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THE NATION, SATURDAY APRIL 27, 2013

Governors’ Forum chair: Amaechi, Shema set for showdown

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OVERNORS elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have thrown out the consensus option in picking the next chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). Instead, they have given the incumbent chairman, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, and his Katsina State counterpart, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, the chance to slug it out in the election scheduled for next month. The move is aimed at preserving the unity of both the NGF and the newly-formed PDP Governors’ Forum, sources said yesterday. The Presidency is, however, unimpressed by the governors’ action and wants Amaechi to vacate the seat at all costs. Consequently, the Presidency is said to be working hard on its own plan to stall the election except it is sure of sufficient votes from the governors to replace Amaechi. Besides, the PDP governors have decided to push for the amendment of the NGF constitution ahead of the Forum’s election next month. It is not known for now when the election will take place, but the NGF constitution allows its chairman to give a 72-hour notice for election. Amaechi’s current term ends on May 24, 2013. Amaechi is seeking a second term ticket while Shema is being backed by some forces in the Presidency. The two aspirants have been locked in a fierce battle to sell their candidacy to the remaining 34 governors. Victory in the election is by a simple majority. It was gathered that when the PDP governors met on Wednesday, they insisted on their earlier resolution to allow Amaechi and Shema to present themselves for the NGF poll. Some of the governors, sources said, tried to push for a consensus candidate but the majority stood by their decision of March 11,

•PDP governors throw contest open •Jonathan’s men in fresh plot against Amaechi Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation 2013. A source said: “We decided to ratify our earlier stance that Amaechi and Shema should be left to contest. “This is without prejudice to any effort being made by any Nigerian to mediate in the face-off between President Goodluck Jonathan and Amaechi. “As it stands now, no more consensus candidate at all. This is the only way we can save the NGF and the PDP Governors’ Forum from collapse.”

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some forces in the Presidency were uncomfortable with the inability of the PDP Governors Forum to choose a consensus candidate for the NGF chair. Sources said some officials in the Presidency have hatched a fresh plot to stop the NGF election from holding if there is no sign that they could unseat Amaechi. The officials met in the early hours of Thursday with some anti-Amaechi governors to re-strategise on how to frustrate the NGF poll if their permutations go wrong. Another source added:

“Some of these antiAmaechi governors have been given a firm directive as follows: ‘If you do not have enough governors to win the NGF chairmanship, make sure the election does not hold.’ “Alternatively, they concluded as at Thursday that if the election comes and things do not go well, they might walk out. “The arrowheads of the plot are the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Chief Godswill Akpabio, Governor Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Governor Gabriel Suswam (Benue) and Shema (Katsina).“ •Continued on Page 57

•Minister of Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen (third right) flanked by the Chairman Senate Committee on Works, Senator Ayogu Eze (left); the Chairman House Committee on Works, Hon. Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi (right) and representative of the Enugu State Governor, Engr. Goddy Madueke (second right) during the ministerial flag-off ceremony of the rehabilitation of Ogurute-Umuida-Unadu Akpanya-Odolu Road in Enugu and Kogi states… Thursday.

Yobe killings: Terrorists used church as cover, says police boss

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HE Yobe State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Sanusi Rufai, has said that the suspected terrorists who at-

Cripple, three others remanded in prison for rape CRIPPLE and three others have been remanded in prison custody by an Oredo Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Benin City. The suspects allegedly gang-raped a 22-year-old girl. The accused persons, Saturday Enabulele (28), Moses Okoeki (18), Osasumwen Enina (17) and Junior Odubu (20) were also alleged to have on April 13, 2013 at 9 Akugbe Street, Siluko Road, Benin City, beat up the girl, tore her pant, shirt and skirt, dipped their fingers into her private part and filmed her with a camera phone. The prosecution further alleged that apart from

The Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Chief Godswill Akpabio, was said to have made a case for a consensus candidate for the Chairmanship of the NGF and six members of the Board of Trustees. “But after noting the sensitive nature of the forum’s forthcoming election, the governors agreed that the matter be handled carefully so that at the end of the election, the unity of the newlyformed PDP Governors’ Forum and that of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum would be preserved,” the source added. It was also gathered that

Osemwengie Ben OGBEMUDIA, Benin filming the victim’s nudity and showing same to people, the accused persons and others now at large collected the girl’s Nokia mobile phone and a wallet containing the sum of N10,000. They pleaded not guilty to the 12 count charge brought against them. The trial Chief Magistrate Peter Edo Asemota remanded them in prison custody in view of the prevalent rate of the offence within the court’s jurisdiction. Hearing was adjourned till May 7, 2013.

Duku JOEL, Damaturu tacked Gashua town in Yobe State on Thursday night used a church as cover to carry out their operations. Rufai, who briefed journalists in his office in Damaturu on Thursday evening shortly after he returned from an on-thespot assessment of the attack also said the terrorists had devised a means of dressing in police uniforms to lunch attacks on security formations. He also alleged that one Murtala Yusuf, a native of Geidam, led some terrorists to the house of the Manager of Ecobank who was forced to go to the bank and open the vault where the sum of N9.2 million and 237 US dollars and a Toyota Corolla car all belonging to the bank were carted away. The police boss said: “It was a big battle. The terrorists came in large numbers, about 200 of them.

But our men gave them a good fight and we were able to repel them. The JTF must be commended for their gallantry. They did a good job. “From what I saw, the terrorists attacked the Gashua Police Area Command, the Divisional Office and the Mobile Base. They succeeded in burning down the Area Command. “We lost two policemen at the Area Command, two at the Divisional Office and one at the Mobile Base, including two injured. I discovered at the Mobile Base that the terrorists used a church which has a low fence as cover to attack the base. In order to scare the people, the terrorists burnt down the church and hid inside to attack the Mobile Base.” He added that the use of police uniform by the terrorists had become worrisome. He, however, said the police were working

on the best strategy to overcome the insurgents. “We are worried by the use of police uniform by the insurgents as their new modus operandi to enter police formations and attack. But I want to say that we are currently working on the best strategy to overcome the insurgents and we will definitely counter them,” he said. The Yobe police boss called on the general public to report any suspicious movement within and around their neighbourhood to security agencies for immediate action. The items recovered, according to him, include one Toyota Corolla car, one Peugeot 406 saloon car, one Isuzu Pick-Up van, one AK 47 rifle, one police anti-riot gun, one locally made pistol, one rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) bomb, one generator and a large quantity of ammunition,” the statement said.

Senate has no fixed position on constitution review, says Mark Emmanuel OLADESU Political Editor

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ENATE President David Mark yesterday

said that the Senate has no fixed position on the constitution review, assuring Nigerians that the proposed amended constitution would reflect the views of the stakeholders. He identified critical issues, which had agitated the minds of the people during the public hearings as state police, special status for Lagos, Land Use Act, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), “indigeneship” and “settlership”. Senator Mark spoke in Lagos at the working retreat organised to brainstorm on the review process by the 44 senators in the review committee. At the Eko Hotel, the venue of the “working retreat” were Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Leader Victor IdomaEgba, Senators Oluremi Tinubu, Gbenga Kaka, Femi Lanlehin, Ganiyu Solomon, Tony Adeniyi, Sola Adeyeye, and Uche Chukwimerije. Reiterating the Senate’s commitment to due process, Mark said: “No single senator should force his position on the group. The Senate has no fixed position. The constitution belongs to all of us. We are collating the aggregate views. If it is the wish of Nigerians that we should follow a particular direction, that is what we will do.” The Senate President said the decision of the committee would not be final, adding that its report would be discussed by the Senate. Mark said the difference between executive and legislative decisions is that the decisions by the parliament is always the aggregate views of the people, unlike the decision of the executive which may be the decision of a person. Lauding the patriotism of the senators, Mark said as the representatives of the people, they should use their mandate with caution and accountability to God. Senator Ekweremadu reechoed Marks remarks, saying that the Senate had not taken any position on the issues that would shape the review. He said: “The committee has no such powers. Senate’s position on any matter or proposed amendment can only come by way of voting and resolution at the plennary. There will be exhaustive debates to dissect all sides to each proposed amendment.”


THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

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THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

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OLUFUNMILAYO ADUNNI OLAYINKA (1960 - 2013)

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•The remains of the late Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka being taken to the final resting place... yesterday

• Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (left) and Chief Bisi Akande

•L-R: Governor Kayode Fayemi; his wife, Erelu Bisi; Mr Lanre Olayinka, Olamide, Ololade & Yeside, children of the late deputy governor PHOTOS: DAYO ADEWUNMI

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on Friday led a long list of eminent Nigerians who paid their last respect to the late Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mrs. Funmilayo Adunni Olayinka, at the funeral service held for her in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital. They all attended the funeral, which was held at the Cathedral Church of Emmanuel, Okesa, Ado-Ekiti, after which the remains of the late deputy governor were interred at the newly-constructed Heroes' Park, near the Government House. The body of the late Deputy Governor, who died on April 6th, was lowered into the grave at exactly 1.21pm. President Jonathan, who was represented by the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), said the late Olayinka made good use of the opportunities she had to serve the people of Ekiti State and Nigeria meritoriously, even though her potentials were yet to be fully harnessed before she died. Jonathan added that the late Deputy Governor was a woman of substance known for her simplicity, diligence, respect and brilliance. The President said: “One will easily notice and find simplicity, diligence, respect and brilliance in this woman of substance that is admired for all those virtues. It may not be out of place therefore to say that unfortunately her potentials have not been fully tapped before death came

•Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (left) & Governor Ibikunle Amosun

Ekiti stands still as •Jonathan, Tinubu, Governors, others calling. We must thank God for a life well-spent. The opportunities she had to serve and the contributions she made wholeheartedly to the development of her state, ekiti and Nigeria which she served meritoriously and with dedication.” The President stated that the encomiums showered on the deceased by people who had given their tributes, as well as the generality of Ekiti people, re-affirms his strong belief that women in the Nigerian society should be given the opportunity and encouragement to express their Godgiven talents and potentials to serve humanity. Governor Fayemi, while addressing the congregation, said her late Deputy lived a life of sacrifice, service and commitment to the people and dedication to God. The Governor noted that Olayinka who was a lay reader in the Anglican Church was faithful in all her ways and did not take her faith lightly.

