUEZE, speaks on how to improve the quality of the Bar and the Bench, curb corruption in the judiciary and the country, tackle insecurity, and how the structure of the National Judicial Council’s (NJC) violates federal principles.


RETIRED Supreme Court justice said the legal profes sion is retrogressing. Do you

agree? The remark of his Lordship regarding retrogression of the legal profession is correct. When I was called to the Bar 30 years ago, I came into an enviable profession guided by strict rules of professional ethics. I joined a group of gentlemen with passion for dignity and decorum. The practice of law was taken as a serious business meant to serve humanity, promote justice, develop the law and assist the court. Clients could trust their solicitors with money and their vital documents; they could repose confidence in their solicitors to the extent that they could rely on their words and trust their judgment. Lawyers would not appear in court ill-prepared; lawyers would not connive with clients to mislead the court for illegitimate pecuniary gains. Attorneys-General were Attorneys-General of truth who held their positions with dignity and highest sense of responsibility in line with the dic-


tates of the Constitution and in the overall interest of the legal profession. Law officers from the Ministry of Justice were not known to compromise justice in any way. Senior Advocates of Nigeria were known to be repositories of excellent conduct, great intellect and impeccable personality. The situation today is left to every one’s imagination. Does the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have a role to play in correcting the situation? These days, we read painful stories of how some lawyers violate the ethics of their profession with impunity; of how the profession is used by some as an instrument of oppression to hoodwink innocent citizens and strip them of their belongings; of how the official Bar has become authority to pervert the course of justice, and so on. The NBA is not helping matters either. Expressing a personal opinion here, I do not see a strong NBA any more; lawyers contest elective positions in the NBA these days for self-aggrandizement and parochial reasons. Before the glaring eyes of the NBA, some law-

yers conduct themselves in the most reckless unprofessional and unethical manner without consequences. Little pronouncements come out of the NBA national secretariat these days concerning executive ineptitude or bad governance; and public opinion matters less to the body. I must, however, commend the NGOs for filling the lacuna and taking over the responsibilities of the NBA over the years. The NBA must look inward and return to its pristine and glorious days, and show more concerns for good governance, sustenance of the rule of law and sanity of the pol-

ity. What is your assessment of the bench? Our judiciary has been polluted by few judicial officers who mortgage their conscience for material and other selfish gains. We still experience delays in the administration of justice due to unnecessary adjournments and indolence of some judicial officers. Some judicial officers are more of socialites than officers in the temple of justice. A judge is expected to be seen more in court and less at social gatherings. The judge should be seen as an independ-

‘These days, we read painful stories of how some lawyers violate the ethics of their profession with impunity; of how the profession is used by some as an instrument of oppression to hoodwink innocent citizens and strip them of their belongings; of how the official Bar has become authority to pervert the course of justice, and so on. The NBA is not helping matters either’

Tax tribunal explains operations... P.33

ent person and more of an introvert confined to the serenity of his or her Chambers. So, how can the retrogression be reversed? The problem of retrogression can be effectively addressed at the Bar by stepping up enforcement of the rules of professional ethics at all levels, by strengthening the NBA, and by stepping up effective public enlightenment of the role of lawyers in the society, while encouraging the public to forward complaints to the appropriate quarters, and, of course, ensuring that such complaints are dealt with speedily. For the bench, there is need to continue to enforce the code of conduct for judicial officers across board, and to impose appropriate sanctions heavy enough to act as deterrent to others. Compulsory retirement or dismissal is not enough. The Constitution and other relevant legal instruments should be amended such that the judge’s immunity becomes extinguished •Contined on page 30

Court halts work on disputed Lekki land...P.37




‘Our Judiciary has been polluted’ • Continued from page 29

once he or she is found to have committed an offence under our Criminal Law. Such erring judicial officer ought to be tried, convicted and sentenced accordingly. Do you think increasing the amount paid as cost and imposing sanctions for frivolous applications would help solve the problem? I have already highlighted some of the reasons behind the slow process of administration of justice in Nigeria. To complement these, it may be necessary for States to adopt the exemplary position of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules on delays in filing Court processes. The cost is N200 per day as penalty for late filing. However, this, of course, is less than N6,000 in a month going by legal computation, and this amount, I think, is too little for the kind of delays that we experience often. As much as N2000 per day is more in tune with reality especially when the psychological trauma and devaluation of the res tangible or intangible, is put on the scale, vis-à-vis the said delay. It is also necessary to impose huge costs within the competence of the court on any party to a suit for bringing frivolous claim or application. Frivolous claim or application we need be reminded, is a serious abuse of court process, and a waste of precious time of the court and the resources of the State. Above all, courts should apply rules of court to the letter. A Plaintiff or defendant who is not in court when the suit is called deserves no adjournment without good reasons in writing. The practice of giving an adjournment when it is not deserved under the pretext of fair hearing is wrong with due respect, as it is trite that rules of Court must be obeyed. A matter struck out for want of diligent prosecution may never be re-listed by the Claimant; a judgment by default ensures that the party affected acts with more diligence when the matter is eventually brought back. Some have suggested that specialisation would do the legal profession good. What do you think about this? Is it workable in Nigeria? Stripped of all pretences, lawyers and law chambers are renowned for some areas of the law than others, and this is because the individual lawyer’s exposure after call to Bar, varies depending on the locality, the back ground of the Principal, the aptitude of the lawyer (as we cannot be good in, or like all areas of law equally), and so on. For example, my earlier exposure to law practice with my late principal, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, would be remembered basically for litigation as opposed to solicitors’ work, and the litigation was more pronounced in the areas of Constitutional law and human rights than land law, corporate matters or any other. The great personality of this illustrious son of Africa, and what he stood for during his lifetime, would explain this. Does being a jack of all trade affect the standard of law practice? I see specialisation as a way of raising standards of law practice, removing mediocrity, and properly advising the general public on the best law firm to approach on specific matters. Sincerely, I do not see how the same law firm could be handling Constitutional law and human rights matters, land law and criminal law matters along with intellectual property cases, and expect to do well at the end of the day. In the United Kingdom and many common law jurisdictions, specialisation is taken seriously. In the United Kingdom, you are expected to choose six areas of law practice from a list prior to granting practising certificate, and you cannot be seen taking on an area outside those earlier chosen without some unpleasant consequences.

What do you say of the call to split the solicitor from the advocate? I seize this opportunity to also advocate a clear division of our law practice into pure solicitor practice and advocacy. It is not out of place to give solicitors who have also undergone some training in advocacy, some limited right of audience for example, in small claims suits and tenancy matters. This is, however, a long term thing as the framework would have to be put in place by amending relevant Laws. It is however worth serious consideration. The question whether specialisation would work in Nigeria is a belated question as many of the top Chambers I know in Lagos and many state capitals in Nigeria are renowned for their areas of specialisation and those Chambers are making waves as a result of that. So, why should others remain jacks of all trade and masters of little? It has been said that having law partnerships will increase the competitive advantage of Nigerian firms in a global market by having megafirms. Is that the way to go? Without mincing words, that is the way to go. From the angle of simple economics, the advantages of a Partnership over the sole proprietorship business cannot be over emphasised. Having law partnerships would definitely increase competitive advantage of Nigerian firms in the global market. Imagine this scenario: A mega law firm comprising chambers with diverse expertise on different facets of the Law coming together under a simple arrangement of pooling resources together, having a common management structure with a simple network in terms of IT facilities to facilitate local and international law business in conjunction with others abroad, and working from different work stations 24/ 7. This arrangement would engender economy of costs, promote efficiency and serve humanity better. Legal practitioners in Nigeria should encourage mergers and networking for greater efficiency. The National Assembly is about amending the Constitution. Are there particular areas you would want to see changes made, especially as it affects the legal profession? Let me state the obvious here, and I hope our Law makers would take the matters seriously this time. It is no gainsaying that we run a federal system through unitary institutions, and the National Judicial Council (NJC) is a typical example. A central institution such as the NJC recommending appointments and removal of judges to state Governors and presiding over matters pertaining to discipline of judges at the federal and state levels violates the tenets of federalism. The structure and composition of the NJC is not only a breach of the ideal federal structure, but may lead to autocracy and witch hunting. I would rather suggest that our old Judicial Service Commission (at both state and federal levels) be vested with the powers and functions of the NJC for better evaluation of matters bothering on appointments, discipline and removal of judges, and for legitimacy of decisions reached. There is need to streamline the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court and put to rest, the conundrum of uncertainties hunting the application of section 251 of the Constitution by our Courts. Also, as I said earlier, immunity granted judicial officials

• Prof Smith

should be reviewed such that once the allegation against a judge bordering on corruption has been proven, the judge is made to face the full wrath of the law. There are so many other areas generally that require urgent amendment, but let me stop here. Some have argued that plea bargaining encourages corruption. Should it be done away with? Generally speaking, plea bargaining is the process of negotiating charging and sentencing concessions by the prosecution in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea and waiver of rights. There are two types: the charge bargaining i.e where the State agrees to dismiss charges or reduce the severity of charges on condition that the defendant pleads guilty; and the sentence bargaining i.e. where the state agrees to recommend a more lenient sentence to the court in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea. The latter is popular and adopted often in Nigeria. Amongst other justifications, proponents of plea bargaining argue that it is a way of reducing the time and cost of administration of criminal justice, that it admits of limited resources and therefore, ensures efficient allocation of state resources. Unfortunately, this supposed justification of plea bargaining is not usually construed alongside state responsibility under the Constitution to tackle the scourge of corruption as a national malaise. Tackling corruption is not so much an effort to make culprits disgorge the ill-gotten wealth, but essentially for the state anti-corruption policy to be enforced with deterrent undertone. After all, what we get back from the defendant is usually peanuts compared to what was stolen. Does plea bargain not send wrong signals? The wrong signal lies in giving tacit approval to stealing on condition that when you are caught, you simply plea bargain and waive the privilege of self-incrimination, the right to confront your accusers and the right to compulsory attendance

of favourable witnesses. Criticisms against plea bargain are legion, and the climate of public opinion in the United States where it has taken strong roots suggests that it does more harm than good to the State criminal justice. My view is that in a country engulfed in corruption and dissipation of state resources leading to acceleration of poverty and loss of lives, plea bargain is anathema to the polity. A concept is adjudged good or bad based on the socio-economic circumstances of the polity, and under a constitutional democracy, the Constitutional policy of the country. Let’s take you a bit to the world of politics. Members of the House of Representatives are asking for immunity from prosecution over their actions in the House. Is this necessary? This is quite unnecessary, and I hear the Senate is against it. Nigerians have not been told the reasons or justification for the request. What do you make of the call by the North to grant amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect? I support the quick response of Mr President on this to the extent that “you cannot grant amnesty to ghosts”. The sect is a faceless entity. Like terrorists that they are, they proclaim an ideology and perpetrate heinous crime under its guise. It is sad indeed. However, this is an opportunity for me to clarify some doubts and advise the government. First, let no one be deceived that these terrorists are muslims or are propagating Islam. I am not only a practising muslim, I am also an Islamic scholar, and I can tell you that these people are not muslims and that their activities directly contradict the teachings of Islam such as peace and religious tolerance. These days, people hide under the canopy of fighting a jihad. What a shame! Jihad is not about taking lives, or destruction of properties and making life unbearable for fellow human beings; it is about striving unto the righteous path – the path of truth;

‘My view is that in a country engulfed in corruption and dissipation of state resources leading to acceleration of poverty and loss of lives, plea bargain is anathema to the polity. A concept is adjudged good or bad based on the socio-economic circumstances of the polity, and under a constitutional democracy, the Constitutional policy of the country’

reprieve for the under-priviledged and the downtrodden; using what we have for the good of humanity such as provision of good education, sound health care, provision of food and adequate housing, etc. When Shehu Uthman dan fodio of blessed memory was going to derail from the right path of propagating a true jihad, he was quickly challenged and put on the right path by the then Shehu El Kanemi of Bornu in a language many muslim scholars would never forget. So, what is your position? My conclusion here is that the sect is an instrument of certain political class, using religion as a cloak. Second, the way to bring terrorism to an end is not necessarily through the use of naked force as it is difficult to fight ‘ghosts’. It is also not through negotiation and payment of huge sums of money out of the lean purse of the nation, for one group of terrorists tends to beget another in Nigeria, and the message is that ‘you terrorise to enrich’. The solution lies in the provision of gainful employment, government subsidy of agriculture, provision of affordable accommodation and good health care services, ensuring justice and fairness in our electoral processes, giving due recognition to the rights of the minorities, and handling the Niger Delta issues with human face. All these are only reminiscent of the Constitutional responsibilities of government and should not be seen as imposing unnecessary burden on government, as some people would claim. Do you agree with the call by former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, that INEC should be disbanded? He is entitled to his opinion, but you have not told me why he said that. If you ask me whether INEC should be disbanded, the view of me as one out of one hundred and fifty million Nigerians is that I do not have evidence to suggest it should. International organisations continue to rate Nigeria high on the corruption index. Is the government losing the war against graft and official sleaze? The government is definitely fast losing the war against corruption in Nigeria. I say so because we are yet to have and institutionalise definite policies on corruption. We are selective in the way we handle corruption mat• Continued on page 31




Okah’s conviction: Lessons for Judiciary The justice system suffered a set back last week following the sentencing of former militant, Henry Okah, by a South African Court while his accomplices are still awaiting trial in Abuja. Will the judiciary ever get it right? What are the lessons in Okah’s conviction? PRECIOUS IGBONWELUNDU asks.


ENIOR lawyers have urged Nigerian judiciary to learn lessons from the conviction of former Niger Delta militant, Henry Okay, by a South African Court. He was found guilty of 13 counts, including the detonation of two bombs in Abuja and Warri, Delta State, on October 1, 2010, as well as threatening the South African Government after his arrest and was sentenced to 24 years in prison by Justice Neels Claassen. The court said his conviction was related to three events, which are the March 15, 2010 bomb attack in Warri, Delta State, which killed one person and injured several others; the October 1, 2010, in Abuja, where two car bombs exploded killing eight people with several others injured and the threat to the Nigerian government. While Okah has been tried and convicted successfully in neighbouring South Africa, his accomplices who were arrested in Nigeria about the same time, in the country’s characteristic way, are still awaiting trial or have jumped bail. Similar to Okah’s case is that of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, who was convicted by a London court for a crime committed in Nigeria after the nation’s judiciary freed him of corrupt allegations. Will Nigeria ever get it right with its justice system? What lessons abound for the country with Okah’s conviction? Lawyers said although Okah’s con-

• Osibanjo

• Sagay

• Belgore

viction was a good step in the global fight against terrorism, it has further exposed the inefficiencies in our national life. They decried the situation where “sacred cows” were spared despite the atrocities they have committed, just as the lawyers reiterated the call for an overhaul of the criminal procedure. Those, who spoke on the issue, include professors of law, Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Itse Sagay (SAN) and former Kwara State governorship aspirant, Dele Belgore (SAN). The lawyers, who praised the speed in dispensing the case, noted that the justice system in the country has a greater lesson to learn from it.

Osinbajo said the speed at which the case was concluded should be emulated, adding that the practice of dragging and delaying cases for many years was unhealthy. He said: “I think the speed at which that case was concluded is an important commentary that the entire justice system should adopt. “This is not just about the judiciary; it is about all the stakeholders in the justice system. We must learn to institute and complete our cases in good time because justice delayed is justice denied. “It is clear that our justice system is far too slow. Justice cannot be delivered at our pace, so something must

be done urgently to address it. Sagay described the conviction as a challenge and a very sad experience for the country’s judiciary, especially because no progress has been made with regards to Okah’s accomplices who were arrested in Nigeria. “For our judiciary, it is a challenge and a very sad experience. This is because at the same time Okah was arrested in South Africa, his accomplices were also arrested in Nigeria but till date, nothing has happened. “No one has been convicted neither has any of them been discharged. Nigerians have almost forgotten the issue. It appears they have

been forgotten in custody to wrath without trial. “This is the second time we are having such an experience and I must say it portrays the state of our judiciary. This conviction is a wake up call for our judiciary to sit up and do the right things. “For Okah and his young family, it is a sad development because he will stay away from them for so long a time. “But, his conviction is a big lesson that anyone who takes human life at will, cannot escape the wrath of the law. There is a stiff price for those who endanger human life in any society. “The right to life remains the fundamental human right and this is because we acknowledge the fact that we cannot create life. So, I hope all those who have taken to terrorism pick a lesson from Okah’s conviction and desist from the act,” Sagay said. To Belgore, the verdict has further exposed the country’s pretences to the rule of law. He said: “First it took an English court to prosecute and convict Ibori for offences which originated in Nigeria. Now it is South Africa. Okah’s accomplices are yet to be convicted, if at all, they ever will. “How do we convince anybody that as a nation our judicial and law enforcement processes are committed to enforcing the law of the land? “This is another national embarrassment in a string of endless embarrassments.”

‘Our Judiciary has been polluted’ • Continued from page 30

ters and generally engulfed in selective justice. We re-circle corrupt officers who often pass the baton on to their successors. So, you tell me, whether government is ever serious about combating corruption. What do you make of the recent state pardon granted some Nigerians, including those convicted of corruption? The truth must be told. The President was ill advised on the issue of legitimacy of presidential pardon. Yes, I agree that Mr President is empowered by section 175(1)(2) of the Constitution to grant State pardon to exconvicts after consultation with the National Council of State over which he presides as Chairman, but the advisers failed to read the spirit of the same Constitution and decided to alienate the provisions mentioned from the other relevant provisions of the same Constitution, instead of reading them together as a whole. Section 15(5) of the Constitution provides that “the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power” and section 13 makes it the duty and responsibility of all authorities and persons exercising legislative, executive and judicial powers to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of Chapter 2 of the Constitution to which these two sections belong. So, has the President been acting in line with the Constitution? The President swore an oath of office that he would “strive to preserve the fundamental objectives and directive principles of State policy contained in the Constitution”. It is not within the province of the Constitution to define steps to be taken by the President to “abolish all corrupt practices” but the spirit of the Constitution dictates a policy that would facilitate abolition of corrupt practices rather than encourage it. The granting of State pardon to those convicted of corruption cannot be a deterrent to other corrupt public officers, as any public office holder convicted of corrupt practices in future would only need to lobby the President or the Council of State or both to get Presidential par-

don. The effect of the pardon obviously is to wipe off the conviction and sentence, and qualifies the beneficiary for any elective office. The strategy of any public office holder arraigned before the Court would then be to plea bargain, get a lighter punishment, and subsequently lobby for State pardon. What a shame! Nigeria also scores low points on human rights protection, especially as it relates to security. What’s the way out? It is important to note that addressing issues of human rights abuse is key to development. This permeates every aspects of human endeavour and the State owes responsibility to the citizenry to prevent abuses and ensure enabling environment for the individual potentials to be actualized. Where there is absolute insecurity and total lack of confidence in the security network of a country, it portends grave dangers for human and economic development. No investment can thrive in a country with security lapses - with life and property made insecure by the activities of kidnappers, terrorists and men of the underworld. Whist there is need to intensify training for our law enforcement agents, provide sophisticated weapons and improve on the general logistics, social security is key to eventual actualisation of security of life and property. Let’s talk a bit more about you. You are one of the professors of law who are also SANs. What moved you to pursue such academic heights? I have always dedicated my entire academic and professional career to excellence. What matters to me in life is continuous contribution to knowledge and development of the law through regular research. I have found a combination of academics and practice as highly rewarding and fulfilling. I have been engaged in both for over two and a half decades. Diligence has always been my watchword, and my prime movers have always been great jurists and my immediate environment. For the benefit of young lawyers who may complain of poor salaries,

how did you cope in the early days of your career? Has it always been rosy? The first consideration of any young lawyer in a law firm is how to acquire the requisite skills and experience to prepare him or her for the challenges of law practice; remuneration should be secondary. Lawyers who put money first are found prematurely on the field unguided, and they end up as inexperienced lawyers, or what pedestrians refer to as “charge and bail lawyers”. Being well equipped is the key to success. There is usually a rough beginning during which period the young lawyer learns on the job, and this could take up to five or more years depending on how busy the law firm is. I garnered my early experience from the Ministry of justice and a law firm, and I was able to manage the stipend I was being paid, realising the importance of professional training on the field. But having said that, employers of these young lawyers must recognise the harsh economic conditions of the country and should not be exploitative. Do you remember your first day in court? What was it like? My first day in court was a pleasant experience. It was before Hon Justice Craig of blessed memory. He was the then Chief Judge of Ogun State; that was sometime in 1983. The venue was the Abeokuta Judicial division. I appeared as State Counsel from the Ministry of Justice. It was on a Monday morning and my assignment in Court was to argue a motion for amendment of our statement of claim. His Lordship recognized the green wig and gave all the assistance to enable me to get the application through. He awarded no cost on the occasion. That experience boosted my interest in advocacy and remains indelible. You recently became the Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Lagos (UNILAG). How has the experience been? The experience has been wonderful. It is a priviledge indeed, to find oneself associated with the rich his-

tory of this great faculty located in the heart of the University of Lagos – the university of first choice and the nation’s pride. I happen to be a proud alumnus of this first class faculty. It would be a delight at the end of the day, to leave a name to be cherished along with those of great jurists such as Gower and Elias, in the hall of fame. The faculty has been led by great minds since its inception in 1962, and they all contributed immensely to building an international image for the faculty and to nurturing and sustaining the very high standards for which it is known. The first challenge on assumption of office was how to sustain the age long tradition of excellence and the high tempo of development fostered by the founding fathers and my predecessors in office. Meeting the challenge has however become an opportunity for me to turn my decades of academic achievements and enormous administrative experience garnered, into great opportunities and prospects for the faculty. I am delighted to note that my colleagues have been supportive of me since the inception of my tenure in August 2012, as we run the faculty together as one family that we are. How have you ensured that the high standards of your faculty are maintained? Maintaining the high standards of the faculty is my highest priority. We are paying attention to human development and enhancement of academic materials; the faculty has continued revision of its academic content in tune with the social and economic realities of our time, and towards the enhancement of legal skills; we are sustaining modern teaching methodology and continuously improving on same, in line with the required bench mark of the NUC and the Council of Legal Education. We still nurture the best crop of law students for the legal profession in particular, and the labour market in general. The faculty cherishes and still maintains the very high professional ethics from dress code to good con-

• Prof Smith

duct. We have continued with regular academic interactions and post doctoral training of our colleagues at first class institutions all over the world; the faculty partners with the private sector to further academic and professional development; our Centre for Human Rights which remains the pride of the faculty and one of the best anywhere, partners with the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria in South Africa and others in many parts of Africa. The faculty continues to maintain a crop of lecturers comparable to those in any first class University anywhere in the world. How do you relax? What is your favourite sport? I belong to popular clubs in Lagos, and I do relax on weekends by playing Lawn Tennis or golf. I sometimes go for swimming when I am stressed up. If you were to go away for a week with only a piece of item, what would it be? The Holy Quran. What can you say is the secret of your success? The secrets of my success are regular prayer, hard work and doing good to others for, whatever you sow you reap.




The challenge of prosecuting terror suspects An Abuja-based legal practitioner Iheanyi Maraizu, who is the Principal Counsel at Iheanyi Maraizu and Co, examines how the laws make prosecuting terror suspects difficult.


N Tuesday January 8, 2013, The Nation wrote an Edito rial wherein it expressed serious concern over the inability of the Federal Government to prosecute those arrested in connection with the Boko Haram crises ravaging the northem parts of Nigeria and threatening the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria. According to the editorial, the excuse being given by the Federal Government for its inability to prosecute the suspects and curtail the menace is that extant laws are inadequate to deal with the situation. With respect to the Federal Government and the office of the Attorney-General of the federation, I dare say that nothing can be farther from the truth. In my humble view, it is not correct to say that there is no law under which this criminal gang can be prosecuted as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (Establishment) Act No 5 of 2002 expressly outlaws terrorism and makes it a punishable offence. For the avoidance of doubt, it is apposite to reproduce Section 14 of the said Act, which deals with offences relating to terrorism. Section 14 (1) says: A person who wilfully provides or collects by any means, directly or indirectly, any money by any other person with intent that the money shall be used or is in the knowledge that the money shall be used for any act of terrorism, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life. Section 14 (2): Any person who commits or attempts to commit a terrorist act or particapates in or facilitates the commission of a terrorist act, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life. Section 14 (3): Any person who makes funds, financial assets or economic resources or financial or other related services available for use of any other person to commit

or attempt to commit, facilitate or participate in the commission of a terrorist act is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life. In Section 40 of the Act, terrorism is defined as follows: a.Any act which is a violation of the criminal code or the penel Code and which may endanger the life, physical integrity or freedom of, or cause serious injury or death to any person, any number or group of persons or causes or may cause damage to public property, natural resources, enviromental or cultural heritage and is calculated or intended to – I.Intimidate, put in fear, force, coerce or induce any government, body, institution, the general public or any segment thereof, to do or abstain from doing any act or to adopt or abandon a particular standpoint, or to act according to certain principles, or II.Disrupt any pubic service, the delivery of any essential service to the public or to create a public emergency, or III.Create general insurrection in a state; any promotion, sponsorship of, contribution to, command, aid, incitement, encouragement, attempt, threat, conspiracy, organisation or procurement of any person, with the intent to commit any act referred to in paragraph (a) (I) (II) And (III) From the foregoing, it can be clearly seen that what the Federal Government lacks is not the law but the will to prosecute the suspects.

