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House concurs with Senate on N4.695tr budget NEWS Page 4

Newspaper of the Year

News APC: GDP rebasing a distraction P6 Sports Nigeria is 45th in FIFA ranking P24 Business ‘1b people live in extreme poverty’ P53

•Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

VOL. 9, NO. 2815 FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2014



EKITI 2014


•I won’t sell forest, Fayemi assures Ise residents AND MORE •PDP aspirants demand refund of N11m fee •ON PAGE 9 •LP chieftain joins APC •Ajayi is Accord’s candidate

Expectant woman, eight others die in Lagos, Ilorin Storm, floods hit Ibadan, Owerri By Segun Ajiboye, Uyoatta Eshiet, Miriam Ekene-Okoro, Lagos, Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin, Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan and Okodili Ndidi, Owerri


T was raining tears yesterday in some parts of the country, following deaths and destruction of property in a storm of rains and floods. In Lagos, a high tension electric pole fell on petrol-laden car, sparking a fire. Six people who stepped on the pole’s live cables, including an expectant woman and a child, died. In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, a devastating flood caused the death of three persons – two of them children. No fewer than 20 vehicles were swept away in Omesebi and Adisco in the city. In Ibadan , the Oyo State capital, and Owerri, the Imo State capital, there were no deaths. Properties were destroyed. A fire broke out after an electric pole fell, causing panic among the residents of house number 6, Onabanjo Street, Oworonsoki in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State. According to eyewitnesses, the six people died after stepping on a live wire as they scrambled to escape from the fire ignited after the pole fell on the car laden with kegs of petrol. A resident of the building said: “A woman who lives in this compound sells petrol as a black marketer. She keeps the petrol in cars parked outside the compound at night. At about 2:00am, while it was raining, a PHCN pole fell on the car, and started a huge fire. In panic, the residents of the house tried to run, gripped by fear that the house might be affected. They were electrocuted by the live wire on the ground. Six people, including an expectContinued on page 4

•SCENE OF HORR OR: One of the vehicles burnt in the Lagos incident...yesterday HORROR:

•The live cable that caused the electrocution and parts of the hair of a victim, a girl, in Lagos...yesterday


•Mr Mathew Amen, who lost his wife and children, in the hospital...yesterday. He attempted suicide.

Abacha’s son charged with keeping stolen N446b

T •Abacha

HE Federal Government has filed a new charge against the son of the late General Sani Abacha, Mohammed, accusing him of unlawfully receiving about N446.3billion allegedly stolen from government’s coffers between 1995 and 1998. Mohammed is, in the charge of nine counts, accused of “dishonestly receiv-

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

ing stolen property” and “voluntarily assisting in concealing money.” The charge replaced the earlier one of 121 counts in which Mohammed was charged with Atiku Bagudu, who is excluded from the fresh charge. According to the new charge, Mohammed concealed 141,100,000 pounds sterling and $384,353,000 in

cash and travellers cheques. The charge, dated February 24, 2014 was filed by a private prosecutor, Daniel Enwelum, who is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Federal Government and upon a fiat dated February 18, 2014, issued to him by the Attorney General of the Federation. Mohammed’s absence in court stalled his planned arraignment yes-

terday before Justice Mamman Kolo of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory. Enwelum told the court that even when Mohammed had been served with the charge, with evidence to that effect contained in a sworn affidavit by the court’s bailiff, the accused person refused to attend court for him to be arContinued on page 4






‘North is gre •Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (second left); his deputy, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (left); former President of Cape Verde, Mr Pedro Pires (third right); Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria and co-chairman of the summit, Mrs Bola Adesola (second right) and Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Ben Akabueze, at the closing session of the seventh Lagos Economic Summit (Ehingbeti 2014) at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos... yesterday.

•Senator Jack Tilley Gyado (left), Dr Haliru Mohammed and Alhaji Jimeta Gambo... yesterday


HE census controversy between the Southern and Northern Nigeria resurfaced yesterday at the ongoing National Conference. Former Political Adviser to President Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, reignited the census controversy, saying the popula•United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle speaking when visited University of Jos Vice Chancellor, Prof Hayward Mafuyai in Jos...yesterday. With his is the Vice Chancellor

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Dele Anofi, Abuja

tion of Northern Nigeria has always been higher than that of the South. He reminded fellow delegates that former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr.

Abuja indigenes yet to be compensated, says Useni From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor, and Dele Anofi, Abuja


•International Draught Master, Franck Evers (left); Marketing Director Nigerian Breweries Plc, Walter Drenth, Senior Brand Manager Heineken Ngozi Nkwoji and Food and Beverage Director, Lagos Oriental Hotel, Mario Bratovic at the unveiling of Heineken Draught Beer Innovation in Lagos

ORMER Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jeremiah Useni, yesterday declared that Abuja indigenes are yet to be fully compensated for their land by the Federal government. The retired general, who spoke at the ongoing National Conference, said that contrary to the claim by the former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Ahmadu Ali, that Abuja indigenes have been fully compensated for their land, nothing of such happened. “On compensation for FCT indigenes as stated by some delegates, I want to say here that part payment was made, but not that full payment was made to the indigenes. This was done long time ago when I took over the administration of the FCT in December 1993. Since then, no kobo has been released. So, for anybody, who said he was in the cabinet to say that everything was paid, I know that person was a Federal Commissioner for Education but FCT never existed as at that time.” He also asked those in the habit of attacking past military administrations in the country to cease from doing so. Useni wondered why even those who lobbied and served military administrations could be in the vanguard of attack against military regimes. He noted that after benefiting immensely from military administrations, some Nigerians turn back to criticise the same regimes they benefited from.

Monarch to Ijaw delegates: insist on resource control



•Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nestle Nigerial Plc, Mr Dharnesh Gordhon (left); Marketing Services Director Mrs Iquor Ukoh and Corporate Affairs Manager Dr Samuel Adenekan at the launch of PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA Chicken Magi at Oregun, Ikeja Lagos...yesterday.

From Mike Odiegwu

ROMINENT traditional ruler in Bayelsa State, His Royal Majesty Mozi Agara, on Wednesday warned Ijaw delegates at the ongoing National Conference against abandoning the agitation for resource control. Agara, who is known as Kala-Okun III, Ibenanaowei of Kolokuma clan, asked the delegates not to be intimidated by their counterparts from other ethnic extractions whose objective is to scuttle the Ijaw’s agenda. He insisted that the Conference should be viewed by the Ijaw delegates as an opportunity to correct injustices done to the Niger Delta region by the Nigerian government. Maintaining that Nigeria has been unfair to the Niger Delta states, particularly Bayelsa State, the traditional ruler said it was the imbalance that led to the militancy in the region. “It will be unbelievable to the outside world if told that the Niger Delta, which is the economic melting pot of Nigeria since the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantities, still wallows in abject poverty,” he said. He said the government has constantly used the derivation formula, which he described as a political gimmick, to marginalise Bayelsa State. The monarch added that such formula, based on the number of local government areas in a state, has dealt an economic blow on Bayelsa, which has only eight local government areas. He also lambasted persons asking President Goodluck Jonathan not to seek a second term in 2015. “Since there is no law stopping him, it is most unfortunate for any group of persons to scuttle his political rights and ambition,” he said. Describing Jonathan as a performer, he asked everybody to support him in moving the country forward.




eater in population than South’

•Mrs Wosilat Marcarthy (left); Hajia Shetu Alfa, Ayo Adebanjo and Aleogho Dokpesi....yesterday. PHOTOS: ABAYOMI FAYESE

Ahmadu Ali, had also raised the issue that Northern Nigeria is greater than Southern Nigeria in population. Yakassai, who was nominated to the Conference as one of the elder statesmen, told delegates that the issue of unending controversy on the actual census figures of the Northern and Southern parts of the country should have been put to rest since there is incontrovertible evidence that the North is greater in population than its Southern counterpart. He said that the controversy, which has consistently featured the country’s national discourse, is inimical to the pursuit of unity and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians. He said, “Although this issue ought to have been scientifically put to rest by virtue of the results of various head counts conducted at different times and under different administrations in the country - with active participation of United Nations’ ex-


Since population is a factor for political representation and resource allocation, among other things, some individuals constantly seek to discredit scientifically established population figures with mere sweeping and sometimes illogical arguments, in a bid to justify the call for lesser revenue allocation and political representation to certain parts of the country


perts on demography and statistics all of which have lent credence that Northern Nigeria has the majority in terms of population of the country. However, the controversy has refused to abate.” Yakassai noted that the reason for the unending argument appeared to be due to the fact that “since population is a factor for political representation and resource allocation, among other things, some individuals constantly seek to discredit scientifically established population figures with mere sweeping and sometimes illogical arguments, in a bid to justify the call for lesser revenue allocation and political representation to certain parts of the country.” He added that the prevailing situation “portends unhealthy rivalry that is inconsistent with the spirit of unity and collective cooperation that should be indelible hallmarks of our continued coexistence.” He said further that he is of the view that “for us to continue weaving the fabric of one Nigeria, every citizen of the federation should be objective and fair minded to “concede certain logically and scientifically established state of affairs within the federation.” Yakassai said I. I.. Ekanem, an indigene of present day Akwa Ibom State, in his book published in 1973, 1963 Population Census: Critical Appraisal, acknowledged that even before the 1914 amalgamation of Nigeria, the first population census held in 1911 showed that the Northern protectorate outnumbered the South and Lagos. The estimate, he said, as it was given in the book gave a total population of the two protectorates and the colony of Lagos at 16,054,000 out of which the North had 8,120,000 (51 per cent), the East had 4,500,000 (28 per cent), while the West and Lagos had 3,360,000 (20.9 per cent) and 74,000 (0.5 per cent) respectively. The implication, he insisted, is that the South had 49 percent while the North had 51per cent. Yakassai noted that in the 1921 census, which was the first census conducted after the amalgamation of Nigeria and, which unlike the 1911 census, was not an estimate, recorded the population of the country at 18,720,000 out of which the

North had 10,560,000, representing 56.4 per cent while the South had 43.6 per cent. He gave the breakdown of the population of the South as, East 5,110,000 (27.3 per cent), West 2,950,000 (15.8 per cent) and Lagos 100,000 (0.5 per cent). The elder statesman maintained that the 1931 census recorded the total population of the country at 20,056,000 and the North had 57 per cent of the figure, representing 11,440,000. The figure for the East, he said, stood at 4,550,000 (22.7 per cent) while the West was 3,940,000 (19.6 per cent) and Lagos 126,000 or 0.7 per cent. Yakassai said that the 1952/1953 census recorded the population of the country at 30,402,000 out of which the North had 16,835,000 (55.4 per cent). The East had 7,215,000 (23.7 per cent while the West had 6,085,000 (20.1 per cent) and Lagos with 267,000 (0.8 per cent). The former presidential adviser added that contrary to logic and common sense, some Nigerians alleged that the British colonial administration inflated the population of the North in order to give the region an electoral and political advantage over the South. The reality of the situation, he said, does not give credence to the alleg a tion. He noted that the reality was that throughout the period of British admin-

• Prof Akinyemi...yesterday. PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

istration, women in the North, who constituted about half of the population of the region, were denied the right to vote or be voted for. According to him, since the advent of democratic rule in the country, the North was always underrepresented, both in the national parliament and council of ministers throughout the period of British administration of the country. He noted that in the 1951 general elections, although the North had 57 per cent of the country’s population, going by the 1931 headcount, only 50 per cent of parliamentary representation was given to it. The elder statesman explained that the first council of ministers, out of 12 cabinet ministers for the country, the North had four while the South was allotted eight. After the 1954 federal election, when the number of ministers was reduced from 12 to 10, he said the North was allotted only three while the South got seven. Yakasai said that according to available records, after independence, the British, by and large, transferred their business interests to Southerners, which as a result conferred economic advantage to the South to the detriment of t h e North, till date.


Conference convoked on rule of thumb, says Yadudu From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor, and Dele Anofi, Abuja


ROF Auwalu Yadudu told the ongoing National Conference yesterday that the gathering lacked popular democratic principles. One of the Northwest delegates, the learned man noted that though President Goodluck Jonathan claimed not to have any personal agenda in convening the Conference, there appeared to be a bold agenda set by acts of commission or omission. Yadudu noted that it is a fact that the Conference was designed, not in conformity with popular or democratic indices, contrary to the advice offered by the Femi Okuronmu Committee. The Conference, he said, is convoked on a novel and very risky rule of the thumb. While insisting that the composition of the Conference is based on criteria that fly in the face of democratic norms that are universal, Yadudu noted that though many delegates many not submit themselves for election, the conference should not engage in self-delusion. He said that given the unelected nature through which delegates were recruited, the Conference lacked the essential brief or mandate to restructure the country with finality. He added that the Conference should accept its limited function as just another dignified presidential advisory committee, albeit enlarged. He said, “Some have argued that even the National Assembly lacks sufficient popular mandate or credibility. That it is incapable or less favourably disposed to undertake the demolition or profound reconstruction job which Nigeria critically needs. This is on account of the alleged deep flaws in our electoral system and processes that its members have benefited from. Need one be reminded that the President is himself the product and beneficiary of the same deeply flawed electoral processes? As such, he cannot claim or be ascribed any more legitimacy than the National Assembly. Yet we recognise his constitutional powers to convene and have responded to his call to participate in this conference.”



NEWS •Former Kaduna State Governor Balarabe Musa (right) handing over a copy of his biography to Senator Ahmadu Ali during its public presentation in Abuja …yesterday. With them are Second Republic Borno State Governor Mohammed Goni (left) and Hassan Bala Usman PHOTO: NAN

House concurs with Senate on N4.695tr budget


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is likely to sign the budget this weekend following the House of Representatives’ concurrence with the Senate. The Reps passed yesterday the exact figure that the Senate passed on Wednesday, making it unnecessary to raise a harmonisation committee. The estimate is N4.695 trillion. But Senator Bukola Saraki said yesterday that the budget may not be effectively implemented because it did not consider a valuable indicator of the nation’s revenue base – the oil production variation. Of the total amount, N408,687,801,891 is for statutory transfers; N712 billion is for debt service; N2,454,887,566,702 is for recurrent and N1,119,614,407 is for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure. Education got the highest allocation - N373,532,095 - under the Recurrent expenditure component for various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). This is closely followed by Defence/MOD/Army/Air

•Why budget may fail, by Saraki From Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja and Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

Force/Navy which got N314,347,339,871; Police formation/Commands got N295,561,812,085. Health got N214,946,652,273; Interior got N145,021,228,363; Youth Development N75,957,608,331; Office of the National Security Adviser N66,625,072,907 and Petroleum Resources N55,706,174,457. Figures under the Service Wide Votes and Pensions component show that N30 billion is for general election logistics support; N24 billion for contingency; N30,582,553,824 for payment of outstanding death benefit to civil servants (which is 5% of total personnel cost) and Group Life Insurance for all MDAs has N11 billion. With N106,321,293,055, Work came out tops under the capital expenditure components. Power got N59,814,290,389; Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) got N51.1 billion; Education got N50,781,035,231; Health got N49,535,699,601 and Niger Delta N49,403,704,194. Others are: Water Resources (N44,206,343,742); Agriculture and Rural Development

(N35,551,172,583); Transport (N31,808,108,913) and Defence/ MOD/Army/Air Force/Navy (N35.36 billion). N268.37 billion was appropriated for Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) and N1 billion for 2011 election violence and civil disturbances (damage to properties and places of worship). For the debt service and statutory components of the budget, N663.61 billion is for domestic debts; N48.39 billion for foreign debts; N150 billion for National Assembly and N73 billion is for the National Judicial Council (NJC). Universal Basic Education (UBE) got N70.47 billion; N49.030 billion is for Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), with sum of N12.910 billion being additional funds for payment of arrears of fourth quarter; N45 billion is for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); N6.927 billion for Public Complaints Commission and N1.35 billion for the National Human Right Commission (NHRC). The budget had a smooth passage - thanks to Speaker Aminu

Tambuwal’s appeal to members at a meeting on Wednesday. Dr. Saraki in a statement yesterday, said: “Today (Wednesday) at the plenary, the Senate considered and passed the 2014 Appropriation bill. During my contribution on the floor of the Senate on the consideration of the report, I drew the attention of the Senate to a lacuna in the budget, which I considered critical to the effective implementation of the budget. My intervention is simple. “The Appropriation Act we passed today did not consider a valuable indicator of our revenue base- oil production variation. In other words, our national budget is predicated on oil production and price. So much emphasis has, however, been placed on the bench marked price but little consideration on the production side. In recent times, we have witnessed massive fluctuations in the production level with production going down sharply and other times going up. “We have seen production fluctuate from 2.1mbpd to 2.5mbpd and back to 1.8mbpd to 1.9mbpd, all within two years. We have budgeted for on a base-

Abacha’s son charged with keeping stolen N446b Continued from page 1

raigned. He said the new charge, which excludes Bagudu, who was charged with Mohammed, was filed pursuant to Section 181 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) as an amendment to the earlier charge. Enwelum urged the court to accept the fresh charge and deemed the receipt of the charge by the defence lawyer, on behalf of the accused person, as proper service. He said the lawyer, Abdulllahi Haruna, promised to receive the charge for his client. Haruna said Mohammed was absent in court because he was not aware of the new charge. He urged the court to adjourn the case to a further date to enable his client attend court. Bagudu’s lawyer, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), urged the court to grant an order discharging his client in view of the prosecution’s decision to exclude him from the new charge. Enwelum, in reaction to Tarfa’s application, argued that it was unnecessary for the court to made a specific order discharging Bagudu from the charge since the government has already excluded him from the amended charge. Justice Kolo allowed the amended charge. He also granted an order discharging Bagudu from the charge and adjourned the hearing till April 29 for Mohammed’s arraignment. In count one, Mohammed is alleged to have between August and December 1995 at Abuja, dishonestly received $36,480,000.00 made up of cash and travellers cheques, proper-

ty of the Federal Government, believed to have been stolen. Count two alleges that Mohammed, between August and December 1995 in Abuja, voluntarily assisted in concealing $57,960,000.00 believed to have been stolen from the Federal Government. Count three alleged that he, between October and December 1996 at Abuja, dishonestly received $26,913,500.00 believed to have been stolen from the Federal Government. The prosecution alleges in count four that Mohammed, within the same time, voluntarily assisted in concealing $26,913,500.00 allegedly stolen from the Federal Government. Count five alleged that he, sometime in June 1997 at Abuja, dishonestly received $10,000,000.00 believed to have been stolen from the Federal Government. He is, in count six, said to have, between February and December 1997 dishonestly received $87,000,000 and 41,143,000 pounds sterling believed to have been stolen from the Federal Government. Count seven accuses Mohammed of voluntarily assisting in concealing the amounts mentioned in count six. In count eight, Mohammed is accused of dishonestly receiving, between January and August 1998, $167,000,000 and 99,957,000 pounds sterling, believed to have been stolen from the Federal Government. Count nine accuses him of voluntarily assisting in concealing the amount mentioned in count eight. The alleged offences are punishable under sections 317 and 319 of the Penal Code.

‘Only Tambuwal can sack 37 defecting Reps’ From Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja


NLY the Speaker of the House of Representatives is constitutionally empowered to declare vacant the seats of the 37 lawmakers who defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All

Continued on page 59

Continued on page 59

the property before policemen arrived on the scene to persuade them to embrace peace. Policemen were stationed to guard the property. About 1000 passengers on a train travelling from Lagos to the North were stranded as a section of the rail track behind Kingdom Heritage Secondary School was also affected. The flood cut off a large chunk of soil from beneath the rail track and cut the road into two, making if impassable for the train to roll on. A passenger, Sofi Mufiu, lamented that they had spent over nine hours stranded on the track without help from the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC). Eleven cars at the workshop of an automobile painter, Mr Razaq Jimoh, beside Omosebi Hospital, were washed away by the flood. Some of the cars were seen about a kilometre away from the workshop site. Many buses and cars belonging to transport companies were also washed away. A man, who simply identified himself as ‘Israel’ spoke on behalf of the community, saying: “We are angry because this hotel, just for the car park they

want to build, put a slab there and now when the flood was coming last night, the slab blocked the flood and it began to wash back and spread all over the place. We tried hard last night to rescue a paralysed woman. We want government to come and break the slab because we don’t know when another rain will fall and it might be worse than this.” Commissioner for the Environment Abubakar Mora, who toured the affected areas agreed that there was need for an urgent action on the drainage and the slab. He said, “We have seen the cause of the flood; the blockage of the drainage is the cause and we will send our experts here to see and tell us how to go about it. It started from Offa Garage area and came down to this place, but we will do something on time so that this type of tragedy will not happen again.” A heavy rain storm swept across Ibadan early yesterday, damaging some homes and electricity installations. The rainstorm is the first major one this year. Electricity supply was cut in most parts of the city.


Expectant woman, eight others die in Lagos, Ilorin Continued from page 1

ant woman, died. But as I speak with you, there are rumours now that the husband of the woman has committed suicide.” Among the dead was the 12year-old son of the woman who many are holding responsible for the fire. Four cars parked on the road were also burnt. But Mr. Mathew Amen was rescued after he allegedly tried to commit suicide. He was taken to the hospital. Among the early callers at the scene of horror was the Chairman of Kosofe Local Government Area, Afolabi Shofola, who conveyed the sympathy of Governor Babatunde Fashola to the victims. Council of Oworonshoki Youth Forum General Secretary Mr. Kabiawu Babajide, said the high tension wire cut and fell across a drainage and caught fire when it came in contact with wood. He said two vehicles behind the wood were burnt. “People ran away from their houses in various directions and stepped on the high tension wire and they were elec-

trocuted. It was about 30 minutes later before the PHCN cut off power after they were contacted,” he lamented. Babajide said six people died. They included a woman with three children and another expectant woman with a child. Another eye witness, Ladi Joshua, gave the names of some of the dead as “Iya Fatima”, who died with her child and “Iya Jonathan”, an expectant woman who died with her children. A boy he simply identified as “Basit” was electrocuted. According to Joshua, the bodies were taken to the mortuary of a hospital in Yaba after they were rejected at the Gbagada General Hospital. Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) General Manager Femi OkeOsanyintolu, said the incident occurred at 6 and 8, Onabanjo Street. He said a PHCN pole sparked fire when power was restored at about 2.20 am. He said the incident caused panic among residents of Number 6 who stepped on the live wire and were electrocuted. He confirmed that six people died. Two of the Ilorin flood victims were children, identified simply

as Basirat (four) and Garfa (three). The flood, which followed a two-hour rainfall that started at about 11pm on Wednesday, also affected the campaign office of the Interim National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed. A woman who sells plastic tanks in front of the property was in tears as the flood swept away her goods. The two children were said to be on holiday with their grandmother in a building, a few metres, from Royal Shekinah Grand Suites, a hotel on Offa Garage Road. Eyewitnesses said the kids were drowned when one of them opened the front door of their apartment in an attempt to escape the flood that had reached the building’s window. The body of another victim, a man, was discovered at Coca-Cola in the morning. Security agents prevented irate youths from torching the popular hotel. The youths blamed construction on a part of the property for the devastating flood. They were hurling stones at

Mostly hit are Ido, Ibadan Southeast , Ibadan Northwest and the Ibadan metropolis. Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) spokesman Tokunbo Peters confirmed the damage to electricity installations. “The damaged installations have been receiving the attention of engineers for the company to be able to restore power within a short time,” he said, adding: “The rainstorm affected our installations across the metropolis . But I want to tell you that work has reached advanced stage to restore supply to our customers.” An expert in meteorology , Dr Layi Roberts, described yesterday’s rainstorm as a warning for the people to be prepared for heavy rains. “ This is just a tip of the iceberg , because we are expecting heavy rains to be accompanied by violent windstorm . So, it is like informing the people Continued on page 59

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NEWS Two-year jail, N1m fine for HIV/AIDS discrimination

2015: Group endorses Atiku From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja and Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha


HE Senate passed yesterday a Bill to prevent stigmatisation of and discrimination against those living with or affected by the Human Immuno-Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Nigeria. It approved a two-year jail term or a maximum of N1 million fine against any institution or organisation that discloses the status of an infected person. The Bill stipulates a N500,000 fine for any individual who discloses the status of an infected person, which he or she may have obtained in confidence. The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta North), said the Bill would protect the rights and dignity of people living with HIV/AIDS. Okowa noted that the Bill would also encourage those infected, to declare their HIV status in a more friendly Nigerian community. The lawmaker expressed confidence that the risk of transmission would be greatly reduced when the Bill is signed into law. Besides, the Bill makes it an offence for any employer, institution, body or individual to require an HIV test as a precondition to offer employment, access to public/private services or opportunities. It makes it punishable for any educational institution private or public - to demand HIV/AIDS test as part of its routine medical requirements for admission or accreditation of students.

‘Govt quiet on ASUP strike’ From Nwanosike Onu, Awka


CADEMIC Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) President Chibuzor Asomugha has said the union has not heard from the Federal Government on how to end the current national strike. Speaking with The Nation yesterday in Awka, the Anambra State capital, Asomugha said if President Goodluck Jonathan had really intervened, the union would have seen the result. It was learnt that Dr Jonathan intervened in the crisis between ASUP and the Federal Government, which was initially handled by the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike. Following the strike, which has lingered for over 10 months, ASUP met with the government about two weeks ago. The meeting was attended by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Abdulwaheed Omar, members of the College of Education Association of Staff Union (COEASU) and the minister. Asomugha said during the meeting, ASUP and COEASU granted further compromise and took new position so that the strike would end. He said: “Our understanding was that the minister would take the new position to the President. Our timing was that within one week, we would meet again, based on the understanding.”

• President Goodluck Jonathan (second left) cutting the tape to inaugurate the phases three and four of Lower Usuman Dam water treatment plants in Abuja...yesterday. With him are, from left: Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Senator Philip Aduda; Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed and FCT Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke PHOTO:NAN Akinjide. Story on Page 6


Fed Govt protests Mugabe’s description of Nigerians as corrupt

HE Federal Government summoned yesterday the Zimbabwean Head of Chancery, Stanley Kunjeku, over remarks credited to President Robert Mugabe, which depicted Nigerians as corrupt. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Kunjeku in Abuja to protest against Mugabe’s comment. The Permanent Secretary Dr Martin Uhomoibhi, described Mugabe’s comment as “vitriolic and denigrating on Nigeria and Nigerians”. He added: “We were concerned when we read that on the occasion of the 90th birthday of President Mugabe, he took time to vituperate about Nigeria.” The permanent secretary noted that Mugabe’s comments reflected “what we consider to be a strong aversion of our country, remarks which we consider denigrating ...on Nigeria and Nigeri-

•Condemns attacks on Nigerians in South Africa ans in general”. Uhomoibhi said: “He (Mugabe) was reported to have said Nigerians are corrupt people, when he hosted service chiefs on his 90th birthday. “We want to present the strongest protest against that statement; not only does it not reflect the reality in our country, but to come from a sitting President of a brotherly country is most unkind and very dishonourable.” The Uhomoibhi said the Zimbabwean President’s comment was unfortunate, given the role Nigeria played in the liberation struggle of southern Africa. He said Nigeria had always stood by Zimbabwe “shoulder-to-shoulder” since independence and was one of the first countries to congratulate Mugabe on his re-election. “At the point sanctions

were imposed on your country, Nigeria empathised with Zimbabwe,” Uhomoibhi said. The permanent secretary told reporters that Nigeria’s reaction to the comment was not belated, because it had been in the public domain since March 15. “In our diplomatic parlance, we do not react the way people would want us to react. We have to verify and articulate our position,” he said. Kunjeku said Nigeria’s protest would be forwarded to Harare, the Zimbabwean federal capital. Also, Uhomoibhi condemned last week’s attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. He said: “We condemn, in strong terms, any act of racism, xenophobia and discrimination perpetrated by whomsoever, including in that particular country.

“We are appalled that these incidents occur from a country we hold in highest esteem and which is a brotherly country to Nigeria. “We hope that due processes would be taken so that this does not happen (again).” The permanent secretary urged the South African Government to take appropriate actions against those responsible for the attacks. He urged South Africa to abide by its commitment to international standards of behaviour and cordial relations between both countries. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that on April 2 and 3, some Nigerians were hospitalised in Pretoria, after attacks by organised gangs in South Africa. Also, 25 shops belonging to Nigerians in Johannesburg and Pretoria were looted by South African gangs.

Mark seeks review of revenue formula •Senate confirms Omirin, Gana for RMAFC job •Media urged to support govt’s peace, unity drive


ENATE President David Mark called yesterday for review of the revenue allocation formula to ensure “equity and fairness” in revenue distribution. Mark spoke in Abuja after the Senate confirmed Mr Emmanuel Olusanyan Omirin (Osun State) and Alhaji Shettima Umar Gana (Borno State) as members of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAfC). He noted that the perennial agitation for resource control among states was the result of the lopsidedness in the revenue allocation formula. Mark said: “It is one thing to qualify for an appointment but the more important thing is that when they get there, they must do what is right and ensure that our revenue allocation - even our revenue formula, which needs to be reviewed - is reviewed so that we can have some level of equity and fairness in revenue distribution. “As you all understand, the

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

issue of resource control is because of the way revenue is distributed in this country. I think these two gentlemen, when they meet with the others, should be able to look into the revenue formula.” The confirmation of Olusanyan and Gana followed the consideration and approval of the report of the Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. The motion for the confirmation was moved by Olufemi Lanlehin on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee, Barnabas Gemade (Benue Northeast). Also yesterday, Mark urged the media to support the Federal Government’s campaign for peace and unity. Mark spoke in Abuja when the executive members of Senate Press Corps visited him on his 66th birthday. The Senate president noted that peaceful coexistence was

the responsibility of every state. He said: “We should admit that we are faced with problems and we should work together to resolve our differences. The media have been active in this regards, but we need to do more because we can only achieve development in an environment of peace.” The Chairman of the Senate Press Corps, Mr. Cosmos Ekpunobi, hailed Mark’s leadership virtues. Also yesterday, Mark spoke of the need for Nigeria to partner Turkey in industrialisation and job creation. He spoke in Abuja when he hosted the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mustafa Pulat and a delegation from that country, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh. Mark noted that both nations would gain from their bilateral relations. The Senate president urged Nigeria to emulate Turkey as a good example of a developing nation.


He told Pulat and his delegation that Nigeria was an ideal investors’ destination. Mark said the fears of insurgency should not deter anyone from investing in Nigeria, adding that the Federal Government was tackling the menace. According to him, Nigeria is a multi-religious state, which upholds the sanctity of freedom of worship. He said religious differences among the people were not a challenge. Pulat said he was in Nigeria to strengthen the bilateral relationship to enable both countries benefit from it.

DESPITE the agitation for a president of Igbo extraction in 2015, a Southeast political pressure group, the Turaki East Alliance (TEA), has urged Nigerians to support the clamour for the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as Nigeria’s President next year. It said it is the solution to the leadership challenges confronting the nation. The group explained that its endorsement of Atiku followed the consideration of his contributions to the promotion of unity and religious tolerance in the country. “He has proved to be a detribalised Nigerian who could be trusted to carry whole country along,” TEA said. The group’s National Coordinator Comrade Peter Akubuo said TEA’s action was influenced by the need to draft a progressive democrat into the presidential race to salvage Nigeria’s democracy.

Fayemi, Dangote, Obi, others get Champion award

EKITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi will, on Friday, receive the Champion Newspapers’ Governor of the Year (2013) award in Lagos. Fayemi, who was Leadership Newspaper’s Governor of the Year in 2012, will get the Champion’s award in recognition of his developmental strides in Ekiti State, which the organisers said have impacted positively on the people of the state. The President of Aliko Dangote Group of Industries, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, will get Champion’s Man of the Year award. The ceremony will hold at the Inter-continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi will be honoured as Most Outstanding Igbo Personality of the Decade. The management of the Champion said the newspaper had been monitoring developments in Ekiti State and was impressed by the quality of governance under the Fayemi administration, especially the administration’s huge investments in social security, Health, Education, infrastructure and tourism development and their impact on the people. “On all scores, our findings, largely corroborated by that of independent assessors, confirm that Ekiti State, under Dr Kayode Fayemi, has become a model in terms of value creation. “We note, with delight, the uncommon zeal and pragmatism with which His Excellency has pursued the business of transforming Ekiti into a showpiece. Today, it is generally acknowledged that the culture of dynamism now governs Ekiti State in terms of infrastructure development, investment drive and corporate governance. “This is a credit to the vision, tenacity, commitment, dedication, accountability and transparency of Dr Kayode Fayemi’s administration,” the newspaper management said.



NEWS Oil marketer ‘jumps bail’, court told


•Flees to Canada

LAGOS High Court, sit ting in Ikeja, heard yes terday that one of the oil marketers, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, who is being prosecuted for alleged N979.6 million subsidy fraud, has fled to Canada. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said this through its counsel, Mr Emmanuel Jackson, when it addressed the court presided over by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo at the resumed hearing of the alleged theft preferred against Ogunbambo. The marketer and another oil marketer, Habila Theck, are standing trial alongside their firm, Fargo Energy Limited. Justice Onigbanjo, on February 10, issued a bench warrant against Ogunbambo after he failed to appear before the court for the continuation of the trial. But counsel to the accused, Mr Raphael Oluyede, yesterday presented an application, dated February 11, for the court to stay execution of the bench warrant. He also urged the court to restrain the EFCC from arresting Ogunbambo. Oluyede said he sought the prayers pending the hearing and determination of Ogunbambo’s appeal against the bench warrant, which had

By Adebisi Onanuga

been filed before the Court of Appeal in Lagos. The lawyer averred that Ogunbambo was absent from court because he was recently attacked by some gunmen who wanted to abduct him. The EFCC opposed the submission of the defence contained in the application. Jackson said the EFCC had not executed the bench warrant as ordered by the court. He said: “We have deposed in our affidavit that intelligence (information) available to the EFCC is that the defendant (Ogunbambo) has left the country to Canada. The commission is concerned because of the number of cases we have filed against him. “He has abused the liberty of being granted bail and his action is making the criminal law to look like a toothless bulldog.” The lawyer debunked the claim that Ogunbambo was attacked by some gunmen, adding that he was no longer in Nigeria. “This particular application is one that is out of order and ought to be dismissed because it is an abuse of court process,” Jackson said. Justice Onigbanjo adjourned the matter till April 28 for ruling on the application.


APC: GDP rebasing debate is distraction

HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has described as an orchestrated distraction and a mindless public relations gimmick the ongoing hullabaloo about the rebasing of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which its current masterminds said has seen the country emerge as the largest economy in Africa. In a statement yesterday in Washington, DC, the United States, by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said coming after the damning World Bank report, which declared Nigeria as one of the countries harbouring the largest population of poor people in the world, “the rebasing noise is the government’s response to the classification”. APC added: “However, the Federal Government has only succeeded in opening itself to ridicule. This is because if ever there was a clear play at oxymoron, this is it: the largest economy with the largest population of the poor; the largest economy with the largest population of unemployed; the largest economy with the largest population of citizens living in darkness and the largest economy with the

By Olamilekan Andu

worst infrastructure. “Simply put, there is too much poverty in the midst of plenty, and the so-called economic growth the Federal Government has been trumpeting with its dubious statistics is not a result of any deliberate government policies. “Government policies are expected to result in reduction of unemployment, increase in capacity utilisation by manufacturers, increased access to basic needs of life (food, water, electricity, health care, education, healthy environment, etc), increase in transparency and accountability, among others. On the contrary, the country continues to slip down the ladder on all of these fronts.” APC said the Federal Government carried its joke too far by even giving the impression that the so-called emergence of the Nigerian economy as the largest in Africa was a function of the economic policies under President Goodluck Jonathan, rather than rejig the figures calibrated to fool an unsuspecting public. The party noted that “for-

tunately, no one has been fooled by the government”. It said the government, however, succeeded, at least temporarily, in diverting attention from the pervasive and worsening insecurity in the land, the hopeless power situation, which has seen Nigerians publicly protesting being thrown into perpetual darkness, the ticking time bomb of rising unemployment, especially among the youths, the unprecedented massive frittering away and looting of the commonwealth and the total absence of governance. APC said: “The reactions of the economic experts and the business community within Nigeria as well as at the World Bank level to the rebasing hubbub have taken the sail out of the government’s wind and dampened its undue ecstasy over what is nothing but window dressing. “For example, the business community has noted that while Nigeria, with the rebased GDP, is now ranked number 26 with regard to the size of its economy in 2013, it is ranked 147 in its ease of Doing Business report of the World Bank, out of the 189

countries profiled. Even Sierra Leone and Liberia had better ranking. “In the same vein, our ranking in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index is 153, out of 210 countries. There is no better illustration of the disconnect between growth and development; between growth and quality of investment climate. “Also, the World Bank, in a subtle but clear thumbs down, made it clear that the living standards of the citizenry and the productivity that generates those living standards are the key issues here, and that investors in London, New York, Beijing or Tokyo are not necessarily looking at the GDP statistics but how profitable their investments will be in a country. “Therefore, President Goodluck Jonathan and his shadow-chasing economic team should quit wallowing in unnecessary chest-beating over the ‘rejigging’ of figures and the play on statistics and put their shoulders to the wheel to push our nation forward. If they cannot, they should get out of the way and allow those who are capable to do so. Enough of this choreographed distraction.”

Elumelu addresses UN General Assembly


HE United Nations (UN) General Assembly and Eco nomic and Social Council (ECOSOC), on Wednesday, hosted the opening session of the 2014 Forum on Partnerships, titled: The Role of Partnerships in the Implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The event was attended by the UN Secretary General and the Presidents of the General Assembly and ECOSOC as well as all 193 representatives to the UN General Assembly. On the invitation of a panel, chaired by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu, gave the keynote address and outlined his views on the role of the private sector in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. He was the only speaker from the private sector to address the forum. Elumelu highlighted the importance of job creation and power generation to improve the lives of Africans and people all over the world.

Jonathan: Abandoned projects ‘ll be completed


From Grace Obike, Abuja

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has promised to com plete abandoned projects to end the lack of continuity in the country. The President said he had started a national development planning policy to complete such projects, which would improve the lives of Nigerians. He said his administration was putting substantial resources in the plan to complete water projects started before the inception of his administration. Jonathan said the completion of such projects would ensure that clean water gets to Nigerians, eradicate water born diseases and create employment opportunities for waterrelated businesses. The President spoke yesterday in Abuja at the inauguration of the phases three and four of Lower Usman Dam water treatment plant. He said between 2012 and last year, his administration completed 12 dams to pump water supply across the country, for domestic and irrigation purposes. Jonathan said: “The lack of continuity that results in abandoned projects in the country have led to a necessary form of national development planning. We have initiated a policy of completing abandoned projects that will directly improve the lives of our people. “To this end, we are investing substantial resources in the completion of all water projects that were begun long before the inception of this administration. “We are giving priority to reduce the plight of all residents of our cities, including Abuja. “No matter the beautiful layouts, buildings or road networks in Abuja, which facilitate our movements, we cannot say Abuja is a modern town, if people have to have boreholes or generate their own electricity. So, the government must be committed and, of course, we are determined to provide adequate utilities to the residents of this great city. “This administration will ensure it provides facilities, such as power, transportation, housing, water resources and telecommunication, among others.”