Fayemi, who stated that her service to the State would not be allowed to go in vain, said that the State Government would next week announce a project in the area of the ailment that claimed her life so as to permanently keep her memory alive. “We shall continue to have mementoes in her memory so that others who come after her will know that it is good to be good and public service is the highest form of duty that one can render to one’s community. That’s why we have taken all the pains to ensure that we didn’t allow her to just go quietly but to see that she is celebrated and remembered, not just as a major positive influence on our state but also as an inspiration for younger women, public office holders to look up to in the future”, the Governor said. Other dignitaries present at the funeral were Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Oyo State


THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

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OLUFUNMILAYO ADUNNI OLAYINKA (1960 - 2013)

•Pall bearers with Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka’s casket

•L-R: Her husband, Mr Lanre Olayinka and children, Lolade, Olamide and Yeside

•Osun and Lagos Deputy Governors, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori (left) & Mrs Adejoje Orelope Adefulire respectively.

• Two of the children, Yeside and Olamide

• Aremo Segun Osoba (left) & Governor Abiola Ajimobi

• Alhaji Lai Mohammed (left) & Hon. Bimbo Daramola

Olayinka goes home bid deputy governor final goodbye Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; Osun state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, represented by his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd) and Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, represented by his deputy, Mr. Damishi Luka. Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu was represented by Dr. Peter Sarki; Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr. Lekan Ogungbe, Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi was represented by his deputy, Mr. Emeka Sibeudu. Former Governors at the funeral include Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Lagos), Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo (Ekiti), Aremo Olusegun Osoba (Ogun), Chief Adebisi Akande (Osun), Chief Segun Oni (Ekiti), Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua (old Ondo). Deputy Governors were fully represented at the funeral

to bid their colleague farewell. They included Prince Segun Adesegun (Ogun), Mr. Efiok Cobham (Cross River), Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (Lagos), Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo (Oyo), Chief Yomi Awoniyi (Kogi), Mrs. Grace Titilayo Laoye-Tomori (Osun) and Alhaji Ali Olanusi (Ondo). Wives of state governors present include Erelu Bisi Fayemi (Ekiti), Mrs. Florence Ajimobi (Oyo), Dame Abimbola Fashola (Lagos), Mrs. Olufunso Amosun (Ogun), Alhaja Sherifat Aregbesola (Osun). National Assembly members present include Senator Babafemi Ojudu (Ekiti Central), Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (Ekiti North), Rep. Bimbo Daramola (Ekiti North II), Rep. Oyetunde Ojo (Ekiti Central II), Rep. Ife Arowosoge (Ekiti I) and Rep. Bamidele Faparusi (Ekiti South II). Former National Assembly members present include Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, Sen. Ayo Arise, Sen. Bode Ola

• Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora (left) & Hon. Oyetunde Ojo

and Sen. James Kolawole. Other dignitaries are former Military Administrator of Ekiti State, Navy Captain Atanda Yussuf (rtd); Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Sarah Sosan; former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Adebisi Omoyeni; Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Tuned Lemo. The rest include retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Olufunmilola Adekeye, Court of Appeal judge, Justice Oyebisi Omoleye; Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arunma Oteh. Vice Chancellor of Ekiti State University, Prof. Oladipo Aina; former Vice Chancellor of the University of AdoEkiti, Prof. Akin Oyebode and Chairman, Acess Bank, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode. From the party front are the National Deputy Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr. Boss Mustapha; ACN National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; South West ACN publicity Secretary, Mr. Ayo Afolabi and Ekiti State ACN Chairman, Chief Olajide Awe. Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin, Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Ganiyu Owolabi; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Yemi Adaramodu, Head of Service, Mr. Bunmi Famosaya and other members of the State Executive Council also graced the funeral.


6 News

THE NATION, SATURDAY APRIL 27, 2013

NJC suspends Justice Talba over pension fund ruling

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HE National Judicial Council (NJC) has suspended Justice Abubakar Mahmud Talba of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court over the manner he handled the case of convicted police pension thief, John Yakubu Yusuf. The council, rising from a two-day meeting on Thursday, castigated Justice Talba for what it termed “unreasonable exercise of judicial discretion” in the case. Justice Talba’s suspension is to subsist for 12 months and would be without pay. The suspension commences immediately. The council also considered the case of Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court, Lagos,

•Warns Justice Okeke •Lawyers laud Council’s decisions Eric IKHILAE, Abuja and Precious IGBONWELUNDU against who various petitions had been written. The council, after considering his response to the petitions, “seriously warned” him. Justice Okeke is billed to retire on May 18 this year. It was learnt that the council would have come down harder on both judges but because Okeke was already on his way out and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which prosecuted Yusuf had watered-down the case through its plea-bargain

arrangement. The Nation learnt that members were particularly concerned about the manner Justice Talba exercised his discretion in awarding a meagre N750,000 as fine against a convict who pleaded guilty to the theft of over N23 billion. The decision of the council at the meeting held on Wednesday and Thursday are contained in a statement issued yesterday by NJC’s Acting Director in charge of Information, Soji Oye. The statement reads: “The National Judicial Council under the chairmanship of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Aloma

Mariam Mukhtar, GCON, at its Meeting which was held on 24th and 25 th April, 2013, suspended Hon. Justice Abubakar Mahmud Talba of the FCT High Court from office for a period of twelve months without pay. “Hon. Justice Talba was suspended from office sequel to the findings by Council that he did not exercise his discretion judicially and judiciously with regard to the sentences he passed on one of the accused persons, Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf in the Police Pension case of FRN Vs Esai Dangabar and 5 Others. “It will be recalled that the National Judicial Council at

•Ambassador Terence P. McCulley (left) in a handshake with INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega during the envoy's visit in Abuja... Friday

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HE United States government has pledged to step up support for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) towards ensuring the success of the 2015 general election. This pledge was made by the American envoy to Nigeria, Ambassador Terence P. McCulley, when he visited INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, OFR, at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja yesterday.

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NVESTIGATION into the mayhem that claimed about 185 lives in Baga, Borno State last week has begun with more than 15 soldiers already arrested. The Presidency has disputed the figure, saying that the casuality figure was “not more than 25.” And contrary to earlier reports of the involvement of Nigerien, Chadian and Camerounian troops in the attack, fresh information yesterday indicated that only Nigerian soldiers were the brains behind it. The detained soldiers, it was gathered, were undergoing intense interrogation on their culpability in the incident. A reliable security source said: “Some soldiers have been arrested and detained over the Baga killings. They are being quizzed by the relevant unit. “Of those screened, I think more than 15 of them have been implicated in the massacre. These soldiers were

its emergency meeting which was held on 20th February, 2013 set up a fact-finding committee to investigate the allegations levelled against Hon. Justice Talba in the Police Pension case of FRN Vs Esai Dangabar and 5 Others. “The Council, however, observed that the charges that had been brought by EFCC against Mr. John Y. Yusuf in the first charge sheet containing counts 1 to 10 under Section 315 of the Penal Code that provides a maximum jail term of 14 years and fine, were dropped by the EFCC counsel and substituted with another charge sheet with only three counts under Section 309 of the Penal Code that moulds a lesser punishment of two years imprisonment with or without option of fine. “The National Judicial Council, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, also issued serious warning to Hon. Justice Talba to desist from unreasonable exercise of judicial discretion in all matters brought before him. “On the various petitions written against Hon. Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court who is to retire from service on 18th May, 2013, the Council considered his responses and decided to seriously warn him.” The Council yesterday received words of commendation for the one-year suspension slammed on Justice Talba.

Lawyers who spoke to The Nation on the telephone held that the NJC’s action was in tandem with the fight to rid the judiciary of corruption. The lawyers who argued that the country’s judiciary needed complete overhaul, hailed the NJC for taking steps to discipline erring judges at both state and federal levels. Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Norrison Quakers, lauded the NJC for the decision, adding ‘“It shows the NJC means business.” He said the one-year suspension given Talba was enough punishment since he did not act outside the provision of the law. “Yes, the judge was very soft in handing the sentence to the convict, especially with the present situation of our country. “So, the suspension is a good development and will make other judges to be cautious in exercising discretion,” he said. The Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Monday Ubani, said the steps are commendable. He, however, protested that some of the punishments meted out are not punitive enough, adding: “They are like a gentle slap on the wrist.” He said: “Some of us who are of the opinion that the Nigerian judiciary deserves complete overhaul and sanitization will clearly be happy at this decision reached by the NJC concerning some of the erring judges of both the state and federal high courts. We recommend this exercise to be a continuous one. “We also recommend that the NBA should take a cue from the NJC and rid the bar of unscrupulous lawyers (and they are many) who have no business being members of the noble profession.”

