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News Monarchs dismiss allegations against Aregbesola P10 Sports Champions League: Barcelona will fall, says Mikel P23 Business Senate seeks prosecution of BA, VAA for tax evasion P3


VOL. 7, NO. 2097 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2012


Ibori bags 13 years in jail Prosecution to seek seizure of ex-Delta governor’s assets From Vincent Ikuomola,

Waziri: banks aided pension cash looting



HE sensational life of former Delta State Governor James Onanefe Ibori crashed yesterday at a London court. He was jailed for 13 years after admitting fraud totalling nearly £50 million. And the £50 million figure may prove to be “ludicrously low”, said Judge Anthony Pitts as he sentenced Ibori for a series of offences, including fraud and money-laundering. “In the light of other matters, perhaps that is a ludicrously low figure and the figure may be in excess of £200 million, it is difficult to tell,” he told Southwark Crown Court in London. “The confiscation proceedings may shed some further light on the enormity of the sums involved.” Ibori pleaded guilty earlier this year to a series of charges linked to the theft of money from the state and fraud involving state-owned shares in a mobile phone firm, VMobile. He admitted one count of conspiracy to launder money, five of money-laundering and one of obtaining a property transfer by deception over the theft SEE of more than £25 milwhile he was ALSO lion governor. PAGES He also pleaded 4 & 5 guilty to conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to make false instruments, and one count of money-laundering linked to a 37 million US dollar (£23 million) share fraud surrounding the sale of shares in Nigerian company V Mobile. Ibori, whose address in England was given as Primrose Hill in north London, was previously a cashier in a DIY store in Ruislip, west London, before he moved to Nigeria and worked his way up the ranks to become a governor in 1999. Prosecutor Sasha Wass told the Continued on page 2

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja


•Anti-Ibori protesters outside the court ... yesterday.

THE CRIMES IBORI ADMITTED •Conspiracy to launder money •Conspiracy to defraud •Conspiracy to make false instruments •One count of obtaining a property transfer by deception over the theft of more than £25 million •One count of money-laundering linked to a $37 million


ANKS colluded with civil servants to siphon billions of pension fund cash, Mrs Farida Waziri told senators yesterday. The former chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who appeared before the Senate Committee probing the management of the pension fund, recollected how a bank laundered N350m in 30 minutes. She also told the panel that she travelled out of the country immediately after her removal because she got death threats. Mrs Waziri described the fraud perpetrated in pension fund offices as “monumental” and “unbelievable”. She said: “The fraud that was discovered was monumental and shocking because I could not believe that civil servants could do this to themselves. “Those who were behind this monumental fraud should have known that one day they too will become pensioners. “The fraud was a big shock to me. I felt that we Continued on page 2

PDP defends Jonathan’s right to run in 2015


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday joined the debate over the President’s political future, saying if Dr Goodluck Jonathan runs in 2015, he will not hurt any Nigerian’s right to contest against him. The party also said the President is in his first term, which will end in 2015.

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

The party’s stand on the controversy, which is the subject of a legal battle, is stated in a notice of preliminary objection to an application to stop Jonathan from running. It urged the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory to dismiss the suit filed by a member of the party, Mr. Cyriacus Njoku.

The applicant had, through his counsel, Mr. Osuagwu Ugochukwu, raised two questions for determination by the court. These are: •Whether Section 135(2) of the Constitution, which specifies a period of four years in office for the President, is only available or applicable to a person elected on the basis

of an actual election or includes one in which a person assumes the position of President by operation of law, as in the case of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan; and •whether Section 137(1) (b) of the Constitution, which provides that a person shall not be qualified for elecContinued on page 2

•Mrs Waziri




NEWS Waziri: bank laundered N350m pension cash in 30 minutes Continued from page 1

•President Goodluck Jonathan cutting the tape to inaugurate the Usan Deepwater oil facility. With him from left are: NNPC Group Managing Director, Austin Oniwon, Rivers State Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru, Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke and chairman of Total Group Worldwide, Christophe De Margerie. Story on page 56

Jonathan free to run in 2015, says PDP Continued from page 1

tion to the office of President, if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections, applies to the first defendant, who first took an oath of office as substantive President on May 6, 2010 and took a second oath as President on May 29, 2011. But the PDP, through an affidavit sworn to by Nanchang Ndam of its Legal Unit, said Jonathan’s aspiration in 2015 would not jeopardise any other Nigerian’s interest. He said: “That also contrary

to the depositions in paragraphs 4, 7 and 8 of the said affidavit, the first defendant will only be completing his first term of office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in May 2015. “That the first defendant has contested election as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria only once, and that is at the April 2011 general election. “That if the first the defendant vies for President in 2015, the plaintiff and other eligible Nigerians would not be denied the opportunity of

taking a shot at the presidency in 2015 as they would join the first defendant in the contest whether within the auspices of the second defendant or on the platform of other political parties.” The party urged the court to “strike out the suit for lack of competence and want of jurisdiction on the part of the honourable court to entertain and determine same”. It added: “The suit discloses no cause of action; and the plaintiff lacks the locus standi to bring this action. “That the affidavit is full of

half truths and untruths contrived to mislead this Honourable Court into granting the prayers the plaintiff is seeking. “That the second defendant (PDP) has millions of members spread over the length and breadth of Nigeria and its branches/chapters abroad. “That the interest the plaintiff claims in bringing this suit is one which he shares with millions of other members of the second defendant in all geopolitical zones of the country. Continued on page 8

should not be doing this to ourselves. We investigated and made serious discoveries. “There was this pretty lady; the money found in her account was mind boggling. “I remember I told her ‘you are a mother, why are you doing this? You have children; why do you engage in this?’ “We discovered that many ghost names, including dead persons, were being paid. There were no addresses, no local government areas, but money was being paid to dead persons. “It was really bad that in sharing the money, one of the drivers got angry and told us what happened. “We discovered filling stations, choice property. Everyday, money was recovered. “In some cases, those involved simply put money in an account and forgot it there.” According to her, if banks did not collude with those in charge of pension funds, there was no way “unbelievable fraud would have been possible”. The banks, she said, look for money at all costs, not minding the source of such money. Mrs Waziri said some banks were in the habit of acting as informants to the pension funds fraud perpetrators. “We discovered that when

EFCC officials planned to visit a bank, officials of the bank would inform those who kept pension funds in their banks that EFCC officials were around and ask them to remove the money,” she said. Mrs Waziri said there was a case of N40 billion that was taken from one of the banks on the pretext that the money was to be used to buy diesel. She noted that the N40 billion was granted without collateral “and when the person sold the diesel, he went to Dubai to buy choice property”. On the allegation that she collected money to travel to Atlanta, Georgia, United States for biometric data capturing, she denied ever travelling to Atlanta for such purpose. Mrs Waziri said: “It is an insult for anybody to insinuate that I travelled for biometric data capturing. Before I travelled the President would know, the Chief of Staff would know, the Inspector General of Police would know.” She promised to furnish the committee with the total pension funds recovered while she was in office. Mrs Waziri also denied allegation of selective treatment of those accused of looting pension funds. She said 32 suspects were charged to court. The committee mandated the EFCC to investigate how its employee, Edi Abdullahi’s account was credited with N86 million “estacode” in one day. Continued on page 60

Ibori bags 13 years in jail for money laundering, others in UK Continued from page 1

court that Ibori “deliberately and systematically” defrauded the people whose interests he was elected to represent. Addressing Ibori, Judge Pitts said he could not give judgment on his record as governor of Delta state. “I accept that there is another side that is a good side to Mr James Ibori the man, and I am sure the governor of Delta state, a side different to the man of corruption, lining his own and his family’s pockets with single-minded devotion and determination, as has been described to me by the prosecution. “I point out once again, it is not for me to judge your governorship and the effect it has had on the Delta state - I leave that to the good people of Nigeria and Delta state themselves.” Ibori, whose age was given as either 50 or 54 during the sentencing, was governor between May 1999 and May 2007. As governor, he was racking up credit card bills of $200,000 (£126,000) per month on a luxury lifestyle, including running a fleet of armoured Range Rovers. He was trying to buy a plane for £20 million at the time he was arrested. His wife Theresa Ibori, sister Christine Ibori-Idie, mistress Udoamaka Okoronkwo and London-based solicitor Bhadresh Gohil have already been convicted of moneylaundering. Ibori was extradited from Dubai to the UK in April, last year. The court heard that Ibori

EFCC: Ibori will still face trial in Nigeria


HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday said ex-Governor James Ibori will still face trial in Nigeria after serving a 13-year term in a UK Prison. It also said with the conviction of Ibori by the Southwark Court in London, Nigeria’s judicial process needs to be reassessed. The EFCC spoke in a statement in Abuja by its Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren. The statement said: “The EFCC received with happiness news of the conviction of former Governor of Delta State, Mr. James Ibori, who was this morning sentenced to a 13-year jail term by a Southwark Crown Court in London. “The Commission welcomes the conviction, which is the icing on a tortuous investigative and legal odyssey for all actors involved in the Ibori saga.

had become a multi millionaire after living modestly in London, working on the till of DIY store Wickes. Judge Pitts told Ibori: “You lived modestly in London in the 1990s and noone I think hearing at that time would imagine the multi millionaire high profile governor that you became some eight or nine years later.” Ibori had previously been convicted of two minor thefts - for stealing from the till of Wickes and in 1992 of handling a stolen credit card. The court heard he allegedly used a false date of birth when he ran for governor to conceal the previous convictions as a criminal record would have excluded him from taking part in the election. He was elected governor for

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

“It is reassuring that today’s sentencing of Ibori was based on the foundation of the case built by the EFCC in 2007 which, unfortunately, was thrown out by the Federal High court, Asaba for lack of merit. “The same fate has lately befallen other EFCC cases, notably the Erastus Akingbola, Ndudi Elumelu, Dimeji Bankole and Gbenga Daniel matters. They were all thrown out by the courts, purely on technical grounds, without consideration of the substantive issues. “The fact that a case which supposedly lacked merit in Nigeria could fetch a 13-year jail term in the UK after a landmark guilt plea brings to fore the need for a reassessment of the nation’s justice delivery process. We must strengthen our judicial institutions, if we are to make any headway in the anti- graft efforts.

two terms spanning eight years from May 1999 to May 2007. Judge Pitts said: “It was during those two terms that you turned yourself in short order into a multi millionaire through corruption and theft in your powerful position as Delta State governor.” Nicholas Purnell QC, for Ibori, made a spirited effort to plead for Ibori. He highlighted his work as a governor, including his contribution to improving the state’s infrastructure of the Delta state. He added that Ibori had secured the release of foreign oil workers held hostage in Nigeria in 2006 and 2007. He said: “He was fully engaged in the business of governorship and not simply someone who sought public office in order to enrich him-

“More interesting to the Commission in the Ibori conviction is the opportunity for the repatriation of the array of properties and assets amassed overseas by the convict. “Once again, his fate has proven that there is no safe haven abroad for politically – exposed persons who looted state funds entrusted in their care. “The Commission expects Ibori to serve his term in the UK and return to Nigeria to face other criminal charges pending in courts, arising from his eightyear rule of Delta State. “The EFCC wishes to restate the fact that the offence for which Ibori was jailed in London is only a fraction of the array of criminal infractions committed by the former governor. “The Commission remains committed in its determination to bring Ibori and other alleged corrupt politically exposed persons and corporate titans to book in Nigeria, no matter how long it takes.”

self and his family.” The court also heard from former England footballer John Fashanu, who is ambassador for the Federal Government for sports and tourism. Fashanu, who said he has known Ibori for more than 20 years, spoke of Ibori’s achievements in creating sporting facilities in the state. After the hearing, Sue Patten, head of the Crown Prosecution Service central fraud group, said: “During his two terms as governor of Delta State, James Ibori deliberately and systematically defrauded the people whose interests he had been elected to represent. “The sums involved in the offences to which Ibori has pleaded guilty amount to approximately £50 million, acquired at the expense of the

some of the poorest people in the world. “Combined sentences of 43 years imprisonment have now been imposed on Ibori and those convicted for assisting him, including his sister, his mistress, his wife, his lawyer and others. “But the work of the CPS continues. The next step will be to enable the courts to make a confiscation order in respect of Ibori’s illegal profits. “Ibori enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, including several sub-

stantial properties, a Bombardier Challenger jet aeroplane costing 20 million dollars he was in the process of buying and several vehicles, including a Jaguar, a Mercedes Maybach and a Bentley, all funded from the proceeds of his crimes against the people of Nigeria. “These are just a number of assets that will be considered as part of confiscation proceedings. “Three million pounds has already been clawed back from his co-defendants and work continues to realise assets to pay towards the confiscation orders imposed on them.” International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said: “James Ibori’s sentence sends a strong and important message to those who seek to use Britain as a refuge for their crimes. “Corruption is a cancer in developing countries and the coalition Government has a zero-tolerance approach to it. “We are committed to rooting out corruption wherever it is undermining development, and will help bring its perpetrators like Ibori to justice and return stolen funds to help the world’s poorest.” A Department for International Development spokesman said: “No British aid was compromised, but his crimes have had a devastating effect on his fellow Nigerians as the money was meant to improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.”

RETRACTION Our attention has been drawn to a publication on page 52 of the April 2, 2012 edition of this paper by the Institute of Economists of Nigeria. The publication, we understand is now causing disaffection among members of the organisation and is a subject of court litigation. The said publication is hereby retracted and we regret the inconveniencies caused by it. Editor

ADVERT HOTLINES: 01-280668, 08070591302, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678




Senate seeks prosecution of BA, VAA for tax evasion


SENATE directive urging an immediate legal action against British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) over tax evasion yesterday widened the gulf between the Federal Government and the two airliners over discriminatory air fares visited on Nigerians. The Senate Committee on Aviation probing the disparity in airfares charged by foreign airlines accused the BA and VAA of perpetrating advance fee fraud for allegedly deliberately refusing to remit five per cent of the passenger Fuel Surcharge (PFS) to the Federal Government even when they are aware of such tax.

•Directs NCAA to recover money due the Fed Govt From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

The Senator Hope Uzodinma-led probe committee, on its second day sitting, took the BA to task for failing to remit the statutory five per cent tax, allegedly surreptitiously introducing the PFS. It (committee) also accused the foreign airliners of using unfair trade practices to create a monopoly because they are the only airlines that operate first class cabin direct flight from Nigeria to London. The committee was not convinced by BA Country Representative

Kolawole Olayinka’s defence that his airline has not violated any Nigerian law through the practice. Olayinka’s argument angered the lawmakers who reminded him that there were provisions in the Penal Code dealing with obtaining money by false pretence. According to the lawmakers, the mere fact that the laws, which the BA Representative described as being in “bits and pieces” exist, meant that the law has to be complied with. The committee members insisted there was the need for redress where the law has been violated.

Fed Govt launches revival of Unity Colleges

‘No going back on state of emergency in 15 councils’


F the words of Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Mohammed B. Adoke (SAN) are anything to go by, the Federal Government is not in a hurry to review the state of emergency it imposed on 15 Local Government Areas to contain BokoHaram. Adoke told the Body of AttorneysGeneral at a meeting in Abuja yesterday that there is no going back on the emergency situation. The Attorney-General said the decision will only be reviewed after the situation normalises, even as he urged his colleagues from the states to ensure the protection of human rights in tackling the security challenges in their states. He said: “The challenge for us as Law Officers is to ensure that the necessary balance is maintained be-

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

tween the demands of security and the imperative need to protect human rights. “Let me call on those who are aggrieved to submit their grievance to robust discussion and consideration by all segments of the society as this is the only way that we can find lasting solution to their problems. We must continue to promote unity in diversity, which is a unique attribute of our federation.” The meeting offered a platform for the chief legal officers to exchange views on the various challenges facing their states. It also afforded them the opportunity to consider practical steps and initiatives to improve on the administration of justice.

Uzodinma directed the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to immediately recover all monies accruable to the Federal Government from the asffected airliners. The NCAA boss, Harold Demuren, told the committee it was baseless for BA to argue that price disparity and high fares exist because “Nigerian skies are closed.” Demuren said it was the same argument that made Nigeria to admit VAA in 2006 to fly the London route but added that since the admission of VAA, prices have been on the increase. He said he was worried BA is cit-

ing closed skies for its actions whereas it has continued to collude with VAA to monopolise first class cabin services on the Nigeria- London direct flight. Olayinka’s claim that fares can only fall if new airlines are admitted into the market, increase in the number of flights by existing ones and introduction of a national carrier by Nigeria, did not go down well with NCAA. NCAA sought to know how the suggestion will break the monopoly of BA and VAA , who have “colluded” to prevent other airlines from flying first class cabin direct to London.



HE Federal Government has launched the resuscitation of Federal Unity Colleges to make them true models in secondary education. Minister of State for Education, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike dropped the hint yesterday at a workshop on Ef-

fective Public Procurement for Federal Unity Colleges in Abuja. According to him, the government has made special provisions of N250 million for each of the 18 Federal Unity Colleges across the six geo-political zones for massive infrastructural development of the schools in this year’s Budget. Wike spoke of plans to provide standard libraries, classrooms, laboratories and assembly halls in each of the selected schools, adding that the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) will upgrade critical facilities at the junior secondary schools of any institution not covered in the first phase of the total rehabilitation package. The minister said the government has a plan to completely rehabilitate 72 of the 104 Federal Unity Colleges within the next four year. He said: “This workshop is there-

fore being organised to prepare, equip and empower the principals, bursars and secretaries of Tenders Board of the Federal Unity Colleges with the right attitude and aptitude necessary for advancing the efficient implementation of 2012 capital budget of the unity colleges.” Declaring the workshop open, Education Minister Prof. Ruquyyatu Ahmed Rufa’I described the decision to overhaul the Unity Colleges as a deliberate attempt to make them comprehensively qualitative and environmental-friendly for learning. In a keynote address, the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr. Emeka Eze, warned the principals against awarding contracts that are not in consonance with the Procurement Act. He said the failure to follow the Act would attract legal prosecution and penalties.




Lawyers: Ibori’s •Akinjide, Agbakoba, Akeredolu, Sagay, Fagbohungbe, Falana, others hail ruling

F •The tinted prison van that brought Ibori to court...yesterday

•A section of the crowd in front of the court in London...yesterday

OR some senior lawyers yesterday, the sentencing of former Delta State Governor James Ibori, is a welcome development and an exhibition of the flaws in the country’s judicial system. Those who reflected on the legal system included: former AttorneyGeneral of the Federation Chief Richard Akinjide, former Presidents of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba and Rotimi Akeredolu (both senior advocates), Chief Felix Fagbohungbe, (SAN), Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), Joseph Nwobike (SAN), Femi Falana and rights activist, Fred Agbaje. They all described the development as an embarrassment to the country. The lawyers, who spoke with The Nation, noted the development will not only deter greed among public officers, but it should ignite the need for reformation in the nation’s justice administration system. Akinjide observed that unlike the case in the country, the English courts are very reputable and famous for upholding justice. Saying that no doubt, the English court has done the right thing, Akinjide advised that the Nigerian legal system should get the judgment and learn from it. Agbakoba said: “The sentence is well-deserved. We should feel ashamed that it took a London court to sentence Ibori. It is a shame that we

By Eric Ikhilae, Joseph Jibueze and Precious Igbonwelundu

do not have the judicial and political courage to sentence Ibori and many other corrupt ex-governors and presidents, who are roaming the streets free.” Akeredolu said: “We must give kudos to the British legal system for the arrest, trial and conviction of Ibori. It is a shame to our legal system that the long hand of justice caught up with Ibori outside the shores of Nigeria. “We lacked the political and judicial will to convict Ibori. We should be ashamed as a country that it took the English court for him to be convicted. We urge the Nigerian government to pursue and publish the money and properties involved so that we can get them back”. Sagay said the sentence was too harsh and malicious, he arguing the court ought not to have given such verdict considering Ibori’s guilty plea and the fact that his assets would be confiscated. He said: “I think it (sentence) is extremely excessive because they are not only convicting him to prison but also collecting all his properties. By his admittance of the offence, he saved the court an elongated trial. So, the sentence to me, is malicious.”

We’re vindicated, says Rivers ACN •PDP leaders ‘should apologise for running corrupt govt’ From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt


HE 13-year jail term slammed yesterday on former Delta State Governor James Onanefe Ibori by a London Southwark Crown Court has vindicated us, the Rivers State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said yesterday. Reacting to the landmark judgment through its spokesman Jerry Needam, in Port Harcourt yesterday, the CAN declared verdict on Ibori in London speaks volume on the integrity of members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It asked the PDP leaders to apologise to Nigerians, for running a corrupt government

•Securitymen watch as reporters and mainly-Nigerian crowd wait outside the court PHOTO: NAN

Conviction a wake-up call to judiciary, say SNG, CLO


•Luxury: Ibori’s exclusive home in Hampstead, North London. The house was bought for $2.2million in 2001

UMAN rights’ groups - the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) and the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO)- yesterday Tuesday blamed James Ibori’s escape from justice in Nigeria on the judiciary. The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) also said corruption continued to thrive in the country because the criminal justice system has been giving corrupt leaders a pat on the back. Ibori was yesterday sentence to 13 years imprisonment by a British Court for corruption and money laundering charges. Reacting to the development, the SNG Spokesman, Mr Yinka Odumakin, lamented the same Ibori, who was given a clean bill on corruption by a Federal High Court in Asaba, has been convicted for similar offences in London. He said: “We cannot continue to run a country where the rich get away with crimes against humanity. “This is an opportunity for the judiciary to re-check itself and mend its broken walls.”

In his reaction, the Lagos State Chairman of the CLO, Mr Ehi Omokhuale said: “Iboris’s conviction is a big slap on Nigeria’s image and its justice system. “There are so many Ibori’s running free in Nigeria and their freedom is a threat to our democracy. “For the crime of impoverishing his people, Ibori deserved a life sentence or death, rather than a mere 13 years.” Mr Debo Adeniran of CACOL, noted: “This is a bitter lesson for Nigeria’s criminal justice that it has allowed itself to be manipulated by corrupt leaders. “It is painful that none of those convicted for corruption has gotten over five years imprisonment. “Corruption is a crime against humanity. Ibori’s conviction should act as a deterrent to leaders who think they have a safe haven abroad.” He said CACOL was very pleased with Ibori’s sentence as it has given enough impetus for Nigeria to intensify the fight to bring corrupt persons to justice




sentence should ignite reform in Nigerian legal system IN THE COURT YESTERDAY •Emeyele •Igbuya •Faith Majemite •John Nani •Prince Abuteh •Odebala, Yingi •Henry Ofa •Lucky Ibori •Solomon Gulley •Youthful militant Emami Ayiri •John Fashanu •Delta State government official, Amori •Emma Uduagham (not Governor of Delta State) He blamed Ibori‘s travails on the Federal High Court judge in Asaba, Delta State, Justice Marcel Awokulehin, who discharged and acquitted him of all the charges, without doing his home work. He contended that the sentence was a ridicule of that judge and an embarrassment to the country’s legal system. Fagbohungbe said the English court must have found strong evidence against Ibori, adding that there is no hiding place for corrupt Nigerians who steal money from the country and hide abroad. Agbaje told The Nation the judgment is welcomed, adding that the British court has thought Nigeria a lesson on how to fight the cankerworm called corruption. He said: “The Delta State Government should support the British instead of playing the Ostrich game. There is no hiding place for corrupt politicians and money launderers in the United Kingdom, unlike in Nigeria where permanent secretaries indicted in the pension fraud were

granted quick bail by the courts and have been promoted by the Federal Government. “Don’t be surprised if it was in Nigeria, Ibori would have gone scout free or at worst gotten a plea bargain that will make the tax payers loss more money than the accused, thereby making mockery of the entire plea bargain strategy.” Nwobike said: “ I have mixed feelings over the development. Mixed feelings, in the sense that, outside the country, there is judicial validation of the assumption that Nigerian public officers are corrupt. With Ibori’s conviction, that view has been certified. “Secondly, it has also shown that the Nigerian legal system has not been able to bring to book erring public officers. “The challenge is that we have to reinvent our judicial system to ensure that we do not rely on foreign jurisdiction to bring to book any public officer found wanting in the discharge of his duties or seen to have abused his powers. “The import of this development

includes its ability to discourage the growing trend of greed among our public officers. It will discourage greed among the nation’s leaders. They should be able to distinguish between public and private funds. “Our law enforcement agents and the court should also buckle up in the discharge of their responsibility of ensuring that erring public officers are brought to book despite their influence and social standing,” Nwobike said. In his reaction, activist-lawyer Mr Femi Falana urged the Federal Government to bring to book those who embarrassed the country by allegedly subverting the legal system through corruption and abuse of office. He named former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Michael Aondoakaa and former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Mrs. Farida Waziri as examples. Falana, in a statement, alleged they wrote to the Metropolitan Police that Ibori had no case to answer in Nigeria. The lawyer said Justice Mercel Awokulehin, who freed Ibori at a Federal High Court in Asaba in questionable circumstances should also be tried. Falana said in the statement: "The Goodluck Jonathan administration should not hesitate to bring to book all those who dragged the name of Nigeria through the mud by subverting the legal system through corruption and abuse of office. "The ex-Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Mike Aondoakaa, and

•Fashanu at the court... yesterday

ex-EFCC boss, Mrs. Farida Waziri who wrote to the Metropolitan Police that Ibori had no case to answer and Justice Mercel Awokulehin who freed Ibori in questionable circumstances should be tried for subverting the course of justice and in the process portrayed Nigeria as a nation which has adopted corruption as a public policy. "In December 2009 a Nigerian judge dismissed the 170-count charge filed by the EFCC against Chief James Ibori on the ground that a prima facie case was not established against him. "Three years later, he was made to face the similar offences in the United Kingdom. When the accused found

From Delta Government House to UK prison


N early 1998, middle-aged Chief James Ibori, with an infectious smile and sacks of money, burst into the political sphere of Delta State like a tsunami. He swept through the state with a well-coordinated governorship campaign that left his opponents gasping for breath. He became the Odidigborigbo (an awesome object with great force, not dissimilar to an elephant). Ibori had announced his presence in the political space that he would later dominate for over a decade in 1996 as a leading member of the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM), founded by the late Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua, as a protégé of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. He had earlier contested and lost the race for a seat to represent Ethiope Federal Constituency at the National Assembly in 1991 under the platform of the National Republican Convention (NRC). He ran and won the governorship election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). On May 29, 1999, the cherub face Urhobo-born Ibori, from Oghara in Ethiope West Local Government Area of the state was inaugurated the 2nd elected governor of the oil-rich state at the Cenotaph, Asaba. Like most of his colleagues, Ibori inherited a state that was impoverished and badly in need of infrastructure development. To his credit, he tackled the challenges head-on with the construction of strategic roads, building bridges and implementing other landmark projects during his first tenure. Even his critics agreed that Ibori built more roads in eight years than those constructed in the state since the foundation of Nigeria. He started and completed a new Government House Complex in Asaba, the administrative capital, and went on to build a Governor’s Office

Fashanu’s testimony


X -international soccer star John Fashanu testified yesterday in favour of the embattled former Delta State governor, James Ibori. He claimed Ibori achieved a lot in sports and was instrumental to the end of militancy in his state. The testimony of Fashanu, a former Wimbledon striker and TV presenter, reduced the heat of judgment that would have been handed Ibori. His appearance, described as surprising, as he mounted the witness stand and gave a glowing testimony in support of Ibori’s person, character and achievements as governor of Delta State, changed the course of things within the court. According to reports, Fashanu testified that Ibori’s administration impacted positively on youths in the state, among others. He attested to the fact that the former governor constructed several stadia to encourage youth development. After his well-articulated speech, trial Judge Anthony Pitts reportedly admitted it as new evidence and adjourned for about two hours. The jugde reportedly told the court that he had to rewrite his already written verdict following Fashanu’s submissions, which he described as ‘new evidence.’ Eventually, Fashanu’s testimony apparently saved Ibori from spending longer years of agony in incarceration than he would have spent. From Shola O’Neil, Port Harcourt

Annexe in Warri, Delta’s economic hub. In the area of education, Ibori upgraded the Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka from a glorified high school in pre-1999 and moved the institution to its permanent site. The former governor also established and built three polytechnics in Ozoro, Otefe-Oghara and OgwashiUku, as well as the School of Physical Education in Mosogar, the hometown of one of his strongest - Chief Ighoyota Amori. In April 2004, former President Olusegun Obasanjo spent three days inaugurating major projects including strategic bridges of Bomadi Bridge, which for the first time, opened up Ijaw communities to vehicular traffic, Asaba-Asse and Omadino bridges. The Olomu Birdge, which he initiated, became controversial before it

was completed by his successor in 2010. Other projects inaugurated were the Ughelli and controversial Ugbologboso modern markets, the dualised Warri/Effurun Airport Road and several others. Before then, he had constructed a four-lane NPA Bypass Road, NNPC Housing Complex Link road, tarred Emebiren, Okere-Ugborikoko, dualisation of Okere Road and dozens of roads in Effurun and Warri, Agbor, Ughelli, Asaba and Sapele among others. In the health sector, assisted by Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, whose emergence as governor in 2007 contributed to his problems, Ibori revolutionised healthcare delivery in the state. The Warri General Hospital as well as those in Sapele, Ughelli, Abraka, Effurun Agbor and Asaba, among others were given the over-due facelifts.

He also started the Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DSUTH), which like many other projects under his administration, was considered most appropriate in Oghara country home, despited being about 50 kilometres away from the university it is meant to serve. In the area of sports, the Warri Township Stadium was renovated and upgraded, a modern sports complex was built from scratch in Asaba, along with five other stadia in Sapele, Oleh, Ughelli, Ogwashi-Uku and Agbor. But the concentration of development in his home town attracted criticisms from other parts of the state. For instance, the Central Senatorial district of the state boasts of the best road networks with some communities being linked by more than one road when others in the riverside areas lacked access. Ibori also over-saturated Oghara with projects such as the Econet (now Airtel) training school, DELSUTH, INEC training school, Otefe Polytechnic, Nigerian Navy School of Logistics, which he initiated but was completed by Uduaghan. He even relocated the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp from Iseele-Uku to Oghara. The relocation was however reversed by Uduaghan. While he was busy building infrastructure across the state, Ibori also built his political structure. He developed shrewd and effective political machinery, which rewarded loyalists while showing opponents that disloyalty comes with a very high price. The quartet of Ighoyota Amori, who was Commissioner for Education, Dr. Uduaghan, Chief James Manager (now a Senator), Dr Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa (also a serving Senator) and Chief Pius Ewherido, among others, grew in stature as members of Ibori’s ‘kitchen cabinet’

that he could not manipulate the British criminal justice system, he pleaded guilty to the charges. He was accordingly convicted and sentenced to 13 years imprisonment. "Thus the Ibori saga was allowed to expose the Nigerian legal system to unprecedented ridicule. Nigeria was therefore convicted along with Chief Ibori, his wife, sister, mistress and lawyer. "In spite of the serious indictment of the country by the trial judge, he did not spare the British financial institutions which colluded with the convicts to keep the looted wealth of the impoverished people of Delta State."

Edo NMA hails conviction From Osagie Otabor, Benin


HROUGH its Edo State chapter, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) yesterday said the conviction of former Delta State Governor James Ibori in London has exposed the ‘unacceptable gaps in Nigeria’s criminal justice system.’ It said the conviction showed political office holders cannot escape justice from the long arm of the law. Reacting in a statement signed by its Chairman in the state, Dr. Phillip Ugbodaga, the NMA said justice has been served the people of Delta State, whose resources was plundered and left in penury and abject poverty. The statement reads: “A man whose case was dismissed by courts in Nigeria has now been convicted of similar charges in a foreign country. What a monumental contradiction. “Maybe we should send all our corruption cases for trial abroad since it is now easier to secure a conviction outside the shores of Nigeria. This conviction will, hopefully, send a very clear message to all our political office holders that although they can escape from Nigeria but they cannot escape from justice as the long a-rm of the law now has no boundaries.”




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Family of slain woman accuses police of cover-up



Film maker joins Emerald crew Seven Series Production Limited, producers of the new TV drama series, Emerald, has appointed award-winning writer and film maker, Femi Odugbemi, as the project’s consultant. Odugbemi, a Film/TV Producer/Director, was trained at the Montana State University, Bozeman, United States and worked as a Producer at KUSM Channel 9 TV station in Bozeman, Montana. He is Chairman of the Lagos chapter of International Forum on Cinema, Motion Picture and Video in Africa, an international film festival that attracts participants and professionals from across the world. He has also served on the Steering Committee of the Motion Picture Council of Nigeria (MOPICON). He has been involved in productions including Like Father, Like Son (a TV sitcom), Who do you Love? (SFH talk show), Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Lagos Lottery TV gameshow, and Life in Lagos, a documentary among others. According to Mr. Oladapo Ojo, the Executive Producer of Emerald; “it is a great pleasure to have Odugbemi on board. He has a very rich professional experience which will be beneficial to this project. His choice was deliberate, in view of the quality we are packaging for Emerald.” The cast of the sitcom is expected to be from a pool of budding and established stars.

Lagos Motor Fair kicks off


AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola will today lead other dignitaries to declare the seventh edition of the Lagos Motor Fair open. The fair which holds at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Onikan, Lagos Island, will parade over 150 participants from Nigeria and abroad. It is organised by BKG Exhibitions Limited of Nigeria and SENEXPO International Fairs Incoporation of Istanbul, Turkey. In a statement, Chairman of the Organising Committee, Mr Ifeanyichukwu Agwu, said Fashola’s acceptance to declare the fair open underscores the government’s commitment to efforts on developing the automotive industry. The fair, he said, remains the unparalleled gathering of established brands as well as new en-

HE family of a woman allegedly killed by her husband said to be a policeman, has accused the police of cover-up. Brother of the late Mrs Caroline Iluegben, Victor, said the police were doing nothing to fish out the suspected killer, Inspector Sunday Iluegben. Speaking on phone yesterday, Victor said: “The investigators in homicide section are still doing paper work. There is no serious effort to find the inspector, my sister’s husband. I am in Panti as I am talking to you now and the inspector has not been found. Iluegben, who is attached to Ikeja Division, allegedly stabbed his wife and went into hiding.

same mattress in the living room, because that is where dad usually sleeps, while we sleep in the room. “Dad woke up at 5:30am and left for work at 7am. When I didn’t see mom come out, I went to the living room, and saw mom’s mouth covered with a scarf soaked in blood. She had been stabbed on the head and neck. I raised the alarm that attracted our neighbours and with their assistance, we rushed her to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), where she later died at 2pm on Friday.” The Inspector disappeared after the incident occured, and has not reported at work. Contacted Lagos State Police

By Ebele Boniface

When he was told on phone by his daughter that she had died, he cut off all links. Sources said the late Mrs Iluegben passed the night with her husband at Olosan Police Barracks, Mushin, Lagos, on Thursday. They slept on the same mattress in the living room, while the children slept in the bedroom. According to one of the daughters (names withheld), who spoke to the police, “mom and dad have not been living together because of a quarrel, but mummy usually comes to see us and at times sleeps over. “On Thursday night, she came as usual, and slept with dad on the

•Scene of a multiple accident at Anjorin Street, Lawanson, Lagos...yesterday

By Tajudeen Adebanjo

trants, ranging from passenger buses, cars, trucks, spare parts, accessories, lubricants, financials and many more. “This edition will bring out the investment opportunities that abound in the Nigerian automobile industry, so that the existing and potential stakeholders will utilise the opportunities offered by Lagos Motor Fair to get the best. “In conjunction with our foreign partners, SENEXPO International Fairs Inc of Turkey, we have reached out to many of such companies and we are expecting over 150 of them. Our intention in bringing them to Lagos which is the hub of automotive business in West Africa is to enable Nigerians and neighbouring West Africans engaged in auto spare business and work out rewarding and lasting business relationships with the companies engaged in the manufacturing of auto spare parts,” Agwu said.

2. Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Lagos Zonal Command Phone No:080-33706639; 01-7742771 Sector Commander Phone No: 080-34346168; 01-2881304

Command spokesman, Joseph Jaiyeoba, said it was not true that Panti “is only doing paper work.” He said besides the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, the Ikeja division where he works and the Command are also looking for him. He said: “He must be aware that the command is looking for him and the command is doing much to fish him out.”


Firm unveils ways to check fake drugs HE drugs Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) has helped Greenlife Pharmaceuticals Limited (GPL), to overcome the antics of those faking its flagship product, Lonart. The company said since it adopted the anti-fake drugs service mobile solution, it has beaten the counterfeiters to their game. MAS was recently introduced by the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), for consumers to authenticate the originality of drugs before purchasing them. GPL said the public could get health information about malaria and Lonart from the data contained in the confirmation short


By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

messages. Its Chairman, Dr.Obiora Chukwuka, said the initiative is to protect the brand and safeguard the health of drug users. Last September, the firm signed on to the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS). The technology enables the consumer to authenticate the originality of the drug in his/ her hand at the point of purchase through a scratch card attached to the inner pack of the drug. By simply scratching the panel, a unique set of numbers can be seen. The consumer sends these numbers to a short code 38353 and instantly he/she receives an

LAGOS EMERGENCY LINES STATE AGENCIES 4. KAI Brigade Phone Nos: 080-23036632; 0805-5284914 Head office Phone Nos: 3. LASTMA Emergency Numbers: 01-4703325; 01-7743026 080-75005411; 080-60152462 5. Rapid Response Squad (RRS) 080-23111742; 080-29728371 Phone Nos: 070-55350249; 080-23909364; 080-77551000 070-35068242 01-7904983 080-79279349; 080-63299264

1. Fire and Safety Services Control Room Phone Nos: 01-7944929; 080-33235892; 080-33235890; 080-23321770; 080-56374036.

•Police Commissioner Manko

070-55462708; 080-65154338 767 or email: 6. Health Services – LASAMBUS Ambulance Services Phone Nos: 01-4979844; 01-4979866; 01-4979899; 01-4979888; 01-2637853-4; 080-33057916; 080-33051918-9; 080-29000003-5.

SMS confirming the authenticity or otherwise of the drug. This service was initially introduced through strategic partnership between NAFDAC and an American based ICT company called Sproxil Inc., to tackle the menace of fake drugs. “With NAFDAC’s latest directive that all registered ACTs in the country must sign on to the MAS portal, medicine consumers will benefit from Greenlife’s early initiative as they are rest assured of authenticity when using our ACT brand , Lonart DS,” Chukwuka said. Chukwuka said the SMS is free, as the company has defrayed the cost. He advised consumers to always scratch and confirm the authenticity of the Lonart DS in their hands at the point of purchase, to protect their health. He said the consumer may also access health tips about malaria and the brand through the numbers displayed in the SMS, noting, however, that the SMS are free but the calls attract regular charges.



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Lagos seeks payment of N138m judgment debt from Shell T

HE Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue (LSBIR) has urged the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, to order Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), to pay it a N138 million judgment debt. LSBIR sued Shell on September 12, 2005 at the state High Court, for N182.5million. The money, it claimed, is due to it as deductions and remittances of taxes from Shell, under the Pay-As-YouEarn and Withholding Tax Scheme for 1999 to 2001. Justice Raliatu Adebiyi had ordered Shell to pay the N138,798,507.43. Shell appealed the judgment.

•Mutiu Sunmonu By Joseph Jibueze

On April 21, 2008, Justice Adebiyi granted a condition-

al stay of execution of the judgment. She ordered Shell to pay the judgment sum into an account with the Chief Registrar of the High Court, pending the determination of the appeal. The money was paid. LSBIR (the respondent/applicant), in a motion filed at the Court of Appeal, which was to be moved yesterday, is seeking an order to set aside the conditional stay of execution. Lagos wants the appellate court to direct the Registrar

to pay it the money. It is also praying for an order to dismiss Shell’s appeal “on the ground that there is no valid appeal pending before the court,” or to dismiss it for want of diligent prosecution. But hearing of the application was stalled yesterday because the justices did not sit. An officer of the court said some of the justices were away on other official engagements. Those available did not form a quorum and, therefore, could not entertain the case. He said the case and others were “adjourned till further notice.”

Disabled persons demand government’s protection


ISABLED persons have urged all tiers of govern-

ment not to disregard their rights to life. The appeal followed a survey showing that the rights of persons living with disabilities are being trampled upon. The survey exposed the gov-

By Jude Isiguzo

ernment’s and private sector’s unwillingness to provide basic infrastructure needed by disabled persons. In the survey conducted by CLEEN Foundation, it was discovered that more than 59 percent of persons living with dis-

abilities are excluded from active participation in the society. CLEEN Foundation’s Director of Programmes Eban Ebai said the pilot survey aims at determining access of people with disabilities in selected structures in the state. He added that seven public buildings were selected for assessment to determine

From left: Commissioner for Education Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, Lagos State Deputy Governor Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire in handshake with the British High Commissioner Mr Peter West, during the launching of Lagos State School Leavers Modern Apprenticeship Training Programme (SL-MATP) Graduate Vocational Employability Skills Training Programme (GV-ESTP) held at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

Tax defaulters to face trial in Lagos HE Lagos State government is to drop civil litigation for criminal prosecution of tax defaulters to facilitate payment, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN) said yesterday. Pedro, also the Solicitor-General, said civil proceedings had been abused because of the slow process of litigation. He told reporters that the state is willing to make refunds where there is over-taxation, but that “indulgent” civil proceedings will be reduced. Pedro said: “Even when judgment is obtained, instead of the tax defaulters to pay, they take the state to the Court of Appeal. And you know the judicial process in this court is still not as fast as we want it to be. It takes a longer time for the appeal to be resolved.


By Joseph Jibueze

“Even when the appeal is determined, the appellant will still have to go to the Supreme Court. This is the only part of the world that the issue of taxation is treated with that level of levity. “The state government has now resolved that, henceforth, we will not only be focusing on civil action against tax defaulters, we’ll also be merging it with criminal prosecution. “It’s a criminal offence under the Income Tax Law of the Federation for one not to pay what one is supposed to pay as tax. “My advice is that if anybody feels that he’s been over-taxed or the assessment is high, obey first, then complain. “The law also provides for reliefs every year – that if you have

been over-taxed or over-assessed, and you paid the tax grudgingly, then you have recourse to the court or to Tax Appeal or Tax office to make your complaint. “If it is justified, then a refund will be made. We have done it in the past. I remember the one of Nigerian Breweries. We got a judgment involving about N60million of tax-debt. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision of the High Court. We felt there was no reason for us to go to the Supreme Court. “The money was already with us, but we agreed that we overassessed them. We agreed that the excess charge should be spread to subsequent years. So for about two to three years, Nigerian Breweries were not remitting tax to us. That is what we encourage.”

the extent to which their environment and services could aid people living with disabilities. The survey discovered that most disabled persons do not have access to schools, hospitals, eateries and other public places, despite the existing Lagos State People’s Special Law of 2010. It showed that more than 50 percent of the respondents are not sensitised on government policies and laws upholding their rights Dr. Ebai said other states that passed the disability bill into law have not enforced it, therefore, denying people living with disability their basic rights to live and active participation in the society. “In Nigeria, disabled persons’ accessibility of public and private structures has not been a priority to both policy makers and architects. Though Nigeria joined 97 other countries in declaring support for disability rights by signing both the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its optional protocol, she has not enacted a domestic act on disability rights. In the shelves of the Legislature lie a draft bill awaiting presidential assent to pass it into law. General public awareness campaigns as well as academic studies in the area of disability rights are low, with many treating disabled people with disdain; sadly while efforts to create an inclusive society are ongoing in Africa, due to the cultural beliefs and the attitudes, persons with disabilities continue to be devalued and dehumanised,” Ebai said. David Anyaele, the Executive Director of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), said people living with disabilities are suffering in silence. “Nobody is immune to disability and like I always say, an able person today can become disabled tomorrow, or if not by accident, old age can induce disability. That is why it is necessary for everybody to take the issues confronting persons living with disability seriously as this will breed a more inclusive society for all. We, therefore, call on the government to implement all laws concerning people living with disabilities as what we have now is that the laws are on paper but are not being enforced”, Anyaele said.