•Members of the House of Representatives Rotimi Makinde (left) Sunday Adepoju, Muniru Hakeem and Oyetunde Ojo, PHOTO:ABAYOMI FAYESE after plenary at the National Assembly Abuja...yesterday

SANs, others: we’ll miss ex-Law School D-G Jegede


ROMINENT lawyers described yesterday the death of a former Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Chief John Kayode Jegede (SAN), as a huge loss to the legal profession. Jegede, who spent 24 years at the Law School, nine of them as the D-G, died on Wednesday. He was 77. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, said the late law teacher was a focused and a noble man who was passionate about the profession. “He was a teacher of teachers, a lawyer of lawyers. May his soul rest in peace,” Osipitan said. Another SAN, Malam Yusuf Ali, said Jegede was the Secretary of the Law School when he was a student there. “He became a SAN when he left the school and was a gentleman par excellence. He was someone we all respected. He carried himself well. Nigeria will miss him greatly because he served the country well,” Ali said. Chief Rickey Tarfa (SAN) said the late Jegede was more

•NBA President, others mourn By Joseph Jibueze

than a teacher to him. “I acknowledge him more as an uncle to my close friend, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), the present Ondo State AttorneyGeneral and Commissioner for Justice. We were in Akure less than a month ago to bury Pa Jegede, Eyitayo’s father, who is Prof Jegede’s elder brother. His contribution to legal education and development is immeasurable. I commiserate with the Jegede family and the legal community and the country,” Tarfa said. Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN), who was Jegede’s student, said the late Law teacher would be missed. “Prof Jegede was a distinguished academic and Law teacher. His contribution to legal education in Nigeria cannot be easily quantified. I was privileged to have passed through the Law School at a time he was there. His sense of lawyering and penchant for discipline was emulated by most of us at the time. “I can say that with the pas-

sage of Chief Jegede, Mr Adubi, Justice Orojo and Chief Ibironke, the early generation of Law School teachers has substantially faded away,” Nwobike said. For Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said: “Prof Jegede was a kindhearted man, an astute administrator and a shining light in the legal profession. He was my teacher. A good and noble man has just departed. We will all miss him. May his soul rest in peace.” Former chairman of the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mr Taiwo O. Taiwo said: “It is so sad that the Bar has lost one of the ‘old brigade’ again, coming on the heels of the death of G. O. K. Ajayi (SAN) and Chief Theodore Ezeobi (SA)N. “He (the late Prof Jegede) taught me and several others at the Law School when there was only one Law School. He was a great teacher who taught with ease and made us understand easily too. May his soul rest in peace.” A human rights lawyer Mr Bamidele Aturu said: “He was

dedicated to his work and he moulded us in a very positive way. So, his death is a loss to the legal profession, especially practising lawyers. I pray God TO give HIS family the fortitude to bear the loss.” A lawyer and public affairs analyst Mr Jiti Ogunye said the late Jegede’s contributions to nurturing lawyers could not be quatified. “...He the nurturing of our young Law graduates to become lawyers in Nigeria,” he said. NBA President Okey Wali (SAN) said: “This is really sad. Mr Kayode Jegede was a very good man: gentle, humble and very unassuming. He taught me Law of Evidence at the Nigerian Law School as lecturer/Secretary of the Council of Legal Education.” Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), who was also taught by the late Jegede, said: “He was a great teacher and administrator. He did his best for his country.” A law lecturer at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Mr Wahab Shittu, said: “Prof Jegede was an astute administrator and law teacher who had great impact on students who passed through the Law School...”




IG declares Anambra a safe state


From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Onitsha and Nwanosike Onu, Awka

HE Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Abubakar Mohammed, yesterday declared that Anambra State remained the safest state in the last five years, according to police records. Abubakar, who was speaking at the Women Development Centre, Awka, at the state’s Stakeholders’ Summit announced that there was no bank robbery in the state in the last five years during former Governor Peter Obi. He urged Governor Willie Obiano to emulate his predecessor by sustaining the security situation in the state. The inspector-general hailed the relationship between the police and the government under Peter Obi, which contributed to the improved security, and reassured Governor Obiano that the police would give him a 100 per cent support to rid the state of kidnappers and robbers. He urged Obiano to deal with any ruler, who encourages crime in his community. ‘’ I am ready to support Anambra governor actualise its dream of securing the state. And I must assure you that if the governor is initiating measures to strengthen security in Anambra, he needs the support and it is time for the governor to tell you that the change you are looking for is here.’’ He assured the people that the era of police impunity is over, and ordered that the harassment of road users by siren-crazy politicians should stop. He said the DIG and AIG would return for a meetingon Monday to discuss modalities of stopping the abuse of siren.

‘Ignore bad leaders’


From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

management expert, Dr Olugbenro Oyekan has called on the electorates to ignore bad leaders during next year’s general election. Oyekan attributed the problem facing the country to extractive political institution, adding that the prosperity of this nation are in the hands of the few powerful elites. He spoke yesterday at a conference organised by the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Oyo State chapter to mark the Centenary celebration of Nigeria with the theme: “Defining Nigeria’s Nationhood at 100yrs, the viewpoint of Management”, held at Supreme Management Centre, Bodija, Ibadan. He said until the electorates challenge and face out the extractive economic institutions, we would continue to strive as a nation. The management expert noted that the early the electorates dismantle them the “the bad leaders” the better for the progress of the nation. “Over 100years of Nigeria, the economy have always made the citizen to suffer because of the extra factor affects the growth of the country for their own selfish gain” Oyekan stated He also apportion blame on the electorates because they vote along party line and not for individual with credibility, stressing that this contributes to the woes of the country.

Immigration job deaths: ‘Fed Govt hasn’t paid hospital bills’


From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

HE hospital bills of the victims of March 15 Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment stampede at the Abuja National Stadium has not been paid, it was learnt yester-

day. But the seven bodies deposited at the mortuary of the National Hospital have been claimed by their family members. National Hospital’s spokesman, Dr. Tayo Haastrup, told The Nation that a victim of the stampede, simply identified as Florence, was still receiving treatment. He said she was in a stable condition and might be discharged in the next two days. The Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, had promised that the government would settle the hospital bills of the 19 applicants who died during the stampede. Haastrup said: “All the dead bodies have been claimed. We do not have any body of the stampede victims in the National Hospital again. As I speak with you, all of them have been taken away. “However, we still have one patient of the stampede, a lady (Florence). She may be discharged today or tomorrow. She just had some fractures but she is fine now. We have sent the hospital bill to the Minister of Interior for payment, as he promised when he visited the victims. But it has not been paid. We hope he will keep to his words. Florence is very stable.”


Funeral for Ogun first HoS Degun April 25

HE palace of Awujale of Ijebuland has announced the death of the Madasa of Ijebuland, Chief Adedotun Kayode Degun. He was 85. A statement by the Baagbimo of Ijebu, Chief Fassy Yusuf, on behalf of Awujale’s palace said that Madasa of Ijebuland, who also doubled as the Vice Chairman of Ijebu Council of Chiefs died on March 30. The late Chief Degun, who was the pioneer Head of Service and secretary to the state government, was married to the late Mrs. Christiana Morolake Degun, who died on July 8, 2000. The palace of Awujale praised the life and time of the Madasa of Ijebuland and his service to the nation and prayed almighty God to grant him eternal rest. The statement added that the deceased will be buried in Ijebu Ode on April 25.

•(L-R) Chief Victor Umeh, National Chairman of APGA, Dr. Nkem Okeke, Deputy Governor, Chief Obiano and Abubakar at the Summit in Awka...yesterday

APC’s manifesto plan different from PDP’s, says Gbajabiamila T HERE is a big difference between the roadmap for achieving the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and that of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), House of Representatives Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila has said. The lawmaker spoke yesterday in Abuja when he addressed the European Political Counsellors Working Group on APC’s manifesto and the party’s quest for change. The international session was attended by political counsellors from Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, Hungary, the Netherlands and Belgium. Gbajabiamila stressed that “similarities, if there is any in the two manifestos, is just on paper”. The lawmaker was reacting to the comment in some quarters that Nigerians could not see any difference between APC and PDP manifestos. He said: “We (APC) differ in

From Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja

our roadmap to achieving the manifestos. PDP may talk about free education, but this same party once had a sitting President who set up a private university and did not show interest for quality public education. Same party produced a sitting President who was once a lecturer but now attaches little importance to education.” According to him, APC’s approach to its manifesto on power is different because the party believes that power generation should be removed from the Exclusive list of the Federal Government. Gbajabiamila explained that with APC at the federal level, states would be allowed to generate and distribute power according to their economic

needs. The lawmaker urged the international community to request that the Federal Government and its leadership defend its earlier assertion that Boko Haram sponsors were within the government and had infiltrated its rank. “I don’t know how far it is true that the government now has its own Boko Haram for its own political advantage. Unfortunately, this is same government, which said Boko Haram members were part of its government - and with all the resources at the government’s disposal - could not tame the sect. Everyone here must question the government,” Gbajabiamila said. The lawmaker also said the institutionalisation of political debates in the Nigerian political system should be made compulsory.

Jonathan, Igbo leaders hold PDP unity RESIDENT Goodluck rally in Enugu Jonathan will, today, lead


Igbo leaders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to a “Unity Rally”in Enugu. The rally is PDP’s initiative to consolidate its hold in the Southeast, as as it plans to reclaim the two states it lost to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), in 2015. A statement by the National Vice Chairman PDP (Southeast) Col Austin Akobundu, said the President would be accompanied by Vice President Namadi Sambo; PDP National Chairman Adamu Muazu; Board of Trustees Chairman Chief

From Chris Oji, Enugu

Tony Anenih; Senate President David Mark; Chairman of Southeast Governor’s Forum and Abia State Governor Theodore Orji and Governors of Enugu State (Sullivan Chime) and Ebonyi State (Martin Elechi) Also to be present are notable personalities from the Southeast, including Second Republic Vice President Alex Ekwueme; Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu; Deputy Speaker House of Representatives Emeka Ihedioha; two former Senate Presidents Adolphus

Wabara and Ken Nnamani; Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Anyim; lawmakers and ministers as well as other prominent PDP faithful. The statement from Akobundu said: ‘’This grand rally will showcase our party’s unbeatable record in the zone which, since the Jonathan Presidency, has witnessed transformation.” The event will also be used to welcome returnees and other new entrants from the Southeast to the PDP.

Ngige, APC ask Court to disband Anambra tribunal


HE Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday reserved judgment in an appeal by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the Anambra State elections in November. Senator Ngige and the APC asked the appellate court to disband the State Elections Tribunal on the grounds of bias. They said the court should reverse the tribunal’s decision, which refused Ngige’s application to uphold Paragraph 12, sub-paragraph 5 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act and the cited cases by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. The cited section provides

From Okelo Madukaife

that applications raised in an election petition shall be documented with the replies of opposing parties, while ruling shall be taken with the hearing at the final address. The tribunal, on February 19, drew a distinction between applications and objections seeking to strike out petitions for incompetence, and those seeking to strike out paragraphs of the petition. Paragraphs affected are those related, among others, to the alleged multiple registration by the APGA candidate, which the tribunal described as ‘vague and nebu-


lous.’ The appellants contended that ‘this discriminatory ruling’ had complicated the hearing, as decided cases of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal were cited at the hearing of the application.

He said: “We must insist on political debates. Sometime ago, no one knew (Lagos State Governor) Babatunde Fashola. He was just a Chief of Staff. But his articulation during the governorship debate endeared him to Lagosians. “APC, in its manifesto, believes that you do not need to be popular by name to be in government. Your knowledge of issues of governance counts.” Henry Prankerd, Head of Political and Communication of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria, promised to support transparency during the 2015 elections.

‘Why Ajimobi should be re-elected’ From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


Socio-Political group, Ajimobi-Ajumose Continuity Forum (AACOF), has urged the people of Oyo State to support Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s re-election, saying that he has been able to deliver on the promises he made to the people. The group spoke in a joint statement by its Co-ordinator, Alhaji Remi Azeez, Chairman, Prince Abdul-ganiyu Ladigbolu and Social Secretary, Mr Ola Abraham after a news conference to launch the group at the Cultural Centre, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The group explained that Governor Ajimobi has been able to change the face of the state capital from its status of been the dirtiest city in the country to one of the cleanest through his uurban renewal programme that also changes many roadside traders to become shop owners. “It is the administration of Governor Ajimobi that has embarked upon the highest number of road dualization and construction across the zones of the state which include a flyover bridge, the first to be constructed by a civilian administration. “In the transportation sector, the governor provided luxurious buses, mini buses and tricycles to the teeming masses with the dual purposes of empowering the youth and at the same time alleviating the transformation problem of the people of the state and this service is free of charge to the state civil servants and school children” AACOF stated




•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (third left); Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji (fourth left); his deputy, Kola Taiwo (second left); the Majority Leader, Dr. Joseph Adeyeye, (right); Mr. Kunle Adeola (left); Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi (third left) and Prof. Adebayo Williams (second right) at Aregbesola’s investiture at the United Nations (UN) penultimate Thursday.

‘Call Obanikoro to order’ Fayemi to women: don’t treat cancer with levity L T HE Ekiti State government has distributed thousands of self-examination kits to women to curb breast cancer. This was part of activities marking the first memorial anniversary of former Deputy Governor Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, who died of breast cancer on April 6, last year. The kits were distributed at the headquarters of the three senatorial districts in the state - Ido-Ekiti (Ekiti North); IkereEkiti (Ekiti South); and AdoEkiti (Ekiti Central) - on Monday and Tuesday. The wife of the governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, mobilised women for the two-day rally, which was attended by Governor Kayode Fayemi; his deputy, Prof. Modupe Adelabu; the widower, Mr. Lanre Olayinka; their daughter, Yeside; relatives of the deceased and top government

officials. At each stop, the Project Manager of the Funmi Olayinka Diagnostic and Wellness Centre, Dr. Bola Solanke, took the gathering through practical steps in breast self-examination using the kit. Tuesday’s event featured screening for cancer, HIV/ AIDS, malaria, blood sugar level, blood pressure and body weight, among others. Health officials from the Chike Okoli Foundation; Emzor Pharmaceuticals; Ekiti State AIDS Control Agency (ESACA) and the Ekiti Development Foundation (EDF) conducted the health screening and distributed free drugs in Ado-Ekiti. The programme ended

with a cancer awareness walk from the Funmi Olayinka Diagnostic and Wellness Centre to the Fajuyi Memorial Park. Addressing participants before the walk, Fayemi urged women to go for screening regularly for cancer and gender-specific ailments. He said: “One of the pledges we made after her demise was never to lose women to any form of cancer, particularly cervical and breast cancer. I urge women to voluntarily use the facility at the diagnostic centre and adhere to the advice they receive from the specialists there. “Cancer is still a major scourge in our country and we want to do everything

‘Improved’ GDP has no effect on Nigerians, says Fasuan


LDER statesman Chief Deji Fasuan has said the size of Nigeria’s economy has made no impact in the lives of Nigerians. Fasuan, an economist, said eight of every 10 Nigerians live under dehumanising conditions, without access to three square meals daily, shelter and clothing. The former federal commissioner for Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Abuja, spoke with reporters yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, on the April 6 announcement by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Nigeria’s attainment of $510-billion (N80.3 trillion) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) status. The NBS claimed that the attainment makes the country’s economy the biggest in Africa, an announcement that


From Sulaiman Salawudeen , Ado-Ekiti

has attracted moves by the Federal Government to rebase the economy. Fasuan said: “To me, the announcement is a big hoax. The status of Nigeria as Africa’s biggest economy is a lie, considering the sad realities of many citizens who practically live off the dustbins. “Even if it is true in terms of the physical appearance of the GDP, the question one would ask is ‘does the quantum of the value of the economy and the GDP relate to individuals or citizens constituting the nation state?’ “Until we come to the honest truth that we have no exact statistical data about vital elements of our economy, we cannot reasonably say this is the value of our economy.

“How does the quantum of our GDP relate to the welfare of citizens? What percentage of people has been lifted above the poverty line as a result of the enhanced quantum of GDP? Seventy to 75 per cent of Nigerians live below the poverty line; that is, those who earn less than one dollar a day. “Not uncharitably, some commentators say about five per cent of the population has cornered about 70 per cent of the national wealth. You will now see why the equation of poverty is so skewed against the so-called poor. I am, most certainly, very apprehensive of the future of this country. “The bomb that could explode anytime would arise from not the mob of thugs you see outside everyday, but from the educated mob. There is nothing more dan-

within our ability to stop it. One of the basic ways to stop it is through regular checkups, which can detect cancer early.” Fayemi told women not to rely on traditional or spiritual means to cure cancer, but to seek help in standard health facilities. He said: “I urge our women to see this beyond our approach to tradition and spirituality. It is okay to be spiritual. It is okay to believe in God, but there are several places in the Bible where the word physician comes up. “Physician is not a term of abuse in the Bible; it is a term of endearment and respect. I urge us to, in addition to praying, work to save ourselves. The Bible and the Quran urge us to always work and pray.”

•Omisore: no division in PDP .From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

Omisore. Addressing Omisore, he said: “The election before you is not a joke. The task ahead is not an easy one, but you are a man and not a small boy. You have what it takes to win the election. You have to reconcile with aggrieved party members to make the

job easier.” Omisore said the PDP family in Osun was not divided would win the election. Reacting to former Governor Isiaka Adeleke’s withdrawal from the race a day to the party’s primary, Omisore said disagreements arising from such contests were inevitable. He said the party provided a level playing ground for all

By Oziegbe Okoeki

because Lagos refuses to join the PDP bandwagon? “Obanikoro’s effort is just another greedy and illegal land grab that will fail, as there is no basis for such reckless impunity. One is beginning to believe that Obanikoro’s appointment as minister was to create crises in Lagos while the PDP leads Nigeria to a certain guillotine by each passing day. “What Obanikoro is doing today has no legal basis, but he believes that a sophisticated state like Lagos could be overwhelmed by the use of brute force and misuse of the military. Lagos will certainly show him that such tactics have no place in a democracy.”

Mimiko seeks release of Ondo by-election’s result From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

O •Fasuan

gerous in the world than mobilising an educated mob because they would be operating on conviction and daredevil mind. “When we have two three millions of graduates roaming the streets, that is a gunpowder waiting to explode. I hope and pray that there will be a re-orientation, a quick one at all levels, that we owe Nigeria and Nigerians certain obligations to elevate their quality of life; to lift them up from the abyss of poverty.”

Mu’azu predicts tough election in Osun

EOPLES Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu has predicted a tough contest between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP in the August 9 governorship poll in Osun State. Mu’azu spoke yesterday at the PDP’s National Secretariat in Abuja while presenting the party’s certificate of return to the PDP’s candidate in the election, Senator Iyiola

AGOS State House of Assembly Deputy Whip Rotimi Abiru has urged the Federal Government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to call Minister of State for Defence Musliu Obanikoro to order. Abiru described the alleged use of soldiers by Obanikoro to stop housing projects of the Lagos State government as wicked. He said Obanikoro’s claim that the land belongs to the Federal Government was “annoying”. Abiru urged the Presidency and the PDP to caution the minister, adding: “Was Obanikoro made a minister to further the well known PDP battle to stifle Lagos and a fifth of Nigeria’s entire population just

aspirants, adding that the primary election was observed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Omisore restated his call for the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Ambassador Oluwatoyin Akeju, accusing him of partisanship. He said: “We are already in court to challenge the retention of Akeju as REC and we will do everything possible to resist his retention.”

NDO State Governor Olusegun Mimiko said yesterday that his party, the Labour Party (LP), won the Ilaje/Ese-Odo by-election, which was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Speaking with reporters at the Presidential Villa after meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, the governor said INEC’s reasons for not declaring the LP candidate, Mr. Kolade Akinjo, winner was unknown to the law. He said: “We won the election. As far as we are concerned, the election was concluded. The election was supposed to take place in 22 wards, but election took place in 21 wards. The election results were collated at the unit, local government and federal constituency levels and in line with the Electoral Act. “The requirement for winning election to a legislative house was majority of lawful votes cast and we had majority. So, for us, we have won. We are waiting for INEC to declare the result of that election.” On whether his party would participate in a supplementary election, Mimiko said: “We have won the election and they should announce the result.”

Osun APC holds primary


HE All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State will hold its governorship primary tomorrow. Officials from the APC’s National Secretariat in Abuja have arrived in Osogbo, the state capital, in preparation for the election. In a statement, the party’s Publicity Director, Kunle Oyatomi, said Governor Rauf Aregbesola is the only aspirant who picked and returned the intention form. He said the primary would hold in the 332 wards, add-

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

ing: “The primary will take off at the ward centres from 8 - 10am. “Results will be collated at the local government headquarters from 12 to 2pm. The final collation and endorsement of the candidate will be made at the party’s secretariat in Osogbo later in the day. “We urge members who are qualified to participate in the exercise to do so peacefully.”




EKITI 2014

I won’t sell forest, Fayemi assures M Ise-Ekiti residents E

Kole Ajayi emerges Accord’s flag bearer R. Kole Ajayi has

KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has told Ise-Ekiti residents that he has no plan to sell the community’s “rich” forest. Dispelling a rumour that the government was planning to sell the community’s forest, Fayemi said: “The story that we want to sell your forest is a wicked rumour peddled by the opposition. It is a lie.” He spoke yesterday while campaigning for re-election in Ise-Orun Local Government. Communities visited include Ise, the council headquarters, Ogbese, Obada, Afolu, Ayegunle and Orun. Residents came out in their numbers to welcome the governor, singing the slogan of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and pledging to re-elect him Fayemi explained that he influenced the deployment of soldiers on the Ikere-Ise road, which passes through Ogbese, to ensure the people’s security. He said: “There was a time this road was impassable because of the menace of armed

•LP chieftain joins APC

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

robbers and I called for the deployment of soldiers to save our people from attacks. The security of life and property is very important to my administration and we want our people to have peace of mind. “Our work is not complete. We are here to thank you for your support and ask for the renewal of our mandate.” Pledging to accommodate more senior citizens in the Social Security Scheme for the Elderly, the governor said: “We do not abuse elders, we respect them. We do not kidnap kings and chiefs, we would rather install new ones; and we will not allow our elders to starve, we will give them money.” Urging the people to vote wisely, he described the voter

cards as “cards of freedom, progress and development”. At Obada, Fayemi urged the people to re-elect the administration that renovated the community’s secondary school, gave laptops to their wards, reconstructed their major road and gave monthly stipends to the aged. Former National Legal Adviser of the Labour Party (LP) Biodun Fashakin and his supporters defected to the APC. Fashakin, who ran for Senate on the LP’s platform in the 2011 general election, said APC is “a party of the masses, which has good leaders and trustworthy individuals”. He said he was bringing the LP structure in Ise/Orun Council and from other parts of the state into the APC to ensure Fayemi’s victory at the June 21 poll. On the campaign train were the governor’s wife, Bisi;

Deputy Governor Modupe Adelabu; APC Interim National Vice-Chairman, Southwest, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo; House of Assembly Speaker Adewale Omirin; Ekiti APC Chairman Olajide Awe; Secretary to the State Government Ganiyu Owolabi and other party leaders. The Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Ise/Orun Local Government, Mr. Abiodun Ijatuyi, said teachers in the council were backing Fayemi for reelection. At Ise, an elderly woman, Madam Bimilade Abe, said Fayemi was “a dependable leader”. She thanked him for building the Ogbon Olute Road, which is around her home. The septuagenarian said mud used to splash all over her cloth whenever she went out before the road was built. The governor said he has urged the Arinjale of Ise, Oba Adetunji Ajayi, to provide a land for the establishment of a power station in the town to boost power supply.

Aggrieved PDP aspirants demand refund of nomination fees


IXTEEN aggrieved Ekiti State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirants, who lost the party’s governorship ticket to former Governor Ayo Fayose, are demanding a refund of the N11 million they paid per head for the PDP’s nomination form. The aspirants were said to have made the demand at a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Wednesday night. It is not known if the President acceded to their request or not. A source, who attended the meeting, said the aggrieved aspirants could not convince the President to withdraw the ticket from Fayose. The source said Jonathan insisted that the primary election followed due process. The meeting, which was also attended by the PDP National Chairman Adamu Mu’azu, National Security

From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

Adviser, the Chief of Staff to the President and other party chieftains, was in two segments. It lasted over three hours. It was gathered that the aspirants also demanded compensation and inclusion in the party’s organs, including the Presidential Campaign Committee. The source said the President had a hard time appealing to the aspirants to accept Fayose’s candidature. It was learnt that the aspirants said they withdrew from the race when they discovered that the odds were deliberately slanted to favour Fayose’s emergence. It was gathered that the aspirants expressed misgivings over what they described as the candidate’s “credibility problem”.

One of the aspirants, Senator Gbenga Aluko, was said to be disturbed by “the perceived insensitivity of the party’s leadership to the genuine complaints of the aspirants before the primary election”. He was said to have criticised the party leadership for going ahead with the primary after 16 aspirants agreed to adopt a consensus candidate. Aluko was declared the consensus candidate by 13 aspirants a few days after Fayose was announced winner of the primary election. The President, our source said, told the aspirants that kicking against Fayose’s candidature would end in futility, stressing that their demand for consensus was against the party’s constitution. The source said the aspirants were forced to accept

the position of the President and other party leaders when it dawned on them that they were fighting a lost battle. They were said to have agreed to work with Fayose, but demanded a meeting with Mu’azu to iron out certain issues. Speaking with reporters at the party’s secretariat yesterday, Fayose, who also attended the meeting, said the discussions were fruitful and the aggrieved aspirants have agreed to work together in the interest of the party. Some of the aggrieved aspirants at the meeting include Adeyanju Bodunde; Adubiaro Abibat; Ajayi Deji; Abiodun Aluko and Gbenga Aluko. Others are Aribisala Adewale; Bejide Oluwadare; Obafemi Peter; Ogunbolude Ropo; Ogundipe Modupe; Olubolade Caleb and Omoyeni Adebisi.

emerged the sole candidate of the Ekiti State Accord in the June 21 governorship poll. Ajayi emerged at a colourful ceremony presided over by the National ViceChairman (Southwest), Chief Kayode Ojo, and witnessed by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials. He assured Ekiti people that he would tackle poverty, if elected. Urging party faithful to work assiduously for the Accord’s victory at the poll, Ajayi described himself as “a true indigene” of the state.


From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

Ojo expressed optimism that the party would win the election, saying: “Accord is the only party without controversy and its candidate is the only candidate that is homegrown, with the understanding of the Ekiti terrain.” Also at the Ceremony were the National Treasurer, Mike Leramo; National Woman Leader Hajia Mariam Saleh and the National Youth Leader, Abduralhman Muhamed.

Book for launch

O drum up support for Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi’s re-election, a compendium of events preceding his assumption of office and his achievements will be presented to the public in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, on April 14 at the Jibowu Hall of the Government House. The author of the book, Mr. Wole Olujobi, is a Special Adviser to the House of Assembly Speaker. Olujobi said the book contains the gory events that dogged Fayemi’s tortuous journey to the Government House and what he has done to “put Ekiti on the world map of reckoning”. In a statement, he said the book was to remember the 2007 governorship election that sparked threeand-a-half years of “tortuous struggle before sanity returned to the state”. He said the book was in honour of Fayemi’s political struggle and to celebrate the progressive governance delivered by his administration. Olujobi said the event would feature a photo exhibition picturing “those who fell to the bullets of the evil doers when Fayemi was in the trenches and pre-2007 events”. He said: “A few years

ago, Ekiti State was in a turmoil orchestrated by a notorious gangster, who did violence to our history. Even though one man, Fayemi, led a successful collective rescue mission to save a state under the resultant siege, he did not lead that effort without its pains and travails before a new dawn of development came on October 15, 2010. “My book, Pen in the Furnace: An Account of Travails and Triumphs in the Struggle for Ekiti’s Liberty, tells the story of a people bruised but were propelled by their history of collective resistance to restore honour to their heritage and integrity.”

‘A few years ago, Ekiti State was in a turmoil orchestrated by a notorious gangster, who did violence to our history. Even though one man, Fayemi, led a successful collective rescue mission to save a state under the resultant siege, he did not lead...’

•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (fourth left); Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ife South Local Government Area, Pastor John Oladimeji (fifth right); President, League of Imams and Alfas, Ife South Local Government, Alhaji Soliu Alesinloye (third left); Coordinator, Quick Impact Intervention Project (QIIP), Dele Ogundipe (fourth right); Chief Imam, Mefoworade, Ife South, Alhaji Lukman Arowolo (second left); Rev. Wale Olanrewaju (second right); Chief Imam, Isale-Ife, Ife South, Mallam Azeez Sikirullahi (third right) and others, during a visit by Muslim and Christian leaders in Ife South Local Government to the governor in Osogbo...yesterday.




‘Tackle crimes’

THE government, corporate bodies and individuals have been urged to create jobs for the teeming graduates in the country. The Vice Chairman of Omotayo Group of Schools, Ogijo, Ogun State, Mrs. Sarah Opanubi, who spoke at the 4th Biennial and 1st Joint Inter House Sports Competition of the schools at the NNPC Primary School, Mosinmi, said urgent steps should be taken to arrest unemployment. According to her, “this is necessary to prevent our youths from becoming miscreants, armed robbers, prostitutes and the like.” Mrs. Opanubi, who represented her husband, the Chairman of the schools, Sir Tayo Opanubi, an engineer, said they trained their pupils to become self-reliant in future. “We prepare our pupils to become self-employed. We train them not to become seekers of white-collar jobs,” she added. In the primary school category, Yellow House emerged first; Red House second, while Blue House came third.

Rotary President visits By Seun Akioye

THE Chairperson of Rotary Foundation Trustee, Dong Kurn, will visit Nigeria between Sunday and April 18. According to Rotary International District 9110 President, Olugbemiga Olowu, Kurn will meet with Rotarians in the country’s three Rotary Districts.

CITYBEATS LINE: 08023247888

Teenager: see what police did to me


BOY, Rasaq Adams, 14, has alleged that he was brutalised by some policemen in Lagos. In a petition to the Director, Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Lagos State, Adams accused men of the Akinpelu Police Station in Oshodi, Lagos, of treating him “shabbily.” He said: “At night on March 30, I was with my friends and some others in our street discussing when some policemen came in

By Joseph Eshanokpe

their vehicle; they started picking up people indiscriminately and throwing chairs, bottles and some other harmful objects. We all ran into our various houses. Some of them followed me. I quickly locked my door. The policemen, surprisingly, broke into my room and beat me up ruthlessly. They also beat my younger brother and a girl that stays with us.”

Adams said despite sustaining injury in his right eye, the policemen dragged him and four others to their station, where they spent the night for an undisclosed offence. The following day, he said, the executives of the Community Development Area (CDA) came to bail him, adding that others were asked to pay N4, 000. The policemen, he claimed also damaged his television set and other household

items. “I have spent over N5, 000 to treat the eye and N2, 000 to repair my broken door,” he said. He said he had never had any problem with the police nor had he been arrested for any crime, adding: “We were only having a rest in front of our house when they came.” “Please, I want justice to prevail; the policemen should pay for damages. That is all,” he told The Nation. Now, he waits on the OPD in his bid for justice.

• Swollen eye: Adams

Businessman accuses bank of N5m fraud

• Popoola


BUSINESSMAN, Adebayo Popoola, has accused a microfinance bank (MfB) of defrauding him of about N5million over a property. Popoola alleged that the bank sold a property which a customer used as collateral to him. He explained that after paying, he found that the date of

expiration given to the customer had elapsed. Popoola noted that since the property, a bungalow, became enveloped in crisis, he asked the bank to refund his N5 million, but the it allegedly refused. He said instead of a refund, the bank sued him, the police and the owner of the property to court for alleged harassment and intimidation. Popoola believes that the bank’s game-plan is to frustrate him and delay payment of his money. Popoola said: “I bought a property from an agent, He told me that it was owned by a micro-finance bank. The bank initially asked for N10 million, but we finally settled for N6.5 million. The agent gave me an account number, which I paid the money into. “The agent and my lawyer asked me to pay N5million into the account and bring N1.5 million cash to the agent.

By Jude Isiguzo

After the payment, they gave me a survey plan and Deed of Assignment between the former owner and the person who bought the property from the former owner.” Popoola went home, believing that the deal was sealed. But a month later when he went with his brother to inspect the building, things went awry. He left his brother at the site and went for his lunch only to receive a call from him that there was trouble. He was still eating when his brother called that a woman brought police to the site to arrest him. Popoola ran to Ajeromi Police Station in Ajegunle, where he met one Mrs. Doris Mukoro, who presented herself as the owner of the property, accusing Popoola of trespassing and damaging her property. The case was transferred to Area B Apapa Police Com-

mand, but Popoola petitioned the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) in Ikoyi, for further investigation. The case was still under investigation when the bank went to court and got an order restraining the police from further investigation. But the police had recovered about N1.26 million for Popoola from the agent and the lawyer who shared the commission on the sale of the property. When the bank was contacted, one of its staff, who refused to disclose his name, said: “If our customer has a problem with us, let the customer come to us or seek redress in court.” SFU spokesperson Mrs. Ngozi Isintume-Agu, said the bank wrote a letter of consent and gave to Mrs. Mukoro’s mother to sign and the woman signed, unaware of what she was signing. Mrs. Mukoro, a cold room

operator, said she borrowed N3.5 million in December 2012, adding that she used to remit N30, 000 every day to the bank, until she travelled. She said: “I travelled. When the bank insisted that I should continue paying every day, I went to a lawyer. He said I should look for developers. We went to the bank with the developer, but met a new manager. “I asked for the statement of account, so that I would know what to remit, but they refused to attend to us. My lawyer later gave me a letter to the branch office, but the staff there refused to collect the letter. This happened in May, 2013. “The loan was supposed to expire in September 2013, but the bank sold the property in May. My mother didn’t sign any letter of consent. She can’t even read and write. I’ve asked her severally, but she said she didn’t sign anything. I believe the document was forged.”






Movie location: Bayelsa pledges incentive to filmmakers

•Clarion Chukwura and KOK on the set of Apaye Stories by Victor Akande



IRECTOR-GENERAL of Bayelsa Tourism Development Agency (BSTDA), Mrs. Ebizi NdiomuBrown, has expressed her agency’s intention to give generous incentive to any filmmaker who may consider Bayelsa’s suitable sites as movie location. Ndiomu-Brown who made this offer last Wednesday, during the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) nomi-

nees’ party at The Emperor Palace Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa, noted that those who have attended the AMAAs in the last 10 years and have explored the state would attest to the beautiful sceneries that exist there. “We have beautiful and exotic locations that are good for shooting of your films. Come and experience Bayelsa and we have incentives and talents that will make your work very smooth,” said the BSTDA boss, whose agency has, in the last one year, played host to other entertainment events like Bayelsa

International Jazz Festival (BIJF), Most Beautiful Girl in Nigerian (MBGN) and the Centenary Queen Pageant among others. Incidentally, a recent film shot on location in Bayelsa has been nominated in seven categories at the AMAAs which comes up on April 26. The movie, Apaye: A Mother’s Love, explored the lakes creeks and greeneries of the oil-rich state, while telling a touching story of a woman, Elder Irene Yepayeye Uriah, born in the creeks of what is now Bayelsa State, abandoned by her husband and left to fend for her six children, and her quest to suc-

ceed against the odds. The movie, which is produced by the award-winning crew of Royal Arts Academy, stars Clarion Chukwurah, Kanayo O.Kanayo, Belinda Effah, Mbong Amata and Millicent Jack, among others. While singing praises of Bayelsa’s metropolis and historical sites at the event which paraded filmmakers from several African countries, Ndiomu-Brown told the gathering that the State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, is fully committed to the ideals of entertainment, which explains why he is at the fore front of promoting excellence in the African movie industry. Before the South Africa event, Ndiomu-Brown, at a sponsors’ dinner for AMAA 2014 in Lagos, urged corporate organizations to partner Bayelsa State in making the awards show a world-class event. “It is indeed quite gratifying to note that Nigerians rose to the occasion by helping to further the frontiers of excellence in the entertainbment industry. His Excellency, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson believes in excellence and that is why today Bayelsa is undergoing an uncommon transformation because of his avowed desire to positively touch the lives of our people.”









Two Princes from the Oniru royal family – Muideen Alaba Oniru and Muideen Abayomi Daramola–have been conferred with chieftaincy titles by muslim community in Lagos, reports TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO

•Oba Oniru (second left) with (from left) Prince Oniru; Alhaji Bakare and Prince Daramola


HOSE who came late were stunned to find him already seated. They had thought that being a monarch, he would be the last arrive. But the Oniru of Iruland in Lagos, Oba Abiodun Idowu Oniru, got the turbaning of two princes from his royal family before many guests. The duo of Prince Muideen Alaba Oniru and Prince Muideen Abayomi Daramola were honoured as Mogaji and Sanmori Adinni by the Council of Imams and Alfa of the EtiOsa Muslim Community. The event also featured a N50 million fund raiser to build a modern Islamic centre. Oba Oniru enlivened the atmosphere with interjections that evoked laughter from the crowd. Those who rarely relates with the monarch, saw the funny side of him that day. The ceremony began on a prayer note. The principal host, Alhaji AbdulYekeen Bakare, in his welcome address, noted that despite activities marking Oba Oniru’s 20th anniversary, he still found time to attend the function. Bakare, the Baba Adinni of Eti-Osa Muslim Community, hailed the White cap chiefs for their presence. He lauded the monarch for of donating a land to build an Islamic centre in the community. The centre, Bakare said, would boast of a school, orphanage home and event centre, among others. He, however, solicited assistance from the guests to ensure the speedy completion of the project. The guest speaker and Chief Imam of Obadore Central Mosque, Alhaji Isa Olaleye, spoke on chieftaincy titles in Islam. According to him, the initiative is one of the things that aid the expansion of Islam in the Southwest. Alhaji Olaleye, the Eti-Osa Council of Imams and Alfas treasurer, however, warned that such titles should be given to people of worthy character. He congratulated the new chiefs, enjoin-

•Sheikh Giwa (right) and Sheikh Afinih

•Admiral Ayinla (left) and Alhaji Balogun

Enter ambassadors of Islam ing them not to relent in promoting the cause of Islam. After the lecture, came the moment many had been waiting for - the decoration of the new chiefs. The clerics, who performed the task were led by Chief Mufasir of Lagos, Sheikh Mujitaba Giwa and Chairman, Eti Osa Muslim Community Sheikhi AbudulBari Afinih. With permission from the monarch, Prince Oniru and Prince Daramola were decorated with the turban amid songs. The new chiefs went to pay homage to Oba Oniru before moving round to greet people. Prince Oniru thanked the Muslim community for deeming it fit to honour him. He promised to continue to assist the cause of Islam and humanity. An elated Prince Daramola said the title called for more devotion to Islam.

According to him, the honour came to him when he least expected it. “I will continue to engage in meaningful projects that would develop our community and make it envious of others,” said Prince Daramola, who is the Chairman, Iru-Victoria Island Local Council Development Area. The Arobadade of Iruland thanked Oba Oniru for his tireless efforts at developing the community. The one-and-half hour event featured donation towards the proposed Islamic centre with Oba Oniru leading the pack with a million naira cash donation. Guests were later treated to sumptuous meals and choice drinks. After the vote of thanks, the gathering converged on the mosque for a Jumat Service before heading back to their various destinations.

Among the personalities at the event were Rear Admiral Jubril Ayinla; Oba Oniru’s wives Oloris Arike, Aramide and Risikat; former Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture Alhaji Ibrahim Balogun; his counterpart in Education and Fatima Charity Foundation Vice President Alhaja Sekinah Yusuf; former Lagos State Commissioner for Justice Alhaja Wonu Folami; Alhaja Ramdat Okunola; Lagos socialite and Chairman Alesh International Hotel Alhaji Rilwan Adisa Aleshinloye; Alhaji Sinari Daranijo; Hon Mufutau Kadiku; Bashorun of Lagos Alhaji Sikiru Alabi Macfoy; Alhaja Ashabi Bamgbola; Alhaji Rasak Folami; Alhaja Adeyinka Ayorinde; Abubakar Olasewere; Baba Adinni of Oniru Central Mosque Alhaji Mumeen Elepetumodu; Alhaji Musiliu Dairo; Alhaji Morufdeen Aliowe; Chief Simeon Akinlonu among others. •More picture on page 14




•Alhaji Aliowe (left) and Chief Akinlonu

•Alhaja Ashabi Bamgbola (left) and Chief Funmilayo Daramola

•Alhaja Okunola (left) and Alhaja Folami

•Oloris Arike (right) and Aramide Oniru

•Bashorun Macfoy •From right: Alhaji Aleshinloye; Mr Dairo and Chief Daranijo

•Alhaja Yusuf



•From right: The celebrator, Louis Odion; Edo State Inland Revenue Board chairman Chief Oseni Elamah and Edo State Police Commissioner Foluso Adebanjo

•Oshade Monday Osakwe and Happiness Awonegbe

•From Left: Chief of Staff to Edo Governor Pat Obahiagbon; Oredo Council Chairman Osaro Obaze; Edo State Sports Commissioner Chris Okaeben

•From left: Miss Esohe Adams, Chief Oseni Elamah and Edo State Culture Commissioner Mrs Anena Jemitola










Might is right?