US pledges more support for INEC towards 2015 Ambassador McCulley said his home country would continue its collaboration with INEC to promote democracy in Nigeria, and would be glad to offer whatever additional assistance is necessary for deepening the electoral process. Jega told the envoy that INEC hoped for early amendment of legal provisions

deemed to constrain the aspiration for flawless elections in the country. He said the Commission came away with this optimism from the retreat it held with relevant Senate and House of Representative committees on the 16th and 17th April, 2013, in Sokoto. The INEC Chairman also said the Commission would intensify its engagement with

political parties between now and 2015 to encourage internal party democracy in accordance with provisions of the law. Responding to a question by Ambassador McCulley on whether INEC has a set standard for what constitutes internal democracy in political parties, Jega said: “INEC has begun quarterly meetings with registered political par-

ties intended to build mutual confidence and promote mutual understanding. It is our hope that through series of engagements between now and 2015, we can be emphatic about the provisions of the law on internal party democracy.” He expressed appreciation for the assistance being provided by the United States

15 soldiers detained over Borno bloodbath •ACF endoses probe

Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation and Tony AKOWE, Kaduna part of the team deployed in Baga. So, investigation is still on course. “So far, there are intelligence reports indicating that Nigerian troops were mostly behind the Baga killings. “There is no enough evidence that Chadian, Nigerien and Camerounian soldiers were involved in the killings.” President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered a probe into the incident with a vow to punish any soldier implicated. The military authorities have already dispatched a delegation to the town for an on-the-spot assessment. At the head of the delegation is Major General Lawrence Ngubani, the Chief

of Training and Operations (CTOPS) in the Defence Headquarters. The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday expressed support for a probe into the massacre. It said the incident, coming at a time the country was looking forward to an amicable resolution of the insecurity in the land, was unfortunate. The forum, in a communique at the end of its meeting in Kaduna, called for a thorough investigation into the matter, adding that those found guilty should be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others. The ACF in the communique signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, noted “with shock the reports of violence between the JTF and the sect which destroyed many lives and properties in Baga village in

Borno State. “Severe shock in the sense that apart from such monumental losses, the violence has come at a time when the talks of amnesty leading to constructive dialogue is expected to inform cessation of hostilities and take advantage of the efforts being made to bring an end to the untold hardship brought about by destruction of lives and properties. “And given different accounts of the same circumstance of such violent destruction, Arewa Consultative Forum endorsed thorough investigations by the authority of what happened with a view to unveiling the facts needed for retribution to offenders as deterrent against future occurrence. “To that end, both the government and the governed must avoid generalizations that are not well informed by hard facts. Nigerians and the media must be wary of half truths, lest they worsen the already dire and complex situa-

tion in demand of highest level of imagination, commitment and determination that often come with patriotic courage and political will. “The meetings also considered the circumstances of withdrawals from the Amnesty Committee by some members and resolved that even though consultations ought to precede announcements of names of members in view of the dire nature of the assignment, that should not make some members reject their membership of the Amnesty Committee. “The Forum, therefore, called on such members to reconsider their decisions in overriding interest of the North, the nation and for humanity. This is because no sacrifice is too much to bring about peace across the nation. It is no time for blame game but for consciously directed collective efforts needed to make insecurity history. “The Forum welcomed the

government, especially through the USAID which periodically provides BRIDGE training for INEC staff and presently offers technical support for ongoing efforts by the Commission to conduct delimitation of constituencies. Ambassador McCulley assured that the support would continue and would be upscaled as necessary. consideration and coming together of the various Northern platforms, especially of ACF and Northern Elders Forum, for the express purpose of unleashing their synergy through confronting the collective challenges facing the North and the country as a whole. This is more so that most members of the different groups are still members of Arewa consultative Forum in pursuit of the same aims and objectives”. Meanwhile, Northern governors have pleaded with Boko Haram to stop the killings in the North. The plea was made by the Northern governors through their Chairman, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State. The governors, in a statement, said: “The Forum has appealed to members of Boko Haram to give peace a chance, saying reverting to attacks and other acts of violence after an offer of amnesty by the federal government will not advance the course of peace.”


COMMENTARY 7

THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

On kid gloves and Robin Hoods

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HIS week, in Borno State, in the fishing town of Baga, on the border with Chad, soldiers of the anti -terrorist Joint Multinational Force razed the town and left over 180 civilians dead. In a new film in France recently a driver who made away with stolen money in a bank van became an instant hero. Also in Nigeria, a cartoon which caricatured harsh punishment for oil thieves while oil money thieves are being left to go literally scot free, set the ball rolling today on how ready the Nigerian government is, in its self- set task of ridding the nation of the debilitating cancer of corruption. In between these happenings come the comical or bizarre story of the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni giving out a sack of containing $100, 000 to some youths in his country in fulfillment of his campaign promise, which really puts one in a quandary as to whether to laugh or to cry. My contention today is that these events or news items show levity in the treatment of some serious issues by some global leaders, the interpretation of which can lead to a charge of nonchalance bordering on irresponsibility in some instances. In addition, such attitude can lead to irrational or unexpected reactions or conclusions, which nevertheless attract popular acclaim and applause due to inertia or abject inaction on the part of those in authority. In analytic terms, I will first tag each event I have highlighted and go on to elaborate on each at length. First the event in Baga was an overkill, in that the army killed an ant with a sledge hammer but this would not have arisen in the first instance, if the Boko Haram menace had not been treated with kid gloves by the authorities culminating in the setting up of the Amnesty Committee. The glorification of a robber in a legally vibrant and active nation like France is evidence of populist frustration and revulsion in French society with a president that campaigned on fighting corruption and got elected only to discover that his weapon for the anti corruption crusade is itself tainted. The cartoon on oil thieves and oil money thieves makes a clear distinction in terms of criminality and its oil brands and throws a challenge to the authorities to either fish or cut bait .In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni’s gift on the surface makes a mockery of the concept of transparency and accountability, which his government claims to be defending by claiming that he did not take the money to Las Vegas or keep it in his private account. Now let us start the chain of elaborations. With Baga, the army or multinational task force overreached itself in the performance of its duty. The government has said it would investigate because it had set out rules of engagement to the task force beforehand. But the task force has said that Boko Haram used civilians as a human shield. Who is the government believing – the task force or Boko Haram? The task force undoubtedly was shooting for the kill to send a message of deterrence which was its mandate to engage the terrorists. Is that mandate being questioned now by the same authorities that gave it? Some Northern leaders reportedly said that

the Baga incident would affect the Amnesty Committees work. One can then ask – in what direction? Is it in the suspension or cancellation of the Amnesty Committees work? Or the continuation of the woolly, tacit respect or recognition, albeit grudging or masked, that some Northern leaders seem to have for Boko Haram ? Either way, the confidence of the Joint Task Force in tackling terrorism must not be sacrificed on the altar or excuse of investigations into the killing of civilians, which is condemnable under any circumstances, including the massacre at Baga. In France the robber film hero was a driver who made away with 11.6 m euros in a bank van while his work colleagues were on break. He was jailed 3 years but in the scene in the film at which he made away with his loot, the audience applauded. This was because on the day the film was opening in France the man in charge of the French government’s tax force against tax fraud, Jerome Cahusac revealed that he had dodged tax to the tune of 600,000 euros in illicit account in a tax haven, off shore. Which means the game keeper had become the poacher. This was in France where the government got elected on the promise to tax 75% of the earnings of anyone above 1m euros which had led to some gifted rich Frenchmen fleeing France. The applause for the robber may sound weird. But its message is clear. What is good for the goose is good for the gander in terms of punishment and that French film audience felt that the driver had just been made a scape goat. This happened in a France where‘ outrage over ruinous bankers, rising unemployment and political corruption has become the order of the day‘. At the end of the day however the robber Toni Musulin was reportedly celebrated in a pop song and seen as a Robin Hood figure in France. Which really is a great pity for the rule of law anywhere in the world, including France which has strict laws and where a suspect is presumed guilty until proven otherwise unlike in our system inherited from the British colonialists which is the other way