Illegal lotto operators in trouble By Miriam Ndikanwu

LAGOS Lottery Board, will, henceforth, clampdown on illegal Sports Bet operators to prevent unsuspecting citizens from being defrauded, its Chairman, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, has said. Gbajabiamila spoke at the maiden edition of the Stakeholders Forum for Sports Bet Operators, Agents and the public. He urged all operators to legalise their operations. Gbajabiamila said the Board would collaborate with the Governor’s Office Task Force to clamp down on illegal operators, stressing that their activities constitute a threat to registered operators. He also warned operators of online lotteries operating without license to stop as the government has mapped out those involved. On operators’ request for a review of the N5million annual license fee, Gbajabiamila said the Board would meet to consider the demand. “The possibility is there, but you have to understand that we had initially pegged it at N10million and then we brought it down to N5million and now that we’ve had a forum and we hear that they want a review, we would look at it,” he said. Gbajabiamila said the Board may also consider reducing the tax required for operators running lottery businesses. Earlier, in his short presentation, Assistant General Manager, Finance and Account, Mr.Bayo Beckley, urged operators to pay relevant fees required of them to stay in business. He revealed that the Board has channeled such funds in the last two years to fund projects worth N600million at the Lagos State University (LASU).

Ice Prince shines at Ghana Awards NIGERIA’S rapper sensation Ice Prince Zamani added another feather to his cap recently at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards held at Dome of the Accra International Conference Centre. Ice Prince was made the African Act of the Year at the ceremony which was attended by top Ghanaian celebrities. The rapper was honoured with the award on Sunday, after performing with other Choc Boys’ artistes; MI and Brymo at the event. He beat the likes of Naeto C, Duncan Mighty, D’Banj, Cabo Snoop and Wizkid to win the award.

Firm gets External Relations Leader PROCTER and Gamble Nigeria (P&G) has appointed Mrs. Tope Iluyemi, a graduate of Pharmacy from the University of Lagos, as its external relations leader for West Africa. She started her career with P&G Nigeria in 1998 as an account executive. She distinguished herself and earned her leadership positions in different roles within the organisation.



NEWS Obasanjo, Soyinka, Amosun, others bid Majekodunmi farewell From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta


IRST Republic Minister of Health Moses A d e k o y e Majekodunmi was buried yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The obstetrician and gynaecologist died in Lagos last week. The funeral service was held at Holy Trinity Anglical Church in Ikereku. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Governors Abiola Ajimobi(Oyo); Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; and former Governor Segun Osoba were at the funeral. Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and former Governors Segun Agagu (Ondo), Segun Oni (Ekiti) and Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun) were also in attendance. Amosun and many dignitaries extolled the virtues of the late Majekodunmi. The governor said: “Pa Majekodunmi, the Otun of Egbaland, lived a fulfilled life. Baba was not only an icon of the Majekodunmi clan, but even in death, he remains one of the leading lights of Ogun State.” Amosun said the success story of St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos, which was founded by the deceased, is a testimonial to his exceptional entrepreneurial skill. He said: “That hospital has continued to be a reference centre in health care, not only in Nigeria, but the entire West Coast of Africa.” Amosun lauded the contributions of the deceased to the socio-economic development of Egbaland and Nigeria. He said the former minister lived a fulfilled life and will continue to be a role model to the younger generation. Bishop of Egba Anglican Diocese Rev. Emmanuel Adekunle, who officiated the service, described the Egba chief as “a man with the fear of God, who was not corrupt throughout his career in the public service”. The bishop said the deceased was an exemplary public servant and true nationalist, who raised his children well. He said death is inevitable and urged the people to live purposeful lives. Rev. Adekunle said the late Majekodunmi contributed immensely to the development of Ogun and Nigeria, and fostered unity among the Yoruba. He said Majekodunmi’s exemplary character, his contribution to the health sector and the establishment of St. Nicholas Hospital in Lagos should be emulated by the present leaders in the country. The cleric said: “The late Health Minister served the nation meritoriously and was never accused of corruption. He was also a devoted Christian, who brought his children up in the fear and knowledge of God. The present leaders must emulate his virtues.”


Ajimobi, Oshiomhole, Ahmed, others mourn Fayemi’s mum

OVERNORS Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) and AbdulFatah Ahmed (Kwara) have commiserated with their Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on the death of his mother, Mrs. Dorcas Aina Fayemi. She died last Sunday at 83. In their different statements, they prayed that God would grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss. Ajimobi said: “Mama was a devout Christian, a shining example of humility and philanthropy, as she shared virtually everything she had with the needy, irrespective of where they came from.” He urged the family to take solace in the fact that she lived a fulfilled life. Oshiomhole said: “The Fayemi family and Ekiti State have lost a pillar of Christianity and a fountain of humanism, who dispensed goodwill eagerly. We believe she deserves to be celebrated for her laudable life as a wife, mother, devout Christian and an exemplary member of her community. “Although Mama was ad-

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin ; Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

vanced in years, we appreciate the depth of your grief, knowing how affectionately close you were to your mother. However, be assured that you are not mourning alone. Our hearts are with you and the Fayemi family at this difficult period. “I hereby convey to you the deepest condolence of the people and Government of Edo State, as well as my personal commiseration.” Ahmed said: “Mama’s death, even at the advanced age of 83, is painful. It has denied Fayemi of her unquantifiable wisdom, which has been helping him to pilot the affairs of Ekiti State. “The achievements of Mama’s children and grand children are testimonies of the quality of life she lived.” South-African High Commissioner to Nigeria

Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo his Counsellor Political, Thandi Mgxwati, paid a condolence visit to Fayemi yesterday in AdoEkiti, the Ekiti State capital. Mamabolo said: “Though the passing away of Madam Fayemi is a great loss, she died a happy woman, seeing her son in office and the good work he is doing in Ekiti. “We hope the Fayemi family and people of Ekiti are comforted by the knowledge that she lived a full life. May her soul rest in perfect peace.” The Ekiti State Government has also commiserated with Fayemi. In a statement yesterday, Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation Funminiyi Afuye described the late Mama Fayemi as “a compassionate, committed, religious, generous and virtuous woman, whose life touched her immediate community”. Afuye said she was a disciplinarian, who thought the governor the virtues of discipline, commitment and self-

less service. He said: “The government and people of Ekiti State commiserate with our governor and the entire Fayemi family of Isan-Ekiti on their matriarch’s passing into eternal glory. This is a great loss to the Ekiti people.” Deputy Governor Mrs. Funmi Olayinka; House of Assembly Speaker Adewale Omirin; Secretary to the State Government Ganiyu Owolabi and other top government officials visited the Fayemi’s home in Isan-Ekiti family. They were received by Fayemi and his wife, Bisi. Commissioner of Police Ibrahim Maishainu; his Deputy, Abubakar Adamu Mohammed; and Ekiti Comptroller of Prisons Mrs. Patricia Omeneh were among those who signed the condolence register at the Governor’s Office. The Onisan of Isan-Ekiti, Oba Sunday Ajiboye, said: “It is very painful that Mama Fayemi died at a time when she is most needed. We thank God for her life. She is

a mother in a million. She stood firmly behind us and consistently prayed for us when we were fighting to reclaim our stolen mandate.” Isan-Ekiti, the Fayemi’s home town, was in a mourning mood yesterday. Many residents were gathered at the governor’s family house to commiserate with the family. The Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Ekiti State chapter, said Mama Fayemi will be remembered for touching the lives of many people. Its chairman, Mr. Rotimi Ajidara, said: “On behalf of myself and ALGON members, I commiserate with the Fayemi family on this sad loss. “Since mama lived to see our amiable Fayemi become Governor, she must have passed on with a sense of fulfillment and gratitude to God for a life well spent. Our governor will surely find some solace in this fact. “We pray that God would grant her soul eternal rest, and grant the family the fortitude to cope with the pain of her demise.”

Army parades fake colonel in Ibadan •Suspect dupes job seekers of N2m From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


62-year-old man, Mr. Adeleke Johnson, was yesterday paraded by the authorities of the Nigerian Army, 2 Division, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. He was arrested in Ibadan for allegedly presenting himself as a colonel in the Nigerian Army. Johnson has allegedly duped over 24 persons seeking employment into the Army. He was accused of collecting over N2 million from the victims. The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Division, Major General Muhammed Abubakar, said 24 youths were found with the suspect.

He said investigation revealed that the youths’ parents released them to Johnson after he assured them of getting the youths admitted into the Nigerian Army Intelligence College, Tego Barracks, Lagos. The victims were between 17 and 29 years. The GOC said investigation revealed that Johnson was dismissed as a corporal from the Nigerian Army in 1981, due to fraudulent activities. Abubakar said the suspect connived with some printing press to produce fake admission letters, t-shirts and track suits with the logos of 2 Division mascot (Tiger) and the Nigerian Army Intelligence Corps (NAIC), which he planned to sell to the victims.

•Abubakar pointing at a fake army logo on Johnson’s shirt...yesterday.

He said Johnson belongs to a syndicate that specialises in duping people. Abubakar said: “The Nigerian Army has an organised

method of recruitment. The Nigerian Army is a reputable organisation that usually informs the public of recruitment exercises on the internet,

electronic and print media.” The suspect, in an interview with reporters, confessed to the offence. He said he resorted to fraud for survival.

2015: We’ll join suit on tenure elongation, say Concerned Northerners


HE Committee of Concerned Northern Professionals, Politicians, Academics and Businessmen (CCNPPAB) yesterday said it will join the suit trying to stop the President from seeking another term in 2015. It said there are issues on oath taking that the Judiciary should decide for Nigerians. The committee made its position known in a communiqué at the end of a meeting of its sub-committee on constitutional amendment. The communiqué, signed by the convener, Dr. Junaid Muhammed and the Committee Chairman on Constitutional Amendment, Prof Awwal Yadudu, said whether President Jonathan is into his first or second term in office is a serious and weighty constitutional mat-

Jonathan free to run in 2015, says PDP •Continued from 2

“That contrary to the depositions of paragraph 3 of the said affidavit, the third defendant (INEC) has not given notice of poll for the 2015 general elections and so nominations have not opened for those seeking to contest the office of President in the election. “That neither the PDP nor any political party has started selling or issuing nomination forms for the 2015 presidential elections and

the plaintiff has not bought or obtained any such form from the second defendant or any other political party. “That it is only in 2014 or thereabouts when the third defendant (INEC) gives notice of poll enabling political parties, including the PDP, to nominate their candidates for the presidential elections that it would be known whether the plaintiff or the first defendant would vie for President in 2015.

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

ter that only the courts can determine. It asked the President “not to intimidate the courts with preemptive and bombastic pronouncements on the issue”. “Instead, he should allow due process of the law to prevail.” The communiqué said: “The Concerned Northerners expressed worry about the President canvassing his

position on the issue through the media, leaving the proper forum, which is the court of law. “The Committee noted with dismay that rather than paying attention to the job for which he was elected less than a year ago, the President has preoccupied himself with schemes of tenure elongation.

“The meeting, which was co-chaired by, Dr. Muhammed and the Committee Chairman on Constitutional Amendment, Prof Awwal Yadudu, recalled the fruitless, but persistent efforts by the Presidency to use the Justice Belgore Committee, the government set up to introduce a SevenYear Single Term, which the President would himself

test-run after his current term. “In an apparent failure of this effort, it has become clear that the President, who, along with his predecessor, the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, served a full four-year term between 2007 and 2011 and currently serving a second term, seems now clearly bent on finding a way to serving a third term of office. “In recalling that this was not the first time that a Nigerian leader would seek a tenure elongation, the last time being the third term aspiration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which was resoundingly defeated and thrown out by Nigerians. This singleminded search for Jonathan’s tenure elongation will be fought and defeated using all constitutional means available.




Reps tackle Jonathan on National Nigeria to save N2.6t on vaccines D T Honours From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

HE National Assembly is set to whittle down the President’s power on the award of national honours. The House of Representatives has decried the process of the yearly National Honours Award. The lawmakers have criticised the selection process, number of recipients as well as the integrity of the recipients and the awards committee. The Bill for an Act to amend the National Honours Act has passed the second reading. The Bill provides for an establishment of the National Honours Review Committee. It also provides that the award of National Honours shall be subject to the confirmation of the National Assembly.

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, who sponsored the bill, said it is morally and constitutionally wrong to give national honours to serving public officers, simply for occupying certain public office. He said the frequency and large number of recipients have affected the quality and international standing of the award. “It is no longer news that our National Award system is no longer taken seriously locally or internationally. This is because all manner of people are giving same on yearly basis.” The minority leader cited an instance whereby a recipi-

ent of the award was dismissed from office barely two weeks after being awarded. “What is the essence of the award and what are the indications in our national life for giving the award?” he asked. Jumoke Okoya-Thomas (Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Lagos) said many awardees have failed to prove their mettle or uphold the reasons for being so honoured “Sycophancy is thriving in the country right now and it is sycophants who are being honoured because they are close to the corridors of power while true heroes are left out.” She said she supported the clause that the National Assembly should screen the

nominees. Mrs Okoya-Thomas added: “It’s shameful and quite disheartening that a citizen who is honoured with national award is seen in court for bribery, corruption or a heinous crime. “Political office holders should not be given national honours until such citizen has served out his or her tenure without blemish.” Deputy House Leader Leo Ogor (Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Delta) urged his colleagues to consider the merits of the bill. Nnenna Ukeje (PDP, Abia) regretted that the quality of the award has diminished because of its frequency and huge number of receipients. The bill scaled the second reading after it was put to voice vote by Speaker Aminu Tambuwal.

IRECTOR, Alliances and Information, International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC), John Hopkins University, Ms Lois Privor-Dumm yesterday d said Nigeria may save about N2.649 trillion within 10 years , if it judiciously follows its vaccination programmes. Speaking in Abuja during the National Vaccine Summit, she said the economic gain from not taking children to hospitals as a result of sicknesses due to lack of vaccines amounted to N2.6 trillion. N49 billion is the medical cost to be saved during the period. Ms. Privor-Dumm said: “Nigeria could save up to over 600,000 miles in the same period which is quite substantial and when you translate that into medical costs saved that is N49 billion over a 10-year period. “What is even more exciting is the is the potential for economic gains, the productivity gains, that is because parents are not taking their children to hospitals and not losing time at work.”

Firm gets WHO pre-qualification


RIVERS-OWNED auto-disable needle and syringe factory has obtained the World Health Organisation (WHO) pre-qualification. This, according to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), is a big achievement to open up the pharmaceutical business in Nigeria. Its Director-General, Dr Paul Orhii, who spoke to reporters in Lagos, said six other companies have great prospect to achieve similar

By Wale Adepoju

within the next two years based on the agency’s intervention to improve products quality and standards of pharmaceutical companies. The attainment of the WHO pre-qualification is expected to have multiplier effect on the country’s economy, in job creation and foreign exchange earnings, he added. He said the achievement certified NAFDAC as a strong regulatory agency.

Garba, Odusile for NUJ posts


T the end of the zonal meeting of the Zone B of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) held in Akure, Ondo State, the National President, Muhammed

•Prof Osuntokun (second right) cutting his birthday cake...yesterday. With him are Prof Lawrence Kolawole (right); ViceChancellor, Caleb University, Prof Ayodeji Olukoju (left) and Vice Chancellor, Osun State University, Prof Sola Akinrinade. PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN

‘Strikes cause decline in education’


UNIVERSITY don and Editorial Board member of The Nation, Prof. Akinjide Osuntokun, has decried the decline in the standard of education. Osuntokun identified numerous strikes by lecturers as the cause of the decline. He spoke yesterday at the Network of Nigeria Historians (NNH). Colliquium

marking his 70th birthday at the Redeemer’s University (RUN), Ogun State . The private education system, he said, will serve as

By Evelyn Osagie

the education approach for the future, particularly in tertiary institutions. He added that the meticulous attention private university lecturers give to their work and students is setting a standard for public universities. Said the former diplomat: “The numerous strikes by lecturers have greatly affected the standard of education. Strike is killing the university system. “The private university

education system is the way of the future. “One way it would affect the standard of education is that it would challenge the public universities to show more interest in their work and students. “It would also force them to be involved in intense teaching; and perhaps reduce the number of times they go on strike.” To the don, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s loss of the World Bank presidency election was predictable.

He said: “We knew Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala would lose. If America and Japan own 54 per cent of the World Bank, how would they have allowed somebody else to win? “The Arabs, Europe, America , and Asians own 62 per cent of the World Bank. “Of course, as it is said; he who pays the piper dictates the tune.” On being 70, Osuntokun said: “In spite of the ups and downs in my life; I’m grateful to God for my life and everything.”

Punish fuel subsidy offenders, says Aliyu


IGER State Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu yesterday called on the Federal Government to punish those indicted by the findings of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee probing the fuel subsidy removal. Aliyu said all those found guilty by the committee’s report should be made to account for their actions. The House in the wake of the crisis that greeted the removal of fuel subsidy in January set up a ad-hoc Committee to probe the payment of oil subsidy to beneficiaries. Aliyu said such

From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

individuals should not only be made to pay back the money, they should be made to face the law. The governor spoke at the opening of a seminar on Good Governance and Post Fuel Subsidy Appraisal organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Minna. He said fuel subsidy diversion was “a wastage, it is corruption; it is stealing, which should not be allowed to go unpunished”. The governor said the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) agreed that fuel subsidy should be removed

because on monthly basis deductions are made from the Federation Account in the name of fuel subsidy. Aliyu condemned the increasing spate of terrorism in the country, saying it has contributed to the near collapse of the economy. He faulted claims that hinged terrorism on poverty, arguing that poorer countries did not have similar incidents, but blamed it on importation of foreign values. “We have allowed foreigners to train our people without our knowledge. “We must find solution to it (terrorism) otherwise we

will be groping in the dark for a very long time.” The governor hoped that with the vast resources of the country it is possible to provide free education from primary to the university level, if these resources are properly harnessed. The NOA DirectorGeneral, Mike Omeri, said his organisation is promoting interfaith dialogue as a way of bringing about religious peace and harmony in the country. Omeri said NOA is promoting the adoption of the second stanza of the National Anthem as the official National Prayer.

Garba, was okayed for a second term. This adoption synchronises with the earlier adoption of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Union in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Members of the Lagos State Council and their counterparts in Kogi and Niger states also approved Garba’s candidature. The council also endorsed the candidature of the Managing Editor of The Nation, Waheed Odusile, for the post of Deputy National President. At the congress, the trio of Odusile, Mohammed and the Secretary of the G-Zone, Adolphus Okonkwo, were nominated as official candidates of the state council in the forthcoming Triennial Delegates Conference billed for May 24 to May 27 in Abuja. Okonkwo is contesting for the post of financial secretary.

Jonathan, others pray for Mark


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, have sent goodwill messages to the Senate President, David Mark, praying for his quick recovery. Mark is receiving medical treatment in Israel, according to a statement by his media aide, Kola Ologbondiyan, made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday.

President Jonathan, who was said to have spoken with Mark on the phone on Monday night prayed for his quick recovery to enable him return to his desk in Nigeria. Tambuwal prayed for Allah’s blessings and protection for on the senator. Ekweremadu, who spoke with Mark yesterday, expressed the goodwill messages of the Senate, noting that all his colleagues are with him (Senator Mark) in their prayers.

ICAN boss decries bad leadership From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


ATIONAL President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Prof. Francis Ojaide has identified bad leadership and poor management of resources as the bane behind the agitation for resource control. Represented by the group’s Deputy President, Doyin Owolabi, Ojaide spoke at the seventh Northern District Accountants’ Conference in Kano yesterday. He said if Nigerian leaders were sincere and patriotic, the issue of resource control would not arise. “The poor management of our resources has led to agitation for resource control. Resource control is a burning issue of discourse in Nigeria today. And rightly so because this concept straddles the ethical, the macro-economic and the political and does address the key question of whether Nigerians should be citizens or subjects and slaves in their own country. “A Nigerian is called upon every day to participate in determining what is produced, how and for whom in Nigeria, but a Nigerian subject takes dictations from home, and especially from the West, in regard to what is to be produced, how and for whom in Nigeria,” he noted. He regretted that for over 50 years of independence, the country is yet to develop in social and material resources.



NEWS Tinubu, Akande, others for Adefarati’s memorial From Damisi Ojo, Akure



ORMER Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu will, on Friday, lead Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governors to the fifth memorial anniversary of the late Ondo State Governor Adebayo Adefarati (aka Baba Peace). The anniversary will begin with a lecture, entitled: Justice and Fairness as Panacea for Peace, at B.O.T. Hall, Ilesa Road, Akure, the state capital, at noon. A statement by the Secretary, Central Planning Committee,

Olugbenga Omole, said the keynote address would be delivered by Asiwaju Tinubu. The special guests of honour are ACN National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande; Governor Rauf Aregbesola (Osun); Adams Oshiomhole (Edo); Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Raji Fashola (SAN) (Lagos) and Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo). The occasion will be chaired by a former Secretary to the Ondo State Government and ACN chieftain Chief Wunmi Adegbonmire (aka Omo Ekun). The statement said a thanksgiving service would hold on Saturday at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, AkungbaAkoko. It added that a reception will follow at the Estate of Peace, Akungba-Akoko.

•Ekiti State Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi (second right); his wife, Bisi (right); the eldest son of the deceased, Mrs Titilayo Babarinde (left); and Chairman, Ekiti State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Chief Aaron Komolafe at the Fayemis’ family house in Isan-Ekiti, where they received sympathisers following the death of their mother... yesterday.

Monarchs, ACN stalwart back Aregbesola over allegations


RADITIONAL rulers are backing Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola over allegations that he is planning to Islamise the state. The royal fathers noted that the allegations are false and designed to distract the governor. In separate telephone interviews, Secretary of the Traditional Council of Obas and the Olojudo of Ido-Osun, Oba Adeen Adedapo; the Olufon of Ifon-Osun, Oba Adekunle Magbagbeola; and the Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Dokun Abolarinwa, said they would continue to support Aregbesola because of his performance and respect for royalty. The trio noted that the allegation was made for political reasons. They urged politicians to allow the governor to improve the lot of the less privileged, who they said are at the receiving end of the political power play going on in the state. Oba Olujudo said: “Aregbesola is focused and doing well. I believe his performance is intimidating his opponents and this is forcing them to scheme and plan to distract him. We are enjoying peace in Osun; it is a lie that there is tension in the state. “When they keep saying he is sick, you will wonder seeing how many press-ups he was able to do at the last Walk to Live programme at Iwo. He is as strong as fiddle. All the allegations against him are a campaign of calumny. “It’s unfortunate that some people are misinterpreting the governor’s good intention for the state. Aregbesola is trying to sell the revered Obafemi Awolowo’s philosophy to us to promote the Yoruba race. He should be encouraged rather than reading negative meanings to his actions. “Aregbesola is preaching the strength in the Yoruba being united. Calling for Yoruba unity should not be seen as planning secession. If at all he should be advised, let it be constructive contribution and engagement, instead of those meant to destroy the governor and his good works that would help the state.” Oba Abolarinwa said:

•TAWUN to sue SSS, Sun over Boko Haram link allegation From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

“Aregbesola should not allow distractions from anywhere because all eyes are on him. There are many expectations; too many people are counting on his competence to lead the state. He has displayed a high sense of responsiblity in the discharge of his duties as governor. So, no matter what is being said about his government, he should drive on as a good driver and not mind any side comment that could cause a distraction and a major accident, which would not do anyone any good.” An Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) stalwart in Osun State, Elder Sunday Laoye, has warned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to let the Boko Haram have access into the Yorubaland. Speaking with The Nation in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, the Chairman of the Rennaissance Front, a pressure group under the ACN, urged the PDP to be wary of the implication of spreading rumours to gain a political advantage. Laoye, who is an elder brother to the deputy governor, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori, noted that by the reckless allegations of some PDP leaders in the Southwest against Aregbesola, the party may lay a bad foundation for a terrible future for the Yoruba. “I think the interest of the people should come first and not their selfish aggrandisement, which always gives the PDP leaders away as selfish and without vision. How do you explain some people standing the truth on its head in the name of politics and narrow interest?” Laoye queried. An Islamic organisation, the Jama’at Ta’awunil Muslimeen (TAWUN), has vowed to sue the State Security Service (SSS) and The Sun for allegedly linking it with the violent Boko Haram sect. Addressing reporters yesterday in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, its National President, Alhaji Daood Imran Molaasan, disclaimed the security report, which claimed it has a relationship with the

Activist warns PDP By Rasheed Olaniyonu


N Akure activist and lawyer, Morakinyo Ogele, has warned the Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stop its baseless allegations against Governor Rauf Aregbesola. He described the governor as a democrat who has been fighting for Nigeria’s unity with other progressives. In a statement, Ogele said: “I must warn those who are fanning the embers of discord to stop wasting the money meant for their states and use it in a decent manner, rather than spend it on disorganising Osun State. “There is no doubt that the achievement of Aregbesola’s government is intimidating Osun PDP members and their financier. Those who are hatching the destabilisation of Osun State should stop this with immediate effect; otherwise, I will mobilise the people of the Southwest against them and the governors that are instigating them. “It is high time we told them that all progressives are alert to check their unprogressive displays. It is not possible for the PDP to rule any of the states in Southwest any more. The people have suffered enough in their hands. Enough is enough!” dreaded sect. Scores of members of the organisation attended the briefing, which was chaired by human rights activist Comrade Amitolu-Shittu at the Olu Osugbohun Hall of the Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ) on Iwo Road, Osogbo. Molaasan said TAWUN would ask its legal department to study the disparaging reports by the SSS and the newspaper before beginning the legal action. He noted that the difference between TAWUN and Boko Haram is like that of light and darkness, saying the organisation, with its headquarters in Iwo Local Government Area of Osun State, has promoted Western education and engaged in social services that have impacted positively on the society since its inception about 18 years ago. “What is the link between us and Boko Haram, which has openly declared its aversion for Western education, its major reason for all its destructive actions against anything Western in northern Nigeria?” Molaasan queried. The Muslim leader said it was clear that the blackmail against the organisation was aimed at implicating Governor Rauf Aregbesola. Molaasan said: “The allegation of planning to create Boko Haram in Osun State,

with the collaboration of the governor, is sheer blackmail and a plot by our detractors to use federal power to hinder us from our good religious activities. “It is clear to everybody that the Southwest is free from obnoxious acts of the Boko Haram sect. But the architects of this plot are fanning the ember of creating a ghost Boko Haram sect in the Southwest to eliminate the group they see as a cogwheel in their political agenda. “There are proofs that TAWUN is not supporting the activities of Boko Haram, let alone collaborate to create it in Osun State. We first condemned the activities of Boko Haram in The Nigerian Tribune of August 9, 2009, entitled: No Extremism in Islam. In addition, on Saturday, March 18, 2012, the organisation held a press conference on Boko Haram’s evils in Osogbo. It had in attendance the representatives of Osun State Commissioner of Police and the Director of SSS. “We were surprised by the unusual courtesy visit of the Director of SSS, Osun State, Mr. Adegboye, ably accompanied by the Officerin-Charge of SSS, Iwo Local Government Area, Mr. Isaac Ogunmola, on March 26, around 6pm. They came to

appreciate the good contribution of the conference, held on Boko Haram, to the peaceful co-existence in Osun State, Southwest and Nigeria at large.” Malaasan noted that the SSS should realise that the clamour for the use of Hijab in the state’s public schools is not peculiar to the present administration in the state. “It has been an issue that Muslims clamoured for in the past administrations. Even the Olagunsoye Oyinlola administration witnessed such a clamour from the state Muslims and the issue was not resolved before he left office. We don’t think it is an offence to ask for the use of Hijab which, constitutionally, is our right. “It is strange information which would not be credible to the right-thinking people of Osun State because a part cannot be accused for the action of a whole. Jama’at Ta’awunil Muslimeen is just a part of the whole of Muslim community in Osun State. “The governor has mediated in the issue and administered justice by holding interdenominational meetings with religious leaders to hear their views before the decision by the executive.” The Muslim leader wondered how the SSS came about the alleged plan by Aregbesola to Islamise the state. According to him, the SSS should investigate the allegation thoroughly and get its facts right. He said TAWUN is known for the progress of society through its help to the less privileged and promotion of good governance. Malaasan said: “The contribution of our organisation to youth development, self-empowerment, and its interest in good governance made it possible for Oyinlola, the former governor of Osun State, to commission our AlQudus Islamic Information Centre on December 24, 2005. If we were religious extremists, the ex-governor, being a Christian, would not have attended our programme.”

Lawyer to Oni: you’re wrong By Joseph Jibueze

A LAWYER, Mr Agbaje Alabi, has faulted the National Vice-Chairman (Southwest) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Segun Oni, over his directive barring intra-party litigation. The lawyer noted that asking aggrieved members of a political party not to seek legal redress is a violation of their constitutional rights. In a statement, Alabi, a member of the PDP, noted that such a “directive” runs contrary to democratic principles. The statement reads: “The rights of aggrieved persons or groups to sue is guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. To deny individuals that right in the name of any organisation or body is to infringe on the Constitution. “More so, there is nothing in the Constitution of the PDP, as amended, that stipulates that members cannot sue or be sued. “Even the President can sue and has often been sued. Instituting legal proceedings, when aggrieved, is one of the constitutional checks against arbitrary use of power. “My position should not, however, be misconstrued to imply the aggrieved members should take legal action against the party or its officers without exploring internal avenues for redress. “Your Excellency, Segun Oni, were you not properly quoted in those reports? Is it not possible that what you meant is that aggrieved members should seek internal avenues for redress within the party before going to court, in which case you would be right? “To make a blatant pronouncement against members seeking redress in the law court, such as credited to you, is to deny PDP faithful one of the major benefits of democracy, which is ventilation of grievances in the judiciary, the third arm of government.”





The vision of the Ministry of Investment is to increase the contribution of SMEs to the nation’s GDP from 10 per cent to 30 per cent and increase export earnings through SMEs from three per cent to 25 per cent within the lifetime of this administration. -Mr Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Trade and Investment

‘Poor sanitation costs Nigeria N455b yearly’

NUBAN: CBN sets May 31 deadline for compliance

From Nduka Chiejina, Asst. Editor


IGERIA loses N455 billion (US$3 billion or three per cent of her Gross Domestic Product) yearly to poor sanitation, according to a report released yesterday by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP). The desk study, Economic Impacts of Poor Sanitation in Africa - Nigeria, found that the majority (83.3 per cent) of these costs come from the annual premature death of 121,800 Nigerians from diarrheal disease, including 87,100 children under five, nearly 90 per cent of which is directly attributable to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene. Access time and productivity losses accounted for 8.5 per cent of the total economic costs, while healthrelated costs accounted for about 6.4 per cent. “We’ve known for some time about the impact of poor sanitation on health, but this is one of the first studies to quantify the annual costs incurred because of poor sanitation,”said Yolande Coombes, senior water and sanitation specialist with WSP. “Nigeria will not be able to grow sustainably without addressing these costs.” The study also found that 70 million Nigerians use unsanitary or shared latrines, 32 million have no latrine at all and defecate in the open, and that the poorest quintile is 10 times more likely to practice open defection than the richest.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$123.6/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE -N6.503 trillion JSE -Z5.112trillion NYSE -$10.84 trillion LSE -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -12.6% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -14.18% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $34.6b FOREX CFA 0.2958 EUR 206.9 £ 245 $ 156.4 ¥ 1.9179 SDR 241 RIYAL 40.472

By Collins Nweze


• Representative of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila in a handshake with Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Arunma Oteh, at the Public Hearing by the House Ad Hoc Committee on the Near Collapse of the Nigerian Capital Market in Abuja ... yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Jonathan seeks amendment to 2012 budget B

ARELY a week after President Goodluck Jonathan assented to the 2012 Appropriation Act, he has sent a request to the House of Representatives for an amendment to the budget. He said the oil benchmark of $72 has affected revenues accruing to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Universal Basic Education (UBE), stressing that the legislators did not take note of it. He is seeking the approval of the legislators to switch appropriated funds allocated to some items in the Amnesty Programme. The entire affected allocation in the Amnesty Programme was N140, 352,823,804. Jonathan, who signed the 2012 Appropriation Act into law last Friday, noted that the increment in the oil benchmark from $70 to $72 on which the 2012 Appropriation was premised has necessitated some amend-

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

ment. In a letter to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, the President pointed out the differences caused in the budget through the increase in the oil benchmark on the expected revenue accruing to the NDDC and the UBE. Jonathan is requesting for increased allocation for reintegration of Niger Delta ex-militants from N924 million to N45.2 billion among others, the percentage of what would be given to the NDDC and UBE depend on the national budget. It reads in part: “You may wish to recall that the original 2012 Budget was predicated on a benchmark price of $70pb, while the passed budget has increased it to $72pb. As you are aware, the

allocation to NDDC and UBE under the Statutory Transfer are normally computed as a percentage of the revenue accruing to the Federal Government. “The increase in the benchmark price of crude oil from $70pb to $72pb requires that the allocation to these agencies be adjusted to reflect the increment. It appears that the Appropriation Bill inadvertently retained the old figure thereby resulting in a shortfall of N1.91b for NDDC and N1.97b for UBE. “I, therefore, seek your cooperation to adjust these allocations to reflect the higher benchmark price. “The Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P) was designed specifically to address the infrastructural challenges as social safety net. In order to monitor the implementation of the programme, a Board was set

up to monitor the implementation and report on its progress. “The 2012 Appropriation Bill did not separate the SURE-P from the rest of the Budget. I, therefore, seek your co-operation to reflect it separately in the Bill to make it easier for the Board to effectively perform their monitoring mandate.” Besides, the need for the review of allocation to the Amnesty Programme has caused the release of more resources for the implementation of the core aspects of the programme as against the cost of administering the programme, the President said. To readjust the allocation, the President requested for a reduction in Overhead of stipend and Feeding Allowance under the programme from N48.2b to N20.7 billion as well as increase in Re-Integration of Niger Delta Ex-Militants from N924m to N42.2 billion.

Nigeria’s economy to expand by 7.1% in 2012, says IMF N IGERIA’s economy will expand by 7.1 per cent this year as rising commodity prices and increased oil production help to offset a slowdown in Europe, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. The anticipated growth compares with 7.36 per cent in 2011. Nigeria had recorded a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 10.3 per cent, 10.6 per cent, 5.4 per cent, 6.2 per cent, 7 per cent, six per cent, seven per cent and 7.98 per cent in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The Fund, in its World Economic Outlook report released yesterday, noted that Nigeria, the second-largest economy in the region, will probably expand 7.1 per cent this year, while Angolan

• Forecasts 5.4% for Sub-Saharan Africa By Ayodele Aminu, Group Business Editor

growth is set to accelerate to 9.7 per cent from 3.4 per cent It said rising oil output in Nigeria and Angola will bolster growth in Africa’s largest crude producers. The IMF, however, raised its growth forecast for South Africa, the region’s largest economy, to 2.7 per cent for this year from 2.5 per cent. South Africa is more exposed to a slowdown in Europe, which buys about a third of the nation’s manufactured exports, according to the IMF. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who cut this year’s growth forecast to 2.7 per cent from 3.4 per cent,

said Monday the European crisis continues to threaten growth. Further interest rate cuts may be necessary in South Africa if there’s a “protracted slowdown,” the IMF said. The Central Bank has kept its benchmark interest rate at 5.5 per cent, the lowest level in more than 30 years, since November 2010 to help support the economy even as inflation exceeded the three per cent to six per cent target. Slower growth in South Africa may undermine the outlook for the region, the IMF said. “Adverse shocks affecting South Africa can quickly spread to neighbouring

economies, through their effect on migrant workers’ incomes, trade, regional investment, and finance,” the IMF said. The Fund also said Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy will probably expand 5.4 per cent this year. It said the growth is set to accelerate from 5.1 per cent in 2011 and compares with 5.5 per cent estimated in January. The IMF noted that higher commodity prices and increased oil production are muting the impact of the European debt crisis, helping sub-Saharan Africa grow the fastest after Asian developing countries. African nations are also reducing their dependence on Europe, which is set to contract 0.3 per cent this year, by selling exports to other emerging markets, according to the IMF.

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set May 31, 2012 as deadline for banks to comply with its directive on the Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number (NUBAN). A circular addressed to banks, and signed by CBN Director, Banking and Payment System, T.O. Fatokun, stated that banks must comply with the NUBAN directive by that date. Besides, it said from June 1, this year, any payment that is not NUBAN compliant will not be allowed to pass through the Automated Clearing System. It warned that any bank that violates the rule will be sanctioned accordingly. The new account number scheme has facilitated better electronic payments among banks, which is cost effective compared to cheque payments. The apex bank had in April last year, released three-digit codes for banks to enable them to comply with the newly introduced NUBAN scheme. The action, the CBN said, was to facilitate smooth and successful implementation of the uniform customer bank account numbering structure among commercial banks. By this development, only instruments, paper and electronic, that carry NUBAN codes and pass the NUBAN validation test would be allowed in the automated clearing system as from this date. The CBN said NUBAN has the potential to resolve the observed problems with electronic payments in the country, as many of such cases are related to specification of wrong beneficiary account numbers.

‘Usan field sets new benchmark’ By Emeka Ugwuanyi


HE French oil giant, To tal, said its newly inau gurated Usan project has set a new benchmark in Nigerian Content on oil and gas industry. The company said the project has involved an unprecedented level of Nigerian local content, with over 500,000 engineering man-hours and 14 million construction and installation man-hours performed in Nigeria. It also said the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) construction included an offshore integration of 3,500 tons of locally fabricated structures. The Usan field, which lies about 100 kilometres off the Southeast Nigerian coast, was inaugurated a few days ago at a ceremony attended by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Total, Christophe de Margerie; President, Exploration & Production, Total, Yves-Louis Darricarrère.








Shareholders seek return of N32b stake in W nationalised banks

HAT becomes of the N32 billion shareholders stake in the three nationalised banks – former Afribank (Mainstreet Bank Plc), Bank PHB (Keystone Bank Plc) and Spring Bank (Enterprise Bank Plc) – will be decided at the Federal High Court Lagos, tomorrow. The shareholders had earlier, filed a suit, restraining the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) from dealing on the assets of the affected banks. The shareholders of the nationalised banks had dragged the apex bank and 11 others to court to challenge their power to take over their investments in the publicly quoted institutions. But the CBN, has urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss the suit instituted by some shareholders of the banks seeking to void the August 2011 action of the apex bank nationalising their bank. Speaking exclusively to The Nation, National co-ordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Boniface Okezie said it was the first time in the history of the capital market for publicly quoted banks to be nationalised by an agency of the government. He said the revocation of the licenses of the banks was prejudicial to their rights to invest in public quoted companies in accordance with the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) Act and the Investment and Securities Act (ISA). He said the injection of N679 billion into the three banks by AMCON was illegal because the regulator did not get approval from the National Assembly. The fund

• GMD Keystone Bank, Oti Ikomi

Stories by Collins Nweze was injected by AMCON to bring the banks to the right capital adequacy ratio. The shareholders provided the fund, which kept the banks running. He said the right thing for the regulators to do is to compensate shareholders, and from there, move to dialogue and final resolution of the matter. The CBN, acting in consonance with the NDIC as the liquidator, engineered the revocation of operating licences, liquidated and subsequently acquired former Afribank Plc, BankPHB Plc and Spring Bank Plc, and consequently changed their names, and are being managed by AMCON without considering the investments of the shareholders in

• GMD Mainstreet Bank, Faith Tuedor-Matthews

the affected financial institutions. Part of the reliefs sought by the shareholders, include a declaration that the action of the CBN, NDIC and the AMCON in the purported transfer of the assets, businesses and operations of the nationalised banks are a breach of their fundamental human rights to freedom from compulsory acquisition of property as guaranteed by the constitution. They are also seeking for an order of the court for the defendants to jointly and severally pay them punitive damages to be determined by the court for the diminution in the value of their shares in the nationalised banks as a result of the takeover of the banks by the CBN. The shareholders are equally seek-

• GMD Enterprise Bank, Ahmed Kuru

ing an order of perpetual injunction restraining the three new banks , the NDIC and the AMCON from offering for sale or advertising or representing to any person, any intention or offer for sale, or transferring or purporting to transfer to any

person any interest in the assets, businesses and operations of the three nationalised banks. The aggrieved shareholders have also warned prospective investors that are proposing to have stakes in the nationalised banks to stay off, pending the determination of the suit filed before a federal high court sitting in Lagos challenging the unlawful takeover of the banks by the CBN. Ahead of plans to sell the three nationalised banks, AMCON is searching for the advisers that will guide it through the process. AMCON CEO Mustafa Chike-Obi, said the body has requested for reputed firms, experienced in banks’ sales to render their services in that regard. He said several applications are already being processed and the corporation will choose the best for the job at the end of the day. Chike-Obi had earlier hinted that the government is considering the possibility of compensating the shareholders of the three nationalised banks in due course. He said although such compensation, if approved, will not be immediate. He said the shareholders of these banks that went to court may be compensated by the government when the modalities of such compensation are perfected.

Govt holdings to back discount window operations, says CBN


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the Federal Government’s debt instruments will henceforth guarantee transactions at the discount window. The apex bank, in a statement, said the financial support services to banks at discount windows will continue to be conducted to accommodate their needs of temporary liquidity support but must adhere to prevailing guidelines. “Discount window operations in overnight facilities will be backed by borrower-holdings of government debt instruments and other eligible securities approved by the bank. The CBN will maintain the provision of Standing Lending/ deposit Facilities to provide overnight accommodation for authorised dealers in temporary liquidity shortage or liquidity surplus,” it said. It said banks, while computing their cost of funds, should employ the weighted average cost of funds computation framework. The ap-

plicable cost items will include banks’ interest cost on the different types of deposit liabilities, borrowings from the inter-bank funds market, payments in respect of deposit insurance premium and costs due to reserve requirements. The regulator also enjoined deposit money banks to pursue profitability in their business models through efficient operations. To this end, the banks are expected to charge competitive, rather than excessive rates of interest and should always disclose their prime and maximum lending rates as fixed spreads over the Monetary Policy Rates (MPR). The CBN said it will continue to encourage banks to improve their deposit mobilisation efforts. In line with the financial inclusion initiative, banks are required to demand zero balances for opening new bank accounts so as to make banking services accessible to the unbanked public.