•It is shocking that a democratic govt would involve soldiers in land matters

HE Federal Government of Nigeria sometimes acts like a leviathan. With its muscles, it appropriates anything of worth that it fancies in the federation for itself; while it grudgingly throws the crumb at the federating units, depending on its mood. Last week, the controversial Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, in a classical case of abuse of public power, unlawfully drafted soldiers to forcefully settle a brewing land dispute between the Federal Government and Lagos State. Paraphrasing President Goodluck Jonathan, it appears to us, that the Federal Government does not give a damn, to employ illicit process to achieve what may

‘For the Federal Government under President Jonathan, the end certainly justifies the means. Otherwise, how can soldiers of the Nigerian Army be given manifestly illegitimate order, even if by a high ranking government official, to intervene in a civil dispute between governments that make up the federation? This intervention is clearly not within the contemplation of the 1999 constitution, as amended, nor provided for, in the legal regime that established the national army’

end up being an illicit goal. For the Federal Government under President Jonathan, the end certainly justifies the means. Otherwise, how can soldiers of the Nigerian Army be given manifestly illegitimate order, even if by a high ranking government official, to intervene in a civil dispute between governments that make up the federation? This intervention is clearly not within the contemplation of the 1999 constitution, as amended, nor provided for, in the legal regime that established the national army. So we ask, from what laws of the country did Obanikoro derive the powers to order soldiers to forcefully take over the Ilubirin land, that the state government was in possession of, and had expended huge state resources towards the development of a housing project? The Jonathan presidency must resist the temptation to drag the military towards serving the reckless interest of political jobbers. While his party is entitled to seek to take over political power in Lagos State; we remind Mr. President that as a leader of a democratic government, it can only safely do so, through the ballot box. While his party could, albeit illegally, recklessly employ her officials to act as roughnecks and enforcers, it would be a national tragedy when it employs such stabilising state institutions of the federation, like the military, to achieve alleged partisan purposes. In the dispute with Lagos State, if the Federal Government is truly democratic, it should have approached the court, to declare that it still has subsisting interest in the Ilubirin land, instead of resorting to self-help.

In the present instance, it is Lagos State, the commercial nerve-centre of the country, that is at the receiving end of this abuse of power; the next time it could be any other state; and the instrument of abuse could be any other state institution. To absolve its integrity from this abuse of power by a democratic government, the military may have to clear the air, as to who gave them the unlawful authority to use its personnel for an illegitimate engagement. Nigerians will want to know, whether it was President Jonathan, as Commander-in-Chief, or Minister Obanikoro that sent them on that illegal errand. Such intervention by the military command is necessary, to disabuse the minds of the federating units, that the Nigerian military can be turned to a whiplash by the federal authority. As between the federal authority and the Lagos State government, we are surprised that a matter that should be guided by public records has turned an old wife’s tale. As claimed by the Lagos State government, which is in possession of the land, the documented instrument of transfer of the land from the Federal Government to the state government is in existence. For nonstate officials, like us, it is strange that a land which the Lagos State authority has put to public benefit, through a housing project, would attract such venomous intervention by the government at the centre, which ordinarily ought to be a partner with the state, for any project that will benefit Nigerians.

The Etete conundrum


•Curious French government’s pardon for a convicted money launderer

HIEF Dan Etete is a story. He is a blockbuster story of the typical Nigerian big man conundrum; the confounding story of sinner and sainthood meshed together in one roiling plot. Etete, former Minister of Petroleum Resources during the late General Sani Abacha regime was in the news last year over a controversial, rich-deposit oil block (OPL 245) which he apparently awarded to a Shell company (which belonged to him) when he was in office. After about 15 years of legal and political tussle to keep this choice well, it was eventually resolved when Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) paid out a huge compensation to all parties involved in the disputed oil block. Etete got a large chunk of the booty running into tens of millions of dollars. In other words, he has benefited immensely from corrupting his office while he was a Minister of the Federal Republic. In 2007, the French court sentenced Etete to three years imprisonment after finding him guilty of money laundering charges. Though tried in absentia, the French court also fined him about $440,000 for money laundering. He was also convicted for shelling out about $22 million, believed to be proceeds of official corruption to purchase choice properties in France in 1999 and 2000. The properties include a Chateau in north-west France, a Paris apartment and a luxury villa in the chic Paris suburb of Neuilly. The court had issued a warrant for Etete’s arrest and ordered him to pay $220,000 to Nigeria as compensation for moral prejudice and 20,000 euros in fees.

There is however a fresh twist to the Etete narrative. The French Ministry of Justice by a letter dated March 7, 2014, supposedly granted a state pardon to Chief Etete. Consequent upon this pardon, his counsel wrote to the French ambassador in Nigeria to accord the former minister recognition and deal with him as a free man without constraints. The letter states further: “As you know, Mr. Dan Etete, eminent personality in Nigeria is a great friend of France and has been so for many years. “In spite of the judicial vicissitudes that he has unfortunately known in the beginning of the year 2000, he is now free of any constraint and complies with the fiscal and legal French administrations.” The Etete story and its fairy tale denouement leaves numerous gaping questions unanswered. Though it has once again exposed the weakness in the Nigerian legal and anti-corruption systems and their inability to rein in and prosecute corrupt officials, the French system in spite of its initial efforts, may have ended up doing a yeoman’s job as well. We are not told what Etete did to earn a French state pardon; we are not informed whether he had paid those fines levied on him by the courts and we do not know what has happened to the premium properties acquired by the erstwhile felon. We urge the French government not to promote corruption and criminality by aiding and abetting a convicted felon escape retribution and punishment. We urge the French government to endeavour, even though she has the prerogative of

pardon, to confiscate all the cash and property recovered from Chief Etete and repatriate same to Nigeria, their country of origin. We also urge the French government to ensure utmost good faith and transparency in this sordid Etete affair. In respect of the Nigerian government, we dare say that this is another sad testament to a debased and amoral society that is not only incapable of fighting crimes and social vices; it actually condones them, elevating them to a form of national ethos. It is quite apposite that in all the simmering scandals trailing this fellow, not a word has been issued from the Nigerian officials. Quite typical.

‘In respect of the Nigerian government, we dare say that this is another sad testament to a debased and amoral society that is not only incapable of fighting crimes and social vices; it actually condones them, elevating them to a form of national ethos. It is quite apposite that in all the simmering scandals trailing this fellow, not a word has been issued from the Nigerian officials. Quite typical’

After Rwanda’s Genocide


N Monday, Rwanda commemorated the victims of a genocide unleashed 20 years ago by Hutu extremists in power then. More than 800,000 people, mostly Tutsi men, women and children, were systematically hunted down and brutally murdered over a period of just 100 days. The world stood by and let the blood bath happen. Over the past two decades, Rwanda has done an impressive job of rebuilding its institutions and economy. To bring perpetrators of the genocide to justice, the United Nations has conducted more than 70 tribunal cases, Rwanda’s courts have tried up to 20,000 individuals, and the country’s Gacaca courts have handled some 1.2 million additional cases. Incredibly, Tutsis and Hutus, survivors and former killers, now live side by side. The government of President Paul Kagame has transformed Rwanda into an island of order and relative prosperity in a poor and politically volatile region. Despite this, the genocide has left a legacy of unanswered questions and uncorrected failures. It is time to face them. The international community cannot hide behind euphemisms. The reluctance to use the word “genocide” because of the moral horror it carries and the intervention it demands does not change realities on the ground. It did not spare the United States accusations of shameful paralysis during the Rwandan genocide, and it will not protect the international community from the judgment of history for mass murder now or in the future. Recognizing the need to respond appropriately to such situations, President Obama created the Atrocities Prevention Board in 2012. But as events in the Central African Republic, Syria and Sudan make clear, the United Nations, regional organizations and allied countries also need to set up international contingency plans to deal with mass atrocities. It is time for France to open its records to public examination. France had close relations to the Hutu-dominated government that planned and incited the genocide. A lack of clarity about France’s role has poisoned its relationship with the Kagame government and hampers France’s actions in Mali and the Central African Republic. Mr. Kagame must also be held accountable for abuses in Rwanda and outside its borders, where he has gone after critics in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Europe. Civil and political rights in Rwanda are severely restricted. Dissidents and opposition political leaders are subject to harassment, detention and torture. Several have disappeared or been killed. Addressing the poisonous legacies of Rwanda’s genocide is the only way to avert future tragedy, and it is the best way to honor Rwanda’s dead. – The New York Times TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh

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IR: It now seems a decade since the suspended Governor of Nigeria’s apex bank, the buzzing Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was mauled black and blue for taking the funds of the central bank to procure donations for the victims of January 20 attack in his home state of Kano. It was prominently concluded by pundits then, that Sanusi’s gesture was a marginal failure in fairness, in that a similar charity was never replicated during the aftermath of prior incidents in other parts of the country. However, one thing was eventually conceded by the same pundits: it was licit for CBN as a moneyed public institution to partake in corporate social responsibility. Then there came the news recently, that Dr Paul Orhii, Director General of NAFDAC was in Makurdi to donate relief materials




Orhii’s ‘NAFDAC’ donation

worth N20 million, to the internallydisplaced victims of the Fulani-Tiv crisis in the state. What readily comes to mind reading this is ‘when did NAFDAC become a disaster management agency?’ Or besides, ‘when last did we witness the grieving face of Orhii extending similar gesture to crisis victims in Konduga, Borno State or flood victims in Lagos State? In the law of compassion, victims everywhere deserve the common care of all and sundry, regardless of

positions and capacities. But charity is not done with a flagrantly borrowed hand. Most appropriately, we would expect to soon see the good Samaritan NAFDAC DG in Lafia, Nassarawa State delivering more donations to another sets of displaced persons from the same crisis. Recall that the compass of NAFDAC’s constituency captures the wide country of Nigeria, not only the boundary of its Food Basket. Perhaps this may not have been

the first time ‘NAFDAC’ would be found to be overreaching its professional duty of ‘safeguarding the health of the nation’, through preventive vigilance against health-related disasters (as against the passive offer of relief items that was the official preserve of the likes of NEMA). Yet we have every reason to doubt if any stakeholder could categorize the sad crisis in dear Benue as a purely health crisis, for which an agency like NAFDAC may be required to render assistance.

tive sources of power for daily operations; and this of course, has impacted negatively on economic activities along this axis. At some point, one could not stop to wonder how the state’s High Court and the magnificent Mega School Complex located in this area cope with the situation; when power-electricity is needed for court operations and academic activities during school hours. Unfortunately, from enquiries made so far, no one seems to have an answer to the question of that could be wrong with the power supply at Igbodigbo! No one can tell point blank why those in charge have not come up with a solution to this depressing situation. Sir, it would be heart-warming

to the people at Igbodigbo, if a detailed enquiry is carried out on this matter and solution proffered, so we could also enjoy the relative (not yet stable) power supply being enjoyed by other people within and around Okitipupa Local Government of the state. I may not know like some other persons out there, what is responsible for the perpetual darkness which has engulfed Igbodigbo up until now, however, I do know for certain that your timely response and intervention will put smiles on the faces of the people, and economic activities will boom better for the prosperity of the people in particular and the state in general.

Mimiko, save us from perpetual darkness in Igbodigbo

IR: I wish to appeal to the Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, to urgently intervene to ameliorate the power supply problems confronting the people of Igbodigbo, in Okitipupa Local Government Area. If I many use the word perpetual to describe the protracted darkness being experienced by the people of Igbodigbo; suffice it to say, it is a heart-rending experience which has lingered for too long. The last time the people had a feel of power supply was in December 2013, and that was after some months of darkness as usual. It is definitely not an understatement that powerelectricity is a luxury in this part of the state. If power supply were erratic in Igbodigbo, it probably

would have been a thing to be thankful for; but on the contrary, it is nothing close to it; it virtually does not exist. The irony of the matter is that, just a few metres away from Igbodigbo, power supply is seen around the metropolis; areas stretching from Okitipupa market to Broad Street, through to Estate and its environs what people at Igbodigbo scarcely see. Day in, day out, household and other institutional operations run on generators for those who are able to afford its cost. This is certainly not good enough for the state’s economy and well-being of her indigenes at this location. The situation without mincing words, has further eroded the economic power of the people, as they have to depend on alterna-

• Adm. Irinyemi T. Stephen Okitipupa, Ondo State

Two years ago, Thisday had reported another N20million worth of relief materials were donated by the same NAFDAC DG to the same constituency of Makurdi. To quote the newspaper, “The NAFDAC Director General’s estimable donation to the flood victims in Makurdi was said to be the single largest by any organisation, individual or group apart from the state and federal government donations.” If all had promptly contested the legality and probity of NAFDAC DG’s donation to Makurdi flood victims alone back in 2012, another N20million in ‘NAFDAC’ relief materials would have been spared from the brunt of unsavory executive diversion. Our able NAFDAC DG might have been in Makurdi for his perceivable long-started personality promotion and publicity stunt that seems to be geared toward a possible political ambition in the near future. But is the DG wrong to flaunt political ambitions according to any law and convention in the land? Not at all and never in any way, except that Orhii is currently not a political office holder at least with strict regard to his technical line of duties. If Orhii must be found ‘guilty’ of any shrouded political campaign, let him be in his personal capacity as Benue indigene not in the professional name of NAFDAC and its regulatory activities. Until we stop seeing corruption through the screened Google Glass of financial thievery alone, rampant administrative misconducts will continue to wreck havoc upon leadership standards in our country, where there is already a general consensus in the over-existence of its deficits. • Mazhun Idris




'Niggers' with attitude Email: 08038551123, 08111845040


T is not what you call him, but what he answers to that matter most. This minute, another innocent child is born into the world as a Nigerian ‘nigger.’ He will grow up pitifully, as just another poor black ant. His parents shall name him Clinton, Dave, Cregg, Oliver, Richard, Lovett, Colet, Da Silva, Humphrey, Jackson, to mention a few. His real names: Akanbi, Chiedu, Chimaroke, Isichei and so on shall become his “native names” or “middle names;” names he shall grow to loathe and be ashamed of. At a tender age, he shall be taught to despise anything and everything Nigerian, by parents who will persistently bemoan the erosion of the Nigerian culture. That impressionable child will be enrolled in schools that teach the superiority of western civilization. He shall be taught to think of Africans, Nigerians in particular, as an inferior race. He shall be psychologically defrauded and taught to accept his place as member of a hostage race and generation. As he grows up, he too shall learn to evolve a masochistic appetite for alien norms, unearned riches, undeserved acclaim and everlasting humiliation. Time

and over again, he shall learn to assimilate and project “imported condescension” as the next best palliative to his innate malaise. Like his forbears, he will get too impatient for his daily dosage of indoctrination and imported disdain and thus quit gawking at celebrated perversion on cable TV, social media and foreign news publications to be part of it. He shall doggedly sweat his way through standoffish, ill-bred and disdainful foreign customs and immigration officials in order to enjoy his share of dishonor and racial profiling abroad. Abroad, he shall labour to be part of what kills him. Like hordes of Nigerians slaving away abroad, he shall strive and try the patience of reluctant Caucasian hosts with his recalcitrant corruption and doggedness for eternal humiliation. He shall crowd the sidewalks of New York, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and London, sweeping the streets, doing the dishes and washing the anuses of elderly Caucasians with the shameless carriage of “a nigger who would rather die than return home.” And if he is fortunate to come from a privileged background at home,

‘It is what makes the Nigerian Presidency nurture insults from perverse caucasian governments threatening to withdraw financial aids if Nigeria fails to legitimize same-sex copulation and marriage. It is what makes an average Nigerian lose his head in arrant madness over foreign soccer leagues. It is what makes the Nigerian lust to be less than to the pleasure of the so-called “first world”’


N a day the All Progressives Congress (APC) held a hugely successful congress in the 236 wards in Ogun State, I returned to Abeokuta at about 8pm to the warm embrace of the illumination provided by the new highways. From Breweries Bus-stop, cruising towards the city-centre, I was fascinated by the illuminated skies around Akin Olugbade road, provided by the lights adorning the beautiful roads constructed by the Amosun administration. Momentarily, I thought I was somewhere in Europe. Who could have imagined this is possible in Abeokuta? I recall that Pastor Tunde Bakare came to Abeokuta not long ago and echoed the same words: no one would have thought these things are doable. But Senator Ibikunle Amosun has surprised everyone. A couple of our friends in the media who are from Abeokuta have equally expressed pleasant amazement. One said he found it difficult to locate his house by virtue of the transformation of the state capital. If Amosun could accomplish all these in less than three years, one can imagine what the state will look like by the time he completes eight years. Hear the United States’ Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, as reported in the Vanguard, Nation, Daily Independent (28/02/14). “What I see is fantastic, rapid development in Abeokuta. The roads, the bridges, the flyovers are very, very impressive.” Imagine if the Ambassador had had the opportunity to visit Ota, Aiyetoro, Ilishan/Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu and out-of-the-way areas like Ilara/Ijoun, etc. where the “very very impressive roads, the bridges, the flyovers” he saw in Abeokuta are being replicated! Interestingly, I passed through Ota on that fateful day of the APC Ward Congress on April 5, and gasped for breath! This is an area I frequented between 2005 and 2011. Is this Ota? Who could have imagined the possibility of all these three years ago? The beautiful Ota township roads, the pedestrian walkways - under construction; that axis used to be hell in terms of appalling state of the roads and attendant human sufferings. So, it is actually possible to jump-start development... But my mood has now changed. To think that Amosun accomplished all these - to speak in local parlance - by managing money, cutting this, cutting that, reducing that cost, cancelling that other one altogether - sometimes making enemies in the process, since some people are already used to getting free money from political office holders at the expense of development - has the tendency to make one feel downcast. Here are the reasons. The Federal Government sits on 52 per cent of the rev-

abroad he shall dwell, enabled and hampered by the lowliness of his mental skies. He shall desperately seek to impress caucasian course mates and neighbours with extravagant parties and insane acquisitions. He shall traipse the largely well kept streets – by immigrants like him – of London and New York in his desperate quests to purchase monumental forgetfulness at the mall. The over-celebrated malls of America and Europe shall continually whet his yen and titillate his airs. They shall become heaven to the ‘hellish’ markets of Ajegunle and Oyingbo ‘Ibo-made’ products. He is everything that is wrong with the black race. So pronounced is his inferiority complex that the tragedies of his civilization perpetually wail in its littlest details; take for instance, the contemporary Nigerian’s obsession to host extravagant wedding ceremonies and birthday parties abroad to the benefit of the host state and loss of valuable revenue abroad. It is even more amazing to see him obsess about foreign football leagues while the local football league suffers a slow, gruesome death. Like tadpole in Iju-Ishaga road crater, he believes if he could wade in the puddle for so long, he would grow scales and scissor-tail like an alligator in the English wild. An inelegant ‘mumu,’ he keeps pretending to channel joy and fulfillment from the attainments of another land while he bemoans the “poor leadership” that’s “killing Nigeria.” In response, he seeks escape by renouncing his roots. He conveniently forgets that, no matter how long the tabby cat pretends to roar like a lion, it will forever remain a cat…a whiny, pitiful parlour pet. The Nigerian youth has learnt to justify his moral claim to the successes of western civilization. He has learnt to intone that the so-called “first world” was built from the

blood and sweat of his slave ancestors thus his right to a stake in the “first world.” Thus today, the average Nigerian continually celebrates his cultural graduation from the servitude of slavery to being verbally nettled condescendingly as a “third world nigger” and subsequently distinguished by association with his perceived level of evolution. The Nigerian ‘nigger’ no doubt personifies the imagery of the black nigger in Chika Onyeani’s “Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success: A Spider Web Doctrine.” He suitably illustrates Onyeani’s depiction of the black race as a consumer race and not a productive race. “We are a conquered race and it is utterly foolish for us to believe that we are independent. The Black Race depends on other communities for its culture, its language, its feeding, and its clothing.” “Despite enormous natural resources,” he says, “Blacks are economic slaves because they lack the ‘killer-instinct’ and ‘devil-maycare’ attitude of the caucasian, as well as the ‘spider web economic mentality’ of the asian.” Onyeani calls for economic liberation through hard work, self-reliance, entrepreneurship, and fiscal discipline; he advocates building of better black neighborhoods instead of moving to hostile white neighborhoods; he appeals for unity, because “When spider webs unite, they can be a lion” (Ethiopian proverb). Onyeani condemns self-destructive behaviors such as ethnic warfare, dictatorship, black-on-black crime, and slavery in Africa. But fitting as it is to the Nigerian malaise, Onyeani’s literature is just another version of Johann F. Blumenbach’s human racial classification in which the “caucasian” is at the top of the hierarchy and the black is at the bottom. Capitalist Nigger is also reminiscent of the French philosopher Lucien Levy-Bruhl’s “primitive” or “prelogical mind,”

which he originally attributed to the Africans; and Hegel’s exclusion of sub-Saharan Africa from the world history among others. Like Onyeani I believe in the liberating character of the truth. However, I do not subscribe to his legacy of disbelief about Africa which permeates European imagination. Instead of confronting old stereotypes, Onyeani recites them with relish, thereby refreshing erroneous notions in the reader’s mind. His description of the African as non-productive, lazy, slavish, Neanderthal, dishonest, undisciplined and genetically unable to take care of himself is contemptible even as it speaks to the core of the Nigerian nigger. I do not agree with Onyeani for his “Capitalist Nigger” epitomizes the worst of blasé witticism that serve like double-edged sword, decapitating plausible realities and counter-arguments in its quest for applause. Yet in his subtle narcissism subsists truths, relative truths if you like. It rediscovers and plumbs the depths of inferiority plaguing the Nigerian nigger. It is what makes the Nigerian Presidency nurture insults from perverse caucasian governments threatening to withdraw financial aids if Nigeria fails to legitimize same-sex copulation and marriage. It is what makes an average Nigerian lose his head in arrant madness over foreign soccer leagues. It is what makes the Nigerian lust to be less than to the pleasure of the so-called “first world.” It is an emotional attachment, a bond of interdependence between captive and captor that develops when someone threatens your life, takes away your freedom, and doesn’t kill you. It is what causes the Nigerian to bark like a stray dog, pitifully seeking the collar end of the leash of the “first world.”

Between Abeokuta and Abuja By Soyombo Opeyemi enue allocation from the federation account while the 36 states share 26 per cent. It has been like that before President Jonathan came to power, so it has nothing to do with him per se. Among those 36 states is Ogun. When you divide the 26 per cent by 36, you have 0.7 per cent - but that is assuming the allocation is shared equally. But it is not, so Ogun State ends up with about 0.3 per cent out of the 26 per cent every month. Despite the gargantuan 52 per cent being collected by the federal government, virtually all the federal roads in Ogun State are in tatters: Atan-Agbara road (Agbara is an industrial hub in Nigeria), Owode-Ilaro road, Ikorodu-Sagamu highway, etc. I’m sure the Minister of Works has never heard the names of some of these roads let alone their locations. You see the futility of having federal roads in Nigeria. You see the grave injustice in the federal government getting as much as 52 per cent while the states are starving. Wait a minute; the Nigeria Police Force is an agency of the federal government. But it is from the paltry sums being collected by the states that the police are equipped. So, from the meagre 0.3 per cent Ogun receives from the federation account, the police are also being funded! Until the federal authorities started their problem of don’t touch this federal road, don’t touch that one, Ogun had been taking from the 0.3 per cent to repair the completely failed portions of the socalled federal roads. Imagine the amount the state government spent to repair parts of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and several other federal roads! This is because the masses don’t like to differentiate between federal and state roads. Once any road is in Ogun territory, then Amosun must be responsible for its maintenance and reconstruction! Again, despite the pretensions in the concurrent list, power is still in the exclusive list of the 1999 Constitution. By the time the modernization going on in Abeokuta, nay Ogun is completed, there is no guarantee that the entire state capital can be illuminated like London, Paris or Berlin because Abeokuta currently gets 20 megawatts whereas it needs at least 80 megawatts, according to Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company! This much I experienced last Saturday, after I exited the illumination of Akin Olugbade, Ibara-Totoro and The First Bridge, and moved to Abiola Way, facing Ijaiye/Sapon from Iyana-Mortuary - all modern highways constructed by the current government. Is it then proper for electricity to still be in the exclusive

list (notwithstanding the so-called deregulation, backed by a subordinate legislation) when each state, local council, community, household, etc. ought to have the freedom to generate its own electricity and use it for its own purpose - in the 21st century? For the umpteenth time, I ask that these federal roads should revert to the states. The Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and National Assembly (NASS) should ensure that in the new revenue allocation template, Abuja (FG) gets 25 per cent from the Federation Account, while Abeokuta (Ogun) receives 1.5 per cent. Each of the 36 states should receive at least 1.5 per cent from the federation account. We are all from the states, there are no federal people. Concentration of powers and money at the centre has ruined Nigeria, drained it of vitality and made its development elusive for many lamentable years.The federal government should now concentrate on core federal matters such as foreign affairs, currency, and defence while powers are devolved to the states. With more revenue to the federating states and a truly federal constitution, the states will be in a position to maintain the highways (at cheaper costs), open up the bowels of their lands, revive agriculture, provide potable water, construct railway, generate and distribute electricity, provide security for their own people, and indeed, develop at their own pace – re-enacting and promoting healthy rivalries of the glorious days of the 50s and 60s… and building a strong and enduring United States of Nigeria. • Soyombo, a public affairs analyst, writes from Abeokuta.

‘Each of the 36 states should receive at least 1.5 per cent from the federation account. We are all from the states, there are no federal people. Concentration of powers and money at the centre has ruined Nigeria, drained it of vitality and made its development elusive for many lamentable years’



COMMENTS Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things –¯ Winston Churchill


OMETHING happened on Saturday last week. Though that was not the first time that such would be happening, what makes it unusual was the timing. Around 6.15am, l received an SMS on my phone from a reader of this column. It was a one-sentence stinker: ‘You are … Sanusi.’ It was sent in from +2348105419482. The text obviously was in response to my last week’s column titled: ‘Feeble leadership in troubled times.’ My mind started wandering over why someone would wake up early in the morning to start cursing fellow being for saying the truth. The kernel of disgust of this particular reader, like other respondents that earlier sent in mild responses, must have been my catalogue of the inadequacies of President Goodluck Jonathan during this troubled period of Nigeria’s history. Some in those numerous text messages actually accused me of putting all the nation’s problems at the door step of the “innocent” president. But they failed to tell me who else should be held responsible. They must have forgotten the cliché that uneasy lays the head that wears the crown. It was in the process of my cogitation over that indecorous text message that the federal government released on Sunday, its curious rebasing of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) index. That index rebasing has been widely acknowledged to be necessary and laughably unrealistic for putting the country as having the biggest economy in Africa - when empirically, the reversal is the case. However, no matter how long overdue the rebasing might be even with the touted last one reportedly done in 1990; it is unhelpful and deceptive for government to put Nigeria’s GDP at $509.9b, far above South Africa’s $370.3b. Could this be another pre-election year ego massaging for the federal government? The Economist, in a recent aftermath report, dusted government’s rebasing by saying: “Nigerians are not richer than they were on Saturday night. The majority of the country’s 170 million people live on less than a dollar a day”. Mr. Francisco Ferreira, World Bank Chief Economist, Africa Region carpeted the spurious rebasing efforts to wit: “What matters is improved living standards for everyone and the productivity that guarantees those living standards.” The Labour movement in the land pointedly told the government that a good GDP without jobs is mean-


ECENTLY, two commissioners in Abia State government were suspended indefinitely for allegedly flouting the state government’s directive against illegal taxation and extortion of money from people of the state. The affected commissioners are Chisom Nwamuo, Commerce and Industry, and Ikechukwu Emesiombum, Transport. Their suspension by Governor Theodore Orji was made public via a statement issued in the state capital, Umuahia by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Eze Chikamnayo. Before now, the state government had expressed worries at the negative image created for it by multiple revenue agents, blocking traffic and harassing innocent citizens all in the name of collection of taxes and levies. To arrest that ugly development, the state government decided to streamline taxes and levies in the state. As part of the implementation process, the government set up a State Internally Generated Revenue Committee, which is expected, among other things, to organise annually, the State Revenue Economic Summit (SRES) to interface with the tax-paying community and chart a roadmap towards

‘Although, the suspended commissioners in Abia have not been found guilty of complicity in the alleged harassment and extortion of citizens over tax payment, Governor Orji’s decision to suspend them will not only pave way for proper investigation into the matter, it will serve as a deterent to other appointees that may be nursing such ambitions’


The burden of a critic

• Jonathan

ingless and that the rampaging reality in the country include – hunger, unemployment and poverty. The incident gave me nostalgic feelings of when I was an editor; ordinarily, I would have instructed one of my good reporters to conduct a broad Vox Pop with the masses on the streets of this country to know their true feelings and assessment of the kangaroo rebasing by this administration. The report would have been the authentic rebasing of the GDP, not this officially doctored one. What is sadly emerging in the polity is a regular pattern of mischievous propaganda by this government which was meant to cover up its avoidable lapses. This column recollects that some days ago, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy openly lied to Nigerians when she was visited by delegates

of the Arewa Youth Forum, that 1.8 million graduates join the labour market annually in the land. And that the government generated 1.6million jobs last year for Nigerians. She attributed source of her concocted data to the National Bureau of Statistics which she said, was arrived at “after two months of methodological work.” But like the newly released rebasing, she didn’t provide concrete evidence to show that the country actually produces 1.6million jobs annually, the quality of the jobs, the government agencies that gave out these jobs and names of beneficiaries if indeed they are not ghosts. Madam Ngozi ought to realise with all her international years of exposure on the global level that a concocted positively rebased GDP without sustainable and viable jobs is nothing but a ruse. This column’s critique of the Jonathan administration is not out of malice or personal vendetta but out of concern and patriotic fervour against the unwary ways things are degenerating in the nation. It is also not borne out of sympathy for any opposition party or particular individual but out of disappointment over the epileptic way that the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been leading this country in the last 15 years. This column wants change in all ramifications in the land and what is quite clear is that the ruling party is now bereft of ideas on how to move the country out of the woods. Despite this fact, it remains impervious to any call for change that could possibly give Nigerians a new lease of life. Benjamin Disraeli once said: ‘Circumstances are beyond human control, but our conduct is in our own power.’ Even if the circumstance of Boko Haram is beyond Jonathan’s control, could it be justified that his ham-

Abia’s war against illegal taxation By Nwadinma Ukonu acceptable tax procedure. The committee will also organise advocacy programmes to sensitise the people and corporate organisations to draw their support as well as review the existing state laws and compare same with the recommendations of Joint Tax Board/ Ministerial Implementation Committee (JTB/MIC). It is expected that with the operation of the committee, there would be enhanced revenue and less acrimony between the state and its citizens on the one hand, and private investors and their associations on the other hand on collection of levies and taxes. Besides all revenue generating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were compulsorily integrated into the IGR committee to ensure uniformity in the execution of the new policy. As the government moves in that direction, it also evolved the policy of conducting all its businesses through the electronic payment system. Taxes and levies are now paid into banks to check fraud. However, instead of operating in line with the government directives for the final harmonization processes, those who have been benefitting from the illicit act and those hellbent on continuing with it without minding the consequences on the people and image of the government went ahead to collect the illegal levies with impunity. Unfortunately for them, their cup filled recently following reports by concerned stakeholders that some officials were imposing unauthorised taxes and charges on traders and other people in the commercial city of Aba and environs, coupled with the protest by some aggrieved Aba market women who took to the streets in protest of what

they described as heavy imposition of taxes by government officials. The development is not peculiar to Abia State. It is and has been a common problem and practice in the states across the country which has been partly responsible for the dwindling IGRs. The case of Abia is somehow unique because the people are not fond of, or disposed to paying taxes and levies. They had always wanted government to do everything for them free. They had argued that they did not see the outcome of the ones they have paid to the past governments in the state. It took the developmental strides of the present government in all spheres in the state to convince the people to start paying levies and taxes again. But instead of the agents to be collecting the little ones that are being paid, some of them in their desperate quest for personal enrichment started engaging in illegal collection of taxes from citizens. It is obvious that people and agencies saddled with the responsibility of collecting revenues for governments at all have devised all sorts of illegal means of extorting money from them, while diverting them into private pockets without government’s knowledge. The practice has become part of the problems bedeviling governance in the country and has proved hard nut to crack for successive governments at all levels. The most annoying aspect of the ugly trend is that those who are not in the knowhow of how government revenue is being derived or collected would always heap blames on the doorstep of the man at the helm of affairs of government in the state. This is even when such man may or may not be aware of what his commissioners and other tax collectors are doing in the field

fisted approach is also beyond his power: If we agree that the economy is not doing well, can the president, with all the awesome powers in his custody, not come up with conducts that would fix it? If circumstances of epileptic electricity is beyond the president’s control, is the power to arrest the bad situation beyond his means? Unfortunately now, this government is touting the idea of importing power from Democratic Republic of Congo This is a shame that is dismissive of his expensive reforms agenda in the power sector. There is serious unemployment in the country but the presidency has been lying about this sorry state with unpalatably fictitious employment-generating figures. The president’s silence on the reckless spendings and corruption in the oil sector is condemnable, but if this too beyond what he can use his powers to curb? The backlash that greeted the latest GDP rebasing that makes the country Africa’s largest economy seems to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back. It most importantly shows from expected reactions from especially the Economist, Labour movement, financial experts and the World Bank that columnists/critics are not unjustifiably criticising the president. This column seizes this opportunity to assure ardent protagonists of the present administration that except things positively improve in the country, they should be prepared for more mordant writings from yours sincerely. They should be ready to purchase more air-time that would guarantee them more reactionary text messages. Whatever it is, the assurance is that this column will not be deterred from saying it the way it is, no matter whose ox is gored.

‘The backlash that greeted the latest GDP rebasing that makes the country Africa’s largest economy seems to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back. It most importantly shows from expected reactions from especially the Economist, Labour movement, financial experts and the World Bank that columnists/ critics are not unjustifiably criticising the president’ with the citizens. While it is true that the buck stops on the table of the governor in the state, the governors cannot be everywhere at a time or do everything by himself. He must assign responsibility to people and that is why he appoints commissioners, special assistants and other aides. Those appointed into positions in government at various levels should always see it as a call to service, and not avenue for personal enrichment to the detriment of the people they are serving, and the government that appointed them. Although, the suspended commissioners in Abia have not been found guilty of complicity in the alleged harassment and extortion of citizens over tax payment, Governor Orji’s decision to suspend them will not only pave way for proper investigation into the matter, it will serve as a deterent to other appointees that may be nursing such ambitions. It has also shown that the state government was not directly or indirectly involved in the whole mess as many were made to believe in the past. If after the probe, the affected commissioners are found wanting, they should be made to refund the money they have collected illegally to government coffers. Such should not be seen by anybody as government’s witch-hunt of the affected commissioners, but rather as a move to sanitise the system of wrong persons. Governor Orji’s action is commendable and exemplary and should be emulated. For the stakeholders and market women who summoned the courage to resist it and actually brought it to the attention of the government, their action is no less commmendable. Sometimes some people in government believe that the governor or president will not be easily accessible to the ordinary citizens hence they take advantage of that to engage in all sorts of impunities. Such attitude is not only bad but needs to be discouraged. Governor Orji, a renowned public servant has chosen to operate an open door policy in governance since he came into office. Citizens have the repsonsibility to make their voices heard. • Ukonu, a businesswoman wrote from Aba, Abia State








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

Firm unveils internet security tool

Phone import remains viable alternative, says Slot chief

By Jeremiah Oke


HE newly introduced internet security Check Point 600 has been described as the only solution to protect internet users from hackers and prevent all external threats. Managing Director of Secured and Trusted Alliance Services Limited, Mr. Biodun Jagun said the Israeli-designed antivirus was specially made for Africans, urging internet users to patronise it. Jagun, who spoke at a workshop to create awareness for the product at Protea Hotel, Lagos said it was necessary to have Check Point 600 to forestall internet threats. He said the application was designed for small and medium scale (SMEs) enterprises and big organisations to save them from the trauma of losing vital information and have absolute usage control on their network. Jagun said the appliocation is more than just a firewall with its out of the box protection, attacks and threats prevention mechanism, enterprise grade security, intrusion prevention system, easy set up and easy management. He said the facility could be used in many organisations and schools to prevent users from accessing some sites not in the interest of the organisation. ”It is also useful for organisations to sensitise whatever site they want their staff to visit and protect them from herckers,” he added.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$117.4/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,396.9/troy Sugar -$163/lb MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE -N11.4 trillion JSE -Z5.112trillion NYSE -$10.84 trillion LSE -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -8% Treasury Bills -10.58%(91d) Maximum lending -30% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -1% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $45b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472

By Lucas Ajanaku


• From left: Senior Product Manager, Nokia West Africa, Olumide Balogun; Director, Public Sector, Microsoft Nigeria, Chuma Ukeagu; Head, Corporate Affairs, Ijeoma Abazie; and Special Adviser, Iformation Communication Technology (ICT) to the Governor of Cross River State, Odo Effiong, during a press conference in Lagos to annouce this year’s forum tagged: Innovation for Vision 20:2020 scheduled to hold in Calabar, Cross River State.


NLNG earns $80b in 15 years

HE Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) has generated over $80 billion from its operation since inception in 1999, the Managing Director/Chief Executive, Mr. Babs Omotowa, has said. Omotowa, who is also the Vice President, Bonny Gas Transport Limited, said the development of LNG through the construction of new LNG plants and expansion of the existing one, would not only add value to the economy, including job creation, but also generate more revenue for the Federal Government. He urged the government to fast-track the construction and completion of LNG projects in view of LNG emerging projects and the increasing development of gas from shale, which may competitive. To maximise benefits from


plained that in view of sabotage and pipeline vandalism resulting in inadequate gas supply for electricity generation, which is blamed for the power deficits, re-gasified liquefied natural gas (LNG) could be used as a bridge solution. He said using pipeline beyond 1,000km for gas supply to power stations, is not viable, considering the security situation, hence the need to explore the use of LNG, which can be conveyed to these stations by sea through barges and by road, re-gasified and piped into the plants. “Re-gasified LNG may be part of the solution in midterm. It can also be used for industrial plants, thus reducing grid demand. Re-gasified LNG total cost to end-

user may be 30 – 40 per cent cheaper than diesel even at $17 per million British thermal unit (mmbtu),” he added. He also spoke of the need for partnership in the industry, adding that inclusion of fiscals and administration in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as well as competitive contract approval period, would power LNG projects. to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) in partnership with locals to further unlock potentials in the sector. He said the Nigeria LNG accounts for four per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, generated $80billion revenue since 1999, has $13billion asset base, has 100 per cent Nigerian management team, has 97 per cent asset reliability, and is the world’s fourth largest LNG plant with 3000 LNG cargo delivered.

tion of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is implementing employment generation and social protection programmes. The government, he added, believes that the solution is to adopt a mix of fiscal consolidation measures and reinstating social protection policies to protect the poor and vulnerable. So far,he said the government has been able to reduce unemployment to three per cent, one of the lowest among the 36 states. He said 20,000 youths have been empowered through OYES with monthly stipend of N10,000 each. He said the government was moving from a broadly targeted compensation system to a more targeted approach in the future. To introduce this approach, he said a more accurate means of targeting is re-

quired. This would involve addressing the fragmentation of databases across various agencies by supporting the establishment of a unified registry” where applicants could be ranked according to one welfare measure for distribution of social assistance. Ifaturoti said Osun’s adoption of a well-designed and unified targeting system would benefit the poor, increase poverty-reduce impacts, and introducing costefficiency to implementation of its welfare programmes. On the training, he said, upon completion, the beneficiairies would train and supervise outreach workers. Ifaturoti explained that YESSO is supported by the World Bank and targeting the extreme poor to access increased opportunity for youths and social service delivery. He said Osun is one of the first set of participating states in the country.