The doctrine of necessity

It is pertinent to note that the law recognises that a situation may arise in which law and order may break down and laws to deal with the situation are either inadequate or nonexistent. In such a situation offenders cannot be held in custody until a law is enacted. Any law enacted in this circumstance will have retroactive effect and this will be absolutely unacceptable in a democratic society. Indeed as

rightly pointed out by the editorial under reference, retroactive laws are unconstitutional and therefore null and void. However, despite the complication that may arise as a result of inadequate or nonexistent laws the situation is not helpless as the doctrine of necessity is always resorted to take care of the lacuna. Simply put, the doctrine is to the effect that necessitas non habet legem ie necessity knows no law. According to Osborns Concise Law Dictionary by John Burke, the invasion of the private rights of others may possibly be jusstified and defended on the grounds of necessity. There are other dimensions to the doctine of necessity. These include necessitas facit licitum quod alias non est licitum (Necessity makes that lawful which other otherwise is not lawful). necessitas sub lege non continetur quia quod alias non est licitum necessitas facit licitum (Necessity is not restrained by law since what otherwise is not lawful necessity makes lawful). (See generally the English case of Cresswell VS Sirl (1948) IKB 241) How do the above maxims apply to the dangerous situation in which we find ourselves in Nigeria. It applies to us because the federal Government can invoke the docrine of necessity to deal ruthlessly with the Boko Haram sect. This is with a view to stamping out the evil sect completely. If it means shooting them at sight let this be done. Their lives are not more precious than those of millions of innocent Nigerians whom they have despatched to the great beyond. It is in fact in inconsonance with the doctrine of necessity that Section 305(1) of the Consttution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(1999 as amended in 2011)empowers the President to declare a state of emergency in the federation or any part there of. As soon as the emergency is declared, regular laws (including the constitution itself are made inappli-

cable in the place or places where the emergency exists. This will enable the Federal Government to operate under the doctrine of necessity to deal with the emergency situation. According to section 305(3)(b) of the Constitution, the President shall have power to issue a proclamation of a state of emergency only when there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety.... to such extent as to require extra ordinary measures to restore peace and security. If the truth must be told, the menace of the Boko Haram sect is the greatest calamity that has befallen this country since the end of the civil war in 1970. It is a known fact that millions of innocent Nigerians have died and are still dying in the hands of Boko Haram, property worth billions of Naira (both public and private) have been destroyed and are still being destroyed by this evil group. Many more have been rendered not only homeless but also left with no means of livelihood. Millions of children have been orphaned. It is common knowledge that those who managed to escape being killed are relocating in droves to other parts of the country including their states of origin. In places like Borno, Yobe, Kano and Kaduna armed men go about openly murdering defenceless citizens without any body challenging them. From the grim picture painted above, can it be said that the situation in the troubled states is not dire enough as to require extra ordinary measures to restore peace and security? The right to acquire and own immovable property any where in Nigeria is a fundamental right guaranteed by Section 43 of the amended 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. But Boko haram has compelled many Nigerians who toiled to acquire property to abandon them and flee in to safety Still the Jonathan administration keeps pre-

• Attorney-General/Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN)

tending that all is well. Instead of taking appropriate measures to stem the tide of insecurity in Nigeria, the Jonathan administration is deceiving itself by claiming that extant laws are inadequate to deal with the situation. The problem as earlier pointed out is not the inadequacy or non existence of laws. The problem is that the Jonathan administration is for purely political and selfish reasons unwilling to deal with the situation. The Boko Haram sect has no known grievance against the state. What, then, is the basis of the dialogue which the federal Government is proposing to enter in to with the group. I, therefore, respectfully disagree with the Nigerian Bar Association and other groups and individuals who are urging the Federal Government to dialogue with the dreaded group. If the federal Government accedes to the request of those calling for dialogue, a dangerous precedent would have been set in that another criminal gang could emerge in the future and start disturbing the whole country in the hope that it will also be invited for dialogue.

Lawyer slams President for failing to implement House resolutions By Adebisi Onanuga



HAIRMAN, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Ikorodu Branch, Prince Kazeem Adebanjo, has said the refusal of President Goodluck Jonathan to implement decisions of the National Assembly is an abuse of process and executive arrogance. Adebanjo said the President has no discretion on any bill passed into law by the National Assembly other than to execute it, stressing that it is a constitutional matter and that what the president has done is a breach of the constitution. “It is an executive arrogance on the part of the president to refuse to execute valid resolutions of the National Assembly and I believe that he is just pushing our democ-

racy on tentherhood”, he said. He added: “The President owes it as a moral responsibility to all Nigerians and in view of the fact that there are constitutional provisions which clearly sets out the responsibility of each arm of the government. The legislature have done their own. They have passed the law and made the resolutions. He is to implement it as the executive. He has no discretion in as much as it has become a law. He just has to go ahead and execute the decisions of the national assembly. “What we see in the last couple of months or so is an aberration where the legislature will pass a bill into law and be waiting for the government to implement it and the government will not do anything about it. I think all the people involved, all the personnel involve are PDP card carrying members. Because of that, they found it so difficult to deal with the situation.” Adebanjo cited, for instance, the decision of the House that the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) be removed adding: “She should have been removed long ago. But for one reason or the other, for reasons best known to Mr. President, she is still sitting tight in office. So, I believe that the most important thing for the legislature is to go a step higher more than that.” He also cited the cases of Justice

Ayo Salami and security over saying that the president, he is not doing anything about them. He pointed out that the President “arrogantly refused to reinstate Justice Salami” as President of the Appeal Court in spite of the recommendation of the NJC and to tackle security problems as recommended by security advisers. “We cannot continue to go this way! What about the families of those who lost their lives in the last Boko Haram bomb blast? What would they be saying now! What

would they be feeling now? Would they be feeling as if they are part of Nigeria? “Yet, we have an elected president who is father of all! Who is supposed to protect all. Protection of lives and property is the paramount responsibility of any responsible government. But what we are seeing is that they don’t care as long as their children, friends and relatives are not involved,” he said. Asked how the legislature can

get the president to implement its resolutions, Adebanjo remarked that the refusal of the President to implement decisions of the National Assembly is an offence for which the house ought to have commenced impeachment process against him. “I believe that by the time they start impeachment proceedings and they showed determination to carry it through, he would sit tight. Let them start impeachment process against him, and then see what happens’, he added.

•From left: NBA Legal Adviser, Sule Usman, NBA President, Okey Wali (SAN) and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) at the presentation of NBA portal and website at NBA Secretariat, Abuja.




Tax tribunal explains operations


HE Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) has urged dissatisfied tax-payers to approach it to seek redress. It said its proceedings are flexible, speedy, pocket-friendly and hassles-free. Established pursuant to Section 59(1) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) (Establishment) Act, 2007, the tribunal was formally inaugurated in February, 2010. It has the mandate to settle tax disputes on the different heads of taxes in Nigeria, such as the personal income tax, company income tax, petroleum profit tax, value added tax, and indeed all taxes and levies contained in the Taxes and Levies (Approved list for Collection) Act 2004. Secretary and Head of the Southwest Zonal Secretariat of the Tax Appeal Tribunal, Mr Hilary Onwe, a lawyer, explained how the tribunal works when he led a team from the tribunal on a publicity tour of Ondo State. It was part of an enlightenment programme of TAT Southwest Zone, Ibadan, which has jurisdiction to settle tax disputes in the

By Joseph Jibueze

western states, namely Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti. The tour kicked-off with a visit to the Ondo State Radiovision Corporation at Orita Obele, Akure. The TAT team was received by the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, Mr. Ladi Akeredolu-Ale. Onwe said the visit was to seek partnership with the media agency to disseminate information about the tribunal to the taxpaying public, so that they could take advantage of it in resolving tax disputes. According to him, TAT has power to do substantial justice in tax disputes, including power to reduce or annul arbitrary tax assessments. Akeredolu-Ale expressed Radiovision’s readiness to collaborate with TAT in reaching out to the tax-paying public, especially in Ondo State. The TAT team also visited the Headquarters of Ondo State Board of Internal Revenue, where Onwe urged the tax authority could take advantage of the tribunal. He added that recalcitrant tax pay-

with gabriel AMALU

• Onwe

ers may want to employ litigation in regular courts, which could cause delays and tie down tax revenue. Onwe said the tribunal is a ‘business court’ which concludes proceedings on tax appeals within six months. He urged the tax officials to be magnanimous in referring tax-payers who come before them to the tribunal as possible window for ventilating grievances relating to tax assessments.

Court restrains firm, others over school


FEDERAL High Court, Lagos, has restrained Mainstreet Bank Estate Company Limited, Charles Njoku and Bako Ishaku from intimidating or harassing the occupants of Milhills Schools Limited, Lagos. The order, made on March 21, followed a motion ex-parte by the plaintiffs –Dr Valerie Samuel and the school, dated March 19. The court, presided over by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, made an interim order directing the defendants to desist from assaulting or threatening the applicants through phone calls, letters and others means. It further directed the defendants to desist from instigating the police to arrest, harass or threaten any parent of the children of Milhills Schools

By Joseph Jibueze

Limited, “for instance, Pastor Ndukwe Chinaka.” The defendants were barred from disturbing the plaintiffs/applicants from operating the school’s accounts with Mainstreet Bank Limited, with account number 6500715180. The judge directed that the plaintiffs/applicants give an undertaking as to damages should it turn out that the order ought not to have been made. The plaintiffs, had, among others sought “an interim injunction directing the respondents herein, whether by themselves, their agents, servants, privies or otherwise howsoever to refrain from entering upon the premises of the ap-

plicants’ Milhills Schools and home at No. 3 Oduduwa Crescent, Ikeja GRA, Lagos State, for the purposes of assaulting, harassing, intimidating, molesting, embarrassing, threatening, trailing and/or in any other manner disturbing the peace and tranquility of the applicants and/or members of their family, staff and children of Milhills Schools.” They prayed that the interim injunctions subsist pending the hearing and determination of the case. Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia adjourned further proceedings till April 11. Meanwhile, trial will begin in a related suit before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court Lagos, presided over by Magistrate A.A. Demi-Ajayi, on April 24.

Cancelled flights: Passengers demand N100m


ORTY passengers of Aero Con tractors whose flights were cancelled on March 13, this year have given the management of the airline 14 days to pay them N100 million as compensation for various losses suffered by them. They also demanded a refund of the money paid for flight tickets to various destinations. They threatened to sue the management of the airline at the end of the ultimatum if it failed to meet their demand. The 14-day ultimatum will expire on Thursday. Besides, the passengers who expressed their dismay over what they termed as lackadaisical attitudes of the aviation firm also demanded public apology and compensation for the irreparable loss suffered by them in the sum of N100million. In a letter dated March 22, 2013 and signed by the passengers solicitor,

by Adebisi Onanuga

Miss Abigail Somoye from Gab-Anna Chambers and addressed to the Managing Director, Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited, the passengers gave an ultimatum of 14 days for their demand to be met or they will avail themselves of their legal options. The passengers: Adidi John, Dr. Mrs Iwuoha E., Dr. Gbadamosi, Dr. Iloh Jude, Micheal Afolabi, Ibezito Ogbona, Emenike Ikewuonu, Wale Lawal, Justice Amos, Victor Oropo, Victor Ezemobi,Olatunde Popoola, Joy Ndukwu, Habila Ishiaka, Oyewale Raphael, Ibrahim Suleiman, Dr. Azuara Ifeanyi, Orhonor Abigail, Dr. Bayo Windapo and Mrs I. Eze. Others are:Farouk Magaji, Coker Olufemi, Dr. Kayode Joe, DareWilliams Oladimeji,Engr. Kingsley Chika,Dr. Moses Ani, Dr. Oladeji Femi,Dr. Mrs. O.P. Ani, Mrs.

Folakolade Temidayo, Mr. Tseghomi Oteri, I. Essien, Amani Brou, Mike Nnaji, Justice Ukpabi,Ayanda Muyideen, Eohoi Godwin, Bernard Favour, Atuluku Helen, Eke Chukwuemeka and Bamidele Ogunbiyiam According to them, they were slated to board planes to Port Harcourt, Calabar and Abuja on March 13, 2013, but were shocked when they got to the airport and discovered there was a showdown between the management and staff of the aviation firm which grounded operations. They claimed that neither were they notified of the cancellation of the flights nor did the firm make alternative arrangement to enable them to get to their various destinations that day. They claimed that the flight cancellation which resulted in mental and physical torture, huge financial losses due to lost business opportunities.

Legal Dairy

NBA-SLP holds workshop


HE Professional Development Committee of the NBA-Section on Legal Practice is organising a workshop in Lagos on Thursday. Theme: Key lawyering skills in a global economy. Date: Thursday, April 4. Venue: Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), University of Lagos. Time: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Ajimobi to open summit


YO State Governor Abiola Ajoimobi will on Friday at Jogor Centre in Ibadan, the capital, open a summit of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). The event is organised by the Human Rights Committee of the NBA under the Chairmanship of

the First Vice President, Mr Justy O. Erhabor. Theme of the summit is: The protection of human rights in Nigeria: A collective project. The event will approach issues of public interest litigation and Human Rights Issues from a multi-dimensional perspective to


expound on the issues relating to the role of lawyers and judges in fundamental rights enforcement and Public Interest Litigation. Mr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), will present a paper on the topic: The role of lawyers in the protection and enforcement of fundamental rights in Nigeria.

Achebe departs amid umremitting turmoil


LBERT Chinualumogu Achebe, 82 perhaps the most illustrious son of Ndigbo, nay Nigeria, among the literati, joined his ancestors on March 22, 2013. If the world renowned great wise one had lived in the distant past, before things fell apart with the coming of the white men, his final funeral rites would have to be accompanied by male and maid servants and other paraphernalia due to a titled man; to serve and cater for him in the great beyond. But this is now. So Chinua Achebe will join Ndihe alone, with his frustrations over a niggardly supine and tumultuous Nigeria, the land of his birth. With frustrations deeply etched within the burrows of his face, Achebe had tried for the better part of his life, particularly in the last two decades from his wheelchair, to combat the political buccaneers playing ping pong with Nigeria’s testicles. His bazooka was his moral authority. But as he will probably realise as he is beckoned into the pantheon of deified deities, the political leadership which he surmised as the trouble with Nigeria is armored against moral persuasion. This is particularly so with Ndianambra within the Ndigbo sub-group of the rampaging marauders, euphemistically called the Nigerian political elites. Who will forget in a hurry the ‘Grade A’ performance of the group then allegedly aligned to the Uba brothers in 2006, as the reigning kingpins in Anambra State, when Obasanjo was the President? Like demented masochists, a variant of the Peoples Democratic Party’s dominant political leadership in the state, clearly derived pleasure as their agents in the full glare of cameras visited their homeland with humiliation and punishment. Achebe must have wished that the sober majority of Ndianambra would have had the courage to take sticks to break the heads of those who strode into their sitting room to defecate. Achebe’s fame, like that of Okonkwo, his protagonist in Things Fall Apart, had grown over the years following its publication in 1958, like bush fire in the harmattan; more so, in his hoary years. Defiant and resolute he had rejected the national honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic twice; first offered by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the godfather of the Anambra malcontent, and recently President Goodluck Jonathan, the under-performing President under whose watch, Nigeria is slipping into anarchy. In rejecting Obasanjo’s offer, Achebe wondered how a nation can consciously seek to destroy itself, by gleefully attempting to destroy a part of it. Despite the protests and the apparent incongruity of celebrating a criminal conduct before the cameras, the federal authorities pretended that a willful destruction of public property is an accepted state policy. When the offer of national honour came again from President Jonathan, Achebe observed that nothing has changed in the way and manner his fatherland is plundered. But of course there is no dearth of willing honourees in Nigeria. So what Achebe rejected many willingly accepted. As some have rightly argued, Achebe was very disillusioned with his country, particularly since after the pogroms against his kinsmen and the eventual Nigeria civil war. As he admitted in his last literary outing, There Was A Country, A Personal History of Biafra, published last year, 2012, Nigeria has officially replaced merit with cronyism, and the consequences has been at home with us. He also argued that the civil war by other means is still ongoing against his people; offering that for Nigeria to make progress, equity and fair play must reemerge as the national ethos. Of course the backlash to his memoirs was in several cases harsh and condescending; while in extreme circumstances were cruel and illogic. But for his numerous admirers nothing less than the forthrightness of his views as expressed in that book, was expected. More so now with hindsight as obviously he was preparing the living for his final exit. If I may ask, which father will hide the secrets of the kingdom for all times from his children? In between the first and last books, he had written several other books, where he prophetically and patriotically warned of the doom that eventually befell the country. The two most outstanding prophesies were in A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah. In A Man of the People, he had warned the thieving first Republic politicians of the consequences of their misbegotten popularity. Incredulously, his prophesied consequences of a coup de tat that happened on the day the book was launched in 1966. Again in Anthills of the Savannah, it was the bandit military that had waylaid the nation’s patrimony that he attacked. Chinua Achebe also characteristically laid squarely the challenges facing the country on its poor leadership, in his long essay, The Trouble with Nigeria. As many have since come to realise, whether under the military or civilian regimes, the country has been under the numb of a debilitating leadership; and the consequences are with us. Clearly Chinua Achebe was a living oracle. Now he will transmute to a deified deity. And need it be said that his prophesies can only be ignored to the detriment of the living. Despite his best efforts and that of other patriotic Nigerians, Nigeria is presently seething on daily killings of innocent citizens, with the government helpless. Many argue that the problem is substantially political. If so, Achebe counsels in his last book: ‘the road to a remedy of Nigeria’s political problems will not come easily. The key, as I see it, lies in the manner in which the leadership of the country is selected.’ As we grapple with our national challenges, it is important that we drink from Achebe’s wisdom. It is also appropriate that we send him off with pomp and pageantry.



LAW PERSONALITY Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju obtained a Ph.D in Government, specialising in International Law and Relations from the University of New York. He obtained Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom (UK) and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1979. He was the Governor of Anambra State between 1999 and 2004. In this interview, he speaks on national security, Anambra politics, merger of some opposition parties and sundry national issues. Legal Editor JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU met him. Excerpts:

‘Every Nigerian must fight insecurity’


ECURITY of lives and prop erty has remained a big chal lenge for Nigeria, how can we resolve this? It is a matter of determination to solve the problem on the part of government, the people, the economic class, the media, all hands being on deck in the national effort to fight insecurity in our nation. If we don’t take it as our assignment, no one will do it for us. In fighting insecurity we don’t wait until it has eaten deep into the fabric of the society. The army, the navy, the air force, the police; the ordinary man on the street, market women, banks and bankers, school children, the educated, and the village people, town unions, all have big or small roles to play. How are they going to play this role? Whoever can get information and pass it on to those who can use it in helping to sanitise our society can help in this assignment. The law enforcement agencies whose job it is to protect the people from unwarranted intrusion into their private and even public life, are not spirits, they cannot be in every place at the same time, they cannot see all places at the same time or hear all things said at all places. These are part of the civic responsibilities of every patriotic citizen and if we don’t carry out these duties, no one else will do them. Information is vital, but if not acted upon, nothing will change. It is not a matter of being an arm-chair critique, heaping the blame on the president as if he has a magic wand to personally solve all the nation’s problems wave of a hand. If not the President, who else do we blame for the problems? It is still the responsibilty of the president, as the last hope of the country to initiate such policies and appoint such experts as those he trusts and can rely upon to help him solve national problems to the best of their ability. It is the aggregate good performance of all appointees into governance, whether at national, state or local levels, that will make the president and governors look good as they appear to the public as super-human. The success or failure of any government depends on the recruitment of the right persons and experts of square pegs in square holes. No government can succeed by mere management of personnel and resources. Because government deals with the lives of people every policy must be precise and to the point. This is what Nigeria requires in solving the seeming intractable problem of insecurity in the country. Can you draw examples from your experience as Anambra State Governor? Drawing from my experience in Awka, Anambra State, before I got there, it was a theatre of war. At Umuleri-Aguleri and UmuobaAnam communities engaged in communal clashes and wars for over 50 years. But I engaged them in some kind of diplomatic contacts and visits, including invitation of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to accompany me in a visit to those communities. I finally prepared a blueprint upon which we relied and made peace which has stood firm long after I left office. Learning from that experience we dealt a deathblow on armed robbery, kidnapping and so on and we finally brought

peace to the state. And in a nationwide competition of the 36 states Anambra under my watch was awarded the gold cup as the best secure state in Nigeria. This came from hard work and commitment to secure the life and property of our people from the hands of evil men and women. What we did in Anambra can still be done in all the states of the Federation. Nigeria has what it takes, the resources and men of goodwill to protect our people, for them to live at peace and secured with each other in accordance with Section 6 of our constitution on the security and welfare of citizens. This has been done before and it can still be done again. A bill seeking immunity for members of the National Assembly (NASS) for things said or done in the Chambers during the process of law making has passed second reading in the House of Representatives, what is your reaction to this? What the members of the House of Representatives sought to do was for their members to be protected for things said or done within the Chambers in the process of law making. They must have seen the President, his Vice protected by immunity and governors too protected with same immunity. But in my earlier interview within the year, I forcefully argued for governors to forego their immunity for the reasons I stated therein and to leave the country with only presidential immunity and perhaps the vice president as in America where president Richard Nixon and his Vice were removed from office despite their immunity. This remained my stand except for the fact that members of the House of Representatives by virtue of their work in the NASS are already immuned from arrest, nor can they commit libel of defamation as they stand in the Chambers and talk for or against any issue in representing their constituencies. It is different if the members go on a frolic of their own, then they’ ll be on their own and nothing prevents such a person from prosecution. So the immunity the members seek seems to me to be superfluous. I don’t see what more they can gain that is not already in vogue. Since the law they seek to pass is already at its second reading, it can be said to be at a point of no return. But let no one think that the law the members seek is full proof and will protect one from criminal and other prosecution. The recent Speaker Bankole’s case should serve as example. Anambra State will be going to the polls this year to elect a Governor and the people of Anambra North are saying it is their turn to produce the next Governor, what is your view about this? If Anambra State had operated on the basis of zonal arrangement in their gubernatorial elections, it would be easier to agree with the North to produce a governor for the State this time around. Of course, some people argue that Anambra north has not been left in the scheme

of zones that have not produced governors for Anambra. They name Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe from Onitsha, Anambra North, and Chief Ukpabi Asika again from Onitsha, who ruled South eastern part of Nigeria. In that case, all the three zones: North, South and Central have all at one time or the other produced a governor for the state. Now that it appears that all the three zones have tasted the power of governorship, the next point should be either an all Anambra meeting be summoned and views expressed on the issue of zoning which has never been done by consensus. If all accept, the next consideration is to agree on which zone will kick-start the arrangement. Should we toss the coin to determine which zone goes first. Or do we do it in as in “Ike keta orie” meaning “might is right” manner. And many people will tell you that “power is never given but taken”. And time is getting too short for all these permutations to be discussed and agreed to. So what is your view about this? We know that nothing shall be imposed, it is either we get it right or there will be emergency rule in the state within which Anambra will decide which procedure to follow to produce the next state governor. This is for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) can zone their governorship candidates to the North while PDP can do their primaries as usual, a candidate emerges from any part of the state. The All Progressives Congress (APC) party, if finally registered, will also choose their candidate. But to ask all parties in the state not to produce governorship candidates of their choice from any of the zones would amount to undemocratic process devoid of rule of law and due process, nor will it be fair and equitable. It would also be a backward step for Anambra people who are are known for their insistence on democratic rights and procedures. In Anambra state, if it is not democracy then it is nothing. If Anambra is that democratic, why is it bedevilled with a lot of political crises in recent times? The beginning of political crisis in that state was after I won the PDP primaries three times and the party leader, the then president said he single handedly cancelled the three primaries. From that time in 2003 till today, we could borrow from Chinua Achebe’s Things fall apart in Anambra and it’s No longer at ease. The mistakes of the past are still crying to the high heavens for remedy, as we keep believing that it shall surely be well. Some Nigerians are calling for amnesty for members of Boko Haram, what is your reaction to this? There have been as many calls to grant amnesty to the Boko Haram sect as there are calls and pressure on the President not to grant the group any amnesty. The president has powers to grant pardon to anyone he deems fit and proper. No doubt, the exercise of such powers must be judicially and judiciously done as lawyers would put it, and so far, the president has prudently exercised those powers. It would have been the pleasure of the president to pardon the Boko Haram group if that would end the mass killing of un-

• Mbadinuju

suspecting citizens of this country. Many have called for dialogue and the president at a point accepted dialogue, but he asked a question which no one seems to have answered, that is the issue of identity of the Boko Haram group. The president preferred dialogue of people sitting down, looking at each other and discussing lasting conditions for peace as was the case with the South south ex-militants which yielded the desired result. The president preferred this approach to discussing with “ghosts” or people who cannot be seen. If there is goodwill in the calls for talk to end the insecurity in the land then let Boko Haram emulate the South south ex-militants and give up militancy and allow government exercise its goodwill over that part of Nigerian people, if we assume that the Boko Haram fighters are indeed Nigerians and not hired foreigners. The government has nothing to gain in the mass killing of its subjects,indeed it would cost Nigeria less in making peace than in the Boko Haram war of attrition. What is noticed is that there is only weak support to government effort in curbing insecurity in the land. Most politicians pay lip service and remain uncommitted to the cause. So if the problem is political why not follow it politically. If it is poverty as some view it, then let there be food. The money and wealth we spend in fighting will be more than enough to feed the population and draft the fighters into farms to produce more food to feed everyone. With enough goodwill on both sides it can’t take much more to resolve this impasse and restore Nigeria to the part of national growth, peace and concord. Nigeria can no longer expect less in the near future. Opposition political parties formed the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a means of providing very strong opposition, how do you see this and how do you think it will affect our political landscape? Very many reasons have been advanced for formation of APC, the

‘What is noticed is that there is only weak support to government effort in curbing insecurity in the land. Most politicians pay lip service and remain uncommitted to the cause. So, if the problem is political why not follow it politically’

most touted is for APC to provide a very strong opposition as we approach 2015. Question is what has changed to make them believe that by coming together now they can win in 2015. Will the three parties hold PDP down to allow it make no progress. What I perceive in this merger is more confusion in the system. Their collective voices in attacking PDP’s victory in 2015 and perhaps attract some sympathy from the losers in the election is the only gain I can see in their merger. And the question I keep asking is whether the merged APC will accept defeat if they lose. I say this because they have no new strategy, in fact they have nothing new to make anyone of them think of winning a national election so soon after their emergence. The only advantage I’m sure they’ll have is that of ‘collective agitation’. So I still say APC may be a party of the future assuming PDP is not careful to govern well, or remain focussed. There has always been quarrel between the executive arm of government and the legislature over budget implementation, how do we ensure effective budget implementation and release of budget funds by the executive as appropriate? To me this problem of money between the three arms of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary is nothing new. There was a time I discussed with a member of House of Assembly. We discussed the problem of how money is diverted in the assembly. He told me they actually had not much problem, that the issue was not money missing but rather who ‘chopped’ the money. If the missing money was traced to any ‘senior’ house member then the case ended there and no one will talk again about missing money(sorry this is for the humour). But money has remained the major problem of sharing between the three arms of the government, more between the legislature and the executive. The two can agree on many other subjects but may quarrel to high heavens if the issue is money. The NASS will tell you they are custodian of the common man and they hold money in trust for the people. But although both the executive and the legislature have constitutional responsibility over money, it is the executive branch that has over-all power to spend • Continued on page 38