Fund manager expands SME funding to $323m • From right: Executive Director, Finance & Risk, Ecobank Nigeria, Dele Alabi; High Commissioner of The Gambia, Angela Iheme; Chairman, Ecobank Nigeria, Chief, Sunny Kuku and Executive Director, Ecobank Nigeria Kingsley Aigbokhaevbo at the launch of Africa Diaspora Account in Abuja last Friday.

‘Shared-infrastructure services to reduce bank charges’


HE rising cost of banking transactions to businesses will reduce if banks can embrace the shared-infrastructure services scheme, the Managing Director, CRC Credit Bureau, Tunde Popoola, has said. The credit bureau chief, said financial services institutions need to do a lot more in addressing the challenges they face which have culminated in delivering services not commensurate with the costs to Nigerians. “The pursuit of shared-infrastructure model, with all honesty and total support by regulators and operators can go a long way in overcoming some of the challenges and lead to improvements in service delivery. Such model would benefit from economies of scale

and it is also capable of bringing down the cost of doing business,” he said. Popoola said bank customers see those charges as unmerited revenues to the financial institutions, which in most cases, do not cover the cost of providing such services. However, he admitted, that banks in Nigeria have certain challenges in the course of operating their businesses. “While condemning the banks, the e-payment and credit solution providers and the telecommunication companies for poor services, we should appreciate the challenge of the operating environment, knowing full well that no profit making institution, in a competitive market, can deliver poor services at exorbitant prices in a sus-

tainable manner,” he said. Popoola said with shared-infrastructure services, things can only get better. He said Nigeria has joined the rest of the world in adopting technology driven solutions in the delivery of financial services but like most new things, the difficult phase will not last long. To further safeguard the interest of the consumers, he advised the government to do much more. Apart from giving priority to the over flogged issue of physical and digital infrastructures, it is imperative to enact appropriate legislations and promote efficient judicial system with a view to promoting a robust consumer protection and safeguard financial institutions against unscrupulous customers, he advised.


ROFIN, the multinational pioneer of growth finance working to create real impact through the support of small and medium businesses, has announced a growth in funds under management from $260 million to $323 million. These funds are invested in supporting entrepreneurs and business people to start or grow a business. The company also announced that it will be launching three new offices in 2012 in Zambia, Jordan and a regional office serving the United Arab Emirate. Since launching in 2004, GroFin has established a reputation of being a leading provider of finance and business support to entrepreneurs and business owners in Africa and the Middle East. Chief Executive Officer, GroFin Africa, Guido Boysen said the firm was pleased that available funds for lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have increased. “We are thrilled to announce an increase in the funds we have available, as well as our entry into three new markets rich with potential.

We have a strong foundation in place, a proven and scalable model and a firm commitment to make a lasting impact in the growth of the SME sector,” he said. GroFin’s choice to invest in entrepreneurs and businesses that are locally owned and managed in the markets in which it operates, is rooted in the vision that these businesses hold the potential to create sustainable economic and social impact. However, while this sector of the market is theoretically best able to empower and mobilise societies, the majority of these businesses fail to survive past their early years of operation. CEO GroFin MENA, Mohamed Toki said some SMEs find themselves in the ‘missing middle’ where they do not have the collateral required for traditional secured lending and are too small for private equity but too large for micro-finance. Entrepreneurs and businesses in this sector are underserviced with few capable partners offering the combination of risk finance, experienced business support and market linkages required to succeed.

, 2012




‘Growth of N4.5tr bonds depends on capital market’ T

HE Managing Director, Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustapha Chike-Obi, has said the success of the N4.5 trilliion bonds issued in respect of the rescued banks depends on the growth of the capital market. AMCON had issued the bonds in three tranches to buy- off the huge non-performing loans discovered in the books of certain banks in the wake of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stress test in 2009. Speaking during a network interview, Chike-Obi said the bonds were not liquid, in view of the problems plaguing the stock market. He argued that the bonds have had their own share of the problems plaguing the market, adding, however that the bonds will start to yield soon. He said: “By next year, when all the necessary steps would have been taken to strengthen the stock market and make it confidence driven, we hope the bonds will be liquid,” he said. He said the body has succeeded in cleaning off the balance sheets of banks found culpable by the CBN’s examiners. He stated that the banks were in greater danger, when

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

AMCON intervened to buy off their toxic assets. He said the banks saddled themselves with many responsibilities, resulting in the crisis that befell them adding that AMCON is not foreseeing any major problem in the industry, considering the far-reaching measures put in place to re-invigorate the banks. He said: “Banks were being asked to do too much. They were engaging in capital market lending, retail lending and many more. These have impacted negatively on their operations. But now, CBN has narrowed their responsibilities to foster growth and redefine the holding structures. “What CBN is saying is that when a bank takes deposit, it should be used for that objective, and should not be given as loans to non-banking subsidiaries. This is unlike Europe where specialised agencies were mandated to carry out those functions”, he said. Chike-Obi said banks’ decision to become one-stop financial institutions by going outside their core practices was a failure of the past, adding that the shareholders, and management of the banks could be

blamed for the problems in the industry. He said banks are going to have problems, in a situation whereby shareholders are not supervising them well. He decried a situation where shareholders are watching the top-echelon of banks displaying stupendous wealth, without being able to challenge them. “Shareholders are actually not supervising the banks. They are responsible for some of the problems in the banking institutions. They should be conscious of what the management of the banks are doing. In the past, shareholders were always interested in one thing or the other,” he added. He said errors of the past will not be repeated, adding that the financial regulators are working towards achieving such goals. Chike-Obi said the problems in the industry should be seen as a collective responsibility, arguing that no institution should be singled out for not taking precautionary measures to avert it. He expressed confidence in the ability of AMCON to successfully midwife the sales of the three bridged banks, adding that efforts would be made to ensure that the right things are done in this regard.

• From left: Business Development, e-Business Manager, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Francis Nwoboshi; Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mrs. Sola David-Borha; Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr Brett Goschen and General Manager, Mobile Money Marketing and Strategy, Mr Usoro Anthony Usoro, at the signing of an MoU on Mobile Money partnership between MTN and Stanbic IBTC in Lagos.

‘Why MfBs are prone to crisis’


HE inability of microfinance banks to scale through the hurdles of growth has been attributed to wrong operational models, managerial ineptitudess, illiquidity among others. According to experts who spoke separately on the issue, the problems have been besetting the operations of microfinance institutions since two decades ago. A Senior Partner, Biodun Adedipe & Co., Biodun Adedipe, said promoters of microfinance banks got it wrong from the start. Adedipe said some owners of MfBs have decided to compete with money deposit banks which have better structure, adding that development made it difficult to meet obligations to their depositors. He said: “Most of them have wrong business models because they came and tried to operate like money deposit banks. Microfinance banks are expected to engage in neigbourhood banking. All their customers are supposed to be those who operate within their localities. They are supposed to know them and have the capacity to monitor their progress,” he said. Adedipe said the loss of focus is responsible for the myriad of problems confronting microfinance institutions. Also, Chief Executive of Financial

Derivatives Nigeria Limited, Bismark Rewane, said the trouble with microfinance institutions is not peculiar to Nigeria. He said bank failure is a consequence of economic problems besetting the global community, as over 155 banks have failed in the US alone. However, Rewane said apart from the global economic crisis, other impediments to a regime of smooth operation of MfBs are the Nigerian economic crisis and lack of capacity of the affected banks. He said the low capacity of the MfBs was responsible for the systemic failure of these banks. He would not indict the system or regulators as the current challenges, according to him, can be described as the consequence of the general downturn in the economy. Rewane, who noted that MfBs are lending at the retail level, said most of those who took facilities in the MFBs are facing problems that make it difficult to service their loans. “Lending to someone who has lost his job can be challenging. How do you expect a man that has just been sacked to repay his facilities? The process is, therefore, fallout of the general recession in the country,” Rewane said. But a former director of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Joel Ahimie, attrib-

uted the liquidity crisis in the MFBs to haste for profit and wrong lending practices as well as inadequate supervision by the regulatory authorities. He said: “Our people were just too much in a hurry. Most of the operators see microfinance banks as a mini bank, and that is wrong. Some see it as a profit-making business, forgetting that the profit will come but not now. The money-lenders are making money and they charge 100 per cent interest, but MFBs charge over 30 per cent, which is a lot of money. Chief Executive Officer, ACCION Microfinance Bank, Bunmi Lawson, said: “The principle behind MFBs is that you give a lot of small loans and you should ensure that you have a steady capital base that would enable you meet any liquidity problems at any point in time. Most MfBs operators are regrettably not too conscious about their lending processes. They give loans to too many people without proper monitoring and at the end of the day, what you would hear are issues of bad loans. MfB operators lend to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and instead of giving to say 10 people, they actually loan to over 10,000 clients and before you know it, there would be cash problem.

Diamond takes capacity building to Enugu IN line with its drive to be the preferred retail bank in Nigeria, Diamond Bank hosted Micro Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Enugu to its capacity-building session called the Diamond BusinessXpress Seminar. This is the 20th edition of the seminar which has been held in different locations nationwide since inception. Regional Manager, Enugu, Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. GozieOkoye, said the seminar was one of the ways it helps entrepreneurs to bridge the knowledge gap in running successful businesses. He said the bank took it upon itself to continually help customers to build their businesses as the bank is devoted to growing the economy through MSMEs. In his presentation entitled: The Nigerian Indigenous Company and the Banks, Ifeanyi Okoye, CEO of Juhel Nigeria Limited, dwelt on the relationship between banks and businesses in Nigeria and said there is a mutual relationship between both parties. He charged the participants to open their eyes to the possibilities present in the country, saying research indicates that identifying a business opportunity is easier in Nigeria than other parts of the world. Okoye also advised the participants to run a proper accounts department as this would make it easier for banks to grant loans to them.

Ecobank inaugurates Diaspora Account ECOBANK Nigeria has launched Diaspora Account, a product designed for people who work away from their home country. Speaking during the launching, Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Jubril Aku, represented by Dele Alabi, the Executive Director, Finance and Risk, said Africa Diaspora Account satisfies the need for a bank account back in your home country and country of residence. He said: “At Ecobank, we ensure that our role in financial intermediation impacts the everyday life of the customer. This we do by creating special windows that support our customers’ daily living. The product is targeted at the African professional who works outside his or her home country,” he said. According to him, the product satisfies the need for a bank account in the customer’s home country and country of residence. The Executive Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Kingsley Aigbokhaevbo said the bank believes Africans are hard working people and should be able to do their desired financial transactions wherever they may be, the world over. “African immigrants living and working outside their home countries have been on the increase from year to year. Typically, the African Diaspora follows a discernible pattern – a drift from developing economies to relatively stronger economies. This trend is also now pronounced within Africa in the form of economic cooperation among member states of ECOWAS and the rest of Africa. This, no doubt, is facilitating movement of goods, services and labour mobility,” he added. According to the Product Manager, Africa Diaspora Account, Vivienne Ijomah, the account is a multicurrency deposit liability and transactional product which facilitates creation of banking relationships with African migrants within and outside Africa. Given the immediate and future scope of Ecobank Africa Diaspora Account, we will roll out the product in two phases.

CBN, banks deepen initiatives on agric funding THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other deposit money banks are strengthening fresh measures aimed at empowering farmers financially and providing favourable fiscal policies for their operations. The apex bank has granted zero tariffs for the importation of agricultural machinery and equipment. The policy is aimed at creating a viable agricultural sector and providing enabling environment for investment. The regulator and banks are also working with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and other key stakeholders to develop an innovative financing mechanism, tagged Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL). Data from the CBN said the annual demand for agribusiness financing over the next 40 years is projected at $6.5 billion per annum, compared to the current annual fund supply of $1.5 billion. The apex bank said the scheme is expected to provide farmers with affordable financial products, while reducing the risk of loans to farmers under other financing programmes offered by the financial institutions.

World Bank approves $75m credit for Edo THE World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a $75 million concessional credit to Nigeria for a First Edo State Growth and Employment Support Programme. The approved credit will be in the form of budget support similar to that which was extended to Lagos State last year. A statement from the bank said the credit was provided in recognition of critical policy and institutional reforms that the Edo State Government has undertaken to improve management of public resources in the implementation of an infrastructure-oriented development strategy. The state has also assisted in the creation of a better environment for growth and employment generation through a more conducive investment climate and higher quality of education. “Following the Board’s approval of a similar credit for Lagos State last year, this marks yet another milestone in Nigeria’s path to improving public service delivery through improved governance at state level and therefore contributing to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.




Frequenly asked questions on personal income tax · Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) as authorized for issue by Joint Tax Board · Declaration of total income from all sources related to the year the refund is being sought · actual tax paid, · tax payable, · overpayment claimed, · period covered, · date of payment · due date for payment of the tax payable. Then the tax authority scrutinizes the tax document filed by the taxpayer and where the tax authority ascertains that there is an overpayment, the taxpayer is given a refund of his excess.

Is it true that the tax rate has increased from 3% to 10% as a result of the amendment? Ans: No. The amendment did not increase the tax rate from 3% to 10% as being speculated. Rather it has reduced the tax burdens on low and middle income earners as can be seen from the tax table below: OLD TAX TABLE Narration Rate 1st N 300,000 7% Next N 300,000 11% Next N 500,000 15% Next N 500,000 19% Next N 1,600,000 21% Next N 3, 200,000 24% NEW TAX TABLE Narration 1st N 30,000 Next N 30,000 Next N 50,000 Next N 50,000 Next N 160,000

Rate 5% 10% 15% 20% 25%

What are some of the key provisions amended in the principal Act? Ans: Some of the key provisions amended in the Act include: * Consolidated Relief Allowance (CRA) * Adjusted income tax bands * A new tax table * Tax Refunds * Exemption of income from bonds issued by government and corporate entities. * Enhanced power of administration of State Boards of Internal Revenue * Introduction of presumption tax regime for the informal sector * Deleting paragraph 2 & 3 under the third schedule that hitherto exempts the official emoluments of the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors for personal income tax purposes. * Strengthening the offences and penalties provisions What are the areas of offences and penalties affected in the amendment Act? Ans: A comparative table below clearly shows the amendments OFFENCES AND PENALTY Section S.47(3)


Offences A person who engages in banking business who fails to render returns, books documents and Information on demand within 7 days

Old Penalty New Penalty N5,000 for N500,000 for Corporate body Corporate

N500 for Individual

N50,000 for Individual

A person who engages in banking business who fails to render information about new customers within 7days of the next following month

For Corporate Body N5,000

For Corporate Body N500,000

For Individual N500

For Individual N50,000

S.52(1)(a) Failure to keep Book of Accounts S.74(1)

S.81(a) 3

For Individual N50,000 For Corporate Body N500,000 Failure to deduct / 10% of taxes not 10% of tax not deducted/remitted plus remit tax deducted or interest at CBN N5000 whichever is Monetary Policy rate higher Failure to file N500,000 (Company) returns by N50,000 (Individual) Employers N5,000,000 OR 3 years jail or both


Failure to demand and verify TCC


Failure to comply with any provision where there is no specific penalty

N200 in the 1st instance N40 for everyday

N5,000 in the 1st instance N100 for everyday


Making incorrect returns

10% of the correct tax


S.96(1)(b) Making false statements and returns

How can Tax disputes be resolved under the amended Act? Ans: Disagreements and disputes under the Act will be resolved by Tax Appeal Tribunals (TAT). Taxpayers can file a complaint directly with TAT without necessarily seeking the service of a consultant/lawyer.

N5,000 or 5 yrs N500,000 for Corporate imprisonment body N50,000 for individuals and imprisonment of 6 months


False statement by N1,000 or 5 person in relation years to tax payable or imprisonment repayable


Offences by Authorized and unauthorized persons

N10,000 or imprisonment nor more than 6 months

N1,000 or 3 N100,000 or 3 years years imprisonment or both imprisonment or both

Where can I locate Tax Tribunal Offices nationwide? Ans: Offices of Tax Appeal Tribunals can be located nationwide as detailed:

What processes were followed in Amending the Act? Ans: An Executive Bill approved by the Federal Executive Council and National Economic Council was presented to the National Assembly in 2005 but was not passed. In 2010, the bill was reintroduced to the sixth National Assembly and it was subjected to joint public hearings of the Senate and House Committee on Finance. Following the outcome, stakeholders such as Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Manufactures Association of Nigeria (MAN), tax practitioners, taxpayers and civil society groups made their inputs. The Joint Tax Board (JTB), encompassing all State Boards of Internal Revenue, also reviewed the bill before the two chambers of National Assembly passed the bill which was later signed into law by Mr. President on 14th of June, 2011. What is the effective date of the amended Act? Ans: The effective date which is still the commencement date as stated in the official gazette, which is 14th of June, 2011 Does it imply that the implementation of the amended provisions will commence immediately by the relevant tax authorities? Ans: The relevant tax authorities while upholding the commencement date, 14th of June, 2011, will for administrative convenience begin implementation of the issues from 1st April, 2012. Nevertheless, the tax paying public is expected to assess, file their returns and make payments in line with the provisions of the personal income tax (amendment) Act.

Tax Appeal Tribunal, Lagos 4th Floor, FIRS Building, 17B Awolowo Road, Ikoyi,Lagos. Lagos State. tel: +234 709 812 1663, +234 709 812 1669 email:

Tax Appeal Tribunal, Abuja 19, Atbara Street Off Cairo Street, Wuse 2, P.M.B.120, Garki, G.P.O. Abuja, FCT. tel: +234 9 783 0508 email:

Tax Appeal Tribunal, South West Zone No. 5, Ibrahim Taiwo Avenue, Off UI-Secretariat Road, New Bodija Estate Ibadan, Oyo State. tel: +234 2 873 6475 email:

Tax Appeal Tribunal, South South Zone No 59, Airport Road, Benin City, Edo State. tel: +234 52 291 565

Tax Appeal Tribunal, North Central Zone No 2, Yakubu Gowon Way, Secretariat Junction, Jos, Plateau State. tel: +234 709 358 1375 email:

Tax Appeal Tribunal, South East Zone No. 1 Temple Avenue, GRA Enugu, Enugu State. tel: +234 42 290 801 email:

Tax Appeal Tribunal, NorthWest Zone House 4, Ahmed Rufa’i Close, Off Aminu Buhari Drive GRA, Malali, Kaduna, Kaduna State tel: +234 62 834 172 email:

Tax Appeal Tribunal, NorthEast Zone Plot BA 26, Jolly Nyame Crescent, Old Sarkin Fawa Street, G.R.A . Bauchi, Bauchi State. tel: +234 709 882 2979

What is Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)? Ans: TIN is Taxpayer Identification Number. This is a unique and important instrument jointly developed by the tax authorities to assist in information sharing with respect to individual taxpayers’ profile. It also serves as a means of identification for tax purposes.

How do I calculate my tax under the amended Act? Ans: Add your income from all sources, less the consolidated relief/ allowance (N200,000.00 + 20% of gross income). The balance is to be taxed after removing all statutory deductions applicable to such taxpayer as listed below: * Contribution to pension * Contribution to National Housing Fund * National Health Insurance Scheme * Life Assurance Premium * Gratuities The balance is taxed using the following method: The first N300,000.00 - 7% Next N300,000.00 - 11% Next N500,000.00 - 15% Next N500,000.00 - 19% Next N1,600,000.00 - 21% Above N3,200,000.00 - 24% The tax as computed above is compared to a minimum tax of 1% of gross income; whichever is higher is the tax payable.

How much will I be required to pay to collect my TIN? Ans: No taxpayer is required to pay any amount for TIN. This means that issuance of TIN by the tax authority to any taxpayer is free.

What is minimum tax? Ans: Minimum Tax is that tax which is charged on an income of a taxpayer where after all allowable deductions granted, there is no taxable income or where the tax payable is less than 1% of his gross income. Therefore 1% of his gross income will be taken as tax payable

As a pensioner, under the amended Act, am I required to pay tax? Ans: No, the amended Act has exempted pension income for tax purposes.

Am I entitled to tax refund? Ans: Yes, you are entitled to tax refund where on application the relevant tax authority ascertained that you actually overpaid your tax. What are the processes for getting the refund? Ans: The taxpayer files an application with the relevant tax authority stating the grounds of his claim which includes:

What is Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC)? Ans: Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) is an official certificate given to a taxpayer showing that he or she has paid his or her assessed tax and the amount of tax paid for the specified period. It is a requirement for various transactions under the Act How much will I be required to pay for TCC? Ans: The taxpayer is required only to pay the amount of tax assessed by the tax authority which may include penalties and/or interests as the case may be. This means that no taxpayer is required to pay any other money outside what has been established as his tax liabilities. Also, there is no processing fee required for obtaining your TCC. Is the TCC obtained in one State valid in other States? Ans: Yes. TCC obtained in any state is valid in any part of the country.

Would payment of tax enable the electorates to choose a right candidate in an election? Ans: Yes, the amendment has addressed the issue of overtax by providing an enhanced Consolidated Relief Allowances and equitable tax band. Where can I get a copy of the amended Act? Ans: Copies are available at the Joint Tax Board Secretariat, Office of the Director Tax Policy Department, Office of the Director Corporate Communications, Federal Government Press, all State Boards of Internal Revenue.




Few strong firms good for industry, says NAICOM T

HE National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) does not want too many firms, but only few with strong fundamentals, the Commissioner for Insurance, Fola Daniel, said has. Daniel told The Nation that the commission would be comfortable with just 10 viable underwriting firms which can compete globally. He said: “As a regulator, I am not interested in multitude. I do not want 200 insurance companies. If there would be 200 companies, the companies must be big, strong and comparable with what we have in other environment where insurance culture is deep. But if they are only 10 that are strong and they can respond to claims payment

Stories by Chuks Udo Okonta

promptly, come out with new products that will change the environment, come out with policies that will be environmental friendly and speak to the needs of the people, that is the kind of insurance industry we are looking at. So, whether they are many or not, I think the primary concern should be are they able to meet obligations as at when due?” He said most firms have begun to appreciate the need to be bigger and stronger, adding that about five companies are in merger talks. He said NAICOM has introduced measures to ensure that stronger companies remain operational.

The commissioner said the industry is been groomed for riskbased recapitalisation that would enable operators to raise capital in line with the business they underwrite. “NAICOM is not looking at the direction of fresh recapitalisation. We are rather looking at what we call risk-based capital.By risk-based capital, we would be asking an insurance company to recapitalise in accordance with the risk is it taking. “So, if you are an insurance company that does aviation and oil and gas underwriting, then you must have the wherewithal to absolve those risks. If you are an insurer that does motor insurance alone,

you do not need the same capital. That is the concept of risk-based recapitalisation. “That is what we have in other climes like Britain, United States and Canada. So, we need to migrate, because if we go to N20billion, and some insurance companies have capital in excess of N20billion, yet their ability to take large risks is very limited. So, why N20billion if you cannot underwrite businesses in aviation, oil and gas?” he said. He said the industry has been moving very slowly and that NAICOM is poised to speed up the pace at which the operators should operate. He noted that many opportunities have been created for

operators to develop their businesses. “We have opened a lot of windows, it is just for them to walk in and tap the opportunities. We are not going to sell insurance products as regulators.What we are going to do is really to create opportunities, which we have created. We have created many opportunities through the MDRI; the Federal Government also has created opportunities through the instrumentality of the Nigerian Content Bill. And the bill is a multimillion dollar, pounds and euro businesses. When you translate that to naira, you would see that the trillion premium target is achievable,” he added.

Brokers eye 70% of oil and gas underwriting


From left: President, Risk and Insurance Management Society of Nigeria (RIMSON) Mrs Effiom Ekaha; VicePresident (Treasurer); Mr Idowu Ogunsola; Grand Patron/Founder, Mr Oladipo Baily; Enterprise Risk expert, United Kingdom (UK), Mr Jloachim Adenusi; Vice-President/Secretary, Mrs Ese Aghoghovbia and Executive Secretary, Maria Samali, during the RIMSON/Conrad Clark enterprise risk management training in Lagos.

‘How infrastructural projects can attract pension fund’


HE establishment of investment grade instruments by the financial market operators would help in the investment of part of the over N2.45 trillion pension funds in infrastructural projects, the Director-General, National Pension Commission (PenCom,) Mohammad Ahmad, has said. In a statement, he said the Commission has reviewed its regulations on the investment of pension fund assets in recognition of the need to allow pension funds to be invested in projects that would align with the transformation agenda and Vision 20:2020 of the Federal Government. He stated that for the objective to be met,the financial market should come up with investment grade instruments that would attract investment of pension fund to infrastructural projects. He said to ensure judicious investments of the funds, PenCom has issued guidelines which stipulated investments windows to which the funds can be channelled into, adding that Pension Funds Administrators (PFAs) are mandated to invest with the objective of safety and maintenance of fair returns. Ahmad said the guidelines state that the funds can only be invested in bonds, treasury bills and other securities (including bonds denominated in foreign currencies) issued by the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or agencies and companies owned by the Federal Government, provided that the securities are fully guaranteed by the CBN or the government. He noted that bonds issued by eli-

gible state government agencies or wholly owned companies, should be invested provided such securities are fully guaranteed by Irrevocable Standing Payment Orders (ISPOs) or external guarantees by eligible banks or development finance institution, and infrastructure funds registered with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Other investment windows, he said, are bonds, debentures, redeemable/convertible preference shares and other debt instruments by corporate entities, including asset backed securities and infrastructure bonds, ordinary shares of public limited liability companies listed on a securities exchange registered by SEC. Also included are money market instruments of banks and discount houses, as well as commercial papers issued by corporate entities. He said infrastructure projects to which the funds can be invested shall be roads, railways, airports, ports, power and gas pipelines (and related facilities) and other infrastructure projects that may be approved by it from time to time. It stated that the projects should be awarded to a concessionaire through an open and transparent bidding process and should not be less than N5 billion in values. He noted that the projects, which the funds are invested should be managed by concessionaire with good track records, and should be in accordance with and meet due process of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) policy, certified by the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) and approved by the Federal Executive Council

(FEC). He said the pension industry operated in an atmosphere of favourable macroeconomic environment, adding that the capital market, which is one outlet for investing pension funds has continued to witness improved performance. He noted that pension fund investments in equities moved from N36.79 billion in 2009 to N60.09 billion in 2010 due to improved valuations and additional placements. “The bond market continued to serve as safety alternative for the investment of pension funds, which were mostly put in Federal Government bonds with terms of maturity of below seven years. Improved activities in the bond market were direct impact of government initiatives in this sector in order to encourage the development of the corporate bond market. “These included making investment income earned from the instrument tax-free, the liquidity status granted to state government bonds and the decrease in interest rate in September of 2010, which accounted for high coupon rate for new offers and higher marginal rates for reopened issues. Consequently, investors including pension operators switched from other investment outlets to the bond market thereby trading high returns for safety.” “However, one of the remarkable pictures of the bond market in 2010 was the surge in pension funds investment going to state governments bonds that increased by 134 per cent in 2010 over the placements in this investment class during the previous reporting period,” he said.

ROKERS are trying to key into about 70 per cent of the insurance risks in the oil and gas, the President, Lagos Area Committee of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) Mr Tunde Oguntade, has said. He told The Nation that the Nigeria Content Act has paved the way for insurers to venture into risks that they were unable to underwrite in the past. He said: “After signing the Local Content Act last year, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) appointed 34 brokers to handle their businesses. This was welcomed by the operators. At least the 34 brokers would learn some new things and developments in the market and we are hoping that many more brokers would benefit. This would boost our capacity building and growth. Underwriters locally too, now have a very good share of the market. We are looking at 70 per cent as stated in the law. That means that the 70 per cent premium that used to go outside the country in the past, now have to be with local underwriters. This would enable the underwriters to improve their capacity, train, source good rate and do corporate social responsibilities.” He said the content act allows much money to flow into the industry locally instead of the capital

flight experience in the past, adding that with the inflow of forex and new accounts in oil and gas as a result of the Cabotage Act, the industry will move forward. He said more insurers bidded for the insurance risks in the NNPC and that efforts were also made to encourage them to bid for the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) risks too. He added that the same thing happened in other areas where the Local Content Act has increased operators’ participation. “Given the publicity for the bid, a lot of brokers were able to run around, put their papers in place and we are seriously hoping that the numbers would increase. Note that it is not everybody that is licensed to do oil and gas, but we believe that with time the number would increase as the expatriate increases, the volume of businesses would also increase, the brokering fraternity would earn more from the oil and gas industry. “Also, because of the MDRI, we might be able to have much more money flowing into our purses, especially now that micro insurance is developing and a lot of people are beginning to appreciate insurance, even though very slow, we should be able to meet the target. Even if we meet the target, we would still be less than seven per cent of the expected penetration,” he added.

‘Dearth of skills bane of industry’s growth’


OST problems in the industry have been traced to quacks, the DirectorGeneral Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Mr Adegboyega Adepegba, has said. He told The Nation that it is dangerous to have people without basic skills in the market, adding that the institute is addressing the situation. He said the concern of the institute is to provide the human capital needed to take the industry to a higher level, adding that it has continued to make efforts in equipping operators with relevant skills. He said: “The institute’s major concern on industry’s Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) programme is to provide required human capital that is required to achieve the objectives of the initiative. If you study the document on MDRI, you would observe that there is a prime position for agents. The idea is to have agents as of old. Agents that would be in every part of the country, who would not concentrated in the urban areas. Before they can do that, they must

be trained with the requisite skills, even as insurance canvassers. “The CIIN is already working on this – training them, in the last two months, we have been able to train about 1,000 agents, and the target is to train between 5,000 and 8,000 this year. Insurance business is, indeed, good, but there is a certain havoc being wrecked on the practice by people who do not know what they are doing. It is dangerous to have people who do not have the basic skills or who are half-baked to be let loose into the market. “Most of the problem in insurance has come from the activities of people who canvass for business. For example, if you look at the motor insurance business, there is great havoc on the business in licence offices. So, if we have people who are adequately prepared and trained to go out and tell people what insurance is all about, the industry would continue to grow. From our projections and feedbacks, the MDRI is already on the route to success and whatever we are doing is to complement and ensure that the project is successful.”




• Mrs Odutola

-Adebola Orolugbagbe

How to make money as a self-publisher


UBLISHING contracts can take years to sign. Once endorsed, one can take a long time, usually about three years to get the books out. Chief Executive Officer, ServiceForts Publishing,Efe Imiren, will not want prospective authors to wait that long. She said a new author could publish his book himself in a short time. For her, one of the ways of making money is self-publishing. One keeps a much higher percentage of profits, compared to royalties from a publisher. A self publisher keeps between 70 per cent and 95 per cent of profits, in contrast to about five per cent to 10 per cent with traditional royalties from

Stories by Daniel Essiet

publishing houses. For her, selfpublishing is easy. She chooses a size for her book, format the manuscript to fit the size and upload it to a self-publisher software. Self-publishing is a rapidly evolving industry with lots of competitors, who are constantly throwing out new information. She, however, said books with well-defined topics and nice hooks do well, especially if they have a target audience that one can focus on. Preparing a book for publication requires an investment. These include costs of editing, printing and distributing of the book. She said self-publishing has

proven practical for authors, professionals, entrepreneurs, associations—anyone with specialised knowledge to sell. Many best sellers were given life by their authors, who elected to go the selfpublishing route. Once she has a brilliant idea, she researches it, establishes its viability, vision for its design and content; enlists a graphic designer, seeks printing quotes and produces a very marketable book. Over the years, she has mastered the business. She handles her promotions and sales. This helps her to increase her share of the profits, and owns the product rather than outsource the rights to an independent publisher. She is offering self-publishing training for authors. She said

there are some specific publishing tricks, strategies and techniques that will work for every book. She said would-be authors must be willing to learn and to follow the path of people who have actually succeeded. This requires understanding the many different marketing options and profit-generating avenues one can use to sell a book. She said there are many places to sell a book other than just bookstores. With electronic publishing, it is an opportunity for self-published authors to sell hundreds of thousands of e-books. Almost daily, it brings more digital modes for readers to obtain •Imiren books in non-print forms, creating more choices for readers, tional publishers. E-books are opportunities for self-published changing the way authors and readwriters, and challenges for tradi- ers connect.

Kwara plans database for SMEs


•Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed making a symbolic presentation of a N250 million cheque to officials of the 10 participating micro finance banks in the state.

Foundation to boost social technology entrepreneurs


HE Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is partnering with Co-Creation Hub Nigeria (CcHub), to encourage innovative ideas that could help transform the social technology space in the country. Through the deal, the foundation will contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria’s emerging tech industry from the “Silicon Lagoon” by providing managed seed funding to 20 technological ideas/ventures targeted at

typical social challenges faced by the average Nigerian. It will support the novel use of technology in several key areas of the economy including health care, education, agriculture, governance, inclusive technology, small business development and finance. By focusing on the early stages of high-impact, results-oriented ideas/ventures, the seed funding will support experimentation and prototype development to accel-

erate the adoption of the solutions. Each technology venture will then have the potential to become a self-sustaining profitable social enterprise. On its part, the Lagos-based CcHub will act as an incubator designed to accelerate the successful development of the funded social technology ventures through an array of business support resources and services developed and orchestrated by the hub’s management.

HE Kwara State government is building a database of small businesses in the state. This is to enable it to register formal and informal enterprises and help them access bank loans and boost economic growth. Senior Special Assistant on SMEs to the Governor, Alhaji Lukman Adams, said the data will provide information on registered businesses and encourage entrepreneurial activity. He said an SME desk has been established by the government to carry out an enterprise census/ Baseline studies of existing enterprise in the state. He said the data base of entrepreneurs and cooperative societies when completed, will assist investors to search for registered entrepreneurs and SMEs operating in the state. The initiative offers a good opportunity for small and medium companies with sound business models to raise funds in the domestic market. The desk is empowered to help the entrepreneurs, by studying the skills gap in various sectors and provide training to candidates, Adams said, adding that the SMEs are strategic to economic development since they produce goods and services that meet the peculiar needs of the people from the rural areas. He said the training of SMEs has become necessary because the substandard nature of

most of their operations has caused them to be uncompetitive in the local markets. He said the state is ready to support them through exposure to good management skills. Meanwhile, a rating database that would enhance effective performance monitoring and categorisation of all SMEs in the country, may soon be created by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). MSMEs’Rating Database would be done with Dun and Bradstreet, a world leading source of commercial information. It would provide a common standard for evaluation, serve as a catalyst for SMEs’ growth, access to finance and job creation in Nigeria. SMEDAN Director-General, Alhaji Muhammed Umar, said it was the objective of the agency to promote free information flow among stakeholders.According to the agency, the free flow of information between commercial banks and other specialised funding agencies would help in providing credit to MSMEs. ”The rating database will institute a reliable process and benchmark to assess and rate Nigerian MSMEs based on standardised criteria and policies, thereby providing reliable database for funding decisions by financial institutions,” it said.

Firm to empower Nigerians in auto diagnostic business


HE Managing Director, Garu Technologies Limited, Alhaji Lukman Garu, said the rapid advancement in the economy has increased the purchasing power of a growing segment of the populace, who can afford modern cars.

He said this makes the future outlook extremely positive for Nigerians who want to do car diagnostics business on a parttime. He said some parts of the vehicle that are serviced by automotivediagnostic equipment continues to grow, thus

sustaining demand levels for such equipment. He said his firm is partnering with Autosnap to bring in high level diagnostic equipment which Nigerians can use to scan cars and make a living. To him, China’s auto electronics industry’s rapid development has caused a global automotive electronics industry’s attention. He said his company has access to scanners, engine analysers and oscilloscopes, automotive diagnostic data, software and services, and other diagnostic equipment which young entrepreneurs can invest and use them to make money servicing car owners and mechanical workshops. With higher car sales, he said the diagnostic tools market is a fast-growing one. If it is too rapid growth this year of the words will inevitably affect the market for next year. He said his firm is planning a session for would-be entrepreneurs in car diagnostics business. He said some standard technologies have emerged and over time, have become robust. With large scale market,

getting involved in the sector makes it a win-win business diagnostics market is witnessing profound growth. It is coming from different regions and markets. Numerous technology innovations and investments are springing up in the industry. It is getting a push from every side and many factors are fuelling the growth. It is being impacted by continuous development in technology that has led to the introduction of innovative products. The United States still accounts for the majority of the activities of the market, followed by Europe, but the growth in the device industry has been spurred by China. On the balance, Nigeria is still lagging far behind in the industry.This has compelled many players to seek how to penetrate the local market with new diagnostic products. The major driving factor is the boom in the sale of cars using electronics and electrical parts. The Chinese entrepreneurs are taking frog leap among others.One of the firms, seeking



to create business opportunities for Nigerians is Autosnap Tech Company Limited, a key Chinese player in the sector. Vice- General Manager, Steve Luo, said the mission is to raise entrepreneurs who can provideprofessional services in a way that satisfy car owners and mechanic workshops. He said the diagnostics business presents the greatest market opportunity. He said automotive diagnostic products are in demand because cars are now driven by more electronic/electrical systems in cars. So, many car parts are operated electronically. these include airbag sen-

sors, roll-over preventing sensors, abs break-control system, night vision reorganisation system, cruise control system, automobile caesium ic, automobile micro-processor, fuel cells and some affiliated intellectual electronic devices etc. This promotes a shift towards technician-ownedhandhelddevices and the rising influence of software over hardware. He said the mission of the company is to raise entrepreneurs who can provide professional services in a way that satisfy car owners and mechanic workshops. For him, Nigeria diagnostics market is one of the lucrative markets to rollout the diagnosis business.





Hapless victims •Leaving victims of bomb blasts to languish and beg for support is the limit of insensitivity


T is bad enough that thousands of innocent Nigerians, especially in parts of Northern Nigeria have been killed in sporadic bomb blasts in the last two years without any reprieve in sight yet; but leaving the victims of these blasts in the lurch without prompt medical, financial and psychological succour is insensitive, to say the least. This is what seems to be happening as reports filtered out last week that the victims of the last Easter Sunday explosions in Kaduna, from which no fewer than 36 deaths have been recorded, have been left to their plight by the state and federal governments. “Nobody assisted us with anything since their admittance to the hospital,” Unguwa Ali, whose brother, Mansur Ali, was a victim of the blast told re-

‘It is bad enough that thousands of innocent Nigerians, especially in parts of Northern Nigeria have been killed in sporadic bomb blasts in the last two years without any reprieve in sight yet; but leaving the victims of these blasts in the lurch without prompt medical, financial and psychological succour is insensitive, to say the least’

porters three days after the incident. He had paid for drugs and other medical consumables; but he was having a lot of difficulties keeping up payments for the treatment because of the nature of the injuries sustained by his brother, he said. Ali was not alone in his predicament. Many other relatives of victims who spoke to the press expressed shock at the response of the Kaduna State Government to the blast victims. According to them, the deputy governor of the state had visited them at the various hospitals and promised them assistance, but nothing was forthcoming days after. However, the state government, responding through its spokesman, noted that government was still compiling the list of those affected, promising to refund the medical bills incurred by the victims. This manner of government’s response to a dire emergency situation is shocking. We are particularly worried that the Federal Government has shown such unconscionable insensitivity to the plight of these hapless Nigerians cut down in the cross-fire of Nigeria’s socio-political imbroglio. On several occasions on this page in the last one year, we have urged the Federal Government to properly equip the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to enable it respond adequately to emergencies. It does not seem the agency can rise to the challenge posed especially by the activities of terrorists in the country. NEMA should operate in such a way as to be

able to move in a flash to take charge of the victims of terrorist explosions anywhere in the country. We expect detailed attention to be paid the victims; the dead and the injured. We expect that proper attention be paid to their immediate relatives like orphaned children, widows, widowers and parents. The agency will also consider the extent of damage to properties and sources of livelihood, with a view to initiating a process of quick remediation. We also expect proper tracking and documentation of these details for future reference purposes and part of conflict resolution process. It is noteworthy that it was only in the case of the Abuja UN Headquarters building that we witnessed emergency rescue and ferrying of critically injured victims abroad for treatment. Negligence and outright abandonment seem to be the lot of many of the bomb blast victims in the last two years. The Federal Government has yet to enunciate any clear-cut policy to manage these innocent victims of a failing State and avail them some succour and comfort. If government’s capacity to protect the citizenry has largely failed so far because it is being confronted by a shadowy enemy, what is the excuse for not taking good care of the traumatised members of the populace? Again, we urge the Federal Government to move now to give victims of terrorism immediate succour and quality lease of life. That is the least we expect.

Take a bow •Omoigui-Okauru steps down from the helm of FIRS after a stellar outing


N other climes where institutions are functional and a ‘B’ automatically comes after an ‘A’, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru would have only done the norm of serving out her term as chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS). Indeed, it would have been a dreary job of simply reporting the annual tax receipts and bringing to book, a few cases of tax rogues who insist on trying to beat a mean system that works like a perfect machine. In better ordered climes, the task of a chief tax man is fairly easy and less complicated; it does not require any especial gumption to carry out commendably. Not so in Nigeria. Here, institutions are decayed and systems are twisted to the point that to get a government agency to work, one may well be whipping a dead horse. It is in the light of this that we commend Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru who has just completed two terms of eight years as chairman of the FIRS. Before her ascension to the top job in 2004, the agency, like most others, was mired in lethargic bureaucracy and corruption while tax evasion and unbridled collusion between tax officials and taxpayers was the norm. Because it was a revenue generating entity, it was worse than the archetypal government agency. The rot was indeed, deep. Apparently determined to make a difference from the outset, Mrs OmoiguiOkauru empanelled a Working Group

which dusted up past reform panels’ reports. It was the recommendations from this group that became the foundation for the reforms and turnaround of the FIRS in the last eight years. She seemed quite clear-headed about the changes she sought to effect at the federal tax office. She started off imbuing the FIRS with a new, refreshing identity – rebranding as it is commonly known – a new logo, new workplace ambience and of course, culture. There was even a new vision for the agency which is: “to operate an efficient transparent tax system that optimises tax revenue collection and voluntary compliance.” Part of the key reform strategy was to get a certain level of autonomy for the agency in order to improve staff welfare and better motivate them to perform even better and meet set revenue targets, but more important, to reduce the temptation for staff to finagle with tax returns. Intensive training of staff became a norm and a new work ethic evolved. The entire tax administration system became cashless and computerised as it is obtainable in best practice environments the world over. What may however be considered most far-reaching of the reforms at FIRS was the passage of the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) of 2011 which was seven years in making. It forms part of a comprehensive legal framework which includes five other Acts

passed in the National Assembly during Omoigui-Okauru’s tenure. Working with several other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to have so many Tax Bills passed into law is no mean feat. It is a mark of her tenacity and determination to lead effectively and bring about sustainable change. In the end, the results of these deliberate efforts were astounding. FIRS’ annual tax receipts soared astronomically and targets, as set by the Federal Government, were surpassed year-onyear all through her tenure. We commend Mrs Omoigui-Okauru and her team at the FIRS to other MDAs across the country. They have simply proved what difference quality leadership can make in the polity.