•LNG ‘can solve power problem’ By Emeka Ugwuanyi

its gas resource, the NLNG chief advised the government to expedite action on bringing into operation the Brass LNG, Olokola LNG and NLNG train 7, which has been waiting for final investment decision (FID) in the past few years. “As a result of shale gas LNG importers are self-sufficient, becoming exporters and in competition. For instance, United States and Canada have approved six LNG projects worth 25 per cent of global demand. Proven shale gas reserves are 7,299 trillion cubic feet,” he said. He noted that NLNG could create value in other sectors of the economy, especially in the power sector. He ex-

World Bank okays $300m for employment, poverty alleviation

HE World Bank has voted $300 million to address youth unemployment and poverty in Nigeria. Its Sector Leader, Human Development, Prof Foluso Okunmadewa, who made this known on the sidelines of the bank’s training of trainers and registry of beneficiaries, at Iloko-Ijesa, Osun State, said the targeting get 300,000 youths. Working under the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO), Okunmadewa said the bank will work with state governments to set up a single registry of potential beneficiaries for social assistance. The National Unified Registry (NUR),he added, would be used to target subsidies and other government programmes. For a start, he said the bank would work with Osun, Oyo and Ekiti states to implement the electronic database. The states, he said, would

By Daniel Essiet

be provided a single electronic database of potential social programme beneficiaries as well as an efficient payment delivery mechanism to enable the government to reach the poor to target groups in an accurate way, and on a large scale when needed. Okunmadewa said the bank is determined to make government programmes more responsive to the evolving needs of households. The Director-General, Bureau for Social Services, Osun State,Mr Femi Ifaturoti, lamented that the economy was being undermined by social challenges, including unemployment and poverty. Expressing the concern of the state government, Ifaturoti said the administra-

ESPITE its huge cost in depleting foreign exchange and encouraging capital flight, importation of mobile phones remains the only viable and sustainable alternative, the Chief Executive Officer, Slot Systems Limited, Nnamdi Ezeigbo, has said. Speaking on the sideline with The Nation at the prize presentation to winners of the firm’s customers in Lagos, he said the crippling power problem in the country remained one major obstacle to domestic assemblage of mobile phones and their accessories. According to him, though importation of mobile phones into is huge, it is not the best as it is helping to create jobs and growing the economies of the countries, noting that the practice will continue till the Federal Government is able to address the huge gap infrastructure gap in the country. He said: “Backward integration is good for us because engineering is our core of competence but we are so constrained by the infrastructure deficit in the country. Power is a critical national infrastructure required to set the country on the path of industrial revolution but we are not there yet. “However, with the successful completion of the privatisation process by the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, we are hopeful that the new investors will bring in the requisite expertise and capital to turn the sector around. It is only when the power problem is fixed that other things such as citing mobile phone assembly plant in the country would be addressed. “ Speaking on how to streamline the mobile phones sales market against the backdrop of grey imports that deprive the Federal Government of revenue, he said the market is ‘fragmented,’ adding that marketers bring in products from various parts of the world and sell in the market. Speaking on the promo, he said it is the firm’s unique way of giving back to its loyal customers, adding that this year’s edition is remarkable because it also marked the anniversary of the 15 th year of its operation in the country. “We are also celebrating our 15 years of doing business in Nigeria, being able to weather the storm, take the risks and grow a brand that is built on solid ethical principles. And we are glad to say that the Slot experience is proof of the fact that good things can grow on the Nigerian soil,” Ezeigbo said.






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In a bid to sanitise advertising, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has clamped down on those not registered with it. Some stakeholders believe that APCON’s action is right, others think otherwise, reports ADEDEJI ADEMIGBUJI.

Playing by the rules • APCON moves to sanitise advertising


ANY practitioners were caught unawares by the action. After several warnings, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) clamped down on those practising advertising, but not registered with it. Its action, it said, was pursuant to its fifth code which spells out those who can practise the trade and their qualifications. Relying on the law establishing it, the council officials and policemen swooped on advertising firms which it claimed are harbouring unregistered practitioners. Those grilled by the police, according to APCON, include Product Manager, Samsung Mr Manomahan Chandroth; Marketing Manager, Radio Lagos Mr. Kayode Adunmadeyin; Commercial Manager, Top Radio Omololu Omigbule, Head of Client Services, Blue Seal Communication Yemi Egbebiyi, Strategy and Business Executive of DDB Lagos Fifemayo Aiyesimaju; Marketing Manager of Multi-Choice Nigeria Akinola Salu and Head, DSTV Media Sales Holeka Maringa. Stating the reason for the action, APCON’s Head, Planning, Research, Corporate Affairs and Strategy Mr. Ralph Anyasor, said: “After several sensitisation visits to advertising establishments and warning notices, the body has commenced the arrest and prosecution of offenders.” He said APCON would ensure due process in handling the matter to send the right signal to stakeholders that the reform has come to stay. The council said police investigation would be the first step in the prosecution of those perceived to be engaged in illegal practice. Reacting, DDB CEO Mr. Ikechi Odigbo told The Nation that the agency’s lawyer is engaging APCON on the issue. He said none of the firm’s men was arrested. Odigbo added that any irregularities regarding the agency’s professional membership have since been addressed. APCON’s action, he said, would make people take its reform serious. The Public Relations Manager, DStv Caroline Oghuma, said none of the company’s staff was arrested. “To begin with, none of our staff has been arrested by APCON. Mr. Akin Salu who you mentioned does not work in a marketing or advertising capacity and Kholeka Maringa, who is the Deputy General Manager, Media Sales is based in South Africa.” Multichoice, she said, is working to ensure its marketing and advertising workers comply with required laws. “We are working to ensure that our marketing and advertising executives are compliant as required by law,” she noted. The Legal Adviser, West Africa, Samsung Senibo Bara-Hart told The Na-

• Akinwunmi

tion that none of its product managers was arrested. “To our knowledge, there has only been an inquiry made by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, which is factfinding in nature. It is, therefore, incorrect to allude to the arrest of any Samsung staff for any illegality as no such thing has occurred.” APCON’s move has generated reactions from stakeholders, including the umbrella body for some of the firms, Advertising Association of Nigeria (ADVAN). Its President, Mr. Kola Oyeyemi, told The Nation that APCON is empowered to arrest illegal practitioners. “They have the law that backs them up against illegal practitioners. The issue is that people should embrace self-regulation, rather than allowing themselves to be handled in a crude manner. If practitioners embrace self-regulation, we will have minimal intervention like this,” Oyeyemi said. Before APCON embarked on the crack down, Oyeyemi said ADVAN had been educating its members about the reform. APCON, he noted, also engaged

• Oyeyemi

stakeholders to prevent the use of the “big stick.” “The industry was educated about the reform to the best of my knowledge. Stakeholders were engaged. Secondly, I think that when such reforms are done and stakeholders refuse to comply after being engaged, then they are open to such clamp down,” he added. Endorsing APCON’s move, the Managing Director of Harmony Concept, Mr. Kayode Oluwasona, however, advised that it should engage stakeholders more. “It’s a good thing I think. The advertising industry has been bastardised for so long that you really need such sanity. To be seen as an industry regulator, APCON needs to be taken serious and this move will make people see them as being serious. It should be sustained, but APCON should continue its engagement process so that it would not be found wanting by those who would claim ignorance of APCON stakeholder’s engagement activities,” Oluwasona said. APCON Chairman Mr. Lolu Akinwunmi said the council is not against foreigners or practitioners. The reform, he said, is in the interest of the

‘After several sensitisation visits to advertising establishments and warning notices to illegal persons in advertising practice, the body has commenced the arrest and prosecution of offenders’

industry and the economy. Akinwumi explained that the introduction of the code of practice would help to strengthen regulation and ensure professionalism. He said under the new regime, APCON has undergone transformation, which resulted in the fifth code that has since become a law. The new law would enable APCON to regulate the sector and make it more productive, he said. “The council has also developed various frame works for the relevant licensing procedures, which would follow the approval of the code. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, advertising practice has become professionalised like medicine, law, engineering etc. and charlatans can no longer practise unhindered. APCON has government’s full support and backing to enforce compliance. Under the law, APCON can prosecute defaulters, and if such people are found guilty, they stand the risk of paying a hefty fine or being imprisoned or both,” Akinwumi said. The Managing Director, Noah’s Ark, Mr. Lanre Adisa, said the reform would help stabilise advertising and attract more funds and investors. “It should help advertising business to be more profitable to investors. There are all sorts of intruders that make the business not profitable for investors. But the APCON reform is a welcome development,” he said. To encourage compliance, APCON has reinstituted the Advertising Standards Panel Best Practice awards. The Chairman of the Advertising Standards Panel, Mr. Ade Akinde, said the essence is to encourage advertisers, their agencies and the media to comply with provisions of the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice and other advertising laws.



Brandnews Chicken Republic marketing efforts paying off


• Rosabel Leo Brunette creative team presenting Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom to Mr. Tomi Adedeji, winner of Tell your Samsung Story at an event organised by the agency.

Coke may soften marketing over unrest during World Cup


OCA-COLA has unveiled plans to adapt its World Cup sponsorship and soften its celebratory tone in Brazil if unrest returns to the streets. As the company launches its biggest World Cup marketing campaign, Coke Executive Vice President, Joe Tripodi, said it would react to any protest to reflect the mood of the nation. Demonstrations flashed across the South American country last year as the Confederations Cup started, with Brazilians angry at the high level of spending on the World Cup compared with public services. The protests outside some matches, including the Brazil-Spain final, turned violent, with tear gas floating into stadiums. “That (World Cup) spotlight can act as an opportunity to tell a story of happiness, but it can also be a spotlight to tell a story of grievances and concerns that they (the public) have about the direction

By Adedeji Ademigbuji with Agency Reports

of the country,” Tripodi, CocaCola’s chief marketing and commercial officer, said on the phone. A litmus test of Brazilians’ attitude towards the World Cup may come when the trophy tour, organised by Coke, reaches its 90th country this month and begins a sixweek tour across Brazil. “We hope there is no unrest,” Tripodi said from Atlanta. “But we recognise these things happen. You always have to be smart to have all kind of Plan Bs, Plan Cs and Ds to prepare for any contingency. And if certain things happen, you might have to change the tonality of your marketing or communications... to make sure our messaging is better reflected the mood in a particular country,” he added. The same social media channels Coke uses to promote its products

can quickly be used to create a backlash. “The worst thing is you can be complicit by silence,” Tripodi said. “The world we live in is full of massive disruption, frequent chaos and change all the time,” he said. “So as a company and as a brand if you are not prepared to respond..., then you aren’t going to survive.” Coke’s advertising has appeared in World Cup stadiums since the tournament was last staged in Brazil in 1950, and it has been an official FIFA sponsor since 1978. The latest marketing campaign features fans across the world, from a Japanese region hit by the 2011 earthquake-tsunami to the West Bank, collecting tickets. Rival PepsiCo is relying on the allure of soccer stars, with Argentina’s Lionel Messi and the Netherlands’ Robin van Persie performing tricks on the streets of Rio de Janeiro in a campaign released recently.

Experiential marketing as game changer


T has become the game changer that is prompting agency own ers to consider setting up an experiential marketing agency within their group to stay in business. While clients are slicing marketing budgets in relation to other promotional mix, experiential marketing agencies are feeding fat, though delivering on return-oninvestments. As a result, these have heat up debate on the role of experiential marketing to sustain brand recall and influence purchasing decision. According to experts, “Experiential marketing is a form of advertising that focuses primarily on helping consumers experience a brand. While traditional advertising (radio, print, television) verbally and visually communicates the brand and product benefits, experiential marketing tries to immerse the consumers within the product by engaging as many other human senses as possible. In this way, experiential marketing can encompass other marketing strategies from individual sampling to large-scale guerrilla marketing.” With the power of the emerging

promotional mix to win consumers via exploring entertainment among other activities that engages consumers higher than traditional promotional mix, the marketing communication industry has massive use of the promotional mix to gain consumers attention. NBL’s ‘Gulder Club Ultimate’, an engaging party ship liner for industry giants, celebrities and other fun lovers on a novel ride across the country; Nescafe ‘Mug Flight,’ ‘Legend Real Deal’ and the ‘Peak One million endorsements’ are some of the recent experiential campaign which has helped the brands sustain their brand recall in the competitive market. Recently, Nigerian Brewery launched an experiential campaign to engage their brand with consumers via, BlackRevolution. The experiential campaign was meant to activate the new bottle for its stout brand, Legend Extra Stout but the use of BlackRevolution as the experiential campaign, which was designed by Oracle Experience, an experiential marketing agency, the BlackRevolution, explored Live Show with notable celebrities, such as Femi Anikulapo, Tuface Idibia,

Comedian Gordons, to thrill the audience. The Experiential campaign also engaged consumers with a drama titled, First vs Real, which depicts the brand’s (Legend Extra Stout) readiness to wrest the reins of leadership out of the hands of the market leader. The agency used the short documentary to highlight the Legend brand to remind the target market, which was represented by selected audience at the Bar Beach, where the activation was done, to stay connected with the brand using all celebrities, the theatre and the campaign headline, BlackRevolution, as the experience. The Sales Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc., Hubert Eze, shed more light on the Legend Extra Stout staniol re-launch. He said: “We presented the BlackREALvolution as a movement, and it is indeed a movement for consumers that yearn for more in terms of satisfaction and quality.” The Chief Executive Officer, Oracle Experience Limited, Mr. Felix Eiremiokhae, said an ideal experiential campaign should make people talk about the brand and not the artistes.

HE Managing Director of Chicken Republic, Mr. Deji Akinyanju, has said the firm’s Quick Service Restaurant is doing well in the industry. “The investments we have made in our business will give us a strong competitive edge in the QSR sector,” he said. Akinyanju said this against the backdrop of growing consumers bond with the firm, which he said is not unconnected with value creation which has been consistent in the quality of products coming from its stable which has reflected on its financial growth as captured in the first quarter. The firm’s Chief Operations Officer, Kofi Abunu, noted: “The numbers are in and they’re looking good for Chicken Republic; the chicken chain has recorded double digit percentage growth in first quarter. In a way, this has reaffirmed that the brand has pioneered a revolution in the Nigerian fast food sector.” Abunu recalled that the brand started the year with hopes of seeing seven to eight per cent sales increases in the first quarter and that the management was delighted that the performance has far exceeded expectations.



RUCONTACT CSR Nigeria, organisers of the yearly SERA Nigeria CSR Awards, has released the entry for this year’s edition. The SERA is rated as Nigeria’s biggest and most credible corporate awards. Over the last eight years, the profile of the project has continued to grow attracting several local and international endorsements and partners. Besides deepening the state of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability in Nigeria, it has also been positioned as a strong tool for not only promoting and driv-


He admitted that the ongoing store renovation have allowed the brand to thrive, adding that much of this performance could be attributed to the company’s product innovations, operational improvements and aggressive customer service training. Chicken Republic recently overhauled its menu offering which saw the launch of four new products; Chief Burger, Zippy Burger, Crunchy Wings and Crunchy Strips with other value meals. During the unveiling of new product into the market, the Head of Marketing and Public Relations, Mrs Susan Rotimi, explained that the new products are part of the ongoing market repositioning strategy aimed at strengthening the Chicken Republic brand to deliver more choice and value to its teaming customers. “Product variety and affordability are critical to delivering extra ordinary satisfaction to our customers. We regularly feel the pulse of our customers by conducting consumer research annually and our robust New Product Development (NPD) unit work tirelessly to ensure all new products meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.”

ing national development agenda. “The theme of this year’s award Creating an enabling organisational culture for sustainability, seeks to strike a balance between the giant strides that businesses are making in CSR and their internal process. ‘’The 2013 edition proved a milestone in the annals of the awards as it saw the unveiling of the new statuette designed by R.S. Owens – The USA-based company that produces the world renowned OSCARS and Golden Globe Awards statuettes,” the Co-ordinator of the project, Ken Egbas, said.

CAP unveils TEAL

HEMICAL and Allied Products (CAP) Plc, manufacturers of Dulux premium brand of paint, has unveiled the Dulux Colour of the Year named ‘TEAL’. “TEAL’ is deep blue green and dark cyan. At the event, CAP introduced the new packaging design (New Livery) for Dulux premium brand. The attractive packaging is available for the variants of

Dulux paint; Gloss, Weathershield and Emulsion. The Group Managing Director, UAC of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Larry Ettah said the theme of the event, ‘Unlocking potential’ is interesting. Also, the firm’s Managing Director, Mrs. Omolara Elemide described the event as unique not only for its emotional appeal, but also in packaging design for the premium brand.

TVC rates ‘Your View’ show high


VC has scored high one of its shows, Your View, which made its debut on May 29, last year. According to the station, from audience response, the TV show, which airs from Monday to Fridays at 9am is positively influencing and reshaping public perception about women, improving societal values and impacting lives. “The one-hour live talk show mostly being watched by matured, inspiring and futuristic viewers, between 18 and 65, is anchored daily by Morayo AfolabiBrown and features other brilliant and vibrant co-hosts scheduled for appearance. ‘’They include Sandra Eze, Osayuwamen Saleh, Tope MarkOdigie, Jumoke Olawode-James, Nymat Zibiri and Yeni Kuti (daughter of the late legendary Afro-beat musician, Fela Anipulapo-Kuti),” TVC said in a

statement. “With topics ranging from politics to business, family, gender issues, health, entertainment, these women coming from different socio-economic backgrounds, disciplines and experience lead discussion on topical issues affecting the society, thereby giving the show its uniqueness. “The constant audience participation, quality programming, high network individuals and celebrities as guest and relevant topics for discussions have contributed to high viewership ratings currently being enjoyed by the show,” says the Station Manager, Public Relations, Mr. Celestine Umeibe. TVC has over 70 per cent TV audience home penetration and is being viewed on UHF Channel 49, StarTimes Channel 121, via its online streaming:, and on mobile apps:

FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2014





Sms : 07035302326 Website:-

Why innovation is key to product competitiveness Manufacturers of consumer products are increasing, realising that constant innovation holds the key to attracting and retaining consumers. TONIA ‘DIYAN reports that manufacturers are deploying the strategy to give their products an edge over others in the same category.


FEW years ago, a young man, Ikenna Alozie, began a food seasoning business called I &K Limited. His business is still at infancy. Can it survive the test of time? Ikenna says he is ready to come up with innovations to improve on the quality of his product. He said: “As much as people would go for cheap products, high quality and innovation have become their main considerations these days. That is why I&K lim-

ited has since continued to innovate with the aim of delivering safety and healthy meals to consumers everyday.” He said he has come to understand that “if you are not consistently improving yourself then you will be left behind. The ability to stay ahead of the competition is what keeps a brand going”. Chief Executive Officer, Modupe Shopeju, aligns with this position, noting, for instance, that “when a woman is cooking a meal, she needs

to make sure that the food seasoning she uses delivers trust every single time, and this can only be gained through good quality, which is gained through constant innovation.” According to her, this is particularly so considering the current challanging business environment, which requires an intense focus on ensuring that products maintain their edge in the market. Manufacturers work smarter to satisfy consumers and become leaders in

• Products on the shelf

provement by manufacturers. She said by deepening their consumer engagement initiative, manufacturers of consumer’s products enhance product’s competitive edge. Some manufacturers have also gone a step further by continuously implementing relevant innovations targeted at the needs of low income consumers.

While factors relating to good quality, innovations and low prices are important determinants of where and what to buy, experts say that retailers and manufacturers who offer good value, stand to gain the most from high-incomeearning consumers in a tough economy, such as Nigeria’s.

South Africa’s Woolworths, a clothing retailer which left Nigeria in January, this year, has bought Australia’s David Jones for $2 billion


OUTH African retailer Woolworths Holdings Ltd is set to buy Australia’s secondlargest department store, David Jones, for $2 billion, trumping a merger proposal from Australian rival Myer Holdings Ltd with a hefty premium. The deal, the biggest for Woolworths to date, creates a leading southern hemisphere retailer that will benefit from greater scale and a common fashion seasonality. It also provides David Jones, which has seen profits decline for the past three years as competition from overseas players heats up, with more expertise in online offerings and private brands. Resilient consumer spending, fuelled by a strong local currency and record low interest rates, has encouraged the likes of Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz , and Japan’s Fast Retailing <9983.T>, the operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, to set up shop in Australia. “The view that we take as a business is that the department store isn’t dead - mediocrity is dead,” Woolworths Chief Executive Ian Moir said at a briefing in Sydney. “In short, we’re buying this business to build a bigger southern hemisphere brand.” Woolworths, an upmarket retailer, offered A$4.00 per share for David Jones. That represents a 25 percent premium to its closing price on Tuesday and a 40 percent premium to its close on January 30 when the Myer offer was made public. “This makes a huge amount of strategic sense, they can afford to pay a high multiple,” said Commonwealth Bank retail analyst Andrew Mclennan. “There is going to be big synergies coming from this transaction.” Woolworths’ profits have grown 20 percent annually in the past five years on investments in product development, tighter inventory management and through online sales, and the company plans to bring

• David Jones

South African retailer Woolworths acquires Australian David Jones this expertise to David Jones, Moir said. He estimated that the company could add at least A$130 million annually to David Jones’ bottom line within five years. David Jones posted an annual profit of A$95.2 million in the last financial year. Its shares jumped to match the bid price but later pared gains slightly to end the day 23 percent higher at A$3.91. The offer prompted Myer, Australia’s biggest department store, to withdraw its nil-premium all-stock proposal that valued David Jones at A$1.7 billion as of Tuesday’s closing price, and which it had touted as a merger of equals. In 2013, in U.S. dollars, Woolworth’s revenue was $3.6 billion and

David Jones was $1.7 billion, putting their combined sales above Myer’s $2.9 billion, although still far below rivals like Marks & Spencer which garnered $15.3 billion. “What we are seeing is like a global consolidation of retail,” said Morningstar analyst Tim MontagueJones. “That’s increasingly seeing stronger retail models expand offshore and take market share from weaker ones. It’s all about scale,” he said, noting Myer would be left in a much weaker competitive position. Shares in Myer ended 3.9 percent higher, however, on relief that it would not be overstretching in seeking a deal with David Jones. Analysts expect to see more competition in the Australian market as more players seek a slice of the pie.

Marks & Spencer may also be planning to set up shop, local media has reported. Australian retail sales rose 0.2 percent in February to a record A$22.97 billion, following a 1.2 percent climb in January. It was the 10th straight month of increases, the longest such stretch since 2006/07. The retail sector accounts for 17 percent of Australia’s A$1.5 trillion in annual gross domestic product (GDP) and is the second-biggest employer, providing 10 percent of all jobs. The deal also came on the same day that a measure of Australian consumer sentiment rose for the first time in five months in April as households became more optimistic on the nearterm outlook for both the economy and their own finances.

Woolworths Holdings, which has no relationship with Australian supermarket chain Woolworths Ltd , already has experience in the Australian market, owning 88 percent of upmarket clothing retailer Country Road Ltd as well as another clothing chain Witchery. It said it would finance the deal with debt, cash and equity fund raising. It does not plan to reduce jobs at David Jones after the takeover, it added. David Jones was advised by Gresham Advisory Partners Ltd, Macquarie Capital and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. Woolworths was advised by Rothschild and Standard Bank. ($1 = 1.0712 Australian Dollars) • Source: Reuters

Newspaper of the Year


This boy needs N150, 000 monthly to stay alive Three months ago, a 23-year-old student, Joseph Oghenetega Uhawha, made history as the beneficiary of the first successful kidney transplant in the Niger Delta, when a kidney donated by his mother was successfully used to replace his failing organ. The young man whose life has now returned to normal will need at least N150, 000 monthly to stay healthy, report South-South Regional Editor SHOLA O’NEIL and BOLAJI OGUNDELE.


•PAGE 34



Over the years, lack of infrastructural facilities in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions had impeded rapid development on the campuses, resulting in unhealthy environment not conducive to learning. Mindful of this, the NDDC is executing projects in some of the institutions to enhance teaching and learning.

Well-meaning Nigerians are bothered about the country’s festering health care system, especially as it concerns the increasing rate of ailments among the rural poor. In the circumstances, the Care for Life Foundation, has been offering free medical services to people at the grassroots.

• A beneficiary

FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2014


•PAGE 35

‘Why Niger Delta is still backward’


N a beautiful sunny morning in January 2013, hundreds of fresh students were in a joyful mood. They decked their academic gowns in preparation for the day’s matriculation at the Niger Delta University. Among the freshers was Joseph Oghenetega Uhawha of the Department of Agriculture Technology. First son of his parents, the tall and handsome youth was taking the first step towards making his parents proud. He told Niger Delta Report that his dream was to become an expert in fishery. Unlike his colleagues, the Delta State-born student could not make it to the auditorium for one of the biggest events of his youthful life. He was bogged down by a weak, almost useless kidney that threatened to end his life, before it had begun. “A day to my matriculation, I noticed that I wasn’t able to stand up from the bed. I was very weak and tired; couldn’t walk for two meters. That morning, I could not go to school,” Uhawha said. He was rushed back to Ovwian in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State where he lived with his parents. It was the beginning of a nightmare for the y o u n g man and his family. •Tega

•Continued on page 30

•Artistic impression of a bridge on the East-West Coastal Road

Oil is its main resource. But there are others yet to be tapped. Niger Delta has been unable to reap the benefits of its being the major base of the much-sought oil and gas, writes OLUKOREDE YISHAU


T extends to over 70,000 square kilometres and constitutes about 7.5 per cent of Nigeria’s land mass. It is called Niger Delta. The region is densely populated and comprises Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo; Imo and Rivers states. This home to over 31 million people is the oil and gas-producing belt. Since the discovery of oil in commercial quantity in Oloibiri, in present-day Bayelsa State in 1956, the region has been embroiled in controversies, agitation and protests over the attendant oil spills, devastating pollution of fishing zones and sources of potable water and ecological degradation.

Over the years, the people have lived in conditions that are intolerable. From time to time, gross neglect and under-development snowball into pockets of protests and agitation for resource control because successive administrations at the centre and in some states glossed over sustainable development of the region. While other regions were being developed in infrastructure and human capital, the reverse was the case in the Niger Delta. No wonder there has been a debate on whether oil exploration is a curse or a blessing to the region. Bottled resentment as a result of the status quo has been blamed for

instances of vandalism of oil and gas pipelines and series of kidnappings for ransom.

In the beginning The enactment of the Mineral Ordinance by Nigeria’s first GovernorGeneral Sir Frederick Luggard in 1914 signalled the exploration and exploitation of the country’s mineral resources, especially oil and gas. In 1937, the British colonial government gave the exclusive rights of exploration and exploitation to Shell D’Arcy, which could not actualise this mandate because of the Second World War. In 1938, Shell entered into collaboration with British Petroleum (formerly Anglo-Persian Oil

Company) for oil prospection in Nigeria. Their early efforts yielded 450 barrels of crude oil in Akata I Well, in 1951. Further successes were made in Oloibiri in 1956 and Bomu Oil Field in 1958 when oil was struck in commercial quantity. After this, many major players in the global oil sector were granted prospecting licences. They include Socony Vacuum (now Mobil) in 1955, Tennessee (later Tennenco) in 1960, Gulf Oil (now named Chevron) in 1961, American Overseas (later Amoseas) in 1961, Agip Oil in 1962 and Safrap (now ELF, Phillips in 1965 and Esso in 1965. CONTINUED ON PAGE 30





‘Why Niger Delta is



HELL, Mobil, Chevron, ELF, Agip and Texaco were major players in the oil sector. Others, such as Ashland, Deminex, Pan Ocean, British Gas, Sun Oil, Conoco, Statoil, BP and Chemical Oil Company (now Conoil) played minimal roles. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has 55 per cent equity participation in Shell; 58 per cent in Mobil; 60 per cent in ELF and 60 per cent in Texaco.

What manner of blessing? In collaboration with Shell, the Federal Government set up the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) with a plant at Finima, Bonny Island to enable it maximise its revenue from oil prospecting and to also reduce gas flaring. The country has earned several millions of dollars in revenue from the NLNG. In spite of these efforts to increase the extraction of both oil and gas from wells and fields located in the region and consequently shore up gross revenue earnings, the peoples of the Niger Delta have tales of deprivation and neglect to tell. A large proportion of the country’s poor lives in the Niger Delta where the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas has created sorry sites and sights of oil spills and distorted bio-diversity. The situation has often given rise to non-violent and violent protestations. These include the initial 12Day Revolution in the Creeks in 1967, which was championed by the trio of Isaac Adaka Boro, Samuel Owonaru and Nothingham Dick, in a failed bid to secede from Nigeria. There were other protests and agitations by groups, such as the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), led by the late Ken Saro-Wiwa who was killed by the Gen. Sani Abacha Administration and activities of groups, such as the Ogba Solidarity, the Urhobo Progressive Union, the Niger Delta Environmental Forum, the Chikoko Movement, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, the Ijaw National Congress, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force led by Mujahid Asari Dokubo. Not a few will easily forget repentant militants, such as Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), Victor Ebikabowei Ben (aka General Boyloaf), Ateke Tom, John Togo, Fareh Dagogo and the late Soboma George.

Interventionist moves Deriving from the recommendations of the Henry Willink Commission of Inquiry set up by the British colonial government on September 26, 1957 that the Niger Delta people were “poor, backward and neglected” and should be on the concurrent list as a “special area” needing special attention, the government established the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB). The board was assigned the responsibility of managing the challenges and the socio-economic development of the new special areas of Yenagoa Province, Degema Province, Ogoni Division of Port Harcourt Province and the Western Ijaw Division of Delta Province. It existed for seven years (1960-

1967) until it was replaced by a Presidential Task Force Committee that was set up by the then President Shehu Shagari in 1980. A major attempt to address the issues challenging the development of the Niger Delta was the constitution of the Oil Mineral-Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in 1992 by the Babangida Administration. Other interventions came in forms of panels, until December 21, 2000 when the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was set up by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to “offer a lasting solution to the socioeconomic difficulties of the Niger Delta region” and further facilitate the “rapid, even and sustainable development of the Niger Delta that is economically prosperous, socially stable, economically regenerative and politically peaceful.” So far, the interventionist agency has made some strides and achievements in the areas of infrastructure development and human capital development in spite that its affairs, at many points, have been dogged by internal feuds and opposing blocs of influence over control of its operation. These actions have stunted its growth rate over the years. Though many observers have accused the Federal Government of duplicating the functions and scope of the NDDC by establishing a Niger Delta Affairs Ministry in 2008 and the constitution of a 40-member National Council on Niger Delta in April 2013, no action will be too much in redressing over 50 years of neglect, lack, poverty and degradation suffered by the people of the region. Aside from other strides achieved either by the NDDC or the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, two issues are prominent in the struggle to better the living condition of the average Niger Deltan. They are the Amnesty Programme that involved the voluntary disarmament of various groups of armed militia that hitherto fought for the emancipation of their people. It is gratifying to note that the programme has empowered a new generation of young Niger Deltans who, through the human capital development segment of the Amnesty Programme, are now licensed aircraft pilots and aeronautic engineers; doctors, civil, mechanical, electrical and maritime engineers, welders, nurses, petro-chemical technicians. There is also the concept and gradual actualisation of the East-West Coastal Road, which is designed as a pathway to sustainable development of the region.

The East-West Coastal Road The concept, construction and cost of the East-West Coastal Road surpasses, in sheer magnitude, geographical spread, technical and structural specification, of any other project ever undertaken since independence in 1960. Originating from Udukpani in Cross Rivers State, the proposed road will transverse and connect over 1,000 communities along its route with growth poles on the north-central-south ribs while achieving easy access and reduction in travel-time before terminating at Aiyeteju, Epe, in Lagos State. The East-West Coastal Road is a landmark and the flagship of the

Federal Government infrastructure development intervention in the region. The three sections of the road will pass through areas with challenging and difficult terrains. The EastWest Coastal Road Section 1 is from Warri to Kaikama in Delta State; the Section II from Port Harcourt to Ahoada in Rivers State and Section II-II from Ahoada, Rivers State to Kaiama in Bayelsa State. It will interface with the ongoing Trans-African Highway running from Dakar, Senegal to Mombasa in Kenya. Experts say the East-West Coastal Road will serve as the shortest link between Lagos and the coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ondo and Rivers states. It is also meant to stem the rising tide of rural-urban drift as the opportunities within the region will outweigh those outside it. The road will enhance the security of the region and Nigeria at large. It will facilitate the direct access to waterways that have not been utilised, even as it will encourage the setting up of core maritime engineering facilities such as ocean terminal for deep-sea anchorage; ship repairs and maintenance and facilities to handle the engineering needs of big oceangoing vessels; fishing and passenger commuter terminals; increase in fishing activities in the coastal region; encouraging the establishment of functional Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in the coastal states; boosting trading activities as it will assist in moving people and goods from one point to the other. The road will open up employment opportunities to both skilled and unskilled labour during and after the construction of the road. The road will facilitate new investment in the coastal areas of the Niger Delta and encourage local technology and content. It is incontestable that the EastWest Coastal Road will be vital to the enhancement, advancement and operation of the Niger Delta economy as an artery that will harness the economic, social and industrial empowerment of a people who have carried the yoke of deprivation, degradation and denial for so long. No wonder experts say the Federal Government should prioritise this road so that Nigeria will not fail to deliver on its segment of the Trans-African Highway (TAH7 and TAH8) which is the Dakar-Lagos Highway (which is also known as the Trans-West African Coastal Road) and the Lagos-Mombasa Highway, of which the East-West Coastal Road is a major component, when completed. The proponents and initiators of the larger Trans-African Highway and the East-West Coastal Road are on the same page in terms of the accruable benefits of both projects. In the Niger Delta region, there is the pervading fear that if the little gains made so far in redressing the dire straits that the region has gone through is not consummated, concretised or completed within the tenures of President Goodluck Jonathan and his late predecessor, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, the region will relapse to its shoddier state. Fast-tracking Development Efforts It is in the light of the foregoing that utmost efforts should be made by both the Federal Government and the nine states that make up

•Senator Ewa-Hensaw

• The late Ken Saro-Wiwa

the Niger Delta region to fast-track the infrastructure and human capital development agenda through policies, programmes and projects that will have holistic and lasting impact on the life and living standards of the people. As a region that is still marginalised, it is envisaged that the states in the region should tackle such challenges squarely and find solutions to them. There should be profound commitment to integration and long-term development which will focus on consolidating the gains made so far in the areas of peace and stability; entrenchment of an enduring regime of good governance; conception and prosecution of a diversified economic roadmap with special emphasis on agricultural transformation and agro-industrial development that will utilise available local raw materials and other contents. There should also be in place policies and programmes that will enhance human capital development of its citizens to provide labour in the various fields in the component states; instituting new culture of projects monitoring to ensure that specifications, directives and cost implications are strictly adhered to; making the various states less dependent on statutory allocations from the Federation Account and

• NLNG Bonny Plant at night

concentrate on other areas of revenue-generation that will out-live a Niger Delta After Oil; ensuring the proper monitoring of the activities of oil companies to control the recklessness associated with oil exploration and exploitation as most of the past spills and other ecological disasters have either been as a result of poor regulation or none at all; entering into joint partnership with relevant and specialised multi-national companies in the areas of power generation, petroleum refining and petrol-chemicals, agro-allied industries and solid minerals, among others. In actualising these set goals, states in the Niger Delta region will be creating job opportunities that will reduce dissent and rancour within a region that needs the human face of governance in all spheres of life.

Resource Control As there were no mutuallyagreed grounds for co-operation and common goals in the calls for resource control between 2003 and 2007, the protagonists of this genuine request did not get the expected support from most of their kinsmen and women because of the prevailing distrust and lack of faith in government at the time. The clamour for the oil-producing states to collect, retain, control and use revenue accruing from sales of petroleum and gas in their




a is still backward’ ‘

efforts should be made by both the Federal Government aefforts should be made by both the Federal Government and the nine states that make up the Niger Delta region to fast-track the infrastructure and human capital development agenda through policies, programmes and projects that will have holistic and lasting impact on the life and living standards of the peoplend the nine states that make up the Niger Delta region to fasttrack the infrastructure and human capital development agenda through policies, programmes and projects that will have holistic and lasting impact on the life and living standards of the people

at night

administrators who did not possess the necessary visionary disposition to project, plan and institute polic i e s , programmes a n d projects o r

various states for accelerated development, did not elicit positive acceptance of the people of Niger Delta. This was because the manner in which some of the leaders managed their states’ statutory and other accruable revenues from the Federation Account and internallygenerated revenue was suspect. In consequence, the generallyheld view was that if some of these administrators could not manage the available resources of their states prudently without resorting to “personal resource control,” what will they do if they are given unhindered access to the mouthwatering outlay of all the petroleum revenues? The people saw through the veiled intention of some of the protagonists of this “people-focused” demand for control of all revenue from oil and gas and refused to offer their support.


Reliance on oil revenue The culture of over-dependence on petroleum as the prime source of revenue has either reduced or erased many governments’ focus on revenue earnings from agriculture, solid minerals, tourism, service provision and adequate taxation, among other revenue sources. These are some of the sources that had sustained governments before the discovery of oil in Oloibiri in 1956. As soon as huge revenue from

the exportation of crude oil started coming, the early administrators and their successors started paying less attention to other areas of the economy that had, hitherto, provided the revenue that sustained the region and its people in the precrude oil era. Economists have traced the genesis of this oversight to the shaky foundation laid by some of these

chose to ignore these strategic indices that would have laid the enduring foundation for a seamless transition from oil revenues to other lucrative alternatives, while utilising the earnings from oil to develop necessary infrastructure and human capital. This would have served as a strong fulcrum for future development and progress in the Niger

Delta region. This self-limiting factor is one of the major reasons that, in spite of the huge oil revenue allocations available to many states in the region from the Federation Account and other internally-generated ones, they are not experiencing buoyant economies or providing people-focused governance that will impact favourably on the people. In addition, the over-reliance on revenues from the sales of crude oil has stunted growth and development of other revenue-yielding areas. After careful analysis of available statistics of the oil reserves in the Niger Delta and the rate of its exploitation and exploration, reputable geologists are of the opinion that there is a possibility of the oil wells drying up in the next 40 years. This possibility is premised on the rate of the current exploitation of about 2.5 million barrels of crude oil per day which will take a 40year time span to deplete the estimated 37.2 billion barrels of crude oil under the bowels of the Niger Delta. In scope, concept and prosecution, the futuristic movement from over-reliance on oil revenue to a new vista of diversification should be accessed from two standpoints of utilising the revenue from the

near-mono-economic petroleum and gas sector prudently to develop other key areas of the Niger Delta region’s economy and also diversifying the revenue base of the region with the exploration of other vital sectors such as agriculture, tourism, commerce and industry, among others. In jump-starting the new process of diversified revenue generation, administrators need to be conscious of the fact that oil and gas as sources of energy and power (and consequently revenues) are constantly exposed and susceptible to global price fluctuations and boardroom politics, exhaustible by chemical composition, non-renewable and non-reusable. The dynamics of the energy industry is constantly changing from the high dependence on fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal etc) to renewable and clean energy sources. This gradual shift from petroleum and other fossil-based fuels will inevitably drive down the global prices of crude oil once the other sources attain positive economies of scale. It is important that leaders of the Niger Delta region should accord high premium to the activation of this project that will be primarily based on resources and revenue diversification by providing the avenues conducive to proper utilisation of the region’s oil earnings for sustainable development – especially in the interest of future generations. To achieve maximum success, the leaders should create enabling platforms like directorates, departments and agencies with specific responsibilities to oversee, supervise and actualise specific targets that will concretise those processes that will either reduce or eliminate over-reliance on oil revenue. The leaders and/or administrators should go beyond grandstanding, self-serving platitudes and rhetoric by giving holistic interpretation to sustainable development of the component states of the Niger Delta for the overall benefit of this and coming generations. It is envisaged that the seamless movement from over-dependence on oil revenue to non-oil areas of the region’s economy should focus on development of those core areas that will lessen the people’s burden in the event of waning oil revenues or sudden depletion of crude oil reserves in the region. Some of the identified sectors include infrastructure development, human capital development, establishment of specialised macro-economic Free Trade Zones and Industrial Parks and solid minerals development, among others. States of the Niger Delta, observers believe, should collaborate to realise their goal through judicious deployment of the region’s oil earnings to ensure a seamless transition from huge allocations to none at all. The region needs leadership that thinks years ahead of its contemporaries to bring enduring succour and satisfaction to the people and extricate them from crass poverty, hunger, under-development and want. It is only when the welfare of the people of the Niger Delta region become the utmost concern of leaders at the federal, states and local government levels that those years of marginalisation, lack of representation, physical development and exploitation can be reversed.