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The glorification of a robber in a legally vibrant and active nation like France is evidence of populist frustration and revulsion in French society with a president that campaigned on fighting corruption and got elected only to discover that his weapon for the anti corruption crusade is itself tainted

round. In the Nigerian cartoon on brands of oil thieves you may say that the oil thief is being glorified at the expense of the oil money thief and you may be right. But the Nigerian government is not allowing sleeping dogs to lie in its fight against corruption and I will show that with two stories this week. The EFCC was reported to have secured a court order restraining oil subsidy thieves from using their account in the UK. Surely this is commendable but what of the accounts of the subsidy thieves, who are really the oil money thieves, in Nigeria? Anyway an answer to that may be long in coming. This is because no less a person than the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is reported to have said that the extent of corruption in Nigeria has been exaggerated. This was in reaction to a report submitted to the US Congress by new US Secretary of State John Kerry that said all arms of the Nigerian government is riddled with corruption. The Nigerian President disagreed and said that the way government business had been conducted under his presidency had led to a reduction in the level of corruption in the nation. Which really is assuring considering the fact that the president may be forgiven for being a judge in his own case given his usual innocence on virtually all issues facing the nation including the Boko Haram terror. Yet in the presidential system of government that we run, the buck stops on his table at Aso Rock. Undoubtedly our President has a huge penchant for treating grave issues with kid gloves and must be persuaded that he needs bare knuckles to face the challenges confronting the nation to stop the emergence of unlikely Robin Hoods lurking in our midst. In the Museveni $100,000 sack saga in Uganda, a presidential aide justified the action on the ground that the Ugandan president gave the beneficiaries the money directly instead of giving civil servants and that the money had been budgeted for, which is an innovation in government budgeting as we know it in today’s world. The Ugandan president also gave out 15 okadas and a bus to the youths and really Iam at a loss on what to make of the development. Was Museveni right to have done things this way to fight corruption? Or has he personified state funds to fulfill electoral promises? Is this a matter for condemnation or emulation in the context of African politics as we know it today? I really do not want to jump to conclusions and would rather watch events as they unfold in Uganda which some time ago introduced zero party politics that also kept power in the hands of Museveni. Surely a riddle in an enigma is abroad in Uganda or indeed Africa , and one must pause and ponder seriously, as it unfolds right before our eyes.


8 COMMENTARY

THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

Official delusions and painful realities Knucklehead

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HE ostrich would rather bury its head in the sand than con front an ugly reality. Right? I really don’t get what the nation stands to gain from the riotous umbrage that greeted the latest report on massive corruption in Nigeria, which was recently submitted to the United States Congress by the Secretary of State, Sen. John Kerry. Outraged by what the government considers to be an exaggerated and warped verdict on the true state of moral decadence and official graft in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan was flustered that the report, tagged “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012”, failed to acknowledge the yeoman’s efforts being made by his administration to corner the monster, inflict it with the gravest injury and finally cow it into submission. How come the compilers of the report, which was mostly made up of information supplied by foreign government officials, non-governmental and international organisations, ignored the sanity that has been injected into the processes of awarding contracts for fertilizer supply and the removal of the many corruptive cogs in the power sector? Jonathan asked. In all honesty, it would have been a refreshing breath of fresh air if the country’s main opposition parties had not feasted on the damning report, to enjoy some form of bragging right in the political space. And it would have also been irresponsible of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to remain silent in the face of the battering by an opposition which, in the words of the PDP, is as guilty as any other person in the mad race to empty the public treasury. But that is as far as illogic can be applied in tackling a deadly malaise that continues to impoverish the generality of the people. To this writer, it would have been more ennobling if the PDP had come out with facts and figures that would puncture a huge hole in the US report instead of its attempt to justify official federal sleaze and entrenched moral turpitude by pointing fingers at states being controlled by the opposition. How does this argument change the perception out there that the Nigerian nation is swarming with callous briefcase thieves? Besides, something tells me that the Jonathan government is merely being theatrical in its self- abnegating stance against the US report on the abysmal state of human rights abuses and corrosive corruption in Nigeria. No. It couldn’t have been that dumb not to see it coming after the US Government expressed serious reservations about what it termed a “setback for the fight against corruption” when Mr. Diepriye Alamieyeseigha was summarily granted state pardon after serving terms for financial misconduct as governor of Bayelsa State. In that diplomatic face-off, the US minced no words in telling us the likely aftershocks of the curious presidential pardon while the Department of State’s spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, warned about a setback in the “ability to play the strong role we’ve played in supporting rule of law and legal institution-building in Nigeria.” The government, it must be said, reserves the right to put any foreign government that unduly interferes in its private affairs to the task. In the same vein, we cannot expect foreign donors to continue releasing funds into a stagnating system that is eternally weak at

confronting the corruption monster. It is, therefore, not enough to spit fire or get petulantly abrasive over what the report described as “massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption (which) affected all levels of government and the security forces.” Nothing can be achieved if we allow the rage, the dirty politicking and the shameless blame game to blur our vision. If only our leaders can have some measure of reflection or introspection, they will find the evident fact that the government needs to take a second look at the full report and ask some salient questions regarding the timelines and issues raised. For example, is it true that the government has failed in its duty to effectively implement criminal penalties for official graft as stipulated in the Nigerian law? Is the report right in stating that our public officials “frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity and is there a “widespread perception (that) judges were easily bribed and litigants could not rely on the courts to render impartial judgements? Are our judicial officers so corrupt that they now take “bribes to expedite cases or obtain favourable rulings? Was the report dead on point in its chronicling of the shameful timelines of corrupt practices in the fuel subsidy saga? The Nigerian leadership should pause and ponder. How far have we gone in unravelling the real culprits in the $620,000 “sting” operation involving Mr. Farouk Lawan and oil magnate, Femi Otedola? Could it be true that the Lawan committee on the fuel subsidy scam unravelled the “misappropriation of nearly half the subsidy funds, with poor or non-existent oversight by government agencies” between 2009 and 2011? Did the government lose an estimated N1.067 trillion ($6.8bn) to “endemic corruption and entrenched inefficiency” in the oil sector? Are some government officials currently facing trial for stealing 32.8 billion naira ($210 million) Police Pension Fund? Did the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission file criminal charges against former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, for laundering close to five billion naira ($32 million) of funds belonging to the state? Was the report wrong in any matter particular that an anti-graft agency do have a glut of corruption cases against the former Minister of Works and Housing, Hassan Lawal, for 24 counts of fraudulently awarding contracts, money laundering, and embezzlement of 75 billion naira ($480 million); arrest of Mr. Dimeji Bankole, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Deputy Speaker Usman Nafada for the alleged misappropriation of one billion naira ($6.4 million) and 40 billion naira ($256 million) respectively; arrest of former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; former Oyo State Governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala; former Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma; and former Gombe State Governor, Muhammed Danjuma Goje? Did James Onanefe Ibori not walk out as a free man from our court until his eventual conviction in the Southwark Crown Court in London to charges of money laundering and other financial crimes totalling 12.4 billion naira ($79 million) he had committed during his eight years in office as Governor of Delta State? How easy is it to access information from government even with the existence of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)? How many

election draws nearer, the state chapter of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has begun shopping for who will replace the incumbent governor, Mr. Peter Obi. The group, in a statement yesterday in Awka, hailed the achievements of Governor Obi in the state, adding that it would not allow anybody who will not follow his footsteps to emerge as governor in the state. The statement by the CNPP was signed by its new chairman and the state chairman of Advance Congress of Democrats

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…lauds governor on development

(ACD), Oby Okafor. The Nollywood actress, therefore, warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to manipulate voter register ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in the state. She said that the absence of a fresh and comprehensive voter register for Anambra State will yet be another plot to manipulate the electoral process. Okafor, said that CNPP would screen the candidates

of each of the political parties, to know those who are qualified and capable of giving Anambra good leadership like Obi. “We in CNPP will not take it kindly to the use of the old voter register by INEC to conduct the 2013 governorship election in Anambra State to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2010,” she said. Okafor further said that the body was now working as a united family unlike before

Yomi Odunuga E-mail:yomi.odunuga @thenationonlineng.net SMS only: 07028006913 public officials get convicted for false declaration of assets by the toothless bulldog called the Code of Conduct Bureau? And has the President acceded to the request by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and other groups that he should disclose his assets from 2007 to 2012? Did he give a damn about what his refusal portends for the negative perception out there that we are a bunch of leeches who feed fat on the common wealth? To us, the picture painted above may not be that bad. After all, petty thieves still get maximum sentence at our courts. But, to others, our larceny is unequalled. Today, those who should be behind bars after surrendering their loot to the State are the ones making and implementing the laws for us. I dare say some of them are even interpreting the laws. It was so bad that a former Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Mustapha Akanbi, recently lamented at a forum in Ilorin that: “Many well-meaning and responsible Nigerians have been crying foul at the turn of events and the apparent cover-up of purveyors of corruption in recent times and the lethargic manner corruption cases are being handled. More often than not, mediocre, incompetent and corrupt officials, rather than resourceful, efficient and competent hands, find their way into positions of power and authority, which they use and manipulate to their own advantage and not to the benefit of society or the public good. “The result is that the nation begins to drift and slide dangerously down the slippery road of economic ruination. In the process, there is the general desecration of societal and normative values, low level performance in both socio-economic and technological developments and, ultimately, a putrefying decadence, the stench of which often puts off or prevents other nations with a record of transparency and probity from wanting to interact or do business with a corrupt nation.” If we find it difficult to swallow the bitter pill of putrefying corruption being thrown at us by the US government, can we, at least, sift the truth from Akanbi’s Lamentations? Or is Akanbi merely gloating because he missed the opportunity to desecrate the throne of justice and become ‘madly’ rich? Could he also have overblown the issue of corruption in our country out of proportion like Jonathan suggested of the US’ damning report? Let”s pause and ponder over these things!