‘In better ordered climes, the task of a chief tax man is fairly easy and less complicated ... Not so in Nigeria. Here, institutions are decayed and systems are twisted to the point that to get a government agency to work, one may well be whipping a dead horse. It is in the light of this that we commend Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru who has just completed two terms of eight years as chairman of the FIRS’

From the Birthplace of Big Brother


HE George W. Bush team must be consumed with envy. Britain’s government is preparing sweeping new legislation that would let the country’s domestic intelligence agencies monitor all private telephone, e-mail, text message, social network and Internet use in the country, bypassing requirements for judicial warrants. As with all such legislation on both sides of the Atlantic, sponsors promote the bill as a necessary new tool to keep the public safer from would-be terrorists, child molesters and common criminals. We are not convinced. What such sweeping new powers surely would do is compromise the privacy and liberty of lawabiding British citizens without reasonable justification. Proper warrants, in Britain, as in the United States, are not hard to obtain whenever there is reasonable cause. And without such cause, the authorities should not have unchecked power to snoop on private conversations. As Britain’s ongoing hacking scandals demonstrate, unflattering private information in police hands can be selectively leaked or bartered to unprincipled media outlets with painful consequences. The measures now being contemplated would betray the election promises of both parties in Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition to be more protective of traditional British civil liberties than their Labor Party predecessors. When Tony Blair proposed similar legislation in 2006, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, both then in opposition, rightly opposed it and Labor backed down. The government’s proposed law will not be unveiled until next month. But the British press is full of semi-official leaks. The Sunday Times of London reported a few weeks ago that Internet companies would be required to install hardware that would let intelligence agencies routinely monitor headers and patterns of communication and give the agencies the capacity to monitor the contents of individual communications without a warrant. There is still time for more reasonable voices to prevail. David Davis, for example, a leading Conservative backbencher, has publicly challenged the proposal for not focusing on terrorists or criminals, but on “absolutely everybody.” He rightly characterizes it as “an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary innocent people in vast numbers.” Britain has no formal equivalent of America’s constitutional guarantee against unreasonable search, although that concept is rooted in English common law. But Britain has its own long and admirable civil liberties traditions going back to the Magna Carta of 1215. With London’s Olympics just months away, we recognize the need for vigilance against terrorist plots. But this legislation would go much too far. It needs to be rethought to protect the privacy of innocent British citizens. – New York Times

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IR: Some northern politicians made threats that they will make Nigeria ungovernable for President Jonathan if the zoning formula of the PDP is changed and if Jonathan became President. And since Jonathan became President, Nigerians have been sleeping with their two eyes opened. Many police officers, soldiers, SSS officers and other law enforcement officers have lost their lives in the course of fighting Boko Haram. Head of International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in Nigeria, Zoran Jovanovic, puts the number of those that have died from activities of the sect at more than 1000 people. The Boko Haram is beyond what all our law enforcement agencies can handle. For instance, Boko Haram stormed Louis Edet House, the headquarters of Police in Abuja with bombs. There were a lot of causalities; even the former IGP narrowly escaped death. The former IGP Hafiz Ringim was retired compulsorily in the aftermath of the escape of Kabiru Sokoto alleged to have masterminded the Madallah bomb blast on Christmas day last year. Police Commissioner Zakari Biu was also dismissed from police. Yet, these have not put an end to Boko Haram crisis. Also many people have been calling for the sack of National Security Adviser, Andrew Azazi, but I don‘t think this will bring solution to the Boko Haram menace. The acting IGP MD Abubakar has been doing his best since he assumed office. In the process he lost DIG John Haruna and other gallant officers. Likewise all the service chiefs and DG SSS have been up and doing to overpower the sect members all to


Time to dialogue with Boko Haram no avail. Even the Nigeria Army has reportedly recruited the services of ‘professional dogs’ in fighting the sect; I don`t know how far the dogs can go in fighting Boko Haram. I call on the Federal Government to look for the way to dialogue with the sect to stop the killing of innocent citizens. Boko Haram members are not spirits, they are human beings living among us and I am sure northern leaders know them and

how to reach them. Sometimes in March, Dr Datti Ahmed and Mallam Nafiu BabaAhmed of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), offered to represent the Boko Haram in talks with the government. This initiative ended without any tangible result. According to SCSN, there was neither sincerity nor commitment on the part of the government for a peaceful deal. In addition, they said that the reporter who facilitated the

contacts between SCSN and Boko Haram recently cried out that his life was being threatened from unknown quarters. They also claimed that the details of what they thought were secret talks were published in newspapers. Consequently, the SCSN withdrew from the talks, while the sect itself has forsworn further negotiation. I still believe Federal Government can arrange another means of meeting Boko Haram. This is a political

Obasanjo, Ladoja and pounded yam meal IR: All across Yoruba land, pounded yam is king among all food delicacies. Pounded yam is popular among the Yoruba people of the South-West, but not so among the Ijebus and Egbas, so it beats me how former President Olusegun Obasanjo became a lover of pounded yam. The Balogun of Owu is said to like pounded yam so much that he requests it on what he considered to be special occasions. What is my concern with Obasanjo’s love for pounded yam? It was reported some weeks ago that Chief Obasanjo was in Ibadan at the home of former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi


Ladoja on a visit. Earlier on, he had phoned Senator Ladoja’s wife to express his desire to eat pounded yam in their house on his visit. When Obasanjo finally arrived at the home of the Ladojas, his visit was not all about pounded yam but politicking. He reportedly came to prevail on the former Governor to return to the People’s Democratic Party. Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja was previously a staunch member of PDP and had been elected Governor of Oyo State on the platform of the party in 2003. However, things fell apart between Senator Ladoja and late Chief Lamidi Adedibu, erstwhile

strongman of Ibadan politics and one of the PDP godfathers in Oyo State. The rift between Ladoja and Adedibu degenerated and polarised the Oyo State House of Assembly with two factions emerging, and in a fierce battle for party and state control, the Adedibu faction commenced an impeachment proceeding against Ladoja and Obasanjo took side with Adedibu. This led to his impeachment by Adedibu’s loyalists in 2005. It took a legal battle of eleven months and up to the Supreme Court to restore Senator Ladoja as Governor in Oyo State. The same Obasanjo who rebuffed all entreaties on behalf of Ladoja

World Bank presidency: a postscript


IR: I followed the World Bank President selection process with keen interest. I stayed glued to my computer, reading all the news flashes that have to do with the World Bank president’s election. I did that kind of tarry night only in 1996 Olympic semifinal match between Nigeria and Brazil in Atlanta where Nigeria defeated Brazil in a thrilling match that positioned Nigeria differently in the world soccer map. This time,

problem that needs political solution. The Federal Government needs political will to stop this menace. Whatever it will take President Jonathan to meet Boko Haram successfully, he should please do it because of the blood of innocent people that are being shed daily. Federal Government must meet with 19 northern governors, northern elites/leaders, religious and traditional rulers on how to stop this bombing. Some people have been calling for Sovereign National Conference; I will also join in calling for it if it will bring a lasting peace to our dear nation. Our President, please we need peace. • Ajiboye John Tosin, Osogbo Osun State.

it was Nigeria versus US not in soccer but in international politics. Like you all know, US muscled her way through but they did not win! Yes, US lost! They lost their moral locus standi of advising other countries about democracy. They showed to the whole world especially the emerging markets and developing countries that they have not outgrown discrimination and hatred to less developed countries. They unabashedly told the world

that they cannot practice what they preach and that equality does not exist in their dictionary. The fact that almost everyone stated that Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a better candidate tells it all. It was a great defeat to the world leaders and a blow to the world in general because the best did not take the job because she is from a poor country. But the sheer zeal shown by Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria, Africaespecially South Africa and the rest

of the developing countries has changed the politics of the World Bank and even International Monetary Fund (IMF) forever. I hope the world have learnt something from this exercise. I also hope that the Third World countries have learnt a lesson as they are the only people that will develop their country as the rich countries are not ready to help them. • Uwalaka Temple South Korea

then, including that of Ladoja’s aged mother and late Pa Alayande, now wants Ladoja back in PDP after discussions over a bowl of pounded yam! There are enough reasons to worry about Obasanjo’s penchant for eating with friends he would later stab in the back. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was the first. I remember during the PDP convention in 2006 at the Eagle Square in Abuja, Obasanjo held Atiku’s hand as they were dancing among other party faithful to dispel the rumour of a crack in their relationship. Few months after, Atiku was hounded out of government, but for the courts that saved him. Next was Chief Audu Ogbe, former Chairman of PDP (now in ACN) who was removed barely 24 hours after eating pounded yam with Obasanjo, and then late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, who was sacked as Senate President 24 hours after eating pounded yam with Obasanjo, who even danced with Okadigbo’s wife! Senator Ladoja is the latest friend to eat pounded yam with Obasanjo. The Senator needs not fall into Obasanjo’s hands the second time. • Rotimi Adedayo Surulere-Lagos




Psychiatrists: ‘Two fighting’; Merit and Okonjo-Iweala: Is it too late to save Nigeria? PHCN: Strike, no strike- no light jo!


S a son of a psychiatrist, late Dr AA Marinho of Yaba Psychiatric Hospital for many years, I am uncomfortably amazed. Nigeria is Tony probably the only Marinho country where ‘two fighting’ can occur publicly among medical specialists over an appointment to head a psychiatric hospital. What level of psychiatric care can go on there? Of course one is right, the other wrong. The question for quick ministerial intervention is ‘Who is the one?’Na wa O! My father, one of the first four Nigerian psychiatrists with Professor Adeoye Lambo, Dr Tolani Asuni and Dr Oshodi would be happy that there are now so many psychiatrists that they can fight over a post. Is that progress? By now the results of the World Bank Presidency race will be out and you will know more than I did when I submitted this article. However the article is still relevant no matter who wins, so please read on. What hypocrisy we demonstrate in Nigeria! Our NASS members are drunk with public wealth, Okonjo Iweala, OI, the CBN Governor and all citizens have warned that their excesses and those of the federal, states and LGAs have gobbled up our excess crude reserves while the people they ‘serve’ wallow in poverty of less than $1/day. When OI sees ‘smiling NASS members’ supporting her, she should think twice or 10 times. Nothing goes for nothing. Perhaps they want to come to her at her Washington HQ as a reward for support or expect her to get their children jobs away from the devastation threatened in Nigeria in the near future. Perhaps NASS is anxious to kick OI upstairs for three reasons. One, being in far away Washington, she will get out of their very stylish hairdos and thus allow more corruption money and more business as usual to prevail and allow Nigeria to sink even lower than 133rd on the ‘ease of doing business’ and higher than the third most corrupt country

worldwide. Two, she may even get Nigeria more ‘grant’ money for them to ‘chop’. Three she may get another foreign debt cancellation allowing them to go on another spending spree. Nigeria’s politicians surrendered merit for zoning for 50 years in education, employment, leadership, the military, etc! Paradoxically, unable to win by insisting on ‘zoning’, the World Bank Presidency to Africa, the Nigerian elite jumping on the ‘Okonjo-Iweala for World Bank Presidency’ bandwagon shamelessly shouting that ‘Merit’ should take precedence over the 60 year old practice of ‘zoning’ the Presidency to the traditional ‘owner’s corner’ –the USA. Also paradoxically, Nigeria dares to claim to have ‘produced’ someone of the skills of ‘OI’. We all know that she is a self-made woman who could easily have been a casualty statistic of the Biafran War. Nigeria has a habit of claiming its children’s success as its own even though it obstructs the growth of its flowering successes. Almost all of Nigerians fantastic foreign based experts, male and female, are self-made, self-educated, self-developed and self-funded with no input or positive contact from Nigeria except the negative push to go abroad for tap water, electricity from every light switch and a guaranteed pension without hindrance from kleptomaniacs stealing N183b from one source. So, Nigerians dare talk about ‘merit’ at last, and even insist on ‘merit’ to countries founded on merit, pragmatic politics and of course, slavery? It is Nigeria’s long abandonment of ‘merit’ as the yardstick which stagnated us in our backwardness with zero to 20% pass in national examinations and 2,000Mw of power in 2012 when South Africa has 45,000Mw and we need 100,000Mw. Does ‘merit’ not demand that Prof Nnaji initiates the massive use of solar power which is low maintenance and nearly idiot proof? Perhaps OI will give Africa the massive WB solar loans needed? We laugh about our criminal underdevelopment even as we kill through negligence and die in our darkness, on our roads and in our hospitals and schools of ’merit preventable mental and moral and actual

mortality. It is good to apply ‘merit’ for international posts among United Nations and World Bank members but we should apply ‘merit’ at home as well. Happily the President has ordered the advertisement of the posts of Head of Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Head National Health Insurance Scheme. Hurray! I wish we could do so for NASS, State and LGA members. USA President Obama has moved shrewdly using an ‘ethnic origin’ masterstroke to get both US and Asian votes. If Obama had chosen a female Dr Kim, Obama probably would have come out of this the victor. The US, Europe and Japan have the majority- apparently 54 percent. It will be an interesting dynamic if we get women as head of WB and IMF. This is real ‘Hormonal Power Shift’ and a breaking of the glass ceiling which prevented women aspiring to the political and business high ground. At least we will not see them cavorting in hotel rooms. What happens in Nigeria’s ministerial secret guest houses? If OI has won, and you will know by now, we have the necessary ‘genetic or hormonal power shift’ to change the world and we are in for exciting times even if Nigeria never changes to ‘merit’. A 20 year old Nigerian asked why PHCN/NEPA has been on strike for the past 20 years. PHCN: Strike, no strike -no light jo! Maybe if they strike we will get some light?

‘It is Nigeria’s long abandonment of ‘merit’ as the yardstick which stagnated us in our backwardness with zero to 20% pass in national examinations and 2,000Mw of power in 2012 when South Africa has 45,000Mw and we need 100,000Mw’

Airfare Probe! ‘No Free Tickets Pls’


EFORE it went on recess a fortnight ago, the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, directed the British Airways, BA, to either reduce its ticket prices on the lucrative LagosLondon route or consider shutting its operations in Nigeria. At the public hearing in Abuja on the disparity between airfares in Nigeria and other African countries, a thoroughly incensed Nkiruka Onyejeocha, chairman of the committee, gave Kola Olayinka, the BA’s country general manager a marching order: “Our people are suffering and they are complaining. Reduce your fares or quit; it is either you tell us that you will reduce them or you quit.” The committee had summoned foreign airline operators to address the issue of high fares charged and alleged maltreatment of Nigerian passengers. The committee said that Nigerians could no longer bear the high fares charged by international airlines operating in the country, particularly BA, which is said to be the most patronised. Besides the high and “unbearable fares”, the committee also observed that Nigerians were subjected to shabby treatment by the airlines compared to the situation in other countries in the sub-region where they offered better services. Ghana was used as an example. The committee noted that a first class ticket on the Lagos-London-Lagos route of BA is $9,325, while AccraLondon-Accra is $5,085, showing a fare differential of $4,239 paid by Nigerians for the same distance. It noted that while a business ticket on the Lagos-London route was

$4,092, it was sold for $3,036 on Accra-London route, a difference of $1,055. The premium economy class also attracts a difference of $92.02 between what is paid in Nigeria and what is paid in Ghana. Olayinka might have stirred the hornet’s nest at the commencement of the session, when he claimed that “EU Anti-Trust Laws” prevent an airline operator from discussing prices and strategies at any meeting where other operators are present. When pressed further, Olayinka, who remained adamant all through, said: “This issue can lead one to jail; all the airlines are aware of this. It is difficult and almost impossible to discuss pricing in the presence of other airlines”. Olayinka’s response attracted angry comments from some members of the committee. So much was the controversy that Onyejeocha asked him whether the anti-trust laws were superior to the laws of Nigeria. Olayinka replied that he would talk when other operators were sent out of the hall. The panel obliged. Even at that, Olayinka still reportedly declined to give a direct response to a question on whether BA would consider reducing its fares in Nigeria. Rather, he said that “the competition and the environment” were the factors that determined BA’s fares. When asked how the factors he enumerated were better in Ghana than in Nigeria, which is described as “the busiest route for BA”, Olayinka did not give a clear response. He, however, told the committee that any possibility of fare reduction depended on the

‘Ironically, here is Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa that is endowed with abundant natural resources, throwing punches over airfare while ignoring the shameful fact that the country does not have a national carrier’

outcome of the inter-governmental discussions currently going on between the Nigeria’s Ministry of Aviation and the British Department of Transport. Olayinka claimed that the fact that BA made more money in Nigeria than it did in Ghana, “does not mean that prices will tumble.” He told the committee that BA had no serious competition on the route, as there were fewer airlines. On his own part, Harold Demuren, the director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, informed the committee that BA frequently violated the regulations of the authority. “One of the issues we have battled with them is passenger fuel surcharge. This is not excusable because this is not taxed.” He said that BA’s total surcharges amounted to $524, which was borne by Nigerian travellers. He also said that the NCAA was conducting a holistic investigation into the matter and would have to compel all airlines to comply with the rules and regulations of the industry. Going by the altercations between the committee and the airlines’ representatives so far, it is apparent that the situation had reached a make-or-break point. Onyejeocha did not hide his annoyance all through the session, while Olayinka also held tenaciously to his own opinion on the out-of-this-world fare prices. I am sure it is not the high fare price that is really at the bottom of this controversy, rather, it is the doublestandard approach. Ironically, here is Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa that is endowed with abundant natural resources, throwing punches over airfares while ignoring the shameful fact that the country does not have a national carrier. This is akin to treating ringworm while neglecting leprosy. Now, that Olayinka is holding on to his “Anti-Trust Laws” ‘which prevents him from disclosing factors which

influence BA’s pricing regime, how do we approach the issue? In the first instance, Olayinka has refused to quote the relevant sections of his anti-trust laws to buttress its point. The other airlines who were present at the hearing may have found a safe haven or sanctuary in Olayinka’s alibi. In marketing, I believe what influences pricing is the totality of production costs, including cost of delivery and the charges imposed by either government or regulatory bodies and then a little mark-up for profit. Agreed that the Nigerian environment might not be too business-friendly, but I think there must be standardization in the operations of these airlines, especially landing cost as well as other charges that are borne by the airlines. But beyond the razzmatazz that is going on in the National Assembly, there could be some underlining factors peculiar to Nigeria which has shot up air fares. Among these factors could be corruption. I am sure some unscrupulous Nigerians may be the brains behind the whole rip-off. Come to think of it, this practice has been going on since Godknows-when. Why has the whole thing suddenly come to the front burner in national discourse? What has the relevant government agencies at the airports been doing? Now we hear Demuren, complaining about one misdemeanor or another, why has he suddenly woken up to this grave reality? Again, if I may ask: are domestic airfares in Nigeria not criminally high? What about the nonchalance and disdain with which the airlines treat passengers on the domestic routes? What has those in authority, done about all these anomalies? Perhaps, the House Committee should have done its homework properly before calling for a public probe or an open hearing on the fare issue. If that had been done,

Dele Agekameh the issue of “anti-trust laws” governing the European Union’s airline business, which Olayinka successfully used to keep the committee in check, would have been properly understood. It is not enough to attempt to pitch the antitrust law with the laws of Nigeria. At least, there are no price regulatory laws in place in Nigeria, otherwise, all these cut-throat prices we experience wouldn’t have been there in the first place. Now that the Assembly members are back from recess, my fear is that the airfare issue may have reached a dead end except the House Committee is determined to get to the root of this problem. In that case, we must pray very hard that “no free first class tickets’ will fly around among the members. I am sure a bitter lesson could have been learnt in Herman Hembe’s case during the Capital Market probe. Those who are being questioned over this fare hike operate in Nigeria. This is a country where anything goes. If we want outsiders to take us seriously, we must put our house in order. So, no free first class tickets please! And no mouthwatering estacodes should be thrown around as well. What is worth doing is worth doing well! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)



EDITORIAL/OPINION ‘Governance is about the ability of those bestowed with leadership positions to harness all these so-called distractions into a viable alternative for an effective service delivery. Without the distractions, a leader could fall into the hands of psychophants and bootlickers who will eventually consume the leader. A good leader should holistically look at the distractions, pick the genuine ones, correct them and move on while ignoring those that are selfish and self centred. God help Nigeria, amen. From Abdullahi, Abuja’

• Jonathan

For Olatunji Dare Just read your master piece. Nothing to add or substract. One distraction that still baffles me was the war never to swear-in a vice- president when principal was demised. See how ‘ordinary’ Malawi has rubbished us. Not Ghana this time. Gaint of Africa, indeed. Anonymous. I just read your article on Distractions to Mr President. I must commend your piece. You, indeed, hit the nail on the head. Keep it up! Anonymous. Governance is about the ability of those bestowed with leadership positions to harness all these so-called distractions into a viable alternative for an effective service delivery. Without the distractions, a leader could fall into the hands of psychophants and bootlickers who will eventually consume the leader. A good leader should holistically look at the distractions, pick the genuine ones, correct them and move on while ignoring those that are selfish and self centred. God help Nigeria, amen. From Abdullahi, Abuja. If Jonathan wants to perform, he should not listen to distractions. Else, he will be like a snake that crawls on a rock without impacts. Anonymous. Distraction is the main factor pulling Nigeria down. Military regime had a field day in Nigeria and nobody distracted them; at the end, they achieved nothing. So, Jonathan should forget all the distractions by those who want to reap from where they did not sow and forge ahead. Even 400 Almajiri schools is a waste of time and resources. Let him think of other files on his table as nobody is willing to attend that school, period. From Oliver. It is true that the ruling party has no answer to poverty and diseases because it has embraced a social system that feeds on poverty and misery. The problem is that the ruling party can never be removed through the ballot box. It means that a one-party state has come. Will the capitalist world allow violent means? Ask Mali. From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna. You missed out two important selfinflicted distractions — the seven-years single tenure proposal and the clamp down on Timipre Sylva. Anonymous. Your concern about Jonathan is quite justified. But the man himself is not helping matters. He has not been able to muster courage as a C-in-C and deal with any of his distractors, even those arrested in the act. Now, Nigerians are slaughtered daily, even in their churches, as if no one is in charge. Anyone who fails to use his powers his powers will use him. Thanks. From Mr Onuzulu, Topo, Badagry. I never knew you could see through men and tell their minds; being able to conceive what GEJ, as you fondly call him, would have done in the state legislature. Where there are no distractions? Abi! I think you’ve a talent that is beyond intelligence. You amaze me. From Nseabasi King, Uyo. Distractions on GEJ was marvelous. In fact, after reading it , I wonder why distractions should be his companion. In the first instance, he did not prepare for the office. Secomdly, he sees himself as an ethnic leader. Thirdly, he surrounded

himself with sycophants. Fourthly, he speaks before thinking. The combination of these is a great impediment to successful governance. Honestly, these distraction will continue as long as he has the biceps to confront the daunting problems. I synpathise with him because the enemy at work vowed to make the country ungovernable for him. He should go for tutorials in the art of governance or, at best, go back to the classroom where he rightly belongs. From Ayoola Apelogun. I think Mr President allowed himself to be distracted. He should know that public office is a trust and, therefore, should be careful in entertaining every advice given to him by those illegal advisers masqurading as saints. From Ugwu K.O, Apo-Garki, Abuja. I am convinced that when President Jonathan made the request, he had no idea that doing so was illegal. Just like the SEC director-general had no idea her outburst that she gave Hembe tickets to go for a conference even if he had gone, was an unlawful act. That is the same reason Ibori thinks that, somehow, to launder money is not a serious crime, only corruption is. Unfortunately, for him, he is facing trial in a country where the rule of law works. Then, look at Sanusi using taxpayers money to launder his image, for his Emir of Kano aspirations. In all this, however, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Anonymous. Your piece is informative and entertaining. A chronicle. It’s all about life. History. There can be no dull time. May God guide you and help the President. From Emmanuel Ogolo I am inspired with your write up GEJ:Distratraction, distraction everywhere. Time has come for Nigerian jounalists to analyse thier leaders without fear of molestation. More grease to your elbow. From Atiku Ibrahim Adamawa State. The changes we need are not by human energy or sweat, we must allow God to remain as the doer of the work. Jonathan is only a vessel to accomplish God’s purposes in Nigeria. Let us labour and pray that God should make His enemies, His footstool ad let the plan of God come to pass. Anonymous Re: Distractions everywhere. Our President though a cool dude lacks vision and direction. This is made worse by his sickening PDP (big for nothing party). Jonathan lacks the energy to govern; he is too slow for my liking. God bless the soul of Murtala Muhammed. Remembr those firespitting protuding eyeball. The administratn would not condone any indiscipline. That was leadership at its best. From Dare. O. Owo. Ondo State.

For Segun Gbadegesin I am truely blessed by your piece What really matters; and I remain eternally grateful to you and the Man of God. Anonymous. At a time like this in our nation where the wrong messages take dominance over words of truth and life; at a time when men and women of goodwill are silent; at a time when nothing matters but worldly and

material prosperity is considered in place of prosperity of the soul, these are the words we require to bring us back. Anonymous. Your write-up is a masterpiece of enduring value and ennoblement. It should never be missing on the pages of reputable newspapers. More power to your elbow. From Ogunnaya Chinomso, Umuahia. Congrats, sir, on your son’s wedding. I can only wish that your family and friends will tap to the fullest the wisdom God has blessed you with. I’ve become an unrepentant addict to your column as the wisdom in them, your expression of views and the passion you have for our country couldn’t but turn me into a veritable addict. God bless you more as you serve as light in this blessed land blighted by gloom and deep nihilism. From Hassan Musa, Abuja. Let me be quick to remind you advocates of disintegration and other matters to borrow from North and South Korea, East and West Germany. There are no more groundnut pyramids to service or build refineries and the declaration that Nigeria is getting broke. Better get your act together and go to farming instead of using your pen to cause disharmony. Anonymous. The piece is thought-provoking. How many happy homes exist in the neo-colonial capitalist economy which is based on irresponsible individualism? Wealth is in the hands of a handful. How can truth and justice exist? The truth is that Nigeria is in trouble because of a social system that has dehumanised the majority. That is why the poor have to share their wives with other men in order to survive. From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna. The tragedy of the rat race is that we miss out on what matters the most.We need to spend quality time with our families and work at building happy homes. From Bunmi Hansen- Ayoola. I really enjoyed your reportage of the reverend’s talk at your child’s wedding. To tell you, sir, I have cut it to save in my eternal book. Fantastic! I wish I were there. My best wishes to them. Cheers also to Pastor Ojelade. From Jimi Solanke. Re:What really matters. Thanks, Professor Gbadegesin for your highly insightful article. As a man making plans towards entering the marriage institution in the nearest future, I have come to realise that one can associate a dysfunctional society to the high prevalence of dysfunctional homes. As a result, I really agree with you that if families are made up of homes that are free from the blight of wrong, or made up of homes that are joyous with love and songs, then the society will be better for it, for the products of such homes will strive to build a nation where truth and justice reign. That is what Nigerian homes must strive for in order to have such a Nigerian Society. From Olumide Soyemi from Bariga.

For Tunji Adegboyega I read your piece on the late Omoboriowo and my conclusion is that you are not a true son of Yoruba or else your thinking would

‘Distraction is the main factor pulling Nigeria down. Military regime had a field day in Nigeria and nobody distracted them; at the end, they achieved nothing. So, Jonathan should forget all the distractions by those who want to reap from where they did not sow and forge ahead. Even 400 Almajiri schools is a waste of time and resources. Let him think of other files on his table as nobody is willing to attend that school, period. From Oliver’

• Omoboriowo

have been more reasonable. I never met Chief Omoboriowo in his lifetime but I advise you to dig into his life, especially while he worked as a young man. Also, ask for the reason he was elected/nominated DG in the old Ondo State. From Jola, AdoEkiti. An adage in Hausa says: “If an old man won’t be ashamed to ride a donkey, why would a donkey be ashamed to throw him down”. Anonymous. Tunji, let’s call a spade by its name. How can someone who dumped Awo in his lifetime now claim to be an Awoist? Omoboriowo or Owoboriomo had joined the league of reactionaries since 1983 and has never retraced his steps to the progressive camp till the end. He was not an Awoist but a ‘mainstreamer’. From Alhaji Adeboye Lawal, Felele, Ibadan. Your write-up on Omoboriowo has exposed the hypocrisy of speaking well of the dead among Nigerians even when such a person had done something wrong when alive. Thank God, for the grace given you to analyse the whole scenario aright. From Bimbo, Ijebu-Igbo. I was satisfied when I read your write-up last Sunday on Chief Omoboriowo. Although I was in the secondary school then, but for you to have written the truth of the matter is a plus. It is acceptable to God that you have changed your mindset that discussing the good works or otherwise of the dead could save the living from perdition. From Taiwo Ibitoye. The piece is thought-provoking. The truth is that the ruling class cannot survive without telling lies against history. Are the existing elder statesmen not the ones who supported and still support the exploitative social system that has halted progress? From Amos Ejimonye. Tunji, what is the meaning of Owoboriomo? There are thousands bearing that surname. So, why painting the name black because of only one man? Anonymous. I enjoyed your article published on April 8, on those armed robbers who also reportedly robbed those innocent students, and support your recommendation that the robbers’ weapon of destruction should be chopped off. That will serve as a lesson to the others. Anonymous. I doubt if you are a true Yoruba son, Tunji. I guess you are one of those Westernoriented, too-know cultureless educated type. Otherwise, you would have really appreciated the import of not speaking ill of the dead. It is not even about a man whose virtuous life you would have thanked God you witnessed if you had met him one-onone. Have you ever seen a true Christian saint before? At any rate, speak ill of the man the more, Tunji, but I can tell you certainly, the angels in heaven are in a frenzy celebration of a man I was privileged to meet many times before his death. You may need to borrow a leaf from Tatalo Alamu’s balanced reporting piece about a man who rejected juicy ministerial appointment from Shagari in the latter period of the sordid event in 1983. Or, how else can one exhibit non-money-induced political virtue in our contemporary polity! From Prince Adeusi Poju, Akure, Ondo State.




NGO trains 120 women

Lawmaker sensitises constituents on hard drugs

Anioma rallies constituents at feast







Page 25



•Senator Muhammed


N100,000 for skill trainees in FCT

O fewer than 473 persons have graduated from a skill acquisition training programme in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. They were also given N100,000 each as take-off grant to start up their businesses. Among them were 137 ex-commercial sex workers who were rehabilitated and trained in skills for three months at the FCT rehabilitation centre after the Territory administration announced a clampdown on the activities of commer-

From Kehinde Ore, Abuja

cial sex workers in the city. The graduate trainees will get another N100,000 after six months following a report of good usage of the initial grant. The Coordinator of Society Against Prostitution and Child Labour in Nigeria (SAP-CLN), Mrs. Grace Adogo whose non-governmental organisation (NGO) is in charge of the rehabilitation and

training explained that the girls at the centre have proved the FCT administration right. The administration has made the point that commercial sex workers can be rehabilitated and become role models if given the necessary support and facilities to be on their own. The graduation of the skill trainees proved that point. Mrs. Adogo noted that the centre would continue to provide necessary atmosphere for the rehabilitation and training of commercial

sex workers who are ready to be integrated into the larger society, advising members of the public to also assist the girls by accepting them back, rather than stigmatising them. FCT Minister Bala Mohammed who was represented by the Secretary for Education in the Federal Capital Development Administration, Kabir Usman expressed optimism that the trainees will make good use of the opportunity given to them.


HERE is a renewal of infrastructure in Katsina State. Dilapidated facilities in the state schools are getting a new lease of life. Communities which had no schools now have some built for them by the Ibrahim Shema administration. The state government is also tackling other enduring challenges in the state. For instance, there has been a severe shortfall in pupil enrolment in schools. The prevalence of Almajiri and street begging is also an issue, as is girl child education. But the governor is tackling them quite well. Over the past five years, the state government has spent over N70b the construction, expansion, rehabilitation of infrastructures as well as in training and manpower development in the educational sector, according to the Commissioner for Education Prof Aminu Kado Kurfi. Six parastatals played a crucial role in this upgrade. They include the State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB), Science and Technical Eduaction Board (STEB), Agency for Mass Education (AME), Department for Higher Education (AHE), Teachers Service Board (TSB) and Mathematical Improvement Projects (MIP). The policy thrust of the administration is building additional primary and secondary schools in every rural settlement and upgrading others, as a response to the increasing enrolment of pupils in schools. Kurfi said: “Already, 25 buildings have been upgraded to storey buildings in Bindawa, Kurfi, Batagarawa, Danja, Malumfashi, Baure, Barhim, Danmusa, Dutsin-ma, Dandume, Ingawa, Mani, Mashi, Musawa, Kankia, Abukur, Funtua, Zango, Sabuwa and Safana.” “Among other projects constructed were seven Zonal Inspectorate of Education (ZIE) offices at Malumfashi, Funtua, Daura, Dutsin-ma, Mani, Kankia, and katsina. Other institutions have been expanded and rehabilitated. They include 13 col-

•Governor Shema (second left) and members of the cabinet celebrate their award cash

Infrastructural upgrade in Katsina Schools built, girl-child education improved From Isah Idris, Katsina

leges and Government Arabic Secondary School Fago. Newsextra learnt that because of the premium the governor places on girl-child education, his administration working in collaboration with the local councils and UNESCO, established 34 Girls Pri-

mary Schools in each of the local government areas. The government has also provided bus service in the girl day schools at Daura, Funtua and Katsina to convey the pupils to and from school. For effectiveness in this area, the governor created the office of Special Adviser on Girl and Child Development.

The wife of the state governor, Hajiya Fatima Ibrahim Shema has been providing crucial support, especially caring for the less-privileged and the girl-child. Her pet project, Service To Humanity Foundation (SHF), has been fighting corporal punishment in school as well as violation of child’s right.

“Let our children trust, relate and look unto our teachers as their friends, not enemies, as role model not oppressors,” she once said in a seminar. Absence of this congenial atmosphere, she said, is an impediment to the success of children and girl-child education. Our investigation revealed that Governor Shema reviewed the girl•Continued on Page 26



Infrastructural upgrade in Katsina •Continued from Page 25 child education, ensuring that more girls enrolled in schools. He did this by providing cash for poor households in rural areas. The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) designed to assist children of indigent households in schools with N5,000 each, is a collaborative programme between UNICEF/ NAPEP and Katsina State government. No fewer than 5,471 families from 13,680 households in 491 communities received the government’s assistance in this regard. The Shema administration has sustained the student exchange programme in the state. Under the programme, students from the northern states swap schools for a period of time, thus improving their knowledge and expanding their horizon. The state also sponsors students to Sudan to study such courses as

•One of the upgraded schools medicine, pharmacy, nursing, Arabic computing, calligraphy and manuscript. Since inception, the Shema administration has invested about N1.18 billion in the project

The state also sponsors students to Sudan to study such courses as medicine, pharmacy, nursing, Arabic computing, calligraphy and manuscript. Since inception, the Shema administration has invested about N1.18 billion in the project covering the students’ tuition, transport, feeding and allowances for the period of their studies


ARTICIPANTS in a seminar in Lagos State have sought a legislation to prosecute anyone caught destroying roads in the state. The event was organised by the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) as part of the government’s advocacy programme geared towards achieving a pot-hole free Lagos within the shortest possible time. The participants drawn from several professional bodies want to discourage willful destruction of public property especially roads and their facilities. Addressing the gathering, LSPWC chairman Mr. Gbenga Akintola explained that a total of N11.5billion is required annually to effectively tackle all damaged roads across the

covering the students’ tuition, transport, feeding and allowances for the period of their studies. The free education programme since 2007 has cost the state N763 .81 million. Secondary school students are also still being fed in the state at the instance of the government. Scholarship and bursary award to students has also been reviewed upward. Governor Shema has not only ensured its prompt payment but has established the Scholarship Trust Fund (STF) with a seed capital of N1.5 billion invested in capital market blue stocks. The sum of N398 million was paid as proceeds from the seed capital for 2008/2009 session as scholarship.

The effort of the government has been yielding results. For instance, statistics from the state ministry of education indicated that within the period of five years, the state has recorded a dramatic rise in student’s enrolment at primary school from 1,001, 447 in 2005 to 1,462, 226 (47%) in 2011 and in secondary school from 142, 726 to 399, 181 (160% )in 2012. Some challenges remain, nevertheless. Ignorance on the part of the people still exists in spite of the government’s efforts to reposition education and its infrastructure in the state. Some parents are still unwilling to key into the government’s programme. Some are slow in responding. The nomadic ones pose a special

challenge. Prior to his emergence as deputy governor, the effort of the immediate former education commissioner, Alhaji Abdullahi Garba Faskari won Katsina the national award of best state in the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE) in the federation in 2008. The award came with the sum of N700 million. Faskari noted “Katsina state emerged first in the federation for releasing N800 million in 2008 as State’s Intervention Fund for UBE programmme for 2009, which earned it the best performed UBE implementation state with attractive prizes of 700 million naira, a Hilux car and a trophy recently”.

Lagos seeks legislation against road saboteurs By Miriam Ndikanwu

state, adding that there was need for all hands to be on deck to maintain public infrastructure considering the paucity of government funds. He explained that human activities such as car wash located on the road without constructing proper drainage channels are among the factors responsible for damages on the roads. “We are already saddled with the problem of not having enough roads and this is why it has become very important for us to continue to sen-

sitise the public on the need to desist from those human activities that will damage our roads and inflict untold hardship on residents. “This state government on a yearly basis spends a large percentage of its resources on road infrastructure and that is why it has become very expedient for us to look at what we are doing so that we can protect these infrastructures from destruction,” he added. Akintola reiterated that, regardless of the annual huge investment of the government in road construction and maintenance in the state, much of the effort needed towards

achieving a pot-hole free Lagos still lies with members of the public who need to see roads as their property rather than government’s property, belonging to no one in particular. “The corporation has in the past one year held series of fora with various segments of the society, such as market men and women, road transport workers, community development associations, religious leaders, law enforcement agencies, school children and this one involving professional bodies and security organisations,” he said Head of Projects in the corporation, Mr. Ganiyu Aiyepe listed the causes of road damages to include pouring of petroleum products on roads, indiscriminate cutting of roads, excess axle load, burst pipes, channeling of sewage water to the road, burning of items and cooking,

dumping of refuse in drains as well as removal of manhole covers. The state also sponsors students to Sudan to study such courses as Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Arabic computing, calligraphy and manuscript. Since inception, the Shema administration has invested about N1.18 billion in the project covering the students’ tuition, transport, feeding and allowances for the period of their studies. . They said such prosecution would serve as a deterrent to others and curb cases of road damages in the state. They also urged the government on the need to begin to weigh heavy duty trucks that come into the state so as to ascertain whether or not they are fit to ply a particular road.

This state government on a yearly basis spends a large percentage of its resources on road infrastructure and that is why it has become very expedient for us to look at what we are doing so that we can protect these infrastructures from destruction

•Road repair work in Lagos



Oshiomhole’s aides mobilise for polls From Osagie Otabor, Benin



OTER mobilisation has begun across the 18 local governments of Edo State ahead of the governorship election scheduled for July 14. Aides


OY was very visible on the passengers’ faces. They came from the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of Lagos State. From Iddo Railway Station where the train took off to Osogbo, the Osun State capital, its destination, there was no dull moment. Old men and women, youths and children-all indigenes of the state-had a nice time. The journey was devoid of tension associated with road transportation. Police check-points were not contemplated. There was no fear of faulty motor engine or bursting tyres, potholes on highways, armed robbery or traffic snarl. For over five hours, passengers savoured the beauty of nature. Many on board were first-timers. They moved around inside the train to make new friends. Others engaged in discussion over the potency of agriculture as they surveyed the agrarian communities, whose members waved in excitement at the passengers. Along the routes, railway has created a sort of local economy that can ordinarily be sustained through expansion and improved services at the stations. The free train ride was an initiative of the Osun State government. It was designed by Governor Rauf Aregbesola as a palliative transportation programme for the masses during the Easter period. “The goal was to make the journey home during the festive period less strenuous, painless and pleasurable. It was a welfare package in fulfillment of one of the six-point cardinal programme of the administration”, said Semiu Okanlawon, Osun State Director of Communications and Strategy Bureau. Prior to the time, government’s advertisement on electronic and print media sensitised the people to the free ride programme. The governor also dwelt on the initiative on the face book. Thus, the information had circulated round the state and beyond that Osun State indigenes should not bother about the burden of transportation during the holiday. Usually, during festive periods,

of the state governor Adams Oshiomhole are spearheading the exercise. The aides led by Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties, Mr. Kenneth Edebir at a meeting with the Yoruba community, Edo Sawmillers Association, Ikpoba-Okha Coalition and Edo State Cattle Dealers Association, called for support for Oshiomhole’s re-election. Edebiri assured the groups that adequate security would be provided during the election, pointing out that they should not be intimidated.

He said the team visited to sensitise them on the election as well as ask them to vote for Governor Oshiomhole for continuation of developmental projects. “This time around, Comrade Oshiomhole will not go to court

because he will win convincingly,” he said. “What the Governor needs is your prayers and support and to ensure that those who want to rig are stopped. “Defend your votes. The era of election malpractices are over.

The aides led by Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties, Mr. Kenneth Edebir at a meeting with the Yoruba community, Edo Saw-millers Association, Ikpoba-Okha Coalition and Edo State Cattle Dealers Association, called for support for Oshiomhole’s re-election

When they come to bribe you with salt, rice or money, don’t hesitate to take them because it is your money but do not sell your conscience. We cannot afford to go back to those dark days.” State Leader of Yoruba Forum, Dr. Dosu Malomo assured that the Yoruba community would vote for Governor Oshiomhole. He said they were dedicated to the governor’s vision and mission, adding that what will be held on July 14 is ‘celebration and not election’. Chairman of Cattle Dealers, Saadu Ahmed said it was only a fool that will see light and settle for darkness.

Osun State government has flagged off its “Free Train Ride” for indigenes in Lagos. EMMANUEL OLADESU captured peoples’ excitement at the unprecedented poverty alleviation and empowerment project, which Governor Rauf Aregbesola has promised to sustain

Osun free train ride excites passengers

•They had a delightful ride

commuters suffer a great deal of hardship arising from fare hike and hitches on the road. A passenger, Isiak Owolabi, who boarded the train at Agege, was about to enter a bus going to Osogbo from Iyana-Ipaja, when he learnt about the government’s gesture. The driver had charged him N2,000, and additional N500 for his luggage. He quickly ran to Agege to join the train, following the issuance of a ticket. “If other governors across the states emulate this welfare package, it will be better. Transportation would be made easier,” said Owolabi, a native of Ila-Orangun.