This boy needs N150, 000 monthly to stay alive •Continued from page 29


ECALLING his ordeal in an exclusive interview with Niger Delta Report, Tega as he is fondly called, said it started a year earlier when “I noticed swellings on my legs and hands. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I notice that my face and hands are swollen. When I press my hands, the spot doesn’t come up immediately; it stays down for some time before coming up.” His maternal uncle, a medical doctor at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), asked him to come over to UPTH where they did series of tests including full blood count and urinalysis. “They said it is renal problem and that I have blood in my urine and there is a little protein in the urine. We went to a nephrologist in Port Harcourt who told us that it is a kidney problem but that it was not yet serious. He said we could still wait for some time before we go for dialysis,” he said. Devastated by the revelation, Tega

seldom drink and I did not take more than two bottles of beer at a time. I never took much alcohol. I was living a very normal life and I was a very calm and quiet boy,” he stated. Shortly after he got home and broke the sad news to his parents, Tega discovered that his legs were swelling again. He went to Warri General Hospital, where he did more tests. From there, he was referred to the Delta State University Teaching Hospital in Oghara, where he was subjected to more tests. “We met with the consultant (at DELSUTH) and she told us that I should start dialysis immediately. I started dialysis in March, 2013. At that time, dialysis was about N23, 000 per session and I went three or four times every week. My parents spent up to N40, 000 per session for dialysis and the Erythropoietin (Epo) injection, which cost N8, 000. Sometimes we also need to buy blood,” Tega said. He said he was lucky because his father had just been paid about N4 million at the time. So, there was money to pay for the expensive therapy and drugs needed to sustain him. However, it was not long before the money ran out and they could no longer afford the expensive three to four times weekly dialysis sessions. As he continued to skip the sessions, Tega’s condition deteriorated so much so that he became partially blind and unable to walk. “My parents could not afford it anymore after my father had spent well over N5m. If you have kidney problem, the fluid go to every part of the body, even the eyes. I was blind from March till July 2013 because I could not afford the dialysis,” he said.

•Mrs. Uhawha waiting for doctors to take off one of her kidneys for her son •Tega being prepared for the transplant

I advise governments at all levels, not just in Delta State, but all over the country, to take health issues seriously because there are a lot of people suffering from several ailments. Not all are as lucky as I am. People are suffering, not just from kidney problems, but from several other ailments

Providence smiled on the young man at that critical period when Delta State Governor; Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan (a medical doctor) slashed the price of dialysis from N23, 000 to N 5 , 000. The

•Uduaghan assuring Tega that all would be well

said he was forced to re-examine and take stock of his young life because of the widely held view that kidney diseases are caused by heavy drinking and other crummy lifestyle. “I was told that heavy drinking, infection and heredity could cause kidney problem. Those were the things I was told but there is nobody in my family who has been diagnosed with kidney problem. I

price for the Erythropoietin injection was also crashed to N2, 000. ”We were happy and everything was fine. I was able to go for dialysis frequently. I began to see again. All the things I couldn’t do for myself, I started doing again because things became easier for me and my parents,” he said. However, like most patients with kidney problems, the 23-year-old boy


OR EIGHT days, members of the Edo State Civil Society groups staged protests across major streets of Benin-City, the state capital. The protests were against the N750 monthly fixed charge demanded by Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) upon payment of electricity bills, especially for those using pre-paid meters. The protests unsettled the BEDC as they paralysed activities at its premises. The protest, which began on March 17, was first taken to the headquarters of the BEDC along Akpakpava Road in Benin-City after which the protesters began to picket branches of BEDC across the state. Members of the Edo State House of Assembly, led by Speaker Uyi Igbe, joined the protesters on the first day. The lawmakers marched round the Oba Ovoramwen Square in solidarity with the protesters. Founder of One Love Foundation, Patrick Eholor, who was one of the leaders of the protesters, said they were on the streets to protest continuous payment for darkness. Eholor, who urged the people to join in the struggle against exploitation by BEDC, said they would remain on the streets until the monthly From Osagie Otabor, Benin fixed charge is abolished. The fixed charge, he said, “is a projection of Multi-Year Tariff Order which means the fee increases ever year and as such translates to exploitation, oppression and fraud. “The fixed charge is programmed to run for a period of four years in the first instance; from 2012 to 2015. This means that customers in Edo State will pay N500 in 2012, N750 in 2013, N1, 500 in 2014 and N1, 800 in 2015 for single meters only. “It is clear from these facts that the operations of BEDC is geared towards exploitation, oppression and fraud.” Managing Director of BEDC, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, in an earlier reaction to the protest, explained that the fixed charge was not extortion but a charge that enables electricity to be constantly distributed to various homes in the region. She said the fixed charge might be re-introduced in a different way because of the huge amount of money they had to pay the generating company to make sure that electricity is evenly distributed. She said: “The N750 fixed charge is not a Benin Distribution Company issue; everybody is deducting it. The N750 fixed charge is capacity charge. You know we take supply from transmission and transmission also take supply from Djenko. So, the N750 is the charge for making that power available and having that capacity to make it available. So, once you are connected to us, you pay that fixed charge to us every month. “Our bill for power every month is anything between N3.2 billion and N3.6 billion so far. But what we have collected from our customers ranges between N1.8 billion and N2.1billion. The capacity charge is not something we can just decide to suspend and even when it is removed, it will come back to you in a different way because there are parties in the chain of transmission that are constantly working.” At another forum with the Edo State House Standing Committee on Energy and Water Resources, Mrs. Osibodu said it was only the National Electricity Regulatory Commission that could scrap the monthly payment of N750 fixed charge. Osibodu commended the protesters for engaging in a peaceful protest, even as she admitted that the protests revealed many weak points of the company that needed to be tackled. She also said it will make them be more focused; it will give us the direction as to what her firm required to have the best of electricity supply. Speaking earlier during the hearing, the Head of Market, Competition and Rates Division, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Haliru Dikko advised the BEDC to provide enough meters for consumers in conformity with the agreements signed with the Federal Government. Chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Michael Ezomo, said investigation showed there was no basis for the monthly N750 fixed charge being paid by electricity consumers in the state. Governor Adams Oshiomhole, at a meeting with management team of BEDC and the civil society groups, also described the N750 monthly fixed charge as extortion and exploitation of consumers. Oshiomhole said the fixed charges and estimated tariff by the electricity company was not only irresponsible, but also crude and illegal, adding that he would not preside over a state and watch Edo people exploited under the guise of fixed tariff and estimated billing. He told the BEDC management to invite the officials of NERC to Edo and explain to consumers why the collection of N750 fixed charge. ”There is fixed tariff by the new power company. There is no argument about whether or not the tariff or estimated charges are paid. I think I mentioned it that now that the Federal Government has handed over NEPA or PHCN to private investors, it is necessary that you improve on your service delivery to consumers so that they will have confidence in your organisation as failure will spark a revolt from consumers. This is exactly what is happening today. “As someone elected to represent the interest of the entire Edo people, I cannot be silent on this type of exploitation by one company which claims that there is somebody in Abuja or somewhere responsible for generation. Therefore, transmission of electricity is not the matter because from what I have gathered from the various speakers, it is certain that what is being done in Edo State does not exist in other states,” he said. Governor Oshiomhole urged the BEDC to discontinue their purported disconnection exercise of those who refused to pay estimated bill after paying for meters.

The fixed charge is programmed to run for a period of four years in the first instance; from 2012 to 2015. This means that customers in Edo State will pay N500 in 2012, N750 in 2013, N1, 500 in 2014 and N1, 800 in 2015 for single meters only…It is clear from these facts that the operations of BEDC is total exploitation, oppression and fraudulent

Delta State govt’s subsidy


Protests in Edo over BEDC’s monthly fixed charges

knew that the dialysis and other medications were merely to manage his ailment-they were not the ultimate solution. He said he and his mother continued to pray fervently for God to take away his pains and anguish. “My mother would pray throughout the night. When everybody is sleeping, she would be on her knees. She would cry, pray from midnight till early in the morning and would only go back to bed when people start waking up. She would then sleep for maybe two hours before she would wake up to go to work,”he stated. It was gathered that his mother decided to take her supplication to God when the family was informed of the cost of taking her son to India for the operation. Tega said the cost

of the operation was put at over N5m. “My parents could not afford it after all the money they had spent on my treatment,” He said. Meanwhile, before Tega was diagnosed with kidney problem, the Delta State Government had been investing in world-class equipment at the DELSUTH. The advent of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan administration in 2007 brought fresh impetus to the health sector. Results of the investment were seen in the numerous medical feats, including pacesetter operation, hipbone replacements, knee cap and other transplant operations that were successfully accomplished. In 2013, the governor and the Dr Leslie Akporiaye-led board of the DELSUTH targeted kidney transplant –a medical procedure to replace diseased kidneys as those on Tega’s with a healthy one from a donor. Prior to the development, patients from the Niger Delta region and other parts of the country who could afford

it usually opted for India and other western countries to treat the ailment. One of the initiatives of the government was a partnership between DELSUTH and the University of Texas South-western Medical Centre in the United States of America. In furtherance of the union, an agreement was reached to perform the first kidney transplant in the South-south geo-political zone of the country. “One day, my doctor and the Chief Medical Director (CMD) (DELSUTH) told me that they would be doing kidney transplant in the hospital. I was happy to know that I was selected as the first person and it was totally free. “When Dr. Okoye told us that I have been selected for the transplant, the attention shifted to who would donate the kidney. My mother immediately volunteered. She said she would give it to me,” Tega said. Expectedly, there were doubts and concerns over the operation. Some

people were scared and there was rumour that the hospital wanted to use the beneficiaries for experiment. But Tega and his mother, who volunteered one of her kidneys to save her son’s life, weren’t bothered. At 10:00 a.m. on a sunny Monday, January 13, mother and son were wheeled into the theatre. ”I came out about 4:30 p.m. I was very fine, taking in a lot of water. We were taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and they took very good care of us.” When our correspondent met Tega on Thursday last week, he looked healthy and very happy. “When I was diagnosed, I couldn’t do anything for myself. I was unable to walk; I only stayed in one place. When going to the hospital, my mum had to support me to get into the car because I couldn’t walk. But now I am doing things for myself. I now cook, wash my clothes and do everything others do,” he said. He also spoke of the comforting words of the governor, who was part

of the team, not as a medical doctor, but as an anaesthetist and a comforter. “He spoke gently to me and assured that I was going to be fine,” Tega revealed.

Cost of staying alive is very high Unfortunately, the return of his life to normal was at a cost. He said he would have to be on regular medication for the rest of his life in order to maintain his good health. The medication could cost as much as N150, 000 monthly. “The governor (Uduaghan) said he would give us the drugs free for six months. They are still giving us the drugs free. After that, we would start buying for ourselves and the drugs are very expensive –up to N150, 000 a month -and I am supposed to take it every day, morning and night for the rest of my life,” he said. With his parents’ life savings depleted in the course of caring for him, Tega faces uncertainty over what

to do when the free medication from the government expires in July. “I must thank Governor Uduaghan for making me see today because he was the one God used to save me. I will also appeal to him and the good people of the state not to leave me like this. Public-spirited individuals, well-to-do Nigerians and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) should please save my life. If I don’t take these drugs, my health situation will relapse. This miracle that is my life should not end; the government has saved my life, it has to help further. “I intend to go back to school and I am pleading with the government to assist me. I need to have something doing even while I am in school in order to be able to afford the drugs,” he said. Beyond soliciting help for himself, he appealed to the Federal Government and policy makers to focus on provision of quality healthcare for citizens. He lamented the number of people living with defective organs with little or no hope. He said: “I advise governments at all levels, not just in Delta State, but all over the country, to take health issues seriously because there are a lot of people suffering from several ailments. Not all are as lucky as I am. People are suffering, not just from kidney problem, but from several other ailments. “I was in Oghara and I saw a lot of people and only a few of them are still alive today. When you go one session, the next time you return and ask after someone you met, they will say he/she is dead. Some of them died because they could not afford treatment and drugs and because of some minor mistakes. I met a lot of people in the course of the routine dialysis but today only a fraction of them are alive. “Many people-young and old-are diagnosed of kidney problem. I have seen a lot of young boys with kidney problems and the solution is just transplant. “There is the need for efforts on renal ailments and the Department of Nephrology. There is need for governments and NGOs to channel efforts towards enlightenment and cure. Departments of Nephrology should receive more attention,” Tega said.




Foundation’s free Medicare for Rivers T

HE Abonnema community in AkukuToru Local Government Area of Rivers State and its environs were agog recently as the medical team from Care for Life Foundation, an initiative of High Chief Olu Benson LuluBriggs visited the area to offer free medical treatment to over 5,500 residents who were suffering from various ailments. Aged men, women and youths trooped out in their large numbers to access healthcare services which they lack due to grippling poverty pervading the rural communities. The five-day intensive healthcare outreach held at the Abonnema General Hospital. It was the third visit of the foundation to the area in its 13 years of existence and 22nd outreach across the SouthSouth region. Executive Director of the Foundation, Mrs. Seinye O.B. Lulu-Briggs described the foundation’s gestures as their own way of appreciating God’s call and mercies upon their lives. Mrs. Lulu-Briggs recalled that after the 2008 outreach at Abonnema, the foundation has successfully reached out to other remote communities in Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states as well as several others in Rivers State, where over 67,000 lives were positively touched and surgeries performed. She reiterated that the foundation’s concern was to provide quality healthcare for people at the grassroots, especially those indigent ones who could not afford medical care. The director expressed


From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt concern over increasing rate of ailments among the rural poor. She called for upgrade of medical facilities in the public healthcare centres with the latest technology to meet the reality on ground. She pledged the foundation’s readiness to partner with the state government to upgrade facilities at the Abonnema General Hospital for the use of residents of the community and its environs. “The number of patients that have turned out in the last three days of this outreach suggests that there is need for the country to upgrade her healthcare system from stage one to the current 21st Century stage four healthcare system as practised by countries such as India, United States of America and the United Kingdom, among others. “There is need to make drastic and positive changes in our healthcare system in terms of improvement in the remuneration of health personnel, provision of appropriate drugs, medical instruments, equipment and facilities, as well as the maintenance of same; so as to avert a retrogressive effect on our socio-economic development. “In this regard, the O.B. LuluBriggs Foundation is having preliminary discussions with the Rivers State government to partner with it on making the General Hospital in Abonnema a fully operational and world-class hospital as it should be,” she stated.

•Some members of the community waiting to be attended to by the medical team

No fewer than 5, 504 patients were treated, even as 49 surgeries were carried out at the Abonnema outreach. Those diagnosed with HIV were counselled and referred for further treatment along with those that have major cases which could not be effectively handled within the period of the outreach. Some of the beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation for its benevolence to the poor.

A middle-aged man whose nine-year surgical error was corrected testified at the event. He said: “I had major (appendix) operation in 2000. The appendix ruptured in my stomach. I was the only survivor of the six people that had the problem at that time. “In 2011, I was invited for the second round of the operation; they said it would be re-opened and closed back. But for fear of the death of some of those who underwent

the surgery along with me, I decided to go to a private hospital.” Also, a 25-year-old male beneficiary who suffered from hernia expressed his gratitude to the foundation for its love for the people. He said the condition deprived him of the ability to fend for himself. He expressed joy that the opportunity provided by the Lulu-Briggs Foundation has given him succour.

Pastor Amaechi in a topic entitled “Bearing Good Fruits,” said “bearing good fruits engenders peace, love, forgiveness, patience and joy in the family, whereas bad fruits bring sorrow, anger and troubles in the family and, by extension, the wider society. Quoting copiously from Psalm 15:2, he urged people to bear good fruits so that God would reward and bless them. On the medical cases they handled in the week-long

Refocusing NDDC for better se

HE Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Bassey Dan-Abia has said the commission must be alive to its responsibilities. He spoke at a three-day retreat for members of the board and management of the commission at the Ibom Le Meridien Hotel in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. The theme of the retreat was “Re-focusing NDDC for better service delivery.” Addressing the members of the board and management, the Chairman of the board, Senator Bassey EwaHenshaw said: “I believe that it is now time to tell ourselves some home truths. It can no longer be business as usual. Substantial and immediate changes for the better must take place.” At the end, the board and management of the NDDC agreed to evolve robust and innovative strategies in order to deliver on the mandate of the commission. In a 12-point communiqué issued at the end of the retreat, the NDDC leadership outlined its strategy to transform the commission in order to achieve better service delivery and align with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. The resolutions, jointly signed by the Chairman of the NDDC board, the Managing Director, as well as the two executive directors in the commission, stated that the agency would actively seek the co-operation of other stake-

By Amidu Arije

holders to achieve its vision as captured in the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan. Senator Ewa-Henshaw, who flagged off the retreat, said it was very timely, coming at a critical time in the history of the NDDC. He noted that the Bureau of Public Service Reform had, in 2013 “observed that the commission has a large pool of capable personnel, which is constrained by poor leadership, weak institutional systems and a culture of impunity.” The NDDC chairman warned members of staff of the commission that it would no longer be business as usual. He said he was hopeful that the retreat would re-orientate the minds of members of the NDDC family and re-focus their attention to address the image problem of the commission. He urged the participants to leave Uyo with a more positive attitude and a greater commitment to achieving the goals of the NDDC. Corroborating the chairman’s views, the Managing Director admitted that the commission was losing focus, even as he added that the critical question was how to get back on track. He said “holding this 2014 board and management retreat is our first step at getting back on track.” He said the priority of the board was to re-position the commission for better service delivery which would contribute immensely to achieving the ob-

jective “to offer a lasting solution to the socio-economic difficulties of the Niger Delta region.” Sir Dan-Abia conceded that the quality of some of the infrastructural projects undertaken by the NDDC fell below acceptable standards and this had made the people of the region to differentiate NDDC projects from other well-delivered ones. He, however, traced some of these shortcomings to inadequate funding, noting that the release of funds from contributing partners does not follow the funding provisions of the NDDC Act of 2000. After the retreat, the commission said some external constraints hinder the commission’s efforts to effectively discharge its duties. “Some of the constraints pertain to compliance with provisions of the NDDC Act of 2000, Public Procurement Act of 2007, funding and issues surrounding the ownership of the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan.” The resolutions further stated that there were internal challenges “which include weaknesses in the management systems and procedures; corruption, defects in the organisational structure, disconnect between staff performance and reward system; weak interface between head office and state offices; poor corporate communication culture and in-fighting within the commission.” They said in-line with the recom-

•Senator Ewa-Henshaw (left) and Dan-Abia at the retreat.

mendations of the Master Plan, NDDC would embark on medium and longterm planning beyond the annual budgeting exercise. The resolutions stated: “It is important to underline that the Master Plan is a regional plan in which all stakeholders, including state and local governments and the NDDC are required to take ownership and play their parts in the course of its implementation.” The NDDC board and management also resolved that they “will initiate, build and strengthen partnerships with key stakeholder groups with the view to improving working relationships and co-operation with such organisations and institutions. The Public Private Partnership (PPP) mechanism will be explored to leverage NDDC’s ability to undertake major/critical projects towards the deliv-

ery of its mandate.” The retreat was not all about the members talking to themselves. Other stakeholders were also present to proffer solutions to the challenges confronting the commission. The Presidency, which supervises activities of the commission, was represented to offer a deeper insight into what should be its responsibilities. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the SGF office, Mr. Linus Awute, urged the new board and management of the NDDC to change its strategy to fully align the activities of the commission to the roadmap set by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms. Senator Anyim said President Goodluck Jonathan had directed that




vers communities

NDDC committed to oil-producing states development

after the 2008 outreach at Abonnema, the foundation has successfully reached out to other remote communities in Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states as well as several others in Rivers State, where over 67,000 lives were positively touched and surgeries performed •Eight-year-old beneficiary of the outreach.

outing, Dr Etuk Akpan, a surgeon said: “The services we’ve been rendering included general out-patient services, consultations, prescriptions for common medical ailments as well as surgical operations for common /minor surgical conditions that will not require in-patient treatment and monitoring. “By minor surgeries I mean hernias, lumps, lynpomer and appendix, among others.

However, the pre-dominant case is hernia, which could be as a result of the people’s predominant fishing, farming and other hard labour occupation. “We have performed a total of 49 surgeries and we are still counting because we still have so much number in our list and the programme is still on.” Dr. Akpan recommended frequent access to health facilities for routine and regular check-ups on the

‘ people’s general health and high blood pressure levels to enable them to manage their health conditions for longevity. The Chairman of AkukuToru Local Government Area, Theodore Gorgewill, expressed his gratitude to the foundation for its intervention on the health needs of residents. He promised to upgrade the facilities at the Abonnema General Hospital, venue of the programme.

er service delivery the NDDC should be “supported to develop a management structure that is fit-forpurpose, that can ensure that the board and management team of the commission work effectively and harmoniously to deliver on its mandate.” He said:”The signal we are getting now is that the commission has started operating with the development templates that are built on the condition for mutual accountability. To us, such stride is commendable as it is in alignment with the principles of transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, which is also in tandem with our collective national vision as articulated in our National Strategic Development Plan to address the enormous challenges facing Nigeria in the quest for economic prosperity.” He said the expectations of the Presidency was that there should be a correlation between the Federal Government policy thrust as encapsulated in the Transformation Agenda and the activities of the NDDC. He acknowledged that substantial progress had been made in transforming the economic fortunes of the Niger Delta region, noting, however, that there was

still more work to be done by the new administration in the NDDC. The SGF said the report of a recent monitoring exercise undertaken by his office on the activities of the NDDC was encouraging. According to him, the exercise commended the great strides the commission had made with the completion of some projects and programmes that had direct impact on the beneficiaries of the locations where the projects were sited.” Senator Anyim said the report also noted major “constraints to the timely completion of projects. These include, delayed interim payments to contractors, poor consultancy work, undue requests for reviews and variations as well as inadequate funding of mega projects arising from faulty planning.” One of the keynote speakers spoke on regional infrastructure that was bound to transform the Niger Delta. Mayne David-West, a design engineer, made a presentation on the proposed East-West Coastal Highway. He said the East-West Coastal Road was pivotal to the rapid development of not just the Niger Delta but the entire

country. He said by strategic design, the road would be Nigerian extension of the TransWest African Coastal Highway segment linking Dakar-BanjulMonrovia-Lome-Lagos. The member representing Uyo (North East) Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State in the Senate, Senator Ita Enang represented the National Assembly. He advised the NDDC to widen its horizon and venture into industrial activities such as investing in the building and running of modular refineries, to secure the future of the people of the Niger Delta. Senator Enang said the NDDC should not concentrate only on building roads and other infrastructure but must begin to make investments that would outlive oil production in the Niger Delta. “It may look like a tall order but that is the way to go to ensure a sustainable development for the oil-rich region. The truth is that oil is not going to be important forever. “So, we must begin to prepare for life after oil. We have to keep something for our children who may have to live in a world where oil is no longer relevant,” he said.

• Omatsuli (third right) with Sir Amioku during the inspection


HE Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has assured of its commitment to fast-track development of the oil-producing states in line with its mandate. The Executive Director in charge of Projects, Mr Tuoyo Omatsuli gave the assurance while inspecting the ultra-modern hostel project built by the NDDC for the Delta State University, Abraka. He said: “The new board is determined to complete all ongoing projects and execute new ones that would positively impact on the lives and well-being of the people of the region. “We have our job cut out for us. Mr President has expressed his desire to bring a turn-around in the oil-producing region and all parts of the country.

From Shola O’Neil, Port Harcourt

“Our people are expectant and we are determined to ensure that their hopes and expectations are met in line with the zeal of the present administration.” Speaking further, Omatsuli, an engineer, said the DELSU hostel was one of several similar projects being executed by the NDDC all over the nine mandate states. He revealed that similar projects were ongoing in several higher institutions, adding that the one at the University of Benin was inaugurated recently. He further said the commission was very committed

to completion of the hospital project because of its determination to provide an environment conducive to teaching and learning. It was gathered that the hostel project located on the main campus (Campus 3) of DELSU, is billed for inauguration later this month. Meanwhile, investigations revealed that the NDDC team, which also included the Delta State Commissioner in the NDDC, Sir Tom Amioku, were unhappy over the finishing at the two-storey hostel complex. “The contractor handling it (names withheld) was advised to correct the lapses within two weeks,” a source at a meeting between Sir Amioku and the contractor revealed.

Leave Alison-Madueke alone, youths tell Reps


GROUP, the Graduates Association of the Niger Delta (GAND), has decried the perceived delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill by the National Assembly. Members of the group, who staged a peaceful protest in oil-rich Escravos, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, also criticised stalwart of the Northern Elders’ Forum, Alhaji Usman Bugaje, over statement credited to him to the effect that the Niger Delta oil belongs to the North. President of the group, Comrade Progress Omo-Agege, in a press statement also described the alarm raised by the House of Representatives on the ‘chartered jet saga’ of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani AllisonMadueke and other sundry developments as part of the plot to kill the Bill. The group said: “Mrs. Allison-Madueke is one of the arrowheads working towards the passage of the PIB which aims at ensuring rapid development of the Niger Delta. “Activities of the House of Representatives have been fraught with inciting, unsubstantiated, spurious and politically-motivated allegations targeted at further weakening the political relevance of Niger Delta people in this country.” It queried the timing of the allegation by the House of Representatives against the Minister of

From Shola O’Neil, Port Harcourt

Petroleum Resources, particularly against the backdrop of Alhaji Bugaje’s statement. It warned that such posture would not augur well for the country. Omo-Agege, who read the text of the statement signed by Comrades Agbefe Sebastine and Matthew Itsekure, Secretary and Spokesperson of GAND respectively, urged members of the National Assembly to declare their sincerity by first telling Nigerians their annual budgetary allocations. They further traced the prevailing petroleum product scarcity across the country as part of the plot to discredit Mrs. Allison-Madueke in order to ease her out of office. “It is a grand design by business magnate who could not pressurise our minister in their failed bid to purchase oil blocs and some key members of the House of Representatives to discredit the Minister of Petroleum Resources, particularly as the 2015 elections draw closer.” The protesters, comprising youths, women and elders of the area, chanted songs in solidarity with the minister, even as they carried placards with inscriptions such as: ”Removing Deziani is Anti-Niger Delta,” “Don’t Kill PIB,” “Deziani, the Face of this Administration” and “Reps Probe your Salary before Deziani,” among others.

1,000 benefit from PTDF’s certification programme


HE Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has said 1, 000 beneficiaries have been trained in the Welders’ Training and Certification Programme (WTCP) since its inception four years ago. The Executive Secretary of the Fund, Dr. Oluwole Oluleye revealed this during the flagoff of Module B, Train Two of the training programme held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. The PTDF programme was established by the Federal Government to raise the capacity of Nigerian welders and fabricators to international standard. It was also meant to enhance implementation of the Nigerian local content law. Oluleye said 40 per cent of the 1,000 trainees have been engaged in the oil and gas industries, while many are currently serving as qualified instructors at various International Institute of Welding (IIW) training centres across the country. “It is worthy of note that so far, the PTDF, in partnership with the Nigerian Institute of Welding (NIW), has trained over 1,000 Nigerians in various stages of the Welders’ Training and Certification Programme. “Consequently, 40 per cent of the trainees are fully integrated in the industry. Many of them

From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

act as qualified instructors at the International Institute of Welding training centres. It is therefore safe to affirm that a sustainable Train– the-Trainer aspect has evolved through the WTCP. “We are determined to improve on our previous achievements as adequate measures are in place to train Nigerians in professional welding certification courses in order to ensure complete domiciliation of fabrication activities in the country,” he said. Earlier in his speech, the President, Nigerian Institute of Welding (NIW), Dr. Solomon Edebiri, recalled that a total of 52 personnel were trained in various aspects of welding outside the country in 2009, while the in-country training began in 2010. While corroborating Oluleye’s views on the gains of the programme, Edebiri said a total of 1, 200 people have been enrolled for the programme locally in the past years while 401 trainees successfully completed the required modules and had graduated. Out of these, 11 were sent to France for further training in underwater welding.





E was the last person I was expecting to see. I could have also missed him. But the grey hair called attention to him. I checked the face and a step behind me was one of the men of influence in today’s Nigeria. Our first meeting was in an NGO’s office in Ogba, Lagos. It was in 2008. Then I had just ‘ported’ to this newspaper after working for some nine years in two different news magazines. I am sure he cannot remember that meeting again or even remember me. A big brother and friend of mine had arranged the meeting. He came across to me as a humble human being despite his exploits in the NGO world and his past position as Commissioner for Information in oil-rich Bayelsa. We sat face-to-face and he told me he would need some media mention for a project he was working on then. We parted and only had indirect contacts after that. Some months back, I saw him in Lagos. He clearly had no memory of ever meeting me before and I did not bother to introduce myself. He was presenting a book on behalf of the Presidency which he now works for. But what struck me and many others that day was that he had emaciated and grew grey. He looked older than his age. His eyes were bulging as if ready to come out of the sockets. Some of us suggested he should sit while making his presentation. He refused on the excuse that he had been sitting all day. As loud as his voice could go, he enumerated the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan and said politics apart, Jonathan had changed a lot of things. Douglas said politicking in the country has blinded the people to the progress being made by the President and his team, adding that a lot of transformation is on-going. He said: “When it is time for politics, we should play politics. But there is no need to play politics with development. It is wrong for anybody to say this administration has done nothing. In this publication, you will see evidence that this administration has performed more than any other in record time. Pictures can’t lie and pictures tell stories better than a thousand words. “I challenge us to go and verify the facts in this publication and then report back to the public. What this administration has done is unprecedented. We must give credit when due and not allow politics to cover facts about development.” He added that Jonathan would not play politics with the Transformation Agenda. “This administration is serious about development and will not play politics with development,” he said. After the presentation, he answered questions, accepted blames where he should and debunked myths when he sensed one. We left the meeting with someone like me



•A weekly intervention on Southsouth matters

The meeting


praying for him to regain his health and be able to withstand the rigour of his office. I did not know that I was going to see him soon again. On Monday, March 31, I was about



There is need for the country to upgrade her healthcare system from stage one to the current 21st Century stage four healthcare system as practised by countries such as India, United States of America and the United Kingdom…There is need to make drastic and positive changes in our healthcare system in terms of improvement in the remuneration of health personnel, provision of appropriate drugs, medical instruments, equipment and facilities, as well as the maintenance of same; so as to avert a retrogressive effect on our socio-economic development

---Seinye O.B. Lulu-Briggs

boarding a late-night flight from Lagos through London to New York with my wife when I saw him at my back spotting a brown check suit and a pair of black trousers. He had

in his hand a black bag. His hair was almost all grey. His gait frail and my heart was broken. The air-conditioning system in the remodelled Murtala Muhammed International Airport was messing up and we could not but sweat. He too was sweating. At some points, he fanned himself with his boarding pass. Since he could not recognise me, I did not introduce myself. I told my wife who he was and she suggested I introduce myself or even help him carry his bag given his state of health. I told her there was no need and that from the little I know about him, he would not fancy being pitied to the extent of being helped to carry his hand luggage. He struggled his way into the plane and we never saw again. I suspected he was going to keep an appointment with his doctors. The man I write about is Oronto Douglas, whose name I had borrowed on two occasions on this platform when I need to speak as an Ijaw. For some time now, there have been speculations about his state of health. No doubt, all is not well with the Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Research, Documentation and Strategy. He has really emaciated. Gone is the Douglas who co-founded the Environmental Rights Action (ERA). Gone is the Douglas who served Bayelsa as Commissioner for Information. Gone is the Douglas who first joined the Presidency when Jonathan was Vice-President. Gone is the Douglas who sat with me in ERA’s office some six years ago on our first meeting. And gone is the Douglas who qualified as a lawyer many years back. I don’t care what illness he is battling. There are speculations around that which I won’t profess. But what I will profess today is that God Almighty, in his infinite mercy, will visit Douglas and restore him to good health. His father did not die young. Oronto, in Jesus’ name, will not die young. Amen. Before his foray into government, his collaboration with other like minds, such as Nnimmo Bassey, gave Nigeria its foremost environmental rights group, ERA, which has done a lot in the area of tobacco control (though it is sad that Jonathan refused to sign the National Tobacco Control Bill passed by the last National Assembly) and environmental protection. Oronto, the man whose identity I have acquired without his permission, will be one of those miraculous recoveries that the world has ever seen and it will be good in our eyes and we will rejoice in it. It has been difficult for me to forget the meeting and each time I remember it, I pray for the miraculous. You will live Oronto and not leave by His grace!

•Last Word is Niger Delta Report’s verdict on Southsouth affairs

Dickson, hear Miss Oyintarila‘s prayer


ER story is pathetic. It is difficult to read it and not pity her. It reads like this: Miss Ekade Oyintarila, as a youth corps member, participated in the voter registration exercise and had an accident. She is now confined in a small room at Akenfa, a suburb in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital. The 27-year-old graduate of Economics from the Niger Delta University (NDU), in the last cover report of Niger Delta Report said: “Sometimes, I even get tempted to commit suicide because of the situation I found myself. I have tried suicide not once. When I became a graduate, I felt I had achieved one of my dreams in life. I got my NYSC letter and went to camp and came out . What I wanted to do after my youth service was to get a good job, be useful to the society, my family and myself. “I had an accident. On the last day of the preview, we submitted all our computers, tools they (INEC) gave to us and also collected our allowances. Actually, I was on the way to collect the allowances when I had the accident. “I later discovered myself in an

ambulance. I asked the man with me what happened. He told me it was an accident. He asked me of my people’s address. It was only my father’s phone number that I could remember off by heart then. “He called my dad immediately and I spoke to him. My father asked me not to worry, that I was going to be okay. That was the last thing I remembered. I went back into a coma. “I was at the recovery ward, the former President of INC was even in the same ward with me and some government officials were coming to see him. I tried to get their attention –to let them know what was happening to me and that I needed help-nobody was willing to help.” She wrote Governor Seriake Dickson. The governor received the letter and sent acknowledgement dated August 15, last year and signed by the Chief of Staff, Mrs. Dido Waltson-Jack, to the family of Ekande. Dickson further sent his Commissioner for Health, Dr. Anapurere Awoli to visit Oyintarila and assess her condition. The commissioner visited the family and rekindled the hope of the victim. But several months gone by,

Oyintarila’s hope has been hanging. The commissioner said he forwarded a memo of his recommendations on the victim’s condition to the governor on August 21, last year. A November 12, last year letter by Miss Oyintarila thanked the governor for sending his commissioner to her. She reminded the governor that the file of her case had been sent to his table. She begged: “His Excellency, l now have a renewed hope that l can walk again as my file is on your table for approval. I am a hard-working girl. I was serving my nation Nigeria on INEC assignment as a corps member when l had an accident. “But NYSC and INEC abandoned me at my critical time in hospital and now. Most of my colleagues are all working now but l am still on crutches. Please, sir, help me so that l can go for the final surgery in India to enable me walk and work and contribute my services to the Restoration Agenda.” What more is there to say? Dickson seems to hold the key to Miss Oyintarila walking again. Please make her walk, your Excellency.




Jumia supports designers


UMIA has opened up a new sub-category specially for proudly Nigerian fashion. The platform is not a new discovery, but a recognition for local designers. However, the industry has grown so big, and it’s being recognised on the runways across the world. It parades some of the most talented designers who make everything from clothing and accessories to shoes and beauty products from scratch. Everything the Western world has to offer can be made and found in Nigeria, and the birth of the Jumia’s ‘By Naija Store’ brings this premium offering to the customer. Prior to the latest announcement, Jumia’s fashion store has continued to grow with the latest addition of over 50 new Nigerian brands. From the onset of the largest online fashion store, Jumia has been working with some of the biggest fashion designers who have since seen success selling their products online, especially on The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), 24 Apparel, Temitayo Eyitayo, said: “It has been a great Journey for 24 Apparel being on Jumia. Ever since we launched our clothing on Jumia, it has helped increase sales by a great volume and also recognition for the 24 brands in terms of marketing and visibility. It has also helped customer confidence in the 24 brands, as it is associated with the good quality of Jumia. Selling on Jumia has since made the 24 brand grow faster with fast logistics option” In a statement from the man behind the premium brand, David Wej Adedayo Eweje, “For a premium brand, we had our doubts about how Nigerians online will accept our product but so far, selling on jumia has been a great platform for our premium brand. We are not only able to sell a lot but we are able to showcase the fabulous collections we


Stories by Tonia ‘Diyan

have, and we are able to reach a larger audience from Jumia.” Head of Fashion at Jumia Nigeria, Funmi Daniel said: “Jumia Fashion is still growing and with this great step of creating the “By Naija Store” we are recognising local talents. Also, we are welcoming as many Nigeria brands as possible to reach their target audience online at ease and get the maximum exposure for their brands. Our aim is to make Jumia the largest and fastest growing fashion store in Nigeria”. One of the success stories of Nigerian designers currently selling on Jumia is Scuup Woman, one of the biggest female retailers on Jumia, who tripled her sales in a month. The CEO, Amaka Kentebe said: “We are really happy Jumia has helped our brand. We have been able to expand massively since we started selling on Jumia. Hitting N1 million worth of sales from women’s clothing selling on Jumia is just the beginning for Scuup Woman; we intend to continue working with Jumia and maybe soon take us international.” With the launch of the Jumia’s ‘By Naija Store,’ the spotlight has been on talented designers who have been part of the Jumia Fashion story. The fans were not left out as these top designers had the platform to engage fans about their journey so far and the future of Nigerian fashion.

• Eyitayo

• David Wej

Easter season, one of the biggest holidays of the year, is here again! And Jumia wants to help customers relive their childhood with games, shopping and fun. Easter is all about spending time with family members and loved ones, sharing memorable moments

and exchanging gifts. This year, Jumia is offering customers everything they need for the festivity in one store for the most memorable Easter moments that they and members of their family deserve. Consequently, an exciting ‘Find Your Easter Egg’ treasure hunt has been planned to create some lucky winners amongst Jumia’s customers this Easter. Starting from today, and continuing throughout Easter, customers can go on and participate by locating the Easter bunnies hidden on their website. But the Easter fun does not end there. Customers will have to find all the bunnies to win different gifts from Jumia. Amongst the prizes to be won are shopping vouchers and tickets to the biggest Easter concerts in Lagos and Calabar. Co-Chief Executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria, Jeremy Doutte said: “Easter is a huge celebration in Nigeria and we are always glad to bring Nigerians the best offers online, as well as helping to bring families closer with the traditions that come with the season.”