National Assembly introduces plea bargain rules in Justice Administration Bill


OLLOWING the public out cry that trailed previous applica tion of plea bargaining of the country, the House of Representative has made adequate provision to guide and regulate the application of plea bargain in the the new Administration of Criminal Justice Bill 2013 for which public hearing will hold on April 30. The bill, sponsored by the chairman, House Committee on Human Rights and Legal matters, Dr. Ali Ahmad, which seeks to streamline Criminal Justice Administration in the country, has been on the floor of the House for some time. One fundamental aspect of the Bill is the provision for Plea Bargain and if passed into law, may be applied under properly guided and specified conditions. The concept of Plea Bargain has been ridiculed and abused in our legal system because the process of its application and administration had not been streamlined at all under our laws. Most senior lawyers have applauded the concept, but obviously condemned its application in our system because it has been grossly and manifestly abused in those situations. However, the Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice Law clearly provides for Plea Bargaining in the law. Section 75 of the Law gives the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice the right to determine the acceptance of a plea Bargain under three parameters. The bill before the National Assembly provides for the proper checks and balances to safeguard the interest of the public and justice to avoid abuse. Plea Bargain constitutes about 90% of all criminal trials in the USA and other developed democracies. The bill fully provides for critical aspects of criminal justice administration and non custodian sentences such as •Alternatives to prison sentence (eg community service);· •Central Criminal Record Registry; •Arrest protocols; •Time frame for issuing DPP advice to the Police; •Case management measures for reducing pre-trial detention; •Prohibition of arrest of person for reason only of affinity with a suspect; •Quarterly report of arrests to the Attorney General by the police; •Victim compensation/restitution; •Protection of victims of sexual offe Section 270 of the bill provides; Defendant may plead guilty for lesser offence(s) than offence charged (1) Notwithstanding anything in this Act or in any other enactment, the Prosecutor may: (a) receive and consider a plea bargain from a person charged with an offence either directly from that person charged or on his behalf, by way of an offer to accept to plead guilty to a lesser offence (s) than that charged; (b) offer a plea bargain to a person charged with an offence. (2) Where the Prosecutor is of the view that the offer or acceptance of a plea bargain is in the interest of justice, the public interest, public policy and the need to prevent abuse of legal process, he may offer or accept the plea bargain. (3) The prosecutor and the defendant or his legal practitioner may before the plea to the charge, enter into an agreement in respect

By John Austin Unachukwu

of – (a) of the terms of the plea bargain which may include the sentence recommended within the appropriate range of punishment stipulated for the offence or a plea of guilty by the defendant to the offence (s) charged or a lesser offence of which he may be convicted on the charge, and (b) an appropriate sentence to be imposed by the court if the defendant is convicted of the offence to which he intends to plead guilty. (4) The prosecutor may only enter into an agreement contemplated in subsection (3) of this section – (a) after consultation with the police responsible for the investigation of the case and the victim, and (b) with due regard to the nature of and circumstances relating to the offence, the defendant and public interest. (c) in determining whether it is in the public interest to enter into a plea bargain, the prosecution shall weigh all relevant factors, including: i. the defendant’s willingness to cooperate in the investigation or prosecution of others; ii. the defendant’s history with respect to criminal activity; iii. the defendant’s remorse or contrition and his willingness to assume responsibility for his conduct; iv. the desirability of prompt and certain disposition of the case; v.the likelihood of obtaining a conviction at trial, the probable effect on witnesses; vi. the probable sentence or other consequences if the defendant is convicted; vii. the need to avoid delay in the disposition of other pending cases; and viii. the expense of trial and appeal. ix. The defendant willingness to make restitution or pay compensation to the victim where appropriate (5) The prosecution shall afford the complainant or his representative the opportunity to make representations to the prosecutor regarding – (a) the content of the agreement: and (b) the inclusion in the agreement of a compensation or restitution order. (6) An agreement between the parties contemplated in subsection (3) shall be reduced to writing and shall– (a) state that, before conclusion of the agreement, the defendant has been informed – i. that he has a right to remain silent; ii. of the consequences of not remaining silent; iii. that he is not obliged to make any confession or admission that could be used in evidence against him. (b) State fully, the terms of the agreement and any admission made, and (c) Be signed by the prosecutor, the defendant, the legal practitioner and the interpreter, as the case may be. (7) The presiding judge or magistrate before whom the criminal proceedings are pending shall not participate in the discussion contemplated in subsection (3): Provided that he may be approached by counsel regarding the contents of the discussions and he may inform them in gen-

eral terms of the possible advantages of discussions, possible sentencing options or the acceptability of the proposed agreement. (8) Where a plea agreement is reached by the prosecution and the defence, the prosecutor shall inform the court that the parties have reached an agreement and the presiding judge or magistrate shall then inquire from the defendant to confirm the correctness of the agreement. (9) The presiding judge or magistrate shall ascertain whether the defendant admits the allegation in the charge to which he has pleaded guilty and whether he entered into the agreement voluntarily and without undue influence and may – (a) If satisfied that the defendant is guilty of the offence to which he has pleaded guilty, convict the defendant on his plea of guilty to that offence, or (b) If he is for any reason of the opinion that the defendant cannot be convicted of the offence in respect of which the agreement was reached and to which the defendant has pleaded guilty or that the agreement is in conflict with the defendant’s right referred to in subsection (6) of this section, he shall record a plea of not guilty in respect of such charge and order that the trial proceed. (10) Where a defendant has been convicted in terms of subsection (9) (a), the presiding judge or magistrate shall consider the sentence as agreed upon and if he is– (a) Satisfied that such sentence is an appropriate sentence, impose the sentence; or (b) Of the view that he would have imposed a lesser sentence than the sentence agreed, impose the lesser sentence; or (c) Of the view that the offence requires a heavier sentence than the sentence agreed upon (d) he shall inform the defendant of such heavier sentence he considers to be appropriate. (11) Where the defendant has been informed of the heavier sentence as contemplated in subsection (10) (c) above, the defendant may – (a) Abide by his plea of guilty as agreed upon and agree that, subject to the defendant’s right to lead evidence and to present argument relevant to sentencing, the presiding judge or magistrate proceed with the sentencing, or (b) Withdraw from his plea agreement, in which event the trial shall proceed de novo before another presiding judge or magistrate, as the case may be. (12) Where a trial proceeds as contemplated under subsection (11) (a) or de novo before another presiding judge, or magistrate, as contemplated in subsection (11) (b),(a) No references shall be made to the agreement; (b) No admission contained therein or statements relating thereto shall be admissible against the defendant; and (c) The prosecutor and the defendant may not enter into a similar plea and sentence agreement. (13)When a person is convicted and sentenced under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, he shall not be charged or tried again on the same facts for the greater offence earlier charged to which he had pleaded to a lesser offence.

• Speaker, House of Reps, Aminu Tambuwal

(14) Plea Bargaining during the course of the trial; Conditions The prosecution may enter into plea bargaining with the defendant, with the consent of the offended party, during or after the presentation of the evidence of the prosecution, but before the presentation of the evidence of the defence and in no case after the dismissal by the court of a demurrer to evidence, provided that all of the following conditions are present: a. The evidence of the prosecution is insufficient to prove the offence charged beyond reasonable doubt; b. In cases involving the recovery by or restitution to the offended party of property in crimes against property and those committed by public officer in relation to public funds such as but not limited to the crime of plunder, graft and corrupt practices, bribery and economic crimes, the defendant makes a full restitution of the property or public funds involved; and c. In cases of conspiracy and the defendant has not yet qualified as a state witness in accordance with the Rules of Criminal procedure, the defendant fully cooperates by providing among others, documentary, object and testimonial evidence against the principal conspirators responsible for the commission of the offence charged and who are

most guilty. 271. Plea to information or charge (1) Before a person takes his plea, the court shall inform him of his rights under the provisions of section 269 of this Act. (2) The person to be tried on a charge or an information shall be: (a) brought before the court unfettered unless the court sees cause otherwise to order, and the charge or information shall be read over and explained to him to the satisfaction of the court by the registrar or other officer of the court; and (b) called upon to plead instantly unless, where the person is entitled to service of the information, he objects to the non-service and if the court finds that he has not be been duly served. (3) The court shall record the fact that it is satisfied that the defendant understands the charge or information read over and explained to him in the language he understands, and shall record the plea of the defendant to the charge or information as nearly as possible in the words used by him. 272. Proof of previous conviction Where the fact of a previous conviction of a defendant is a fact in issue, the prosecution shall prove the same in accordance with the provisions of the Evidence Act. • To be continued next week

Group to partner Ekiti to stem rape


HE Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA) has promised to partner with the Ekiti State government in stamping out incidences of rape and the brutal violation of the dignity of innocent women in the society. The Chairperson of the group, Mrs. Funmi Falana, said members of the group have also resolved to support the state government in the prosecution of the five male students who allegedly raped their female colleague on campus. She said the group has volunteered to hold a watching brief during the trial of the suspected rapists. WELA said it was highly disturbed to learn of the rape of a female student by five of her male colleagues at the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti. “More appalling in this instant case was that it happened in the premises of a university community which is supposed to be a citadel of learning and hallmark of leadership training,”

Falana said. She lamented that the growing incidence of rape and sexual abuse in the country which has assumed a dangerous proportion adding that this development calls for concerted efforts for it to be curtailed. The group commended the authorities of the institution for sanctioning the ‘wayward and misguided students’ and the state government for charging the rape suspects to court for conspiracy and rape. “No doubt, the sanctions meted out to the suspects will serve as a deterrent to others”, it said. WELA, however, urged the government to pursue the criminal prosecution to a logical conclusion in the interest of justice and fair play. “The victim of the abuse deserves justice and justice in this case means that the rusticated students are duly and diligently prosecuted,” she added.




How to improve Cabotage Law


HE legal regime for cabotage in Nigeria was launched with the passage of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003. The introduction of the Act was preceded by years of agitation by indigenous vessel owners and stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry because of domination of coastal trade by their foreign counterparts. The objective of the Act was primarily, to promote the development of indigenous capacity within the Nigerian cabotage industry by restricting commercial shipment of goods and services within Nigeria’s coastal and territorial inland waters to vessels registered in Nigeria, owned and manned by Nigerians and built in Nigeria. Regrettably, nearly a decade after enactment of the Act into law, Nigeria is yet to dominate her own territorial waters because of the practical challenges extant in implementation of the legislation. Apart from the difficulties posed by the manning and ownership requirements of the Act, the requirement that all vessels engaged in cabotage trade in Nigeria must be built in Nigeria, even though Nigeria is not a shipbuilding nation, remains a topical issue within the local maritime circles. The book, Cabotage Law in Nigeria, is the brainchild of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS). It was conceived pursuant to the policy direction and reform guidance mandate of the Institute and also, to provide an avenue for the Institute to contribute to the raging debate which the unsuitability or otherwise of the Act has provoked in recent times. Accordingly, the book inquires amongst other things, into the impropriety or otherwise of the Cabotage Act for Nigeria keeping in view the four pillars on which it is founded. The first chapter of the book captures the evolution of the Nigerian Cabotage Law under the title - History of Cabotage Law in Nigeria. The chapter as authored by Lilian Uche provides, with particular emphasis on the inadequacies of pre 2003 shipping legislations as tools for implementing a true cabotage policy, a blow by blow account of the events necessitating the enactment of the Cabotage Act 2003. Uche posits that “…none of the maritime legislations before the 2003 Act could be said to have adequately provided for a strict or controlled cabotage principle and this largely affected the economy and cabotage integrity of the Nation…” Expressing so much faith in the potentials that abound with an effective implementation of the well tailored 2003 Act, the author concludes the discussion on the premise that, as enormous benefits have accrued to the United States because of their protectionist approach to cabotage, Nigeria stands

BOOK REVIEW Title: Cabotage Law in Nigeria Editor: Prof Epiphany Azinge (SAN) Book Reviewer: Enuma U. Moneke Chapters: 15 to gain much more, having keyed into this formula. In the second chapter titled Cabotage Law in other Maritime Jurisdictions: A Comparative Study, Adegoke Olanrewaju articulately evaluates the Cabotage Act 2003 keeping in view the legal framework for coastal trade in other maritime jurisdictions. He takes us on a voyage of discovery, through the coastal waters of United States and Canada to their legislatures which supports a strict cabotage regime deliberately designed for the betterment of their local shipping industries. To ensure a well rounded comparison, Olanrewaju extends his research to Europe, New Zealand and Australia and analyzes the relaxed cabotage systems adopted by these countries. He argues that section 3 of the Cabotage Act, which restricts participation in coastal trade to vessels wholly owned and manned by Nigerian citizens, built and registered in Nigeria, imposes a strict cabotage policy but that the incapacity of Nigerian ship building and repair yards to build sufficient coastal vessels and thereby increase indigenous tonnage has rendered the provision impracticable, thereby defeating the intent of the Act. Accordingly, the writer calls for an amendment of the Act to reflect, amongst other things, a more relaxed cabotage policy which would permit vessels built outside the country to partake in Nigeria’s coastal trade. In the third chapter, Professor Animi Awah deals with the topic General Overview of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act. The writer gives a general summary of the Cabotage Act by discussing certain key provisions, knowledge of which is essential for a complete grasp of the general intendment of the Act. She examines the provisions relating to waivers, licenses, registration of vessels and towage contract amongst other things and enriches the discussion with observations and recommendations on each aspect examined. Of great interest is her observation in relation to ministerial waivers that, “... Omiunu Ohio in Chapter Four tackles the topic, Restrictions of Vessels for Domestic Trade under the Nigerian Cabotage Act: Extent and Scope. In this chapter, the author considers the scope and extent of the restrictive provisions of the Cabotage Act from the view point of its efficacy or otherwise in promoting indigenous participation in domestic trade in Nigeria. He opines that

the scope of the restriction placed on the participation of foreign vessels in Nigeria’s domestic trade is not absolute because such vessels may be allowed to partake in coastal trade if they come under any of the special exemption situations provided by the Act. Such foreign vessels, according to Ohio, are allowed to participate subject to obtaining a waiver or a licence from the Minister of Transport and are also not excluded from assisting persons or vessels in danger or distress in Nigerian waters. On the strength of the foregoing, the he said: “….the extent of the restrictions provided for in the Act which are meant to guarantee the participation of indigenously owned vessels in maritime domestic trade in Nigeria is defeated by the scope and extent of the exemption provisions and the ambiguity extant in the Act which makes the scope of the restrictions by passable and in some instances of no effect...” He, however, acknowledges that the drafts person’s decision to include the exemption provisions may have been informed by an envisaged lack of capacity by indigenous players to handle the volume and type of trade opportunities available within the domestic trade, and expresses hope that with a review of the Act underway, cabotage legislation in Nigeria in the coming years, will actualise the objectives for which it was originally initiated. Chapter 5, by Talatu Ochega, is an expose, which treats the topic, Carriage of Petroluem Products: Protection of Nigerian Shipping Companies Under the Cabotage Act. In this chapter, Ochega examines what protection, if any, the Cabotage Act affords to Nigerian shipping companies involved in carriage of petroleum products. The reader is made to understand that the closest the Cabotage Act comes to giving any form of protection is captured in Section 5 of the Act which precludes, “…non Nigerian owned vessels, tugs or barges from engaging in the carriage of materials or supply services to and from oil rigs, platforms and installations or the carriage of petroleum products between oil rigs, platforms and installations whether offshore or onshore or within any ports or points in Nigerian waters”. In the view of this writer, so far as the shipping industry continues to lack in terms of capacity and capability to actively participate in and to dominate cabotage trade to the exclusion of foreigners, then the provisions of Section Five would remain but a mere aspiration of the drafts person. So, what then is the way forward, she asks? Cargo support to indigenous shipping companies or ship owners; establishment of a Cabotage Task Force; strengthening of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund; collaboration of indigenous practi-

• From left: Director-General, NIALS, Prof Epiphany Azinge (SAN); Justice Suleiman Galadima (JSC) representing the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice SMA Belgore; Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, Justice Mary Peter-Odili (JSC) and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Muhammadu Lawal Uwais, at the presentation of the book: Code of good governance in Nigeria, during the founder’s day lecture of Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) at Nicon Hilton, Abuja.

tioners in order to boost the confidence of international players as well as the Nigerian government are all suggestions proffered by the Ochega to protect carriers of petroleum products and in turn, move the Nigerian maritime industry forward. The sixth chapter captioned Waivers and the Grant of Waivers under the Cabotage Act: An Overview of the Procedure, Practice and Challenges is composed by Anwuli Irene Ofuani. In this piece of work, Ofuani skilfully scrutinises the application of the waiver system in practice and the challenges impeding its effectiveness. She proffers details as analysis of the processes involved in the grant of ministerial waivers under the Cabotage Act and then vividly describes the challenges affecting the efficacy of the waiver system. She identifies the stark inability to achieve the ownership, manning and building requirements of the Act as the primary challenge. In Chapter Seven which is titled Registration of Vessels Under the Act: Practice and Procedure, the author, Adedoyin Afun deals with the practice and procedure for registration of vessels under Part V of the Cabotage Act. Afun discusses the registration requirements for vessels under sections 22 and 23 of the Act and emphasises that compliance with these requirements notwithstanding, the ownership, manning and building criteria must be also be satisfied before a full cabotage registration can be achieved. Citing in aid the 2008 unreported case of Noble Drilling (Nigeria) Limited v. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) & The Minister of Transportation. The Eight Chapter captioned Nigerian Owned Vessels Under the Cabotage Act is written by Inam Wilson. Focusing on the ownership requirement under the Cabotage Act, Wilson argues that vessels intending to register for cabotage trade in Nigeria must not only satisfy the ownership and registration requirements under the Cabotage Act but must also meet the ownership requirements for registration under the Merchant Shipping Act 2007. He cites in support, Section 22(1) of the Cabotage Act to buttress this point and stresses the need for recourse to be had to the Merchant Shipping Act in determining whether a vessel is duly registered as a Nigerian vessel. Michael Attah in Chapter 9 of the book writes on Jurisdiction, Enforce-

ment of Provisions, Offences and Punishment Under the Cabotage Act. He states: “…a balanced regime of enforcement mechanism, offences and punishment is imperative for a law such as the Cabotage Act not only to encourage a boost to the economy and indigenous marine business, but also to forestall abuse and corruption…”, and so he proceeds to examine section 41 of the Act which confers jurisdiction over cabotage matters and offences on the Federal High Court, against the backdrop of the sweeping provisions of Section 251 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. Attah takes a look at the powers of enforcement as vested in NIMASA by the Act (and expatiated by the Revised Guidelines) and expresses the opinion that, as laudable as these extensive powers are, they allow room for abuse by enforcement officers. He states, “…he (the enforcement officer) is also not to exercise his powers in an unreasonable and arbitrary manner. However what is unreasonable or arbitrary in undefined and there is obviously no delimitation on time frame as to determine when delay becomes undue...” Having scrutinised the offences and punishment provisions of the Act, the writer concludes that notwithstanding the loopholes that exist with regards to the court and powers of enforcement unit of NIMASA, the enforcement mechanism as well as the offences and punishment regime of the Act is well founded. Chapter 10 which is entitled: Corporate Criminal Liability Under the Cabotage Act is put together by Odum Emeka Henry. The writer opens the chapter with a brief description of the origins of the concept of corporate criminal liability with particular reference to the American and English legal systems. He examines corporate criminal liability as enshrined in Section 39 of the Nigerian Cabotage Act and concludes that there is without doubt, a stringent corporate criminal liability under the Act which imposes mainly fines in the event of contraventions. While criticising a similar section, Article 284 of the Indonesian Maritime and Coastal Law which imposes a 5-year prison term for infringements, Odum opines that the punishments for corporate criminal offences under the Nigerian Cabotage Act are sufficient and require no reviews whatsoever. • To be continued next week




Court halts work on disputed Lekki land


LAGOS High Court has ordered stay of further construction activities on the disputed land in Oko-Olomi, IbejuLekki Local Government Area, Lagos pending the determination of a suit over the ownership of the land. The order, contained in a ruling by Justice Atinuke Ipaye, was upon an undertaking by the lead defendant to halt further development activities until the case was determined by the court. The judge fixed April 15 for hearing of the plaintiffs’ application for interlocutory injunction. The Eleku family of Oko-Olomi, Bogije area of Ibeju-Lekki Local government, led by Chief Tajudeen Mojeed Eleku initiated the suit No. LD/1946/2012 against the state’s Governor, the Attorney-General, Oba Tajudeen Afolabi Elemoro( for himself and on behalf of the Elemoro family of Oke-odo) and Chief Nasiru Imam (for himself and on behalf of Ita Panpa family of Ita Panpa village). They are seeking among other reliefs, a declaration of the court, that the excision of their land by the state government without any notice of compulsory acquisition or pay-

By Eric Ikhilae

ment of compensation renders the whole acquisition illegal, invalid, null and wid. The plaintiffs particularly want the court to set aside the government’s official Gazette No 19 volume 40, dated February 22 , 2007 at page 132 and an injunction restraining the defendants from further embarking on any constitution work on the disputed land. During the pendency of the suit,a lawyer to the defendants, Olufemi Osinowo petitioned the state’s House of Assembly, alleging among others, that the plaintiffs have constructed illegal structures on the land earmarked for the new Lagos Model City Project and urged the House to investigate the matter. Acting on the petition, the House’s committee on Lands and Housing invited members of the Eleku family via a letter dated March 22, 2013 and signed by the Clerk, A.T.B.Ottun. Lawyer to the Eleku family, Bamidele Ogundele, however objected to the invitation describing it as “serious contempt of court”

and that his clients “will not be able to honor the invitation in view of the pending suit”. In a letter dated March 26, 2013, addressed to the clerk of the House, Ogundele stated that his clients are: “law abiding citizens of Nigeria that believe in the rule of law, constitutionalism and due process. “It is imperative to state that the Lagos government with some land syndicate parading themselves as permanent secretary and senior land officers perpetrated outright fraud on the land of our clients purportedly acquired for overriding public interest without payment of compensation. “Most importantly, the civil matters are pending in court before Honourable Justice Ipaye and there is an order of injunction restraining Oba Elemoro and others on the land. Ogundele argued that Osinowo, who signed the petition was conversant with the position of the law that when cases are pending, the authority of the Honourable Court as unbiased umpire, must be respected. And no party must take any action to overreach the other party in the

case. “The solicitors involved acted unethically and we shall not hesitate to write a petition against them to National Disciplinary committee of Nigeria Bar Association for necessary action in order to protect the integrity of the court. They are meddlesome interlopers and busybodies that set out to mislead the honourable members of the land and housing committee. One of those invited by the committee, Femi Bakare, described the action of Elemoro family as “restoring to self-help when the case was already before a competent court of law. “Apparently, they have no confidence in the ruler of law, due process and Honourable Justice Ipaye. It is a good thing that the Honourable House puts a stop to further hearing on seeing the court order. “Our opponents concealed the fact that the matter is subject of litigation and there is a pending injunction. This shows how fraudulent these people are. It is quite a shame that we come up against such people,” Bakare said.

AMCON to levy execution on Ibru’s properties


HE Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted leave to the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to levy execution of the properties of Mrs. Cecilia Ibru who was sentenced to six months imprisonment on October 8, 2010. Mrs. Ibru was charged and arraigned before the former Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice Dan Abutu on a 25 count amended charge involving bank fraud and corruption. She pleaded guilty to three of the counts and sentenced accordingly, in addition to an order forfeiting her illegally acquired properties to the Federal Government and the assets were to be managed by AMCON. Following this judgment, the Federal Government made a Public Notice No. 58 in the Official Gazette No. 94 Volume 98, in which the Judgment Order of Jus-

tice Abutu and the schedule of the forfeited properties were gazetted as having being forfeited to AMCON by Mrs. Cecilia Ibru. On February 28, 2013, AMCON filed an application, for an order granting leave to AMCON for the issuance of a Writ of Execution to take possession of some of the properties vested in AMCON and listed in the Schedule attached to the subsisting Judgment of Honourable Justice D. Abutu. AMCON’s application dated 28th February 2013 was heard and granted on 1st March 2013 by Justice O. J. Okeke and the order was executed on March 6, 2013 and this prompted former staff of NEPA and Michelangelo Properties Limited to file separate post execution of judgment applications seeking an order to set aside the order granted by the court as it relates to some of the properties.

Belgore, others for lecture


ORMER Chief Justice of Ni geria (CJN) Justice Alfa Belgore will chair the Punuka the Punuka Annual Lecture, which holds on April 16 at 10am at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. First Vice-President of Mirabaud Private Bank, Geneva and Director-in-Charge of Africa, Mr. John Cross will lead discussions on the topic: Wealth management and succession planning: Best practices, anticorruption compliances and red flags. Lagos State Deputy Governor Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire will be the Special Guest of Honour at the event organised by the

law firm of Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors. A senior partner at the firm, Mrs Elizabeth Idigbe, said the lecture is expected to bring together key industry players and stakeholders which will discuss topical issues on law, the economy, financial matters, good governance, nation building, among others. “The reality is that we live in a society where succession planning and wealth management are relegated to the back seat. Indeed, the uncertainties of our time have made it more imperative to take a second hard look at this topic,” she said.

• From right: Justice Yetunde Idowu, Justice Philips, Justice Olutoyin Ipaye and Justice Olaide Olayinka at the event.

‘We’re committed to workers’ welfare’


HE Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Ayotunde Phillips has restated her commitment to the improvement of the welfare of the workers in the state. Justice Phillips spoke at the launching of two restaurants for judicial workers at the Chief Magistrate Court, Ebute-Metta and Lagos High Court, Igbosere. She said no efforts would be spared in ensuring that the welfare of judicial workers are better than she met it. Justice Phillips remarked that the provision of the ultra-mod-

By Adebisi Onanuga

ern restaurants in all the premises of the Lagos Judiciary was in fulfilment of her promise to hold the welfare of the Judiciary staff paramount. “When I did say in my assurance speech the day I was sworn in that the welfare of Judiciary workers is paramount, I meant what I said. “If you are comfortable, you will be happy doing your work and a good restaurant is one sure way of making you to be com-

fortable,” she said. Justice Phillips commended the Justice Yetunde IdowuProject Committee for a good job done and admonished the workers to use the restaurants effectively. She promised to continue to ensure that adequate provisions for the welfare of judges, magistrates and staff as well as enhance optimum productivity in service delivery. “I am your servant and you are leading me; just tell me what you want and I will do it,” CJ said.