The goal was to make the journey home during the festive period less strenuous, painless and pleasurable. It was a welfare package in fulfillment of one of the six-point cardinal programme of the administration

Another passenger, Blessing Phillip, who thanked the governor, said: “I am at ease in this train. The phobia for plane and buses are gone. This is good and I am sure that this will rid our road of trailers, if it is sustained”. What the initiative also achieved is to increase public expectation about the proposed regional rail programme mooted by Southwest governors in the spirit of integration. Not only indigenes of Osun were beneficiaries of the free ride at the weekend. Travellers going to neighbouring states of Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara and Kogi states were also among passengers. For example, some alighted at Ibadan. Some also alighted at Iwo and Ede. When the train finally stopped at Osogbo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara and Kogi-bound travelers went to a nearby motor park to continue their journey. A university teacher, Prof. David Kay, who boarded the train from Iddo, was excited that Nigeria was waking up to the reality of re-embracing the abandoned railway. “We are missing a lot. Rail transportation is a viable alternative to road and air transporta-

tion. Train can take more passengers than buses and aeroplanes, and movement of goods and people is more effective,” said Kay who teaches International Relations at American University, Washington DC. He lauded plans by Southwest governors to encourage a regional rail system, saying that it is long overdue. “Regional rail in the Southwest will add to the economy of the region. It will boost commerce and make passengers’ transportation affordable”, Kay added. “It will also assist in the transportation of farm produce from farms to the •Continued on Page 38




NGO trains 120 women

Yobe procures fertiliser for farmers T

•Governor Gaidam

HE Yobe Commissioner for Agriculture,Alhaji Idi Gubana, has said that a comprehensive transport system and fertiliser distribution network would be provided for farmers this cropping season. The commissioner disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Damaturu. He explained that ministries of Agriculture, Youth Development and Local Government Affairs “were working on a convenient means of transport for farmers across the state in view of the ban on motorcycles”. Idi said that arrangements had reached advanced stage to provide farmers with alternative transport in the

Govt to make education accessible to youths P

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has pledged to make education accessible to all youths as part of the government’s policy on human capital development. Jonathan made the pledge at the convocation of the Federal University of Technology Minna. The President, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai, said human development was part of the reasons for establishing federal universities acrossf the federation. He reiterated government’s commitment to provide quality education to the people. “Let me point out that our administration is committed to improving education to ensure appropriate human capital development in Nigeria.“ Jonathan urged the universities to establish entrepreneurship training courses for their students, to equip them with the skills and make them become job creators rather than seekers after graduation. He urged youths to maintain their resilience and determination in spite of daunting challenges. “Let me assure you that your perseverance will not go in vain as this government is committed to making Nigeria better than we met it.” He urged the university’s management to continue to make valuable contributions to


knowledge and manpower development in critical areas of need in the country. The President also appealed to university administrators to ensure that peace and stability reigned in their campuses, so that they could offer the needed support for government’s policies. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mohammed Audu, said the management had instituted a scholarship scheme for students who excelled, to sustain the record in subsequent examinations. He said the scheme entailed non-payment of school fee, free accommodation and book allowance, to encourage academic excellence among the students. No fewer than 2,506 graduates were conferred with first degree during the first leg of the ceremony. A Briton, Mr David Winn, Chairman of Osprey International Limited and Alhaji Sani Dauda, Chairman of ASD Motors, were both conferred with the honourary degree of Doctor of Technology.


OMEN Education Empower Initiative (WEEIN), a nongovernmental organisation , says it has trained 120 women in different skills in Adamawa State. Addressing the trainees at their graduation ceremony in Yola,the state capital, the Chairperson of WEEIN, Hajiya Zainab Nyako, urged them to make good use of the training, to become self-reliant. Nyako, who is also the wife of the Adamawa governor, urged them to form cooperative societies, to enable them source loans and assistance to establish their businesses.


17 local government areas in the state. The commissioner pointed out that special buses and ‘keke Napep’ tricycles would be provided to farmer groups “to facilitate their movement to and from the farms”. He said the government was working out fertiliser distribution system that would ensure the product gets to the actual farmers. “I am a practising farmer by profession and training. I will use my practical knowledge to ensure that only practising farmers benefit from the fertiliser to be distributed by government”. Alhaji Aji Bularafa, Yobe Commissioner for Youth Development, assured that farmer groups would be accorded priority in the distribution of the next batch of the tricycles. “Farmer groups are on the priority list as government has already taken care of most of the other groups, including the former commercial motorcycle operators.”

•Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Information Mr Lateef Raji (left) addressing the Chairman, Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Hon. Bolaji Ariyoh during the last environmental sanitation exercise in the council. With them is the Secretary to the council, Mr Daoud Olajobi (right)

Kaduna lawmakers donate cash to blast victims M EMBERS of the Kaduna State House of Assembly have sympathised with the victims of the bomb explosion in the

state . The lawmakers visited the victims at various


By Musa Odoshimokhe

United States of America where the idea to feed the elderly on wheel came from. He stated that some of the members in Nigeria would soon visit the United States where it would be seeking assistance for items that would be distributed to the elderly. He said: “We will seek support for vehicles, drugs and wheel chairs and logistics in terms of how to train our members especially those who will be visiting them regularly to show love to those who have been abandoned but in dire need of support.” Awosika praised the association’s local president, Mrs Modupe Awodogan and Dr Dolapo Badru, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Youth and Social Development for their commitment in alleviating the suffering of the needy.

` • From left: Dr. Awosika, Mrs Modupe Awodogan, Mrs Omolara Dikko and Mrs Modupe Siyanbola during the press conference


hospitals and donated money to settle their medical expenses. The Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Dr Dogara Mato, led the delegation.During the visit, various cash donations were given to the victims. The places visited were Barau Dikko Specialists Hospital, 44 Nigerian Army Referral Hospital and St. Gerard Hospital, Kaduna. About 25 victims are receiving treatment in the hospitals. At the 44 Army hospital, the Director, BrigGen. Napolion Amarie, expressed gratitude to the members for the donations to the victims. At Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital, the members were conducted round by the Matron in-Charge, Mrs Hassana Garba, while at St. Gerard Hospital, the Public Relations Officer, Mr Sunday John conducted them round the institution.

NGO feeds the elderly nationwide

HE Meal on Wheel Nigeria Association, a non-governmental organisation taking care of the elderly and less privileged in the society, has urged government to re-double its efforts in the social welfare of the senior citizens . The organisation chief executive, Dr Collins Awosika during a press briefing in Lagos, said except governments at all levels take good care of its senior citizens, their contribution during their productive years would amount to nothing. He said Meal on Wheel which came to fill the gap by assisting the elderly, would soon embark on feeding the senior citizens across the country. “We have started feeding the elderly in Lagos and had done so in some local governments. When we are through with the state, we will move to other states.” Awosika expressed the belief that its impact would be felt in the country because it would be supported by its parents body based in the

•From left: Miss Adenike Aduloju, Miss Kemi Ogunsakin, Miss Kikelomo Oluyemi; Prophetess Yemi Ajiye, Mr Taiwo Ogundele and Mrs Adeyeye Bolanle at the birthday ceremony of the prophetess’ baby at the Christ Miracle Success Church, Olokemeji, Ado-Ekiti


Governor gives free medicare

OGI State Governor Idris Wada has said that over 10,000 residents in six local government arreas in the state have benefitted from the free medical progra mme of the state government. Wada, who formally flagged off the programme at Ajaokuta, said it is to benefit the rural people in the 21 local government areas of the state. The governor said the programme which has been part of his initiative before he became governor, has gone along way in addressing the pitiable health condition of some rural dwellers especially vulnerable people such as pregnant women,children and the aged who could not take proper care of themselves. The current administration, Wada said, would focus on the health of its citizenry and would therefore do everything to ensure that all hospitals and clinics in the state were not just consulting centres, but where drugs and medical facilities would be available to treat any disease Wada said the free medical treatment was available to all citizens who are requested to go to designated areas for free medical diagnosis and treatment without any protocols. The treatment, The Nation gathered, include surgery, eye treatment, HIV/AIDS test and distribution of thousands of treated mosquito nets to pregnant women and children. Shedding more light on the programme, the Special Adviser, Media and Strategy, Mr Jacob Edi, said the free medical treatment would be carried out periodically throughout the duration of the current administration.


Kogi From Mohammed Bashir Lokoja

Edi stressed that 487 surgical operations of various ailments,1,320 eyes treatment, 20,000 treated nets were distributed and over 6,857 other ailments were treated. The programme which is organised by the state government is run in partnership with CEDIO Outreach Ministry.It has tested medical gurus such as Dr Ify Okatahi, Dr C. U Eje of the State Ministry of Health and the state chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association,NMA, Dr Attah Ahmed as leaders of the team.


Minister urges unity in Benue

HE Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr Samuel Ortom, has urged the people of Benue to set aside their political differences and live in peace with one another. Ortom made the call at the funeral ceremony of Chief Aul Mku, the kindred head of Utabar, Yandev, in Gboko Local Government Area. He said that meaningful development could only be achieved in an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence. He eulogised the late Mku for uniting his subjects during his tenure as their district head. Also speaking, the Senate Minority Leader, Sen. George Akume, noted that the late Mku discharged his functions without fear or favour and appealed to the people to honour him by living together as one big family.


‘Maiganga coal good for power generation’ MINES and Steel Development Minister Mohammed Sada says the quality of Maiganga coal deposit in Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State is good for power generation Sada told newsmen that “the quality has already been proven to be good enough for power generation. ’’ He explained that the exploration work at the mine was to ascertain the quantity of the deposit to enable government design a power generating plant that would last for the period of the deposit. “Definitely, the Maiganga coal deposit is one of the targets for power generation and is currently one of the locations that further exploration work is being done to confirm the quantity and the quality of coal. “So we are now trying to establish the quantity, so that we know the size of the power plant and for what period of time we can aggregate it to last. “At the same time, we will continue further exploration in other locations so that we will be able to supplement and have the plant last much longer than even the initial deposit that we found out.” He said government had already started the studies of various coal deposits in the country and that by the end of the year, it would start designing the plants based on the conclusions gathered from the studies. Sada further said that plant was not difficult to build, but that the most important thing to do was the verification of the quantity of the resources.

Almajiri Foundation lauds govt’s initiative Kano


HE Almajiri Foundation of Nigeria has applauded the Federal Government for initiating the Almajiri Model School scheme. In a statement in Kano, the national chairman of the association, Yusuf Hassan, described the programme as “a noble idea which the foundation and all Northerners had been yearning for. ’’ According to him, the scheme was in line with the cardinal principles and objectives of the Almajiri Foundation of Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation. Hassan, who decried the untold hardship being experienced by young Almajiri, said that they were not adequately taken care of in the society. He said: “They roam about dangerously between fast moving vehicles in tattered clothes begging for food and money. “ He expressed optimism that the programme if sustained, would completely rehabilitate the Almajiri by educating them in both religious and secular education, so that they could contribute to national development. The chairman urged all state governments to ensure the construction of such Almajiri schools in each local government area of their respective states. Hassan also implored the private sector and wealthy individuals to contribute their quota to the success of the scheme. It would be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan on April 10 inaugurated one of the schools at Gagi in Sokoto State.


UMEN Christi International High School, Uromi, Edo State has for the third consecutive year, received an award in the best school category at the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) annual award presentation held recently in Abuja. With this feat, Lumen Christi has thus reaffirmed its position as having the best West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results among over 11,000 schools within the country for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011. The award was presented to the Principal of the school, Rev. Fr. Dr. Theophilus Itman by the Vice-President, Arch Namadi Sambo, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan at the ceremony. The presentation was part of activities marking the 60th Annual Council Meeting and anniversary of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) which held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja to recognise outstanding performances by students in the May/June 2011 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). The WAEC Registrar, Hajiya Mulikat Bello said: “the award points at recognition of hard work, while the gesture was one of the major objectives of the council’s endowment fund”. In 2007, Lumen Christi International High School, Uromi which was established in 1986 by the then Archbishop of Benin

Adamawa She said WEEIN would assist them secure registration with relevant bodies and organisations, such as NAFDAC for their products. While praising NAFDAC and the National Directorate for Employment for their support to WEEIN, Nyako urged government, corporate organisations and individuals to assist WEEIN to ensure that women in the state were empowered. Speaking at the occasion, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government Affairs, Alhaji Abdulrahman Tugga, lauded WEEIN for its contributions to the empowerment of women. Tugga promised that the ministry would collaborate with the NGO, to reach more women in the rural areas of the state. Also speaking, the Adamawa State Chairman of Universal Basic Education Board, Dr Salihu Bakari, said the agency would continue to collaborate and support WEEIN to achieve its aim. Bakari said the agency had placed priority attention on women’s education by establishing


HE Chairman, Iba Local Council Development Area, Lagos State, Princess Ramotalai Adeyeri Oseni, has presented a budget of N1.8billion for the 2012 fiscal year. Presenting the budget at the council’s legilative chamber, the chairman described it as peopleoriented and aimed at improving the economic and social status of the residents of the council Highlighting the budget, she pointed out that the capital expenditure got the lion share of N725m while overhead cost had N590m.Infrastructural development got 458m. The council chief while emphasising that it is the determination of her administration to

•NYAKO schools for girls and providing them with free uniforms to encourage enrolment. The women were trained in different skills, such as liquid soap and air freshener making.

Council presents budget continue bringing good governance and rapid development to the council area,solicited the council’s legislative support and cooperation to actualise the administration’s set aims. Ramota urged the councillors to give the budget accelerated passage. She advised residents of the council to pay their taxes and levies promptly.

•Hon Aderi-Oseni (left) presenting the budget to Leader of the House Hon. Ismaila Olorun Isemi.

Lumen Christi remains best school By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

City, Most Rev Dr P.E Ekpu, for the first time in the history of the WAEC awards bested other

secondary schools to receive the much coveted award for the school with the best WASSCE results.

• From left: Rev. Fr. Theophilus, receiving the award from Vice President Namadi Sambo in Abuja. With them is the Education Minister, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai. (right)




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Osuntokun at 70: ‘God has been good to me’



The Midweek Magazine



ow do you feel at 70? I feel great. I also feel surprised that I'm 70. This is because everything seems like yesterday. I still remember when I went to primary and secondary schools. I have one or two of my primary school friends who still communicate with me. To suddenly find out that you are 70 and everybody looks at you like a Methuselah is very interesting. But, of course, some of the things I used to do I can no longer do them now. I used to race my son by asking him to stay 10 feet ahead while running together. I still catch up with him. I do not even run again, or jog. All I do now is to take long walks; and, obviously, I cannot take three meals a day. I don't sleep as I used to; as you grow older you can't sleep as much as you like. All those biological ageing symptoms are happening. But, believe me, I thank God that the brain is still there. There is this belief that one can hardly walk the length and breadth of Ekiti land without a house or homestead having a professor. Also, the name Osuntokun is synonymous with Ekiti. Do you agree? That is true. In my immediate family, at a time, there were three professors, but if I spread my dragnet wider to cousins and extended relatives, many of our sons and nephews are now professors in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is true that Ekiti loves academics, I don't know why. But if I have my way, I will advise younger Ekiti people to be interested in business and be involved in other sectors other than academics; like the Egbas and the Ijebus. You can see that we don't have rich people in Ekiti, but we have knowledgeable people. Although I know that knowledge is power and that this knowledge that we have will eventually translate into wealth. Countries like Germany and Japan do not have any resources, except their brain power. So, it is possible if we focus well and have a leadership and government that is focused, Ekiti State will do well in future. I foresee a brighter future for Ekiti. Ekiti in global context, is where people emphasise tourism, eco-tourism; nature and environmentalism, Ekiti has it. The towns are not too bad; they are not too big. They are small and compact. They are manageable and it's not easy for towns in Ekiti to abuse the environment. Whereas, in places like Ibadan, Lagos and Kano there are too many people and it is very difficult for people and nature to co-habit. Smaller towns in Ekiti have trees all over the place. Ekiti, therefore, is the land of the future. How about your growing up years? I was born in a rural setting that was not really my home town. I was born in the small town of Ilawe. Ilawe is still small and relatively rural, but it was very smalll when I was there. My parents came from outside of Ilawe. They were traders, who in Ijesha parlance were Oshomalos, selling clothings. That was where most members of Osuntokuns were born. If you know Oke-Imesi very well, you will know that the people were originally Ijeshas and they share boundary with them. My father had earlier gone to the Gold Coast (Ghana) and made some money as a miner. He came back to set up a business and had depots in Awo, Ikere, Oye and Ilupeju. By the standards of those days, he was a big time merchant. So, that was what he was doing in Ilawe and that was where all the Osuntokuns with the exception of Chief Osuntokun, the former regional minster in the First Republic, who was born in OkeImesi. I left Ilawe when I was in Standard three and later, I was at the famous Christ School, Ado-Ekiti. From Christ School, I went to Ibadan Grammar School and from there I moved to the University of Ibadan, after which I went abroad. But if I may focus a little bit more on Osuntokun family, there was intense competition among the children to excel. When I was in Christ School people would tell me that my brother, Kayode, had eight distinctions and asked me what I was going to do; apparently telling me that I was not pulling my weight enough. So, there was that tendency for one to excel and surpass the record already set by those before you. One may however, not do well, like one's brother, but one would endeavour not to bring the family record down. It was a rather, competitive family, and we were also known for playing soccer. All my brothers played soccer either in Government College or Christ School. In fact, Chief Osuntokun as a Minister of Finance was playing centre forward for Ekiti team. Not many people will remember that. At that time he was young; he was just 31 years old I also played soccer in Christ's School, Ado-Ekiti. However, my soccer career was cut short because I developed Asthma. The former UCH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Osuntokun, played centre forward for Christ's School. My brother, Biodun, was also the centre forward for Government College, Ibadan. It will not be far from the truth to say that your family dominated everywhere in the old Western Region? Permit me to be immodest. When I was growing up, the name Osuntokun was a brand. Everywhere and anywhere you mention your name as Osuntokun, everybody would recognise you. But of course, things are different now. Emphasis is on money. We have thrown away all the attributes of courage, integrity and intellect. Nobody cares anymore. Even some of my young nephews are now wondering aloud that all the family achievements did not translate into money and wealth. For example, I have told yon that Chief Osuntokun was in government as Minister of Finance; Minister of Economic Planning; Minister of Land and Housing; Minster of Education for over a period of 12 years. You would expect that when a man like that left office, he would have amassed a lot of wealth and money, but all he had was one house. And that was the tradition then. But now within six months of some people getting into office, you will see them rolling in millions. It is not that we are stupid; we thank God that we are equally not suffering. The children have been able to go to good schools and they have excelled. By the grace of God they are doing well.

• Osuntokun


Osuntokun at 70:

‘God has been good to me’ Prof. Akinjide Oladepo Idowu Osuntokun is a study in humility. For someone who has distinguished himself in academics, diplomacy and writing, he has everything to be proud of. He is also a pastor. But, his achievements have humbled him the more. As he turns 70 on April 26, the erudite scholar and professor of History and International Relations looks back with nostalgia and tells SEYI ODEWALE the story of his life. INTERVIEW Your days at the University of Lagos were an epoch of some sort… I joined the University of Lagos in 1974 as lecturer grade 1. Professor Ade Ajayi was the Vice Chancellor then. In 1976, I became a senior lecturer. By 1978, and this is one of the things we had always talked about, things were very transparent. There was an advert in the then Daily Times that the National Universities Commission (NUC ) wanted to open offices in Cairo, London, Washington and Ottawa, Canada and anybody who had academic experience in those countries through studying or teaching should apply. And I had taught at the University of Western Ontario when I got my Ph.D. So, I applied. I was surprised I was among the shortlisted, having competed with professors who equally were interested in the post. I was appointed on merit and there was no rancour about it because it was done the way things were supposed to be. I did so well in Canada in 1978 and I was transferred by the

NUC to Washington to head the office there because the fellow there, an elderly man, was not that out-going. I was at the NUC for about four years and I was appointed a professor by the University of Maiduguri. I was in Maiduguri as a pioneer and, after two years, I returned to Lagos. I took a premature retirement from the University of Lagos in 2005 at 63, two years before the actual year, to go to Redeemers' University. This is because I wanted to help as a member of the church. I thought I had done everything I needed to do in Lagos and I have been here since that time. I can say, before man and God, that I have been extremely happy here, because the students make you feel that you are actually imparting knowledge to them; they are very grateful for this. So, I'm really fulfilled. Whereas, in my years in federal universities, students behaved anyhow; they were not as grateful as we have them in Redeemers' University. We are more than lecturers here; we are like fathers and grand fathers to them. •Continued on page 31



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Teenage orchestra dazzles at concert


SPECIAL performance by an all-children orchestra of the Children Ministry, Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church (Ayo Ni o), Surulere sub-headquarters, Lagos was the high point of the 39th anniversaryof the choir. Last Saturday, the orchestra that featured nine-year-old pianist, Semilogo Ogunleye, 10-year-old Ayo Oyawale, six-year-old Eniola Ogunleye and little Ike Sodayo and Jibike, among others, presented the theme song of the event - Jehovah Rohi-Our Refuge – which also featured songs and drama ministrations. From piano to violin and keyboard, the little lads gave good account of themselves as their performance drew the audience’s applauses. A thrilling performance of a musical piece, In your presence we adore (Awa yin O), set the tone for the celebration of the annual choir day. This was followed by Jehova Rohi, and Mo ni Baba (a rich Bolojo dance performance that reveres the greatness and kindness of God, the father. Iji Nla, a drama presentation, acknowledges the many challenges of life, as well as seeking God’s grace and blessing. At the close of the drama, the echo of Gbe wa Ro, rented the air while appealing to God for His divine mercy. General Leader Gabriel Fakeye described the growth of the church choir as a miracle of God, saying he felt happy and fulfilled that God is always with the church and faithful to the people. Interestingly, from start to finish, the concert that featured four acts and several musical performances explored the many ways God stands by his people and portrays the truth that in Him alone lies freedom from despair and pain which is rife in the world of today. Specifically, the drama presentations looked at the lives of characters in the scripture and attempted to throw up similarities in their challenges back then and ‘our own

• Members of the children orchestra on stage

CONCERT By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

lives as Christians today’. The concert was a retelling of stories such as the sale of Joseph to Pharaoh of Egypt, his travail in detention and his rise to fame after interpreting the dream of the King , which was read and heard in the Holy Bible. But the format of presentation was from a more unique perspective as there were narrators and actors live on stage. Other performances that kept the audience on their toes were Ma ba e lo (R and B piece), Oluwa ni ile iso agbara (juju), Wazobia, E go beta (Afrobeat piece) led by Tobi Ifedi. Also on the bandstand was a guest artiste, Jesus Drummer who used talking drums to sing the praises of God.

According to the Choirmaster-general of the church, Brother Segun Korode, this year’s concert was to examine a very special name, a tender name, a unique name that represents the love of God for all his children. Jehovah Rohi - Our refuge. “Through songs, dance, drama, we shall explore what living as a Christian subject to the directions of God is like. As we pass through each day of our lives, as we encounter multiple challenges and experience diverse emotions, it is comforting to note that there is a Father who is always by our side giving us refuge in the storms of life,” Korode said. To him, the more “we get closer to God, the better for us, and when you are with him, you are at peace.” He said the church’s recording studio, which has gulped over N40 million is nearing completion and would soon be inaugurated, adding that the church still needed about N20 million to complete the project.

God has been good to me, says Osuntokun at 70 •Continued from page 30 What exactly do you think is missing in federal tertiary institutions? Discipline. They can do with some discipline. And this is not because of their backgrounds; it is as a result of peer pressure. There is no discipline in many of the states and federal universities. Here in this school, if you flout any of the rules of the school, you would be sent home immediately. You know, it costs parents close to a million naira to pay for tuition in a year and no parent will want his or her ward to waste all of these through indiscipline. However, compared with what you would spend abroad if you send your children there, this is not much. You would agree with me that some people are naturally gifted that they remain ageless no matter how old their ages may indicate ... You are right. But there are some others who may not be up to 60 years old and have aged terribly. To me, it is the grace of God. Everybody tells me that I look younger than my age; probably it is the gene I inherited. You mentioned my nephew, Akin, who was then in The Guardian, when any of them comes to me to say uncle I'm 50 or 60, I usually say how can it be? As I said, it is nice to look back and probably see where one has made mistakes. I would want to say that in life I have had ups and downs; probably more downs than ups. Professionally, I'm fulfilled. I'm a professor; chairman of a university council; I have been a member of councils of four universities; I was a director in the NUC; I have been an ambassador; I have three professional callings and I got to the top of them all. As an academic, I have been to the top of my field; as a diplomat, I have been an ambassador; even as a journalist, I was briefly, chairman, Editorial Board of the then Comet Newspaper and I'm a columnist. So, I have had three fulfilling careers and now I am a pastor, what else do I want? You know, I wrote a biography and one of the young students here who was reviewing the book said if God called the professor now, he has done well. But I jokingly told her that I'm not going yet. I thank God for everything that has happened. What happened during your stint in the Foreign Service? I was in Germany as an ambassador; I was in some quasidiplomatic mission in Canada and Washington as director in the NUC's office. What were your experiences then? I knew Germany very well before I was appointed an ambassador and more so, it was during their unification… (Cuts in) It was also a time when Nigeria was referred to as a pariah state ... You are absolutely right. I wanted to achieve more than I did in Germany. The German unification had just taken place and there were opportunities in Eastern Germany for our Navy and Air force. I wanted, for example, our Navy to acquire the East German Navy, which was on offer at that time. And I made this offer known to our government, but nobody took it up. Did you know why? I guess it was because of the British and American interests already entrenched in the Navy. I was particularly interested in the Navy whose fleet was on offer at almost a give-away price. They were on offer because they did not match those of the Western Germany and they would have been modern for our

Navy. Economically, there were not too many German companies that came to our country. There was a company called Ferostar, which built the Aluminum Complex in Ikot-Abasi, which was the only German company that came to Nigeria when I was an ambassador. In areas of defending our people, I remember getting into a quarrel with the German government with the way they treated Nigerians. They were involved in all manners of criminal activities; it was difficult to defend our people. There was a story of 14 Nigerians committing suicide in prison. I got on top of that incident and argued that Nigerians don't commit suicide; that they must have been killed. I blew the story and called the world press conference and I almost became a pariah in the diplomatic circle, but they appreciated what I was doing. The German Chancellor at that time, Helmut Khol, used to refer to me as somebody who came to their country to study and later became an ambassador, because he too, is an historian. Germans value intellect. I was the most admired ambassador in Germany. And of course, Nigeria was an important country externally. So, I carried the burden and the prestige of Nigeria with me. If we had a diplomatic conference and I did not speak, Germans would think that Africa has not spoken. It was an exciting time and I was reasonably much younger; I was barely 50 then. But in Canada and the United States when I was director at NUC, I was a very energetic director. I knew the terrain inside out. I used to boast to my Canadian and American friends that I knew their countries more than them, because we placed students in every state and university across America and Canada. When I was returning home, the Germans hosted me, even though by this time, I had got into trouble with the Abacha crowd and the Germans gave me 10 days to pack my load and leave their country. But you would not believe me that the foreign ministry and the presidency in Germany formally sent me off. Of course, when I came back, Abacha and the rest of them put me in detention as a NADECO agent. I was coming to that, because I remember what you went through then. What was your offence? As a Yoruba man, I could not, but feel for my people. This is because they were driven to the wall. Chief MKO Abiola was somebody I knew very well. He came to Germany when I was an ambassador. I had known him before I became an ambassador. I remember that Prof. Wole Soyinka came to Germany after he was given the Nobel prize and he was being hosted by

‘I must tell you this, Chief MKO Abiola came at a time to Germany and asked me to get him the topmost range of Mercedes Benz armoured car. I asked what he wanted to do with it. He then told me that he was Obasanjo's classmates. He said that Obasanjo was going to Ilorin in a Peugeot 404 car and was attacked by armed robbers, and that would have been a disgrace if a former head of state was killed in a Peugeot 404 car by armed robbers’

his friend Uli Bier, in Munich and I had to travel from Bonn to Munich to attend the party. I did not know that I was being monitored. I was very close to MKO and Baba Gana Kingibe then. Obviously, all of these were being monitored and I was seen as a collaborator. Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi also came to Germany. There was one Abiola ..., who was working with Abacha. He came to Germany and I thought as a Yoruba man he would have sympathy for MKO. I did not know that I was speaking with a spy who had a tape recorder hidden under his Agbada dress. He recorded everything we discussed and took it to his man, Abacha. That made me a marked man and immediately I returned to Nigeria, they put me in detention for 120 days. I must tell you this, Chief MKO Abiola came at a time to Germany and asked me to get him the topmost range of Mercedes Benz armoured car. I asked what he wanted to do with it. He then told me that he was Obasanjo's classmate. He said that Obasanjo was going to Ilorin in a Peugeot 404 car and was attacked by armed robbers, and that would have been a disgrace if a former head of state was killed in a Peugeot 404 car by armed robbers. So, he wanted me to get the car as a gift for Obasanjo. I immediately got to work and sent the price to him. I would not know if he eventually ordered it for him. But, I knew his plans for Obasanjo. One interesting thing about my detention is that, I was later told that it was my nephew, Akin, that they were looking for. At that time Akin was writing in The Guardian and he was courageous and fearless with his writings. The way I was arrested was so dramatic. They asked me series of questions, collected my passport and asked me to come to their office to collect it. I was so naïve. If I knew that I would end up in detention, I would not have gone to them. Foolishly, I went to them and my wife was not allowed to see me for 120 days. I wore the same dress throughout. If I knew I would have made my exit through Seme border and run away. The detention experience is a story for another day. Chief Olabiyi Durojaye was with us. His case was worse. He was not allowed to mingle with us; he was separated completely. And we were not to be seen talking to him. We always had our baths in the open in the presence of female soldiers. It was a terrible experience. I included this in my biography entitled: Abidakun. Osuntokun in the next 10 years. I see myself furiously writing books, because by then one does not obviously have much time left. I want to devote my time to writing about my experience, putting together some of my previous lectures. There is also a project being funded by the University of Lagos to replicate the Ibadan School of History, which is to collect information and subject them to serious tests of objectivity, using multi-disciplinary approach in order to arrive at the conclusion. This will involve the application of historical knowledge to development. I want to be part of that and see how my knowledge of history could be used to advance development. How you want to be remembered I want to be remembered as a courageous man, as a decent man and someone who loves his country and mankind. I want to be seen as someone who because he cannot see God directly, loves his neighbours. I'm prepared to love my neighbour and do the best I can do for those who are less endowed. In doing this, God would remember me and commend me. That is my philosophy of life.



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•Prof. Adimora-Ezeigbo


•Prof. Yerima


‘Your works may not be published’ They came for inspiration. Tagged Meet the authors, the writers’ parley held at Redeemers University, Nigeria (RUN), exposed aspiring writers to the realities of the literary vocation. EVELYN OSAGIE reports.


HEY dream of ruling the world with their writings which may one day fill the shelves of Nigerian and international bookstores. They are the next generation of writers. But, for now, they are still students, living their dreams. Determined that Nigerian writing would take the centre stage of future global creative industry, writers shared their literary experience with aspiring ones, under the auspices of the English Students Association, Redeemers University, Nigeria (ESARUN). Their experiences came as shocking realities and more to wanna-be writers at the parley, tagged Meet the authors. The authors said the writing vocation is not an easy one. Oftentimes, writers still have to do something on the side to sustain their writings, it was said. “I started writing in secondary school. I wrote all kinds of things and gave them to my siblings – they were my first critics. It was interesting that I could write down my thoughts. Writers write because of the passion of using words to communicate. Although we hope to make money from our books, as a writer, one doesn’t start thinking of money first because you would be disappointed. I have been writing for years but it is not my writings that sustain me. I also teach,” Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) said. The event also had as guests, professors Ahmed Yerima and Jide Osuntokun, who was represented by Dr Olumide Ekanade, and the Secretary of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Lagos State’s chapter, Ayo Dada. To be relevant on the future global scene, the authors said, aspiring ones should stay passionate about their writings, read wide, hone their skills, edit their manuscripts properly, get professional help, avoid self-publishing and, as a last resort, publish themselves, among others. “Don’t be discouraged but realise that there are challenges,” Prof. Adimora-Ezeigbo said as she recounted her experience as a little girl experimenting with words. “Some of the things you write may never be published.” The author, who is working on her poetry collection after publishing 37 books, said her first novel, whose thematic preoccupation was on the Osu caste system, never saw the light of day. However, that did not stop her from following her dream. “As a next generation of writers, continue writing and make more efforts to get better; never give up. Writing is hard work: while others are partying and sleeping, keep

•Some aspiring writers

PUBLISHING writing. And one day you will achieve your dream,” she said. The writer’s muse often comes visiting when one is not ready. This, the authors and aspiring ones noted, is a challenge they are forced to deal with. To this, Prof. Adimora-Ezeigbo suggested: “I always carry a notebook with me. Carry one with you because once you don’t put down that inspired line you lose it forever.” She urged the students to pay attention to their studies, saying their priority is graduating with good grades. “I married my husband in my second year and was pregnant in my third; but I was still able to make a 2-1 grade because I read more. The most important thing for now is your degree. You cannot afford to fail – focus more on your studies and career.” As academics, the professors noted that the academia has helped develop and popularise their writings. Yerima said both are complementary. He, however, lamented that winning the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) has challenged him to write better plays. He said: “Writing is like cooking and mixing the right ingredients. It involves researching. And in researching, you ask questions. The university is not a constraint but a blessing to a writer. The academia gives me the discipline for research.

It is the only environment that allows for research, critique, and situates ones work within yesterday, today and future generation. It has become more difficult to write a play since 2006 when I won the NLNG prize. It had put more pressure on me to write better plays.” Dada, author of Ghost Zina, said he started as an accountant, but discovered his creative essence after experiencing a heart break. “2,000 poems followed the tragic case of a guy who became a writer through a heart break – me. It led to the selfrealisation of this side of me. Today, I am also a publisher. “ He spoke about the dynamics of writing and the publication process, urging the students to pay more attention to the development in the e-industry. “Get your books into the international market through the e-industry. The Internet is the cheapest and easiest way to get global audience; explore the possibilities available,” he advised. ESARUN president Miss Temilade Onafuwa said the event motivated her more to aspire to becoming a writer of repute. “I have always wanted to be a writer and had always dreamed of meeting great writers such as our guests speakers. Hearing them speak has encouraged me more to becoming a very good and popular writer.” Dr Ofure Aito, RUN lecturer presented Ram Syndrome, written by Prof. Adimora-Ezeigbo. Alongside their lecturers, ESARUN members presented the writers with awards for their contribution towards creative writing in the country.



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Mbanefo’s ambivalence towards creativity


Obasanjo to chair conference


ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo will chair a twoday national conference being organised by the Na tional Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO). NICO Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma has visited Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital to invite him to the event. Ayakoroma briefed the former President on the activities of the institute with particular emphasis on the conference, which has as theme: Culture, Peace and National Security in Nigeria: The Role of Local Government Chairmen and Traditional Rulers. Obasanjo has accepted to be at the conference, which is designed to sensitise local government administrators and traditional rulers to their roles, especially on the culture of security. The conference is scheduled to hold between May 7 and 8 at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja. On the entourage of the Executive Secretary was his Special Assistant and Deputy Director, Hon. Nelson Campbell.

By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)



NE of Nigeria’s multi-talented artists, Emmah Mbanefo is an artist with a strong will and passion for the creative industry. Also, his disposition to quality and standard is unquenchable. Little wonder he exhibits only at selected art shows since graduating from Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State in 1985. On Saturday, at the Nimbus Art Gallery on Maitama Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos, Mbanefo will showcase his recent works in his solo art exhibition, Ambivalence, featuring paintings, etchings, installations and sculptures. The exhibition title, according to him, is premised on the understanding that in all things there is a foundation, one which is predetermined and beyond control. “However, that singular foundation is challenged, pushed and pulled as we fight to define ourselves. Ambivalence is the search for the good, the spirit of humanity. In exploring ambivalence, the work explores and sifts through humanity, interrogating emotions-strong feelings,” he said at a preview of his collection in Lagos. Mbanefo’s career has traversed a number of decades during which he had close working contact with great art masters such as Ben Enwonwu, Ben Osawe, Okpu Eze and Bruce Onobrakpeya. Evidently too, these masters left some imprints on his works. His sculptures, paintings and etchings for example, are perfect aggregation of these masterly skills of the older artists. He describes such relationship as theoretical influences on his career. “I have influences from Ben Enwonwu in terms of theory. But these theories are not taught in arts schools,” he said at the preview session. Creative director, Nimbus Art Gallery, Chike Nwagbogu described Mbanefo’s exhibition as a sought after opportunity for art patrons to assuage their cravings given the creativity and versatility of the artist. “As social entrepreneurs committed to using art as a vehicle for fostering social change, we at Nuimbus are proud to collaborate with Emmah Mbanefo in presenting Ambivalence, he said. Among works for display are Ajie, Avia, Chi, Ifejioku, Mma Ofeke, Odu Ogbu and Omumu. The exhibition will run till May 6 at the Nimbus Art Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos.





•From Left: Ayakoroma, Obasanjo and Campbell


Orara, others for group exhibition

GROUP art exhibition featuring three Nigerian painters, Tony Okujeni, Zinno Orara and Abraham Uyouvbisere opened last Saturday at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos. Curated by Matthew Odili (Halisi Ventures), the exhibition, sponsored by Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd, will run till April 21. The exhibition is the latest in a series geared towards promoting the arts in Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region. It is expected that the event would consolidate and enhance the status of the featured artists within the art community and among art patrons. Next stop of the exhibition is Accra, Ghana.

Shooting of Dr. Bello starts April 22 The shooting of Dr. Bello, a film will beginin Nigeria on April 22. American stars, Isaiah Washington and Jean Louis of the Phat Girlz fame and crew of the film will arrive the country tomorrow and they will be joined by their Nollywood counterpart for the movie shoot.


I see a nation By Omubo-Pepple Stella Nathan • Mbanefo


• Odu

Celebrating miracle of calvary

HERE were shouts of joy and testimonies as thousands of Christian faithful gathered for the Deeper Life Bible Church’s annual Easter Retreat. Venue was the Deeper Life Conference Centre, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Theme of the retreat was Celebrating the Miracle of Calvary. The event, which attracted participants from within and outside Lagos, held simultaneously in every state as well as other African countries, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Each day started with a faith clinic led by the General Superintendent of the church, Pastor William Kumuyi, who inspired the people with messages of hope and courage to overcome the many challenges of life. There were 14 heart-rending messages with two sessions of Bible study: Christ Atoning Blood, the miracle of salvation, divine healing through his stripes, the great price of ours’ and others’ salvation, abundant life through his blood, saving the lost through transformed tongue and others. Pastor Kumuyi said the retreat was to remind Christians to appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that brought redemption, healings and freedom from all evil to humanity. He noted that Nigerians should use the Easter season to reflect on their commitment to honesty, integrity, trans-

RETREAT By Adeola Ogunlade

parency and goodliness which are virtues that characterise the lifestyle of Jesus who died to save mankind from sin. “Easter is not a time for merriment but a time for sober reflection on our life and walk with Jesus whose death and resurrection brought salvation, healing of all diseases, deliverance to the oppressed and rectitude to mankind,” he said Kumuyi said the world faces the growing problem of war, corruption, civil unrest, economic recession and bad leadership because of sin and neglect of Jesus Christ and his word in every sphere of life. In his sermon, a veteran journalist, Pastor Segun Babatope called on Christians to be alive to their responsibility of preaching the gospel as thousands died without hope of eternal life with God. Sister Juliana Ajani said: “I feel great as I enjoy God’s presence and the miracles he has provided for his children at Calvary.” Another participant, Charles Ayindu, said he was re-energised, renewed spiritually and have more strength to face the challenges of life.

I see a nation filled with peace Not a nation shattered to pieces I see a nation where oneness and unity shall stand as our watchword Not diversity and disparity as our watchword I see a nation where poverty and AIDS will be eradicated Not where it would be tolerated I see a nation where elections would be by proper election Not by selection election I see a nation where corruption will die And intergrity upheld I see a nation filled with Joy and laughter, rivers flowing into seas And the sweet fragrance of the rose flower fills our sense of smell I see a nation where peace and tranquility will reign And the chirping of the birds reminds us of the break of dawn Not shells of bomb reminding us of war I see a nation where ethnic rivalry would be in the past And our diverse culture a thing of pride I see a nation where our resources would bring us joy And build us a greater nation Not a disintegrated nation I see a a nation where unity will stand as our watchword Not diversity and disparity as our watchword so let’s fight this fight of peace because we are born into a nation of peace



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The 8th Wonder of the World Made in Nigeria and The 8th Wonder of the World Made in Naiga


Olaboludele Simoyan


Evelyn Osagie


Ore Publishers Limited

Year of Publication: 2010


Projecting Nigeria into prominence

T is unusual to find a book like Olaboludele Simoyan’s. Its unique configuration stands it out on the book shelves; and it has not failed in attracting readers’ attention at first glance. As one picks up the book to read, its titles or sides is sure to confuse one on which is its lead. The book is two in one, in that it has two sides with distinctive covers, titles content, dedication, and prologue - although its foreword, written by Dr Christopher Kolade and preface are same in both parts. And to read each side, one would have to turn it upside down. And as one peruses this atypical book, the reader would also, find that both sides and titles can stand on its own. With the titles The 8th Wonder of the World Made in Nigeria and The 8th Wonder of the World Made in Naiga, each part has pages 169 and 211. The two parts explore diverse issues bordering on the nation’s reorientation, rebranding, image laundering, socio-political and technological development, etc. These preoccupations form the linking threads that bind both books together as one. Also, the book or books, as the case may be, which are borne out of years of research, celebrate the country’s potential greatness, calling attention to where her leaders have gone wrong. According to the author, Nigeria has what it takes to become a leading nation of the world.