Coal Corporation pensioners seek monetisation of quarters, payment of 54 months arrears

Anambra guber poll: CNPP shops S Anambra State for Obi's successor governorship

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•Governor Obi when all manners of people hijacked CNPP in Anambra, thereby ridiculing the association. “Obi has tried his best for the people of the state and therefore we want anybody who will take over from him to continue from where he will stop.”

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ENSIONERS of Nigerian Coal Corporation (NCC) occupying the corporation’s quarters in Enugu State have pleaded with the Presidency and the National Assembly to effect the monetisation of the quarters to them as it was done in other federal government parastatals. They also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to prevail on their mother ministry, the Ministry of Mines and Steel

Amaechi's aircraft grounded for two hours

OVERNOR Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State yesterday ran into a fresh storm with the federal authorities. The aircraft conveying the governor and his entourage was grounded for about two hours at the Akure Airport, Ondo State for allegedly violating aviation procedures for take-off. The development seems to have lent credence to a frosty relationship between the President and the governor even after he declared in Kano on Thursday that he was unaware of any rift between him and the President. The Ministry of Aviation said last night that the crew of Amaechi’s aircraft failed to produce the manifest of the passengers on board as required by the new safety measures it has put in place. The aircraft was originally

•Pilot did not produce manifest, says Aviation Ministry off, whether it is a private or •Tambuwal's intervention resolves impasse commercial aircraft. Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation scheduled to take off at 6 pm but was not cleared until 8 pm. A source familiar with the development said: “The governor and his aides were returning from the burial of the Ekiti State Deputy Governor , Mrs. Funmi Olayinka in AdoEkiti. “When we got to the airport at about 6 pm, we discovered that our plane was grounded. They said that NAMA (National Airspace Management Agency) said we did not get clearance before landing. “The crew explained to the governor that due process was complied with. We later got

in touch with the NAMA Chief Executive who was incoherent and could not be of help. “He said the agency had nothing to do with the grounding of the aircraft and that we should get in touch with other aviation agencies. “While the drama was going on, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, who was at the airport, decided to intervene. Tambuwal said his aircraft would not take-off until the governor’s plane was cleared. “After two hours, we were eventually cleared for take-off from the airport. We left at about 8 pm. “It is sad that political matters are degenerating to this

level.” The Special Adviser to the Minister of Aviation on Media, Mr. Joe Obi, who spoke with our correspondent last night, said: “The Rivers State aircraft was not grounded at the airport in Akure as being insinuated. What happened was not supposed to be an issue at all. “As part of new aviation regulations, any aircraft taking off is supposed to make its manifest available to the aviation authorities for the purpose of record keeping. “We have had incidents in the past where it was difficult to know the people on board a particular aircraft. The rule now is that you must present the manifest before you take

“So, in Akure, they demanded for the manifest of the aircraft carrying Governor Rotimi Amaechi, and in the typical Nigerian system or attitude, they started asking why they must make the manifest available. “At the time this thing happened, they had not even asked for start up. That is, they had not got in touch with the Control Tower for take- off. “When the manifest was produced, the aircraft was cleared accordingly. We could not have delayed or grounded the aircraft, having noticed that there is no heavy lighting at Akure Airport for night traffic. “We did not have issues. It was just normal operational procedure.”

Chris OJI, Enugu Development to clear the outstanding 54 months arrears of their pension. They complained that the ownership of the quarters was supposed to be transferred to them on the basis of monetisation, but that has yet to be implemented. The chairman of the NCC pensioners, Comrade Emmanuel Chima, who spoke in Enugu, told The Nation that parastatals under the ministry in other places like Aladja, Okaba and Ankpa, have all had their quarters monetised to the retirees occupying them. The NCC pensioners objected to the proposal of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and its consultant to auction the NCC quarters, Enugu in open market bargain. “At least, apart from monetising the quarters to us, the government can graciously concede the quarters to us as compensation having laboured and spent our youth in the service of our fatherland and having lived there for over 40 years,” suggested Chima. According to the pensioners’ chairman, “we are living in abject poverty because of the failure on the part of government to fulfill their promise of paying them their arrears of pensions. The next of kins of those who died as a result of hunger and want, after working in NCC, have been on our neck for nonpayment of their benefactors’ pensions.”


THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

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au e t a l P g n i d Feu groan s e i t i n u m com t h g i e w e h t r unde ies r a n e c r e m f o

t e y m ’ I : e g a i Marr nd e i r f y m d n to fi jamah

N tion Empress a s n e s d o o w –Nolly

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13 THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

‘POISON’ in the

Foo d B a s k e t •Why Benue tops HIV/AIDS sentinel surveys

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A particular patient was recently ripped off by a pastor who allegedly demanded for and collected N250,000 to pray for him. The same patient, who could barely afford decent meals, had to borrow to pay in order to be prayed for. A month or two later, he came back looking like a bag of bones. Before we could conduct a check, the virus had seriously ravaged him because he discontinued his treatment. After much probing, he confessed and said the pastor told him to stop taking drugs as God had already healed him


THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

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Our battles with people living

•Left and right: Two of the PLWHAs

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HE sea of heads, with women constituting a preponderance at the vast concourse of the AIDS Preventive Initiative of Nigeria (APIN) complex, Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Benue State, tells a glum story, a story of a state ambushed by a debilitating scourge. A conjectural estimate put the figure at well over 800 persons- men, women and children. On this day, April 9th, this gathering reportedly paled significantly against the previous days’ figure put at about 1,000 of People Living With HIV and AIDS (PLWHA), who daily throng the complex from Monday to Friday, for counselling and treatment. A cursory peek of the PLWHA hordes first conveyed a picture of a congregation of religious faithful waiting for their pastor’s homily. But the images became starker when this reporter eventually found himself swathed by people who were in no way out to receive a sermon on the kingdom of heaven, but on how to live normally with the pandemic of HIV/AIDS. This sight is not peculiar to the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, alone. In Otukpo, Ohimini, Okpoga and elsewhere, the spectacle mutually replicates itself, with women and children mostly, at the highest rung of the HIV/AIDS ladder. For long, the monster has been stalking the state like an incubus. Finally, it has laid a seeming terrorist siege, progressively for eight years running. Benue State is currently burdened not only by the high prevalence of the disease but more as the highest army of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. From the available statistics released in 2010 by the National HIV Sero-Prevalence Sentinel Survey, the state reportedly had 12.7 per cent prevalence rate, a figure considered far above the national average of 4.1 per cent. Additionally, Benue State is adjudged as having the highest urban and rural prevalence rate of 12.5 per cent and 13.3 per cent respectively, with prevalence as high as 21.3 per cent in Wannune, 18 per cent in Ihugh and 5.3 in Okpoga, Okpokwu Council Area, all of which are rural communities. During the period under review, Makurdi and Otukpo (both urban centres), posted 10.3 percent and 9.1 percent respectively. Investigations also show that the youth population stands imperiled by the HIV prevalence in the state, with the figure reported to have been consistently higher at 5.5 than its value or projection in 2008. Transmission dynamics, according to existing data, affect both key most-at-risk populations and a strong generalised constituent driven by behavioural patterns through high-risk sexual network of the general population. But prior to the 2010 sentinel survey, the 2005 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) report had put the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Benue State at 10 per cent, with Otukpo Council Area ranked as one of the highest with incidence rate at 7.2 per cent. Makurdi, the state capital, was 10.3 per cent and 4.4 at the national level respectively. The corollary of the survey showed, therefore, that there was a geometric increase of 2.7 per cent and 2.1 per cent within the five-year period from 2005 to 2010 for state and Otukpo local council respectively. According to a progress report by the Otukpo Local Government Area Local Action Committee on AIDS (LACA), a copy of which was made available to The Nation by the council’s Head of Department on Health and LACA Coordinator, Mrs. Rebecca Audu, showing the result of a sentinel survey in 2010 on pregnant women, 160 sites were sampled across the country, of which 86 were urban and 74 were rural sites. A total of 36,427 pregnant women were sampled across the country. Similarly, in Benue State, five sites, involving the three senatorial zones, were sampled during the period under review. The outcome of the study revealed the highest incidence rate of 12.7 per cent with infections mostly in the rural areas. The age groups most affected were between 15 and 35 years. In summary, the study showed that there was a 20 per cent increase of HIV prevalence from 2005 to 2010, with a dire consequence of about 40 per cent projected increase if nothing was done to abate the trend by 2012.