Suspended lawmaker demands N30m damages from Bauchi House


INE months after her sus pension, a member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Hon. Rifkatu Samson Danna, has dragged the House to court seeking the restoration of her seat and N30 million as general damages. Danna, the only female member of the 31-seat parliament, is asking the Bauchi State High Court to declare her indefinite suspension illegal and unconstitutional, claiming that it violates Sections 109-110 of the 1999 Constitution. The member representing Bogoro constituency is also urging the court to set aside her purported indefinite suspension as well as directing the Speaker and the House to pay her outstand-

By John Austin Unachukwu

ing salaries, constituency and committee allowances from the day of her suspension and restoring her official vehicle and security details forthwith. Danna, the only Christian member of the House, was placed on indefinite suspension on June 7, last year following the report of the House Committee on AntiCorruption, Ethics and Privileges which found her remarks during a parliamentary session “repugnant, detest full and quit derogatory (sic).” During a debate on the proposed relocation of Tafawa Balewa Local Government headquarters from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu, Danna, who is repre-

senting Bogoro constituency, was the lone voice, explaining that the headquarters of local governments listed in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria could not be changed without constitutional amendment. Tafawa Balewa, which is recognised by the 1999 Constitution as the Local Government headquarters, is dominated by Christians, while Bununu is a predominantly Muslim community. While making her point, Danna, who was first elected into the House in 2007 and re-elected two years ago, had said that the unanimous and hurried manner in which the decision was reached suggested that there must have been a meeting on the

matter to which she was not privy. That statement was considered derogatory to the House and Danna, who is also the only Christian member, was made to apologise verbally and in writing. Despite her apologies, and the recommendation of the investigating House Committee that she should either be suspended indefinitely or be issued a letter of warning, the House passed a resolution placing Danna on indefinite suspension and withdrawing her privileges. Tension had reportedly mounted in the area since the relocation with claims of killings made by religious groups. Danna made a formal complaint to the Speaker, Hon. Yahaya Mo-

hammed Miya accusing him of bias particularly since the order subjecting her to a written apology came from him, a decision that is contrary to the recommendations of the investigating committee and a violation of Order 6 Rule 10(1 and 2) and Rule 11 of the parliamentary Standing Orders. She further wrote: “Above all, your action clearly indicates that the committee’s recommendations were not acceptable to you as a person or that your own singular individual ideas supersede those of the committee. In plain words, Sir, you have said by your action that the committee did not know what it did or that they did nothing.” Justice Ibrahim Mohammed Zango has fixed hearing for April 12.




Striking out a suit does not retrospectively affect orders effected while the suit lasted








HE submission of learned senior counsel for the 2nd and 3rd respond ents on this issues are very similar to that of senior counsel for 1 st respondent and as a result I do not intend to reproduce them herein as that would serve no useful purpose. Granted, for the purpose of argument, that Exhibits ‘’D’’ and ‘’L’’ being computer generated documents or e-documents clown loaded from the internet are not public documents whose secondary evidence are admissible only by certified true copies then it means that their admissibility is governed by the provisions of Section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011 Section 84(1) provides thus: “ (i) in any proceedings, a statement contained in a document produced by a computer shall be admissible as evidence of any fact stated in it of which direct oral

evidence would be admissible, if it is shown that the condition in sub-section (2)of this section are satisfied in relation to the statement and the computer in question.” The conditions are: (a) That the documents containing the statement was produced by the computer during a period over which the computer was used regularly to store or process the information for the purpose of any activities regularly carried on over that period, whether for profit or not, by anybody whether corporate or not or by any individual; (b) That over that period there was regularly supplied to the computer in the ordinary course of those activities information of the kind contained in the statement or of the kind from which the information so contained is derived; (c) That throughout the material parts of that period the computer was operating

properly or if not that in any respect in which it was not operating properly or was out of operation during that point or that period was not such as to affect the production of the document or the accuracy of its contents; and (d) That the information contained in the statement reproduces or is derived from information supplied to the computer in the ordinary course of those activities. There is no evidence on record to show that appellants in tendering Exhibits “D” and “L” satisfied any of the above conditions. In fact they did not as the documents were tendered and admitted from the bar. No witness testified before tendering the documents so there was no opportunity to lay the necessary foundations for their admission as e-documents under Section 84 of the Evidence Act 2011. No wonder, therefore, that the lower court held, at page 838 of the record thus: “A party that seeks to tender in evidence a computer generated document needs to do more than just tendering same from the bar. Evidence in relation to the use of the computer must be called, established the conditions set out under Section 84(2) of the Evidence Act, 2011”. I agree entirely with the above conclusion. Since appellants never fulfilled the pre-conditions laid down by law, Exhibits “D” and ‘’L’’ were inadmissible as computer generated evidence/documents. It is settled law that what determines the issue of admissibility of evidence is relevancy, what is the relevance of Exhibit ‘’D’’ in the proceedings? The lower court found/held and I agree with the court that it was intended to prove that 1st appellant scored the highest number of valid votes cast in the election in the event the 1st respondent is declared not qualified to contest the election; that with the withdrawal of Ground 2 of the petition to which Exhibit “D” is relevant, the document became irrelevant and consequently inadmissible in evidence The court made the findings/ holdings at pages 839 - 840 of the record as follows:“However, Exhibit “D” is meant to show that appellants scored the highest number of votes cast at the election in the event the first respondent was held to have been disqualified, Ground 2 of the petition which supported this contention was aban-

doned by the appellants. Having abandoned Ground 2, Exhibit “D” which was produced in support of the ground had ipso facto become irrelevant even though it was admitted. I therefore agree with learned counsel for the 1st and 2nd respondents who submitted that the tribunal was right in striking them out for being irrelevant. However, looking closely at Exhibits “D’, and ‘’L’’ there are clearly public documents and it is settled law that the only admissible secondary evidence of public documents is a certified true copy of same. Exhibits ‘’D’’ and ‘’L’’ not being certified true copies of the Punch Newspaper and the list of candidates which third respondent is mandated to keep in the course of the performance of its official duties, are clearly inadmissible in evidence and the lower courts are right in so holding. The fact that the exhibits are computer print outs or edocuments does not change their nature and character as public documents. On the sub issue as to whether the court has the power to expunge from its record evidence or documents earlier admitted without objection by counsel it is settled law that the courts can do that and has been doing that over the years—see NIPC Ltd vs Thomson Organisation Ltd (1966) 1 NMLR 99 at 104 where LEWIS, JSC stated the law as follows: “lt is, of course, the duty of counsel to object to admissible and the duty of trial court any way to refuse to admit inadmissible evidence, but if notwithstanding this evidence is still through oversight or otherwise admitted then it is the duty of the court to when it comes to give judgment to treat the inadmissible evidence as if it had never been admitted’. ln short, I resolve this issue against appellants. ln conclusion, I see no reason, having regards to the resolution of Issues 1 and 2 which I consider crucial to the determination of the appeal against the appellants, to go into the remaining issues as the same have become irrelevant and of no moment; they have become hypothetical and are consequently discountenanced by me. I therefore find no merit whatsoever in the appeal which is accordingly dismissed by me. I however order that parties bear their costs. Appeal dismissed.

‘Every Nigerian must fight insecurity’ • Continued from page 34

money and generally fund projects determined by the executive. This is where the division of functions come to play. At the end of the day both institutions work together to ensure that the people themselves get the so-called “dividends of democracy”. I often don’t worry myself when the two go into a long-drawn kind of squable. It is part of the game as they

know their limits and they wont exceed the bounds. The members of the House who spent a lot in their election will like to recoup their expenses while the executive will like to apply a ceiling the NASS will not exceed. We have recently seen the interplay in the politics of signing or not signing the 2013 budget. Those of us who read law and political science enjoy the game, there could never be accident because the drivers of the vehi-

cles would not allow accident that can take life which they swore to protect in the first place. But I can quote this verse from the book of 1Tim 6:7-9: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts..”. How do you feel about the death of

• From right: Charles Ambaiowei, former Commissioner for Works, Bayelsa State; Mr Hudson Ebiowei and Ebi Wodu, during the dedication of Wodu’s son in Port Harcourt.

Prof. Chinua Achebe and how do you think he can be immortalised? So much has been said already and many newspapers have not found enough space to publish more and more tributes on this self made man, who in spite of special disability occasioned by road accident, still achieved in one life-time, what many cannot achieve even if they are given some centuries of time and labour. Chinua Achebe was such a modest human being. Look at his premier “Things fall Apart” which became a world classic and a reference work in literature translated in over 100 languages, but ‘Things Fall Apart’ is just one out of his several works. And being just modest he said he was not even sure that ‘Things Fall Apart’ could be accepted for publication. I really don’t know what can be done as an honour to this versatile son of man. While alive he rejected national honours from two Presidents in protest against the direction Nigeria was going as a nation. While he was not free to accept such honour from a former military Head of State, I thought he would have accepted such an honour from a civilian President, Jonathan who is doing his best to transform and correct much of the anomalies he met in office. It is for Jonathan’s dedication to transform Nigeria that many would wish him to take his constitutional second term in office so as to leave his legacies clear and emphatic. Why do you canvass this view? In developed presidential sys-

tem of government, a President in his first term need not worry whether he would go second term or not. It is taken for granted that a President will do a second term whether he wins or loses he’s entitled to it because the country’s constitution allows it. Those who aspire to compete with a sitting President for second term should remember that additional four years to a president is nothing. A person who misses a four year term may see it as God’s own way of granting him a blessing of longer life. Chinua Achebe at 82 was a special gift and blessing from above who can take this away from him. May God Almighty keep and further bless his immediate family, Ogidi town, Anambra state, Nigeria and the world at large. It should be made clear that as far as the PDP Nis concerned in Nigeria today, every hand should be on deck for President Jonathan, to protect him, preserve and keep him from danger. Members of the party should not join the opposition in running the President down because he is our leader and if he goes down, the party goes down with him, he can easily get as a man, but the party cannot. So, every member of the chairman, the National Working Committee (NWC), National Executive Committee (NEC)members, the Board of Trustee chairman and members of the party must join hands together to consolidate the party and make sure the we win the 2015 general elections for the benefit of Nigerians.











KADUNA POLITICS Alhaji Mukhtar Yero was sworn in as the governor of Kaduna State on December 16, 2012, following the death of Governor Patrick Yakowa in a helicopter crash. In this report, Correspondent TONY AKOWE examines his 100 days in office.

Yero’s turbulent 100 days in office H

E woke up on December 14 as the deputy governor of Kaduna State. He went to the office of his boss, the late Governor Patrick Yakowa, for a briefing. The governor told him that he was travelling to Bayelsa State. That was the end. Yakowa died in a helicopt crash. Barely 24 hours later, on December 15, 2012, the mantle of leadership fell on him. Alhaji Muktar Yero was sworn in as the governor. The former deputy governor was catapulted to the front seat by fate. He ceased to be the spare tyre. In a twinkle of an eye, the burden of managing the complex state fell on his shoulders. He had no premonition of what destiny had in stock for him. But as Yero inherited power, he also inherited its burden. Analysts argue that the governor has been a lucky politician from the onset. When he was appoined as commissioner, he did not expect it. He was more surprised when he was selected as the deputy governor three years ago. What has sustained is his cautious attitude. Both as commissioner and deputy governor, Yero was fiercely loyal to his boss. He was a dependable aide, in whom Yakowa was well pleased. In his first 100 days, the challenges were undaunting. Kaduna politics is often shaped by the tension triggered by ethnicity and religion. So far, Yero has succeeded in managing the centrifugal forces. He has maintained the image of the governor of all in the state. His tenure has been crisis-free. The governor has not created problem for himself by any false step. Traditional rulers, politicians and other stakeholders have given him support because he had carried them along. Many also believe that he is still learning on the job. He has shunned pressures to disband the state executive council and appoint fresh blood. His relations with the opposition is also cordial. Although critics have accussed him of being slow, his supporters said that cautious approach has prevented him from making mistakes that are unpardonable. Yero

has continued with the programmes of his former boss. Thus, he has also earned the trust and loyalty of Yakowa’s supporters. Yero assumed the reins when the financial year was about to end. It was a period when government and the private sector were taking stock for the year. The state government had just presented its budget and winding up for the year. It took another two months for the budget to be passed by the House of Assembly. Before he came into the office, many contracts had been awarded by the government. Though Yero promised on assumption of office that he would carry on with Yakowa’s programmes, not many people believed him. However, he has kept faith with them, thereby assuring the people that his government is the continuation of the Yakowa Administration. Yero has disbursed monies approved by Yakowa for the victims of the post-election violence in the state. He has distributed operational vehicles to the state security outfit, ‘Operation Yaki’. He has given money to the victims of the flood disaster. Governor Yero has reiterated his determination to return Kaduna State to its glorious past when the residents lived freely in any part of the state without fear of attack, irrespective of their religious inclinations. Ethnic and religious crises had divided Kaduna metropolis along the lines of Christianity and Islam. The Christians live predominantly in the southern part of the metropolis and the Muslims live in the northern part. But how far these efforts will go, is left to be imagined. The failure of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee to submit its report to the government may have created a wrong impression in the mind of the public. Sources close to the committee disclosed that there is a lot of suspicion among the members of the committee. Some of the members have been quoted as saying that there is a hidden agenda. A source

•Gov. Yaro

close to the committee told The Nation that , though there was no disagreement among members during their sitting, suspicion had set in shortly after some members were asked to correct some observed errors in the final report, which was ready before the Yakowa’s death. The source said: “Forget the talk about disagreement. I can tell you that there was no disagreement among the members. If you must know, the report was ready and was to be presented to the former governor before he died. We delayed the presentation because there are minor corrections to be done and we nominated eight members-four Muslims and four Christians- to do the corrections. “They were on it when Yakowa died and they abandoned the work. Eventually, the corrections were done and we are ready for presentation anytime the governor wants it. “Unfortunately, there has been suspicion among members, with the strongest suspicion coming from the Muslim members. The committee started with about 70 members. Some have died and others have left and the number came down to about 45. When we came to present the report, some members did not come, apparently not knowing whether they would be required to sign the report before the pre-

sentation. “While the governor was meeting with the co-chairmen in his office, we managed to get many of the members to sign, and by the time they came down to join us, over 30 members have signed. But we had to shift the presentation to allow time for those who are yet to sign to do so”. This suspicion has adversely affected peaceful coexistence in the state, which the committee was meant to address. The committee, which was inaugurated by the late Yakowa comprised eminent citizens and opinion leaders. If the members of the committee cannot remove the suspicion among themselves, it is left to be seen how their recommendations can bring about peace and reconciliation in the state. However, the failure of the governor to constitute his own cabinet is seen by many as a weakness on his part. There are those who believe that he is being tele-guided on the choice of cabinet members. But others believe that he is only buying time and making wide consultation before selecting his cabinet. It has been alleged that on two occassions, he had discarded a list of possible cabinet members because the list became public knowledge before they finished work on it. This could not be independently verified as at the time of writing this report. Be that as it may, the fact that Yero has worked in the last 100 days with the same commissioners he accused of looking down on him and had no respect for him when he served as the deputy governor is a clear indication that he has a large heart and he is ready to accommodate all shades of ideas and opinions. In the last 100 days, Yero has received lots of criticism by those who felt that he has a separate agenda from what he inherited from Yakowa. While the House was yet considering the state budget submitted to it by late Yakowa, the state was awash with claims that Yero had withdrawn the budget and replaced it with his own. Those who made the claim attributed the delay in passing the budget to the withdrawal. But as it turned out, the budget was passed as presented by Yakowa, with the Assembly making a few additions, which is their constitutional right. The issue of security is of paramount importance to every governor and Yero is no exemption. One of his first moves was to immediately release operational vehicles to security agents in the state. The state has been calm. Except for the attack by unknown gunmen in villages in Birnin Gwari and Zangon Kataf, the state has been free from any form of violence since he assumed office. However, the governor has a very big task ahead of him to ensure that the security agencies are kept on their toes to avoid any unfortunate incidence in the state in the days ahead.

APC ’ll not change name, says Tony Momoh


HE Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) National Chairman Prince Tony Momoh has said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not surrender its acronym to any political organisation. He said the new party has not violated the law by adopting the acronym. Momoh told The Nation that the parties behind the merger had not hidden their activities from the public, adding that enemies of Nigeria were trying to create crisis and confusion for the new party. The CPC chairman said those behind the party with the same acronym with the APC are mischivious. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently announced that the African Peoples Congress (APC) had notified the commission of its intention to form a political party with the acronym ‘APC’. Shortly after the INEC pronouncement, another party, All Patriotic Citizens (APC) came forward with a similar claim, but later withdrew. Momoh said: “I don’t see any crisis in the proposed APC. We said we edto merge on February 6 and we announced a name, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Some other

By Musa Odoshimokhe

people later complained that their acronym is APC. So, if that is the way of answering a critical question confronting them, too bad. But that is our name and that is the name we chose; nobody will take it.” The CPC chieftain said the INEC has no alternative than to ensure fairness and justice, adding that the agency was being distracted by those making frivolous claims. Momoh added: “The fact is that we get the go-ahead from the INEC and if the INEC refuses to give us the go-ahead, then, we will goahead. The law is very clear; that name is our name and that is the name we will use. “Anybody who wants to form a union in Nigeria should go ahead. But we have a message from Nigerians and that message would be downloaded when we emerge.” Momoh said that the challenge before the parties in the APC is the national conventions. He added: “All the merging parties are going for their various conventions. And all will be done in accordance with the electoral act. And at the appropriate time, the presidential candidate and his running mate will be addressed when we get to that level and there is no problem about

that.” Justifying the decision to merge, Momoh said the parties involved in the merger are determined to sustain the tempo because the mission before them is clear. He said: “The fact is that the merging parties are known and we have started a race and that race is toward 2015. I can assure you that there is a lot of work to be done. We are not going to be distracted by anybody; I can assure you that all these ‘APC’ issues will not work against us. We know when they met and if that is their strategy to distract us, I want to assure you that they have failed”. Momoh explained that this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that political parties will merge. He noted that the APC has set a template, which some people, for personal or biased reasons, are trying to compromise. He said the party was more determined in the face of these challenges to stand for the people. This, he stressed, had made the merging political parties to shed their toga and come together to give the people a new lease of life. Momoh added: “Let me tell you, partisan politics started in 1849. Along the way, there has been alliances and not merger. This is the first time we are having a merger. So, a lot of people don’t even know what merger means”.

• Momoh

“Merger means dropping your identity and choosing a new one. And that new one is the All Progressives Congress (APC). All of us have dropped our identities and have merged into that political party. So, we have done what others have not done before. Through this merger, we have decided to make sacrifices.”



POLITICS House of Representatives member Mrs Rafeequat Onabamiro (Badagry Constituency) is the Vice Chairman, Committee on Women in Parliament. In this interview with MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE, she speaks on women marginalisation in politics and other issues.

APC best for the country, says APGA chieftain From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

‘Women are being short-changed’


OW have you been grappling with the activities of the House, since you became a member? As a first timer in the House, you just need to lie low and listen more than talking in order to learn the how things are done in the House. You may eventually use the first year as a learning process. This will enable you to know how to lobby and push your bills. In the United State, and I think in Britain also, first timers usually don’t get up to talk in the House. What they do is to learn. It is like a body of school where you get to know how proper lawmaking is inculcated. Though that may not necessarily be the case here ,but I have taken my time to study, learn and I am still learning and so far, it has being good. I have equally being making my impact in the House, though we are learning in the process. As the Vice Chairman Committee on Women in Parliament, could you shed light on the committee’s activities? Though our committee is responsible for the women in parliament, notwithstanding, issues affecting women have not completely been taken off our shelves. You should also remember that we have a Committee on Women Affairs that deals directly with the Ministry of Women Affairs. That also deals with the issues concerning women generally. What we do affect women generally, apart from those in the parliament. For instance, two weeks ago, I was at the United Nations in New York on issues that boarder on the abuse of women, children and gender violence. When parliamentarians go for Inter-parliamentary sessions, they usually invite us in order to look at the whole challenges facing women and how we can get the best living condition for our women and children. How would you assess women participation in politics? We have been short-changed in a lot of ways, we have been cheated for so long. There are lots of very smart women out there; very hardworking good administrators. I am talking of women who have made their marks in all facets, women who have excelled in businesses and who can handle government businesses at all levels. Some of them have been in the political scene for quite sometimes now. With due reference to the Minister of Finance, Dr. OkonjoEweala, the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar and other women of repute

are good examples. These women have found themselves in leadership positions and have excelled. I want to say that the men just refuse to recognise the fact that there are good women out there and they are very smart and intelligent. They are ready to work. They are not waiting for any man to do any thing for them before they prove their worth. They are gogetter; whatever they are determined to achieve, they go all for it. By and large, we have not been given our fair share in the areas of business, not even in politics. The men have taken over almost everything. The men have been there much longer. I want to say that almost all the deciding roles are in their hands. So, it is like whatever we have to forcefully take from men is what we have, but we will get there. Is this marginalisation peculiar to Nigeria? I am afraid that we have not been well favoured politically in this country. In other countries, women have had the opportunities to become the President or Prime-Minister. They have made much impact in such countries. They have done very well and have earned the confidence of their people. I don’t know why Nigerian men are afraid of allowing us to take such positions. There are women who can do extremely well in this country as President, governors. And incidentally, when we have our first female governor in Nigeria, Dame Virginia Etiaba, she proved a success in Anambra State. She made it clear that we could handle the position successfully. I know there are lots of women who can take up that position, if they are given the chance to do so. You have often lamented the bad nature of the Lagos/Badadry Express Way. Has your effort paid off? I raised a motion on the floor of the House in December last year about the condition of the road. My agitation was that the Christmas was approaching and many people would use the road. Goods would be moved on that road from Benin Republic and other West African countries to Nigeria. I was appalled by the accidents that normally occur on the road at the festive period and the terrible traffic snarl. This had led to lost of lives and goods that I can’t quantify. The matter was reported to the Ministry of Works and the Federal Roads Management Agency (FERMA). The Lagos State government, during the period, came to Badagry and saw the road. It was noted that the road was in a deplorable condition and Lagos State government immediate moved


•Mrs Onabamiro

in to give palliative measures. As soon as Lagos State government moved in to start work, the federal government came and said it was a federal road. That is what they have always done from the beginning. If you look back, when the former Minister of Works, Adeseye Ogunlewe, was there, it was the same story. It is a federal road, but you have to maintain it. This is an international road and it should not be crippled by politics. The road should be a showpiece of Nigeria’s developmental drive and there is no reason why the road should be like that. The economic viability of Badagry squarely rests on the road and when the road is better, the people will enjoy economic prosperity and Nigeria generally will reap from it. Is the House comfortable with the security situation in the country? You must realise that we are not comfortable with what is happening in the country. If you follow this House, it has shown everybody clearly that we know what we are doing. We have set agenda for ourselves and it is not business as usual. We are there to perform our function and not just there to rubberstamp what the executive pushes out. We prove this during the fuel subsidy crisis; if not for the bribery issue that came up, our stand was clear. But the government again is not sincere. Something should be done with some decisions taken. But so far Nigerians are still waiting. Take the issue of power; we still do not have enough electricity in this country despite the huge investment in the sector. Most industries and people depend on generators which they maintained at high cost. How much profit margin do these companies make that they must spend on generators? We ought to have advanced beyond the use of generators because we have crude oil. We have refineries that are not working. What kind of economy are we running? We have all its takes to succeed in the country and I want to say if APC form the next government, things will definitely change. Look at the states that are governed by ACN, things are happening there. Give us the chance at the federal level things will change for this country.

From left: Representative of Emir of Dass, Alhaji Marwan Bilyaminu; Commissioner for Special Duties, Alhaji Bappah Azare; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Zonal Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sani Al-amin; member, Bauchi State House of Assembly, Rifkatu Samson; National President Vih-Mah-Yah, Mr Ayuba Kyauta and caretaker Chairman, Bogoro Local Government Council, Mr Simon Taimako at the 2013 Vih-mah-yah Unity and Development Cultural Festival in Boi-Bogoro local govt of Bauchi State.

ORMER Kwara State All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate Alhaji Bala Lade has said that the birth of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is in the national interest. He said the ambition of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rule the country for the next 60 years has hit the rock. Lade told The Nation that the merger of the major opposition parties will changed the political calculation as the country prepares for 2015 polls. into APC as welcome development for the state. He said: “The coming on board of the APC is a welcome development. It is a welcome development in the sense that, where there is no strong opposition, the people take governance for granted. They take people for granted. I consider the merger as a blessing for the state and the nation in general. For those that are not performing now, they have to wake up to do more and for those that have been performing, they have to do more so that people will not change to other parties. As an individual, I consider it as a very good development for the country. “This government is about two years. People are watching. If they are not satisfied, we will not be too surprised, if people change to the new party. Change is the only constant thing in life. No party can hold on the reins of power for life. It is not acceptable anywhere. The only way that can happen is when people are enjoying the dividends of democracy. “Nigerian democracy is 13 years old now; people are beginning to understand what politics is all about. They are beginning to know what good governance is all about. A lot of serious people are beginning to join politics to offer their services. The time of ‘we can have it our way’ is gradually fading away. We thank God for that.” On the ideological differences among the politicians that formed the APC, the politician said: “We have every reason to give meaning to issues when they arise. For any serious person that desires a change, or progress for the country and for the state or the local area, we forget about our personal aspirations. Before they decided to form a merger, the people who are political juggernauts in their own right, would have put their personal aspirations behind them. “It is being said that General Buhari may drop his ambition. If the major people are dropping their ambition for the success of the party, then, others will borrow a leaf from them. “It is in this part of the world that you get elected or appointed into office and people jubilate. It should be a kind of sober reflection period for the elected or appointed because it is a big challenge on his shoulders. Here, we celebrate it because corruption is all pervasive.”

‘Akpabio never rigged senatorial poll’


KWA Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio has said that he did not rig the last senatorial poll for Senator Alloysius Etok, who represents Ikot Ekpene. He also denied imposing him on the people of the district. The governor said that the senator emerged as the respresentative of the people without violating the due process. The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, said in a statement that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presented Senator Alloysius Etok as the best candidate for the 2007 election in the zone. He recalled that, since the Ini/Ikono, a minority part of the district, had never produced a senator, the party hierarchy, in the spirit of fairness and equity, supported Etok for the seat. Umanah said that the governor was being vilified by those misusing the social media network. He enjoined well-meaning individuals and groups to ignore the attempt of mischief makers to malign the person and office of the governor. The commissioner also urged the media to verify their information before publishing them as news. He added: “The governor said that he made Alloy to become the senator in 2007. This requires explanation so that people don’t think that he wrote his name and he became a senator, no. During the primaries of the PDP, the party zoned the senate to his federal constituency, and from his federal constituency, he emerged first in the primaries. That was what happened in the PDP. So, the leaders said that, since he was the first among the people who came from his federal constituency for the primaries, he must be the one to become the senator. And after that the leaders presented him to the public in the general election and he won. And in 2011, with the governor’s support, he had the highest vote in the entire • Akpabio country”.