Hence, Simoyan’s major preoccupation is stating how Nigeria and her citizenry can harness her potential greatness, which has essentially been unexplored. For the successfully positioning the country in the League of Nations, according to her, it would require a major longterm commitment by Nigerians and the government.” It would not be wrong to describe her book as a branding handbook of a sort for the nation that her citizenry can be proud of. Indeed, reading through the book, the author’s dreams for the future of her country are made bare creatively, which is commendable. However, she not only express her dream in her work but goes ahead to proffer solution going into the history of the decay and the present state of things and where the country and its citizenry should aspire to get to. While highlighting ways of projecting Nigeria into the future, both sides of the book also deal expressly with the Nigeria of the future ( 2020). And her advocacy is targeted especially at the youths. In The 8th Wonder of the World Made in Naiga, the author believes Nigeria has what it takes to be a future major world player, i.e. as she puts it “the 8th wonder of the world”. She posits that if taken serious and the right things put in place, Nigeria can dominate the world in science, arts, etc. But to get to that place of dominance, the

author calls for a national re-orientation and complete revamp of the entire system. Each page has a quote of African proverb which is turned upside down. Turning each page upside down to read the quote may be a tasking exercise for readers which can easily break their line of thought line, and, might even douses their interest. This, however, may also serve as a style which the author uses to force the reader to read and ponder on the lesson behind quote as they read on. She takes her reader to the future of her dreams where the name ‘Nigeria’ has been turned into ‘Naiga-Wondas’ instead of the popular ‘Naija’, and ‘Nigerian’ into ‘Naigese’. In that fantastic projection, she writes: “And now we are THE 8TH WONDER, GOD’S SHOWPIECE and the envy of the global village!” In this part of the book, Simoyan looks at “some attempts by various governments to create a national vision, brand, plan and ideology for Nigeria”, bringing out their shortcomings. While attempting to create a new national vision and ideology, she posit in the chapters “Positioning our Nation: Nigeria” and “Unity – the Catalyst for Nation-Building” that proper positioning, rebranding and working in unity would help the country attain greatness. The rebranding exercise, according to her, should start from the country’s name. Hence, she writes in the chapter entitled: “What’s in a Name”,

that “a person with a bad name is already halfhanged”. So, what is in the name ‘Nigeria’, one may ask. The author says: “For our nation to have the most positive and powerful impact on the people and the global community, its image must reflect, not distort reality”. And on pages 64 and 77, the author states the changed from letter ‘J’to ‘G’ i.e. from ‘Naija’ to ‘NAIGA’ would portray the ‘God factor’ and the ‘9Gs’ which stands for everything good from ‘genius to ‘great’. Simoyan reveals that the word ‘wonder’ on the book’s title is an acronym which meaning, she expresses on Page 81. She also raises some rhetorical questions that force the reader to participate in her line of thought. Subsequent chapters touch on nation- building: its ‘vision’, ‘lifestyle and culture’; ‘the citizen’s oath’, ‘plan of action’, ‘images and symbols of our future’. In the part entitled, The 8th Wonder of the World Made in Nigeria, she takes the reader into her purpose of writing the book; her burning passion for the country; over 80 things that makes Nigeria a great country, among others. Towards the end, she writes “A letter to you, dear reader”, where she called attention to the decadence and the role of each citizen. From human resources to education, tourism and entertainment industry, among others, the Simoyan highlights the “Over eighty good and interesting things that you need to know about Nigeria…and more”. She urges Nigerians to learn to focus their energy on their strength. On the “Problem of Nigeria”, she raises some salient questions, about the polity have not been unanswered. The questions are listed on pages 47 to 52. She asks on page 133: “If the future of Nigeria is dependent on you, what would you do?” She also touch on how the problem should be perceived, stating Nigerians should pay attention to their perception of things, words and identity. Other chapters on this part include “Nigeria Personified in the Person of Frank William Abagnale, Jr.”, “A fundamental Paradigm shift in Thinking”, among others. And like the other part, this one also ends with a letter. This time, it is directed at parents. She titled it thus: “A letter to the parents of a young victim of a decadent society.” It is a must read for policymakers and society at large: youths, parents, teachers, and so on.

Critical perspectives on peace, conflict

HE ongoing search for a solution to the security challenges in the country could not have received a boost than this contribution by scholars entitled: Critical Perspectives on Peace, Conflict and Warfare in Africa: Festschrift in Honour of Siyan Oyeweso The scholars, Prof Olutayo Adesina, University of Ibadan; Prof Olukoya Ogen, Osun State University and Dr Noah Attah, Lagos State University, explore avenues for the sustenance of peace in a federation characterised by ethnic chauvinism, lopsided revenue sharing formula, agitation for state police, religious intolerance and minority rights movement. With contributions traversing the six geopolitical zones of the country, some using lessons from their immediate environment to amplify the potency of their arguments in what really constitute peace, conflict and warfare, the book stands as a model for peace building. The book, which is divided into six sections, 28 cghapters starts by reviewing Oyeweso’s early life, education, which delves into his reflection on war and strategic thought in Nigeria. This portrays him as one of the leading experts in the field with several volumes of the scholarly literatures produced on pre-colonial and post-colonial warfare in Nigeria including prominent war actors. It states that Oyeweso’s greatest contributions to war and strategy literature is the one on Nigerian Civil War. In the book, (Nigerian Civil War) he is of the view that whatever the misdemeanours the actors in the Nigerian Civil War hold, they are the reflections of the nature of the Nigerian society and that their action is not necessarily responsible for the prevailing socio-political condition of the nation. On the theories and concepts of conflict and warfare, Critical Perspectives on Peace, Conflict and Warfare: Festschrift in Honour of Siyan Oyeweso notes that war does not happen by accident nor does it arise out of subconscious


Critical Perspectives on Peace, Conflict and Warfare: Festschrift in Honour of Siyan Oyeweso


Olutayo Adesina, Olukoya Ogen and Noah Attah


Musa Odoshimokhe


Obafemi Awolowo University Press, Ile-Ife.

Year of Publication: February 2012 Pagination:

but rather from a super-abundance of analytic rationality with the intension to address the fears of those who make the decision. Referring to Carl von Clauswitz’s treatise On War, the edition states that the aim of war is to compel the enemy to do others will and by extension a continuation of politics by other means, understood from this perspective, the pros and cons would have been evaluated before embarking on it. The book notes the widening communication gap; the difficulty is that as technical aides have become more sophisticated, leaders have become rather than less wary of spoken intension of one another. Communication which by nature a two-way undertaking is subjected to distortion at both the originating and receiving ends. Citing the Cold War era as example, the reveals that the

442 pages

international communication may have been distorted by a combination of bureaucratic stasis and urges for self-preservation in elite foreign policy crises. The contributors explore the resource curse thesis that has brought much pains to those who posses such resources. Using the resource wealth violent conflict nexus, it explains why in spite of being relatively well endowed, African countries remain poor and conflict ridden. The edition shows how natural resources wealth tends to nurture abuse of governance and the absence of rule of law and dilapidated economic structure while subverting state fund to feeding conflicts. This it says only explains partly why a resource rich Norway is not embroiled in resource war while a resource rich Nigeria is confronted by insurgent Ijaw militia in the Niger Delta. It believes that violent is not just produced by the internal contradictions but is more often than not globally refraction. Arising from the intensified exploitation of Africa’s resources, international elite have made gains from the parlous situation. Making reference to Malthusian theory,

it subsists that the prevalence of conflict in the world today is a fact that linked directly to the bloated population of mankind which has grown exceptionally beyond man’s capacity to feed itself adequately. It observes that there have been excessive cases of conflicts on the continent that are also dialectically linked to grinding poverty and marginalisation. It tends to suggest that unwieldy national demographic spread across the continent could possibly be complicit in such conflict spiral experienced in most parts of Africa. Introspecting on Africa’s resistance to domination and strategies used in curtailing security challenges, among the pre-colonial Yoruba, it reveals that the strategic doctrine of total war is not alien. According to the book, they are often conscious of the need to totally destroy a particular adversary whose existence is incompatible with their security term. African’s resistance to domination prove decisive when Mau- Mau, an anti-colonial militant nationalist rebellion of Kenya, which predominant took place among the Kikuye ethnic group. Its grievances were centred on colonial land policy which confiscated prime farmlands for white settlers while relegating them to overcrowded tribal reserves. Some chapters in the book look at causes of tribal domination and resistance of which, the Ife-Modakeke conflict provides good example. At the heart of the conflict between the sub-group of Yoruba are the desire of Ife to retain the age-long relations of production, which has led in the pre-colonial period to the formation of a system based on a tenant-derived social organisation. The pre-colonial inter-tribal relations are not totally chaotic, the Jukun has vibrant inter-group relations with their neighbours. Though a warrior community, historical dynamics of Jukun inter-group relations at the same time has relative period of cooperation and mutual cohesion between them and



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Green art and aesthetics



E were in a friendly residential neighbourhood in Ibadan, toward the outskirt of the city, off the hub of heavy traffic. “Before settling down to paint, let’s stroll down the street for a can of coffee,” my host Moyo Ogundipe had suggested. The morning sun waxed bright in the sky as we stepped outside. Below us, the undulating and hilly landscape sprawled out with municipal decadence. After the overnight rain, the air reeked of filth and slime. Smelling excitement, I returned to the house to carry my camera for the walk down Ibadan suburbia. Thinking of city outskirts, my mind flashed back to a sunny morning in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on the east coast of the United States. I took a friend on a stroll round the lake behind the Wellesley College campus, by the city outskirts in which I lived. The early spring was in full bloom, with fresh flowers extending flamboyant displays of organic colors and extravagant aromas. The grass was manicured, presenting us a natural green carpet that stretched far into the distance like a rippling ocean surface. The brim of the lake glistened with silver highlights as the sun caught the rim of water before it bounced back into a blinding mirage of mirror images. We walked toward the water fountain, cupping our hands above our brows to shade our eyes from the celestial flares. I noted the interplay of light and shadows falling across the foliage and flowers around the vast lake. The contours of the shadows changed shapes and intensity as we walked round the lake, while the sun hurried across the body of water, which playfully deflected the light to the horizon and the sky. Back to the present in suburban Ibadan city, the scenery was a palpable contrast to the idyllic Wellesley outskirt. On the street of Ibadan, the combination of visual and olfactory offenses was overwhelming. From a nearby church building, what sounded like a large orchestral covered the entire neighborhood with a blanket of music. The clapping and singing of worshippers amplified the volume of the sound. Following Ogundipe’s nod in the direction of the church, and we pressed forward. My camera snapped dozens of pictures to keep close witness. Around the church building, my gaze scanned the landscape. The filth from litters discarded by street users, the daily household rubbish that spilled outdoors, and the stench emanating from the clogged gutters produced a reel of unsightly pictures from my camera. Natural and synthetic debris bred freely along the roads. Narrowing down the street at certain points to enable the gathering of the filth, the garbage sometimes overruns the motorway. Rainwater overflowing the gutters was eating into the sides of the road, with discarded industrial, household, and personal items such as tires, shoes, forks, cups, hair and wigs, toothbrush and combs strewn among items that were too transformed by dirt beyond recognition. Filth was next to Godliness, as church members worshipped in the wallow of the dirt surrounding the church building. Plastic, metals, and toxic looking liquids marked the terrain. The most common litters were polythene bags, kegs, and bottles, as well as beverage cans, and other metal containers, embedded in liquid petrochemical and natural wastes. It is a landscape that spoke the language of dirt, filth, and garbage, a landscape from which Nigerian artists have invented a visual vocabulary of environmental art. Using the landscape medium, Victor Ekpuk and Alozie Chibuike Onyirioha join a growing group of African environmental artists compounding filth as compost for inestimable cultural possibilities. From the foulness of the African gutter they germinate a garbage language for fertilizing and fecundating national development and humanist decency, in a terrain that reeks of pollution, corruption, and criminal fraudulence. Victor Ekpuk explains the idea behind his installation: “On the occasion of the 6th World Water Forum which took place in Marseille, France, from March 12 to 17 2012, I joined other international artists on the invitation of the Musée des Tapisseries (Museum of Tapestries) in Aix-EnProvence to create work for the special exhibition “Le temps de l’Eau” (Time of Water) which includes video installations, projections, photography, and paintings... illustrating humanity’s vital and complex relationship to water.” He produced a site-specific design located in the interior of the museum as the ground of intervention. He continues, “My Installation “Abundance and Waste” uses discarded plastic water bottles and trash bin, juxtaposed on a contrasting background of symbols of opulence in Western culture from the museum collection of tapestries like the “Russian Games” made by Royal Manufacture of Beauvis from drawings of Jean-Baptiste Leprince and “The Story of Don Quixote” designed by Charles Notire . The marbled interior walls in the Archbishop dining room also set a contrasting backdrop to express my view that the commoditization of water in wealthy nations often leads to waste.” Ekpuk’s thought-provoking work comes from an experience in which he lived among a people perplexed about the disposal of these technology and economy wastes. Ekpuk concluded that, “Plastic, the byproduct of this commoditization becomes a source of pollution. This abun-

• Artist at work By Moyo Okediji

dance and waste stand in stark contrast to the reality of poor Third World populations for which this life-giving liquid is scarce or beyond their economic means.” Out of the heaps of trash and rubbish, Ekpuk and Alozie are filtering a visual dialect that speaks to power about the corrupt culture around which sludge collects. But Alozie’s visual verbs are active critiques that not only illuminate the rubbish heaps; he addresses the redemptive aesthetics of cultural morality through the cultivation of ethical cleansing. His vision is, therefore, not merely negative and accusatory. He ardently designs and constructs a searching architecture of hope out of sheer despair, dilapidation, and collapse. Using toxic and unsightly wastes, he brings attention to the rot and rust that clogs the wheel of progress, and the dehumanizing effects that these devolution wrecks on the psyche and body of the common citizen. A people living in the ordure of its sewage are not only scavenging at the bottom of global dung, they are so inundated with the fecal deposits of life that they seem incapable of perceiving or acknowledging any decent illumination or freshness of thought. They become one with the turds among which they live, and threaten to revert to a subhuman level of existence. Alozie is clearly influenced by the work of Ghana’s El Anatsui, who is actively changing the subject of African aesthetic dialogue to a discussion centralizing the humanism of environmental habitation. Alozie has experimented with the formality of stacked and singed wooden panels that occupied Anatsui earlier in the carrier of the Ghanaian master. It is an exploration that brings attention to the deforestation of Africa, a reference to Wole Soyinka’s poetry in “Ogun Abibiman,” which began, “No longer are the forests green….” In this art and aesthetics of green values, the forests become the people, and the people become the forests. When people destroy their forests, the fallen forests destroy the people. This tension between people and forest plays itself out in the early works of Anatsui, whose poetic invocation erases and masks its portent tracks. When Alozie explores Anatsui’s success with discarded junks, including metals, plastics, and wooden wastes, his directness and rawness of emotional commitment discards the subtlety that graces the poesy of his mentor. Alozie welds, fasten, and burns these materials into monumental and imposing spectacles with a three-dimensional opulence. They transform into spectacles that are sometimes reminiscent of African masquerades dancing to cleanse the environment of social, cultural, and entrenched systems of decadence and filth. Ekpuk and Alozie articulate the proverbs of trash in two contrasting styles. They construct the architecture of waste with different images in their installations. Ekpuk’s sitespecific work in the museum building is conceptual art in which the idea of the work is more important than the visual value. Alozie chooses a materialist attitude, in which the form of the work is spectacular and visually astonishing. Their explorations of filth question the logic of wallowing in economic, educational, political and psychological waste: can sanitation or lack thereof signify the level of sanity in Nigerian economic and political culture? Ekpuk, Alozie and other postcolonial African artists offer an optimistic vision of hope and order with their aesthetics of green art. •Okediji is of Univeristy of Texas in Austin Texas, USA


Fresh facts on Mbopo


AUGHTERS of Seclusion: the Revelation of the Ibibio “Fattened Bride” as the Icon of Beauty and Power, a new book by Imo Imeh, has been published. The book maps the historical trajectory of a traditional sorority and institution of womanhood in southeast Nigeria known as Mbopo. Mbopo ritual is chiefly characterised by the seclusion of women into “fattening houses” as preparation for marriage. There a secluded maiden is believed to gain spiritual insight, invaluable knowledge about womanhood and life, and most notably, body weight, which is in many ways a measurement of the wealth of her family, her physical and emotional fortitude, and ultimately her beauty. The book discusses the connections between “fat and beautiful” women and regional conceptions of power, gender construction, social critique, visual art, music, and the aesthetics of seclusion in Ibibioland and throughout the Cross River area. It also addresses contemporary artists such as Victor Ekpuk, Otobong Nkanga, and Tony Okonofua, who use their works to discuss many philosophical layers that comprise the identity of the ancient “fattened bride.”



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Uncommon spectacle in Lagos!


Honour for Soyinka in Italy


EUTERS’ photographer and multiple award winner Akintunde Akinleye has opened an exhibition in honour of Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka in Pordenone, Italy. The photography exhibition commissioned by the THESIS—the organiser of the annual cultural festival tagged Dedica festival was part of the activities lined up to honour the 1986 Nobel prize winner in literature-the first to have emerged from Africa. Each year, Dedica festival honours a protagonist whose work of art promotes human rights and democracy across the world. Wole Soyinka is the second African poet and writer to be so honoured at the Dedica festival after the South African writer and political activist, Nadine Gordimer. The festival, which opened on March 10, also featured book readings from Soyinka’s text, drama and music. Soyinka was also presented with the city of Pordenone seal at a ceremony that also culminated in the giving out of prizes for college students who performed well in a literary contest.

• Akinleye and Prof. Soyinka

HERITAGE The Mayor of the city of Pordenone, Claudio Pedrotti, who presided over the ceremony, wrote at the opening page of the exhibition catalogue thus:”For its 2012 edition, Dedica festival offers us an extraordinary emotions: on one hand it proudly presents Wole Soyinka as a man before than as a Nobel laureate; the written words has become his weapon for building a new national identity in his post-colonial Nigeria, based on democracy and human rights; on the other hand, it shows Soyinka’s words through Akintunde Akinleye’s extraordinary photos, sharp social comments revealing his indignation for human conditions” The exhibition entitled: Wole Soyinka and the Rest of Us included sub-themes such as Victims of two faiths, Un-lonely Walls, Nigeria’s bush refineries, Cultures of our Union and Wole Soyinka and the painters. The exhibition opens till May 6, at the gallery of modern and contemporary Arts, Pordenone.



Osun free train ride excites passengers •Continued from Page 27

cities, farm equipment, poultry, goats, cows, sheep from one location to another. Then, this region will stand out in commerce and development,” he added. The Director-General, Bureau of Social Services, Femi Ifaturoti, who shed light on the objective of the transportation programme, explained that it was borne out of the desire to return the steel rolling town, Osogbo, to its status as a commercial hub. Like Okanlawon, he pointed out that Governor Aregbesola wanted to insulate indigenes from financial constraints. “The huge population that would pour into Osogbo would boost the economy of the capital. We are also mindful of the implications for tourism,” he said. Ifaturoti emphasised that the

state was anxious to tap from the advantages of rail transportation in the interest of Osun economy. “We expect finished farm products to be moved from Dagbolu, free of tariff, to Lagos. Government is to take care of the transportation and other logistics. We have spoken with the big companies. The idea is that, through this efficient transportation system, manufactured goods can be transported and sold at the same price in Osogbo, as it is done in Lagos,” he added. Osun State is proposing a 25year renewable railway tenure as part of efforts to ensure that its proposed “Go Rail” initiative sees the light of day. It is a kind of commercial advocacy that would encourage private organisations to patronise the rail system. For this programme, warehouses are being acquired by the state for subtle storage of farm

It is a kind of commercial advocacy that would encourage private organisations to patronise the rail system. For this programme, warehouses are being acquired by the state for subtle storage of farm produce for sale to the market

•Arrival at Osogbo

produce for sale to the market. Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives and Empowerment Ismail Alagbada, who welcomed the passengers as they alighted in Osogbo, said the repeal of the act would clear the way for the expansion of the vibrant transportation system. He said the capacity of the train to accommodate 9,000 passengers at once is salutary. “We discovered that during festive periods, we normally have traffic jam on the road. This Easter period, we are trying to alleviate that burden because the welfare of our people is paramount. “In most developed countries,

these are essential things, not luxuries. It is very cheap, safe and secure. Each coach would accommodate 98 passengers. Government intends to sustain this initiative. We are preparing our people for this type of transportation, pending the approval of higher authorities for permission for the states to run railways. For now, I will appeal to our people to move their goods to Osogbo for easy transportation to Lagos”, he added. His Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism counterpart, Sikiru Adetona, drew a connection bewteen rail transportation and tourism, saying that the rail sys-

tem could lend support to the tourism agenda of the administration. He also said that regional rail system is feasible, urging the federal government to encourage states to swing investment to this sector. Osun State Commissioner for Physical Planning Mr. Muyiwa Ige noted that the state had scored a point. His words: “This is government unusual. We are connecting our people to the mode of transport that had proved effective since the fifties and sixties. What we see is traffic unimpeded. This is government of innovation giving palliatives to citizens and decongesting busy roads”.

Ngige inaugurates markets


ENATOR Chris Ngige has inaugurated four markets in Nkwelle Ezunaka community in Oyi Council Area of Anambra State. The markets were built by Mr. Ike Ekwensi, a philanthropist and indigene of the community. Residents of Nkwelle Ezunaka, both young and old, gathered to witness the inauguration of the markets, hailing Ekwensi for the gesture. Before the markets were built, the residents who are mainly farmers and traders, had no location to sell or buy, a situation which forced the women to take shelter under trees. Senator Ngige while commissioning the four markets of Eke, Oye, Afor and Nkwo, said the project was a luadable one since it affects the lives of the rural dwellers of the community. He said the markets would contribute to the economic growth of Nkwelle Ezunanka community, adding that women would not have to travel miles to buy and sell their products since markets have been built for them in their respective villages. Ngige said: “What your son Ekwensi has done for you is a clear indication of what he has in store for you. He is not the richest person in this community but was touched by the neglect you have been forced to experience. These markets would from today increase your income and as well as reduce your sufferings in search of markets elsewhere.” Ngige, a former governor of the state, lamented the state of federal roads in the state and indeed the entire Southeast, expressing his readiness to ensure that the people feel the presence of federal

•Senator Ngige (middle) inaugurates the markets they have markets roofed and wellFrom Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha built to help them contribute to the economy of the country,” he said. government. He also said he was not motiIke Ekwensi, son of famous auvated to do the projects because of thor, Cyprain Ekwensi, said he was political ambition. Ekwensi urged touched by the decay in the marthe community to use the markets kets of the community. and facilities in them with care. “I felt my people needed more The four markets commissioned befiting markets because over the by Senator Ngige included Afor, years they have been forced to Oze, Oye, Ezinkwelle, Nkwo, transact their businesses under the Uruebo/Amenyi villages all in trees and other places but today, Nkwelle Ezunanka community.

Before the markets were built, the residents who are mainly farmers and traders, had no location to sell or buy, a situation which forced the women to take shelter under trees



•Bamgbose (seventh right) and Ama (eighth right) with other participants at the event


HE chairman of Badagry West Local Council Development Area Bamgbose Hontonyon Joseph has emphasised training and retraining of staff as a means to ensure development in the council. He said improved welfare of the staff, training inclusive, translates to better productivity and commitment on the part of the trainees to further give their best in their various chosen fields. At the flag-off of a two-day workshop for 150 junior staff at the council secretariat, Bamgbose noted that the workshop was meant to address some unethical conducts as demonstrated by staff which do not portray the council in good light. He vowed to remain committed to making the council the best among others, just as he promised to continually improve the lot of


SENIOR lecturer in the Department of Language, Arts and Social Science Education, Faculty of Education Lagos State University (LASU) Ojo, Lagos, Dr Akin Jimoh has advised parents to pay close attention to their children in order to help them avoid any contact with hard drugs. He spoke at an enlightenment and empowerment programme on the effects of hard drugs on the youth and society. The programme was organised by the Leader of the Legislative Arm of Oriade Local Council Development Area Hon. Akeem Agbelega. Jimoh, who regretted that lives of many youths have been destroyed as a result of drug abuse blamed families and the larger so-

Council chair stresses staff training By Adegunle Olugbamila

his staff to achieve this purpose. “The cogent reason for this gathering today is to address the myriad problems facing the performances of the junior members of staff with a view to repositioning same for the challenges of grassroot administration. “The lackadaisical attitude to work, dishonesty, leaking of official secret, absenteeism, truancy, pilfering, loitering and a host of other serious misconducts are now the bane of our staff.” He advised staff giving a negative tag to the council to henceforth desist from such acts, adding, “they must realise that it is not the repu-

tation of the council that they are only soiling, they are also soiling their reputation.” The workshop, Bamgbose added, was meant to be interactive among the participants and resource person towards making the former ‘obedient public servant’. Bamgbose admonished the junior staff to see themselves as small leaders in their various units, noting that he sees greater leaders in them all. He therefore charged them to leave a lasting legacy of hard work and dedication to duty for the coming generation. He urged them to emulate a visually-impaired junior council staff, Adedokun Dimeji, who was declared the “2011 Best Staff of the

Year’ at the same occasion in view of Huns’s passion for work despite his challenges in less than one year of joining the council. Also speaking, the council Manager Emmanual Ama, a lawyer, thanked the chairman who, in his goodwill, approved the training which he said was happening for the first time. “This goes to show that we have a listening leader,” Ama said. Ama also urged members of staff to brace up to the method of council operations as it obtains in the 21st Century. The two-day workshop, he stressed, featured topics such as public service rules, communications skills, career progression and

human relations in job performances, among others. He described the topic of the workshop: Norms and ethics of public service, as timely to educate staff on what is expected of them for greater performance, and therefore implored them to feel free to ask question on any grey areas. John Ajonde, an audit staff, thanked Bambgose saying, “This will spur us into further action”. He, however, pleaded for more of such training for the junior staff. Two of the participants Ranti Alivide and Abdulahhi Sewanu, promised to leverage on the workshop to improve on their performances.

Lawmaker sensitises constituents on hard drugs By Amidu Arije

ciety for failing in their responsibilities of giving the young ones good direction guidance. He noted that the situation resulted from failure of parenting and lack of societal commitment to their well-being. He said that a society where the youth have the effrontery of smoking Indian hemp openly risks a bleak future. He stated that parents, especially mothers, have greater responsibility in keeping tabs on their children, particularly the boys who he said have the penchant for taking hard drugs.

He thanked Hon. Agbelega for organising the enlightenment programme, even as he urged concerted efforts towards reducing if not eliminating the harmful effects of hard drugs on the society which he said would not experience genuine growth and development when its productive workforce have become uselessly unproductive. Speaking earlier, Hon. Agbelega disclosed that his organising the programme was borne out of genuine love for and commitment to the well-being of the people he represents, especially the young ones. He said: “Hard drugs are not good for our body system. They are

•From left: Chief Whip of Oriade Legislative Council, Hon Moruf Jimoh; Hon. Agbelega; Leader of Ward G, Rev. Ebijimi; Ward G chairman, Chief Oloba and council ACN party chairman, Hon. Moshood Badmus at the event

chemicals that affect the tissues by rendering them weak and malfunctioned. While we are taking them, we may be thinking that we are doing the right thing, but gradually we are weakening the body system and make them susceptible to any disease. “This informed our coming here to educate ourselves, especially the young ones, on the harmful effects of hard drugs on the individual in particular and the society in general. When an able-bodied young man dies as a result of the effects of hard drugs he had taken, the society loses because he would have contributed to its economic development. This is so because the youth constitute the greatest percentage of the country’s workforce. “If you visit some of our psychiatric hospitals, you will notice that most young men and women who would been bread winners of their families have been rendered useless because of the effects of the hard drugs they had taken. When anyone consumes what is beyond the capacity of his or her brain, the effects are, most times, devastating,” he said. He therefore advised parents to always monitor the lifestyle of their children to avoid what he

called “disastrous repercussions resulting from crummy way of life.” While giving out donations of various kinds some widows and other underprivileged people at the event, Hon. Agbelega advised public-spirited individuals to look the way of the poor and uplift them irrespective of how insignificant the gesture may be. Some widows, youths and other individuals received cash gifts and other valuable items. In a chat with Newsextra after the event, Hon. Agbelega, who described himself as a community person, lamented the level of poverty in the land despite that the country is so much blessed in both human and natural resources. He said: “The condition of the poor in this country bothers me. It also bothers everybody. Nigeria is a rich country peopled by a majority poor. We are destined to be a great country peopled by great individuals. The problems we encounter are simply man-made. With the grim realities on ground and with the realisation of that fact, people are now coming together to ask questions on why the situation has been so and when will it end. But it is not enough to be bothered but enough to proffer solutions.

He thanked Hon. Agbelega for organising the enlightenment programme, even as he urged concerted efforts towards reducing if not eliminating the harmful effects of hard drugs on the society



The yearly event has continued to expand because of the genuine efforts and commitment of the OFAAC leadership and the desire of Anioma people to preserve and promote their heritage through the cultural festival

•From left: Delta State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Victor Ochei with the Asagba of Asaba, Chike Edozien at the event

•A dance troupe performing at the feast

Anioma rallies constituents at feast


HE Anioma people of Delta State have celebrated their most impressive cultural festival yet. It showcased the cultures of the people who are bound by a common language in the state. It also paraded people from all walks of life drawn from the linguistic unit. And it was a feast of unity. The Arcade Ground, Asaba was the venue. The Anioma Cultural Festival has progressively become an upstage cultural event for the indigenes to celebrate their rich cultural heritage. The yearly cultural festival organised by the Organisation for the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC), the cultural umbrella body of Anioma people has become a rallying point of Anioma cultural revival and a veritable platform for community development. The massive turnout at the 2012 edition on Easter Monday included monarchs, participating groups and dignitaries. The festival is getting bigger, more

entertaining and more encompassing with the infusion of new features yearly. This year’s edition had more than 98 dance performances simultaneously, providing wide choices for spectators. Traditional wrestlers heightened the excitement. The different dance groups and associations, dressed in the best of Anioma attires with all the accoutrements of splendour and majesty, took the stage in a carnival like manner as they sang, danced and paid homage to the custodians of Anioma traditional institutions. The festival is Anioma’s biggest unifying cultural festival with hundreds of thousands of devoted participants drawn from traditional institutions, cultural groups, schools, decision-makers, corporate bodies and visitors enjoying live traditional dance and other Anioma performing arts. Mr. Kester Ifeadi, architect and President of OFAAC, in his welcome address, said the 2012 festival theme was “Anioma Unity and Sanctity with Nature”.

•Chief (Mrs) Theodora Giwa Amu, former Delta State Commissioner for Women Affairs, leading a special dance troupe Ifeadi thanked those who kept faith with Anioma. He also commended the corporate sponsors. The Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei

•MD/CEO Beta Drugs, Chief Charles Izizi (in suit) presenting free drugs to Chairman, Itire-Ikate Local Council Development Area, Hon. Hakeem Bamgbola at the secretariat. With them are council officials.

said unity was the only way forward for Anioma and people generally. According to him, “the yearly event has continued to expand because of the genuine efforts and commitment of the OFAAC leadership and the desire of Anioma people to preserve and promote their heritage through the cultural festival.” He pledged his support for the objectives of the festival. Among dignitaries that graced the occasion were Chief B.S.C Elue, former deputy governor Delta State; Evangelist Joan O. Mrakpor, member of Delta State House of Assembly; Chief Theodora Giwa Amu. His Royal Majesty, Obi Chukwumalieze Victor, the Obi of Onicha-Ugbo in the opening prayers thanked God for members of OFAAC and the peaceful coexistence among the people. HRM Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien, the Asagba of Asaba, who played host to over 46 monarchs and high chiefs at the event, applauded the great efforts of Arc. Ifeadi and the activities of OFAAC in Anioma land. There was also a special performance from the Igbanke Dance Group from Edo State who came to identify with their kith and kin in Anioma land. Monarchs present at the festival include, HRM Prof. Chike Edozien the Asagba of Asaba, H.R.M. Chukwumalieze Victor Obi of Onicha- Ugbo, HRM, Obi David Azuka (JP) – Obi of Akwukwu Igbo,

Her Royal Highness, (Dr.) Martha Dunkwu, the Omu of Anioma, HRM. Vincent Nmor the Obi of Ugili Amai, HRM. Obi Kikachukwu (J.P) the Obi of Ubulu-Unor, HRM. Ezenwali Ahoma Collins- Obi of Otolokpo, HRM. Obi Gabriel Chukwuma Jikeme the Obi of Utegboje, the Onewu of Okwe, HRM. Emmanuel O. Offor, the Obi of Adonte, HRM. Obi Kenneth Ezegbunam JP Obi of Nsukwa, HRM. Obi Chukwudi Ikedi the Obi of UkalaOkpuno, HRM. Obi Nwoko Albert, Obi of Idumuje Ugboko, HRM. Obi Gold Ubosiagwuia, Obi of Umute, HRM. Obi Ofulukwu III JP, the Obi of Obior, HRM. Obi Godwin Onyenwuwa, the Obi of Ewulu, HRM. Obi Ayo Isinyemeze I, the Obi of Ugbodu, HRM. Obi Stephen C. Osagie, the Obi of Akumazi, HRM. Obi Samuel N. Oliegede III, the Obi of Idumogo, HRM. Obi V.A. Nwaokobia IV, Obi of Okpanam, HRM. Obi Ifechukwude, the Obi of Olodu, Chief P. C Eziashi, the Iyase of Onicha – Olona, Chief Stephen Adagbuzia, the Onowu of Okwe, Chief Sunday Ofune, the regent of Ebu, HRM. Obi Francis RSJ, the Obi of Issele-Uku, Prince V. Efeizomor, representative of HRM. Obi of Owa, Chief Enwenike, Rep. of Ezemu of Emu, HRM Obi Dr. Chukwuka JP, the Obi of Ute-Okpu, HRM Obi of Aba Unor, HRM, Obi Okolie Alfred 1, the Obi of EgbuduAkah and longest reigning monarch in Africa was also represented by a high chief.






Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola spoke with reporters in Lagos on efforts by opposition to discredit his administration through a controversial intelligence report on his activities. Deputy Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU reports.


HAT is your reaction to the criticism that you have changed the name of Osun State to State of Osun? I don’t think there was any change at all. It is a matter of semantics. It is sarcastic that anybody could be bothered about the correctness of the name, Osun State or State of Osun. How does it sound to you? is it the meaning or arrangement of the words? It is semantics; elementary English. This makes the issues being raised ridiculous. But let’s really look at the appropriateness of the title. There are some nations and how they describe their states will surprise you. There is the United States of America with 53 states. None of the states is labeled the way we call out own. You will hear State of Virginia, State of New York, State of New Jersey, State of Alaska, State of Mississippi, State of California, State of Texas. I have not heard about California State, Illinois State. That is for America. There are states too in Brazil; State of Baiya, State of Sao Paulo and so on. Mexico has states as well; State of Chita. Malaysia has states; State of Sarawak. In all the nations where federalism and states as bases for political structure, the style we have adopted in Osun is the popular style. Nigeria has three tiers; the third one is subsumed under the states. For the country, it is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. For local government, it is local government; Local Government, Alimoso, Local Government, Ikeja, Local Government, Atakumosa-West, Local Government, IlesaWest, Local Government, Iwo, Local Government, Ede-North, Local Government, Ede-South. You don’t have Ede local government. In the three structures of Nigeria, all the others follow the same pattern. It is only the ones brought about by the military that is wrongly labeled. Because of the nature of the military, and the attitude of no queering things in Nigeria, we have adopted what I assume is the wrong label for the states. Without in anyway contradicting the constitution, there is no difference. I believe it is right to appropriately label the state for which, through the mandate of the people and grace of God, I have responsibility. The State Government of Osun or the State of Osun. It does not change anything. It does not alter the constitutional provision for the creation of that state. But the argument of critics is that it is Osun State that is in the constitution... Did I say republic of Osun? We must be careful how we interpret things. If I say Republic of Osun, then, I have altered the constitution. I am conscious of my oath of allegiance to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that oath is my guiding principle in all I do. We have not in anyway affected the character and form of constitutional provisions for our state. In any event, where there is a controversy on the issue of law between the states and federal government, the civilised recourse is the Supreme Court, which will interpret appropriately what the law says. Has any federal authority raised any issue at all? Not at all. Nobody has ever raised any issue. All these came into effect when we rebranded our state on February 26,2011. I have not received any indication of displeasure or controversy on the constitutionality of the title we have chosen to bear. As a matter of fact, I ever even had the official copy of the intelligence report that was published by a newspaper today. I have written to the President. I had through the grave wine the indication of this adverse intelligence. State of Osun, Osun State, what is the difference? Beside the way it is arranged, what is the difference? What was your immediate reaction to the intelligence report as reported by the media? When you are head of a government, you are exposed to sources of information. It was an averse report. Because of that, I wrote an official letter to the President alleging threat to my life and security of the state I administered; that there was an intelligence that maligned my person, demonising me. There is this allegation that you have converted the “O-Yes” cadet to state police. What is your reaction? I take exception to the statement. It is embarrassing to me and good people of Osun to call their symbol strange. There were few instances where the “O-Yes” cadet accompanied me to public gatherings. I don’t see anything strange about that. People must realise that politics itself is drama and theatre. That is what it is. You watch the on-going campaigns in America. It is a dis-


‘My worry about intelligence report’ play of drama, theatre and anything you can use to mobilise people to accept your platform and give you the endorsement. That must be the first principle of assessing what to do with ourselves and activities in which we want to register the opinion we are championing or issue we are pursuing. In that regard, we have used the “OYes” volunteers at the summit organised by Vintage Press on regional integration attended by delegates from ACN-controlled states, at the presentation of DAWN in Lagos and 60th birthday of Asiwaju, where the cadet took the flag round the stadium. It was in the spirit of celebration, theatre, drama and to register our presence, emphasise our perspective and draw attention to all those things we represent. But besides what I have said, why do states, institutions, dynasties, individuals have their symbols and materials for identification? Individuals have symbols and that do not jeopardise their roles, status in the society and they are not even threatened. So also are communities, local governments, states and nations. That is about territory. Institutions have flags, crests, and anthem. My primary school had its flag. I don’t know what has become of it now. My primary school had an anthem. Ditto my secondary school. Ditto The Polytechnic, Ibadan, which I attended. It is not limited to the institutions I have affiliation with; it is the same with all institutions. The most interest-

ing of all institutions that celebrate symbols and colour is the military. Let us use army as a case study, the fact that army is a military institution has its flag and crest, every aspect of army from division to brigade, to corps, to platoon which is the smallest unit of command in the army, all have their own symbols and colours. Why? The reason is that either in recreation or battle, every soldier must recognise his unit for fraternity, solidarity and esprit des corps and association. It is the colour that we use to identify victims whether need help or are dead in operation. Without the colour, the military is doomed. It is therefore, strange that a nation with the institutions I have mentioned, civil and military, all having colours, symbols, and flags, would bear grudge against a state over means of inspiring the people. So, my attitude to it is that we have have vilified over time so much that issues that ought not to even engage our attention are now being raised to the level of national debate. People have forgotten that, in this same clime, regions had virtually all that we have mentioned, and in addition, constitutions, and that this nation was once structured by regions, with constitutions and crests. For individuals, it is emblem. Whereas the other two regions did not have courts of appeal, Western Region had a court of appeal and all parapherenias; crest and flag. Again, as a matter of fact, even with the

‘When people are desperate for power, there is nothing they cannot do. In our part of the country, PDP wanted power by all means. But it is unpopular and there is no way they can win any election here; any legitimate, transparent, free and fair election. That fact is not acceptable to them. The character of Yoruba, their worldview, their political consciousness combined, would not allow them to associate with the PDP’

advent of the military in 1966, that tradition subsisted till 1975 when Gen. Yakubu Gowon was overthrown. All the 12 states of the federation at that time had individual identity. These are verifiable. if you google Northwestern State, you will see the colour and emblem. Kwara at that time, Northeastern State, all had colours. The crisis with those who are raising issues with our symbol is that they are not conversant with the history of Nigeria and interregnum of the military for 30 years, which corroded their judgment. People are saying that the emblem of the state is rivaling that of the federal government.. No. But that is what they said. We must not fail to understand that every bit if this intelligence report is false. The report is false in its entirety. It is full of lies. I want to state categorically that there is none of the issues raised in the report that happened. Yes, we have an anthem. How is the anthem used? That is the issue. elementary schools have anthems and that does not subvert the Republic of Nigeria. Clubs and associations have anthem. Families have anthem. Companies have anthem. These anthems do not jeopardise the existence of the local governments and states where they are located. I don’t think the anthem is the issue. The issue is the false allegation that we have totally discountenance the anthem of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is absolutely false. Let me tell you how we render the anthem. At every public function, the first anthem to be rendered is the anthem of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is a duty that all the states have to the republic. It is after the rendition of the national anthem that the state anthem is rendered, after which prayers would be said in the three recognised faiths in our states; namely traditional religion, Islam and Christianity. Then, the event. after the event, to still emphasise the supremacy of the federal republic over any other thing, after the prayer, the state anthem comes and the event is closed with the national anthem. That has been the tradition from day one. This has never been violated by anybody at any public event. Equally, the same pattern is followed on the electronic media in our state. At the opening in the morning, it is national anthem and national anthem and when they want to close state anthem and national anthem. Please, how could anybody that is fair minded, honest and peace-loving, security serving misconstrue this as subversive? If anything at all, our approach to the anthem is nationalist; towards strengthening the nation, promoting its interest and motivating the citizenry to appreciate their existence as a unit in the federation. What is the source of this anthem? This anthem of ours was the anthem of the Unity Party of Nigeria translated to Yoruba. The rhythm and lyrics are just the same. The UPN anthem was composed by Papa Obafemi Awolowo, our leader in the region. And, honestly speaking, it was translated to Yoruba for inspiration. It is serving that purpose. It is a social mobilisation material to inspire our people to the highest level of consciousness so that they can soar to the highest level of achievement. I cannot therefore, fathom the basis for the controversy. What could have been the motivation for twisting facts by those peddling the rumour? When people are desperate for power, there is nothing they cannot do. In our part of the country, PDP wanted power by all means. But it is unpopular and there is no way they can win any election here; any legitimate, transparent, free and fair election. That fact is not acceptable to them. The character of Yoruba, their worldview, their political consciousness combined, would not allow them to associate with the PDP. The basis for such reaction is as historical as it is political. Have we at any time accepted despots, criminals, fraudsters in our history, from Basorun Gaa to Efunsetan Aniwura and all those people that could not survive in our territoty, from time immemorial to the present. Why should a party promote people who have not impacted on their communities and people generally to mandate winners in any democracy? If you remove the brigandage, electoral malfeasance, outright declaration of results, how can PDP win? They did not win in 2003. They did not win in 2007. And it was clear that the fairly transparent election of 2011 exposed their total weakness and nakedness in our territory where the erstwhile President lost in his polling station where he voted. He was defeated. If such electoral weakness could have happened just a year ago, you could therefore, understand the desperation.


