The men have posed the biggest challenge in combating the scourge. While their women counterparts are easily convinced to come forward for screening and testing, men have constituted our biggest obstacle. So they constitute a factor in the spread of the disease. As long as they are positive and refuse to come forward to be tested, diagnosed and managed, they will go on spreading the HIV virus

n Linus OBOGO, Assistant Editor n The survey further reveals that about 603,000 people are infected with HIV, while about 28, 948 pregnant women are infected yearly with HIV/AIDS, and about 10,421 children infected yearly through mother to child transmission (MTCT). Records from the Comprehensive Health Centre, Otukpo (Ward 2), showed that of the 178 ante-natal cases, three are positive and currently on drugs as at January 2013. Further check by The Nation at the Otukpo General Hospital revealed a worrying incidence of new cases in the last quarter of 2012 (October to December). For instance, in the month of October, 71 people were admitted, 22 of whom were males and 49 females. November records also indicated that out of the 75 new cases, 24 were males and 51 females. For the month of December, 2012, there were 43 new cases, 13 of whom were males and 30 females. ONVERSELY, in the first quarter of 2013 (January to March), The Nation investigation at the same Otukpo General Hospital shows that of the 88 new cases of people living with HIV in the month of January, 25 were males and 63 females. February records put the figure of new cases at 43 with 10 males and 33 females. While those of March were 73, with 26 males and 47 females. At the Pediatric Ward of the same hospital, new cases of children admitted in October 2012 were three, in the ratio of one female to three males. In November, the figure shows that eight new cases were recorded in a disparate ratio of five males to three females.

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In December, it was two males to zero female. Similarly, in the first quarter of 2013, January to March, eight children in an equal ratio of four males to four females were recorded. In February, out of six cases, one was male and five were females. It was two males to five females in the month of March. A survey of death rate in the last quarter of 2012 stood at one in January and one in February, all of whom were females, while three male deaths were recorded in the month of March. Figures at other centres –Makurdi, Okpoga and elsewhere – could not be immediately gleaned owing to unavailability of data and red tapism. According to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), 10 in every 100 persons are said to be living with HIV in Benus State, with ages ranging between 15

•Source: NACA

and 49. According to The Nation investigation, the conveyors of the epidemic in the state


THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

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the virus, by Benue with HIV/AIDS ,

It has also been discovered that even those on ARV have gone on to spread the virus through reckless sexual activity because their HIV status is known only to themselves. Here in Benue State, your sexual partner is likely to find it strange and will ask why you want to use a condom on him or her. He or she will demand to know why because they say sex without condom is more enjoyable. So, to avoid this embarrassing situation, an HIV person who does not want to reveal his status will go ahead and have unprotected sex with a non-HIV person. And the spread goes on and on

include high illiteracy, particularly in rural areas, high rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in vulnerable groups, poverty, general apathy to condom use and carefree attitude to perceived personal risks. Findings also revealed that average monthly new cases in the state are put at 200 per General Hospital, which brings the aggregate haul in the state to about 3,000 per month. Investigation by The Nation indicated that Nakar town has recently been discovered to have high prevalence of people living with HIV as records at the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, showed, prompting APIN and other implementing partners to contemplate the setting up of care centres in the area. At Logo in Gwue Council Area, it is the same running story as statistics at the FMC also revealed. The outlook cannot be any grimmer for a state famed as the ‘food basket’ of the nation. Not with its productive farming population insufferably being pillaged by the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. It just may gradually be turning the world of the state’s agro-industry on its head. Factors aiding prevalence ONSIDERED as one of the biggest headaches in the effort at containing the scourge, is the general apathy on the part of the men folk to submit themselves to testing. According to Isaac Agbe Azor, Data Manager with the AIDS Preventive Initiative of Nigeria (APIN), FMC, Makurdi, “The men have posed the biggest challenge in combating the scourge. While their women counterparts are easily convinced to come forward for screening and testing, men have constituted our

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biggest obstacle. So they constitute a factor in the spread of the disease. As long as they are positive and refuse to come forward to be tested, diagnosed and managed, they will go on spreading the HIV virus.” He also identified logistics in the rural areas as hindering awareness campaign. “The awareness campaign has not been so vigorous as a result of logistics. Even in some of these areas, the response level is always higher with the women than the men. “Another challenge is poverty. There are many who cannot afford to bring their wards for testing. If, for instance, a member of the family is found to be positive and we ask them to bring the rest of their wards for testing, it is usually difficult for an individual to transport herself or himself, much more transporting the entire family from a distance of say, 50 kilometres.” The emergence of gay clubs in the state has also been identified as working to undermine the efforts at containing the spread of the disease, with Makurdi and Otukpo as the epicenter of the new trend in homosexual activities. According to The Nation finding, membership of these gay clubs currently stands at over 400, a figure, it is feared, is likely to snowball as youths are said to be the prime target usually recruited from some of the state’s tertiary institutions. High rate of promiscuity, especially in rural areas with dense illiteracy rate, an APIN official noted, is another disturbing concern. “Sexual activities in such areas are often concentrated because people do not migrate. So the spread is also concentrated, leading to a crisis proportion. In these communities, there are cases of either deceased or infected victims of HIV/AIDS in

almost every household,” the official said. Indifference to use of condoms Ali Baba Emmanuel is the General Secretary of the State Coordinator of Benue People Living With HIV/AIDS (BenPlus), a network of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which coordinates the activities of People Living With HIV/AIDS across the state. He lamented the general apathy of the people of the state to the use of condoms. “Despite campaigns for behavioural change, people are yet to embrace the advocacy for the use of condoms. Poverty among the people has also accounted for the rapid spread of the disease, just as stigmatisation is a major hindrance to people submitting themselves to HIV screening.” LI Baba further hinted: “It has also been discovered that even those on ARV have gone on to spread the virus through reckless sexual activity because their HIV status is known only to themselves. Here in Benue State, your sexual partner is likely to find it strange and will ask why you want to use a condom on him or her. He or she will demand to know why because they say sex without condom is more enjoyable. So, to avoid this embarrassing situation, an HIV person who does not want to reveal his status will go ahead and have unprotected sex with a nonHIV person. And the spread goes on and on.” Dr. Ali George, an anti-retroviral therapist (ART), at Saint Mary’s Catholic Hospital, Okpoga in Okpokwu Local Government Area, offers an insight into how the scourge has assumed this pandemic proportion in Benue State, culminating in its top ranking in

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the country’s HIV/AIDS log. “From my experience and from the much I have gathered as an ART at Saint Mary’s Catholic Hospital, Okpoga, the ignorance of the people is one of the factors that have facilitated the high rate of HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state. ‘’Oftentimes, those who are infected by the HIV virus, rather than seek medical treatment or diagnosis, resort to other means than medical. Some blame their circumstance on witchcraft or spiritual attack. Their next line of action is to go to their pastors for prayers and deliverance. This belief is also common among the enlightened ones. “The emergence of ‘miracle pastors’ has also been found to be one of the factors for the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, not only in Benue State, but in Nigeria as a whole. Without mentioning names, we have had cases here in Okpoga where PLWHAs abandoned treatment and sought relief in churches. Many have taken off to Lagos to get ‘cure’ from a particular church in Lagos renowned for miraculous claims in such areas. It is a major challenge in the management and prevention of HIV/AIDS in the state. “A particular patient was recently ripped off by a pastor who allegedly demanded for and collected N250,000 to pray for him. The same patient, who could barely afford decent meals, had to borrow to pay in order to be prayed for. A month or two later, he came back looking like a bag of bones. Before we conduct a check, the virus had seriously ravaged him because he discontinued his treatment. After much probing, he confessed

Continued on Page 18


THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

16 guered Jos, the beleaapital, has c Plateau Statetive peace for enjoyed rela years. But the close to two ot be said of same cann parts of the many other larly remote state, particut are far from villages tha of security the reach ch villages agencies. Sucing serious have been farecent times. violence in INU IDEGU YUSUFU AM y the state is. h w s e in m a x e tal peace to e v ie h c a yet to NLIKE the previous years, Plateau State residents in December last year enjoyed a Yuletide devoid of bomb explosions and attacks by gunmen. But two weeks into the New Year, unknown gunmen decided to distort the peace of the state through series of attacks. In what looked like guerilla attacks, several communities in the state began to witness deadly attacks by people suspected to be armed Fulani. Indeed, some residents described the attackers as Fulani mercenaries from outside the country. A victim, who lost his two grown up sons in one night attack, said: “Those who attacked us are Fulani, but they look strange to us. They are not the usual Fulani we used to know. We can’t understand the way they speak. Some of us understand the Fulani language, but the type the attackers speak is beyond my understanding. They must have come from afar. They must have been hired for the attacks.” Between January and March this year, no fewer than 20 villages in the state have been attacked by suspected Fulani mercenaries. The villages include Fang, Ratas and Gashish in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area; Dompar, Kurmin Dashe, Fili Mavou, Dapna, Fenu, Mavo, Zango, Tofa and Tsamia in Wase Local Government Area; Mangor and Matol in Bokkos Local Government Area; and Dajak and Attakar in Riyom Local Government Area. The Nation investigation revealed that these communities have their internal conflicts and most of the conflicts border on land ownership. But rather than resolve the internal conflicts amicably, a party to the conflict would hire mercenaries to fight for them. The mercenaries carry out the attacks usually in the dead of the night. Most of the aforementioned villages have been attacked more than once in that manner. The number of casualties in the deadly attacks can only be imagined. As a matter of fact, four members of the security agencies have fallen victims to the mercenaries who brutally kill them in cross fire or ambush. “The mercenaries are quite sophiscated in their strategies and tactics, the way they shoot, the time they attack and their ability to manoeuvre. They are like trained rebels from neighboring countries,” remarked an injured mobile police officer who asked not to be named. Yet the most critical fallout of the attacks on these communities is the humanitarian problems they have created. Besides the high death toll, thousands of residents, including women, children and the aged, have been displaced from their homes. Primary and secondary schools in Wase, Langtang North and Langtang South local government areas, as well as police divisional headquarters of the affected local governments, are still hosting thousands of displaced persons. The Chairman Management Committee of Kanam Local Government, Alhaji Abubakar Dashe, said the council was hosting more than 4,000 displaced persons from Wase. Dashe disclosed this while receiving a team of security agencies who had visited the area to see the condition of the displaced persons. He also said that those that were injured in the violent attacks had been admitted at Dengi General Hospital. A young man named Andrew Kunka was allegedly abducted from his farm by some armed Fulani men in Wase. He was declared missing for three days by members of his family. A rescue team sent out to find him only found his lifeless body dumped behind Wase Rock. His body was discovered after four days of thorough search. His wife, Mary, and two daughters are now taking refuge at the residence of Hon. Timothy Golu, the member representing Kanke Constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly. The two children were seeing repeatedly asking their mother, ‘Where is Daddy?’