How to prevent dry eye, by optometrist N

OT many people have heard about the dry eye syndrome (DES), which experts say about 70 per cent of the population may be suffering from it. The Chairman, Nigerian Optometric Association, Lagos Branch, Dr Eniola Ajayi, described the condition as the inability of the eye to produce enough tears or when tears evaporate too quickly because the oil glands are blocked or abnormal. Mrs Ajayi, who spoke at the association’s yearly conference entitled: Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) Challenges in diagnosis and management, said this often lead to the eyes drying out and becoming inflammed (red and swollen) and irritated. She said the management of DES has become very important due to climate change and ozone layer depletion with possible effect on external portions of eye. Mrs Ajayi, who is the Ekiti State Commissioner for Environment, said: “The symptoms of DES can be mild or severe. They include dry or sore eyes, blurred vision, burning or watering eyes. “The disorder is very difficult to diagnose even for professionals because it is very difficult to pick. That is why we are looking at the challenges in diagnosis and looking at effective ways to diagnose it. Is it just the palliative by putting drugs on the eye or can we use capsules that can actually help build the tears from within and give a more helpful handling to the eye?,” she said. On diagnosis, she said, it is carried out in the most scientific way through tears break up time. “This allows us to measure the amount of tears that come from your eyes per minute. We have what is called a shamer tear strip, which we put at the corner of the eye and we leave it there without any aggravation and we see how much of that strip is wet after a minute and then we assess to see whether you have enough or not. “There is also a particular dye that we drop on people’s eyes it records the timeline of how dry the eye is. If that particular dye breaks up, that is, if it separates into different segments, it means the eye

•Dr. Ajayi

By Wale Adepoju

has dryness but if it is not dry it will take a longer time for the tear to break up. So we call it Tear Break up Time care. There are several things we can check to know whether a patient has DES.” On the possibility of it leading to other problems, she said: “When the eye is dry, the tendency is to rub and in the process one could injure the eye. People can also instill infection from their fingernails into the eye in the process of rubbing so that’s one danger of dryness. DES can affect the refractive status of the eye. This is because the cornea which is the outer surface of the eye is responsible for the refractive error of the eye apart from the crystalline inside the cornea. So if the eye is dry it can change the covertures of that cornea and it can give people problems with their vision. “Since it is not curable, we often use artificial tears and some formula which we give people to drink regularly like vitamins and it improves the tear production.” On the link between the environment and the eye, she said: “There are so many extraneous factors that affect the eye. Something as simple as dust blowing into one’s eye can cause an infection. Also, when we have ozone layer depletion it can affect the eye and indeed every part of the body. There is too much sun now which can have effect on the eye. Mrs Ajayi said DES cannot be prevented but can only be managed because it is something that comes from within. Diet such as green leafy vegetables, colourful fruits and foods such as tomatoes, red pepper and carrots, among others work well with the eyes, even palm oil. Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr Jide Idris said the state was partnering with the association to prevent blindness. He said optometrists are part of the state’s workforce, stressing that they drive the Save a Sight or Vision Corridor programme where there is optical chart on the wall for people to assess their sight by themselves. This, he said, was very good for people in the community and students. “We have been erecting these vision corridors in schools and teachers are being trained on how to detect eye problems from students. It is just one way of detecting eye problems and correcting refractive errors. “Eye problems might be why they do not do well in school and the government is passionate about preventing blindness, which why it is erecting many vision corridors,” he added. He said those found wanting among students are treated immediately. Idris said there was need to educate and enlighten the public because there is a link between health and climate change which the theme of the conference centred on.

•Chief Osinowo and Dr Ajayi

Why some women can’t get pregnant •Experts fight endometriosis


HY can’t some women get pregnant? Many factors are said to be responsible for infertility. Endometriosis, a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body, has been identified as a major cause. According to the Managing Director, Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr Abayomi Ajayi, endometriosis affects fertility by 20 per cent. He said it could lead to pain, irregular bleeding and problems getting pregnant. “It is a common condition that occurs in about five to 10 per cent of women within reproductive age group of 15 to 44 years worldwide, “he added. Ajayi spoke during activities to mark the World Endometriosis Month (WEM). His clinic, he said, identifies with women every March on the condition, stressing that over 70 million women globally suffer from this incurable disease. Numerous activities are planned worldwide to identify with women living with the condition. “As a socially responsible organisation, we at Nordica Fertility Centre, a foremost assisted conception centre in conjunction with the Endometriosis Support Group (ESG), (the only support group for endometriosis in sub-Saharan Africa) have joined other organisations in the

By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

world to comfort these women and tell them despite the pain, they are not alone. We shall support them emotionally and medically.” Ajayi said most women with the condition do not know because the condition has been either misdiagnosed or not diagnosed. “Even in developed countries, a woman may have suffered from the condition for up to eight years before proper diagnosis is done. “In Africa, the situation is worse because, very little is known about it.” Therefore, a lot of women live with it without ever being diagnosed as the condition was believed not to be common among blacks before now. Over the years, it has been discovered that no race is left out of this excruciating ordeal.” On the symptoms, he said, they are severe period pains or menstrual cramping, which are caused by contracting of uterine muscle initiated by prostaglandins which have been released from endometrial tissue. “Endometriosis can also cause pain during intercourse, a condition known as dyspareunia. It may not be curable, but fortunately, many effective treatments for managing the condition and maximising the chances of conception are now available. “Endometriosis may affect the ovaries, resulting in blood filled cysts called endometriosis. In some cases, bands of fibrous scar tissue called ad-

hesions may bind the uterus, tubes, ovaries and nearby intestines together. Adhesions and scarring are responsible for tubal damage,” he said. Highlighting some of the ways it can be managed, Dr Abayomi said: “Surgical excision of endometriosis cysts or tissue may be recommended. Adhesion may also be surgically removed, in an attempt to clean up the pelvis. All surgeries can be carried out by operative laparascopy/ laparotomy. “Hormonal treatment is also available to suppress the chronic irritation and cysts caused by endometriosis. Danazol, progesterone, oral pills and GnRH analogues are some useful drugs. In mild endometriosis, ovulation induction and intra uterine insemination may be considered, otherwise IVF treatment is usually indicated.” Former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Chief Nike Osinowo, who is the Face of Endometriosis, said it is a common disorder that affects women of reproductive age, and it is high time parents, especially mothers paid attention to their teenage daughters who complain of severe pans in or around their menstrual period time. “Severe endometriosis is often associated with infertility due to the chronic inflammation which occurs, as a result of the abnormally positioned endometrial tissue. This is where mothers come in. They should take their children with chronic pains during menses to the right place, for examination, that is, a hospital.

Ogun, Shell collaborate on maternal child health


HE Ogun State government and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) are collaborating to reduce maternal mortality and child deaths through an initiative called, ‘Araya’ project. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka said the focus of the initative for now is to improve maternal and child health, to reduce the prevalence of maternal mortality and child death rate. He spoke at a stakeholder’s meeting on the ‘Araya’ project with officials of benefitting local governments, executive of communities and representatives of Shell Petro-

By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

leum Development Company (SPDC) in Abeokuta. ‘Araya’ is an initiative of the state government on effective primary health care services being supported by SDPC. Ownership and control of the project is expected to be transformed to members of benefitting communities for its sustenance. The Commissioner said the project is about giving power to the people for better health care services to fast track the attainment of Millemum Development Goals (MDGs) and strengthening health system for sustainable health care

development”. Dr. Soyinka said the pilot scheme of the project would cover six health facilities in Ado/odo-Ota, Sagamu, Yewa-North and Obafemi/Owode local government areas. Shell’s Clinical Health Adviser on Community Health of the Dr. Olayinka Mosuro said partnership was part of its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CRS) and a passion to boost the health status of the people, especially women and children. Dr Mosuro said: “There is need to provide high impact intervention in the health system of Ogun State to make its efficient health care delivery a reality by strengthening it from the primary level.”




Will Tobacco Bill be second time lucky? W ILL the National Tobacco Bill be passed into law this time around? This question has become pertinent following the fate of the first bill. When the first bill, which was sponsored by Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora during the sixth Assembly, was sent to President Goodluck Jonathan for assent after its passing by the two legislative chambers many thought he would sign it but he didn’t. This act is against Section 58 (4-5) of the Constitution, which provides that: “Where a bill is presented to the president for assent, he shall within 30 days thereof signify that he assents or that he withholds assent. “Where the president withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-third majority, the bill shall become a law and the assent of the president shall not be required.” This, was contrary to constitutional provisions. The bill, which was passed by the Senate on March 15, 2011 and concured to by the House of Representatives on May 31 of the same year, was sent with

some other bills between November 2010 and April 2011. But it was confirmed by June last year that it was already on Mr President’s table. Member, House of Representatives, representing Kosofe Federal Constituency of Lagos State, Hon. Yacoob BushAlebiosu, has now revisited the bill sponsoring it the second time. He said it is garnering support in the lower house. “It was passed, a fortnight ago, to the Committee on Health and Justice for verification,” he added. Bush-Alebiosu said the bill has been accepted by the lawmakers as a tool to control and regulate tobacco use in Nigeria. He said: “I think it is constitutional irresponsibility to refuse to sign a bill which has been passed by NASS.” He berated President Goodluck Jonathan for failing to sign the bill into law and his refusal to explain the reason for his action as demanded by the constitution to the people. “The absence of tobacco control law is preventing the domestication of the World

By Wale Adepoju

Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which Nigeria signed about eight years ago,” he added. Bush-Alebiosu said he is concerned by the health of Nigerians affected by cigarette and tobacco use, stressing that it has passed the second reading in the lower legislative chamber. On the possibility of veto, he said: “Yes, it is normal, just like the National Health Bill (NHB) which was passed by the Sixth Assembly. If after 30 days of receiving the bill, the president fails to sign it, it would have to be repassed or the National Assembly (NASS) can veto the president by a twothird majority. “There are only two options, either the President signs or the NASS veto it.” He said no fewer than 6.4 million people are affected by cigarette or tobacco use yearly, stressing that 70 per cent is from developing countries. Nigeria being one of the largest countries in Africa contributes significant num-

ber to tobacco use, he added. The lawmaker said youth between ages 16 and 36 are the target of tobacco companies because they form the core of their clients. “The bill will prevent children from hawking cigarettes on the streets. Children cannot be sent to purchase it when the bill is accented,” he said. The bill, he said, is regulatory, stressing in developed countries, such as France and England, among others, cigarette is sold under licensing. “Nigeria is a huge market, which is why tobacco companies thrive; otherwise they will not be in the country. So, a lot of our people need to be educated on the danger of tobacco use,” he said. The lawmaker said tobacco industries operating in the country do not provide job for more than 1,200 people yet the harm their product costs cannot be quantified. An anti-tobacco group, Coalition Against Tobacco

(CAT), said the lawmaker’s push for the bill to be passed is a positive development. Its coordinator, Toyosi Onaolapo said her organisation is in support of the bill to ensure the domestication of the FCTC. She said: “We believe the bill will save lives lost to tobacco use and help prevent young people from tobacco addiction.” Executive Director, Youth Advocacy on Tobacco and Health, Seye Omiyefa said: “The position of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) is that we support all the processes on going to give Nigeria a comprehensive tobacco control bill. We believe what is important is to save the lives we lose daily to tobacco related diseases. We call on the national assembly and the executive to work together and do the right thing for Nigerians.” Omiyefa said the tobacco industry is not saying any-

• Bush-Alebiosu

thing, but inside sources revealed the industry may have influenced the nonsigning of the bill. Head, Corporate Social Responsibility and Communication, British America Tobacco (BAT), West Africa Area, Oluwasoromidayo George said: “We believe that regulation must be balanced, enforceable and evidence based, as long as these principles are entrenched in the bill, we believe that the intent of all stakeholders including that of the industry will have been met.”

‘Early report of mouth discomfort is important’


HE public has been re minded of the need to cater for the mouth and report any sign of discomfort to the general hospitals and dental health clinics for necessary advise and treatment. Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, said this at the oral health care screening organised by the state’s Ministry of Health in Abeokuta to mark this year’s World Oral Day. “What we are trying to remind people of is that caring

By Oyeyemi GbengaMustapha

for your mouth, oral health, teeth and oral structures in your mouth is essential for general health and it is also essential because many of the diseases of oral health are preventable only if you can get advise within a general hospital and also a dental centre situated in the town”, he said. Soyinka charged the people to always perform a routine medical check-up of their mouth with a dentist at

least twice a year whether or not they have a dental problem. He said the mouth serves as a major part of the body which should be well attended to in order to avoid oral diseases that are preventable. The state, he said, is also making sure oral health care services are also available at primary health care level called preventive oral care and advised people to clean their teeth regularly using toothpaste that have fluoride.

Nigeria has high malaria burden

A • From right: Dr Folu Olatona, Consultant Public Health Physician College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr Mazhar H. Ovreshi CBM Nestle and Mrs Odukoya Oluwatoyin Lagos State Primary Health Care Board (LSPHCB) Head, Nursry Administration, Lagos State, during Nestle’s Nutition symposium in Lagos . PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA

General Practitioner, Dr Abiodun Olanrewaju has said no fewer than three million people die from malaria yearly worldwide. According to him, about 50 per cent of the figure is from Nigerian. Nigeria, he said, has a high malaria burden, stressing that

Expert recommends limb bypass for limb angina patients


NEW technology known as ‘limb bypass’ has been recommended for the treatment of limb angina. The condition is also known as peripheral artery disease (PAD). It was recommended by a consultant at the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo, Dr Krishna Pandey. He said it was necessary as patients have been losing their feet or hands due to nonavailability of modern limb saving surgical techniques. Pandey, whose paper entitled: Bypass surgery can save your hand and foot, said artificial tube from the United States and Europe are used to restore the oxygen-rich pure blood supply to the limbs to prevent gangrene in hands and legs. He said patient’s natural leg veins can also be used instead of the artificial tube, for the bypass surgery of limbs. After the surgery, he said, patients should take precautions such as keeping

By Wale Adepoju

their blood sugar level under control and ensure they engage in regular daily walk and leg exercises. “Smoking and chewing tobacco are strictly prohibited, if not the artificial tube grafted or patients’ own venous grafts, which are lifelines of the limb, will get blocked completely at a faster rate.” Pandey said the hand and foot suffer from attacks like the heart, stressing that if timely intervention is not done, the attacks may lead to permanent disability or untimely death. “If the wall of the heart gets inadequate or no blood supply, it will lead to a heart attack, the same rule applies to limbs, they too will get attacks if exposed to insufficient or no supply of pure blood and eventually will become almost dead, if no treatment is initiated in time,” he added. He urged angina patients to

consult a cardiovascular or a vascular surgeon instead of a general surgeon, for treatment so they don’t lose their hand or foot. Pandey said limb attack is caused by the blockage of blood-supplying limb arteries. “Due to the blockage of arteries, the supply of oxygen through blood to these target organs is considerably reduced. This leads to pain in chest or limbs while walking. This typical pain caused by reduced supply of oxygen and blood is called angina. If this pain occurs in the heart, it is called chest angina, but those that occur in the hand or foot are called hand or leg angina,” he said. On symptoms, Pandey said: “If working with one’s hand or eating and writing, and pain is felt in the hand or forearm, it is an indication of hand angina. It can also be when a smoker or a tobacco chewer’s hand or forearm constantly ache. “If a diabetic is suffering

• Pandey

from backache or pain in his thigh, it means he has developed ‘waist angina’. It is more likely that the main arteries, which are in the lower abdomen supplying blood to the legs have blocked.” He said the cause of limb angina or blockage of arteries is due to the accumulation of fat, blood clot or calcium inside the arteries. “A diabetic is more at risk of developing hand and leg angina, as the rate of deposition of fat and calcium inside the artery is comparatively faster than in non-diabeti c patients.

By Olatunde Odebiyi

many people are dying from the preventable disease. Olanrewaju, who spoke with The Nation in Lagos, said despite the country’s efforts to curtail the scourge through massive distribution of long lasting insecticide-treated nets, scaling up in the use of indoor residual spraying (IRS) and massive distribution of antimalaria medicines and commodities; and capacity building for health workers, the country is still very prone to the disease. He said everybody is living with characteristics that can cause malaria. “Malaria is a major cause of maternal and newborn mortality across the world, especially in Africa and more specifically in Nigeria. Every one must ensure they prevent malaria by having a very clean environment and use mosquito nets,” he added. Advising Nigerians, he said,

they should seek proper medical treatment when ever they notice the symptoms of malaria. This would help prevent death from the disease, he said. “Pregnant women must prevent malaria because it is very harmful to them and their babies. There are very simple interventions that have been identified by World Health Organisation (WHO) and other global bodies for controlling malaria in pregnancy, but the problem is that very low percentage of expectant mothers access such interventions,” he said. “All expectant mothers should take an anti-malaria drug at least twice in pregnancy, whether she has the symptoms of malaria or not, because there are malaria parasites in the blood which can cause anaemia, can damage the placenta and reduce the exchange of food and oxygen between the mother and baby so that the baby is starved while in the stomach.’’

Firm introduces toothpaste


NILEVER Nigeria Plc has introduced a new brand of Closeup Fire-freeze into the market. Its Managing Director, Thabo Mabe, said tooth decay affects about 90 per cent of people across the world, adding that 20 per cent suffer severe gum disease. “We are proud that through innovations such as Fire Freeze, we can play a part in promoting oral health in Nigeria. This in-

cludes ingredients that offer consumers long lasting freshness and protection from germs,” he added. President, Nigerian Dental Association (NDA), Dr Olurotimi Olojede, said many people who have mouth odour don’t know they have it, stressing: “We want people to know that Close Up Fire-freeze will take good care of your mouth while also leaving it with long lasting freshness.”





FIRST QUARTER REVIEW The energy sector in the first quarter of 2013 was an interesting mixed grill. Unlike last year, the battle was in the operators’ arena; this year, it shifted to the National Assembly. Initially, it was a fight against 10 per cent Petroleum Host Communities Fund by northern legislators, and later it was that people from the north own over 83 per cent of oil blocks. The National Assembly within the period firmly stood against moves by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to borrow $1.5 billion. However, the power sector privatisation programme recorded some milestones with preferred bidders 25 per cent payment of the PHCN assets they bought. EMEKA UGWUANYI Assistant Editor (Energy) looks at the activities in the sector in the past three months.

Three months of controversies, hopes Upstream


HE country’s oil production remained flat at 2.4 million barrels per day in the first quarter. However, the French multinational oil firm, Total awarded a contract for the construction of the floating production, storage and offloading vessel put a cost of $3.2 billion to Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries Limited. The vessel will be used for the production of oil from its deepwater asset, Egina field, which is expected to add about 150,000 barrels of oil per day to the country’s production when it begins operation.

Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) The issues in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) took centre stage in the National Assembly, with focus on the 10 per cent Petroleum Host Communities Fund, a provision meant for development of oil producing communities. Northern Legislators vehemently opposed the provision on the grounds that it would put more revenue in the coffers of oil producing states. Their stance was, however, punctured by the revelation that a sizable proportion of the nation’s oil blocs and wealth, about 83 per cent, that is, are in the hands and control of northerners. Therefore, the argument was that the 13 per cent and the proposed 10 percent communities fund in PIB are but a pittance when compared with what the oil blocks owners earn, especially when compared to the grave environmental and health hazards the oil producing communities go through. Considering the fact and validity of the argument of the southern lawmaker, the PIB passed second reading at the National Assembly, and it is believed the legislators will pass the bill into law soon, to move the petroleum industry forward. Another issue that made the round in the the review period, was the plan by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to borrow $1.56 billion from a group of local and foreign banks to pay debts incurred during transactions with foreign oil marketers. The issue lingered in the National Assembly with a couple of invitations to the management of NNPC by the lawmakers seeking explanation for the loan. The management of the NNPC, in one of its appearances before the lawmakers, explained that the $1.56 billion was not a loan, but a forward sales arrangement to offset accumulated legacy liabilities incurred as a result of crude oil and product losses, pipeline vandalism and demurrage on products in the strategic reserve stock.

The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, stated this while making a presentation to the House of Representatives Joint Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Aids, Loans and Debt Management and Justice in Abuja. Yakubu said: “The non-reimbursement by Federal Government of the petroleum products price differential to NNPC has gradually led to accumulated and unpaid petroleum products invoices of about $3.5 billion.” He added that petroleum products importers have become agitated over the non-payment of their petroleum products invoices some of which were over three years old and the exposure of domestic banks is about $1.5 billion, noting that default of this magnitude of exposure could lead to another round of banking crisis. Crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism continued unabated in the first quarter of the year to the extent that President Goodluck Jonathan has commenced to collaborate with leaders of other countries to help fight the menace. Jonathan held a meeting with the Prime Minister of Britain on the issue while other measures are being planned internally to check the crime. A source told The Nation that the Presidency said it would use diplomatic resources to ensure that it makes it easy to track and identify stolen crude from the country in order to discourage the thriving activities of oil thieves. Another concern in the first quarter was the production of oil and gas from shale formations by the United States, a major consumer and importer of Nigeria’s oil. There was concern that the development would lead to substantial drop in volume of Nigeria’s oil export and price. It was reported that breakthroughs made by advance countries including the United States in terms of extraction of oil and gas from shale formations would position the United States from a consumer to a net exporter of oil and gas by 2030, which top officials of the NNPC proved wrong. Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) declared force majeure on Bonny Light following shutdown of Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) after it discovered leaks on the pipes caused by vandals.

ers by the government. Vandals continued to attack System 2B pipeline, a major petroleum products distribution facility, at Arepo community in Ogun State. Yakubu said the corporation was losing about N600 million worth of fuel to vandals through the Arepo axis per week. In view of the losses and frequency of attacks on the asset, NNPC has begun horizontal and directional drilling which would enable the pipes be buried deep below the surface to prevent vandals from accessing the them.

Power A substantial progress was made in the power industry in the first quarter of the year. The commencement of finalisation of negotiations of transaction documents between the Federal Government and the preferred bidders for Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor generation companies (Gencos) and successor distribution companies (Discos) began on January 15, in Abuja after receipt of bank guarantees for 15 percent by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). But before end of the quarter, 14 preferred bidders of 10 distribution and five generation companies unbundled from the PHCN have paid 25 per cent value of the assets they submitted bids for, which is $559,445,573.96. While the 14 preferred bidders shop for the remaining 75 per cent cost to com-

plete payment for the assets, which is a condition they will meet before handover of such assets, the BPE is progressing with the process of selling the remaining one generation and one distribution companies that were not sold alongside others for the failure of the bids submitted for their acquisition to meet stipulated criteria. The preferred bidders have been given six months to pay the remaining 75 per cent as the Federal Government strives to settles it liabilities, such as payment of severance package to the PHCN workers. The BPE said: “All the preferred bidders for the 15 PHCN successor companies have met the deadline for the payment of the mandatory 25 percent of the offer value of their bids. As at March 21, 2013 deadline, the Bureau had received $559,445,573.96 from 14 bidders for the 15 successor companies.” The BPE said it received $32.25million from Vigeo Consortium for Benin Distribution Company; $31million from 4Power Consortium for Port-Harcourt Distribution Company; $31.5 million from Interstate Electrics Limited for Enugu Distribution Company; $27,913,633.50 from North-South Power Company for Shiroro Power Plc while Transcorp/Woodrock Consortium, paid $75 million for Ughelli Power Plc; CMEC/ EUAFRIC Energy JV, paid $50,249,965 for Sapele Power Plc; $41 million from Kann Consor-

tium for Abuja Distribution Company; $20,464,968.15 from Aura Energy for Jos Distribution Company; Mainstream Energy Limited paid $59,467,500 for Kainji Power Plc; and Sahelian Power SPV paid $34.25million for Kano Distribution Company. Others are: Amperion Power Company Limited, which paid $33 million for Geregu Power Plc; Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Company, $42.25 million and $14.75 million for Ibadan and Yola Distribution Companies respectively; NEDC/KEPCO paid $32.75 million for Ikeja Distribution Company; and West Power & Gas, paid $33.75 million for Eko Distribution Company. Following directive by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, that projects under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) be completed by end of this year, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) owners of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), has delivered several distribution and transmission projects across the country while power plants under the NIPP are capable of supplying over 2,000MW of electricity. Most of all, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, was appointed as the minister in February, six months his predecessor resigned and the former Director-General of BPE, Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa, was also sacked within the quarter by the Federal Government.

Downstream The arrest, interrogation, prosecution and trial of alleged oil marketers fingered to have fraudulently collected fuel subsidy claims continued in the first quarter, while the bulk of fuel import still remained with the NNPC as a result of non-payment of arrears of subsidy to purported genuine market-

•From left: Manager, Subsurface Operations and Analysis, Chevron, Mr. Nche Nworah; Guest speaker/Manager, Earth Science and Reservoir Studies Division, Chervon, Mr Matt Duke; President, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Mr. George Osahon; and Chairman of the Session, Mr Abiodun Ibikunle, at NAPE’s monthly technical/business forum in Lagos.




Minister to reinforce PHCN successor firms •Inaugurates action committee By Emeka Ugwuanyi Assistant Editor Energy



HE Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has taken steps to strengthen the capabilities of the power generation and distribution companies to improve electricity supply. Nebo, who held a meeting with the chief executive officers of generation companies (Gencos) and distribution companies (Discos) and other heads of parastatals, and top officials of the ministry, asked them to list the challenges and is-

sues that militate against achieving the expected aspirations of the government to attaining stable power supply before the end of year. The meeting described by the Special Assistant to the Minister on Media and Communications, Mrs. Kande Daniel, frank, was a strategic step towards addressing issues in the power industry, she added. The chief executive officers of the Gencos and Discos, it was learnt, complained of inadequate funding and non-payment of their impress since the companies were unbundled from its parent body, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). The CEOs noted that the unbundling saddled them with numerous responsibilities, which formerly were shouldered by the PHCN. Another major issue raised at the meeting, The Nation learnt, was the dearth of manpower, especially of

engineers and technicians. It was also gathered that the majority of the team of engineers and technicians of the PHCN successor companies are old and most of them cannot climb electricity poles. It was resolved that the PHCN companies should strengthen those areas by employing younger workforce.. The Director-General of National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Reuben Okeke, attended the meeting, was mandated to explore ways of enhancing the engineering section of the utility firm by leveraging on local content as much as possible. For the implementation of local content strategy in power, NAPTIN was mandated to produce highly skilled power sector professionals to take up positions in the power sector revolution that is being unleashed. NAPTIN would be required to equip the young professionals with skills to drive the energy sec-

tor in line with international best practice, a step that is expected to save the nation funds that would have been expended on escrow sourcing of such specialised manpower. Impressed by the ingenuity of the CEOs, Nebo promised to draw up a programme to address the issues. He directed that a follow-up action committee that would articulate the challenges and problems, already identified be set up. It would be under the chairmanship of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali. The committee, it was learnt, was inaugurated the next working day with terms of reference, which include setting up timelines for the attainment of the various key performance indicators, among others and drawing up an executive summary for work and possible submission to Mr President and the Federal Executive Council. Nebo also passed on ministerial directives and briefs on decisions already taken at the Presidential

and National Executive Council meeting levels to the CEOs and Heads of parastatals, among others. According to Mrs. Daniel, the Minister assured the CEOs that definite measures are being taken to provide funding to the companies, and urged them to work harder at their revenue-generation efforts. She said: “On assumption of duty as Nigeria’s Minister of Power in February 2013, Prof. Chinedu Nebo’s assessment of the nation’s energy sector revealed that a lot of work isneeded to be done to consolidate on previous achievements in the power reform programme. “The minister, known for his achiever’s pedigree, quickly came up with plans to move the privatisation programme forward, settle outstanding labour issues, fast-track work on power projects, and strengthen the entire transmission profile by ensuring the inauguration of the Supervisory Board of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), and finalising management issues for the company.”