Unlike the Easter egg hunt that is all about who has the fastest fingers, finding the perfect Easter gift has just gotten easier with Jumia’s Easter store. Customers can get their loved ones, colleagues and family members a nice Easter basket treat with ‘Golden Egg from Eileen.’ The Easter basket comes with all the premium groceries and goodies for Easter. Customers can also get a friend a nice bottle of red wine to pair with a special Easter meal with friends and family. They can purchase a Nikon camera to capture those memorable Easter moments or get that television with up to 60 per cent off to lean back and enjoy with their family. Finally, they can treat themselves and their loved ones to an exciting concert for the weekend with tickets to the biggest Easter show in Lagos, ‘Ay Live’. All of these gifts and many more can be delivered to you just in time for the Easter holidays.

The conference, which has theme ‘Playing to Win’, is a call to all its franchise partners on the need to play the business game differently in order to keep ahead of competition. The Managing Director, UAC Restaurants Limited, Derrick Van Houten, likened the QSR industry landscape to the game of football saying “every second, every minute counts in the game and as a team of restaurants, it is important that we keep close, and

insist on quality of service and value delivery to customers for us to keep competition at bay” A UAC Restaurant business partner, Mrs. Titilayo Adeojo, expressed excitement at the forthcoming conference. Her words: “I get excited and ready for the next business year during our annual conference, it gives us the opportunity to review our business, learn and adopt new skills that will ensure growth in the coming year.”

The Marketing Manager, UAC Restaurants, said the conference would be one of its kind. According to her, “our strategic partners will be attending. They include the Chief Executive Officer of Famous Brands, Darren Hele and Mark Hedderwick, Managing Executive, Rest of Africa. The event will be opened by the Group Managing Director of UAC of Nigeria, Larry Ettah.” Mr Bigg’s remains the market leader in QSR with footprint in 29 states.

Jumia spices up Easter with ‘Easter egg hunt’

Jumia’s top Easter picks

UAC Restaurants to hold franchise conference

AC Restaurants Limited, owners of Mr. Bigg’s, Nigeria’s largest quick service restaurant (QSR) brand, is set to hold its national conference on April 25. It is a gathering of its franchise business partners in West Africa, who will review last year’s business performance and agree on strategies for the next year. The conference will be the first after the strategic joint venture partnership with Famous Brands of South Africa in October, last year.

• White House and Ghana High Cafeteria experiential kiosk during the New MAGGI Chicken cube launch in Lagos.


HE new Maggi Chicken cube is the rave of the moment. Major markets in Lagos, such as Ojuwoye, Mile 12, Agege, and Ikotun, among others, now stock the new Maggi Chicken Cube. The brand, according to its makers, has been formulated as the best ever chicken seasoning, bringing renewed excitement to retailers and consumers. It can be used with other Maggi products, depending on which dish one is preparing. Sold for N300, the brand has a range of products within different flavour profiles to satisfy the taste of consumers. They are Maggi star, Maggi crayfish, Maggi mixpy ginger and garlic/classic/tomato. Some women spoke on how trustworthy the brand has been over the years . Mrs. Anita Chike, who has been using the brand for the past 30 years, said it is tested and trusted. “The amount of those nutrients that have negative effect on the health when

‘Women and Maggi’ve come a long way’ consumed in excess has been completely reduced, while food components and nutrients required to maintain good health have been increased in quantity,” she said. She added: “We all know that fortified foods with vitamins and minerals play a key role in the prevention of micronutrient deficiencies. The brand contains iodized salt and iron.” For Mrs. Sumbo Ijaola, Maggi chicken has now been improved with quality ingredients to give the tastiest outcome to meals. She said Maggi now provides unmatched chicken taste, great aroma and appealing colour for all cooking. As she put it, “You have not tasted the best chicken until you try the new magi chicken cubes.” Another consumer, Mrs. Charity Nwanchukwu, said the brand is adapted to

the Nigerian taste and cuisine, playing a critical role in the delivery of some vital micro nutrients to consumers. She said: “The salt content is more or less at par with competition and poses no health hazards, it is in moderate quantity.” Mrs. Aina Oluwole added that the brand provides tasty and healthy meal solutions. “As cuisine, cooking habits, and tastes continue to evolve, Maggi will be that helping hand to the woman who is the meal provider in the kitchen continually helping to create good food moments. The brand encourages the use of fresh ingredients, a good cooking habit and passing on nutrition knowledge,” she noted. Brand Manager, Emeka Nwodo, said: “With a vibrant, intense and rich chicken flavour, Maggi chicken not only gives consumers a

wider choice of its taste, but also ensures that we satisfy the taste and need of every woman in the kitchen , which is to create meals worthy of celebration by her family and friends.’’ Daily, 80 million maggi cubes are sold. Three years ago, a 12 billion CHF factory in Shagamu, Ogun State, was set up, bringing the number of factories in Nigeria to two, having earlier set up one in Agbara since 1981. The company has an approach to business where they work on long term partnerships with stakeholders in the community. The brand engages over 10,000 soya farmers, equipping them with technical know-how and improved seedlings to help them improve their yields and in turn, sell to Nestle, which the company uses to produce Maggi and a few other products.







The Federal Government is making efforts to increase the production of cassava, a staple crop for many farmers, to make it an export product. This was the focus of a train-the-trainer workshop on mechanised cassava farming at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago Iwoye in Ogun State. DANIEL ESSIET reports.

How to boost cassava development


Y 2020, global cassava trade could increase by 30 per cent, reflecting growth in export demand for cassava feed used for chicken, pigs, cattle, fish, cassava food products, such as instant meals, snacks, and ingredients for sweeteners and prepared foods, and nonfood products as starch and flour for textiles and papers. This means greater opportunities for Asian countries, which through the application of new technologies in breeding and new ways of cassava cultivation, have brought more cash to farmers. On account of these achievements, the Federal Government sees Asia as a model for food security progress from which Nigeria should learn. One of the institutions of innovation in cassava research and development that contributed to the success of cassava in Thailand and other parts of Asia and Latin America is the Columbia-based Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT). Dr. Reinhardt Howeler, acclaimed agronomist and soil scientist, who has worked for 39 years at CIAT and was instrumental to the increase in cassava production in Asia, was in Nigeria to assist the Federal Government in the implementation of its cassava transformation agenda. Addressing a train-the-trainer workshop on mechanised cassava farming at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, Howeler said cassava has a major role to play in rural development in Asia. This role continues to evolve, driven by the globalisation of markets, long-term income growth, increasing population, and new technology for cassava and alternative energy sources. Howeler noted that cassava is a money spinner in Asia because the people made the fastest progress in the application of new technologies in breeding and its new propagation, resulting in yields due to the planting of new high-yielding cassava varieties. In Asia, he said cassava production is growing on marginal lands where rice cannot be cultivated. The main market growth is for industrial products - native or modified starch and their derivatives. He stressed that Nigerian farmers need to grow improved varieties of cassava, for the nation to position the crop as an important source of income and that the wide range of products make it a flexible component in a strategy for development. At the moment, he said, the government is supporting research to help develop and distribute new resistant varieties to farmers to boost cassava production. The resistant varieties, he noted, are higher yielding, allowing farmers to increase their productivity and process excess production. Another advantage is that the resistant cassava varieties can be replicated on the ground by local farmers and the crop is sustainable. Along with increased cassava production, he said research has yielded an important and high-impact technologies. He explained that cassava has unique characteristics that help subsistence farmers. Howeler said cassava has also the potential to be a profitable cash

• Fregene

crop, adding that in Thailand cassava proved that it can become a profitable crop with international breeding partnerships, a national commitment and marketing. The potential of cassava is high compared to rice, he said, adding that the usefulness of cassava as a supplier of high-quality and inexpensive industrial starch and animal feed, seemed not to be appreciated here as in Thailand, where the crop is an export product. In countries, where the commercialisation of cassava has reached an advanced stage, he said such technologies had been developed in recent years that make planting, harvesting, and post-harvest processing more efficient and less timeconsuming. The efforts to make cassava production more cost-effective may explain the revival of global cassava production designed for animal feed over the last decade. The Project Leader, Cassava Transformation Team, Dr Martin Fregene, listed the various products for the future: fresh roots and leaves, home or village processing, starch, flour and animal feed. Each of these was analysed in terms of growth source - innovation, competition, or concentration, potential, and challenges. He stressed the importance of researchers, extension workers and farmers trained in cassava research and cultivation. He said the government would promote the sector to make it attractive and profitable for investors.

• Howeler

“Agriculture should be seen as a business and the government should continue to promote the sector to make it profitable for operators along the production chain,” he said. With the government’s objective of attracting more participation in the sector, he said some initiatives and incentives had been developed to motivate people and firms. In view of the strategic importance of the sector, he said the government had taken various measures to facilitate its transformation. He stressed the importance of partnership with the private sector, saying agric-business could not thrive without the support of the private sector. One of the scientists, who worked on the varieties of Pro-Vitamin A cassava, launched by the Federal Government on March 16, 2012, Dr. Chiedozie Egesi, said efforts had been made to disseminate the cassava varieties to rural households to tackle vitamin A deficiency. Egesi, who is of the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, said the institute would ensure that farmers have access to Vitamin A cassava stems for planting in some states. He said NRCRI is partnering the government and the private sector to ensure that farmers in the local government areas produce and market vitamin A cassava products. Besides improving the health and nutrition of the people, the cultivation of the varieties can provide jobs, improve incomes and lift poor households out of poverty.

• Egesi

Consumers like the varieties because of their nutritional qualities. While the workshop brought together, local farmers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) representatives, delegates from the government to share knowledge on cassava, identify new challenges in research, improve farmer adoption and marketing of cassava, and set up new research collaborations that are focused not primarily on research, but on the development of new products for cassava farmers, the ministry conveyed a meeting in Abuja to show the way forward for cassava bread. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Adewumi Adesina, has said there is need for sustainability of the High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) inclusion in bread; therefore, stakeholders have to work together to ensure the passage of the Cassava Bread Bill into law. Informing participants of the Draft Cassava Flour Bill, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, who represented the Agriculture minister, said it had become necessary to push for the bill to allay fears that the government had abandoned the cassava bread project. Despite the hitches in the past few months, there is silver lining in the sky for cassava and sorghum. Mrs. Odusote said many bakers were adopting cassava/wheat composite flour. The stakeholders met in Abuja not only to get updates on the state of the N10 billion Cassava Devel-

‘In countries, where the commercialisation of cassava has reached an advanced stage, such technologies had been developed in recent years that make planting, harvesting, and post-harvest processing more efficient and less timeconsuming... Agriculture should be seen as a business and the government should continue to promote the sector to make it profitable for operators along the production chain’

opment Fund, but also to fine-tune the Draft Bill on Cassava Inclusion in bread for transmission to the National Assembly for passage into law. The Permanent Secretary said President Goodluck Jonathan approved N10billion Cassava Bread Fund and set up an Oversight Committee to oversee the fund. The committee members, according to Mrs. Odusote, were drawn from such organisations as the Nigerian Cassava Growers Association (NCGA), National Cassava Processors and Marketers Association (NCAPMA), National Association of Master Bakers and Confectioners of Nigeria, National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standards Organisations of Nigeria (SON), Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry (BoI), Federal Institute of Industrail Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), National Institute of Food Science and Technology, among others. It was observed that the BoI oversees the primary production in which small-scale farmers would be supported to cultivate 29,500hectares of cassava for the production of 590,000 metric tonnes of tubers for HQCF. Towards this, she said a list of farmers cultivating between two and four hectares each is being compiled by the NCGA to ensure sustainable supply of roots to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). For BoI, the equipment support to the Master bakers and SMEs is its domain. It will ensure low interest loans for their working capital. For now, according to the Permanent Secretary, letters of offer are being distributed to beneficiaries. It expected that the actualisation of 20 per cent cassava flour inclusion in wheat for bread would save about N127 billion and create 1.3 million jobs in the sector. Meanwhile, the draft bill is yet to be completed and the time of submission to the National Assembly Committees on Agriculture is yet to be determined, according to a member of the Legal Committee at the technical session during the forum.



AGRICBUSINESS Climate change hits farmers


•Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs. Ronke Sokefun, (middle) flagging off the 2014 Growth Enhancement Support Scheme for Ogun State farmers in Abeokuka, flanked from the left by President, Ogun State All Farmers Association, Chief Segun Dasaolu, State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Muyiwa Akinsola, Special Adviser to The Governor on Agriculture, Mr. Wale Ogunyomade and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Eng. Lanre Bisiriyu.


Invest in commodities, pension funds firm urged

DLE pension funds can be invested in commodities trading, the Director, Africa Region, Cassava Adding Value for Africa (CAVA), Dr Kola Adebayo, has advised. Adebayo said there was the need to allow consumers to access commodities effortlessly. With the government showing determination to transform agriculture, Adebayo said international funds are important if the government is to strengthen sustainable farming and improve traceability in its supply chains. He noted that agriculture has not been the easiest place for small investors to access, explaining that it is a difficult class, reserved for investors who own farms or agricultural traders on one of the exchanges. But there are predictable outcomes that make the sector safe for pension

Stories by Daniel Essiet

investments, he added. But in recent years, he said investment houses and fund providers have launched vehicles to satisfy investors’ appetite for foodrelated portfolios. With the state of the market, he said there are opportunities for venture and pension funds, adding that there is enough money to contribute to rising prices, even if supply/demand fundamentals for some commodities, such as food items, do not justify the rise. The premise, he added, was that investors would seek to buy commodities on ideas that a growing population will need to eat, adding that interest in commodities is part of a move to diversify. Explaining the reasons for rise in food prices, Adebayo attributed it to

bad weather and increasing demand. From a supply perspective, he said lack-lustre harvests as a result of bad weather, coupled with depleting production growth has meant that demand is not being met. Demand, he added, is affected by some long-term trends, a rising population and a change in consumption patterns. He advised pension funds to step up investments in commodity assets, such as commodity exchanges and some more diversification in growth assets, means more alternatives coming through. He suggested that pension funds make allocations to commodities that are forecast to show long-term growth based on rises in one population and in per capita commodities demand in emerging markets to the higher levels in the developed world.

Expert advises Fed Govt on crops’ genetic modification


HE Federal Government has been advised to intensify monitoring and researching of genetic modification to promote biological diversity and sustainable livelihoods. The President, Save Food and Feed Foundation, Prof Stephen Fapohunda, stressed the need to address issues dealing with the genetic engineering, privatisation, industrialisation and corporate control of the food systems. With 75 per cent of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops estimated to have been lost due to proliferation of commercial uniform varieties replacing native

land races, Fapohunda said. Erosion of crop genetic diversity poses a serious threat to food supplies as it reduces resistance to pests, diseases and changing weather patterns. Contending that the genetic diversity within crops is also decreasing, Fapohunda urged the government to shown concern with the conservation of agricultural biodiversity for livelihood security and food sovereignty. He said the food and agriculture sector needS to work at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.

He stressed the need for the government to encourage sustainable use of natural resources in the areas of water and energy, as well as for the sustainable future of communities. On Genetically modified foods, he said they were associated with heart diseases, fibroid, diabetes, and cancers, among others, and as such, they were not good for human consumption. He raised concerns about the economic implications for farmers, adding that the countries were likely to face difficulttimes if the crops were allowed into the country.

By Nneka Nwaneri

premixes from NIR machine and another new automated premix plant. As part of the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS), it has assisted the Department of Animal Science at the University of Ibadan to train students on entrepreneurship as well as refurbish the University of Ilorin Faculty of Agriculture Library, among others. President, Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, Abuja, Prof Placid Njoku, said with the resilience and doggedness of Hi-Nutrients products, animal husbandry and live stock farming would take a new dimension , the products having been kept under the best environmental conditions and raw materials.

Hi-Nutrients marks 10th anniversary


I-NUTRIENTS, one of the manufacturers of premixes, has rolled the drums to mark its 10th anniversary. The company not only celebrated, but also inaugurted its ultra-modern premix factory, which has the capacity to produce 25 metric tonnes of premixes daily. The company, which started as a family business with $1000 in 2004, with two staff, has blossomed to be one of the largest investors in the agricultural sector with a contribution of more than 45 per cent of Gross Domestic Products (GDP. Its investment base hit $5.3million at the beginning of the month. Its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Olabode Adetoyi, said it

has brought in quality feed addictives, such as Vitamin C coated for fish and poultry farmers from Europe from its European ally to solve heat stress, broken head disease in catfish. It also produces other amino acids, such as Tryptophan, Threonine as well as single vitamins and minerals. On the factory, Adetoyi said it houses a multimillion naira premix raw materials kept under coldrooms. “This is equipped with conical and stainless paddle mixer premix machine and in months to come, farmers will have access to analyse their

ARMERS are feeling the effects of rising temperatures and more frequent droughts and floods, and experts are warning of dramatic consequences in the future, including food scarcity. In an interview with The Nation, the Programme Coordinator, Farmers Development Union (FADU), Mr Victor Olowe, said there are lots of uncertainties surrounding weather predictions that are making farming difficult for Nigerians. Severe weather events, he noted, had awakened the agriculture community and emergency responders to the reality that the survival of the farms depends on how well Nigerians are prepared for the worst. He said there was a need to prepare against climate change destroying crops and seeds and, leaving farmers and consumers vulnerable to

hunger. He said the nation need to conserve the diversity of the major crops, in order to be able to feed itself in the future. Olowe called on the government to provide more useful data on climate to farmers, and others affected by climate change. He advised that the government designate climate hubs at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and research institutes across the country that will seek to create more useful climate data and disseminate it more broadly. According to him, farms that don’t prepare leave themselves most vulnerable to disasters. He urged farmers to take advantage of crop insurance to covers losses of produce and other farm products due to floods, insect infestations and other disasters.

GES: Govt to register five million farmers


HE Federal Government would register five million farmers under the Gross Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) this year, the Director, Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), Alhaji Tijjani Ishaku, has said. He spoke in Kaduna State, during an interview with the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna. He said 135,000 farmers would be registered in each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT under the scheme. Ishaku said the registration had since started, advising farmers to take advantage of the opportunity by registering to derive its maximum benefits.

He said the registration was being undertaken in collaboration with the various Agricultural Development Programmes (ADP) in the states. According to him, the collaboration was necessary to tap from the records of the ADPs on farmers, to avoid registering fake farmers. The director said a stakeholders’ meeting, involving fertiliser firms, dealers and state officials, would be held to map out modalities to ensure smooth implementation of the scheme. NAN reports that farmers registered under the GES would receive fertilisers, seeds and chemicals at subsidised rate through the electronic wallet.

‘Meat production can fetch N3tr yearly’


DELEGATE representing the Northeast at the National Conference, Alhaji Isa Mafindi, has said meat production could fetch Nigeria N3 trillion yearly. Mafindi said there was no basis for poverty in the country. He regretted that agriculture was not given its rightful place in the economy, urging farmers and governments to run agriculture like a business. “Abattoir or cattle meat production can give Nigeria nothing less than N3 trillion a year.” The delegate, who is a livestock farmer, said farmers were not making use of their by-products, which could fetch millions of dollars. “Farmers producing maize, guinea-corn, palm-kernel or cotton have the products and their by-products; they only take the products home and leave the by-

products in the farms. “Why can’t we turn the byproducts into a business. Entrepreneurs can buy the by-products and turn them into animal feed. “With these things put together, a cow, which I know best, can give you a yield of three kilogrammes of milk per day. In Nigeria, we have nothing less than 50 million cows.” Mafindi, however, regretted the unhygienic conditions under which meat was being prepared for consumption. “We have the worst meat preparation in the world. Our animals are slaughtered in the worst abattoirs, carried by human beings on their bodies, some in open market, flies infested. “Eighty per cent of our tuberculosis-infected patients got them from cow meat. We should change this,” he said.

Kwara advises agric loan beneficiaries


HE Kwara Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Tunji Moronfoye, has advised beneficiaries of agricultural loans to manage the funds properly and wisely. Moronfoye gave the advice in a statement signed by the Press Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Olupinla Ayobola. The statement quoted the commissioner as describing the loans as part of agriculture policy initiated to boost food production in the state by former governor Bukola Saraki.

It said Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed disbursed the loans to members of the farmers’associations to empower them. It said for the loans to achieve their purpose, the beneficiaries should use them in a way that they would yield the expected effects. The statement reiterated the government’s desire to complete all ongoing projects in the state, pledging that the government would not exclude any part of the state in its projects.




Shell counts losses


• Says production loss increased by 75%

ECURITY issues, in cluding crude oil theft, sabotage and related temporary shut-downs impacted the operations and income of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) last year as its production loss increased by about 75 per cent when compared to 2012. The Managing Director SPDC/Chairman, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mutiu Sunmonu, said in Shell Group’s 2013 sustainability report that in 2013, production loss due to crude oil theft, sabotage and the related temporary shutdowns increased by around 75 per cent compared with 2012. On average, around 32,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) were stolen from SPDC’s pipelines and other facilities. On top of this, SPDC lost production of around 174,000 bopd due to the related shutdowns. This equates to several billion in

By Emeka Ugwuanyi impact

revenue losses for the Nigerian government and SPDC. This particularly affects the Nigerian government as around 95 per cent of revenue after costs goes to the government. Sunmonu said that as announced by the company in June 2013. He said: “We have decided to reduce our presence in the Niger Delta while reiterating our commitment to other areas of Nigeria, such as deep water and onshore gas operations. This is part of a consolidation that is intended to strengthen our position in the country. It will enable local companies to increase their presence in the upstream oil and gas sector, and it supports the Nigerian government’s policy of encouraging investment by indigenous companies in its oil and gas industry. “SPDC has a number of initiatives to tackle the problem

of crude oil theft, which remains the main cause of oil pollution in the Niger Delta today. These include operational measures such as increased pipeline surveillance, doubling the number of repair crews to tackle pipeline sabotage and more collaboration with local communities. We have improved levels of transparency so that people can follow our progress. “Throughout 2013, the international level of awareness of the oil theft problem has risen due to high-profile reports including a publication by the UK think-tank, Chatham House. This report explored the role of the international community in stopping the theft and trade of Nigerian crude oil. I believe that a broader, coordinated approach is needed to end this criminality. Governments need to take a leading role and we, at SPDC, are committed to playing our part.”

•From left: Human Resources, Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc., Mr. Victor Famuyibo; Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde; Sales Director, Mr Hubert Eze, and Marketing Director of the company, Mr Walter Drent, during the Pre- AGM Media Briefing of NB at PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN Civic Centre,Victoria Island Lagos.

Toyota to recall 6.5m vehicles for steering, OYOTA Motor Corp, he driver or other’s fault tpassengers.The in its second-largest other re-


recall announcement, has said it would call back 6.39 million vehicles globally after uncovering five different faults involving parts ranging from steering to seats. The world’s biggest automaker said it was not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the glitches, which were found in 27 Toyota models including the RAV4 and Yaris subcompact. Toyota said faults were also found in the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia, two models the automaker built for General Motors (GM.N) and Fuji Heavy Industries. The automaker did not say how much the recalls would cost, and it was not clear if the faults stemmed from Toyota’s suppliers or its manufacturing process. The move by Toyota to announce five different recalls on a single day from Tokyo comes as major automakers face increasing scrutiny in the United States on how quickly they take preventive safety action and how quickly they share information with regulators and the public. Toyota agreed last month to pay $1.2 billion (716.8 million pounds) to the U.S. government for withholding

information related to unintended acceleration in its vehicles. That safety crisis had caused Toyota to recall more than nine million vehicles. In a high-profile case that has the potential to change U.S. safety regulation, Toyota rival General Motors is under investigation for failing to act on a known ignition switch defect linked to a dozen deaths. The company has recalled 1.6 million vehicles over the issue. In the largest of the recalls announced on Wednesday, Toyota said some 3.5 million vehicles were being recalled to replace a spiral cable that could be damaged when the steering wheel is turned. That could cause the air bag to fail in the event of a crash, the automaker said. In total, about 2.34 million of the vehicles to be recalled were sold in North America. Another 810,000 were sold in Europe. In the second-largest of the Toyota recalls, some 2.32 million three-door models made between January 2005 and August 2010 are being recalled to check for a fault in the seat rails that could cause the seat to slide forward in a crash, risking injury for

PTI gets Acting CEO


HE Governing Council of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) Effurun, near Warri, Delta State has appointed Mr. Jacob Aruakporeta Orukele as Acting Principal/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the institute, with effect from April 2. In a statement, the Head, Public Affairs Department of the institute, Brown A. Ukanefimoni, said the Chairman, PTI Governing Council, Mr. G. A. Osahon okayed the appointment. Orukele was appointed following the retirement of the Acting Principal/Chief Executive, Mrs. Nnennar C. Dennar, who attained 60.

Orukele was until his appointment, a Deputy Director in the Petroleum Marketing and Business Studies Department of the institute, with 21 years of experience in the oil and gas sector. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor’s (B.Sc.) in Mathematics from the University of Benin, Benin City and University of Nsukka. Besides, Orukele is a member of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Associate Member of Institute of Management Consultant of Nigeria (IMC),

calls are for faulty steering column brackets, windshield wiper motors and engine starters. The recall announcement, which came during late afternoon Tokyo trade, knocked an additional 2 percent off Toyota’s already sagging shares.They quickly pared the extra l o s s e s , h o w e v e r , an d ended down 3 percent at 5,450 yen, reflecting an overall weak tone in the market where the benchmark Nikkei average .N225 fell 2.1 percent. Toyota’s 6.39 million vehicle recall is the largest announced on a single day for the company since October 2012, when it called back 7.43 million Yaris, Corolla and other models to fix faulty power window switches. In the first two months of 2014, major automakers had announced 18 separate recalls in the United States, now the second-largest auto market behind China, according to the latest data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recent wave of largescale recalls represents a source of revenue for auto dealers who are paid by manufacturers to service defective cars.

•From righ: Chairman House of Reps Committee on Petroleum Downstreem Hon. Peterside Dakuku; members of the Committee Hon. Gbenga Odebunmi and Hon Nnanna Igbokwe during the public hearing on Kerosene subsidy at the National Assembly, Abuja. PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

•From left: Group Chief Information Officer, Chellarams Plc, Dr.Harbhajan Batth; Head Teacher Estate Primary School, Isolo, Lagos, Mrs Ruth Akande Aiyesbusi, and Chief Marketing Officer, Chellarams, Mrs Rekha Singh, at the inauguration of recreational facilities donated to the school by Chellarams to mark its 90th celebration.


Associate Member, Institute of Cost Management, Nigeria (CMN), among others. He joined PTI on February 1, 1993, as a Senior Lecturer, and was appointed Head of Petroleum Marketing and Business Studies between 2002 and 2004.

•Participants at the National Co-operative Financing Agency of Nigeria Co-operatives Summit and Leadership Forum in Abuja.









FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2014




The succession battle is gathering momentum in Taraba State. Ahead of the governorship poll, the people of the South District are agitating for power shift. But, there are certain odds. Acting Governor Garba Umar form the North District is scheming to succeed ailing Governor Dambaba Suntai. Will the South’s consensus candidate beat the acting governor at the primaries? Correspondent FANEN IHYONGO examines the politics of succession in the Northeast state.

Succession battle hots up in Taraba T

WO years ago, the succession battle started in Taraba State. Governor Dambaba Suntai was involved in a plane crash in October 2012. Since his deputy, Alhaji Garba Umar, became the acting governor, he has positioned himself as the heir to the throne, to the consternation of Suntai’s supporters. The governor, it is believed, favours power shift to the South Senatorial District. But, he is indisposed and cannot muster the strength to fulfil this dream. The acting govenor, who is from the North, is scheming to succeed his boss. This has led to a major rift between the Suntai and Umar camps. Umar’s emergence as the acting governor has altered the power-sharing arrangement in the state. Alhough the state does not practice zoning, the South District, which has not tasted power since the state was carved out from the defunct Gongola State 25 years ago, is pushing for power shift. Before the air crash, Suntai had made a case for the district to be given a chance to produce the next governor in 2015. Suntai hails from the Central Zone. His predecessor, Jolly Nyame, who hails from the North, ruled for 10 years. Suntai had argued that the fairest thing to do was to hand over to a successor from the South when he bows out next year after serving his two terms. But after he was hit by the blow of fate, Umar, who is from the North, has consolidated his hold on power. He is also kicking against power shift. Having tasted power in the last one and half years, Umar is interested in the party’s ticket for the election. Ahead of the election, Umar has declared his intention to run. His posters now adorn the streets. Other party chieftains are also warming up for the race in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This has generated tension as various interest groups are justifying their interests in the slot. To secure the ticket, Taraba South has decided to endorse a consensus candidate. The leaders of the zone explained that the move would enable the district to avoid splitting its votes at the primaries. They are also persuading their allies from other zones to support them. Following this resolution, the zonal PDP chapter has taken up the responsibility of searching for a suitable candidate that would effectively wrestle the ticket from the acting governor or other contenders from the Central and North. But, it has been a difficult assignment because the aspirants from the North are many. If Suntai is effectively in charge, his influence would have robbed off on the selection process. The governor, it is believed, would have rallied support for a suitable candidate and convinced the stakeholders to endorse him as the flag bearer. Party sources said that the leaders of the Southern Taraba Stakeholders Forum (STSF) have been holding meetings with the aspirants. “Our leaders are holding meetings with the aspirants from the zone. They are trying to mediate to avoid a situation where choosing a candidate for the contest would divide the ranks of politicians from the zone and lead to violence”, said a source. Also, the forum has released a 10-point criteria for selecting a consensus candidate for the zone. The leaders have also been moving round to sell the idea to the traditional rulers, community leaders and other stakeholders. If these guidelines are strictly adhered to, they believe that no aspirants from other zones would be the South’s consensus candidate. Following the release of the guidelines, fear has gripped some of the aspirants. If they fail to meet the conditions, they are likely to be screened out, a source said. According to the ‘Guidelines’, signed by the STSF’s spokesman, James Nwunuji, the consensus candidate must possess certain verifiable qualities. These include experience, sound academic credential, integrity and political clout. Nwunuji stresed: The consensus candidate must have the fear of God and sense of justice, fairness and equity; experience in both the private and public sectors; track record of verifiable and quantifiable achievements in the private or public sector or both; acceptability the people in the state, particularly the masses; good disposition and maturity in tackling conflicts and other sensitive societal issues. The candidate should not be over 60 years old and his ideas should not be anachronistic in modern day governance.





“The candidate should know how the Federal Government works. He must have a good knowledge of the internal diversities of Taraba State. He must possess morality, based on a decorous character, not one with a record of wantonness, corruption, profligacy, criminality, thuggery, intimidation and harassment. “ He or she must not curry the favour of the likes of General Theophilus Danjuma, the PDP National Chairman Adamu Mu’azu, the committee saddled with the selection responsibility or even the STSF. Finally, the consensus candidate must have a vision to continue with the developmental strides of former Governor Jolly Nyame and Governor Danbaba Suntai in road construction, health, secu-

rity, education, peace and unity and culture andtourism development.” The guidelines, Nwunuji said, would help the selection committee to do a thorough job. He said the forum’s approach has shown that “the governorship race is not all comers’ show.” According to the STSF, the committee has 40 members. Among them are five members from each of the five local governments-Ibi, Wukari, Donga, Takum and Ussa. There are also ‘special stakeholders’ and three members from Special Development Areas. Prominent aspirants from the South include Hon.Agbu Kefas, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, Ephraim Kifasi and Darius Ishaku. A source said that they have submitted their Curriculum Vitae (CV) to the committee. They have also intensified their consultations with the stakeholders. According to a member of the committee, who spoke on a condition of anonymity, the committee has completed its assignment and handed its report to another sub-committee made up of 11 members. The sub-committee, which was given two weeks to submit its report, is likely to do so next week. Following the submission of the report, the two committees would meet to announce the South’s consensus candidate. Nwunuji said the consensus candidate will be the face of the zone at the primaries. He added: “The endorsement is by elimination method and the ast man or woman standing would carry the day. And all those that would not make it would have to rally support for the endorsed candidate.”

‘Umar’s emergence as the acting governor has altered the power-sharing arrangement in the state. Alhough the state does not practice zoning, the South District, which has not tasted power since the state was carved out from the defunct Gongola State 25 years ago, is pushing for power shift. Before the air crash, Suntai had made a case for the district to be given a chance to produce the next governor in 2015’





Y service to my people is part of the discipline to which I subject myself in order to free my soul from the bonds of the flesh...For me the path of salvation leads through the unceasing tribulation in the service of my fellow countrymen and humanity”. Mahatma Ghandi (1869-1948) The above quoted statement by the late Indian Statesman, Mahatma Ghandi, epitomises patriotism in all its ramifications. However, it requires life, hope and sincerity of purpose to be so dedicatedly determined. Perhaps, if Ghandi had been a Nigerian he would have made such a statement with reservation and that is if circumstances of life would ever permit him to make it at all. This indicates that an Indian of Ghandi’s status and intent might be an aberration in Nigerian environment. Detailed analysis on this may be left for another day. About a year ago, (precisely May 22, 2013), the compulsory National service scheme in Nigeria generally known as National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) was 40 years old. It was another time for the federal government to roll out drums characteristically in celebration of the occasion with pump and pageantry. And the cost, as usual, was though not disclosed, must have run into billions of naira. From that jamboree, new millionaires must have emerged while bank accounts of some government officials must have swollen beyond imagination. Yet, we are fighting corruption tooth and nail.

The Value of 40

Forty years is universally acknowledged as the age of maturity. It is the age of mature reasoning when man is expected to handle matters with little supervision. It is the age at which the mistakes of the adolescent years are corrected. Incidentally it is the age at which every Prophet of Allah except Isa (Jesus) was commissioned to deliver Allah’s message to mankind. Any man at that age who can still not think before acting is called ‘a fool at 40’. Ditto a government or a nation. The establishment of the NYSC scheme by the military government under the leadership of General Yakubu Gowon was not fortuitous. With the promulgation of Decree 24 of 1973, the scheme was established on May 22 of the same year not only as a demonstration of the government’s genuine intention to fulfil the regime’s post civil war policy of ‘Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation’ (otherwise called three ‘R’) but also to accelerate the country’s socio-economic development as well as to foster national unity and integration.

Purpose of NYSC

The Scheme was charged with the responsibility of mobilising, deploying and administering Nigerian Youths who must have graduated from tertiary institutions. Their duration of compulsory national service was scheduled to be one full year during which they are to be groomed for leadership. The objectives of the Scheme which compel the youth graduates to serve in States other than those of their origin are as follows: 1. To inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work and of patriotic service to Nigeria in any situation they may find themselves 2. To raise the moral value of Nigerian youths by providing them with the opportunity to learn about higher ideals of national achievements as well as social and cultural improvement 3. To develop in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind, acquired through shared experience and suitable trading which will make them amenable to mobilisation in the national interest 4. To enable Nigerian youths acquire the spirit of self reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self employment 5. To contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy 6. To develop common ties (among Nigeria youths) geared towards the promotion of National unity and integration 7. To remove prejudice, eliminate ignorance and confirm, at first hand, the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups and 8. To develop a sense of corporate existence and common destiny of Nigerian people

The Cardinal Points

There were four cardinal points upon

FEMI ABBAS ON 08115708536

Service or servitude? which the scheme is based. These are Mobilisation, Orientation/ Induction Course, Primary Assignment/Community Development Services (CDS) and Winding Up/Passing Out. Through these cardinal points the scheme mobilises Nigerians below the age of 30 years who are graduates of Universities, Polytechnics and (initially), Colleges of Education for a one year national service in any part of the Country. Such qualified Nigerians are given an instrument of mobilisation otherwise known as Call-Up letter which shows the state in which to serve and other particulars relating to the prospective Corps members. Also, a three weeks training programme primarily designed to prepare corps members for the one year national service is provided and the training takes place in venues called Orientation Camps located in all the States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The orientation course provides a platform for interaction among Nigerian Youths of diverse backgrounds and inclinations. Then, at the end of the Orientation exercise, corps members are posted to serve in both the public and private sectors. During this period, they provide skilful assistance in meeting the much needed man-power in the rural and urban Communities. The corps members are distributed to all the communities which now make up the 774 Local Government Areas in the 36 states of the Federation plus the Federal Capital Territory. In addition, a Community Development Scheme was designed to be carried out by the Corps members along with their Primary Assignments. The CDS was planned to bring development to the host Communities through the activities of the Corps members for whom a day was set aside in a week to carry out Community Development initiative based on community need and to provide a platform for sustainable development in active cooperation of host communities. Finally, a winding up/passing out programme was designed to draw the curtain over the service year and bring the corps members together once again to enable them share their experiences during the service year and deliberate on their individual future agenda. This is an opportunity for most corps members to exchange contact addresses and thereby establish permanent relationships. Thus, from such relationships, intertribal marriages and business partnerships emerged. The scheme remains one of the greatest achievements of General Yakubu Gowon’s regime as Nigeria’s military Head of State.

Policy Formulation

At the time of formulating the NYSC policy, Nigeria was still a country plagued by a myriad of problems generally known with underdeveloped countries such as poverty, mass illiteracy, acute shortage of high skilled manpower (coupled with most uneven distribution of the skilled people that are available), inadequate socio-economic infrastructural facilities, terrible housing shortage, lack of water and sewage facilities, roads, healthcare services, and effective communication system. Faced by these almost intractable problems, which were further compounded by the burden of reconstruction after the civil war, the government and people of Nigeria set for the country, fresh goals, and objectives aimed at establishing a new Nigeria from the debris of the old. The aim was to build a united, strong and self-reliant nation; a dynamic economy; as well as open opportunities for all citizens in a free and democratic society. It must be remembered that only six Universities existed in Nigeria by that time. These were the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; University of Ibadan, Ibadan; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University

of Lagos, Lagos, University of Ife, Ile Ife and University of Benin, Benin City. All these Universities, except University of Ibadan, (which was left behind by the colonialist as a national heritage) were forcefully acquired by the federal military government from their regional owners. And the inadequacy of needed manpower supplied by these Universities warranted the inclusion of graduates of Higher National Diploma (HND) from Polytechnics and later, the holders of National Certificate of Education (NCE). (The latter was however excluded with time when more Universities and Polytechnics emerged). These universities and other institutions of higher learning are normally expected to serve as training grounds for future leaders, besides being committed to the advancement of learning and knowledge as well as training of people for good citizenship. Perhaps the deviation experienced from this expectation led to the accusation levied by members of the public against the products of those institutions of being too elitist in their outlook and of not identifying with the plight of the common man by appreciating the predicament of the vast majority of the citizenry who live in the rural areas. Besides the reasonable policy of emulating compulsory national service from some civilised countries, the year 1973 symbolised the foundation of many great thoughts that would have made Nigeria a great African nation. That was the year in which Nigeria could be said to have gained economic independence by changing the national currency from pounds and Shillings inherited from the colonial masters to Naira and Kobo. It was also the year in which Nigeria’s oil boom began. Corps members were paid a monthly stipend of N100 which was only a little less than the new salary of a fresh University graduate at that time. That stipend was not to be increased until the 1980s when inflation began to force the corps members to agitate for more. And for most of the 1980s the stipend paid to corps members was not more than N200 per month. It was only in the 1990s that the stipend attracted some major reviews. And besides the stipend paid by the federal government states and private companies also paid some token to those deployed to them for service in addition to accommodation provided. This is no more the case today. Corps members are now deployed at their own expense. The idea is that they should bear all their expenses from the N19500 or thereabout paid to them monthly.