U

•Burnt houses in

•Defenceless women and children seeking refuge in Wase

Feuding Plateau communities groan under the weight of mercenaries ,

A young man named Andrew Kunka was allegedly abducted from his farm by some armed Fulani men in Wase. He was declared missing for three days by members of his family. A rescue team sent out to find him only found his lifeless body dumped behind Wase Rock. His body was discovered after four days of thorough search. His wife, Mary, and two daughters are now taking refuge at the residence of Hon. Timothy Golu, the member representing Kanke Constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly. The two children were seeing repeatedly asking their mother, ‘Where is Daddy?

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Recounting the losses incurred in the crises, the National Chairman of Tarok community in Wase Local Government Area, Mr. Jangul Lohbut, said no fewer than 53 villages had been sacked by the invaders. He also said that more than 74 houses had been razed while the prospect of famine looms large in the affected villages.

Lohbut confirmed the high level of destruction when the Commander of the Special Task Force, Gen. Henry Ayoola, the Commissioner of Police, Chris Olakpe, and the Commissioner for Information, Yiljap Abraham, visited for on-the-spot assessment. He said that more than 53 houses had been burnt and


THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

17

•Displaced from their homes, now sleep in primary school in Wase

n Mavo, Wase

•Displaced women and children in a primary school in Dengi, Kanam LGA

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possession of land, whereas some people feel they the occupants of the houses displaced since the hostility started in January. He added that the need political and administrative emancipation people of Zango village were taking refuge in which should come in form of creation of districts There is a factor of Fulani cow rustling. and chiefdoms,” Langtang North and South LGAs. People go out to rustle their cows. He further stressed: "Others feel that even the Addressing the displaced persons in Zango, Sometimes the cows are killed in hundreds Abraham condemned the attack, saying that land that they are claiming for the creation of the Governor Jonah Jang was saddened by the ugly chiefdom does not belong to them. This is very and thousands. That is essentially why volatile. The entire crises in the Middle East were development. He said necessary steps had been they have all these crises occurring and reon ownership of land. You know that where land taken by the Deputy Governor, Ignatius is involved, people can go to any length to protect Longjan, who is also the Chairman of the Board occurring on each side of the divides. So, of the State Emergency Management Agency and defend themselves. the only way we can solve this problem is "Another way of looking at it is the political (SEMA). Yiljap assured the displaced persons that government would in a very short time aspect of it. And if you create a chiefdom, it means to create a forum were people can express you have made an entity independent of the undertake an assessment of those displaced and their grievances and then confessions are provide them with items that would be of help leadership. The paramount rulers who are involved will go to any extent to protect it.” to them. made and compensations are paid. Various No fewer than 200 women and children were He said the disputed lands have large deposits administrative measures are also taken of critical and essential solid minerals such as alleged to have fled Wase Local Government Area after the community became a target of diamond and silver, adding that the owners of the land were the ones involved in these resources. gunmen who have made several attempts to That, he said, is one of the reasons that caused the invade the area. The women were seen carrying steps to settle disputes through mutual understanding problem. their belongings and fleeing to Dengi and Jarmai in and dialogue. He urged them to report the mass Kanam Local Government Area of the state. He noted, however, that the crisis was not limited to his movement of suspicious people who might not mean well senatorial zone. “The entire country is under the scourge Shafi'I Sambo, a youth leader in Wase town, explained for the people of both communities to enable government of nomadic Fulani who move with their cattle. As a result, that "over 200 women and children have fled the to take adequate steps towards protecting their lives and disputes arise as they trespass on cattle routes. It is an community so far. The women started leaving on Friday property. (last week) after the first attack. Some men in the area interesting interplay of various factors that cannot be Lar said: "I appeal to spirited individuals to assist us could not guarantee the safety of their families. solved at a time. It is a process." because in times of crises, the most badly affected victims The senator noted another factor he said had sustained Consequently, they hurriedly made arrangements for are usually women and children. Houses have been burnt the reprisal attacks. He said: "There is a factor of Fulani them to leave the town." with foodstuff also destroyed. They need relief materials. However, Sambo said the intervention of some cow rustling. People go out to rustle their cows. And I want to assure that government is doing everything community leaders on the issue had calmed the situation. Sometimes the cows are killed in hundreds and possible to ensure that lasting peace is restored. thousands. That is essentially why they have all these In his words: "Some community leaders have called on "The security agencies should be up and doing and the crises occurring and re-occurring on each side of the members of the community to leave their families in Wase traditional rulers should also help government. I am told because such movements may cause fear and tension divides. So, the only way we can solve this problem is to that mercenaries, who are recruited from outside Nigeria, among the people of other communities." create a forum were people can express their grievances are involved in these crises. They should report any and then confessions are made and compensations are Senator Victor Lar, representing Plateau South suspicious movement of many strangers into the paid. Various administrative measures are also taken. This Senatorial District in the National Assembly, appealed to communities so that government can take proactive members of his communities to sheathe their swords and is not something that can be achieved in one day. measures," he said. embrace dialogue for lasting peace to reign in the area. "I suggested that I would embark on a tour of the Speaking on the causes of the violence, Lar said: "It is affected areas but the security agencies on ground said He decried the spate of reprisal attacks that has claimed difficult to compartmentalise the crisis and put it in a innocent lives in Wase and Langtang South local they could not guarantee my security. We will have to straight jacket format. It is not a crisis between the Tarok government areas, saying that continued attacks would allow high tempers to go down and then adopt a peaceful and Fulani. There is an interesting interplay of related and hamper the development of the area. He admonished way of settlement. But I am appealing to both sides to see traditional rulers and community leaders to take proactive correlated issues. I am aware of the struggle for the reason why the violence should stop."

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THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

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‘At a point, I concluded that it was better to take my life’ Continued from Page 15

A

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and said the pastor told him to stop taking drugs as God had already healed him. ‘’But the sad and unfortunate thing is that the virus will begin to multiply and ravage them progressively.’’ Pregnant women not going for ante-natal In many parts of the state, many pregnant women do not register for ante-natal. And when it is time to put to bed, they go to traditional birth attendants. There is also the existence of substandard maternity clinics operated by quack nurses. Pregnant women usually prefer these quack clinics because they feel they are cheaper. In these clinics, both mother and her new born child are not given quality services usually extended to pregnant women. It is very common to find mothers infecting their new born babies with the HIV virus. Disappearance of Support Group •Entrance to Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi CCORDING to Mrs. Roseline Agbo, Health Line Coordinator, Otukpo Comprehensive Health Centre, “The disappearance of the Support Group has also been hampering the management and control of the spread of HIV/AIDS in the state. The Support Group deals with the welfare of PLWHAs, counselling, social wellbeing, break up of stigma which hitherto made it impossible for victims to interact socially. Paucity of funding has led to the disappearance of the Support Group. Funding used to come from both the government and donor agencies. Through the Support Group, PLWHAs are counselled to socialise sexually within the same ‘positive’ group. On a few occasions, marriages had been contracted for some members of the Support Group. The idea is to ensure that they do not seek sexual remedy outside the fold.” Benue government speaks When The Nation sought the comment of the Executive Secretary of the Benue State AIDS Control Agency, Mrs Grace Wendy, on the high prevalence of the HIV/AIDS in the state, she declined, claiming that she had earlier been misrepresented in the media on the issue. But the Media Officer at the state Ministry of Information, Mr. Pius Torkuma, •Governor Suswam... attributed the inexorable prevalence and greatly concerned spread to stigmatisation, “which has prevented people from coming forward for testing, with the attendant consequence of relevant agencies and international partners further spread by those unwittingly living to ensure that the scourge of HIV/AIDS in with the virus.’’ According to him, there is the state was effectively checked. currently an Anti-Stigmatisation Bill before The governor urged the people of the state the state House of Assembly. to put aside their socio-political differences Similarly, the State Government had, and join forces against the virus in the state, through the former Commissioner for adding: “We must put aside our socioHealth and Social Services, Dr. Oduen political differences and stand up against the Abunku, expressed concern over the virus, so that our people will be able to lead worrisome development when he disclosed a normal life.’’ that over 600,000 persons are currently As it stands presently, the state faces a stiff living with the dreaded HIV/AIDS in the struggle. A struggle between sustaining its state. famed status as the ‘food basket’ of the Speaking at the joint Memorandum of nation by winning the battle against Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony HIV/AIDS scourge or losing the battle and between the Benue State Government, the its acclaimed image as the nation’s ‘food NKST Health Services and the Nigeria basket’. In truth, Benue is a state under Indigenous Capacity Building Project, siege. Abunku lamented that skyrocketing figures An encounter with some of the PLWHAs had left the state on the top of chart of From Makurdi, Otukpo, Ogobia to available statistics of the most endemic Okpoga, the story of how they came to be states in the federation. associated with the disease is virtually the The commissioner regretted that same: infidelity and other factors as well as HIV/AIDS infestation in the state was the attendant consequences. Except for destroying and eroding the state’s capacity Gertrude (real name withheld) who is single in the food and agriculture. “In Nigeria, but whose HIV positive status was as a Benue State has for many years topped the result of reported blood transfusion, many chart of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS with others had so much to do with untamed over 600,000 persons living with the virus in libido, sexual recklessness and betrayal. the state. For Gertrude, “It was in 2006, while I was “The virus is destroying our farms, a student of College of Education, Katsinaschools and churches and that is why we Ala, Benue State, that I noticed I was having will continue to partner organisations who frequent fever. My uncle’s wife with whom I are providing services to the infected and was staying had to take me to the university affected in the state.” clinic where I was treated for fever and Governor Gabriel Suswam, who was malaria. When it was discovered that the represented on the occasion by the Secretary fever was a frequent occurrence, our family to the State Government (SSG), Dr. David advised me to do HIV test. Lo and behold, Salifu, had reaffirmed that his the outcome was positive. That was June, administration would continue to partner 2006.