NDPHC delivers eight projects in Enugu, others


HE Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC), owners of National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), has delivered eight distribution projects in the southeast and Southsouth region as part of its mandate to substantially improve power supply by end of this year. The Managing Director of the inauguration of the projects, said NIPP projects are meant to provide improved power supply to all parts of the country. “We have said that this year will be a year of bumper harvest with NIPP projects. No part of the country is left out, so we will continue to commission projects as they are completed in different parts of the country,” Olotu stated. The Deputy General Manager and Head of Communication and Public Relations of the company, Mr Yakubu Lawal, in a statement, said Olotu stressed the company’s commitment to actualising the transformation agenda of the government. “We are committed to the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan and that of the vice President who also doubles as Chairman NDPHC to deliver all distribution projects to Nigerians by end of June this year.” Lawal listed the projects inaugurated in four states to include, 15MVA 33/11 distribution injection. Sub-station in Uluku Edo, state, 7.5MVA 33/11 distribution substation each in Isele Uku and

Illah in Delta State. Also inaugurated were 1x7.5MVA injection sub-station each in Orafite and Amichi in Anambra State. In Enugu State, Olotu inaugurated a 2x2.5MVA distribution injection sub-station and 7.5MVA distribution injection substation in the trade fair area of Enugu as well as 7.5MVA injection sub-station in New Heaven. The Chief Operating Officer of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Effiong Umoren and his Enugu Distribution Company counterpart, Suleiman Yahaya, who were in the inauguration team to assist Olotu expressed appreciation to the three tiers of the government for investing in NIPP, pointing out that the inaugurated projects would boost supply to the consumers and relieve existing facilities that were over-loaded. Olotu also visited ongoing transmission projects in Asaba in Delta State, Awka in Anambra State, Ugwuaji and New Heaven in Enugu State. As part of its project delivery strategy, Chairman of the Board has slated a pre-inaguration milestones meeting in his office with NDPHC management, contractors and project consultants for the end of this month. Sambo, at a January 26 meeting with the distribution and transmission contractors, gave up to end of June, this year to deliver distribution projects and December, this year for transmission.

Firm adopts protection technique for oil, gas facilities


O conribute to safe operations in the oil and gas industry, safeguard people’s lives and ensure pollution-free environment, Alduco Energy Limited, a Nigerian asset integrity management services company, has introduced protection technique that would guard facilities. The technique, known as cathodic protection, offers the benefits of extending the life of aging infrastructure so as to enable a continuous use of the structure for oil and gas production. With this technique, oil and gas facilities would be soundly and protected because it is designed for a life span of 25 years. The Managing Director/Chief

By Ambrose Nnaji

Executive Officer of the company, Alfredo Jones, said in Abuja, that the company was committed to helping to renew the cathodic protection systems in the oil and gas industry in a modern way with cost-savings of about 80 per cent. Jones said Nigeria has a lot of aging oil and gas infrastructure, which should be protected to avoid collapse, that could result in loss of lives and at the same time cause environmental pollution. “So, at all points in time, the structure must have cathodic protected especially when they are buried. That is the way you can guarantee against corrosion,” he added.

•From left: Managing Director, Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO), Venkataraman Venkatapathy; Chairman, Bestman Anekwe; and Company Secretary, Paul Obi, during company’s 9th Annual General Meeting in Abuja.

Nipco eyes upstream operation


ETERMINED to be an integrated oil and gas company, Nipco Plc is set to make its debut in the upstream sector as part of diversification of its business. Its Chairman, Chief Bestman Anekwe, said this at the firm’s annual general meeting held at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja. He said a subsidiary outfit, Nipco Upstream Limited, has been established with a mandate to actualise the objective, adding that with the coming on stream of the subsidiary, the management is poised to ensure that the new company becomes a success story in the upstream sector like its parent company, which is fast becoming a household name in the downstream sector. Chief Anekwe recalled that the parent company floated by indigenous fuel marketers under the aegis of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and a core investor – Purebond Limited UK - has made inroad in the downstream sector and is poised to replicate such in the upstream segment. He said: “We have already carved a niche for ourselves in the downstream sector and our future has become brighter than ever before in the light of our enhanced relationship with several government agencies in the country,” adding tha the board is committed to building a formidable integrated oil and gas com-

pany that will complement the energy reforms of the government to deliver greater value to both customers and shareholders. Reflecting on the performance of the company last year, Chief Anekwe said the organisation was able to make a lot of inroads into the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) market through enhancement of its distribution network, as well as in the provision of cylinders and other gas accessories at pocket-friendly rates. On the compressed natural gas (CNG) project which is a joint venture scheme with Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) incorporated as Green Gas Limited (GGL), he explained the

project has gained tremendous momentum with more and more vehicles as well as tricycles switching over to gas in the city of Benin, Edo State. Chief Anekwe said with about eight CNG stations completed in Benin to facilitate easy access to gas as auto fuel, GGL is constructing more outlets and conversion workshops in Ogun and Ondo states which are expected to be completed this year. He told the shareholders that as part of the company’s expansion scheme, a lubricant unit was set up to boost operations last year and it is expected to mature and blossom in the years ahead.

ESQ holds conference April 9


EY players in the nation’s oil and gas sector are set to hold a conference on April 9 and 10 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. The event tagged, ESQ Oil & Gas Conference, has as theme: Beyond the wave of reforms: Opportunities and challenges in Nigeria. Briefing reporters on the conference, the Chief Executive Officer, Legal Blitz, publishers of ESQ Legal practice Magazine, and organiser of the summit, Mr Lere Fashola, said of the two-day conference: “The conference provides a key platform for stakeholders to discuss the recent challenges facing the Nigerian oil

and gas industry, including threat of reduction in US importation of Nigeria’s crude oil, the impending shale gas revolution, the sophistication of technologies for resource exploration and retrieval, and a rash of divestment of equity by some international oil companies. The big question is, does the rising presence of local players in oil and gas operations hold the key to a brighter future for the country?” Lere said one of the innovations of this year’s event is the special power project documentation/financing workshop organised in collaboration with international law firm, White and Case.












ARG backs pipeline contract probe


HE Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has backed the probe of contracts awarded and those being awarded to protect the nation’s pipelines. In a statement in Lagos by its Media/Publicity Secretary Kunle Famoriyo, ARG noted that the probe “is a step in the right direction”. The statement reads: “We, of the ARG, endorse and support the National Assembly’s probe of contracts awarded, and those that are being awarded, for the protection of oil pipelines across the country. This is a step in the

right direction, as we hope that this effort will end the illegal siphoning and stealing of people’s money under the guise of pipeline protection. The pipeline protection contracts are another bottomless pit, with no accountability. It is another scam, just like the petroleum subsidy regime. “Our understanding is that the contracts are awarded to the cronies of the powers that be, especially individuals that carry out espionage and covert businesses for the ruling party. These people are mobilised with these con-

tracts to wreak havoc on oppositions to the Federal Government. “The ARG discovered that certain individuals are being sponsored to destabilise Yorubaland with the money earned from these contracts, through the establishment of political parties and organisations/agencies, with the aim to truncate the ongoing developments in the Southwest. “We are of the firm belief that agents of darkness will never prevail over those of light. The ARG thus appeals to all sons and daughters of

Yorubaland to brace themselves and be alive to their responsibilities to our race, by avoiding those who will be masquerading in messianic garb but who, in reality, are reactionary elements sponsored to destabilise our collective agenda of progress and development. “The butterfly can only pretend to be a bird, its exploits cannot measure up to those of the bird… Omo Yoruba o, ekiye s’ara! Chew a kola and swallow it with water: it’s the saying of the elders. “The struggle continues.”

Cleric calls for sacrifice to save Nigeria By Nneka Nwaneri


HE District Superintendent of the Apostolic Faith, West and Central Africa, Rev. Adebayo Adeniran, has urged Nigerians to make personal and collective sacrifices to save the nation from the brink. The cleric advised the nation’s leaders to emulate the life of Jesus Christ, which centred on exemplary leadership. He noted that Nigerian leaders need to ensure godliness in governance, as God gave Jesus to the world to redeem it from corruption – the reason for Easter. Adeniran spoke in Lagos on Sunday evening at this year’s annual Easter concert of the church, with the theme: I Gave My Life for You. The cleric urged leaders to purge themselves of sins and corruption, to show that they were called by God to eradicate the nation’s suffering. “A nation without corruption is what is befitting to us. Only righteousness exalts a nation and only God can free us. So, we must turn to God as a corporate entity and avoid corruption, which is a reproach to us and God. Thus, Easter is the most important feast of Christendom,” he said.

‘Let’s fight corruption’

NGO gives reliefs to orphans in FCT


N Abuja-based nongovernmental organisation (NGO), Helpline Foundation for the Needy, yesterday presented gifts to orphans at St. Mary’s Home for Orphans and Destitute in Gwagwalada area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The gesture, the foundation said, was part of the Easter celebration and to show love to the less privileged in the society. President of the foundation Mrs. Jumai Ahmadu said Easter is meant for the demonstration of “unparalleled love to fellow humans, as exemplified in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, especially for the needy in the society”. She added: “If Christians all

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

over the world celebrate Easter to mark the death and resurrection of Christ, then there is no better day to demonstrate love to our fellow humans than Easter. This is because Christ died for our sins so that we can have live in abundance.” Mrs. Ahmadu said Helpline Foundation would continue its reach-out programmes for orphans and widows. According to her, this year’s Easter celebration with orphans in Gwagwalada is one of the events lined up for the needy in the society. In a lecture, entitled: Character Development, Mrs Ahmadu noted that character development is crucial to everybody’s life.

The foundation chief urged the children of the home to build their lives on good character. She said: “Our character informs us, defines who we are before our audience and determines how far we can go in life. “God Almighty, who is the Creator of everyone here, has interest in developing our character when he says, ‘Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of God’. “This means when you make peace among one another and wherever you are, you shall be called the children of God. “Wherever we find ourselves in life, whatsoever the circumstance, let us be

determined to build a good character.” Mrs Ahmadu advised the children to imbibe the virtues of honesty, respect for the elderly, self-control and diligence. Receiving the items on behalf of the Holy Family Sisters of the Needy, the home’s Coordinator, Sister Josephine Nnwaogugu, thanked the foundation for showing love to the needy. The cleric urged other individuals and organisations to emulate Helpline Foundation’s gesture. The high point of the occasion was the cutting of the birthday cake of Master Paschal Chinemerem Okereke, who was a year old, with other orphans in the home.

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


HE Anglican Bishop of Amichi Diocese, Nnewi South, Anambra State, Rev. Ephraim Ikeakor, has called for con certed effort to fight corruption in the land. The cleric, who condemned the killings in parts of the country by a religious sect, urged Nigerians to love their country and make it the centre of God’s love. He likened people’s bad attitudes to nailing Christ to the cross the second time. Bishop Ikeakor admonished Nigerians to join forces in the fight against corruption in public offices, adding that for the fight to succeed, individuals must first fight injustice and other forms of illegality. The cleric advised the Federal Government in particular and other tiers of government to be pro-people in the implementation of their programmes. According to him, government should put the people first because of widespread hunger in the land. Bishop Ikeakor noted that any government that excludes God in its plans invites criminality. The bishop stressed that educated people without God wreak havoc on the society. “Our problem is corruption in high places and we all must join forces to fight it. It is not about oral fight but real fight. Everybody should be serious to fight corruption, starting from individuals. I urge people to start doing what is right without waiting for others,” he said.




Supplemental market makers: NSE to name RenCap, 12 others today


HE Nigerian Stock Ex change (NSE) will introduce supplemental market makers (SMM) and raise the daily price change band from five per cent to 10 per cent today. The Nation gathered that Renaissance Capital Securities, Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers, Partnership Investment Company and Meristem Securities will be among the 13 stockbrokers to be named as SMMs today. The management of the NSE stated last week that the launching of SMMs will be done today during the trading session at the Lagos Floor of the Exchange. The NSE said that the introduction of SMMs was part of efforts to further deepen the Nigerian capital market. Market making is a technical term that generally refers to the system of providing liquidity to securities through provision of bid and offer prices in the trading system of a stock exchange. A member of the exchange that undertakes the function of market making is called market maker.

• 10% price band begins By Taofik Salako & Tonia Osundolire

Market makers can be categorised according to the level of liquidity supports they provide. A primary market maker is regarded as the foremost liquidity provider of a particular security while the supplemental market maker acts as a supplementary liquidity provider. Market making was introduced at the stock market in September last year. Only stocks designated for market making are currently allowed to oscillate within daily percentage price band of 10 per cent while the general market operates on five per cent. Speaking earlier on initiatives being undertaken by the NSE, Executive Director, Market Operations, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Ade Bajomo, had explained that the introduction of supplemental market makers would

complement the operations of primary market makers (PMM). He said each stock would have a primary market maker and two supplemental market makers, adding that NSE is processing 23 applications for supplemental market makers. He said there will be no limit to the number of supplementary market markers as all qualified brokers will be granted approval. According to him, supplemental market makers would have capital base of N250 million. For a broker dealer willing to be a supplemental market maker, it would need to have the N250 million in addition to the N70 million capital base as broker dealer, implying total capital requirement of N320 million. He clarified that a fixed income market marker and equities primary market maker may also apply but the N250 million will be in addition to the existing net liquid capital that qualifies it to be a market maker. Bajomo also said that all quoted equities would scale up to 10 per cent daily price change band as from today.





RenCap: interest rate cut won’t support credit growth


OWNWARD review of inter est rate from the current 12 per cent is no guarantee that credit to the real sector will improve, the Renaissance Capital has said. In an emailed report obtained by The Nation, The global research outfit said calls for greater monetary easing, given near-term growth challenges, are likely to increase. However, measured easing is unlikely to be a game-changer for credit growth, it said, adding that there are good reasons for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to keep interest rate on hold. RenCap said that despite a modest planned increase in 2013 spending,

• Backs CBN’s monetary tightening stance Stories by Collins Nweze

budget oil-revenue assumptions are still optimistic for the country. It said that augmentation of revenue from Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account is still possible. The global research outfit said that headline inflation, which had decreased to a four-year low of nine per cent in January inched up to 9.5 per cent in February, driven largely by the food component. Food inflation, which was 10.1 per cent in January, increased by 0.87 percentage point in February due mainly to increases in the prices of farm produce and im-

which it attributed to the inefficiencies in the market requiring institutional and structural reforms that would enforce behavioural change on the market, is consistent with the long term needs of the economy. The CBN was of the view that sustainable low lending rates, could be achieved if the necessary infrastructure such as stable power and good roads, amongst others, were put in place. It maintained that the present infrastructural condition has always provided an incentive for response on the part of the banks to the policy rate in a manner that was not always beneficial to the small and medium

ported food items. Core inflation, however, moderated slightly between January and February. RenCap noted that the sharp drop in inflation in early 2013 compared with early 2012 was largely a result of the base effect of the partial removal of fuel subsidy in January 2012. The CBN data showed that with the tapering off of the first and second round effects of the increase, the prudent monetary policy stance and stable exchange rates are yielding lower headline inflation figures. It indicated that the wide spread between deposits and lending rates,


banks in responding to the change in regulations. ”It was therefore necessary for HoldCos to seek mitigation of some of these costs through waivers and concessions from the regulatory authorities. It was very clear that without government’s intervention, the companies would have faced possible challenges in this regard,” he said. The Financial Services Regulation Coordinating Committee (FSRCC) is reported to have created the platform for the HoldCos to table their tax and transaction costs issues to regulators and supported the idea of creating an industry working group. Maccido said the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in concert with the Federal Inland Revenue Service team was very instrumental to ensuring that the tax issues were heard and resolved in good time to meet the CBN deadline. He noted that the Se-

curities & Exchange Commission, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) were equally very receptive to discussions on reduction of transaction costs for Bank Holding companies. According to Maccido, the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the FIRS had through the resolution of the tax issues demonstrated their commitment to ensuring and stimulation of economic activity. “We salute the professionalism and insight of Okonjo-Iweala, and the FIRS team for the progress so far recorded,” he added. Industry experts said the tax statutes as at 2010 did not contain any specific provisions for taxation of pure nonoperating holding companies as envisaged by CBN. The tax issues that came up for discussion include: Avoidance of Double Taxation on Dividends Received by the companies, Minimum Tax, and Administration of Withholding Tax (WHT) amongst others.


HE United States is exploring a possible trade and investment agree ment with the 15-nation Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), acting US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said yesterday. Bloomberg said the announcement came after a meeting in Washington on Sunday between President Barack Obama and the leaders of three ECOWAS members, Presidents Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and Macky Sall of Senegal and Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves of the Cape Verde Islands. The three were joined by President Joyce Banda of Malawi in Southeastern Africa. After Obama’s meeting, Marantis and other administration officials proposed that the US and ECOWAS explore, the possibility of negotiating a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), the trade representative’s office said in a statement. The US has similar agreements with the East African Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the West African Economic and Monetary Union, and the Southern African Customs Union. It also has bilateral trade and investment agreements with eight nations in sub-Saharan Africa, Angola, Ghana, Liberia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa, the trade representative’s office said. The ECOWAS agreement “can significantly contribute to economic growth and increased international competitiveness on both sides of the Atlantic” and help support American jobs by improving opportunities for US investment in West Africa, Marantis said in the statement.




Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

19-05-2014 18-05-2016 19-05-2016



Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS) Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012






0.79 1.41 161.00 1.63 2.55 10.00 1.63 0.90 3.50 1.70

0.84 1.49 169.05 1.71 2.67 10.44 1.70 0.93 3.61 1.75

0.05 0.08 8.05 0.08 0.12 0.44 0.07 0.03 0.11 0.05


O/PRICE 0.84 2.30 1.70 0.68 0.71 0.55 0.87 1.43 7.70 2.25

C/PRICE 0.76 2.19 1.62 0.65 0.68 0.53 0.84 1.39 7.49 2.19
















Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %







239.4810 212.4997

244.0123 207.9023

245.6422 209.2910

-2.57 -1.51





Bureau de Change 152.0000








27-10-11 N6.5236tr 20,607.37

28-10-11 N6.617tr 20,903.16

% Change -1.44% -1.44%



Parallel Market



July ’11

July ’12





Standing Lending Rate ,, Deposit Rate ,, Liquidity Ratio Cash Return Rate Inflation Rate

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%


Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 138.34 147.76 0.80 1.14 1.10 100.00 1,000.00 1,783.73 15.58 1.39 1.87 10,855.53

9.08 1.00 137.92 147.18 0.78 1.14 1.09 100.00 1,000.00 1,779.06 14.82 1.33 1.80 10,528.92


CHANGE 0.08 0.11 0.08 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.21 0.06

Rate (N)


LOSERS AS AT 27-3-13



Sold ($)





EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate


Offered ($) Demanded ($)

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33 N1000.00 N552.20

scale customers. “With respect to the price level, we observed that the rising pressure in February after a significant moderation in January was indicative of the fact that there were some underlying factors that could constitute a threat to inflation in the medium term,” it said.

US explores African trade, investment pact

FBN Holdings applauds resolution of tax issues HE management of FBN Hold ings Plc has expressed delight at the timely resolution of tax issues, which has engendered an equitable taxation regime for bank Holding Companies (HoldCos) in the country. The HoldCos emerged after complying with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) Regulation on the Scope of Banking Activities & Ancillary Matters, No. 3, 2010 requiring the separation of commercial banking business from other financial services businesses. They include FBN Holdings Plc, Stanbic IBTC, United Bank for Africa, and First City Monument Bank. In a statement, the CEO of FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. Bello Maccido said the HoldCos at inception faced a major concern over possible interpretation of existing tax statutes that would lead to the double taxation of dividends. There was also a concern about the magnitude of transaction costs that would be incurred by the

• CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido


NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 6, Mar, 2012 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%




04 July, 2012

07, Aug, 2012










NEWS Church holds health fair THERE will be a health fair for women at the Daystar Christian Centre, Oregun, Lagos, on Saturday. In a statement, the church said the first 500 participants to register would get free medical check-up and screening. The fair starts at 9am with the medical screening; this will be followed by a seminar at 1pm. Some of the topics for discussion include: causes and treatment of infertility; child spacing and contraceptives; health nutrition and weight management; menopause and ageing gracefully; stress avoidance and management.

Perm Sec laments moribund projects

tops Outrage as police detain minors Rivers malaria control for ‘theft’ R T HE detention of three minors for alleged theft by the Delta State Police Command in Warri, Delta State, on Sunday has sparked public anger against the ‘B’ Division Police Station in the Oil City. The children - aged between six and nine years were allegedly picked up by policemen from the ‘B’ Police Division, Okumagba Layout, over allegations that they stole a bicycle. Two of the ‘suspects’ are brothers. They were picked up after a man reported that the trio stole his son’s bicycle. It was gathered that efforts by their parents to secure

From Shola O’Neil, Warri

their release on Sunday were futile. This was because the investigating officer insisted on collecting N10,000 per child for bail. Much to the annoyance of the parents, the minors were reportedly locked up with other crime suspects in the cell till yesterday. A source said: “All our efforts to secure their release yesterday proved abortive because the police demanded N10,000 per person.

“We cannot understand how the police can detain children, who are less than 10 years, with suspects who could be hardened criminals and even paedophiles. “This morning, they released the youngest child, who is six years old, because they said their investigation showed that he is innocent. “One of the nine-year-olds was released after his mother paid N6,000 yesterday morning. “But the other one is still there because his father said he won’t pay any money for

his release.” Efforts to reach the Divisional Police Officer, T.M Samuel, were abortive. The Commissioner of Police, Ikechukwu Aduba, was yet to respond to a text message sent to him yesterday. One of the mothers told our reporter at about 6pm yesterday that her husband was on the way to ‘B’ Division police station to secure the release of one of the boys. She said: “Although they (police) demanded N10,000, we were only able to raise N6,000 and that was what he took to the station. “I pray that they will release him.”

From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

THE Rivers State Government has decried the proliferation of abandoned water projects across the state. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development, I.E. Samuel, raised the alarm at the two-day water conference organised to mark the World Water Day celebration. According to the 2010 survey data he presented, of the 2,794 water schemes initiated by the government and other partners across the state, only 1,149 are functioning. Samuel blamed the failure on substandard jobs and insincerity of some project owners at providing good water for the communities. He said: “The government has 1,362 water facilities across the state but 884 of them are not functional, the Federal Government has 131, 106 of them are not functioning. “The local governments have 639 but 319 of them are not functional, oil companies have 266, 148 are not functional, communities built 218, 33 of them are not functional. “The Niger Delta Development Company (NDDC) has 104, 89 of them are not functional, Niger Delta Development Basin Authority has 36, 33 of them are not functional, other agencies have 38, 33 of them are not functioning.”

Okonjo hails judgment From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

THE Obi of Ogwashi-Uku, Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo, yesterday hailed the Appeal Court judgment that affirmed him as the legitimate ruler of Ogwashi-Uku community of Delta State. He said with the judgment, all rivalry to the throne has ended. Okonjo is the father of the Minister of Finance, Prof. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City upheld the January 24, 2007 judgment by a Delta State High Court in Asaba. The judgment, notwithstanding, Ogwashi-Uku community still remains a divided community. A section of the community, which supported the Obi, was jubilating. Another section was said to be studying the judgment with a view to appealing it at the Supreme Court.

IVERS State is the best state in malaria elimination and control. The news was broken at the 11th Bi-annual meeting of states’ malaria control programme managers held in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. The programme was organised by the National Malaria Control Programme. Speaking during the presentation of the award to the Commissioner for Health, Sampson Parker, in Port Harcourt, the World Bank specialist in charge of Malaria, Dr. Moriam Jagun, praised the state. She said the Ministry of Health came first in the Southsouth geo-political zone and first nationally. Niger State came second. The third and fourth place went to Enugu and Sokoto states.

First Lady on vacation, says Presidency


•Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime (second right); his Anambra State counterpart, Peter Obi (left); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Amb Godknows Igali (right), Chime’s wife Clara (second left) and Mrs Nebo at the wedding of Chimdindu and Nneka in Enugu….yesterday.


Why Southeast can’t have presidency in 2015, by Arthur Eze

F the words of multibillionaire oil magnate Prince Arthur Eze are anything to go by, the Southeast should wait till 2026 to take a shot at the presidency. He urged those in the Southeast scheming for the exalted position on a platter of gold in 2015 to perish the thought and support President Goodluck Jonathan to complete his two-term tenure. Eze spoke yesterday in his Ukpo, Dunukofia Local Government Area Ward, where he received the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) registration card from the state chairman, Prince Kenneth Emeakayi. Eze was with the former Ambassador to Austria, Dr.

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

Jerry Ugokwe and other PDP stakeholders during the registration. According to him, the Southwest completed its eight-year tenure under former President Olusegun Obasanjo and power would return to the North after the completion of President Jonathan’s second term in 2019 before the East can take its turn. Eze noted that the cycle was necessary to bring about peace and stability in the country. He said: “I do not feel happy seeing my state always in the

news because of PDP crisis. And I found out that those causing the confusion are the power-drunk individuals. “We must be very careful in whatever we do. We should support President Jonathan in his mission because, for now, he is the only person who can tackle the problem of Ndigbo. Our people are very difficult to lead. “The people of Anambra and indeed Nigeria need peace; there is need to love one another; we should live in peace, instead of all these troubles everywhere. “God loves this country; our people are just fighting for

selfish interests.” He praised the Emeakayi-led executive for ensuring peace within the party, which he said had eluded the state for nine years, adding that it was the beginning of good things to come for the party. The party chair promised to relay the support of Ndigbo to Jonathan and urged him to declare his interest for 2015. He said the Federal High Court encouraged the setting up of the committee, which the national leadership of the PDP authenticated. “The support President Jonathan will get from Anambra will be greater than what he will receive from Bayelsa during the election,” Emeakayi said.

Kalu: my fears for 2015 By Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor



ORMER Abia State Governor Orji Kalu has expressed his fears for

2015. He urged the government to rise up to the challenge of good governance. The former governor said in 2015, Nigeria will need a decisive president, who can make effective decisions for

the polity. Kalu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, spoke in Lagos on the state of the nation. He warned against taking Nigerians for a ride, stressing that they could revolt in a manner that would jolt the government. The former governor also criticised the immunity for the president and governors, saying they should not be insulated from prosecution. He said: “My fears are that Nigerians might march on the roads one day, if our leaders are not able to address the issues. “My fear is that we are gradually coming to a point

where anybody can do anything he likes. “Law and order have broken down, which is not what things are supposed to be. “We must have a strong army and police. Any country that wants to survive should not joke or play politics with the Armed Forces. “It is the pride of any nation. Any nation that does not give its Armed Forces a place of honour is not a serious nation. “So, we should stop using the Army for little things. They should be on stand by. “We should have a quality police force and enforce rule of law to ensure the growth of our society.” Kalu blamed politicians for disappointing the polity, la-

menting that they have not done enough for the people in the last 14 years. The former governor applauded the birth of the All Progressives Congress (APC), remarking that a two-party system was being restored to the country. He said: “It is a good thing we are having an alternative party. It is good for the country. “That also shows that Ibrahim Babangida was a visionary leader. “ I have always said that we need two parties, not three. “The PDP must look for the people; people don’t look for parties. But I am sure that, with the tour of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to all the zones, the PDP will be better.”