Irony of Life

Ironically, some so-called former militants of the South-South who are virtually illiterates without any skills and are not engaged in any job are paid N60,000 per month for doing nothing other than laying down their weapons of vandalism. The implication of this is that any youth who wants to share in the federal government’s largess can go vandal and then negotiate with the government for a regular monthly fee in lieu of vandalism. Those who are being forced to serve their country for paltry monthly N19,500 are University graduates. And those who are paid N60000 per month for doing nothing are stark illiterates. Yet after one year of compulsory service by those corps members, there is nothing for them in terms of job even while the ex-vandals will continue to enjoy their largess of N60000 per month. What an irony? What a country? Apart from preparing corps members for formal post graduation jobs and managerial administration in theory, NYSC is also supposed to serve as a major employer of labour by opening doors for many job seekers to be employed across different

cadres. But is this the case now? There are hundreds of thousands of University graduates who have served their fatherland only to end up loitering around and riding motorbikes on commercial basis. Is this how to develop a nation? If University graduates are rendered so useless in a country where sheer mediocre are glorified what future is expected of such a country? The year 1973 in the history of Nigeria can be called the turnaround year. But how much of that turnaround was utilised for the benefit of the country is a different question. During the celebration of the 20th anniversary of NYSC scheme the need to reassess and upgrade it arose. Thus, Decree 51 was promulgated on June 16, 1993 to replace Decree 24 of 1973 with which the scheme was originally established. The aim of the new Decree was to look beyond the immediate present and think of the future leadership of the country for which the corps members were being groomed. This was done with a view to giving them the proper guidance and orientation relevant to the needs of the country. But now, 20 years after the new Decree, where is the result? Deep down in the hearts of the formulators of the NYSC policy the scheme was primarily to inculcate in Nigerian Youths the spirit of selfless service to the community, and to emphasise oneness and brotherhood of all Nigerians, irrespective of cultural or social backgrounds. The history of our country since independence has clearly indicated the need for unity amongst all our people. And, looking at the scheme retrospectively, it is evident that its real effect is vivid not only in the understanding of the cultural settings of certain tribes by corps members from other tribes but also in the settlements of some of those corps members in some parts of the country which, hitherto, could never have been in their dreams.

Pertinent Questions

Now, over 40 years after the commencement of this visionary scheme how much of the country’s objectives have been achieved? Does the scheme truly remain a national service that it was design to be or a servitude to a political clique called leaders? In its early days, NYSC was the pride not only of the serving corps members and undergraduates looking impatiently towards their turn to serve but also that of the nation. Does that still obtain today? Has corruption not derailed the original purpose of that laudable scheme? Are the genuine graduates of Universities and Polytechnics not being replaced by ghost graduate as characteristic of Nigerian system? Are graduates qualified for the service not being delayed for a year or two to enable corruption thrive by bringing in hoodlums and political thugs at the expense of the nation? Have factors like nepotism and tribalism not crept into the scheme today? Have stories of embezzlement and other financial scams not disorientated potential corps members and devastated the zeal in them to serve their nation? And what has become of hundreds of thousands who have served in the past many years? Are Nigerian graduates useful for Nigeria today as originally planned? Is Nigeria really reaping the fruits of the NYSC scheme today? Should compulsory service to the nation be an end or a means to an end? And now that corps members are incessantly becoming sacrificial lambs either at the slaughter slabs of some barbaric elements in the north or in the dragnets of some brutal kidnappers in the East shouldn’t there be a review of the law guarding that scheme if only to safeguard humanity and civility? Should parents continue to lose their children at that level to barbarism and unwarranted brutality in the name of non-existing national unity? Some people sat down to plan the establishment of this scheme. Besides planning to embezzle money through its celebration what plan does the current government have for sustaining it and safeguarding the lives of the youths being compelled to serve the nation?


These and many other questions are begging for urgent answers from the current government while some elements in the government are getting richer by the day. If the pleasant past produced the agonising present to the benefit of a clique of misfits let no one assume that the agonising present will produce any hopeful future. The days of life are never the same in other countries. They cannot be the same in Nigeria. “Allah never changes the situation of a people (or a nation) until those people have sincerely repented and refrained from their iniquities”. Q. 13:11





SOCIETY One year of running with a dream As part of activities marking its first anniversary, the Gazelle News gave awards to some personalities. The event was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Ikeja, the Lagos State capital, writes. OLATUNDE ODEBIYI


HE awardees stood tall as they received plaques at the Ground Hall of the Renaissance Hotel in Ikeja, the Lagos State capital. Guests cheered as the moderators announced their names. It was at the first anniversary/ lecture of the Gazelle News. The event featured awards presentation. The Gazelle News is an online media established a year ago. The Editor-in-Chief, Mr Musbau Razak, was full of joy, moving up and down the hall, receiving guests and ensuring that everything was in order. He hardly sat down during the fourhour event. As guests arrived, a bevy of beautiful women in pink Ankara fabric led them into the hall. Many of the guests were in traditional outfits; a few were formal. The hall was decorated in white, gold and wine with lights. Chairs were set round tables. Guests exchanged pleasantries, chatted and posed for photographs before the event started. The duo of actress-cum presenter Oluwafeyikemi Niyiola and comedian Hafiz Oyetoro anchored the event. Baale Entertainment Disc Jockey (DJ) electrified the hall. Staff of the Gazelle News wore black suit on white shirt with a touch of red. The ceremony began with an opening prayer led by Alhaji Jimoh Olawale, after which, the national anthem was rendered. He said the honorees were rewarded for their selfless service. Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure Dr Obafemi Hamzat delivered the keynote address. He said online media has a vital role to play in national development. He hailed The Gazelle News for prompt posting of breaking news, urging other online media to follow their path. He urged the medium to focus more on Lagos. “Don’t bother to deceive yourself covering news from all over the world; you know everything and everywhere about Lagos, why don’t you just focus your strength on Lagos and let everybody know that you are the first hand and reliable source of all information that has to do with the state,” he said. Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon congratulated Razak and his team. He also congratulated the awardees. In a lecture on “Online Media: challenges and roles in a developing democracy”, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, said online media has revolutionised journalism and it is supposed to dictate what goes on in other media because it renders breaking news. He expressed concern over inability of Nigerian media to properly utilise online media

•All from Mushin - Dr Banire (second right) assisted by Senator Solomon (right) and Hon Yusuf to present a plaque to Hon Tejuoso

•Zakat and Sadakat Foundation Operations Manager Mallam Ahmed Ma’aruf

•House of Reps member Hon Lanre Odubote (left) and Hon Alawiye-King

•From right: Senator Ojudu assisting Ajiboso to present award to Hon Agunbiade

•Alhaji AbdulKareem

•Hon Balogun

•Hon Muniru (right) assisted by Hons Ibirogba and Akinyemi-Obe (left) to present award to Hon Mafe

model. He urged all media practitioners to avail themselves of the best forms of technology as it daily develops to enable them survive and succeed in the competitive world. The event continued with the award ceremony. “As the awardees received their plaques, some guests joined them to take photographs. Member, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Adefunmilayo Tejuoso received the “Best performing female lawmaker award in Lagos State.” Presenting the award, All Progressives Congress (APC) Interim National Legal Adviser Dr Muiz Banire, evoked laughter among guests when he said the award was for him and all people in Mushin. Hon Sinai Agunbiade won the “ B es t p er f o r m i n g m al e l aw maker award in Lagos State.” He received the plaque from former Chairman Agege Local Government Area, Chief Enoch Ajiboso.

Other awardees included Akeem Sulaimon Omoyele; Alhaji Abdul-Rasheed Mafe; Alhaji Jubreel Abdul Kareem; Olajide Jimoh; Shamsudeen Olaleye; Ayodele Adewale and Rotimi Rahman. Responding on behalf of the awardees, Hon Tejuoso described the award as a reward for excellence. She urged media to always reflect the truth in news presentations. Agunbiade dedicated the award to his constituency Present at the event were; Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola represented by his Commissioner for Information and Strategy Lateef Ibirogba; Olayinka Oyebode represented Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi; Hon Muniru Abiodun; Hon Yinka Ogundimu; Hon Wahab Alawiye-King; Hon Bolaji Yusuf Ayinla; Auditor-General for Local Governments, Alhaji Mubasiru Hasssan and Hon Lanre Odubote.

•Dr Hamzat (right) and Hon Sulaiman

•Mr Yinka Esho (left) and Mr Rasak





Lagos business woman Mrs Atinuke Adeniyi, wife of industralist Prince Kehinde Adeniyi (aka Penny-K) has joined the golden club. She celebrated her 50th birthday last Saturday at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Strong Tower Parish in Okota, a Lagos suburb. OLATUNDE ODEBIYI reports.


HE was the cynosure of all eyes, looking gorgeous in a wine dress with blue head gear and shoes to match. It was a day of praises, dancing and thanksgiving for Mrs Atinuke Taiwo Adeniyi who celebrated her 50th birthday at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Strong Tower Parish in Okota, a Lagos suburb, last Saturday. Her husband, an industrialist, Prince Kehinde Adeniyi, (aka Penny-K) was beside her on the front row. Their children – Segun, Bisola and Tosin – also sat close to them. While the ministers sat on the right side of the hall, the musicians were on the left. Most guests were clad in white/blue native attire. The hall was decorated in the same colours. The event kicked off with an opening prayer and the church choir led the praise and worship. The hymns: "Great is thy faithfulness" and "All hail the power of Jesus name" were taken. Music ministration by a saxophonist Bukola Osamwonyi (Bukky sax)- followed. Guests danced and sang along. In his sermon, Pastor Joel Oke admonished all to have a forgiving heart. "If you do not forgive, your life is nothing and God will not empower you," he said. Pastor Kunle Ajayi, another saxophonist, took to the stage after him. Guests danced and sang along with him. Many went to the front row to dance with the birthday 'girl'. Cutting of the birthday cake followed. There were two cakes. One was gold and white; it was a-three-step cake. The other was blue. There was a big birthday card in the shape of 50 by the side of the cake table. The birthday 'girl' with her husband and children cut the cake at the resounding name of J-E-S-U-S. Guests took turns to take photographs with them. The event continued with a dance choreographed by DeAwesome. A documentary of tributes to the celebrator followed. Some of the guests took turns to speak about her after the documentary. The elder sister to the celebrator, Mrs Kayode Tola, de-


Award presentation


Hitting 50 with grace •The celebrant, Atinuke with her husband, Prince Adeniyi cutting the birthday cake

•Children of the celebrator, Tosin, Bisola and Segun

•Pastor Joseph Adetayo and his wife, Yinka

scribed her as caring and of a good heart. "She is a giver and ever concerned about everybody; she prays a lot and I thank God for her life," she said. The celebrant's sister-in-law, Mrs Silifat Fatimehin, described her as a gift from God. "She is humble, coordinated and consistent with God," she said. To a close family friend, Mr Tunde Oludipe, she is a good friend, hard working, God fearing and passionate for Christ. He said she was the brain behind so many things

done in the church, pointing at the decorations, among others. The son of the celebrator, Segun, spoke on behalf of his siblings. He said words could not express what their mother had done for them. "Mummy is always there and we are so grateful for all she has done," he said. Prince Adeniyi congratulated her and wished her many more fruitful years on earth. The birthday 'girl' was all smiles. She sang some songs


in appreciation to God. She also shared some testimonies on how God has kept her and her family. "Since I gave my life to Christ, God has been good to me and my life has turned around,” she said. She urged the people to give their lives to Jesus and change their ways. There was a session of prayers for the celebrator and her family. The event continued with songs ministration from Nike Akande and thanksgiving followed.

ELCOME to another beautiful day on our column on public speaking. Have you been doing any speaking lately? Don't forget that the best way to learn public speaking is to speak. Sometimes, you never know how some things would work until you try them out. So, get up and start AMODU LANRE OLAOLU speaking. Remember, you don't have to start with a sta- (Ph.D) dium-full of audience. Simply 07034737394 start in any small way you can @lanreamodu and you will be glad you did. Last week, we examined the tribute speech. We defined it as a speech given to express esteem for someone or something. We emphasized that tribute speeches are very unique in their own way. Though all types of brief remarks are largely similar, a tribute speech is still different because of its purpose, content and style. Among the characteristics of the speech that we highlighted are that it is narrative in nature, it is emotional and it is inspirational. Today, we shall be examining award presentation speech. First, let us understand what an award is. Award is an object that is given to a person or a group of people in recognition of excellence in a certain field or for a special achievement. Among the most common forms of awards are trophies, titles, certificates, commemorative plaques, medals and badges. Therefore, an award presentation speech is made when honouring people with awards. This is, of course, different from an award acceptance speech, which we will discuss later. In this case, the speech is made by a representative of the organization or group presenting the award. Let us briefly examine some of the elements of an award presentation speech. •Description of the Award: award presentation speech begins in an informative way. It starts by enlightening the audience on the history of the award. All awards have stories behind them. For instance, an award for the Most Distinguished Female Medical Student (MDFMS Award) may be established by a family that lost its promising medical student daughter to a health condition. Narrating this story will help the audience to appreciate the award. The presenter must, however, be brief and direct about it so that too much attention is not focused on the past instead of the present. Remember, the award is supposed to be a celebration of a deserving person and not a memorial service for the dead. Hence, some amount of a research may be necessary so that the presenter does not miss out important information or compromise facts. Some basic information that the speech can contain are the award's symbol, goal, categories, history and previous winners. •Suspense: this is a feeling of apprehension about something that is about to happen. It plays on uncertainty and creates excited anticipation as something approaches its climax. Suspense is extremely important in any award ceremony. The truth is this, there would be no need listening to any speech if you already know the winner. Usually, but not always, people are nominated for some categories of awards. The uncertainty of not knowing who will eventually win the award is what creates a lot of excitement. In a case where the awardee is already known, then the presenter will have to create suspense by moving from his/ her least achievement to the greatest one, and then present the much coveted reward. As important as suspense is, the presenter must also be careful not to over stretch it. •Appreciation: we have mentioned this point several times already. After telling your audience how the award came about, why the recipient deserves it and you have announced the name, the next thing is to heartily congratulate him/her. The speaker must ensure that the recipient is excited and feels honoured to be recognized. In the Grammy and Oscars Awards, they say a recipient is having his/her 'moment.' That is the moment the recipient is supposed to feel like the most fortunate person in the world, and guess whose responsibility it is to make that happen? The presenter, of course! •Continuity: an award segment may either be sandwiched between other programmes or left till the end of the ceremony. Whatever be the case, the award speech should never end on an anti-climax. It should leave the audience excited. If the award segment is between other programmes, the speaker should be able to present the next programme in such a way that the audience does not feel that the ceremony is over. On the other hand, if it is the final segment for the night (particularly if it is an annual event) the presenter should be able to create enough emotional connection and anticipation for the next edition. The audience should leave, barely able to wait for next year. •Memory work: it is always very important that you write out your speech before presenting. While I am generally not in favour of memorizing speeches, I will want to make an exception with this one. An award presentation speech is one that is supposed to come from the heart of the presenter. It can be pretty awkward if read. Since it shouldn't last longer than three minutes anyway (less is even preferable), I don't think it would be too much work to commit it to memory. Nevertheless, a lot of practice must go into it to ensure that it is delivered as naturally as possible. Dr. Amodu teaches at the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, Ogun State.




The House on the Rock in Lekki, Lagos State rose on March 28 for the funeral of Olufemi Enitan Segun. His remains were interred at the Vaults and Gardens in Ikoyi, Lagos. OLATUNDE ODEBIYI writes.

A painful exit


LOWLY, sympathisers streamed into the House on the Rock in Lekki Lagos,took their seats and waited patiently for the service to begin. The gathering was for the funeral of Olufemi Enitan Segun. Segun died in a Lagos Hospital on March 21 due to complications from the multiple injuries he sustained in a road accident while driving his power bike in Millennium Estate, Lekki Scheme One, Lagos on March 14. He was 56. He is survived by his widow Bisi, former wife Yeni Kuti (daughter of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti) and two daughters, Rolari and Fikemi. The church choir led the guests to sing some processional hymns including: praise and worship songs. Pastor Paul Adefarasin, who delivered the sermon, described the late Segun as a good friend and a lovely person who had the spirit of God. His death, he said, is a painful and great loss. He urged Bisi, Yeni, Rolari and Fikemi to hold on to the power of God who will never leave His own. Pastor Adefarasin said Segun was a great man that lived his life for God. ‘’He is a loving father who never stopped talking about his daughters. We in the House on the Rock love and appreciate him, his death is a deep sense of loss to us,’’ he said. After the church service, the train moved to Vaults and Gardens in Ikoyi. The brown coffin with a cross top was conveyed in a silver Mercedes Benz hearse. The pall bearers were from the funeral parlour, T.O.S. Tears rolled down people’s eyes as his remains were interred. To his aged mother, Mrs Mabel Segun, the pain of losing a dear son was too much. Old boys of Igbobi College a.k.a. Igbobians, also felt the pain of losing a wonderful colleague and a good friend. Many of them cried all through the interment, wiping their faces with handkerchiefs. As the remains of Segun were lowered into the grave around 3:00pm, every one virtually broke down in tears. The dust-to-dust rite was performed after the singing the processional hymn. Pastor Adefarasin prayed that God would be with Segun and widow and former wife, two daughters and all those he left behind. A cousin to the deceased, Mr Obi Alu, said he felt so bad when he heard the news, adding that he is yet to believe Femi is gone. ‘’I call him Egbon; he was a man of his words,’’ he said. Actor Patrick Doyle said he missed him so much. He described him as an achiever, a great and gentle man.

•From left: Yeni; Fikemi; Bisi; Rolari and Mr Gbenga Segun

•Arc. Deji Adebiyi and his wife, Justice Bukunola

•Femi Kuti and his former wife, Funke

•Pastor Adefarasin •Ovation publisher Dele Momodu and Yomi Badejo-Okunsaya


•Dr Koleowo Gbenga



•Senator Oluremi Tinubu (middle) flanked by (from right) Hon Hakeem Bamgbola; Hon Tajudeen Ajide; Hon Omobolanle Akinyemi-Obe and Hon Wasiu Eshinlokun after Senator Tinubu received award of Outstanding Contribution to Education and Empowerment in Nigeria at Monarch Suite, Hilton London Metropole, London.

•Maimuna, daughter of the Deputy Commissioner of Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Ikoyi, Lagos, Alhaji Zubairu Muazu and her beau, Abubakar Hassan, during their wedding in Gombe State.









Inequality in global wealth distribution worries World Bank chief


HE World Bank Group President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, yesterday at the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington DC, United States (US), said less than 100 people control much of the global wealth of 3.5 billion poorest people. Kim, who addressed the global press at the start of the meeting, however said the economies of many developing countries are experiencing strongest growth rates, “which each year help millions of people lift themselves out of extreme poverty.” The World Bank chief, who put the figure of those experiencing extreme poverty at one billion, said although the

•‘1 billion people live in extreme poverty’ From Simeon Ebulu, Group Business Editor (Washington DC)

number is scaring, it nevertheless showed a declining tendency, given that it is lower than the 2010 estimate of 1.2 billion people. He said: “Our economists estimate that roughly one billion people around the world live in extreme poverty today in 2014. This is dowm from an estimated 1.2 billion people in 2010. This difficult-to-grasp number is falling steadily and surely.” He however admitted that achieving the bank’s twingoal of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity, won’t be

easy, pointing out that developing countries will have to grow at a pace stronger than at any time in the past 20 years. In his words: “To end extreme poverty by 2030, the vast rolls of the poorest- those earning less than $1.25 a day, will have to decrease by 50 million each year. To reach our goal, one million people each week will have to lift themselves out of poverty. That’s each week for the next 16 years.” He beleives the target is achievable. He said much of the bank’s antidote to poverty reduction is tied to economic growth, but quickly added, that if the current movement

from poverty to prosperity must be sustained, “we need growth that is inclusive of job creation, and that assists the poor directly. So when we look at the global economy today, growth in high-income countries is accelerating and developing countries are growing, though less briskly than before.” In a report titled, ‘Prosperity for All;’ also released by the bank, yesterday, the Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, Kaushik Basu, acknowledged that while economic growth remains vital for reducing poverty, countries will need to complement efforts to enhance

•The Zonal Head, Northwest Zone, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Mr Abdullahi Mainasara (left) handing over customised Point of Sale (PoS) machines developed by FCMB for revenue collection to the Director of Personnel Management, Fagge Local Government Area, Kano State, Alhaji Mohammed Baba Garba. With them is an official of the bank, Mohammed Fagge.

Telecoms chiefs snub Senate Committee


HE Senate has can celled a scheduled par ley with the chief executive officers of telecom service providers in the country due to their refusal to honour the invitation extended to them by the Upper House. The meeting was called to address the myriad of concerns raised by telecom consumers in the country. The Senate Committee on Industry Trade and Investment had scheduled the meeting with the operators


From Franca Ochigbo,

after the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) had reported to the Committee the failure of their chief executives to attend a previous meeting it had arranged with it. At the aborted meeting on Tuesday evening, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Industry Trade and Investment, Senator Odion Ugbesia, apparently displeased with the failure of the telecom chiefs to honour its invitation

for the parley, called off the meeting, warning that the Senate would not tolerate representation. He said: “The Senate invited the chief executives. We are not going to take their non-appearance. If they don’t want to come, we know how to make them come.” The CPC had lamented in a letter to the Committee that efforts to engage the telecoms operators in a dailogue with a view to ensuring that consumers in the sector get better deal as a prelude to taking

other steps in line with its enabling law have consistently fallen through. Just last week, the Director General of CPC, Mrs Dupe Atoki also paid a courtesy call on the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Dr Eugene Juwah, to seek for better ways telecom services consumers could better be served. The two chief executives agreed to set up a joint committee to work out modalities to assuage consumer abuses in the sector.

Nigeria gas supply hits 1tr cubic feet

HE Group Executive Director, Gas and Power, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. David Ige, yesterday said the nation’s gas supply has hit over one million cubic feet. Ige spoke during the closing ceremony of Lagos Economic Summit held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, just as the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) urged support for power investors. He said the Federal Government has improved gas supply to power plants remarkably. Ige lamented the rapid vandalism of gas pipelines which he said constituted a clog in the wheel of progress. He said: ‘’About three

•Fashola urges support for power investors By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

years ago, the total gas supply was three million cubic feet, but that has been tripled now to about one trillion cubic feet. “We have grown gas supply astronomically but we have got to confront the activities of vandals who are frustrating government’s effort to ensure stable power supply. Whenever any of our gas pipelines is vandalised, about 30 per cent of our gas supply capacity is affected.’’ He called for the cooperation of all stakeholders including the people, to tackle the men-

ace. Also speaking,, Commissioner, Rates and Market Competition, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Mr. Eyo Ekpo said to accelerate power delivery, there is need to remove all the impediments. Ekpo urged the state government to consider tax incentives and other institutional reforms that could endear the private sector to invest in power opportunities in the state. He said: ‘’Government can provide or acquire the land, facilitate right of ways for gas pipeline and transmission equipment, reduce taxes or give some kind of tax incentives. That is, enabling the private sector. All these can help to accelerate the delivery of power to the state.’’

In his address to declare the summit closed, Governor Fashola said power sector is now private sector-driven. He said: ”Let no one be in doubt, it is no longer government affairs anymore. But we know that the private sector require government’s support to function effectively through their policy. “This is what Lagos State government is committed to. This was why we have made power the key issue at this year’s summit. We do so because we believe that this summit with its remarkable achievement of implementing 90 per cent of the resolutions made since 2000 can solve this power jinx or at least making an impact on the power challenge over the next two years.”

growth with policies that allocate more resources to the poor. “It is a sad commentary on our prosperous world that over one billion people live in extreme poverty. It is a wake up call from the World Bank Group, to not just mitigate poverty, but bring it to closure, and to also strive for a more equitable world,” he said,. He added that the solution lies not only in the determination, “but also in ideas and innovation.” Also speaking at a separate news briefing, IMF Managing Director, Chritine Lagarde, cautioned against the debt build-up and focus on growth. She said: “In the low-income countries where growth continues to be

strong, they need to guard against the rapid debt buildup. It needs to be watched. “We need to also guard against the risk of lowgrowth in the future. To deal with that, we need ambitious and coherent policies to avoid years of subpar growth and to secure global financial stability. “We believe that the overiding topic for discussion will be the quest for higher growth, better quality growth, more inclusive growth and sustainable growth.” She called for a shift of empasis to growth, saying the existing level “is just too low.” saying the time to act, is now. “We need to act now, and that requires policy actions across the board.”








Profit-taking depresses equities as index slips by 0.12%


NVESTORS retreated from bargain-hunting and refocused on locking in gains from recent bullish rally, building up sell pressures that overwhelmed demand and reversed the overall market position to negative. In a tight market situation with nearly a tit-for-tat pricing scenario, 26 stocks recorded price depreciation while 24 stocks appreciated. However, losses recorded by several highly capitalised stocks such as Zenith Bank, Nigerian Breweries, Flour Mills of Nigeria, Oando and Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria coloured the overall market position negative. All key indices at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) closed yesterday on the downside, reflecting the shift in demand to supply as investors rebalanced their portfolios. The

Stories by Taofik Salako Capital Market Editor

main index for the stock market, the All Share Index (ASI), indicated a day-on-day return of -0.12 per cent, depressing the average yearto-date return to -5.71 per cent. The ASI closed at 38,969.26 points as against its opening index of 39,017.66 points. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities dropped from N12.533 trillion to N12.517 trillion. Mobil Oil Nigeria led the losers with a drop of N4.95 to close at N120.05. Flour Mills of Nigeria followed with a loss of N1.31 to close at N68.49. Zenith Bank dipped by 85 kobo to N21.25. Oando slipped by 84 kobo to close at N16.04. Nigerian Breweries lost 55 kobo to close at N150.85. Lafarge Wapco dropped by 50 kobo to N108. Diamond Bank lost 31 kobo to close

at N6.03. University Press declined by 30 kobo to N3.67 while Vitafoam and Livestock Feeds lost 21 kobo and 14 kobo to close at N4.03 and N3.09 respectively. The level of activities at the stock market also slowed down with declines in volume, value and number of deals. Aggregate turnover stood at 256.93 million shares worth N3.72 billion in 4,184 deals, representing 11.7 per cent, 13.6 per cent and 1.6 per cent decline in volume, value and deals respectively. Banking stocks remained the dominant stocks, in terms of trading, with banks occupying the top five most active stocksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; list. Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) was the most active stock with a turnover of 31.61 million shares worth N410.88 million in 100 deals. Zenith Bank followed with a turnover of 29.07 million shares worth N631.6

million in 267 deals. Skye Bank placed third with 22.36 million shares valued at N76.73 million in 156 deals. Altogether, financial services stocks accounted for 210.63 million shares valued at N1.99 billion in 2,515 deals. Meanwhile, Forte Oil led the contrarian stocks with a gain of N11.40 to close at N122.70. Nestle Nigeria followed with a gain of N2.90 to close at N1, 185. Cadbury Nigeria added N2.25 to close at N77. Guinness Nigeria rallied N2 to close at N190. UAC of Nigeria gathered N1.92 to close at N59. CAP rose by N1.79 to close at N37.75. Presco gained N1 to close at N42. Cement Company of Northern Nigeria chalked up 45 kobo to close at N9.48. National Salt Company of Nigeria added 40 kobo to close at N11.90 while ETI rose by 25 kobo to close at N13.10 per share.




Fed Govt’s revenues drop six per cent to N674b in January


ROSS federally-collected revenue delined six per cent in January to N674.67 billion, an Economic Report from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said. The report further said January revenue figure represented about 12.8 per cent below the receipts in the corresponding period of 2013. It explained that at N474.40 billion, oil receipts (gross), which constituted 70.3 per cent of the total revenue, was lower than the receipts in the preceding month and the corresponding period of 2013, by 3.3 and 19.8 per cent, respectively. The fall in oil receipts relative to receipts in the preceding month, the

report said, was attributed to the decline in receipts from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Royalties. Non-oil receipts (gross), which stood at N200.27 billion or 29.7 per cent of the total revenues, was 11.7 per cent lower than the receipts in the preceding month. Also, relative to the corresponding month of 2013, non-oil receipts, however, rose by 10.1 per cent. The decline reflected, largely, the fall in receipts from Corporate Tax and Value Added Tax during the review period. Federal Government estimated re-

tained revenue in January 2014 was N262.88 billion, while total estimated expenditure was N368.35 billion. Therefore, the fiscal operations resulted in an estimated deficit of N105.47 billion, compared with the estimated monthly budget deficit of N73.92 billion. The report said crude oil production, including condensates and natural gas liquids was estimated at 1.92 million barrels per day (mbd) or 59.5 million barrels for the month. Crude oil export was estimated at 1.47 million barrels per day (mbd) or 45.6 million barrels during the month. The average price of Nigeria’s refer-

Bloomberg said naira gained one per cent to 161.19 per dollar the highest since February 28 on an intraday basis. The currency has climbed for two days, paring this year’s decline to 0.6 per cent. “The rally in the foreign-exchange market is the product of NNPC dollar sales coupled with an aggressive offshore bid for naira fixed-income assets,” Samir Gadio, a London-based emerging-markets strategist at Standard Bank Group Ltd., said. “It looks

like the bullish external risk environment is pushing foreign investors to come back to the Nigerian market.” Omar Farouk Ibrahim, an Abujabased spokesman for NNPC, didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone or immediately respond to a text message seeking comment. Naira sovereign bonds returned 0.9 per cent in the past week, compared with a 0.6 per cent return in emergingmarket government debt, according to Bloomberg indexes.

Stories by Collins Nweze

ence crude, the Bonny Light (370 API), was estimated at $110.19 per barrel, indicating a decline of 2.6 per cent below the level in the preceding month. The end-period headline inflation rate (year-on-year), was eight per cent, same as in the preceding month. Inflation rate on a 12-month moving average basis fell by 0.1 percentage point to 8.4 per cent from the level in the preceding month. Foreign exchange inflow and outflow through the CBN in January 2014 were $2.54 billion and $4.65 billion, respectively, and resulted in a net outflow of $2.11 billion. Foreign exchange sales by the CBN to the

Naira rallies to six-week high on NNPC dollar sales


HE naira rallied to its strongest level in almost six weeks as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) sold dollars to the local market. Oil producers, including the NNPC, are the biggest source of dollar after the Central Bank of Nigeria, which offers foreign exchange at auctions on Mondays and Wednesdays to maintain local-currency stability. The naira is the best performer among 24 African currencies tracked by Bloomberg in April, climbing 2.4 per cent.



Cape Verde and the AFC have enjoyed a very productive and collaborative relationship over the last few years. As the lead investor in Cabeolica, our award winning $90 million 26MW commercial wind farm, we have first-hand experience of the expertise the corporation can bring to innovative projects. The Corporation’s commendable track record in partnering with Governments to provide innovative financing solutions in natural resources,


Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year

35m 35m

11.039 12.23

19-05-2014 18-05-2016

power, heavy industry, telecommunications and transport is validation of the value of such an international organisation, and is why Cape Verde is delighted to be joining as a member.” AFC’s President & Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Andrew Alli, expressed AFC’s appreciation to The Republic of Cape Verde for acceding to membership of the Corporation. “AFC is delighted to have Cape Verde as the first Island State member of the Corporation.


OBB Rate

Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 400m 400m 400m 400m 400m 400m

Price Loss 2754.67



Amount 30m 46.7m

Rate % 10.96 9.62

Date 28-04-2012 “

GAINERS AS AT 10-04-14


O/PRICE 111.30 0.60 9.03 35.96 2.21 0.74 1.87 11.50 57.08 4.25



122.70 0.63 9.48 37.75 2.32 0.77 1.94 11.90 59.00 4.39

11.40 0.03 0.45 1.79 0.11 0.03 0.07 0.40 1.92 0.14

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %


147.6000 239.4810

149.7100 244.0123

150.7100 245.6422

-2.11 -2.57

NGN EUR 212.4997 NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) 149.7450 (S/N) Bureau de Change 152.0000 (S/N)










CHANGE -0.30 -0.84 -0.21 -0.05 -0.31 -0.12 -0.14 -0.14 -0.04 -4.95


July ’11





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00%

July ’12

7 Days 30 Days 60 Days

Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917

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

Exchange Rate (N) 155.75 155.8 155.7

Date 2-5-14 2-3-14 1-29-14





% Change

CAP Index

N13.07tr 40,766.16

N6.617tr 20,903.16

-1.44% -1.44%




Amount Sold ($) 399.9m 399.9m 399.9m


LOSERS AS AT 10-04-14

SYMBOL O/PRICE C/PRICE UPL 3.97 3.67 OANDO 16.88 16.04 VITAFOAM 4.24 4.03 NPFMCRFBK 1.02 0.97 DIAMONDBNK 6.34 6.03 AIRSERVICE 2.58 2.46 LIVESTOCK 3.23 3.09 ABCTRANS 0.93 0.89 WAPIC 0.72 0.69 MOBIL 125.00 120.05

power generation for improving the lives of Africans and people all over the world. He emphasized the need to integrate the private sector as a full partner in global development, particularly given the constraints on official development assistance in the current fiscal climate. “A global agenda that intends to address the livelihoods of people and attack extreme poverty is not set up for success if it does not fully engage the sector of society that controls the most capital, employs the most people, and fosters the most innovation,” he said. He further recommended that businesses adopt the principles of Africapitalism, arguing that “the intent to create and multiply value in the societies in which we source, supply and operate, must be built into our corporate governance, into our operations, into our project development and into our profit calculation across the value chain.”


MANAGED FUNDS Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33

Elumelu addresses UN Economic Council

HAIRMAN of Heirs Holdings and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu has been speaking about the importance of jobs, power and partnerships in the post-2015 development agenda. He spoke at the UN General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which hosted the opening session of the 2014 Forum on Partnerships, entitled “The Role of Partnerships in the Implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. On the invitation of a panel chaired by UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon, Elumelu gave the keynote address and outlined his views on the role of the private sector in the Post -2015 Development Agenda. He was the only speaker from the private sector to address the Forum. The event was attended by the UN Secretary General and the Presidents of the General Assembly and ECOSOC as well as all 193 representatives to the UN General Assembly. Mr. Elumelu highlighted the critical importance of job creation and

AFC gets new member

APE Verde is the newest member of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC). The country had during the inaugural Infrastructure Investment Summit of the AFC – AFC LIVE, signed the Instrument of Accession and Acceptance of membership of the Africa Finance Corporation. Ms Cristina Duarte, Minister of Economy and Finance, Cape Verde, on behalf of the Government of Cape Verde, said: “I am very pleased to formalise Cape Verde’s membership of the Africa Finance Corporation.

• CBN Acting Governor Sarah Alade

authorised dealers amounted to $4.04 billion, showing an increase of 42.9 per cent above the level in the preceding month.



1.2655 1.3132 0.9270 1.1597

Bid Price 158.40 9.08 1.05 1.17 0.67 1.33 2,540.20 1,090.11 113.22 1,087.00 1.62 1.03 142.62 0.76 1,890.77 1.2543 1.3132 0.9098 1.1597



Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012







Cholera kills 54 in Bauchi


AUCHI State Commissioner for Health Sani Malami said yesterday that 54 people have died from cholera in the last two months. Malami said the victims died at home because they were not taken to the hospital. He, however, said the situation had been brought under control through the government’s intervention. “The number of deaths recorded in our facilities was five, but there were lot of deaths at homes because people refused to take their relatives to the hospitals. “From our record, about 54 people have died in their homes. This was because people do not heed to medical advice to take their sick ones to the hospital.”


Shettima, Sheriff resolve differences

ORNO State Governor Kashim Shettima said yesterday that he has reconciled with his predecessor, Ali Modu Sheriff. Shettima spoke in Maiduguri after an All Progressives Congress (APC) meeting in the capital city. He said: “I want to announce that we have resolved to bury our differences as a family in the interest of our great party, the APC and the people. “The APC is a big family and quarrels or disagreements are inevitable in any human endeavour. “I want to assure you that we have decided to bury the hatchet and come together

From Bodunrin Kayode, Maiduguri

as a team. “By the grace of God, this is the last time you will hear of any inter-party squabbles among members of APC in Borno. “We may have had hiccups but I can assure you that we have been able to resolve it by burying the hatchet so that we can meet the challenges as a people and as a community. “I tell you APC is a big family where quarrels are inevitable but with maturity, we can be at peace with each other. That is why I can report to you now that all is at peace in our ranks. “The truth is that we can-

not afford to continue to fight endless wars at this critical time of our history, which is why we have applied the principle of consensus for elected positions of our party faithful. “Elections will be considered only in the event where consensus is not reached among the stakeholders involved. “Borno is a traumatised society on the brink of extinction, which is why we cannot continue the bickering with so many challenges staring us in the face of insurgency.” He said all members of the party would form a common front toward winning the 2015 elections.

Sheriff said the problem was caused by mischief makers who spread rumours among party members. “I don’t have any problem with the governor, because I have lots of respect for him. “I have never discussed the issue of replacing him as the APC governorship candidate for the 2015 polls as being rumoured. “I am a national leader of the party whereas Shettima is the Borno leader of the APC. “We do not have any differences here. However, when Shettima becomes governor again, I want him to recognise that he must accommodate every opinion and carry them along.

Kwara to access N23b from capital market From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin


HE Kwara State government plans to access N23billion bond from the capital market for infrastructural development. The government is yet to refund the N17billion bond accessed from the market in 2009. Commissioner for Finance Ademola Banu said the repayment of the N17billion bond would be completed by the first week of August. He said the government had not defaulted in the payment. Banu said the feat would facilitate its accessing the proposed bond because it has made the government credible and credit worthy. The commissioner said the bond, if approved by the House of Assembly, would be expended on projects, such as the International Vocational Centre, Ajase-Ipo, Ilorin Metropolis water reticulation, solar power street lamps, and building of classrooms. He added the money would also be spent on completion of on-going road projects, such as Pategi-Kpada, ShareOke-Oden Arandun-Ipetu and Offa-Ira roads and on starting off of the 16.8kilometre KishiKaiama road. The commissioner said the bond will also be used for renovation of the indoor sports hall, Olympic-size swimming pool, volley ball and handball courts at the state stadium complex in Ilorin.


Please note that I have never said that I would dislodge him. “I do not need to control the party at the state level because it is not my role,” he said. He said a committee had been set up under the leadership of Shettima, to conduct APC congresses in places where the events were marred by crises. The governor described a former governorship aspirant, Kashim Imam, as a prophet of peace, who means well for the people. Imam, a major stakeholder in the reconciliation, described Sheriff as the founding father of the APC in the state. “I tell you we do not have any major difference anymore as far as the state is concerned. If you hear any contrary view; be sure it is coming from Abuja or elsewhere surely not from stakeholders on ground.” Present at the meeting were APC Interim Chairman Kaka Yale, Deputy Governor Zanna Mustapha and Acting Commissioner for Information Mohammed Bulama. Others are Speaker of the House of Assembly Abdulkarim Lawal, some lawmakers and a women leader, Fatty Kakina.

One killed, six injured at viewing centre •Head, Corporate Communications, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, Terminal Two (MMA2), Lagos, Rotarian Steve Omolale (fourth left) and his wife, of Ogba, Lagos, District 9110 Nigeria. With them are past Presidents of the club: Oladele, Rotarian Chidozie Mbah and Rotarian Chris Ugokwe (second right); (third right) and Secretary, Rotarian Tony Eloh (right).


operator of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Clara, during his induction by the Rotary Club Rotarians Emeka Nwajei (left), Rotarian Bosun current President, Rotarian Samson Omodara

Court suspends proceedings in Offa monarch tussle

HE Appeal Court sitting in Ilorin, Kwara State, suspended yesterday all proceedings and applications on the Olofa of Offa stool. The appellate court had in July, last year, declared illegal the selection and installation of Anilelerin candidate, Mohammed Mufutau Gbadamosi, as the Olofa of Offa. Olugbense and Anilelerin are the two ruling houses in the ancient town. But the monarch immediately appealed the judgment at the Supreme Court and filed a motion at the Appeal Court for a stay of execution and injunction, pending the

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

outcome of the apex court’s judgment. The Olugbense ruling house opposed the application and petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), expressing lack of confidence in the panel. This warranted the setting up of a new panel of justices headed by A.G. Mshelia. Members include Justices A. Jauro and R.N. Pemu. During the first sitting of the new panel of justices on Tuesday, the lead counsel to the Olugbense ruling house,

John Bayeshea, represented by Toyin Oladipo, told the court that they had filed a notice of “pendency of motion before the Supreme Court”. He said: “The motion is essentially to stay all the proceedings in the Court of Appeal and remove the appending applications from the Appeal Court to the Supreme Court.” The notice is titled: “Notice of pendency of an application before the Supreme Court.” But the lead counsel to the kingmakers and Gbadamosi,

Yusuf Ali (SAN) and Lawal Rabana (SAN), told the court of their preliminary objection to the notice, citing Order 7 (1) of the Appeal Court. A unanimous judgment prepared by Justice Jauro and presented by Justice Pemu said the applicants’ “pendency of motion before the Supreme Court” is not an application necessitating compliance with Order 7 (1) of the Appeal Court. She said: “This court is a court of law and equity. This court hereby puts on hold all applications and proceedings before it, pending the determination of all applications before the Supreme Court.”