INVESTORS Capital market probe: SEC, NSE officials jittery T

HERE is anxiety among some officials in the capital market regulatory institutions as the House of Representatives started a fresh probe into the causes of recession at the market on Monday. Sources close to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) said the top management of the two main capital market regulators were anxious about the course of the new probe by the House’s ad hoc committee on capital market and other institutions. The initial public hearing by the then substantive House’s committee on capital market and other institutions was suspended over allegations and counter allegations of corruption. The Chairman of the committee, Hon Herman Hembe, had questioned the financial propriety and administrative judgement of the Director-General of SEC, Ms Arunma Oteh, who subsequently accused Hembe of corrupt practices. On the weight of the allegation, the committee then stepped aside and an ad hoc committee was constituted to conduct the probe. At the previous hearing, three allegations of financial improprieties had stuck in the face of the Oteh-led management of SEC including the purchase of three Toyota Hilux vehicles for N32 million without a proper tenders’board as required by the Procurement Act, payment of some N62 million rent for Oteh’s apartment in spite of subsisting monetisation policy of the Federal Government and the stay in Transcorp Hilton Hotel for eight months by Oteh in violation of a maximum period of 56 days allowed under SEC and civil service rules. The previous public hearing had brought up documents allegedly showing that SEC’s director-general violated relevant rules on financial dealings while she was also accused of running what they described as ‘management within management’ with a coterie of handpicked consultants and advisers while existing

Stories by Taofik Salako

members of management were only sought for concurrence to crucial decisions. Oteh was shown to have taken top management officials on secondment from Access Bank while the officials remained on the payroll of the bank. Besides, top management staff had during the public hearing dissociated themselves from several decisions allegedly taken by SEC management and tendered several documents indicating they had raised objections to certain decisions and processes pushed through by the director-general. Sources close to SEC and NSE said top executives were concerned the new probe could further beam

searchlights on the management, especially financial transactions and staffing, of the two main capital market regulators. The NSE was said to be concerned about possible backlash from its series of disengagements and forced resignations. The NSE management had used armed policemen recently to eject some disengaged staff and management officials that had resigned their appointments even before the expiration of their notices in what a management source said was a precautionary measure to prevent access to sensitive documents. Meanwhile, investors and advocacy groups have called for exhaustive probe into the activities of the regulatory institutions and other capital market operators to unravel

the causes of loss of investors’ confidence undermining the recovery of the market. The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Lagos Branch, said the probe should be allowed to run its full course and desired corrections made to the capital market structure. According to the civil society, integrity, fairness, impartiality and prudent management are fundamental issues in the capital market and the probe must be guided to identify any breach that could impact on any of these core issues. It called on the National Assembly to investigate SEC’s roles in protection of minority shareholders, noting that it had previously raised this issue with the apex capital market regulator without any response.

•Mr Ken of the African Leadership Forum with the ‘Man of the Year award’winner, CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, during after the presentation ... in Washington.

Promasidor, Notore to raise N360b IPOs


ROMASIDOR Nigeria Limited and Notore Chemical Industries Limited are raising N360 billion through initial public offerings in 2013. They said they have started the processes that would lead to the floating of their IPOs and listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2013 as the overall market situation at the stock market improves. Managing Director, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Mr Keith Richards, said the firm was committed to going public and listing its shares on the stock market in line with its corporate philosophy of sustainable value creation for all stakeholders. He said the IPO might be floated in 2013 as the downturn at the capital market might not encourage such an epochal issue. He noted that part of the preparations for the IPO was the focus on brand enhancement for the corporate name of the companyPromasidor, to align it with its popular products, such as Cowbell. Promasidor Nigeria plans to use the net proceeds of its IPO, esti-

Also, a group of investors under the auspices of The Equities said the probe should seek to redress areas of conflict of interests and regulatory negligence to strengthen the capital market. In a statement signed by its President, Dr. Ayo Akinyemi, the group said SEC’s handling of investors’ protection contributed largely to loss of confidence in the market, citing several instances of what it described as infringements on shareholders’ rights by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) without a call to caution by SEC. Other stakeholders have called for a comprehensive probe that includes previous executives of the SEC and NSE to uncover the causes of the meltdown.

mated by market analysts to be in the range of N200 billion, to make new investments in Nigeria to consolidate its market share in Nigeria and open new product line based on soya beans. The new investments would further enhance Nigeria’s position as the hub of Promasidor’s pan-African fast consumer goods business. Promasidor, which has launched several leading products including Cowbell milk, Cowbell chocolate, Cowbell flavoured milk drink, Loya full cream milk, Miksi, Onga food seasoning, Top Tea and Amila instant fruit flavoured powdered drink to emerge as the most diversified fast moving consumer good company and one of the top three companies in its business category, said it believed the market has stronger prospects for growth. Managing Director, Notore Chemical Industries Limited, Mr Onajite Okoloko, indicated the company could raise more than N160 billion through an IPO in the first quarter of 2013 as the fertiliser company embarks on an ambitious expansion programme that is ex-

pected to more than double its capacity. He said arrangements were on for the IPO and the company would have completed all requisite preoffer processes by the end of this year. He said the net proceeds from the IPO would be used to finance a brand new fertiliser plant, with a conservative estimated cost of $1 billion. Okoloko said the new fertiliser plant was part of the expansion programme to boost the attainable capacity of the existing plant of 750,000 metric tonnes. He pointed out that local fertiliser production falls short of the one million current effective demand and potential demand of 3.5 million metric tonnes adding that the new fertiliser plant would be significantly larger than the 750,000 metric tonnes-capacity plant, putting the company in good stead to surpass local demand and further encourage utilisation of fertiliser. He said the Notore’s fertiliser plant acquired from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in 2005 has shown significant performance im-

provement since its successful rehabilitation exercise. The plant has a capacity of 350,000 metric tonnes of Ammonia per annum, 500,000 metric tonnes Urea per annum and 650,000 metric tonnes of blended NPK. According to him, the company has exceeded its production targets and is working on a financing programme to align with improved production. He noted that fertiliser is a strategic commodity in the government plan to increase food production nationwide as there would be need for adequate fertiliser at affordable rates to farmers to ensure food security. Market analysts said they expected the launch of the multi-billion naira IPOs to reactivate the primary market, which has been largely inactive in recent years. They said the launch of such IPOs would signify the return of investors’confidence and stable recovery of the market given that professional parties to such offers would have gauged the market mood before signing off the offer documents.

MORISON IND Turnover N141.890m Profit after tax N6.809m AFRICAN PAINTS Turnover N30.015m Profit after tax (N4.535m) LIVESTOCK FEEDS Turnover N1.154b Profit after tax N38.180m PRESTIGE ASSURANCE Turnover N2.112b Profit after tax N307m GSK Turnover N6.249b Profit after tax N590.797m NIGER INSURANCE Gross Premium N2.73b Profit after tax N212.95m MUTUAL BENEFITS Gross Premium N2b Profit N885.633m REGENCY ALLIANCE Gross Premium N812.596m Profit after tax N256.437m LEARN AFRICA Turnover N1.06b Profit after tax N58.336m TOTAL Nigeria Turnover N46.676 b Profit after tax N942.1m MRS OIL Nigeria Turnover N51.20b Profit after tax N712 m ETERNA Turnover N27.64b





‘Stock market outlook neutral’

HE equity market will not witness any significant appreciation in this quarter and might tend more towards bearishness, Cowry Asset Management Limited, has said. In a 25-page quarterly review and preview, analysts at Cowry Asset, a leading securities firm, said they have assigned ‘neutral’ to market outlook for this quarter, with reference that the benchmark index would hover around its present point. Analysts said though the release of outstanding corporate earnings

Stories by Taofik Salako

reports might create a momentum for bullish rally, the market would assume a quiet moodimmediatelyaftertheearnings season, which would neutralise any gains in the previous period. According to analysts, investors are expected to remain disposed to the fixed income market although this may also reduce bonds yields towards the end of the second quarter. Cowry Asset outlined that the key determinants of the equity

market in second quarter would be the expectations of corporate benefits and a higher possibility of inflationary upbeatamidst increase ingovernmentspending. “The recent moderation in the inflation rate, if sustained, will trigger a reversal in the benchmark interest rate with a ripple effect on the returns from fixed income. This will reinforce an upward pressure on the market. However, we remain biased on a sustained inflationary pressure in the short term chiefly on the expansionary stance of the revised fiscal policy and also

on the lingering impact of the partial deregulation of the petroleum industry,” Cowry Asset noted. Analysts said they did not expect that government’s plan to bring the multinational companies on board to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to materialise in this quarter hence the impact of deepening the market may not be felt in the short term. The report indicated that Nigeria would grapple with expansionary fiscal stance and its attendant inflationary pressure amidst expensive cost of funds during the

next three months. “ Interest rates are expected to retain their double digit stance, particularly as inflationary outlook remain upbeat on increased government spending from the revised fiscal policy while the Federal Government would to continue to crowd out the private sector in the domestic debt market especially with the continued mop up exercise,” the report stated. It estimated that inflation would be within the rangeof 12 per cent to 13 per cent with the signing of this year’s national budget.

Vono targets N127m profit as rights’issue closes


PPLICATION list for the ongoing rights issue by Vono Products Plc closes tomorrow as the firm said it could ride on the back of new capital injection to return to profitability this year. Vono is offering 525 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N1.60 per share to pre-qualified shareholders on the basis of seven new shares for every four shares held as at October 31, 2011. Application for the rights issue opened on March 12, this year and is scheduled to close on April 19, 2012. The board of Vono estimated that it would realise about N813.6 million as net proceeds from the rights issue after the deduction of

Maevis: PPP’s default threatens capital investments

total cost of the offer, which was estimated at N26.43 million. With the new capital injection, the board of the company said profit before tax would be about N127 million in 2012 andgrow steadily to N140 million and N161 million in 2013 and 2014. Vono had recorded a loss before tax of N83 million in 2011. Turnover is expected to hit the billion naira mark at N1.32 billion in 2012 and rise subsequently to N1.45 billion and N1.67 billion in 2013 and 2014. Profit after tax is estimated at N86 million, N95 million and N109 million for the three year period, indicating earnings per share of 10 kobo, 12 kobo and 13 kobo for 2012, 2013 and 2014. Managing Director, Vono Prod-

ucts, Mrs. Titilola Bakare, said the net proceeds would be used to strengthen the operations and pursue expansion programme as part of efforts to emplace the company on a the path of sustainable profitability. According to her, the supplementary issue was necessitated by the need to strengthen and expand its activities and ensure that the company is properly positioned to tap into the opportunities in the Nigeria economy. She outlined that the net proceeds from the recapitalisation will be used to upgrade the factory, buy new plants and machinery and boost its working capital among others. She said boosting its working capital would eliminate depen-

dence on banks for funding to finance its operations. She noted that the company was facing the challenges of a depleted working capital which has adversely affected its production capacity and effective distribution of its products. “The brand is strong, the products are eye-catching and attractive to everyone; people want it. What we just need is getting it right, making it available to everyone,” Bakare said. She noted that the company has been able to reduce its loss considerably and will, hopefully, bounce back to profitability by the end of the 2012 financial year. “Vono is already on the way to bouncing back to profitability and we are looking at this year as

the turnaround year for profit. It is after profit that we will start talking about dividends for our shareholders,” Bakare said. She expressed optimism that with the passage of the national budget and the budgets of the various state governments, the Federal and state governments will undertake educational and health programmes, which are expected to impact positively on the company, especially through increased patronage. She said Vono’s products for the health and educational sectors will record significant improvements in the current year, going by the plans of the Federal and state governments to increase their support and undertake major health and educational projects.


HE ongoing dispute between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Maevis Limited over the abrupt termination of the public-private partnership (PPP) agreement between the two organisations by FAAN might adversely affect private investments in infrastructure and the banking industry. FAAN and Maevis had in October 2007 entered into a PPP. Under the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer Agreement, Maevis was vested with the power to acquire, instal, operate, and manage an integrated airports management system, airport operations database, common use of terminal equipment, common use of self-service, pricing and billing system, revenue management system and electronic payment gateway. Maevis had completed and had been running the Lagos and Abuja airports’facilities while it had secured equipment and prepared for deployment of facilities at the Kano and Port Harcourt airports. After three years of operations, FAAN on March 24, this year allegedly dislodged Maevis from its facilities and brought in a new concessionaire to take over. But a source close to the PPP said this could undermine government’s efforts at wooing private investments into infrastructure financing. The source noted that the disruption could also have adverse effect on the willingness of banks to finance government’s PPP agreements, pointing out that banks stand to lose substantial funds they have contributed to the FAAN-Maevis agreement if the dislodgement is not reversed. Maevis was reported to have in-

•Partners and staff of Akintola Williams Deloitte, Abuja office, making a donation to Children’s Home, Karu and Mother Theresa Children’s Home, Gwarimpa in Abuja.

vested over N7 billion of a combination of equity and debt, which were sourced mainly from two banks. Maevis also incurred substantial supplier credits as well as commitments to protect foreign intellectual property, software and technology. “This wanton disregard for institutions, especially the judiciary is a material disincentive to local and foreign investments. It is also an act that is inimical to the willingness of lenders including banks to make depositors funds available for infrastructure finance and PPP projects generally,” the source noted. The source pointed out that

Maevis had performed creditably in running the PPP as it had provided all the infrastructure and superstructure for the facilitation of passenger processing at the airport, identified new sources of revenue and significantly enhanced the revenue of FAAN. The firm was said to have also materially improved the revenue collection ratio monthly while the automation of airport data management and billing and collection by Maevis had brought accuracy, timeliness and efficiency to billing. “FAAN is undermining the very essence of government’s avowed commitment to the use of

PPP arrangements in the development of infrastructure in the country, the attraction of investor funds for infrastructure development and the free reign of enterprise. Fundamentally, FAAN’s actions also undermine the integrity of government’s commitment to the rule of law,” the source said. The source further said Maevis was not found to have breached any aspect of the PPP with FAAN by any court or arbitration panel, pointing out that the Federal High Court had on December 17, 2010 ruled that both Maevis and FAAN should subject issues in dispute to an arbitration panel, a ruling that Maevis had complied

with but FAAN has continually ignored it. The source said there could have been no better impartial review of the agreement than that done by a constituted arbitration panel, which would effectively deal with all issues by the various parties wondering why FAAN has not followed what the arbitration ruled. The source also said Maevis has never been averse to the review of the agreement, but have only demanded that this be done within the provisions of the law, urging relevant authorities to intervene to salvage Maevis’ investments.






Dangote Flour, others fall below standards, says NSE


HE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has launched its corporate governance and rules compliance assessment report with tags on Dangote Flour Mills, Oando Plc and 44 other companies as companies operating below listing standards and in default of market’s corporate governance requirements. In the report known as XCompliance Report obtained by The Nation, NSE identified four different kinds of tags or symbols to alert investors about the status of each quoted company. These included below listings standard (BLS), the first degree alert level indicating a company that has not complied with post-listing rules such as late submission of financial statements, unauthorised publication, management failures among others. Also, financial services companies such as bank and insurance companies awaiting regulatory approval will carry the appropriate symbol of awaiting regulatory approval (ARA). Companies that are undergoing a capital reconstruction exercise including supplementary issue, share buyback, split, share reconstruction among others will be tagged with capital reconstruction exercise (CRE) while companies that have indicated that they will be delisting or companies that are being delisted at the instance of the regulator would be flagged with delisting in process (DIP) symbol. Other major companies

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

that were listed as below listing standards included Evans Medical Plc, Starcomms, Ikeja Hotel, Daar Communications, RT Briscoe, John Holts Plc, Costain West Africa, Scoa Nigeria, Ekocorp, FTN Cocoa Processing, Omatek Ventures, Eterna, Premier Paints, G Cappa and Investment and Allied Insurance among others. Besides, three banks including United Bank for Africa, Union Bank of Nigeria, Wema Bank and 24 other companies comprising mainly insurance and financial services companies were flagged with awaiting regulatory approval. NSE said the X-Compliance Report was part of ongoing regulatory programme to enhance transparency and disclosure in the market. “We believe that the timely disclosure of financial information and on-going event disclosure is critical to stakeholders in the capital market as well as investors,” NSE stated. The Exchange indicated that the companies would remain with the tags until they regularise their compliance status. Meanwhile, the stock market rode on the back of the momentum orchestrated by the release of the corporate earnings report of First Bank of Nigeria to break recent losing streak and regain positive overall market outlook. The two main indicators at

the NSE inched up with a gain of 0.32 per cent each. The All Share Index inched up to 20,788.83 points while aggregate market capitalisation gained N21 billion to close at N6.630 trillion. However, the upturn was equally boosted by value gains over moderate volume posted in Fidelity Bank, FCMB, Chemical & Allied Products and Union Bank. Presco led the 18 gainers list with a price value increase of N0.50 to close at N10.50 followed by NCR with a gain of N0.65 to close at N13.66. Also on the list of gainers were CCNN, First Bank, UBN, NASCON, Vitafoam, Dangote Flour, Eterna Oil and Bagco. On the flip side, Air services led the losers, table with a drop of N0.09 to close at N1.71 followed by Fort Oil with a drop of N0.53 to close at N10.07. Others on the table were Total, Conoil, Chevron, Ashaka Cement, Skye Bank, Glaxosmith, PZ and Continental Reinsurance. In all, the market recorded a total of 483.242 million shares worth N3.203 billion across 4,065 deals. Total volume transacted and value grew by 46.3 per cent and 162.3 per cent respectively. The finance services sector was the most sought after with 419.645 million shares in N1.990 billion followed by the Consumer Goods sector with 38.735 million shares worth N1.050 billion in 744 deals. Others with relatively high volume were oil & gas 9.409 million shares, conglomerates 6.897 million shares and agriculture with 3.154 million shares respectively. On the top traded, United Bank for Africa led the most active traded stocks’ with 254.05 million shares, valued at N646.24 million in 154 deals. Zenith Bank, First Bank, Dangote Sugar and GT Bank trailed serially to complete the top five.




MONEY LINK Fidelity Bank posts N7.67b profit

FirstBank’s profit hits N50b


IRSTBANK of Nigeria Plc delivered an impressive performance in 2011 as profit before tax rose by 48 per cent to N50.1 billion. Other highlights showed a 27.6 per cent growth in gross earnings to N296.3 billion as against N232.1 billion recorded in 2010. The bank also secured a 45.6 per cent growth in operating income to N259.2 billion contrary to N178.1 billion the previous year. There was also 92.9 per cent growth in profit before tax and exceptional item to N65.6 billion and 48.2 per cent growth in profit before tax of N50.1 billion as against N33.8 billion in 2010. Besides, it recorded a strong improvement in cost to income ratio to 56.8 per cent. Total deposit growth of 34.3 per cent to N1.9 trillion and was driven

By Collins Nweze

by low cost current and savings accounts, leading to a further reduction in total funding costs to 1.7 per cent from 3.1 per cent in the previous year. The bank also proposed dividend of 80 kobo per share. Commenting on the results, Bisi Onasanya, Group Managing Director of FirstBank said: “We have made significant progress in achieving our strategic goal of being the number one financial services group in Nigeria. Our results are reflective of the benefits being reaped from the implementation of our transformation agenda which has improved customer focus, acquisition, satisfaction, business generation and enhanced the sustainability of our earnings base,” he said.

He said the bank remains focused on enhancing shareholder returns by continuing to drive efficiencies and synergies to our current operations, leveraging opportunities across the Group as well as assessing new avenues of growth. The said it will drive further improvements in its business by improving customer service, continued low cost liability generation, enhanced asset pricing mechanism, more efficient treasury management and improved non-interest income generation. “We also remain focused on further improvements in our efficiency levels, driving further cost containment policies through our business and consolidating on the success we recorded over the past year. We will grow our risk assets cautiously with a view to optimising

By Collins Nweze



our asset mix, and at the same time, focus on reducing the cost of risk from current levels,” he said.

Ex-Afribank boss, Adigwe faults trial by EFCC


ORMER Managing Director of Afribank, Sebastian Adigwe has argued that he was not liable for acts constituting alleged offences for which he is being prosecuted. He insisted that as the Chief Executive of the now defunct bank, he was employed by the bank to take business risk and could not by such act, be criminally liable for any fallout of the business judgment he made on behalf of the bank. This formed part of the arguments by his lawyer, Anthony Idigbe (SAN), at the resumed hearing in his trial for abuse of office, money laundering, among other offences, before the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday. Adigwe also queried the exclusion

By Eric Ikhilae

of the bank’s former Executive Director, Finance, Jubril Isah from the charge. He accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of indulging in selective prosecution by allegedly dropping Isah, a purported star accused person from the charge. The ex-bank boss, who accused the commission of excluding Isah “without any reason,” noted that 80 percent of the offences in the charge were allegedly committed in collaboration with the said Isah, who was suddenly dropped from the matter. His lawyer argued that the EFCC was unable to show anywhere in the counts where Adigwe benefited

ted in one of his statements to the EFCC that he had to take some desperate steps to save Afribank because the bank was at the time at a risk of hostile take-over. Adigwe is standing trial alongside others over alleged abuse of office, banking malpractices and money laundering to the tune of N55 billion. Other accused are a stockbroker, Peter Ololo and his company, Falcon Securities Limited; former Chairman of Afribank, Osa Osunde and four directors of the bank Chinedu Onyia, Henry Arogundade and Isa Zailani. According to the charges, Adigwe was said to have conspired with the bank directors to grant several loan without adequate security.

fraudulently from the transactions upon which he is now being tried. Arguing that that the charge disclosed no prema facie evidence against his client, Idigbe urged the court to quash the charge against Adigwe as presently framed. EFCC’s lawyer, K. U. K. Ekwueme said the allegation of selective justice by Adigwe was completely diversionary, and that the dropping of Jubril Isah does not make the case incompetent. Ekwueme stressed that the argument was a collateral attack on the prosecutorial power granted the prosecution by the Constitution, adding that the prosecution was at liberty to drop the charge against any accused person. He added that Adigwe had admit-




Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 150m 150m 138m 138m

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


Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2011 “ 14-04-2011




10.00 13.01 5.01 9.26 3.10 4.14 2.95 4.06 3.67 1.73


10.50 13.66 5.26 9.72 3.25 4.34 3.09 4.24 3.83 1.80


NGN USD NGN GBP NGN EUR NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) (S/N) Bureau de Change (S/N) Parallel Market

Current Before

O/PRICE 1.80 10.60 139.69 22.06 35.36 8.72 3.90 21.00 24.00 0.87

C/PRICE 1.71 10.07 132.71 20.96 33.60 8.29 3.71 19.98 22.85 0.83

CHANGE 0.09 0.53 6.98 1.10 1.76 0.43 0.19 1.02 1.15 0.04

29-2-12 27-2-12




C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51














July ’11

March 2012





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 12.6%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days


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


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

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


LOSERS AS AT 17-4-12


Exchange Rate (N) 155.8 155.8



0.50 0.65 0.25 0.46 0.15 0.20 0.14 0.18 0.16 0.07


Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency


IDELITY Bank of Nigeria Plc has announced a profit before tax of N7.67 billion for the year December 31, 2011. This represents a drop of 11.3 per cent from its N8.65 billion profit the previous year. Gross earnings increased by 25 per cent to N70.05 billion for the period compared with N56.05 billion in 2010. Net Interest and Discount Income grew by 9.6 per cent to N29.08 billion from N26.54 billion recorded in 2010, though average interest income on average earning assets dropped from 11.6 per cent in 2010 to 10.7 per cent in 2011. The bank’s operating expenses rose by 30 per cent to N38.88 billion from N29.86 billion recorded in 2010. This it said was due to sustained branch development activity, impact of industry resolution cost, which gulped N1.5 billion in 2011. Total assets increased by 53.84 per cent to N740.94 billion from N481.62 billion the previous year. Total customer deposits increased by 72 per cent to N560.37 billion while the composition of low cost deposit to total deposits was 71 per cent. The Group MD/CEO, Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi, said: “The financial year ended December 31 2011 was an exciting and challenging one for us. We are thrilled by the progress made in improving key operating parameters including gross earnings, deposits and the loan book.” According to him, the bank is committed to achieving a more sustainable and balanced deposit mix, through excellent branch roll-out strategy and increased recruitment of key businesses.

Offer Price

Bid Price


9.08 1.00 122.48 99.58 0.72 1.08 0.88 1,689.75 7.74 1.33 1.80 7,071.36 191.08 1.62


OPEN BUY BACK Previous 04 July, 2011

Current 07, Aug, 2011










NEWS Book on Gani for launch A BOOK, titled: ‘Gani: Crusader for Justice’ will be launched at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos, tomorrow. It is written by Prof. Akin Ibidapo Obe and Abayomi Williams. Prof. Itsey Sagay will chair the event. The book reviewer is Dr Kanyinsola Ajayi (SAN). Dignitaries expected include Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), his Ondo State counterpart, Olusegun Mimiko, Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos Prof. Adetokunbo Sofoluwe, Chief Justice of Nigeria Dahiru Musdaphar and Lagos State Chief Judge Mrs.Inumidun Akande.

Appeal Court dismisses case against Senate Leader T HE Court of Appeal in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, yesterday dismissed the case against the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by Patrick Iwara of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Iwara, however, returned to the PDP recently. Iwara had contested for the Cross River Central Senatorial District seat last

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

April. He had lost the election. But not satisfied with the result, Iwara headed for the election tribunal and on November 10, the tribunal delivered judgement in favour of Ndoma-Egba. Iwara went to the Court

of Appeal. When the matter came up for hearing on January 5, his counsel, Matthew Ojua applied for an adjournment till January 9. Ndoma-Egba’s counsel Ebaye Akonjom argued that by provision of Section 285 (7) of the 1999 Constitution appeals from election tribunal must be heard and de-

termined within 90 days from the date of the appeal. Akonjom submitted that the 90th day ought to be January 9 but it was stalled due to the fuel subsidy removal strike. Justice Mohammed Garba dismissed the matter because it was time-barred. Akonjom thanked the court, saying the senator can now concentrate on matters of the state at the National Assembly.

Oshiomhole condoles with ITV EDO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has commiserated with the management and staff of Independent Television (ITV) , Benin, on the death of their cameraman, Chuka Ogu, who was shot by suspected robbers. In a letter to the General Manager, Ogbeide Uwunmwonse, Oshiomhole said: “I wish to convey the condolence of the people and Government of Edo State as well as my personal commiseration on this unfortunate occurrence. “We are deeply pained and saddened not only by the fact of his death, but also by the way he died. “His death will certainly be a great loss not only to the ITV Family but indeed to the media in Edo State. He was a well-trained professional, who applied himself to his job with exceptional diligence and drive for perfection. “May his soul rest in perfect peace, Amen.”

Police retirees deny members’ death From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

THE Cross River State chapter of the Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON) has denied reports that 38 of its members died while waiting for their pension. It also denied that names of 28 others were missing on the list of retirees in the branch. The association’s chairman, Bassey I. Inyang, and its secretary, Eko Abam, in a statement yesterday said: “We wish to state categorically that it is not true that 38 retired officers died while waiting for their pension while 28 names of retired officers are not missing on the list of retirees with respect to Cross River State.” They explained that the general problem of nonpayment of pension when due as well as a few cases of omission of names and short payment had since been forwarded to the national headquarters of ARPON in Abuja and that some of the cases had been rectified.

Warder dies in flood From Osagie Otabor, Benin


PRISON official, Gabriel Osegi, died in a flood on Monday night at Asoro hill on Ekenwan Road in Benin. The late Osegi was found inside a gutter and his motorcycle inside the mud. Another motorcycle washed by the flood was also found within the vicinity but no body was found. The flooding at Asoro hill has created a deep gully that is threatening to cut off the road. Some traders on the New Lagos Road lost goods worth millions of naira when their shops were submerged. One of the traders, who gave his name as Chigozie Ogboh, said items in his shops included roofing zinc, aluminium and other metal objects. He blamed the contractors who handled the newly constructed New Lagos Road for their plight, saying they blocked the waterways.

Bini to be taught in schools

T •Vice President, Benin Cultural Heritage Centre, Ehi Ighile presenting a plaque to Oshiomhole at the investiture...yesterday. With them is Isaac Ehanah.

Police parade 15 suspects in Delta


HE Delta State Police Command yesterday paraded 15 suspects arrested in the last one week for alleged kidnapping and robbery. Commissioner of Police Ikechukwu Aduba said his command would protect participants at the up-coming Southsouth Economic Summit. Southsouth governors, under the aegis of BRACED commission (Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta), are organising the second economic summit in Asaba, the state capital, between April 26 and 28. President Goodluck

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

Jonathan is expected to open the summit.Rwandan President Paul Kagame and a host of other world speakers will also attend the summit. He said the command was working with other security agencies, including the State Security Services (SSS), military and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Aduba said his men are on the trail of a gang from Anambra State after a foiled kidnap attempt. He said his men, acting on a tip-off laid siege at a point on the bank of the River

Niger, engaged the gang in a shootout. According to him, the suspects jumped into the River Niger with gunshot wounds. He appealed to the public to provide information that may lead to their arrest. Recovered from the gang are a single barrel gun, two laptops, iron rod, two chains, three padlocks and one toy gun. Aduba said his men acting on a tip-off stormed the hide-out of a notorious robber at Okrighwe, Sapele Local Government The suspect, identified as Idafe Omagbemi, was fingered by other gang members who are facing trial,

Aduba said. He said the Special AntiRobbery Squad arrested a suspect, Stephen Okafor, with an Audi Saloon car at Ughelli, Ughelli North Local Government. The commissioner said the car, which was snatched in Benin-City, Edo State, belongs to Nwachukwu Ernest. He said the IG did not order policemen off the nation’s highways, but to dismantle unconventional barricades from the roads. Aduba added that motorised patrols have been intensified, stressing that such successes have been attributable to increased patrols.

Jonathan inaugurates N5b deepwater oil project


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday inaugurated the N5billion Usan Deepwater oil facility in Rivers State. The Federal Government hopes to meet its target of crude oil reserve of 40billion barrels and production of four million barrels per day within the decade. The Usan is a major deepwater development with over 500 million barrels of oil in place. The facility, which took about three years to complete, began operation in February and at full capacity it is expected to produce 180,000 barrels of crude oil per day. It is a joint venture among Total, Chevron,

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

Esso, Nexem and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is the concessionaire. This is the second deep water field that Total has put on stream in Nigeria after Akpo, which started in 2009. President Jonathan said the project will have a direct positive impact on the economy. This, he said, further explained the mandate given to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deizani Alison-Madueke, to speed up all on-going upstream oil and gas development projects. He also said the realisa-

‘I also would like to assure the industry that our administration is making concerted efforts with the legislature to ensure the speedy passage into law of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)’ tion of the project is an attestation to the fact that Nigeria presents a conducive environment for business and a favoured destination for investment. “I also would like to assure the industry that our

administration is making concerted efforts with the legislature to ensure the speedy passage into law of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).” Jonathan added that the administration is convinced that “the PIB will enhance transparency, accountability and effective governance of the petroleum industry for the benefit of all stakeholders. The President called on local and foreign investors to emulate Total and its partners by investing in the hydrocarbon value chain. Jonathan said it was more gratifying to note that it was with a high level Nigerian content in the areas of engineering, training, fabrication and installation.

HE Edo State Government is to introduce the study of Bini language into the school curricula, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said yesterday. Speaking at his investiture as the Patron of the Benin Cultural Heritage Centre, the governor said “the objectives of the Centre is in line with my conviction that if our heritage must be preserved, our children must be able to read and write in the Bini language. “I am going to direct the Commissioner for Education, from next session to see if we have enough teachers to be deployed to schools not only in the Benin Kingdom, but also to schools across the three senatorial districts to begin the teaching of Bini language. “We will make it a compulsory subject for our young ones. I believe that way we would be uniting our people for a greater tomorrow.

Edo to build 10,000 shops


HE Edo State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Prane Business Integrated Limited to build and transfer 10,000 units of shopping malls in Uteh, Benin City. Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Simon Imuekemhe, said: “One of the programme of this administration is to modernise our markets because we believe that markets should be made comfortable for all “The project shall be of high quality and standard in accordance with the designs and specifications. “This five-star market with a bank will be managed by Prane Business Integrated for a period of 25 years when it would be transferred to the government.”



NEWS Reps fail to lay fuel subsidy report From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

THE Farouk Lawan-headed ad hoc committee that probed petrol subsidy yesterday failed to submit the report. Indications that the ad hoc committee would fail to submit the report became manifest early in the day as the submission of the report was not listed in the notice detailing two weeks’ business. Expectations that the report would be laid was high as the House began proceedings yesterday but it began to wane as observers noticed that the Chairman of the committee was absent from the Chambers. The House had admitted in the past that there was pressure from many quarters to alter the report but that it would not budge.

•President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mohammad Garba (fourth left) speaking during his sympathy visit to The Nation on the fire that razed a part of its building ...last weekend. With him are the newspaper’s Managing Director Mr. Victor Ifijeh (fifth left), Comptroller of Finance and Administration/ Executive Director Mr. Ade Odunewu(right) and NUJ officials PHOTO: DAVID ADEJO

World Bank: Nigeria loses N455b yearly to poor sanitation From Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor), Abuja


IGERIA’s economy loses N455 billion, about $3 billion or 1.3 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year due to poor sanitation. A World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) gave the figure in its report released yesterday. The desk study, Economic Impacts of Poor Sanitation in Africa: Nigeria, revealed that the majority (83.3 per cent) of the costs are from the annual premature death of 121,800 Nigerians from diarrhea, including 87,100 children under five. It said nearly 90 per cent of this is attributable to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene. Access time and productivity losses accounted for 8.5 per cent of the economic costs and health-related costs accounted for about 6.4 per cent. “We’ve known for sometime the impact of poor sanitation on health, but this is one of the first studies to quantify the annual costs incurred because of poor sanitation,” said Yolande Coombes, a Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist with WSP. “Nigeria will not be able to grow sustainably without addressing these costs,” she added. The study found that 70 million Nigerians use unsanitary or shared latrines; 32 million have no latrines at all and defecate in the open; and the poorest quintile is 10 times more likely to practise open defection than the richest.

President mourns Delta chief


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has mourned the death of Chief Benjamin Okumagba, the Orosuen of Okere-Urhobo Kingdom in Delta State. He was 83. The President said he received with sadness the news of the death of the former President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU). In a statement by his media aide, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President described the late Okumagba as a nationalist who believed in the unity of Nigeria.

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

He said the late chief used his personal resources to fight for justice and fair play among Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities. The President recalled that the late Okumagba was a foremost campaigner and champion of Urhobo rights. Commiserating with the government and people of Delta State as well as members of Okumagba family, the President prayed God to comfort the bereaved and grant the soul of the departed elder statesman peaceful repose.

Jonathan begins three-day visit to Germany From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is expected in Berlin, Germany, today on a three-day state visit on the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is a follow-up to an earlier trip to Nigeria by Merkel in July, last year. Jonathan’s visit is aimed at enhancing the economic cooperation between both countries at a time Nigeria is seeking to attract investors in all sectors of the economy, particularly in renewable energy in which Germany has vast experience. Both leaders had discussed the economic perspective in the ties between both countries and spoken of the need to intensify the energy partnership, which existed between them. The Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Abdu Usma Abubakar, said Dr Jonathan’s visit would cement the bilateral commission, which is targeted at achievable programmes. The benefit of the relationship, according to the envoy, include the recent overture by the German government for a grant of about •90million to Nigeria for renewable energy, manpower training, among others, at government-togovernment level.

Capital Market probe: Reps invite Soludo, Cecilia Ibru, Onyuike-Okereke, others


HE House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the near collapse of the Capital Market yesterday invited former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Chukwuma Soludo, former Managing Director of the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru and former Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Musa al Faki. The committee also extended the invitation to the former Director-General of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), Mrs. Ndidi OnyuikeOkereke, former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB, Francis Atuche and other players in the banking industry. They are to appear before the committee on Friday to provide insight into the near collapse of the capital market. However, the renewed public hearing into capital market operation began yesterday on a reconciliatory note. The leadership of the House and the ad hoc committee set up to replace the discredited Herman Hembeled Capital Market Committee, extended an olive branch to the boss of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Ms. Arunma Oteh, urging her to forget the past for the sake of the Nigerian investing public. The SEC boss’ allegation of N44 million bribery request against Hembe and members of his committee caused the House to set up an eightmember ad hoc committee

•Extend olive branch to Oteh ‘You are all aware of the history of this hearing. We have gone full circles. This is a new beginning of great expectations. It is a hearing that is looking for answers’ From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

to continue the public hearing. Hembe was also referred to the House committee on Ethics and Privileges for further investigation. Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, who was represented by Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila noted that both lawmakers and the SEC DG should forget the past and face the new public hearing for the purpose of finding a lasting solution to the problems besetting the stock market. Tambuwal said: “You are all aware of the history of this hearing. We have gone full circles. This is a new beginning of great expectations. It is a hearing that is looking for answers to the various problems in the Capital Market. It is not an adversarial hearing but one that seeks to bring to the fore the factors working against our capital market. Whatever has happened should be put behind us because Ni-

gerians are expecting much from us to dig seriously into what brought the capital market to where we are today.” Chairman of the ad hoc committee Ibrahim Tukur el-Sudi assured Ms Oteh and other stakeholders that his committee will be “fair, just and unbiased” and “will not be partisan.” He added: “It is important to emphasise the focus of this probe given the recent happenings which have been widely publicised in the media. Our assignment is to identify the manifest causes of the market’s near collapse and challenges that have held back its recovery with a view to finding lasting solutions for the benefit of the investing public, the operators, the regulators, the companies that rely on the Capital market for long term funds and the economy as a whole. We are not here to play the blame game or witch-hunt anybody. “It is common knowledge that Nigeria’s Capital Market went down from a high of N13trillion to N4.6trillion within 10 months in 2008 and the situation has not improved much. Many stock markets of the world from USA to Britain, from China to Japan, Russia, France and others suffered similar crises and these markets have remarkably improved while that of Nigeria is moving at a snail’s pace.” “Howeve, it is important to know what brought us to this sorry state and where

mistakes were made or outright frauds committed, they must be admitted and rectified in order to restore confidence. Contrary to the expectation of many people at the hearing, the presentation of the Securities and Exchange Commission was pushed to fifth day of the seven-day probe confirming the belief that the ad hoc committee may be trying to douse the tension which existed due to the face-off between the former Hembe-led committee and the SEC boss. The previous committee headed by Hembe adopted a different method in which SEC made its presentation before others. The wife of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Ebele Ihedioha was also at the hearing. But it was unclear if she was present as a staff of the Stock Exchange in Abuja or if she was there to provide a response to some assertions made by Ms Oteh concerning her relationship with the former Mrs Okereke-Onyuike. Also a stakeholder in the capital market, The Society for Analytical Economics headed by Dr. Godwin Awoh, while making presentation before the committee blamed the failure of the capital market on the failures in the financial sector. Awoh said the capital market constituted only five percent of the financial sector and whatever affected the financial sector would affect the capital market industry.

Uba seeks better funding for police


ENATOR Andy Uba has urged the Federal Government to increase its funding to the Police force. He said this would tighten security in the country. Uba, who represents Anambra South on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), spoke during a visit to the police station attacked by gunmen in Nnewi, Anambra State.

Three policemen were killed in the attack. Uba said: “This attack is unfortunate and barbaric. How can people be so lawless that they threaten the security of law enforcement agencies and the peace loving people of the state? “I am shocked by the level of damage done to the police station and the death of the policemen, who were carrying out their duty of

maintaining the peace. It is sad that they had to die in the line of duty.” The senator urged the Federal Government to increase its allocation to the police. He said: “I was appalled by the deplorable state of the station. How do the police sustain themselves with poor facilities and poor welfare? I call on the Federal Government to in-

crease police funding to make them effective.” Urging Acting InspectorGeneral of Police Mohammed Abubakar to strengthen security, Uba said: “With his record as an operations officer, the Acting IG needs the support of all and sundry to succeed in this huge task. If he gets the needed backing, the security of life and property will be guaranteed.”



NEWS ACN chief dies

Boko Haram bomb factory discovered in Adamawa T


CHIEFTAIN of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Adeyemi Olaolu Adeyemi, is dead. He was 65. Adeyemi died on April 7, two weeks after he returned from overseas where he had undergone treatment. The deceased was a permanent secretary in the Lagos State civil service and the first indigenous General Manager of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). He will be buried

•The late Adeyemi

on May 11 at Ode-Remo in Ogun State.

Funeral for proprietress


HE proprietress of Toamlad Private Schools, Oke Ota Ona, Ikorodu, Lagos State, Mrs. Janet Titilola Ladega (nee Roberts), is dead. She was 64. The deceased, an educationist and a nurse/midwife, was educated in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. She worked in several hospitals and with the defunct Nitel Plc Health Centre as a nurse/midwife, retiring in 2005 as the chief matron.

CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, CHRISTOPHER ORHOJOMA MARY and ORHOJOMA MARY OKE are one and same person.Now wish to be known and addressed as CHRISTOPHER ORHOJOMA MARY. All former documents remain valid. RUST and general public should please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as MISS SISANMADE REMILEKUN OMOBOLA now wish to be known and address as MRS OGIDAN REMILEKUN OMOBOLA. All former documents remain the same.General public take note.

HE Directorate of the Security Service (DSS) in Adamawa State has uncovered a factory where improvised explosive devices (IED) are being manufactured in Yola, the capital. The factory, located in the home of a suspected Boko Haram member identified as Malam Abubakar Yola, is situated at Waurro Zabbe, a suburb of Yola. The Director of DSS Mr. Olugbenga Jayeoba, told reporters in Yola yesterday that the discovery followed a tipoff. He said the DSS has been on the trail of the suspected Boko Haram member for close to two weeks. “When we stormed the home of the suspect, to our surprise, what we saw are all these things being displayed here,” the director said. “We went to the home to

SALES OF USED VEHICLES AND OTHER OFFICE ITEMS The items listed below are available for disposal to the highest bidder. Nissan Patrol • Toyota Land Cruiser • Vacuum Cleaner • Window Air Conditioners (1. 5 H. P.) (8) Condition to be fulfilled: • Bid: (Open) • Payment: Full payment in bank draft. • Vehicle can be inspected at No. 1, Golf Course Road, Kaduna, from 23rd - 4th May, 2012. All interested persons should forward their written applications stating their offer to the address below C/Director P. O. Box 503, No 1 Golf Course Road, Kaduna. Closing date for all bids: 5th May, 2012. Contact Mobile: 080 370 52 998.

PUBLIC NOTICE! PUBLIC NOTICE!! PUBLIC NOTICE!!! LAND SITUATE, LYING AND BEING AT APACHA/TOPOROME BEHIND MTN, LAGOS –BADAGRY EXPRESSWAY, BADAGRY LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA. NOTICE: is hereby given that the parcel of land which Eight (8) plots of land belong to MR. TAOFIK OLADOJA who purchased same from Tudonu family of Age-Singbomeh out of Tudonu family land situate, lying and being at Apacha / Toporome Village behind MTN, Lagos –Badagry express way, Badagry, Lagos State as herein described and in Suit No: BD/99/2010, JUDGEMENT was given in favour of MR. TAOFIK OLADOJA the claimant against MR. VIANU TUDONU and his family and MR. AJILORE upon the terms of settlement dated 20th of April, 2011, duly signed by parties and their respective counsel before Hon. Justice O.H. OSHODI sitting at High Court 30, Badagry, Lagos State. MR. TAOFIK OLADOJA hereby warned all trespassers and all members of public are hereby warned against buying, leasing, trespassing or taking any interest in any part of the Land from other person or source without reverting or direct dealing with his Solicitors A. Bamidele & Co., Solicitors or and Mr. Taofik Oladoja. Dated this 6th of April, 2012. For further particulars, please contact us Attention: A. E. Bamidele Esq. of Counsel or Mr. Taofik Oladoja C/o His Solicitors A. Bamidele & Co. Suite 15, Adedeji Shopping Mall Joseph Dosu Way, Badagry Roundabout, Badagry 08034107824, 081742673707, 07041357213. N:B: The hereto people are particularly put on Notice in respect of the herein described landed property situate, lying and being at Apacha / Toporome Village behind MTN, Lagos –Badagry Expressway, Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria for record purposes, Namely: 1. Tudonu / Agboyinu Kuruju Family of Agemuwo Town, Badagry. 2. The Baale of Vetho – Pota Family 3. The Ajadovodeh Family – Vetho Pota 4. The Hunfu Sovoeke Family 5. The Oshuku-Iyanbu-Ojisu Family of Araromi Ale 6. Anifaluje Charles Oladimeji Please kindly notice the annexture Yours faithfully, Signed: A.E. Bamidele of Counsel A.Bamidele & Co.