HE Presidency yesterday again denied that First Lady Patience Jonathan is ill. It said Mrs. Jonathan is in Europe, vacationing with her children and visiting her ailing mother. The Presidency said the First Lady travelled to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and left for Paris to attend a conference. A statement by her Special Assistant (Media), Ayo Osinlu, said: “It is unfortunate that some media houses have allowed themselves to be used by dedicated mischief makers against the basic tenet of professional journalism. “It is notable that Her Excellency has a history of visiting the hospital in Germany even before she became the First Lady, thus making her medical trips routine. “It is also instructive to state that medical experts have recommended that every human being should undergo medical check-ups every six months, even if not suffering ill-health. “Therefore, hospital visitations by our leaders should not become leading media issues or attract disrespectful comments, just as the current circumstances of former South African President Nelson Mandela and other African leaders in similar situations, and even those who died, have not attracted negative comments from their people. “We urge a more charitable disposition towards one another as our brother’s keepers. The First Lady is expected back next week.”

•Mrs. Jonathan




•Clergymen and some of the couples...yesterday.

25 soldiers wed in barracks From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


WENTY-five soldiers and their fiancees were at the weekend joined together in a special mass wedding at the 302 Artillery Regiment of the Nigerian Army, Onitsha, Anambra State. The soldiers and their brides took their vows at the St Peter’s Military Church (Anglican). The Vicar and officiating minister, Rev B.G Newton, called on the couples to always put God first in whatever they do. Rev. Newton reminded the couples of their responsibilities to the society. He said since the family is the first society, there is need to train children in the fear of God and, in accordance to the rules governing the society. He challenged the soldiers and their spouses to take their spiritual lives serious.

Uyo hosts retreat for states


HE BRACED states will hold a retreat on strategic planning for regional integration and development from Thursday till Sunday at the Le Meridien Hotel & Resort, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. BRACED is an acronym for Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Delta states The retreat, according to the Director-General of the BRACED Commission, Joe Keshi, is to bring stakeholders together to fashion out new ways of improving the strategies for regional economic integration of the BRACED states. The retreat will provide participants the opportunity to assess the efforts of the commission to foster regional integration in key sectors; namely agriculture, transport, education, environment, infrastructure and human capacity development. Expected at the event are the governors of BRACED states, commissioners for budget and economic planning, agriculture, infrastructure, environment, commerce and industry and education.


Ojukwu’s firm gives condition for peace A FIRM, Ojukwu Transport Limited, yesterday said it could refile the three suits it withdrew last week, if its condition for an out-of-court settlement is not met. The suits were filed against the widow of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Bianca and others at the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere. The company sued for some property located in Ikoyi. The houses, situated at 29 Oyinkan Abayomi Drive (formerly Queens Drive), Ikoyi, and at 13, Ojora Road (Hawksworth Road), Ikoyi, are said to generate N80 million in rent yearly, accord-

By Joseph Jibueze

ing to the former claimant. There were indications that the family preferred an out-of-court settlement in the issue of the late Ojukwu’s Will, and in resolving disputes on the management of the property. However, a suit filed by two of Ojukwu’s children, Afamefuna and Nwachukwu, against Ojukwu Transport and seven others is still pending before Justice Funmilayo Atilade. The claimants, who sued through their mother, Bianca, are seeking a declaration that they are entitled to possess and occupy 29, Oyinkan Abayomi Drive, Ikoyi. According to them, they

will maintain tenure until the harmonisation of the management and administration of Ojukwu Transport’s assets. They also asked the court to declare that an alleged threat to forcefully eject them from the property is illegal. But the defendants denied this claim. The children urged the court to hold that they are also entitled to possession of the property on 13, Hawksworth Road, Ikoyi (now 13, Ojora Road, Ikoyi); 32A Commercial Avenue, Yaba; 30, Gerard Road, Ikoyi and 4, Macpherson Avenue, Ikoyi. In an interview with The Nation yesterday, a Director of Ojukwu Transport, Dr Ike Ojukwu, gave conditions for

Niger Delta may be submerged, don warns


UNIVERSITY don, Prof Dagogo Fubara, yesterday in Port Harcourt, advised the government to take predictions by the the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) seriously. The Head of Department of Geosciences, Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), warned that the coastline of the Niger Delta may be submerged in the next 30 years, if the present rise in the sea level is not checked.

From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

The don said despite the warning over the rising sea level, the Federal Government seems not to be paying any attention because most parts of Nigeria were not affected by last year’s ocean surge. He urged the Federal Government to learn from the government of the Netherlands, which took precautions to build engineering

structures to protect the country from ocean surge. The Rivers State Assembly, last week, urged local governments to prepare shelters that would accommodate displaced persons during flood. It called for a joint technical committee to plan ahead to avoid a recurrence. NIMET had estimated rain fall of between 1,500mm to 3,000mm this year compared to the 800mm to 900mm of last year.

‘We didn’t pay INEC N4m to revise register’


HE Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) has denied paying N4million to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the revision of the voters’ register. EDSIEC Chairman Solomon Ogoh, who described the reports as fictitious and false, said INEC did not demand money before releasing the voters’ register for the April 20 local government elections. Solomon said what was published was politicians’ reaction and not from the electoral body. He said: “EDSIEC and INEC are brothers and we are

EDSIEC and INEC are brothers and we are still operating as brothers and even as we are now, they are going to train our staff for the election.

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

still operating as brothers and even as we are now, INEC is going to train our staff for the

election. “Certain things which they have and we don’t have, they are going to give to us to conduct our election. “Since our inception, we have had a harmonious working relationship with INEC and the various parties. “We don’t belong to any party. I don’t belong to any party and my colleagues don’t belong to any party. So we are all working as a very big family. “So, if there are occasions of very minor misunderstanding, we solve them on our own, so, there is nothing that connects us with political disagreement or confrontation. None exists.”

an out-of-court settlement. He said the firm’s lead counsel, George Uwechue (SAN), would make the final decision on whether the suits would be re-filed. He said: “Obviously, you know that Uwechue would make the final decision. “With regards to peace, peace is good, but peace basically means that people who have our property render account, return the property and refund the money. That’s what it means basically. “As you know, in these things, anybody’s lawyer can call us. “But if there is no evidence of what I have listed to you, then the cases shall be re-filed. “I think Emeka Ojukwu (Jnr) granted an interview in the papers last week where he said he wants out-of-court settlement. “It was all over the place, but sometimes one can say one thing and the headlines

won’t reflect it. “However, there is always hope for peace, especially during the Easter period and with what Emeka Ojukwu (Jnr) reportedly said. “But let me just say this to you very clearly, that the family is not against peaceful resolution of the dispute. “However, peaceful resolution means that they give account, return the property and refund the money.”

LOSS OF DOCUMENT I, Joseph Sunday Ekwere of Olubayo Street Off Ojokoro road ikorodu Lagos, notify the general public that I have applied to the LSDPC for its consent to change ownership of a property at surulere area which was originally allocated to Mr Folashade Jimoh. I have made series of efforts to contact Mr Folashade Jimoh the assignor from whom I brought the property, but all efforts have proved abortive. I hereby indemnify the corporation against any future claims that may arise if my application is granted, and undertake to pay cost of any dispute that may arise on same. LSDPC, Mr Folashade Jimoh and The General public, please take note.

LOSS OF DOCUMENTS We, Kayode Oyelaya Jones and Segun Olanrewaju Abejide who are amongst the beneficiaries of the Estate of Late Abejide Falodu Samuel Oyelaya who died on 20th December 1992, hereby inform the general public that all the original title documents to their property at 135, Orodu Street, Ajegunle got missing and all efforts to get them have proved abortive. Members of the public should beware of 419. General public and state government authority are hereby to take note. Signed: Kayode Oyelaya Jones Segun Olanrewaju Abejide.

PUBLIC NOTICE EBGE OMO OGBOMOSO PARAPO AGBAAYE This is to inform the general public that the above name association has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for registration under part C of the companies Allied matters Act No 1 of 1990 CAP 20 LFN, 2004. TRUSTEES ARE: 1. MOGAJI ADISA ADELEYE -CHAIRMAN 2. PRINCE JOHN AKANDE -MEMBER 3. MR OLUSAYO OPATEYINBO -MEMBER 4. ALHAJI ABDULRAHAM ADETAYO YUSUF -MEMBER 5. DR THOMAS OLAYIWOLA OYELAMI -SECRETARY AIMS AND OBJECTIVES 1. To work together for the development of Ogbomoso land and its environs 2. To promote unity among members. Any objection to the above registration should be forwarded to the Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission, plot 420 Tigris Crescent, off Aguiyi -Ironsi Street, PMB 198, Maitama Abuja within 28 days of the date of the publication. Signed: DR. T.O. OYELAMI




E had a dream - to better the lot of his family. But he died before he could actualise it. Owolabi Aderibigbe, 18, who ran a flourishing furniture business, was allegedly killed on Easter Sunday by yet unidentified policemen. Despite his disability (he had a bad leg), Aderibigbe, it was gathered, was dedicated to his job and was never involved in any untoward activity. Described as a humble and hard-working person, he had gone to fetch water for his household around 8.30pm on March 31 on Obiosa Street, not far from his 3, Sanusi Street home, off Raufu Baruwa Street, Ijesha Road, Lagos mainland, when he was killed. It was gathered that an Easter Street Jam was being held on Okunola Street and a popular Yoruba lewd singer, Saint Janet was on the band stand. Sources said the musician was escorted to the venue by some policemen. About 9pm, a mild fracas reportedly ensued at the venue. On hearing sounds of broken bottles, the policemen were said to have moved towards the scene. Sulaiman, Owolabi's elder brother, said the scene was far from where the music festival was being held. On getting there, the policemen were said to have started spraying teargas at the crowd. "Later, they started chasing

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•Mrs Aderibigbe

•Sympathisers in front of Owolabi’s home

Easter tragedy as furniture maker is shot dead By Jude Isiguzo, Police Affairs Correspondent

people and, at that time, they were shooting. Some people ran into Obiosa Street and that was

when my brother was shot. He was not at the street jam; he only went to fetch water for members of his family." Sulaiman said it was when he heard people shouting that

somebody had been killed that he rushed to Obiosa Street, where he found that his brother had been shot dead. "When I got to the street, I saw my brother lying lifeless and I

could not believe my eyes. I carried him up and I was shouting his name, but he did not answer. I called some people who assisted me to rush him to a hospital, but when we got there, they confirmed

'Please, forgive me in the spirit of Easter' •Suspected vandal begs police

•The suspected vandals


IVE suspected pipeline vandals are in police net in Lagos. They were arrested by men of the Inspector-General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism Unit. One of them is pleading for forgiveness in the spirit of Easter. The vandals, who had allegedly stolen 33,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline in Oke Agemo, Ijedodo, near Ijegun in Iba Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of the state, were sailing across the river along Festac Town when they were caught by the police. Komuko Ayekede, Oluwafemi Bamidele, James Awolowo, Eugene Stanley and Kunle Ogushe were arrested yesterday at 7th Avenue, Festac Town with 270 bags of 120 litres each of petrol. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Friday Ibadin, who is

‘We thought that on a day like Easter, security operatives would go and rest with their families. Please forgive us at least for the sake of Christ that rose from death because of you and I’ By Jude Isiguzo, Police Affairs Correspondent

in charge of the Task Force, said the suspects’ arrest followed a tip-off about midnight. "Policemen led by Sector Commander, Lagos, Onaghise Osayande, a Deputy Superintendent (DSP), cordoned off the area and arrested them. They were caught with several bags of stolen PMS," he said, adding: "I beg Nigerians to stay away from all NNPC pipelines as the police are determined to reduce the rate of pipeline vandalism." The gang leader, 52-year-old

Ayekede, who initially said he was a palm-wine tapper, confessed to the crime when one of his boys opened up to the police. He said: "I am a sand dredger. Sometime last year, I met a man popularly known as Ebi at Ikorodu. He asked me to join him in vandalism business, that there was a lot of money to be made from the business. I joined him and my duty was to arrange for boys that would assist me carry the product out of the creeks." On how they moved the products, Ayekede said they could not use gallons because of the depth of the water. "As soon as we

dredged a hole, I would attach a hose to the valve to connect the bags. Each bag contains about 125 litres of either petrol or diesel. The bags would be tied together and dragged with the canoe. Normally, we moved about 270 bags per trip. The truth is that I am working for Ebi who gave me a token of N60, 000 after each trip," he said. His story, changed when Ebi's brother, James Awolowo, alleged that Ayekede and Ebi were partners. Ayekede said: "Some years ago when my business was not moving well, Ebi, my friend of many years advised me to join him in the vandalism business. Initially, I declined because I am a hardworking person, but I later joined Ebi. He taught me the job. "Normally, we were using kegs, but we later introduced sacks that could carry larger quantities, as much as 125 litres of fuel or diesel. When we got there with the aid of a dredger, we would open the pipe and use our own valve to block it immediately. We then ran it through the hose to the water where my boys were waiting with bags." On getting buyers, Ayekede said: "Selling the product is not a problem. There are so many buyers at Apapa, waiting for you. The main job is to collect the product and successfully cross the river especially through Festac canal. If you can cross that path, it is smooth sail to Apapa. This is why we work at night. "In this business for now, I prefer working with women because security operatives hardly suspect them and you are guaranteed that you will collect your money. People like Iya Tope and Iya Bode have been our major buyers for years. They did buy 250 sacks of 125 litres of fuel at

N1.5million and sold to filling stations or small-scale marketers. But since June last year, the business has dwindled as a lot of people have been arrested by security operatives who refused to give us breathing space. It is the fear of being caught that caused most of those fires. If we have an opportunity to work undetected, so many people will rush to the site." On the Ijedodo fire, Ayekede said: "It was God that saved me that day. A lot of people came to the pipeline that day because Christmas was fast approaching. It was one of the boys who used a lighter. I don't know what got into their head; they used the lighter to cut the rope that they were using to tie the sacks inside the water when we heard a blast. I was lucky to have escaped alive." He sought police sympathy, saying: "We thought that on a day like Easter, security operatives would go and rest with their families. Please forgive us at least for the sake of Christ that rose from death because of you and I. Another suspect, Stanley, who claimed to be a Bayelsa-based footballer, said: "It was Ayekede that told me to join them if I really needed to raise money to travel to Europe. My duty is to help tie the bags and sail them to receivers. They paid me N30, 000 per trip." Speaking English fluently, Bamidele told The Nation: "I dropped out of the University of Lagos when I got the opportunity to travel to Sydney, but unfortunately, I was deported. I couldn't go back to school; so I learnt how to dredge sand. It was in the process that I joined them, but was caught in 2011. When I was finally released, I made up my mind not to join them again. Since then, life had been so difficult for me. So, when Kunle, my brother, invited me for a quick job, I joined him to raise money to celebrate Easter. We were waiting for Ebi and his team at the Festac canal when the police caught us."





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Wife ‘poisons, tortures husband to death’


The late Owolabi

that he was dead," Sulaiman said. Their mother, Mrs Ajoke Fatimo Aderibigbe, was too devastated to speak. She wept uncontrollably when The Nation visited her. She urged God to find her son's killers. Mrs Bidemi Onakoya, a resident who also could not hold back tears, urged Governor Babatunde Fashola not to allow the case to be swept under the carpet. She said: "I just heard about Owolabi's death this morning. It was the sad end of a promising young man." Police spokesperson Ngozi Briade, a Deputy Superitendent (DSP), said she had not been briefed about the incident.

Diya, Makinde, others, for church for dedication


HE newly completed edifice of the United African Methodist Evangelical Church, situated at 3, Akinsola Lane, Abule-Ijesha, off Myoung Barracks Sports Ground, off Bailey Street via Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, will be dedicated on Saturday. The event will hold under the chairmanship of an elder statesman, Chief Arthur Eze, while Oba Adedapo Tejuosho, the Osile-Egba of Oke-Ona and the Alaye of Odogbolu, Oba Adedeji Onagoruwa, will be the Royal Fathers of the Day. The Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, will deliver the sermon at the event, which will be coordinated by the Baba Ijo, the retired Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya. Also expected at included the Iya Ijo, Chief Mrs. Mabel Kehinde Komolafe; the Otunba Baba Ijo, Chief Folorunso Oladepo; the Otun Iya Ijo, Chief Mrs. Patience Olarewaju Adeleke, and Senator Anthony Adefuye, the church’s patron. Others include a former Federal Minister for Commerce, Chief Mrs. Nike Akande and a World Health Organisation (WHO) Consultant/former Regional and Zonal Chairperson, Lions International District 404B, Lion (Dr) Mrs. Funke Adebajo.

36-year-old housewife, Mrs Charity Wobo, has been arrested by the police over the death of her husband, Chief Kingsley Wobo. She is believed to have poisoned and tortured the man to death. A source said the suspect confessed to stabbing her husband to death, claming that it was the "handwork of the devil." Three weeks ago, the suspect allegedly poisoned her husband and with the assistance of some people, stabbed him to death in Mboshimini community, Obio/ Akpor Local Government of

•The late Wobo From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt

Rivers State. The deceased's elder brother, told The Nation that he was not ready to speak to journalists until autopsy report is out. He said the police would do justice on the case, describing the late Wobo as a complete gentleman and a contractor with Agip Oil Company before

•Front view of Wobo's house where he was murdered

his death. A source said the day the suspect was brought to the family by the police, market women pelted her with stones. "You needed to see her shame the day she was brought to the

family by the police. Market women almost wanted to descend on the police van to attack her; they threw stones at her. Mboshimini women will not forgive her for the deed," the source said.

Fashola preaches clean waterways


AGOS Governor Babatunde Fashola has urged residents to always keep the waterways clean. He spoke on Sunday during this year's annual Lagos Water Regatta at the Regatta Village, Victoria Island, where various water-based cultural, sporting and recreational activities were held. Visitors from across Africa Asia and Europe were in attendance. Fashola said keeping the waterways free of refuse and from constant reclamation would ensure that it remains a means of transportation and source of food for residents for generations to come. He said: "My message to you today is that not all of us will be privileged to own property on this waterway, but if you do, please recognise that it is first a privilege and also involves duties. It must not be for dumping refuse. This must not be a place for indiscrimi-

nate extension of your land. Every time you claim more land on this waterways, you narrow the lagoon. Therefore, if we all play our roles, the waterways will endure for many generations to come". Fashola said for the indigenes the Lagos Water Regatta was not just an event but a passing on of tradition of how the ancestors of the land lived and how they used the waterways as means of transportation and source of food and also sports adding that the waterways also provided for them a natural drainage in times of high rainfall and flooding. "It is a passing on of tradition from our ancestors; how they lived on this city of many small islands and how they survived. These waters represent for us, natural drainage in times of very high rainfall and flooding and this is why we work hard to protect it. This is why we are intolerant of people who encroach on the waterways," the governor further explained.

He said further: "This water also serves as a very reliable means of transportation as it served our ancestors for centuries. So, anybody that threatens these waterways threatens our means of transportation and our livelihood. This water also serves as very rich source of food such as fish, lobsters, crabs of other kinds seafoods you can think of." Enjoining all residents to continue to live in mutual co-existence, restraint and vigilance, Fashola declared: "Lagos plays host to all parts of Africa and not just Nigerians from all walks of life. Its capacity to be home to all is because of our resolve to co-exist together in peace, respecting diversity, religion and ethnicity and respecting the hosts and indigenes of the land." "All of us have a duty to continue to exercise restraint and be very vigilant of those who abuse or have the potential to abuse our hospitality", the governor said, adding: "I want you, in the spirit of Easter, to reach out

deep in that spirit of restraint that makes us our brothers' and our sisters' keepers. That way, we will continue to enjoy all of the assets, all of the freedom, all of the opportunities for prosperity that this Island City State offers". In his welcome address, Chairman of the Planning Committee, Otunba Olusegun Jawando said the Regatta annually provides visitors to the city with the opportunity to experience the beauty and culture of Lagos. He expressed joy that the Regatta had greatly improved over the years to become a tourist attraction with visitors coming from across Africa and Europe to watch the various performances. Present were members of the State Executive Council; former Ogun State Governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba; traditional chiefs, Senior Citizens of the state, delegates from other African countries, and tourists from across Europe and Asia.

Monarch gives Bayelsa three months ultimatum on controversial property


HE Ojora of Ijora in Lagos, Oba Abdulfatai Oyeyinka Ojora yesterday gave the Bayelsa State Government three months to take possession of its property in the area where, he said, some suspected terrorists were arrested about two weeks ago. He said one Adamu who was caught producing bombs in Ijora, was having more than three shops inside the property. The traditional leader said some miscreants were living in the main building; while others were using the compound as workplace to cover up. But the government of Bayelsa State has said that the property was not being occupied by hoodlums as alleged. The monarch said he was not interested in what Bayelsa wished to do with the property, adding that the government should fence the place and take care of those who are a threat to the community.

By Jeremiah Oke

He said: "The Adamu that was caught producing bombs was having more than three shops in the compound of the Bayelsa State building; that is to confirm to the state that we know what we are saying. This is not the first time we have been calling on the Bayelsa State Government to come and fence their property and clean up the environment, but they ignored our calls. "Now, the Ojora Family has decided to give them two to three months to come and take possession of their property". Last weekend, the family demolished another suspected hideout of Boko Haram at the back of the Bayelsa State House. The land was on lease to some Northerners who had been working for the area in over 20 years before the miscreants encroached on it. A member of the Ojora Fam-

ily, Mr. Murisike Ojora, who took The Nation round the site, described the occupants of the building as threats to the community. The Seriki (leader) of Hausa Abba Ibrahim, said his people were facing challenges because the North is a no-go area for them, and that Lagos where they are living, “is now becoming something else" for them. He said: "My family is here in Lagos and I have tried to relocate to the North, but the insecurity in my state forced me back to Lagos. The bad people now want the Ojora Family to chase us out of the place we see as our home. Nobody knew Adamu was a member of the Boko Haram because he would buy coolers here and take them to the North until he was caught." A resident, Muhammed Abdulahi said: "I heard that the incident happened at the other side of this place and since the

•Oba Ojora

man that was caught had been dealt with and the monarch had come around to tell us that there is no cause for alarm and urged us to be calm, we believed that was the end of it, until when police came the following day and arrested us."




Boko Haram: ex-militants give govt ultimatum on action plan Continued from page 4

ethnic nationalities have the constitutional rights to rule this country. “We hereby issue an ultimatum of seven days to the Federal Government to look into the issues raised, to forestall the breakdown of law and order and sustain the peace, tranquillity and the ambient business environment enjoyed in the Niger Delta today. “The members of the committee (amnesty) bring in relatives

and friends and people they owe favour, short-changing the real fighters. We hereby condemn this action and call for an independent investigation to confirm this. “The few genuine fighters who have been trained have not been properly re-integrated into the society, as they are trained and not to be able to put food on their table or secure gainful employment. “This portends grave consequences, as the people have no other means of livelihood, even

as the NDDC (the Niger Delta Development Commission) has vehemently refused to listen to the boys, except some few leaders. We condemn this in totality, because the Niger Delta belongs to us all and not just few persons. “The foremost lieutenants in the struggle have not been trained or benefited from the process so far. All attempts to secure such training have being futile, in form of insensitivity on the part of the people handling the amnesty process.

“The committee (amnesty) only trains people to become artisans and low-income earners. If you wish to go for degree programme or masters’, you will wait endlessly even after fulfilling all requirements and passed necessary examinations. “The process has been so mismanaged, to the point that even the monthly stipends meant for the boys are being shared by most leaders and their accomplices in the amnesty office. They have their allowances being short-changed by the same

Women, kids among 19 killed in Kaduna village attack Continued from page 4

counted 19 bodies. All the houses in the villages have been burnt. “They made no arrest, because the attackers left before arrival of the security men. Right now, soldiers have escorted some men back to the villages to bury their dead. “We have no fewer than 5000 refugees now. And that is a huge challenge for us, despite the fact that Governor Muktar Ramalan Yero has done so much and he is still doing more to help. “This kind of attack took me by surprise because, even during the post-election violence, the Fulani here were living in peace with the people. They left on their own and later returned on their own.” A refugee at Fadan Attakar, Luka Bitiong, said the attacks began on Saturday afternoon and lasted till Sunday night, adding that many residents were terrified by the sound of guns shots used by the invaders. Bitiong said: “When they came, we ran up to the hills in Attakar. Many of our people were killed. We left the hills to seek refuge in Attakar because we were scared of going back. Some of those who went back to our village to look at the level of destruction

could not return as they were killed by the gunmen.” Another refugee from Mafang, lso Matthew Bulus, claimed the gunmen were dressed in black and armed with sophisticated guns. He said that over 80 households in Mafang village had been displaced as their homes were set ablaze by the invaders. “When the military men came, there was nothing much they could do because they don’t know the terrain of our communities. They asked some of our youths to follow them and guide them but our boys were scared of accompanying them since they (the boys) have no arms. “But the soldiers eventually went into the hills in search of the invaders. We don’t know whether they were able to make any arrest or not.” The District Head of Mafang, Mr. Yusuf Bilong, who ran away from his community, described the attack as “deadly”, saying: “I’ve never heard the sound of such guns. The attack was launched on Saturday at about 3:00pm. The attackers shot randomly killing mostly children and women.” Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Mr Adefemi Adenaike confirmed the death of

19 people in the attack. The police chief said: “The incident happened on top of the hills, not on the ground. We did not notice it on time due to the nature of the hills. It was, until people started running down from the hills that we noticed. But our men are on ground to restore law and order. “The security report I have is that only 19 people were killed by unknown gunmen. The place is now calm and peaceful.We are working round the clock to fish out the attackers. For now, we don’t know who are behind it but I assure you we will get them.” Yero has directed security agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice. In a statement by his media aide, Ahmed Maiyaki, the governor directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to immediately provide succour to all those displaced. The attack came barely 24 hours after Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) reported the influx of herdsmen from other states to communities in Southern Kaduna to the governor. The union urged the governor to stop the trend to avoid fresh hostilities in their domain.