UNMEN on Wednesday night shot dead a football fan and injured six others at a viewing centre in Potiskum, Yobe State. Commissioner of Police Sanusi Rufai, confirmed the incident yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He said the gunmen stormed the centre while the fans were watching a match between Manchester United and Bayern Munich. The commissioner said the body had been deposited at the General Hospital, Potiskum, while those injured were receiving treatment at the hospital. Rufai said security officials had been mobilised to search for the attackers.

Airport road: Senate summons FCT minister, Julius Berger

HE Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) summoned yesterday the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed and the firm handling lots one and two of the Airport Road, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. The minister and the firm are expected to appear before the committee immediately the upper chamber resumes from its Easter break. Committee Chairman Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West) spoke during an

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

oversight visit to the road. He said the Senate was worried that despite the huge contract sum, drainage was left open, thereby causing accidents daily. The contract, which is categorised into lots 1 and II, costs N49billion and N59.2billion and was awarded in 2009. Lot 1 will be completed in December. Lot II, according to the Director, Engineering, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Abu Alfa, is 99.5 per cent complete and will be delivered

this month. On the open drainage, Alfa said the construction was based on 1991 drawings. Adeyemi said even though the quality of work on the road was commendable, the contractor must find means of sealing the drainage. The senator added that since the contract sum was huge and contractors used free raw materials; they should bear the extra cost of covering the drainage as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Adeyemi said: “There is no city in the world where

drainage is left open. Even in many states where you have projects, you are not doing open culverts; so, why in the FCT? “This constitutes hazard; it is a death trap and we must sit down and talk on the likely solution. “The total cost of construction is high, yet you extracted granite free. You must do something about it. “If not, we will use our powers to compel you to do something. It is uncivilised. “If this is the road design given to you, as you said it is a 1991 drawing, it is obso-

lete and must be upgraded. “I am not condemning the job; it is not bad. They have done a good job, except for the open drainage. “The summons will be around the first week of May. Whatever is to be done on the road must be done before the completion of the project; if not we will withhold your payment. “Laterite, granite and water were obtained free. You have not answered our query on these raw materials you took free. “If you didn’t pay for granite here, then, you

should be able to do something about these open culverts. We had our reservations about the cost but it is now history.” The Senate has begun consideration of the report of the Joint Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Finance on a Bill for an Act to establish the FCT Internal Revenue Board. The Bill seeks, among others, to set up the FCT Internal Revenue Board for the collection and administration of revenue generated within Abuja.



NEWS 100 graduate from assembling plant CROSS River State Governor Liyel Imoke has lauded the transformation initiative of President Goodluck Jonathan. Imoke said it’s the only solution to the desired sustainable peace in the country. He spoke when the supervising Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Darius Ishaku, visited him after the graduation of 100 graduates of the Niger Delta Skill Acquisition Centre (Phone and Ipad Assembly plant component) in Calabar. The governor said impacting the necessary skills on youths was imperative, if there must be meaningful development in the country. The governor praised the ministry for its effort in implementing its youth empowermen programme. Imoke said this shows genuine intention to transform the country and better the lives of youths. He lauded the ministry for bringing the plant to Calabar and promised to collaborate with the Centre. Ishaku said the choice of Calabar was because of its proximity to the Free Trade Zone.

Special vigil A SPECIAL vigil, Seven Hours with Seven Prophets, will hold today at the Christ Apostolic Church, Victoryland, 7, Ajiboye Crescent, Pleasure Bus Stop, Off Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Lagos. The vigil, which begins at 10pm, will feature Prophet Akorewolu, Pastors Testimony, Akoworo, Adeyanju, Bayo Obisesan, M.O. Ige, Areola and Chairman of C.A.C. Victoryland, Pleasure District, Pastor C.S. Fasuyi. The vigil is the climax of a weeklong revival programme, which started on April 6.

CIALS holds conference THE Committee of the Indigenous Associations of Lagos State (CIALS) will hold its fifth CIALS Conference tomorrow at 11a.m. The venue is Awori House, 2, Tairu Olugbani Street, Off Kudirat Abiola Way, by Daystar Christian Centre, Oregun, Ikeja. The conference has the theme: National Conference: Answering National Questions, and a sub theme: The Yoruba Agenda and its Implications for Lagos State. Guest speakers are Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the senator representing the Lagos Central ; Prof Bola Akinterinwa, DirectorGeneral, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs; Prof Kunle Ade Wahab, former Special Advicer to the President on Due Process. The special guest and special guest of honour are Alhaja Lateefa M. Okunnu, former Lagos State Deputy Governor and Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola The event will be chaired by Rev. Dr. Julius Idowu Akindele, former Secretary to the Lagos State Government.

Students block East-West Road From Bolaji Ogundele, Warri


•Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii flanked by President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Olumide Akintayo (left) and Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research, NAFDAC, Segun Momodu, during the meeting between PSN and NAFDAC in Lagos.

Suspected killer cop in custody


HE police in Edo State said yesterday that the corporal, who allegedly bit his 19-month-old baby to death, is now in custody. Police spokesmen Moses Eguavoen said: “As I speak with you now, the corporal is in our custody.” Investigation showed that the corporal was taken to the police by his father. Sources said Corporal Samuel Abiola fled to his father, a retired police officer, in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. Attempts by our reporter

•Landlord sends him packing From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia , Benin

to speak with the suspect were resisted by the command. Abiola on March 25 allegedly bit and strangled his son, Ayomide Samuel, after he battered his wife, Abigail. Abigail said the incident occurred in their apartment at Flat 1c, Omorogieva Compound, Sam Enobakhare Crescent, off St. Saviour

Road, Benin City. She said they never had any dispute before the domestic aggression. It was gathered that Abiola’s landlord, Samuel Enobakhare Omorogieva, has ejected him from his house. Sources said Abigail was locked out of their three-bedroom apartment, following the expiration of their rent last month. Omorogieva said his action

was informed by the series of complaints of domestic violence. “Other tenants were always coming to me, complaining that the quarrel from that flat was disturbing them, he has a record of coming home late at night,” he said. The landlord said a quit notice, which expires this month, has been issued to the police officer. Abigail told our reporter that her husband called her twice, exonerating himself from the death of their baby.

Court orders govt to pay ex-militant N50m


FEDERAL High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, ordered yesterday the state government to pay N50 million to an ex-militant leader, Solomon Ndigbara, for infringing on his rights. At the 2011 Annual Ogoni Day celebration, pebbles and sachets of water were allegedly thrown at Senator Magnus Abe. Ndigbara allegedly led the mob that carried out the act. He was placed on security agencies’ wanted list. He went into hiding and later approached the court to en-


•’We’ll appeal’ From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

force his rights, especially his right to life and movement. Mr. Justice Salami Aliu ordered that N50 million be paid to him by the government as general and exemplary damages. But the Chief of Staff of the Government House, Tony Okocha, said: “The government believes in the rule of law, we will appeal the judgment.” Delivering the judgment,

Mr. Justice Aliu said: “The applicant is entitled to life and the respondents cannot intentionally deprive him in the absence of a court sentence. “The applicant is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and the respondents cannot subject him to torture or inhumane or degrading treatment for any reason whatsoever. “The applicant is entitled to personal liberty and the respondents cannot deprive him of liberty in the absence of execution of a sentence or

order of court. “The applicant is entitled to move in Ogoniland, Rivers State, and, indeed, Nigeria, and can freely reside in any of the said places in accordance to Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution. “It is hereby ordered that the respondents jointly and severally pay the applicant N50 million, as general and exemplary damages for violating his rights.” The respondents in the suit are Governor Rotimi Amaechi, Abe, Commissioner of Police, Chief Judge, Attorney-General and three others.

Judge denies staying Rivers Chief Judge’s suspension

USTICE Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has denied ordering a stay of the suspension and investigation of Justice Peter Agumagu as a judicial officer in Rivers State by the National Judicial Council (NJC). Justice Ademola made the clarification yesterday at the resumed hearing in the suit filed by Justice Agumagu, challenging his suspension. The judge said while ruling on March 31 on an ex-parte application by Agumagu, he ordered the NJC to produce and file in court a certified true copy of the minutes of the emergency meeting of the council held on March 26, containing the decisions taken concerning the applicant.

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

Justice Ademola’s clarification followed information contained in a letter written to the NJC by Agumagu’s lawyer, suggesting that the court ordered the respondents in the suit to stay all actions as it relates to Agumagu’s case. Sued with the NJC are Justices Babatunde Adejumo, Jubril Idris and Comwell Idahosa, who are chairman and members of the panel, set up by the NJC to investigate allegations against him. Agumagu’s lawyer, had in the letter to the Chairman of the NJC, stated that the court granted, “an order pursuant to Order 34 rule 3(6) of the rules of the Federal High Court, di-

recting that the grant of leave shall operate as a stay of proceedings or any further actions by the respondents in respect of the investigation of the applicant for which the first respondent has set up the panel of the 2nd to 4th respondents, until the court otherwise orders”. Justice Ademola said there were clerical errors in the typed version of the enrolled orders as two of the orders he granted were omitted. Agumagu’s lawyer Akin Olujinmi (SAN), who earlier filed a motion on notice praying the court to correct the clerical errors, withdrew the motion yesterday. The substantive suit was not heard because the second respondent, Justice Adejumo,

•Justice Agumagu

told the court that he was not served with the plaintiff’s motion on notice and that he only knew about the suit through a letter written by the applicant to the NJC. Justice Ademola ordered service of the motion on notice on the second respondent and adjourned till May 5.

UNDREDS of students of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE) obstructed traffic yesterday at the Warri end of the East-West Road, protesting the alleged killing of their colleague. The students, who carried placards, alleged that living within the host community, Ugbomro in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, had become unsafe. They said they were being attacked by members of the community. Some of the protesters said they decided to protest because the authorities had failed to help them. It was gathered that a student, identified as Chika, was shot in the head on his way from a friend’s place by some “ndigenes”. One of the protesters said: “We can’t take it no more. For so long in Ugbomro, students have become preys to hoodlums, who terrorise us at night. “Hardly a night passes without a student being attacked. “We have been complaining but no one is listening. We strongly believe our tormentors are within the FUPRE host community.” The institution’s spokesman, Boniface Onyedi, could not be reached for comments.

Why we cancelled ward congress, by Oshiomhole From Osagie Otabor, Benin


DO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole said yesterday the ward congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo South was cancelled because the party wants to lay a solid foundation for democracy at the grassroots. Oshiomhole said the cancellation was as a result of the failings of those entrusted to conduct the elections and not because of protest by some party members. The governor, who spoke at a briefing in Benin City, said he was encouraged by the huge turn-out of APC members. Oshiomhole said a review of the exercise in Edo South showed that officials did not show up for the exercise and in areas where they showed up, they did not carry materials. He said: “To conduct election is to undermine a very important rule of the game, which cannot be cured by any future action. “Conducting the election without accreditation made the exercise a complete nullity and it cannot be remedied. “No one argued that majority of those who queued to vote were members of the party. Those who were empowered to conduct the election were not available. "The people had to appoint individuals to conduct the election. Those who conducted the election cannot be said to be neutral. “In a typical voting centre, they are unable to list those who won or those who lost. All of these cast serious doubts on the entire process.”



NEWS Budget: House concurs with Senate Continued from page 4

line production figure of 2.5mbpd and ended up with 2.1mbpd average. All of these have impacted on the implementation of the budget significantly. This throws up a lacuna in the budget implementation process which now raises few questions, some of which are: What then happens if there is a significant drop in production? What happens if there is a significant improvement in the pro-

duction levels? “While we may have set a benchmark on oil price (helpful as it may be), we have not set clear parameters on what happens with production fluctuations - a key determinant of revenues. We cannot deal with one and not the other if we want a level of certainty and predictability in our budget. Implementation outcome is a key factor and a stepping stone to the next level.”

‘Baby factory’ children named after Amosun

•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (second right), former Commonwealth Secretary General Chief Emeka Anyaoku (second left), former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Prince Bola Ajibola (left) and British Deputy High Commissioner Peter Carter (right) during the 4th Anyaoku Lecture Series on Good Governance held in Abeokuta…yesterday.

Expectant woman, eight others die in Lagos, Ilorin Continued from page 4

what lies ahead this year. The government and agencies concerned have been alerted about this some months back,” he said. Residents of Amakohia Uratta autonomous community, in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State are counting their losses following the rainstorm that destroyed

commercial and residential buildings, estimated at many millions of naira. The community, which hosts thousands of civil servants, is sandwiched between Akwakuma community and the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri. The area is prone to floods. The aggrieved victims accused the government of insen-

sitivity to their plight. They blocked the major road leading to Owerri, the state capital yesterday. Movement was paralysed as a result of the traffic jam that followed the blockade of the road by the protesters. Many walked long distances to their places of work. When The Nation visited the community, some of the vic-

tims were battling to salvage their property. Most parts of the community were submerged by flood. A member of the traditional cabinet, Mr. Benson Njoku, expressed regret that several letters and petitions written and forwarded to the government for urgent solution to the incessant problem had not yielded any result.

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

whole of ANPP into APC. So it is going to be a great day for all of us and we are waiting for the reception and we are inviting one and all to come and share with us.” According to him, the rally was postponed because it coincided with the annual learning of Quadriyya Movement in Kano, popularly known as Maukidi. Shekarau, who defected from the APC, insisted that Kano does not belong to the APC even with Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso being a member of the APC. He said: “So we assure you and I want to say with all sense of humility, I was in APC and I have moved away with my supporters to the PDP. As for APC, in Kano, the governor is APC, his government is APC, there will always be pockets of other parties. If you go to Kano, you will discover that every other party will have their shares. Definitely PDP is on the ground, we are in charge in Kano.” On his complaints about the forthcoming local government elections in the state, he said:

“Not complaining as such, our complaints were basically to raise the alarm, the State Electoral Commission wanted to short change us, they gave a programme in March,a 14-day programme for the purchase of forms and return of forms, changed the date to April and reduce it to only 48 hours, this is wrong. “If you are changing the dates, then you must maintain the number of days and fortunately they listened to our protest, they had to open up because they agreed, the chairman agreed they were doing something that was violating the law, so they extended it by another four, five days, in fact they are closing today (yesterday) by midnight.”

‘Security must be in place before any election in Northeast’


ORMER Kano State Governor Ibrahim Shekarau yesterday said everything should be done to bring about security of lives and property before election is held in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno. Governors of the three states issued a joint statement on Wednesday, saying the 2015 general elections should hold under a state of emergency, in the states. Speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, Shekarau said security should be guaranteed before elections are held. He said: “You see as a democrat, I always insist that let there be elections to allow people to decide their fate, but this does not necessarily mean we conduct elections under a volatile situations.” “If there are threats to lives, who are you going to govern; even if you win the election? So it is not safe and I don’t see anybody spitting fire on it. The truth is that let the governors, the

federal government and all concerned join hands and assess the situation. What will the federal government gain or INEC gain if they don’t conduct elections in any state?” He queried “But if it is in the interest of the public, the lives and security of the people are far more important than any election that you can think of.” Shekarau said. On the coming Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rally in Kano, he said: “Well it is true the President is paying a visit to Kano and it is going to be on Tuesday for a grand reception rally. It is basically to celebrate our coming into PDP in the best way we can and also to reassure the Kano citizens that Kano is now fully a PDP environment. “It is going to be a very grand occasion because if anybody cares to know the political trend in Kano, all along ANPP had been in charge. ANPP moved into APC and we moved the

‘Only Tambuwal can sack 37 defecting Reps’ Continued from page 4

Progressives Congress (APC), the Chairman of House Committee on Rules and Business, Albert Sam-Tsokwa, has said. Sam-Tsokwa (PDP Taraba), who represents Donga/SSA/ Takum/Special Area, spoke yesterday during the House of Representatives Press Corps’ Hot Seat series at the National Assembly in Abuja. The lawmaker flayed the call of the PDP Governors’ Forum to declare the seats of the defected lawmakers vacant. He urged the PDP governors to stop making a pronouncement that could heat up the polity but take the legal option. According to him, the governors should take recourse to the Judiciary on the case of the 37 defecting lawmakers and approach the courts for a writ of mandamus, if they felt the law was not being adhered to. Sam-Tsokwa said: “Let me begin by saying the court is not a father Christmas. A court has no jurisdiction, a court has no right, a court has no power to give what is not asked for. “Now, as to the next course of action, the constitution is very clear: that power (to declare seat

of any member vacant) is vested in the Senate President or the Speaker of the House of Representatives. No other person in Nigeria has that power, not even the court. “If I am aggrieved that the Senate President has not done what he should or the Speaker has not done what he should have done, the only way we can involve a court is to go to the court and ask for an order of mandamus to compel him to do what the law requires him to do.” The lawmaker accused most northern governors of sponsoring acts of terrorism. He said these were evident in the continuous clashes between herdsmen/farmers in many parts of Northern Nigeria. He described the escalating conflicts as “a time bomb” which if not stopped, could transform into another Boko Haram challenge. “Most of the problems we have are created by our leaders. And that was why in one occasion, I said I am of the opinion that most northern governors support terrorism. Because I see the attacks on farmers as a terrorist act. Not a conflict. “You stay in your house,

somebody comes to your land and begins to cause problems and destroy your crops. You complain and he brings out a gun, sacks you from that place and they call it conflict. What conflict is that? It is an act of terrorism. “What we call farmer/grazer conflict is a kind of insurgency against the farmer. A grazer is a farmer, young cultivator is a farmer. Just as I cannot walk up to your land and begin to make heaps because your land is good and I want to plant rice there. A grazer too has no right to walk into my land no matter how conducive for grazing and begin to graze there. If he has no land, I have land. I have no animal. Come, buy my land, give me money and graze there. “Today, these people (farmers) are helpless, a time will come when they will not be that helpless. That was how Boko Haram started. My advice is that the earlier we do something about it the better for us. Nigeria has enough problem on its hands. Let us not cause additional problems. Let’s handle the ones we have. We should be seen to be moving ahead rather than adding more and more problems for the country.


HE Ogun State government has initiated moves to reconcile victims of the Akute ‘baby-making’ factory with their families. Two babies delivered after their mothers were rescued from the “factory” have been named after Governor Ibikunle Amosun. The state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development is interfacing with Abia, Imo and Akwa-Ibom state governments on how the victims could be reunited with their families. The Commissioner, Mrs. Elizabeth Sonubi, told reporters at the Stella Obasanjo Children Home, Ibara, Abeokuta that her office had been exchanging correspondences with the Ministries of Women Affairs in the states where the victims hailed from, noting that one of them had actually signified readiness to receive its indigenes among them. ”Some of them have respond-

ed and they are now willing to have them and ready for repatriation”, she said. She said nine victims were actually hale and hearty. The babies delivered have been named King David Etimbok Omotoyosi Amosun and Queen Elizabeth Morayoninuoluwa Onyiechukwu Amosun. She enjoined the young ladies not to despair or be demoralised but should rather see their situation as the beginning of a new life. “Our mandate is to see to the survival and protection of the children and that is what we are doing. We are very caring in Ogun State. We are not taking you as criminals, but rather, as victims of circumstance, so I want you all to see yourpresent situation as the beginning of a new life. Plan your next step of action by returning back to school or try to learn a skill so that you would be useful to yourself, people and your state in the nearest future”, she said.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Yakaou Ideraoluwa Victoria now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Amusu Ideraoluwa Victoria. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.



I, Formerly known and addressed as Mr. Matthew Olusola now wish to be known and addressed as Mr. Matthew Bayo Akintewe. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Imoisi Ehis Bose now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Oaikhena Ehis Bose. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please note.





FOREIGN NEWS Missing Malaysia plane: Search ‘regains recorder signal


EAMS searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have reacquired signals that could be consistent with "black box" flight recorders. An Australian vessel heard the signals again on Tuesday afternoon and evening, the search chief said. Signals heard earlier had also been further analysed by experts who concluded they were from "specific electronic equipment", he said. Flight MH370 disappeared on 8 March, carrying 239 people. It was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it lost

contact with air traffic controllers. Malaysian officials say that based on satellite data, they believe it ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean, thousands of kilometres from its intended flight path. "I believe we are searching in the right area," said Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who heads the joint agency co-ordinating the search. "But we need to visually identify aircraft wreckage before we can confirm with certainty that this is the final resting place of MH370."

Putin warns Europe of gas shortages over Ukraine


USSIAN President Vladimir Putin has warned European leaders that Ukraine’s delays in paying for Russian gas have created a “critical situation”. Pipelines transiting Ukraine deliver Russian gas to several EU countries and there are fears that the current tensions could trigger gas shortages. Armed pro-Russian separatists are holed up in official buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine.

•Two lawyers for the group's jailed founder, Abimael Guzman were among those arrested

Peru Shining Path arrests: 24 seized


WENTY-FOUR people suspected of links to Peruvian militant group Shining Path have been arrested, the president says. President Ollanta Humala said they included the leaders of the organisation's political arm, Movadef. Two of them are lawyers for the group's founder Abimael Guzman, who was jailed in 1992. The Maoist group was effectively defeated in the 1990s, but remnants are thought to be involved in the cocaine trade. Those arrested are accused of terrorist offences and funding terrorism through drug trafficking. Guzman's lawyers, Alfredo Crespo and Manuel Fajardo, who have been campaigning for his release, were among those arrested. President Humala did not confirm media reports that a cousin of his, Walter Humala, was among those detained. But in a television interview he said that those who committed crimes would be captured, whatever surname they had. In Peru, he said, no-one wears a crown. The nationwide operation involved more than 300 people from the police and the army and was

more than two years in the planning, officials say. The guerrilla group, known as Sendero Luminoso in Spanish, waged a bloody insurgency that, for a time, brought the Peruvian state to its knees in the 1980s. Almost 70,000 people died or disappeared in more than a decade of internal conflict. Inspired by Maoism, they tried to lead a "People's War" to overthrow what they called "bourgeois democracy" and establish a communist state. Even before the latest arrests, most of the movement's leaders had been captured and its territory has been reduced to small areas of the EneApurimac valley in southern Peru, known as VRAE, where much of the country's cocaine is produced. Along with Colombia, Peru is the world's top producer of cocaine. Despite indications the group is willing to enter talks to end its fight against the government, President Humala has previously insisted that his government will not "negotiate with terrorists". "They are cold-blooded killers, who kidnap children, don't respect basic rights, and try to use terror and extortion to change the democratic nature of the country," he said in September 2012.

Meanwhile, a European human rights body has stripped Russia of voting rights. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) monitors human rights in 47 member states, including Russia and Ukraine. Protesting against Russia’s annexation of Crimea last month, PACE suspended Russia’s voting rights as well as Russian participation in election observer missions. The Russian delegation had boycotted the meeting. Its leader, Alexei Pushkov, described the proceedings as a “farce”. The BBC’s Chris Morris in Brussels says Moscow may well brush off this diplomatic snub, but it is another sign of the price it is having to pay for its annexation of Crimea. Key supplier Russian state gas giant Gazprom says Ukraine’s debt for supplies of Russian gas has risen above $2bn (£1.2bn; 1.4bn euros).

Gazprom said on Wednesday it could demand advance payments from Kiev for gas but President Putin said the company should hold off, pending talks with “our partners” - widely believed to mean the EU. In a letter to European leaders, President Putin warned that the “critical” situation could affect deliveries of gas to Europe, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying. Mr Putin suggested “special” measures, he added, without elaborating. Nearly one-third of the EU’s natural gas comes from Russia. Previous Russian gas disputes with Ukraine have led to severe gas shortages in several EU countries. The EU says it has extra gas supplies and reverseflow technology to deal with any such disruption now. In Kiev, the authorities said Ukraine would not prosecute pro-Russian activists occupying official buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk if they surren-


dered their weapons. Ukraine has accused Russia of stirring up the unrest, a claim Moscow denies. Nato says up to 40,000 Russian troops are massed near Ukraine’s border. Ukraine fears that the Russian separatist actions are a provocation similar to the protests that gripped Crimea days before Russian troops annexed the peninsula last month. The separatists in the east - a mainly Russian-speaking region with close ties to Russia are demanding referendums on self-rule. In Donetsk they have declared a “people’s republic”.

LENTEN MESSAGE Theme: Come forth from the grave Text: “... He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth....” John 11:43-44


ESURRECTION is the meal of believers. Paul makes it clear in his epistle to the Corinthians that Resurrection gives validity to Christianity; that is, Christianity that is devoid of the grace to stand up from the grave is a religion in futility. In 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, Paul said, “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” Lazarus was a man who experienced the resurrection power after being in the grave for four days. When Jesus Christ arrived at his tomb, things were turned around and the dead came back to life. Jesus Christ said that anyone who believes in Him will not only experience a life of reversal of statutory laws, suspension of earthly stipulations and destruction of any report that is against biblical declarations cum promises and faith but will add eternal life as an everlasting benefit - a life hereafter that is without weeping, crying, gnashing of teeth and regret (John 5:34; Luke 16:19-25; Matt. 13:42). Jesus Christ as the Resurrection and the life brings it to the fore that it is never over with anyone who believes, no matter the prevailing circumstances. Suffice to say that a murderer can be a saint in Saul becoming Paul (Acts 9:1-16). A prostitute in Rahab can be a useful vessel of deliverance for God’s people (Joshua 6:17). A person without parents and helper in Esther can rise to become a Queen over a large empire (Esther 2:17). A prisoner in Joseph can be lifted to the position of a Prime Minister (Genesis 41:4145) and a gatekeeper in Mordecai can become an important person in the palace (Esther 8:2). The story of Mephibosheth, a lame, insignificant and unknown son of Jonathan changed when God orchestrated the remembrance of the household of Saul for Jonathan’s sake. The moment Mephibosheth was brought before King David, the story of his life changed and he was moved from a beggarly situation to a palatial position. Instantly, everything about him changed - his house, his diet, his dressing, his friends, his company and health (2 Samuel 9). Viewed against that backdrop,

By The Revd. Henry O. Adelegan

it behoves us Christians to endeavour to be good to anyone we come in contact with because Jesus can lift anyone from the grave. God can clothe an angel with the garb of a stranger ostensibly to deliver a message (Heb. 13:2 cf Genesis 18:114). Do you know that your messenger can become your boss tomorrow and your house help or assistant at work or church can be lifted to lofty height in the society. You must therefore ensure that you leave a good thought in the heart of everyone that comes your way. Don’t run anyone down, malign or destroy anybody but must always be willing to offer a willing or supportive hand through advice, prayers and monetary support etc. Besides that, it means that a believer can never be written off. The Almighty God has power to lift anyone up. Success in life is not about what you know but the source of your knowledge. If your knowledge is from God, He will connect you with people that ought to know you and your name shall be known all over the world for good. The Almighty God “killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.( I Sam. 2:6-7). As long as you are connected with the fountain of life, your end, which Solomon attests to as better, shall be greater than your beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8) Lastly, it does not matter what you may be passing through at such a time, provided that you are a believer, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It does not matter how colossal what you have lost is, how terrible the ailment you are managing is, the issues at your work place, the challenges you are having with your education, business, marriage, children or even church, they are temporal. Paul encouraged us that “we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things

•Revd Adelegan

which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2Corinthians 4:18). The princes that ganged up against the three Jews assumed it had ended when the fire had been made seven times hotter but that experience marked the beginning of their celebrations and promotion with the appearance of the Resurrection and the life who removed heat from the prepared fire. (Daniel 3). Brethren, Christ in our life is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27b cf Job 14:7-9). It is not a fluke that Jesus Christ has power to deliver from the grave. For the experience of Lazarus to be re-enacted in your life however, you must have a relationship with Him like the household of Lazarus. You must surrender your life to Him, come boldly to Jesus, confess and repent of all your sins like Mary, sister of Lazarus (Luke 7:37-50) and be hospitable like Lazarus’ family members (Luke10:38-42). Not only that you must believe that He can do something to alleviate your situation no matter how hopeless it may look (Isaiah 49:15). Having done that, you should call on Him because He would answer (Isaiah 65:24; Jeremiah 33:3), be patient with Him, even when He does not answer when you are expecting because everything in life is guided by times and seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 9:11) and lastly have faith that He would attend to your case using whatever method He deems appropriate (Isaiah 55:8-9). God will lift you from the pathway to the highway of testimonies in Jesus’ name. Prayers: Oh Lord, I come to you during this season, forgive all my sins, give me grace to have an unbreakable relationship with you like the household of Lazarus and let your power of Resurrection and lift me from the grave in Jesus’ name.









FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2014



T is the burning question; the snake on the rooftop; the five hundred pound gorilla in the room. It is the zillion naira question that we choose to ignore at the nation's peril. It is the fundamental question of "what structure?" President Goodluck Jonathan's speech is still being analysed. There has been more of commendation than analysis or debate. It is to be expected and the President must be very pleased. I only hope that in our native hagiographic disposition, we do not lose sight of the basics. The President wants delegates to his conference to remake Nigeria in a way that enables her to fulfill what he regards as her destiny. And time is running out already. While I appreciate the caliber and antecedents of a sizeable number of the delegates to this conference and have no reason to doubt the integrity of many more, I am not very optimistic about the outcome. This is because of the mixed signals coming from the groups and entities that matter. One day, we are told that the conference's resolutions will be subject to a referendum of all citizens. On yet another day, we are informed that there is no enabling law and the conference resolutions must have to go before the National Assembly and debated as amendments to the constitution. I am wondering if our privileged legislators have seriously entertained the question of whether the fundamental question of "what structure?" is fixable by way of amendments. Of course, fixing anything by a patchwork of amendments is not utterly inconceivable. The challenge however is that if such amendments are extensive enough to cover all flaws, we may end up having the semblance of a completely new constitution. Isn't it better then to discard an ill-fitting outfit than go through a process of alterations that destroy its beauty? But there is at least one more important consideration than the aesthetics of constitutional amendment. In the first place, no matter how we dress it up with the fanciful language of legitimacy, it is obvious that the 1999 Constitution was an imposition by a military clique bent on having its will after a self-inflicted indictment in the court of the people. The fact that the nation has been contemptuously made to put up with it for the last 14 years simply shows the pretentiousness of its "democratic" awakening. It should have been a triumph of the people's will over the dictatorship of the gun if in 1999, elected representatives opted for a new beginning that prioritises a genuine constitution of


UR dear Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has disappointed some of us so sorely that we come to tears each time we contemplate the persistent regress of our dear country into a non-economic entity. And in our private discussions we can't stop wondering whatever happened to Ngozi? Could she have been weighed down by the oversized portfolios of Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy? For sure, the Jonathan administration is less luminescent than Olusegun Obasanjo's but… We dare say that if she scored a pass mark in her first coming under President Obasanjo's regime, this time she's mixed up the script entirely and cannot put a handle on neither the economy nor our finances. This so-called economy is in dire need of radical restructure to get the damaged ship back on sail; but it's either that she cannot see it or she prefers to roll with the punches. For instance, the annual budget never comes on time anymore (2014 budget just passed after first quarter!); she has been unable to whip down recurrent expenditure which still gulps over 75 percent of total budget; industries continue to atrophy; the huge agric sector has become mere statistical confabulations by a smooth-talking agric minister and both power and oil and gas sectors, which ought to heave the turbines of the economy, are in perpetual recession under people without a vision for the nation. We thus have an economy which is prostrate and gasping for air. It is from this sad milieu that we were gleefully informed that Nigeria' economy is now the biggest in Africa and ranks 26th globally. One could not help having a good laugh at this farce; we are a people without shame, a people intent on achieving greatness through the back door. We are told that by a magical re-jigging of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures, we have suddenly become the big, bad, wolf; the economic tiger of Africa! To think that we could not sustain a vision 20-20-20- we willingly formulated: the so-called vision died a natural death

VOL.9 NO.2,815

‘The backlash that greeted the latest GDP rebasing that makes the country Africa’s largest economy seems to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back’ MOBOLAJI SANUSI



It's the structure, stupid!

The Map of Nigeria

the people by the people and for the people. It didn't happen because those who found themselves beneficiaries of the people's revolution from 1993 to 1998 were not representatives of the people but sympathisers of the military cabal and its civilian clique. The long and short of the matter then is that a military-imposed democratic constitution is an absurdity that has to be excised. What has made governance in Nigeria ineffective and thoroughly detestable in the last fourteen years? I don't know of any reasonable analysis that focuses on just one causal factor. There is a multiplicity of factors, including bad leadership, docile followership, poor accountability regime and an inadequate constitutional arrangement. However, since it is the foundation of all other factors, the constitution has a pride of place in the constellation of factors for the explanation of bad governance. For instance, the immunity clause in the constitution explains why bad leaders are difficult to get rid of. The revenue allocation formula

ensures that the states are beggars at the table of the federal government, meaning effectively that a greedy governor with no moral qualm only has to be a mainstreamer and all is well for him. But that doesn't translate to a buoyant welfare scheme for his people. Witnessing the opulence that is displayed in Abuja and the developmental eye-sore that confronts them in the creeks, militancy has an unusual, if deadly, appeal to the hopeless youth. But there are reasonable people who think that the constitution is alright and the revenue formula is sacred. In 2005, former President Obasanjo organised the National Political Reform Conference in Abuja. It turned out, as we now know, that it was a ruse; and there was a hidden agenda in spite of his declaration of "no hidden agenda". But that conference brought to light the sharp divisions among its component parts that this country has yet to overcome after fifty years of coexistence. By putting it this way, however, we do a lot of injustice to ourselves. For it appears we blame ourselves for what others before us have not been able to achieve due to no fault of theirs. Scotland and England have been together for far longer and they cannot boast of eliminating divisions. The last elections showed that the Scottish National Party won more votes in Scottish Parliament than the Labor Party and may now opt for independence from the United Kingdom at the next opportunity. So divisions in a multi-national state are not abnormal and, indeed, they should be the foundation of our constitutional arrangements. This is the merit of a genuine federal system which we do not now have. This time, it appears that consensus is gradually emerging over the question of structure




Rebasing our pure-water economy because we are so unserious; the former Planning Minister had to pronounce the vision dead. For an economy that can at best be described as pure-water economy, not necessarily because it is terribly small, but because it is impure, embroiled in the mire, disheveled and uncoordinated. One quick indication that Nigeria does not have a properly structured economy is to check the back pages of The Economist, which publishes economic and financial indicators of major economies weekly. The only African countries worthy of mention have been Egypt and South Africa. The economic indices showcased by this London journal include: GDP, industrial production, unemployment rate, current account balance, interest rates, etc. Were we a serious people who appreciate our dire situation and who are hard at work seeking solution, we would have further downgraded our GDP to show the magnitude of our wretchedness. Here are some of the reasons why a downward review would have been more appropriate now: ONE: No defined economic agenda: The present government is merely tumbling along; it has no clearly defined economic vision or goal. All it does largely is collect rent from oil, shares it out like the national cake we call it. Most of it is eventually frittered away. In addition, the third tier of our polity, the LGAs, is

near-moribund, thus a swathe of the land, more than half of the people and a chunk of the economy is left in the lurch. Who gives a damn; where then is the economy? TWO: No institutions: most of our social, political and economic institutions are in shambles. They are lacking in the capacity to steady the ship of state and make it sail smoothly. It is not possible to organise an economy to a world standard where these institutions have failed. THREE: Statistics, what statistics: The National Bureau of Statistics simply lacks the capacity to produce any valid and reliable data. That explains why it couldn't do routine rebasing of GDP for 24 years. FOUR: No economic base: It is shocking that our economic managers deigned to compare Nigeria's economy with South Africa's. Apart from our abundance of crude oil and gas which we largely dispel into the seas, so to speak and expel into the atmosphere, we do not have an added-value production base; we are still highly import dependent including for our main food staple, rice. South Africa on the other hand is a massive industrial and agricultural entity that has proven that Africa can be first world. It is mischievous and in bad taste to compare these two economies by any indices

I seek indulgence to refer to six fundamental proposals made by the Northern States at the 2005 conference. First, the Northern states recommended "that the Conference should endeavour to strengthen and re-affirm the corporate existence of Nigeria as an indivisible, indissoluble and plural national state under a Federal System, comprising three tiers of government, Federal, 36 states and 774 local governments." Second, the Northern states opted to "reject in its entirety any attempt to convert the (geo-political) zones into regions and any reference to them as such should be expunged in any official document…" Third, the North insisted that the "concept of rotational presidency among the so-called zones should be discarded as it is subject to manipulation and abuse by unpatriotic Nigerians. It is neither in our constitution nor in our electoral laws." But, fourth, the North went on to recommend that the "Presidency should rotate between the North and the South and this time around (2005) it is the turn of the North." Fifth, the North suggested "that constitutional provision needs to be made for rotation within the states to provide opportunity to the various minority groups have (sic) access to the position of governorship within the states and to give them a sense of belonging." Sixth, on resource control, the North chose to "stand by the constitutional provision that the Federal Government should hold in trust, control and facilitate the exploration and exploitation of all mineral resources in the country as enshrined in Section 44 (1.3) of the 1999 Constitution." Clearly, these proposals go to the route of the challenges facing the nation. The Northern states are aware of competing positions which call into question the legitimacy of those constitutional provisions they revere; and, starting from next week, I intend to interrogate them with alternative visions. Meanwhile, I submit that the issues cannot be resolved by the National Assembly whose members have sworn to protect the very constitution that is being challenged. Furthermore, it is unrealistic to expect that constitutional amendments, which only deal with the facade, can correct the foundational problem of national existence. And this underscores the wisdom of the proposal for a Sovereign National Conference to deal with the fundamental question of structure. •For comments, send SMS to 08111813080

whatsoever. FIVE: Wasting population: If we seek the harsh truth, Nigeria is but a mass of wasting population - comprising a horde of vibrant but impoverished youths, ill-educated, jobless and angry. What really have we done to earn the 26th position in the world? In the comity of nations, we probably have the worst power situation, we have the worse infrastructure situation, we have among the most endemic corruption and we have about the worst poverty and life expectancy indices. SIX: Bleak future: While the South African may have planned 20 years ahead, there are no socioeconomic indices around here to bring a smile on the face of the Nigerian, yet we are told we have a big economy by our leaders. What this means is that they do not understand the magnitude of our troubles. What this means again is that we face a bleak future with no redemption in sight because nobody is working to change our situation. They fiddle and revel while our country dies. LAST MUG: Take heed Borno State Govt It was a beautiful and colourful photograph as published in the newspapers last week. Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima posed with a bevy of young ladies resplendent in their spotted orange hijab over dark flowing gowns. The young, beautiful Borno lasses have won the state's scholarship to study medicine at the University of Khartoum, Sudan. Great idea (if you don't mind that Sudan is strife-stricken). What troubles Expresso is that all the young ladies, by their attire, are all Muslims. Borno is not an allMuslim State is it? Or are the non-Muslims in Borno second class citizens? Seemingly small matter like this goes a long way to brew rancor and disaffection. NOTE: Enquiries about the book, Blood on the Niger, by Emma Okocha may be directed to Toyin on 08065289740 or Deji on 08060205914 •For comments, send SMS to 08111526725

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April 11, 2014  
April 11, 2014  

April 14, 2014 Publication for The Nation News Papers