From Barnabas Manyam, Yola and Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

arrest the suspect, but when we couldn’t get him, a search was conducted in the compound and all these improvised explosive devices in their formative stages were discovered,” he added. According to him, the raid was carried out in conjunction with the Nigerian Army and other security agents. Mr. Jayeoba said the DSS has intensified its manhunt for the fleeing Boko Haram member, wondering what would happen if the IED being manufactured were

completed and used to attack areas in the state. Items discovered and displayed at the DSS headquarters are 30 carty electric detonator, 22 completed improvised explosive devices, synthetic gum, 50kg of ammonium nitrate and 17 safety fuses. Others are 20 raps of phosphorus, six high voltage battery, Qlink motorcycle remote as well as electrical soldering irons. Also discovered were AK 47 magazine, carbide switch light, electrical wires of different sizes, among others. Governor Kashim Shettima has said that the Boko

Task force kills four in Maiduguri

•The late Mrs. Ladega

A Christian wake will be held in her honour tomorrow at her 2, Saka Anota Street, Ipakodo, Ikorodu home from 5pm. She will liein-state the following day at the same venue from 8am. Funeral service will be conducted for her at Foursquare Gospel Church, Ipakodo, Ikorodu at 10am. Interment follows in her home, while entertainment of guests takes place at the Ikorodu Town Hall. She is survived by her husband, Prince Olabinjo Akintunde Ladega, children and grandchildren.

•Shettima blames insurgency on poverty

Haram insurgency was triggered by years of abject poverty, neglect and mass unemployment among youths in the northern part of the country. According to him, successive governments both at the national and state levels over the years have neglected the northern part of the country in terms of development projects and provision of employment opportunities. Citing the Northeast geopolitical zone as the worst hit, Shettima urged leaders and stakeholders to make things better for the masses to avoid more violent revolt by the youths in the region. He spoke in Abuja yesterday at an International Security Awareness Summit on Terrorism and other Related Crimes organised by The Sun.


HE Joint Task Force (JTF) yesterday in Maiduguri, Borno State, killed three suspected robbers and a Boko Haram suspect. Spokesman for the JTF Lt. Col. Sagir Musa made this known in a statement. He said: “Following a tip off, the JTF raided the

From Joseph Abiodun, Maiduguri

hideouts of suspected Boko Haram terrorists at Pompomari in the Maiduguri metropolis.” According to him, during the clampdown, a suspected Boko Haram member was killed and an AK 47 rifle and

some improvised explosive devices recovered. He said the incident happened about 5:30 am. The spokesman said about 3:30am yesterday, during a search of Wulari, 13 suspected Boko Haram members were arrested. Musa said the task force has begun investigation to deter-

mine the suspects’ level of involvement in terrorism. He said the task force yesterday responded to a distress call from Gomari and engaged robbers in a shootout, killing three. He said the items recovered from them included a locally-made pistol, a dane gun and three machetes.

Student accuses school authority of beating him to coma STUDENT at the International School of Sea Merchant, Lokoja, Kogi State, was allegedly beaten to a coma by the school authority last Saturday. The victim, 33-year-old Owa Oluwatosin Abidemi, a second timer cadet student, was said to have been brutally beaten up with his colleague. The student, soaked in blood, spoke to The Nation at his Ganaja home, Lokoja before he was taken to the State Specialist Hospital, Lokoja. He alleged that he was in the administrative office of the school early in the morning to confirm his expulsion when, suddenly, a terror squad descended on him on the order of the school proprietor, Capt. Dickson Ebiye Bookwell, and beat him to a coma. Abidemi said: “I went to school at 7am to confirm my expulsion. When the proprietor, Capt. Bookwell, saw me, he instructed eight men to beat me up. They stripped me naked and tied my hands. “The men took me and my classmate Shobowale Luqman to my family home in Ganaja. They searched my room. They later untied me and beat me with sticks. I


From Isah Idris, Lokoja

collapsed in the process. “When I regained consciousness I ran, but they chased and beat me. My family thereafter rescued me. “I was maltreated because I attempted to withdraw from the school as it is not recognised by the Nigerian Navy. The school authority is not happy about my intention to withdraw. That was why they framed me up that I stole school property.” Capt. Bookwell who spoke to The Nation at the ‘B’ Division Police Station, Ganaja, Lokoja alleged that Abidemi and his colleague are thieves. He accused them of misbehaving and absenting from school, adding that the school has the right to punish erring students. An officer at the ‘B’ Division Police Station, Lokoja, Cpl Henry, said investigation would soon commence to know why a school would take the law into its hand by beating a student to coma. While Abidemi is undergoing treatment at the State Specialist Hospital, Lokoja, the whereabouts of his colleague, Shobowale Luqman, is unknown. •Abidemi

NCC officials arrest SIM card racketeers in Ibadana

172 Kogi, Kwara workers face Code of Conduct Tribunal


ORE than 172 civil servants from Kogi and Kwara States yesterday appeared before the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Lokoja for failure to declare their assets. According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), 132 of the accused were from Kwara while the rest were from Kogi. They were being charged for alleged failure to complete and submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), their Assets Declaration Form within the stipulated 30 days in 2008, contrary to section 23(2) of the Code of Conduct Tribunal Act. The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar, discharged the 55 accused persons from Kwara who turned up for

the case, for want of diligent prosecution. Prosecution counsel Kyari Ahmed, had failed to produce witnesses to prove the case against the accused. Kyari told the tribunal that the witnesses he planned to bring got notice of the sitting late and sought for adjournment. The defence counsel, Magaji Oba-Abdulkadir, however, opposed the application for adjournment and prayed the tribunal to strike out the case for want of diligent prosecution. He wondered why the prosecution did not inform the witnesses on time in a case which had been on since 2008, saying: “a diligent prosecutor will ensure that everything needed here is ready.’’


OUR vendors were yesterday arrested by officials of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) in Ibadan for allegedly selling pre-registered SIM cards to residents. Parading the suspects, Mr. Efosa Idehen, the Head of Enforcement Unit of the NCC, said it was criminal for anyone to sell or buy an already registered SIM card. According to him, it was the responsibility of any potential subscriber of a network provider to register the SIM card before activation. He explained that SIM card registration was backed by law, adding that possession of unregistered SIM card was also illegal. Idehen warned members

of the public to be vigilant when they chose to buy a SIM card to avoid buying a pre-registered SIM card. The NCC official, who said the commission was in Ibadan to enforce the legality of SIM card registration and discourage registration by proxy, added that using a SIM card already registered by unknown persons was dangerous. Idehen said if the card was used to commit a crime, a wrong person would suffer the penalty. He said the four suspects were arrested when he offered to buy reregistered SIM cards from them at prices which ranged between N500 and N700 as opposed to the normal card sold for N100.



NEWS Presidency approves N380m for IkoroduSagamu road By Dada Aladelokun


HE Federal Government has approved N380million for the rehabilitation of the Ikorodu-Sagamu road, it was learnt yesterday. The senator representing Ogun East, Adegbenga Kaka, broke the news when he flagged off his foundation’s three-day health care programme for his constituency in the nine local government areas of the state. These are: Shagamu, Remo North, Ikenne, Odogbolu, Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu North, Ijebu East, Ijebu North-East and Ogun-Waterside. The programme began last Friday at the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) secretariat in Makun, Shagamu. Kaka said he and his colleagues - Senator Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East - lobbied the Presidency and got the approval for the rehabilitation of the bad road. According to him, because of its economic viability to Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Governments, as well as the strategic location of big companies, including Lafarge Cement, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), PZ Cussons, on the route, the intervention had become imperative to ameliorate the suffering of motorists, commuters and other road users. To complement the Federal Government’s gesture, the lawmaker promised to begin the construction and rehabilitation of 15 kilometre roads between Ogijo and Buruku road. He also promised to provide a 500KVA transformer each to Buruku, Likosi, Ita Sanni, Sotunbo, Shiwama and other villages to boost electricity supply in the communities. Kaka said he would build a new bridge, to replace a culvert between AgbowaIkosi in Lagos State, and Ayepe in Ogun State. He said he noticed them during his electioneering campaign in March, last year. The senator noted that the road would reduce traffic congestion on the busy Lagos-Ibadan and LagosBenin expressways. The Senate Vice-Chairman on Agriculture promised to use his position to procure seedlings for farmers in his constituency. These, he added, they would buy for new planting seasons to boost food production. He counselled ACN members and supporters to avoid discrimination and unite for the party’s victory in the forthcoming local government election in the state. Kaka said: “Let us stop discrimination among ourselves. I am in the Senate today, but tomorrow I may not be there. So, let us work for the common good of the party. Let us leave a good legacy. A local government election is around the corner and we must unite as one family. We should not allow the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to take over the government from us again.”


Reps to probe N3.8b American hospital, varsity ‘fraud’

HE House of Representatives is to investigate the alleged misappropriation of N3.8billion earmarked for the establishment of an American Hospital and a University of Medical Science in Abuja. The money was paid on July 4, last year, by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the orders of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF). The money was paid from the Federation Account, following the approval of N4.5billion by President Goodluck Jonathan for the project. Leading the motion for the probe, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), said the money was paid into a Bank PHB account, which was allegedly opened illegally and operated by some persons. The lawmakers unanimously mandated the House Committees on Health and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to inves-

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

tigate the matter and report back within four weeks. The lawmakers’ decision followed the adoption of the motion after Chinda raised concerns that the fund was for high quality health care delivery and the training of medical doctors and allied health personnel. Chinda said the project was conceived to permanently solve poor health care in Nigeria after an American firm was commissioned by the Federal Government in 2006 to work out an effective plan on the matter. According to him, this led to a Marshal Plan for the building of a sustainable capacity in the health sector with the setting up of the hospital and university under a Public Private Partner-

ship (PPP) arrangement. The partners, he said, were the Federal Government, the Abuja Investment Company Limited and the Nigerian Institutional Investors, the Nigerian private investors and the American investors, through the American Hospital Limited and the American Medical and Environmental Sciences Companies. Chinda said the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) invested 30 per cent share on the project, for the training of three medical personnel in each of the 774 local government areas of the country, by the American Hospital with scholarships from ALGON. He said: “It is worrisome that there was an apparent lack of transparency and accountability in the management and use of the funds paid into the account as sev-

eral withdrawals and transfers were done outside normal banking hours on July 15, 2011 and only N1.3billion was paid to American Hospital from about N3.8billion that was disbursed out of the N4.5billion approved by President Jonathan for the building of the American Hospital and the American University of Medical Sciences. “Unless urgent steps are taken to investigate this matter and thereby ensure accountability and transparency in the efficient management and the use of this fund, the primary aim for which the money was approved would be defeated and the nation’s poor health sector and teeming Nigerians would continue to suffer untold hardship.” The lawmakers supported the motion.

NEMA: 20% of Nigeria prone to flooding From Chris Oji, Enugu

THE National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said 20 per cent of Nigeria is prone to different types of flooding. Its Southeast Zonal Coordinator, Dr Abdullahi Bandele Onimode, spoke at a parley on Flood Early Warning System Preparedness and Mitigation, organised for traditional rulers and other stakeholders in Abagana, Anambra State. He urged the monarchs to educate their subjects on the essence of planting trees to prevent erosion. Onimode noted that with the increasing threats by climate change, the frequency and intensity of erosion hazard would increase. The NEMA zonal chief said there is need for Nigerians to intensify risk reduction, mitigation and preparedness by accelerating resilience and reducing vulnerabilities. He noted that there was flooding in all the states, adding that it was critical in nine states, including Anambra. Onimode said the campaign on risk reduction, mitigation and preparedness would enable the country to reduce the effects of flooding by half.

NOA to begin e-polling on govt policies

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (second left); his deputy, Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori and High Commissioner of Malaysia, Mr Dato Nik Mustafa Kamal, at a dinner for the High Commissioner during his visit to the Government House, Osogbo...yesterday

Agunloye warns Ondo LP against violence


FORMER Minister of Defence and governorship aspirant in Ondo State on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Dr. Olu Agunloye, yesterday urged politicians to avoid violence. He advised members of the ruling Labour Party (LP) against heating up the polity in their bid to remain in office. Dr Agunloye spoke in IrunAkoko where scores of LP and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders from Akoko North West Local Government Area defected to ACN through the Omoluabi Platform, the aspirant’s campaign group. The defectors were led by a House of Assembly aspirant on the platform of the mega party in the last elections, Prince Joseph Aladesuyi (aka Jotina), and a former youth leader in the LP, Mr Rotimi Osanyiro. The defectors include Adewole Faseesin, a former Secretary of the ruling party in the local government; Mrs

500 PDP, LP members join ACN


VER 500 members of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling Labour Party (LP) yesterday defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Irun Akoko, Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State. Majority of the defectors said they took the decision because of the ACN governorship aspirant, Chief Olusegun Abraham. The defectors, who were led by Micheal Omole, decried the low development in the community. Omole challenged the Olusegun Mimiko administration to publish how much it has received from the Federation Account. He hailed Abraham for impacting positively on the lives of Akoko indigenes through scholarships. The ACN Chairman in the local government, Prince Dayo Bello, advised the defectors to ensure the success of the party in future elections. According to him, the ACN is the only platform that can bring all-round development to the state. The defectors burnt some T-shirts of their former political parties. From Damisi Ojo, Akure

Beatrice Aladesuyi, erstwhile Women’s Leader; and David Idowu, a former ex-officio of LP in the local government. Aladesuyi urged progressives to move en masse into the ACN to accelerate the development of the state and rescue it from the

grip of those he described as “grandiose politicians” who have allegedly been looting the treasury. One of Agunloye’s Special Assistants, Jackson Oyedele, received the defectors on behalf of the aspirant. He hailed them for joining other progressives in the ACN.

He said everyone is equal in the party, adding that old and new members have equal opportunities. Agunloye urged the defectors to always exhibit the virtue of Omoluabi (thoroughbred) in their political dealings. The former minister warned that violence is not an attribute of an Omoluabi, saying nobody has a monopoly of violence. The youth wing of the platform held a rally in Ile-Oluji to mobilise for ACN in the October governorship poll. ACN Acting State Chairman Chief Noah Adesoji praised the youths and Dr Agunloye for being advocates of peace and developing the party. The state youth leader, Mr Anas Mohhamed, urged the youths to be vigilant during the poll. He noted that youths have a significant role to play in the poll, saying it would determine their future and save them from inept leadership under the LP government.

THE Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Mike Omeri, has said the agency would soon set up an electronic platform to enable the public send opinions on government policies and programmes. The NOA chief spoke in Minna, the Niger State capital. He said under the scheme, Nigerians would have the opportunity to send their opinions on government policies for feedbacks to relevant agencies. NOA serves as a feedback platform for government programmes and activities. A statement by its Chief Press Secretary, Mr Paul Odenyi, said the agency was setting up the ICT userfriendly interface to enable Nigerians access information on government policies and make input. The statement reads: “As a way of integrating the ICT infrastructure in the agency’s public enlightenment and communication programmes, the ICT Unit of NOA has been strengthened. It will be used to tap into the robust social media, which has become one of the major means of communication. “Also, the ICT infrastructure would enable the agency to implement its plan to get real time situation reports from different communities across the country to improve on its provision of timely feedback and contributions to the decision making process of government.”



NEWS Pension scam: Court orders EFCC to serve proof

Oil firms, stakeholders protest over House report B ARELY 24 hours after the leakage of the report of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy report, most of the 69 oil marketers asked to refund N241.7247 billion have protested to the House leadership. Also, some stakeholders said the report is suspicious. Most of the 69 marketers, it was learnt, made representation on why they should not be sanctioned. A few others were said to have protested that they did not appear before the Committee but read of the refund in some newspapers. A source said: “These marketers have made representation to the House leadership because of the implications of the report on their business. “The House is insisting that the marketers should wait till the committee has laid its report.” But one of the marketers, Acorn Petroleum Plc. (“Acorn”) criticised the report. In a statement in Abuja by its Public Affairs Manager, Austine Fischer, the oil firm said it never appeared before the committee. Acorn is expected to refund N8, 514,900,513.00 for 140,894,149 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS) imported between 2010 and 2011. In the statement, the oil firm said: “The Management of Acorn unequivocally refutes the said allegation as published in newspapers and as stated in the said report. “Acorn is amazed at the ba-

•Document is suspicious, says Movement

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

sis of the findings contained in the unofficial report. This is because Acorn was never invited to appear before the House Committee during the probe, which gave rise to the purported report, to defend its position or provide information to support its subsidy claims. “It is established principle and common knowledge that Importation of Petroleum products into the country cannot be undertaken without an import permit from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and a quarterly allocation from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). “The importation of PMS and any subsequent subsidy claims made thereon are guided by strict pricing templates initiated by the PPPRA to ensure the claims are transpar-

ent. Flowing from this, any subsidy claims made by Acorn were made in the format approved by the PPPRA, according to the PPPRA’s norms, rules and regulations verified by appropriate government agencies; hence the issue of unmerited subsidy claims, as alleged, does not arise. “The company claimed that during the period, it has imported 247,021,133 litres of PMS into the country between 2010 and 2011 and is entitled to a subsidy claim of N14, 714,930,563.71. It has received N13, 678,424,555.45 to date from PPPRA with an outstanding claim of N1, 036,506,008.26 and these figures are verifiable in the Accounts of the company. “Acorn with a petroleum storage facility of 30,000MT in Ibafon Lagos and retails outlets spread across the country has been doing business in Nigeria for over 30 years and

joined the petroleum subsidy fund (PSF) scheme in 2008. “Acorn assures all its stakeholders that as a good corporate citizen; it conducts and will continue to conduct its business in accordance with established rules, regulations and principles and in conformity with best practice.” Also yesterday, Petroleum Stakeholders Movement said the report of the Ad Hoc Committee is suspicious. In a statement in Abuja by its President, Frank Diobi, the movement asked the committee to justify how it singled out 69 oil firms out of over 100 involved in fuel importation. The statement said: “We have read some extracts from the report of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on fuel subsidy as published by some newspapers and the subsequent reactions from some public figures. “From the publications, we have every reason to suspect the report because it is silent on many issues. One, many oil firms appeared before the committee, what informed the conclusion that led to the sin-

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

A •Lawan

gling out of 69 oil firms out of over 100 involved in fuel importation. “The committee should release the details of how it arrived at its conclusion. It should also come up with a position on the status of other oil firms and clarify whether they have been given a clean bill of health or not. This will clear public odium which some of these firms were subjected to by the conduct of the public hearing of the ad hoc committee. “Two, why did the committee ignore official fact-sheets from the NNPC and PPPRA on payment of 2010 subsidy arrears on HHK which shot up the 2011 fuel subsidy to about N1.6trillion”.

Senate decries U.S. monopoly over World Bank president


HE Senate yesterday kicked against the monopoly of the United States over the president of the World Bank. The lawmakers resumed plenary with a motion blaming the United States for not allowing a “fair and meritbased process” in the choice of the president of the world’s premier financial institution. The upper chambers also described as worrisome a situation where all former Presidents of the World Bank had been citizens of the United States or those nominated by them since its establishment in 1944. Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba, led debate on the mo-

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

tion titled: “Nomination of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the President of the World Bank.” Ndoma-Egba regretted that the candidature of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala for the job did not receive fair consideration in an open, transparent and merit-based process. He noted that the Senate was convinced that her nomination was based on the trust the World Bank had in her ability to deploy her skills, commitment and professionalism to steer the affairs of the bank.

N Abuja Federal High Court Judge, Justice Adamu Bello has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to serve proof of evidence on the accused standing trial in the alleged N12 billion pension scam. The order followed an application by the accused counsel, Mr. Chris Uche (SAN), who objected to the tendering of documentary evidence by the representatibves of the 16 banks the court subpoenaed at the request of the anti-graft agency. The accused told the court that they were not served with the documents the prosecution sought to tender. They urged the court for an adjoutrment to enable the service of the documentas on them. The 33 accused are facing a 136-count charge of corruption, abuse of office and theft on the accused including former Director of the Pension Office and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Kogi State, Dr. S.T Shuaibu, his former Deputy, Mrs. Phiana Chidi and Shuaibu’s personal assistant, one Aliyu Bello. Before adjourning till July 27, Justice Bello, who granted the application ordering the commission to produce the proof of evidence said the EFCC is at liberty to produce further and additional material that could assist the court.


African Union suspends Guinea-Bissau


HE African Union says it has suspended Guinea Bissau’s membership of the organisation after a coup last week by the West African state’s military. At a meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the AU’s Peace and Security Council decided to suspend Guinea Bissau “until the restoration of constitutional order”. The suspension takes immediate effect. The AU also says it will ask for international sanctions to be imposed on the country. Soldiers toppled the gov-

ernment last Thursday over its alleged plans to reduce the size of the army. The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, says the soldiers have agreed to return the country to civilian rule. The president of the ECOWAS commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo who has been in Bissau for talks with the coup leaders did not say when constitutional order would be restored. There has been no word from the military. Mr Ouedraogo said he had asked for political prisoners to be released, including

Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who was arrested during last week’s coup. He is the only candidate in the second round of presidential elections scheduled for April 29, called after the death in January of President Malam Bacai Sanha following a long illness. Opposition candidate Kumba Yala pulled out of the poll, claiming fraud. No president has completed a term since independence from Portugal in 1974. Interim President Raimundo Pereira has also been detained.

Trade unions have called for a general strike to protest the coup. The junta say they acted to prevent foreign intervention and a plot to “wipe out” Guinea-Bissau’s army. About 200 Angolan officers have been in the country for the last year to help with training and reforms to the bloated army, which has long meddled in politics and is said by Western intelligence agencies to play a key part in trafficking drugs. Guinea-Bissau is a major staging post for gangs smuggling cocaine from Latin America to Europe.

Army arrests ex-Malian President Toure


OLDIERS have arrested several allies of Mali’s ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure days after handing power to a civilian leader, witnesses say. Former Prime Minister Modibo Sidibe was picked up by men in military police vehicles, an aide said. The arrests came as rocket scientist-turnedpolitician Cheick Modibo Diarra was named as Prime Minister. Bamako-based journalist Martin Vogl says the arrests suggest Mali’s interim leader does not have

total authority. Ex-Defence Minister Sadio Gassama and Chief of Staff Gen Hamidou Sissoko have also been arrested, their aides say. Dioncounda Traore sworn in as interim president last week - has refused to comment on the arrests - while the European Union delegation in Mali has called for “an urgent clarification and their immediate release”. The head of one of Mali’s biggest political parties, Soumaila Cisse has also reportedly been detained.

Cisse was a frontrunner in elections due this month but derailed by last month’s coup led by Capt Amadou Sanogo. A top ranking policeman, Mahamadou Diagouraga, is also being held, the AP news agency reports. All those arrested have reportedly been taken to Kati, the junta headquarters just outside the capital, Bamako. People in Mali are very worried about the uncertainty created by the arrests - particularly because it appears that sol-


diers are still playing a major role in Mali’s politics, journalist Martin Vogl says.

Waziri: bank laundered N350m pension cash in 30 minutes Continued from page 2

The committee described Abdullahi as a State Security Service (SSS) personnel attached to the EFCC. The committee also said it discovered that the Abdulrasheed Maina-led Pension Reform Task Team opened 72 accounts in banks. It asked the EFCC to investigate the accounts and report back to it within one week. Police Pension Director Mr. Toyin Ishola told the committee that Tony Ibi returned N7.4 million paid into his account as estacode supposedly for EFCC chairman Ibrahim Lamorde. Christian Madubuike, an employee of the Police Pension Office, who appeared before the committee, admitted that his account was credited with over N5 million. Madubuike also admitted that he withdrew the money and handed it over to A. Yusuf, an Assistant Director (Account) in the Police Pension Office. He claimed that the monies were credited to his account without his knowledge. The committee to mandated the police to investigate allegation that some high profile people including Lamorde’s names were used to siphon billions of naira as estacode, following Ishola’s assertion that EFCC operatives are on Maina’s pay roll. The mandate to the police followed the protest by Ishola and some others that since the EFCC was accused of complicity in the pension funds scam, it should not be allowed to handle the investigation. Ishola also made other unprintable allegations against Maina, which the committee admitted as exhibit. But Lamorde has consistently said that he has nothing to do with the alleged estacode. He told the committee that he did not travel abroad at any time for any biometric capturing. Mrs. Waziri, who has been oversesas since she left office, said the death threats she got immediately after her removal caused her failure to honour the earlier invitations. The death threats, she said, made her to “hurriedly” leave the country to avoid possible harm. She said: “When I was removed from office I had threats, several threats. I wrote to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Inspector-General of Police and copied other security agencies. “The former Inspector-General of Police wrote that my security should be withdrawn. He is my friend but my security was withdrawn on his order. “When my security was withdrawn, my husband felt that I should leave the country. So, I hurriedly left the country.” Mrs. Waziri did not, however, disclose the authors of the death threats and whether security agencies responded to her petitions.




Amodu, Peters may work with Saintfiet


F NationSport’s checks at the Glasshouse Secretariat of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are anything to go by, then former Super Eagles Head Coach Shaibu Amodu and James Peters may be engaged to work with the new technical director of the national teams, Tom

From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja Saintfiet. NationSport learnt that the two one-time Coaches of the senior national men’s football team are to work with the 39-year-old Belgian to formulate a definite programme for Nigeria’s national teams. An impeccable source told NationSport: "The coaches, if engaged, will work with the new helmsman on various issues. Amodu will work with him on matters relating to the senior national team, while James Peters will relate with him on female football, with a yet-to-beidentified coach working with him on youth football. “They will be fully on contract, which may likely terminate with that of the foreigner who is expected to

resume next month. Their job will be basically on

technical development of the game in the country."

NSC mourns the death of Pastor Etim


HE Supervising Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdullahi has expressed deep shock at the death of Pastor Oyong Asuquo Etim, a onetime Commissioner of Sports in Akwa Ibom State. The minister, while describing the death of Pastor Etim as a colossal loss not only to the Nigerian Sports family but also the country in general, added that the late Sports administrator will be missed for his patriotism and immense contributions to the development of Sports in Nigeria.

Abdullahi described the late Etim as a highly committed sports administrator and an enthusiast whose demise occurred at a time when his services would have been of immense value to Nigeria’s quest to take sports to a higher level. The minister prayed Almighty God to give the family, the government and people of Akwa Ibom state as well as the Nigerian sporting community the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and grant the soul of the deceased peaceful repose. Pastor Etim died last week in an accident.


NPL orders Dolphin to apologise to Pillars •Amodu

NNWL warns clubs against match abandonment


HE Nigerian Nationwide League, (NNWL), has taken exception to clubs abandoning matches in the ongoing season. The NNWL made this declaration following reports of match abandonment in Benin City, Edo State, where Afijio FC was reported to have refused to complete their match against home team Dynamite FC after going down by two goals before the end of the first forty five minutes, a few days ago. The chairman, NNWL, Muazu Ahmed Kawu, who disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday, said the secretariat will henceforth come down hard on clubs that abandon their matches by applying the rules of the NNWL, which means, apart from forfeiting three points teams may also receive heavy fines. Kawu said: “We are completely disappointed in some of these clubs, because the rule says you must complete your match and thereafter you lodge your complaints with the football house. That is why we have the Organising and Disciplinary Committee, O&D of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF.


HE Nigeria Premier League (NPL) has ordered Dolphin FC of Port Harcourt to tender an unreserved public apology to Kano Pillars FC and their assistant coach Kabiru Baleria, after deciding that a case of a Boko Haram threat allegation against Kano Pillars was not proven by Dolphin. After an NPL first leg match in Port Harcourt which the home team won, Dolphin’s media officer, China Acheru had accused coach Baleria of threatening to unleash the services of terrorist group

From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja Boko Haram against the Port Harcourt-based team during the second leg encounter. But after listening to both sides an NPL panel set up to investigate the matter described the allegation by Dolphin FC as an unfounded, malicious and unsubstantiated lie capable of denting the image of Kano Pillars FC The panel then warned the management of Dolphin FC to desist from publishing such


Hingir eyes Iorfa's N500 000


IGER TORNADOES' striker, Son Hingir is positive he will pocket Dominic Iorfa’s N500, 000 prize money for the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) top scorer. Iorfa, chairman of Lobi Stars and former chairman, NFA technical committee, instituted a N500, 000 prize award for the highest goal scorer every football season starting from the 2011/ 2012 football year. Hingir has a goal in his name in the first stanza of the league. Unperturbed that he is way down on the pecking order of top scorers in the first term, Hingir told that everything is being put right to ensure he hits the ground running

at the restart of the league. "I want to be the first player to win my former chairman's (Dominic Iorfa) award of N500, 000 for the NPL top scorer. "I have scored one goal so far this season; I've lots of catching up to do in the second stanza. "I didn't have more playing time in the first half not that I could not score. "I've been assured of more time, I'll sit up and I'm positive before three, four matches I'll catch up at the top and take the lead," he said. The former Lobi Stars goal king is positive that the change of guard at Tornadoes will up the fortune of the team in the second stanza.

Gulder 5-A-Side registration ends April 22


HE clock is ticking; the countdown has begun to the deadline of this year’s registration for the Gulder 5-A-Side Football Competition. The registration started on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. The annual football tournament which is absolutely free and open to all male Nigerians, aged 18 and above is aimed at developing grassroots football and discovering talents, amongst other objectives. As the countdown begins, with some days to the deadline of registration, teams willing to participate have up till Sunday 22 April, 2012 to register via, which is the competition’s official website.

At the successful completion of registration, the regional qualifiers would kick-off on Friday 27 April, in six locations. The teams from the North-Central zone will converge on Abu King Playing Ground, Makurdi, while the Liberation Stadium Practice Pitch, Port Harcourt and Rangers International Football Club Training Pitch, Enugu, would serve as venues for teams in the South-South and South-East respectively. The Oleh Township Stadium, Warri, will be the battle ground for teams in the Mid-West, while Ijebu-Ode Stadium will host teams in the Western Zone and the New Gymnasium of the National Institute for Sports (NIS) located inside the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, is

set to be the battle ground for teams in the Lagos Zone. The Gulder 5-A-Side Football Competition is a team-based tournament. Each team will feature eight players and two managers. At the end of the regional qualifiers, two teams will emerge to represent each of the 6 regions for the final showdown in Lagos. All the 12 teams which qualify to play at the knock out stage in Lagos will be fully kitted by the ultimate beer brand. The eventual winner of the third edition of the Gulder Five-A-Side Soccer championships will go home with a cash prize of N5 million, while the second placed team gets N2 million and the third placed team gets N1 million.

rumour and to tender an unreserved apology to the management of Kano Pillars as well as Mallam Kabiru Balaria The NPL also advised that the second leg encounter between both clubs should be played under a friendly atmosphere to ensure that peace is restored between the Dolphins and Pillars. Pillars were however was advised to fortify security during the match.


Bayern pip Madrid 2-1


AYERN MUNICH take a one-goal advantage into the second leg. Mario Gomez's last-minute winner ensured Bayern Munich head to the Santiago Bernabeu next week with a narrow advantage after a 21 first-leg win in their

Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid. Mesut Ozil's second-half equaliser cancelled out Franck Ribery's opener, but Gomez's tap-in from three yards gave Bayern the upper hand heading into next week's second leg in Spain.






VOL.7 NO.2099

TOMORROW IN THE NATION ‘Our policemen also need to be well-kitted and to be well-trained, we must ensure that all policemen are proud of their uniforms. There should also be an irreducible educational minimum below which police recruits cannot fall’’ JIDE OSUNTOKUN



N the last one week the controversy Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, stirred back in February when he linked the Boko Haram insurgency in the North to extreme poverty in the region, seems to have escalated into a verbal warfare of immense proportions. The protagonists are, on the one hand, those who think the solution to Boko Haram (BH) is to simply to wield the Big Stick, and on the other, those who think the solution is first, to dialogue with the Islamic sect, and then implement a Marshal Plan of sorts for the North to end the extreme poverty that is widely regarded as a source of the BH insurgency. The immediate cause of this escalation was the call, penultimate Monday, by Mr. Jonnie Carson, the American Under Secretary for Africa, for a Ministry of Northern Affairs, “or a development commission similar to what it (Nigeria) did in response to the Niger Delta crisis.” Carson made his call during his lecture on the security challenges facing Nigeria since our elections last year. He spoke at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. The North, he said in obvious reference to the security challenge posed by Boko Haram, was “trapped between violent extremists on the one hand and heavy handed government response on the other.” The only way out of the trap, he said, was to address the extreme poverty the region suffers from. Predictably, Carson’s prescription for ending the BH insurgency has provoked extreme anger from Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the militant national president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). Boko Haram, he said, is simply a terrorist group and it would do no one any good to “pamper” it. “We,” he said, “reject the reason being peddled by the American government and some Boko Harm apologists in the North that poverty and injustice is the spark for the sect members’ action.” In its editorial last Monday, The Punch, said in effect, it couldn’t agree more. Carson and other leading Americans like former U.S. president, Bill Clinton and the current American Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, who share Carson’s sentiment, the newspaper said, are only pushing America towards a “catastrophic foreign policy (option)” for dealing with the BH threat to local and global security. “The link between poverty and terror is a myth,”The Punch said. Poverty, it argued correctly, is, after all, not restricted to the North. Boko Haram, it also argued, this time rather implausibly, is simply a product of “hate”, not poverty; implausibly, because this argument begs the question of what the root cause of the presumed hatred is. Because it apparently believed that there is no linkage between poverty and terror, the newspaper cautioned the Federal Government against listening to Carson, et al. Instead, it said the government must concentrate on “its efforts to crush Boko Haram and to expose

People and Politics By MOHAMMED HARUNA

Between Carson and Oritsejafor



and disgrace its sponsors and promoters.” The Punch is, of course, not the only one to agree with the CAN president on how to deal with the Boko Haram scourge. In an interview in Daily Trust (April13), Major-General Sarkin Yaki Bello, the co-ordinator of the Counter-Terrorism Centre in the office of the National Security Adviser, not surprisingly, expressed consternation that anyone would ask for the removal of the interminable army check-points in our streets and on our highways in the North, ostensibly to check Boko Haram, but which check points most people see as a scourched-earth rather than a protective strategy. “Withdrawal of the army! To be replaced by who? That’s the question!...May be those who are calling for the withdrawal of the military are the perpetrators of the crime,” said the anti-terrorist czar. Those in support of a heavy-handed treatment of Boko Haram seem to assume that, since our elections last year, virtually all criminal violence with any hint of religious undertone have been perpetrated by Boko Haram. This is obviously fallacious, given several bombings of churches, and attempts at such, that have been traced to non-Muslims. Then there is the equally fallacious assumption that Boko Haram has attacked only Churches and Christians. With Pastor Oritsejafor this has actually gone beyond a mere assumption. In rejecting Carson’s prescription, he claimed in effect that Boko Haram has attacked only churches and Chris-

tians. “We wonder if churches and Christians alone are the cause of the poverty Mr. Carson talked about. How have churches contributed to the injustice in the North?” It is obviously this frame of mind which led virtually all our newspapers to report penultimate Sunday’s Easter Sunday bombing in Kaduna from the angle of how some churches and church goers escaped the bombing rather than from the more humane angle of the unintended heavy casualties that resulted when the bomb exploded away from the church it was apparently intended for. Worse, several of the reports still claimed at least one church was hit, which was not really true. Most of them quoted a Pastor Joshua Raji as claiming his church suffered extensive damage from the explosion. The glasses of all the windows in the building were shattered and all the ceiling fans destroyed, he reportedly said. It was a miracle, he reportedly told the newspapers, that no one in his congregation was hurt. In my piece last week I said this was not true. Apparently this prompted the pastor to text me protesting my position. “Mohamed Haruna,” his text, unedited, read, “your coments on the back page of Daily Trust of April 11 contains a lot of errors, first, you mistook ASSEMBLY OF GOD junction road for ALL NATIONS CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLY GWARI ROAD,your comments are so painful to me &my congregation we decide to pray the Lord Jesus to forgive you this near unpardonable sin & we know HE hears us-Pastor Joshua Raji”. The pastor was right that I mistook his church on Gwari Road for the much bigger Assembly of God Church near the junction of Gwari Road and Junction Road. But then this was precisely how all the newspapers reported it. Apart from the near similarity in name, a check on the church’s location would show why it was so easy to mix it up with its more prominent cousin. My own check revealed that it was actually a residential one story building that had been converted into a church and the only sign of its existence is a small signboard on the road pointing inside a compound. Inside the church itself only two ceiling fans out of a dozen, and only five out of no more than 100 sections of the ceiling were damaged. The windows of the unpainted building which seemed to have been newly plastered, had no panels. Ei-



FEW days ago, in his attempt to stave off a distracting legal combat initiated by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) upstart, President Goodluck Jonathan told the court that though he had the right to contest a second time, he had in fact not yet made up his mind nor announced his interest in the 2015 race. The president is sometimes forgetful. In Kaduna and elsewhere in early 2011, he actually promised he would stop at one term. Overseas, particularly during his trip to the United States, he was even more ambiguous about contesting in 2011, arguing that he needed to base his decision to vie on some concrete achievements which, as acting president, he was yet to claim to his credit. Now many Nigerians, including Chief Afe Babalola, the educationist and senior advocate of Nigeria, are reminding him of the need to honour his word. Will he? But of course, he has the right to change his mind, while we reserve the right to also let him know what we think of people who have a habit of not honouring their word. If the president and his aides have forgotten that he gave his word not to go for re-election,

ther they had never been fixed in the first place, or the church did a great job of removing the debris from the glasses the pastor claimed had been shattered by the explosion. Given the location of the church right behind an uncompleted four-story building on Junction Road, I am more inclined to believe the former. Without doubt, Boko Haram is a threat to the integrity of the country and to the peace and security of its citizens. As such it deserves to be handled firmly and decisively. But, the few exceptions to the rule notwithstanding, History shows that the use of the Big Stick alone, especially when it is based on deliberately misrepresentation of the facts, cannot solve the predicament. And if any evidence is needed that even the government is beginning to see that this strategy has not worked, it was provided over the weekend by the army chief, no less. Speaking through the General Officer Commanding 1st Division, Major-General Garba Wahab, the army chief, Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika, himself as hawkish as they come, said in effect that the only way to see off Boko Haram is by winning the hearts and mind of the population among whom its members live. On the occasion of the closing ceremony of a workshop on security for troops of the 1st and 3rd Divisions of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna, the army chief said the effectiveness of the army’s role in securing the peace of the country lies in getting useful information and intelligence. He lamented, however, that “The same people who want us to come out and perform magic are not ready to give us information.” Consequently, he challenged the soldiers to do all it takes to win the hearts and minds of the populace. “You must,” he said, go out and relate to people who matter, who will provide information to help you perform your job. These you must do, no matter how low or high.” Coming many months after many key authority figures, including the army chief himself, have said only force can end the Boko Haram insurgency, this sounds like an admission of the failure of relying only on wielding the Big Stick. As Archbishop Williams Rowan, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Head of the Church of England, said several years ago of the use of force to cure global terrorism, “It is possible to eliminate one, two, or even 1,000 terrorists but if you don’t go to the cause of terrorism you will never eradicate the terrible phenomenon. And the causes are political, economic and cultural...Not only the Unites States, but the entire West should make an examination of their conscience, of how they oppress the rest of the world.” The Punch may be right to say poverty is not be restricted only to the North. It may even be argued, as the newspaper did, that the region’s extreme poverty may be largely the fault of its leaders. But that cannot absolve the rest of country from helping it to remove poverty as a source of the anger that breeds terrorism. •For comments, send SMS to 08054502909

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Unending controversy over Jonathan’s one-term promise Hardball would like to remind him with the commentary reproduced below and previously published under the Hardball column of February 3, 2011 during his campaign for the presidency. It was entitled Candidate Jonathan’s four years theory. In the next few days, the presidential campaign, the doyen of all campaigns, will be fully joined, and the priorities of the various candidates’ campaign organisations will be known. Already, one of the major campaign promises of candidate Goodluck Jonathan is that he won’t ask for a second term. Of course he couldn’t, for to ask for more, assuming he is elected for one term, is to spend an unreasonably long 10 years in office. He wasn’t, therefore, really making a revolutionary promise when he talked of only one term; he was simply being realistic. More importantly, the message embedded in his promise to ask for only one term in office is meant principally to woo the Southeast brethren who have begun to campaign that 2015 should be their turn, and to reassure the northern brethren that if the

North stayed out of power for another four years it would neither be eternity nor hurtful. Notwithstanding the passion with which the president promotes his four years theory, he has refused to commit himself either to the hopeful Southeast or to the expectant North. He will leave the matter cloudy until he is safely ensconced in Aso Villa. Jonathan’s four years theory does not, however, stop at short or long tenure in office. During his Ethiopian trip to attend the African Union (AU) summit, the president added two powerful messages to his four-year mantra. First was his conviction that a four-year term was enough to resolve the issue of epileptic supply of electricity. That forum was of course not the proper place to tell us how he hoped to pull that miracle off, considering that one of his predecessors, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was similarly exuberant about tackling the long-running energy crisis when he assumed office. After eight years and billions of naira down the monster’s throat, Obasanjo barely left the starting block or made an impression on the ogre. The second message Jonathan added to his theory was

that any president who couldn’t improve the society in four years could not hope to do so even if he were granted additional four years. He is probably right. But when he was first asked in the United States whether he would run for office in 2011, he said he wanted to achieve something upon which record he hoped to persuade the electorate. About two years later, there isn’t any real record to wave in anyone’s face. The truth is that the four years talk is simply a campaign gimmick. Obasanjo wasn’t able to do anything about electricity supply in eight years; the late Umaru Yar’Adua made no dent on the monster in about two years and more; and Jonathan has barely ruffled the monster’s feathers in his little under two years in office as acting president. Jonathan said any president who couldn’t do anything in four years was unlikely to make a difference with additional years. Had he been in a position to give us this admonition when Obasanjo planned his amazing sorcery in 2003, we would have saved ourselves the anguish of the extra four years of torment he unleashed on the country.

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The Nation April 18, 2012  
The Nation April 18, 2012  

The Nation April 18, 2012