SOKAPU alleged that the invaders were fleeing the manhunt launched by security operatives in some states under the Boko Haram siege. Union President Mr Ephraim Goje, who reacted to the influx of the herdsmen, said residents would hold the government responsible if the governor failed to act. Goje said: “The governor should send them back to where they are coming from. They cannot create trouble somewhere and run to Southern Kaduna for refuge.” Three policemen were yesterday killed by suspected terrorists in Kano. They were ambushed while patrolling the streets of the state capital. The incident occurred at about 8.30pm around Yankaba Quarters. Residents alleged that the suspected terrorists killed the security operatives and took away their AK 47 riffles. Immediately after the incident, men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) cordoned off the area. Panic gripped residents, who stayed off the streets. Police spokesman Majida Magaji, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), could not be reached last night for confirmation and comments.

system that was meant to empower them.” The ex-militants claimed to have uncovered a syndicate, which slashes their monthly stipends. They called for an investigation of their claims. The amnesty office’s spokesman, however, stated that the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, who oversees the amnesty programme, would never be distracted by some disgruntled youths. Alabra insisted that the few protesting Niger Delta youths were being used, stressing that it was all about politics, while the amnesty programme had received global acclaim, with the template set by the United Nations (UN) being used. He maintained that the amnesty office did not owe any exmilitant monthly stipends, except a few, who had issues with their papers. Alabra said: “They (protesting ex-agitators) will be shocked that the programme will end in 2015 and they will not be captured, an indication that they may eventually not benefit from

the programme while they continue with their agitation. “President Goodluck Jonathan gave approval for 3,642 more Niger Delta ex-militants to be absorbed into the amnesty programme, which some people call the third phase, bringing the total to 30,000 youths, but they must be verified, based on arms submitted to the verification committee put in place by the Chief of Defence Staff Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim and not merely submitting dane guns, but Ak47 and GPMC, among other weapons. “Why are they bothered about slots? They just want to make money from the amnesty programme and not to be properly trained. We know the genuine ex-freedom fighters. Persons who signed the communiqué with fictitious names should not be taken seriously. Where are their camps in the Niger Delta? Are they just waking up to make claims?” Alabra admonished Niger Delta youths to be law abiding so as to benefit from the Federal Government’s transformation agenda.

Licensees to forfeit undeveloped oil fields Continued from page 4

financiers, or secure credit facilities from the banks. Although the fields are marginal oil producers, they require huge funds to develop them. For instance, the Chairman/CEO, WaltersmithPetroman Oil Limited,Abdulrazaq Isa, the operator of Ibigwe field, which is in oil mining lease (OML) 16, located in OhajiEgbema Local Government Area of Imo State, said it took his 10 years to achieve the 4000 barrels per day production. He said within the 10 years, the company was able to drill five wells, do one work-over campaign and

build a 15,000-barrel per day flow station. He said in the course of the field’s development, they had a dry hole which cost an irrecoverable $27 million, adding that it was a big challenge for the firm to continue but for the determination and entrepreneurial spirit of the promoters. “Because we are a small company, such an amount was very significant. But for the big international oil companies (IOCs), drilling a dry hole is a normal thing that an oil company encounters while looking for oil. Ibigwe field was one of the marginal fields awarded in 2003, but the first oil was attained in March, 2008,” Isa, disclosed.



FOREIGN NEWS Yemenis demand release of Guantanamo detainees

Foreign tourist raped on Rio de Janeiro bus


FOREIGN tourist has been raped and robbed on a minibus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian police says. Two men have been arrested. They attacked the couple, who had boarded the minibus in the Copacabana area of the city, police say. The couple’s identities and nationalities have not been disclosed. Curbing violence is a major priority for the authorities in Rio, which is hosting the football World Cup next year and the 2016 Olympics in 2016. Police say two suspects have been arrested: Jonathan Foudakis de Souza, 20, the bus driver, and Wallace Aparecido de Souza Silva, 22. This horrific ordeal creates damaging headlines for Rio de Janeiro at a time when the city is preparing to host both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Unusually in this case, the rape involved a tourist visiting the city and the authorities will hope the speed of the arrests will be taken as evidence they are adopting a tough approach. The suspects told other passengers to get off the bus, and drove it to the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, police said. The woman was raped repeatedly as the minibus crossed the long bridge over the Guanabara Bay in Rio.

Sudan to release all political prisoners


UDAN’S President Omar al-Bashir has said all political prisoners in the country are to be released. In a speech at the opening of parliament, Mr Bashir also said the government was committed to a “national dialogue” with all groups. It was not immediately clear how many prisoners would be released under the announcement. The move comes as tensions ease in Sudan amid improving relations with neighbouring South Sudan. Mr Bashir said Sudan had now “guaranteed the atmosphere for freedoms and the safeguarding of the freedom of expression of individuals and groups”. “Today, we announce a decision to free all the political prisoners and renew our commitment to all political powers about dialogue,” he said, without giving further details. The government would continue to communicate with “all political and social powers without excluding anyone, including those who are armed, for a national dialogue which will bring a solution to all the issues,” he said. Mr Bashir’s announcement was welcomed by Human Rights Watch (HRW), which said it hoped it would lead to an end to arbitrary detentions and torture under Sudan’s strict national security laws. “There is a chronic pattern of human rights abuse in Sudan,” said HRW’s Sudan researcher Jehanne Henry. She said the organisation heard of cases every month where “people perceived to have political opinions not in keeping with those of the government” were detained.


•A supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad waves a Syrian flag as she looks over a crowd gathered to show support for their embattled president in Damascus, Syria. AP PHOTO/BASSEM TELLAWI

South Korea vows fast response to North


OUTH Korea will strike back quickly if the North stages any attack, the new president in Seoul warned yesterday, as tensions ratcheted higher on the Korean peninsula amid shrill rhetoric from Pyongyang and the U.S. deployment of radarevading fighter planes. North Korea says the region is on the brink of a nuclear war in the wake of United Nations sanctions imposed for its February nuclear test and a series of joint U.S. and South Korean military drills that have included a rare U.S. show of aerial power. The North, whose economy is smaller than it was 20 years ago, appeared to move on Monday to addressing its pressing need for investment by appointing a reformer to the country's ceremonial prime minister's job, although the move mostly cemented a power grab by the ruling Kim clan. North Korea had said on Saturday it was entering a "state of war" with South Korea in response to what it termed the "hostile" military drills being staged in the South. But there have been no signs of unusual activity in the North's military to sug-

gest an imminent aggression, a South Korean defense ministry official said last week. "If there is any provocation against South Korea and its people, there should be a strong response in initial combat without any political considerations," President Park Geun-hye told the defense minister and senior officials at a meeting on Monday. The South has changed its rules of engagement to allow local units to respond immediately to attacks, rather than

waiting for permission from Seoul. Stung by criticism that its response to the shelling of a South Korean island in 2010 was tardy and weak, Seoul has also threatened to target North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and to destroy statues of the ruling Kim dynasty in the event of any new attack, a plan that has outraged Pyongyang. Seoul and its ally the United States played down Saturday's statement from the official KCNA news agency as the latest in a stream of tough talk

from Pyongyang. North Korea stepped up its rhetoric in early March, when U.S. and South Korean forces began annual military drills that involved the flights of U.S. B-2 stealth bombers in a practice run, prompting the North to puts its missile units on standby to fire at U.S. military bases in the South and in the Pacific. The United States also deployed F-22 stealth fighter jets on Sunday to take part in the drills. The F-22s were deployed in South Korea before, in 2010.

Musharraf gets bail extension


COURT in Pakistan has extended bail for former President Pervez Musharraf, amid chaotic scenes in which a shoe was thrown at him. It is the first time the exmilitary ruler has sat before a court to defend himself against charges of conspiracy to murder and the sacking of judges. The shoe, which did not hit Mr Musharraf, was thrown as his supporters and opponents both chanted slogans. Last week he returned from self-imposed exile to contest forthcoming polls.

Shortly before his return he was granted protective bail for 10 days in three cases. Correspondents say that angry scenes were witnessed outside the courtroom in Karachi after judges extended bail for another few weeks. Mr Musharraf faces a string of charges dating from his final months in office. He is accused of failing to provide adequate security for former PM Benazir Bhutto ahead of her assassination in 2007. He is also wanted in connection with the murder of a

Baloch tribal leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti and for sacking the entire higher judiciary in November 2007. The former president has described the cases against him as “baseless” and politically motivated. He led a military government which ruled Pakistan from 1999. His supporters were defeated in parliamentary elections in February 2008, and Mr Musharraf resigned in August that year under threat of impeachment. He has lived in London and Dubai since then.

ROUND 250 Yemenis have held a protest outside the U.S. Embassy in the capital Sanaa to demand the release of around 90 of their compatriots from Guantanamo Bay. Yemenis make up the largest contingent of the 166 detainees held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. Most were detained in Afghanistan following the 2001 U.S. invasion. Yemeni rights activist Abdel-Rahman Barman says conditions at the prison are “very poor” and that at least two of the men there are on hunger strike. A 32 -year-old Yemeni died in an apparent suicide last year. Yemen’s government has requested the prisoners be transferred to Sanaa. An embassy employee was seen accepting a letter from relatives of the detainees on Monday. The embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.

Death toll hits 34 in Tanzania building collapse


HE death toll from the collapse of a multi-storey building in Tanzania has risen to 34 after more bodies were pulled from the rubble, a senior government official said yesterday. Rescue workers at the site in a district in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam have now cleared most of the debris and reached the basement of the building that caved in on Friday morning. It is likely more bodies could be found. Tanzania’s buoyant economy has fuelled a building boom, especially in Kariakoo and the city center. But the speed of construction has raised concerns about safety standards. “A total of 34 people have so far been confirmed dead. We expect to conclude the search operation early today and officially announce the final death toll,” Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Said Meck Sadick told Reuters.




Mikel, Moses hit FA Cup semi final


UPER EAGLES duo of Mikel Obi and Victor Moses were in action for Chelsea as the Blues advanced to the semi-final of the FA Cup after beating Manchester United 1-0 in the quarter-final replay yesterday. With a Wembley semi-final against Manchester City on April 14 the prize for the homers, Chelsea went into the game at the back of their 2-1 shock loss to Southampton at the weekend. United visited the Bridge oozing with confidence after their win over Sunderland. Chelsea, seeking a fifth FA Cup in seven seasons, also made seven changes from their line which began the loss at Southampton. Mikel played for the entire duration of the game. Moses was a 90th minute substitute, coming in for Oscar. Blues Captain John Terry and Frank Lampard were also left on the bench, with Demba Ba starting up front. The game got off to a slow start and with the game fairly balanced, Chelsea’s Oscar broke down the left and looked to cut it back for Ramires in the box but Rio Ferdinand intercepted. After 20 minutes the Red Devils launched a counter through Welbeck who left Cole for dead and quickly found Nani, but his final pass was poor. Ashley Cole immediately signalled to come off. Ryan Bertrand was called to action. Then Manchester United began to take control with Hernandez failing to capitalise after beating Luiz. The first real shot on goal fell to

Barca’s critics have short memories —DaniAlves


ANI ALVES has hit back at critics who suggest Barcelona are a fading force following a patchy run of form over the past two months. Although Tito Vilanova's side produced a majestic performance to beat AC Milan 4-0 in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie, they were criticised for a lacklustre display in the 2-0 defeat at San Siro and were also held 2-2 by struggling Liga opposition Celta Vigo in La Liga on Saturday. But Alves told "People said a lot of things about us after the first leg against Milan and we obviously heard the good and the bad comments. "Of course football is a results business but people's memories are not very sharp. Everything Barcelona have done so far all of a sudden gets sidelined by a couple of bad results.

Ba, but de Gea pulled off a brilliant save with his legs. Two minutes later Ba was released by Ramirez but Smalling snuffed out the danger with a great block. Just five minutes after the break Mata released Ba and the Senegalese put in a beautiful piece of play as he beat De Gea on the far post with an exquisite volley. The United goal keeper could only watch as the ball flew into

the back of the net. This was his fifth for the Blues since joining them from Newcastle United. His goal proved to be the difference in the end. With Chelsea constantly attacking United, they were almost caught on the 60th minute with Chicharito almost scored with a header but Cech saved the day.

Sir Alex Ferguson quickly introduced Van Persie, but he failed to make any impact with the chances he got. Despite the lethal combination of Mata, Oscar and Hazard, the home side failed to capitalise on the chances they were creating and Demba Ba’s strike seemed enough to send Chelsea to Wembley’s semi-final with Manchester City.


Bayern boss fears attacking Juve


UVENTUS may not have a 'top player' in their forward ranks, but Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes thinks they are a stellar attacking force. The Bianconeri are often criticised for lacking that difference maker up front, but the German has the greatest respect for the Italian champions ahead of tonight’s Champions League quarter-final tie. “Juventus are a side who are only part Italian,” the tactician stated on Monday. “They don't play catenaccio and they have a very particular offensive organisation. “I have rarely seen an Italian side who are so organised, so unpredictable, when they move forward,” he underlined. Heynckes added that he fears what the Old Lady are capable of thanks to their three central midfielders. “They have midfielders

who do break into attack a lot of the time. As a result we will have to organise ourselves as best we can because Juventus attack very well. “Andrea Pirlo is a genius, while Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio are great champions. We have players of that level too though.”


Sneijder: Big game for Gala

G •Chelsea players John Mikel Obi, left, and David Luiz, second left, celebrate after beating Manchester United 1-0 yesterday


Mourinho aims to equal Fergie's record


OSE MOURINHO will draw level with Sir Alex Ferguson on seven semi-final appearances in the Champions League if his Real Madrid side get past Galatasaray in their forthcoming last-eight tie. Mourinho led Madrid to the last four of Europe's premier club competition in each of his first two seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, and his team will be big favourites to advance for a third time in a row. Real host Galatasaray on Wednesday before travelling to Istanbul for the return leg next Tuesday. Madrid are still aiming for their 10th trophy - La Decima in the history of the European Cup and the Champions League, while Mourinho has

admitted he hopes to become the first coach to win the coveted crown with three different clubs. The Portuguese made his Champions League debut in 2001-02, when he took over midway through the season at Porto, but won the competition in his first full tilt at the title, in 200304 (having won the Uefa Cup in 2002-03). That turned out to be his only Champions League semi-final appearance at Porto as he moved on to Chelsea that summer. And he took the Blues to the cusp of European glory, losing out at the semi-final stage in both 2005 and 2007. On each occasion it was Liverpool who got the better of his side, with the Reds benefiting from Luis Garcia's 'phantom' goal on the way to the trophy in 2005 and then advancing on a penalty shootout two years later. Mourinho left Chelsea shortly into the following season and did not return until the next campaign, when he agreed to coach Inter. His first season in Milan ended with a Serie A title, but disappointment in Europe as the Nerazzurri exited to Manchester United in the last 16. However, the Portuguese led the Italians to treble glory in 2009-10, as they claimed the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League - Inter's first success in Europe's premier club competition since 1965. That was Mourinho's second Champions League victory and his fourth semi-final in the competition. With two more since added, he can now equal

Ferguson with seven last-four appearances. All of Ferguson's semi-final showings have come in his remarkable 26-year tenure at Manchester United. The 71-year-old Scot has led the English side to two Champions League wins, as well as two further final appearances (both lost to Barcelona). Defeats in his other three semifinals (in 1996-97, 2001-02 and 2006-07) also all came against the competition's eventual winners - Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and AC Milan, respectively. Mourinho, meanwhile, lost his last two semi-finals against Barcelona (in 2010-11) and Bayern Munich (last season). Either of those two teams could await in the last four this time around.

ALATASARAY star Wesley Sneijder says playing in the Champions League quarterfinal tie against Real Madrid is a big occasion for the club. Sneijder played for Madrid from 2007 until 2009 and then left for Inter Milan, however, he has fond memories of playing at the Santiago Bernabeu and does not know whether he will celebrate if he scores. “It would be a great thrill to score, and I’m not saying I won’t celebrate a goal, because I think I will. I don’t know how I would react at a moment like that, but clearly it would be a very special

goal,” he told Marca. “The Champions League is a very important competition for Real Madrid, but you just can’t imagine how we are feeling here. For this club it is not such a common occurrence, and the excitement is at an all-time high here. “We shall go to the Santiago Bernabeu with the belief that we can do well. We know that it will be a very difficult and complicated game, but we have a good side here. I believe in my team and as long as we don’t lose confidence, we will make something of this tie. “I have a lot of good memories of my time at Madrid. I still have a lot of friends there, and I have terrific memories of the team and the people at the club. “I had a very good season, and we won the league, and I enjoyed my football a lot. And then I had another bad season because of my personal problems.” UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE


TODAY’S FIXTURES Bayern Munich v Juventus PSG v Barcelona Wednesday 03 April 2013 Real Madrid v Galatasaray Malaga v Dortmund

Dortmund struck by injuries ahead of Malaga game


O R U S S I A DORTMUND are sweating on the fitness of a number of their players as they prepare for the Champions League quarterfinal first-leg clash at Malaga on Wednesday. Despite securing a 2-1 Bundesliga win away to Stuttgart on Saturday, coach Jurgen Klopp was left with plenty to worry about ahead of his side’s next game. Left-back Marcel Schmelzer suffered a broken nose, however, he has refused to rule himself out of playing in Dortmund’s first Champions League quarter-final in 15 years. “The nose required stitches

and was directed [put back in place] in order to not lose any time, because I want to play on Wednesday,” the Germany international, who could play with a protective mask, wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday. Dortmund also fear for defensive midfielder Sven Bender and the versatile Kevin Grosskreutz, who both suffered bruises to their foot on Saturday. “It did hurt,” Bender told DerWesten. “But I thought it wasn’t too bad. Once I got rid of my boots I saw blood. You can also see the mark on my foot.” Grosskreutz had started the Stuttgart game at right-back before being switched to left-

back following the Schmelzer injury. He suffered a bruised foot during the second half but was forced to play the full ninety minutes as Dortmund had used up all their substitutions.






VOL. 8


‘With this APC skirmish, it is clear clean election in 2015 cannot be entrusted to INEC alone – such is the panic, paranoia, desperation and cunning of the Jonathan Presidency’ OLAKUNLE ABIMBOLA



MIGHTY tree fell in Boston, Massachusetts, two weeks ago, and its fall was heard across the world. That tree was Chinua Achebe, and the fall was heard by the tens of millions who had read his first and best known novel, “Things Fall Apart” in the major languages into which it has been translated, among them, his native Igbo, and Yoruba. It was heard in the leading world academies, where his novels, essays, poems, lectures and other literary forms are studied. It was heard in every establishment involved in making or executing policy or otherwise transacting business in Nigeria and indeed Africa as a guide. It was heard by everyone across creed, colour or tongue he had charmed with his incomparable skills as a story-teller, the majestic simplicity of his prose, and a profound sociological imagination. His writings burst upon the literary and political world at a time of ferment. The wind of change which gusting over Africa that British Prime Minister called the attention of the heedless apartheid regime in South Africa was gathering speed, sounding the death knell of colonialism and imperialism. In the United States, the civil rights movement was gathering momentum, putting Jim Crow and its clan on notice that all those “self-evident truths” must amount to much more than articles of faith in the Declaration of Independence. To them, Achebe lent a voice, a stirring, eloquent voice - a voice that derived its power from the acuity of his insights no less than from being so understated. He rescued subject peoples from the mutilate versions of themselves and taught them to see themselves whole, to be at peace with their being and essence. This was the context in which he got to know and collaborate with the writer James Baldwin, one of the leading lights of the movement. Africans and indeed black people everywhere can walk tall today in part because Achebe exploded the racist stereotypes Europe and America developed and assiduously propagated about them. He wrote back to the makers of empire. The civilising mission they prided themselves on was a rude disruption of long-established ways of life and was in some ways and actually a regression. It is a mark of his towering achievement that his obituary notice in the digital edition of The New York Times attracted some 150 comments from readers worldwide, all of them laudatory. In a famous essay, Achebe wrote that writer



Achebe: A literary titan and his times

•The late Achebe

has a duty to teach. And what a teacher he was! Many of the better-known young Africans writing today owe their success to his example, his inspiration, and encouragement. The genre that has come to be called African Literature owes its status in no small part to Achebe as publisher and editor and teacher. He at once embodied and brought before the world the wisdom of his people.



•For comments, send SMS to 08111813080

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Jonathan’s punctuated Easter message




He was also an iconoclast. In another essay – or was it an interview? – he said the writer is the one who, when you beat your chest about the graceful architectural sweep of your city flyovers, calls to your attention to all the unsightly mess under it. Though often remarked in his oeuvre, the iconoclastic streak that perfuses it as well as his political engagements rarely gets the emphasis it deserves. Everyone familiar with his writings knows how he took down Joseph Conrad and Joyce Carey from their pedestal. All that was in the line of literary duty. Applied to Nigerian politics, which is still largely ethnic-based, and a blood sport of sorts, that kind of iconoclasm can have unintended consequences. As Obafemi Awolowo was being mourned in 1987, Achebe dismissed him as “a mediocre politician.” The Nobel was a European prize that did not and could not translate into the “Asiwaju” of Nigerian literature, contrary to the impression some “idle lackeys” of the Yoruba recipient Wole Soyinka were trying to create, he wrote. In the tit-for-tat matrix in which identity politics is played in Nigeria, it seemed very likely that, at his death, Achebe would attract among some of Awolowo’s adoring kinsmen at least something close to Achebe’s embittered putdown of the chief and his petulant remarks about the Nobel, its 1986 recipient, and his band of admirers. Achebe turned that likelihood into a certainty in his controversial last work, “There was a Country,” in which he offered it as his “firm impression” that Awo had, “for the

benefit of his people,” devised or pursued policies that did incalculable harm to the Igbo when he was Federal Commissioner for Finance and Vice Chair of the Federal Executive Council during the civil war. This charge in effect makes every Yoruba an accessory to whatever Awo was alleged to have done or left undone. Achebe was not the first to make this charge; lesser characters have been bandying it for decades. But he gave it a fresh infusion of oxygen, with consequences that no one who pays even the most casual attention to the misnamed “social media” can applaud. It was as if the civil war was being fought all over again, this time in cyberspace, but with undiminished ferocity. Not a few Nigerians feel gravely offended by such charges and assertions strewn across the book with far less rigour than usually marks his work, and by significant omissions that would have provided a richer context. The Achebe they behold is not exactly the Achebe the rest of the world is celebrating — the literary titan, the voice of calm, reasoned discourse, the great teacher. They accuse him of setting out in his last work to glorify his people and vilify everyone else. Achebe was proud of his Igbo identity. He proclaimed it, celebrated it, rejoiced in it. He was not in the least apologetic about it. Nor should he have been; no one should have to apologise for his or her ethnic identity. If avowing and affirming his ethnic identity somehow constricted his political vision, Achebe would have said: so be it, secure in the knowledge that his place in the world of letters is assured. Not for him the sham pretence of being a “detribalised” Nigerian. Show me that “detribalised” person and I will show you a person who is practically unconscious. Some have succeeded more than others in sublimating or transcending their ethnic identities. Yet, it is by virtue of being Igbo or Hausa or Yoruba or Kanuri or Nupe or Tiv or Igala or Ijaw or Urhobo or Efik or Ibibio, or of belonging in some one of 300 ethnic groups that make up the national population that one can lay claim to being a Nigerian. By word and deed, Achebe taught that we should speak forthrightly on these issues, without muzzling opposing viewpoints or denying others the right to do the same. Would that we could do so with respect for one another, and without bitterness.

Y some reckoning, President Goodluck Jonathan spoke for less than 10 minutes during the Easter Sunday service at Our Saviour’s Church Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos. As usual he spoke extemporaneously, and whenever he does that, he delights the media with simple homilies or egregious political howlers. But on this day, the first time he would celebrate Easter in Lagos since he assumed office in 2011, there was no egregious political statement delivered, nor was there any homily. Perhaps frustrated by comments and criticisms that often followed his quaint political philosophies and dreamy exegeses whenever he attended a church service, he decided to play safe this time. It must dismay the faithful that the president’s short message and that of former military head of state, Gen Yakubu Gowon, superseded the sermon of the day. Most newspapers indeed glossed over the sermon, noting only that the vicar of the church, Igbein Isemede, remarked that Nigeria’s colonial governors-general worshipped at the church. By contrast, United States President Barack Obama worshipped at the St. John’s Episcopal Church, a few blocks from the White House in Washington, D.C. If Obama made any remarks at the Easter Sunday service, this columnist missed it. Instead what made the news was the tone and stridency of the sermon by the Rev. Luis León. “It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are

always calling us back ... for blacks to be back in the back of the bus ... for women to be back in the kitchen ... for immigrants to be back on their side of the border,” the preacher said, knowing full well he would draw flak. Sometime soon, the culture in Nigerian churches will change to debar a visiting president from mounting the pulpit and talking shop, for it is neither spiritually appropriate nor even politically wise. But notwithstanding the inappropriateness of inviting the president to say a word or two, Jonathan, as he is wont, chose something fairly noteworthy to speak on. Apparently, he recognised he must give newspapers something worthy of their front pages and headlines. However, through no fault of his, circumstances beyond his control pushed the story in a direction he could not have imagined. He had begun his Easter remarks with these harmless words of encouragement: “I promise that I will do my best. I will not disappoint Nigerians, within the limitation of our resources, to fix our infrastructure. Our rail system is coming up. We promise to fix our roads so that Nigerians can move freely. We promise to stabilise power in this country.” Ignore his idiosyncratic syntax; but as soon as he spoke of electricity, and as if on cue, there was a power cut. A flustered Jonathan made light of the hitch by switching gear. He said: “I believe they (those behind power supply) know that I am here that

is why they took light; at least, to remind me that I must not sleep until we stabilise power. God willing, next year, they will not take light again.” The power cut predictably became the peg of the following day’s news reports of the president’s visit. Under the military, the outage would have been considered either treasonable or deliberately intended to embarrass. But the country is so inured to power cuts that no one, not even the president, bats an eyelid anymore. Jonathan’s promise that next year would witness the end of power cuts is significant. Next year is virtually around the corner. But it will not be the first time the goal post had been shifted. It was shifted repeatedly during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo presidency so much that it was impossible to believe the goal post was still in the field of play. And just as deadlines were shifted, so, too, notoriously were output targets shifted. Today, neither deadlines nor targets are realistic. The president must, therefore, consider himself lucky that the said power outage rescued the triteness of his remarks. Considering the humdrumness of the president’s message, reporters would have had little or nothing to take back to their editors, and the venerable vicar would have been at a loss why the media glossed over the epoch-making presence of the president at a church service the like of which colonial era governors-general used to dignify with their stately presence.

Published and printed by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025,Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor Daily:01-8962807, Marketing: 01-8155547 . Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Tel: 07028105302. Port Harcourt Office: 12/14 Njemanze Street, Mile 1, Diobu, PH. 08023595790 WEBSITE: E-mail: ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

The Nation April 02, 2013  

The Nation April 02, 2013

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