Another challenge is poverty. There are many who cannot afford to bring their wards for testing. If, for instance, a member of the family is found to be positive and we ask them to bring the rest of their wards for testing, it is usually difficult for an individual to transport herself or himself, much more transporting the entire family from a distance of say, 50 kilometres

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‘’Since then, I have been on ARV. Before I started taking the drugs, I discovered that I was emaciating and losing weight. But the drugs have been working for me. I noticed that I have gained so much weight and I am feeling much healthier.’’ Jonathan (surname withheld) is a staff with APIN. For 17 years, he has been living with the virus. Jonathan, whose wife is also HIV positive, said: “I have been living with the disease for the past 17 years. I got to know I was HIV positive when I went for a test to know my status. That was then I discovered that I was positive. ‘’I might have contracted the virus from my first wife who is now late. I remember that before we went our separate ways, she was always falling sick and losing pregnancies. So there was pressure from my people to put her away and marry another woman. So, I did. But it was later I got to know that she died of AIDS. ‘’Despite testing positive, I did not seek treatment until four years later. I have four children, but none of them has tested positive. I have been doing regular HIV tests for them.’’ Thessy (surname withheld) is a primary school teacher with one of the state’s primary schools. She has been on ARV for the past 10 years. She got married at the age of 16 years and had her first child at the age of 18. A mother of four, Thessy’s first child is a 25-year-old medical student. Her story is not only heart-tugging, but depressing and tears-conjuring. At 44 and widowed, life can only be said to be abrasive, dreadful and unkind to her. At the onset of her travail as a person living with HIV/AIDS in 2002, she said she had

journeyed to the land of the dead only to be chased back to continue her now gloomy life among the living. She lost her husband to the dreaded AIDS scourge in 1997 and thereafter, life took a battering for her and her four HIV-negative children. But she was not so lucky as her late husband had bequeathed her the HIV virus. Reliving what has now become her life’s downward trajectory since her husband’s death, Thessy said: “My condition became very critical when my husband died. There was no remedy as there were no free drugs then when I tested positive. ‘’Earning below N10,000 monthly income as a primary school teacher, it was not easy accessing the drugs, hence, I had to be borrowing to stay alive and look after my four children. I am alive today by the special grace of God. When my husband died, I did not know what was responsible for his death. It was not until a doctor friend confided in me that he died of AIDS. ‘’It was the same doctor who advised me to do HIV test. The test was N10,000 then. I did not have the money but the doctor advised me to borrow the money anywhere I could to do the test. I resigned myself to death, because I was already a dying woman. Where would I get N10,000 to pay back as a primary school teacher? So I was waiting for death to come. ‘’Fortunately, some health personnel were available to carry out tests. So, the cost was later slashed to N7,000, but it was still difficult to raise the money. Eventually, I did. Nobody thought I could still be alive as my case had neared a terminal stage. Even the doctors had given up on me.’’ Thessy’s first son is a 300-level medical student. She has been slumming life to see him through medical school. But life itself has been a sticky patch for the family, leaving her in a lurch as to how her son will graduate as a doctor. Destitute of a breadwinner, Thessy has been buffeted on all fronts: inability to feed her four children, sustaining her son in the medical school and sundry deprivations in her home. She bemoaned her helplessness to The Nation in Otukpo amid sobs: “In Benue State, primary school teachers are not part of the minimum wage. In order to continue to support my children, I took up a part time job with the Catholic Archdiocese of Otukpo which was also involved in HIV/AIDS programme, earning a stipend. But since their project stopped in 2010, I depend solely on the irregular income from the government. I have continued to borrow to see my son through the medical school and taking care of his siblings. Today, I owe N300,000.’’ For Okpanachi (surname withheld), his plight was self-inflicted. It is the comeuppance for his unbridled libido. With bloodshot and sunken eyes, burrowed deep into their sockets and a long woozy neck completely receding into his collar bones, Okpanachi cuts the image of a man whose life hangs in the balance. Pithily, he relived his stigmatisation ordeal: ‘’Even my own biological brother who was serving in the military and with whom I used to share food, started keeping me at a distance. This discrimination became unbearable for me. I felt that the only thing left for me was suicide.” A once-upon-a-Sunday school teacher with the Assemblies of God Church, Otukpo, Okpanachi would soon discover that the stigma he experienced at the hands of his own brother was also waiting for him in the house of God where he conflated with the brethren and taught the scriptural tenets of love, compassion and meekness. A father of eight, Okpanachi told this reporter at Otukpo Comprehensive Health Centre, where this dialogue took place, that he married his wife as a virgin and vouched for her fidelity, but admitted amid penitence that he brought the faggot to his home as a result of his philandering. His wife, now separated, and their last child, 7, are plagued by the scourge. His other seven children, he said, are, however, all negative.


19

THE NATION SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013 A scene of the disaster

I forcefully hit something on the window at the side of the bus where I sat and jumped out. That also was where the second survivor followed. The rage of the fire was too much, and you can see the result

Another lucky survivor of Edo tanker fire recalls miraculous escape:

I smashed the bus' window and jumped out Dr.Igoni Igoni Dr.

Chinenye on his hospital bed

Scores of families were sent into mourning on April 5 when a fuel tanker collided with a luxury bus on the Benin-Ore Expressway and no fewer than 60 people were burnt to death. Mr. Chinenye Ozoekwe, an indigene of Anambra State and one of the two survivors of the tragic incident, recalls his lucky escape in a chat with ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU. Excerpts:

“M

Y name is Chinenye Ozoekwe. I am from Amudo Awka in Anambra State. I was coming back from Lagos. On getting to Ugboji Junction in Benin, Edo State, a tanker that was coming behind us collided with the Young Shall Grow luxury bus we boarded from Lagos and it went up in flames.

the tragedy. But God's grace was sufficient and the risk I took turned out to be my saving grace in the accident. I forcefully hit something on the window at the side of the bus where I sat and jumped out. That also was where the second survivor followed. The rage of the fire was too much, and you can see the result. “My brothers and sisters who were on the trip are no more, but I am Saving grace alive to tell the story. It is enough “Out of the over 100 passengers on reason to thank God Almighty even board, only two of us survived. as I pray for God's enabling grace Some people don't even believe that for the families who lost their love any of the people in the bus survived

Mrs Obiageli

ones to have the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

Mission to Lagos “I had gone to look for job in Lagos. My parents are no more and I am a commercial motorcycle rider here in Awka. I went to look for job because I am tired of riding okada (commercial motorcycle), coupled with the rumour that Anambra State wants to ban it. On getting to one Construction Company in Lagos, they asked me

to bring my credentials, but my WAEC certificate is here in Awka and that was what I was coming back to take to Lagos before the incident occurred. “I don't know the identity of the other survivor, but it seems he is from Enugu State. My late mother's elder sister, Mrs. Obiageli and I thank God for the grace He gave me to take the step that made me to survive to tell the story. A dead man tells no tale. Any assistance given to me would be highly appreciated because my condition is not laughable. “ Ozoekwe's aunt, Mrs Obiageli Enekwechi, also recalled the steps that were taken to bring him from Benin to Anambra State for treatment. She said: “I was the one that went to Benin to bring him back after settling the bills. We had all told him that we didn't like the okada job he was doing and that he should look for a better job. That was why he went to Lagos to look for a job. “When the accident happened on that Friday, we didn't know. But he had a girl's number off hand and through the girl, we were contacted. I called the doctor and he told us to come to Benin; that he survived but was unconscious. “That was how we brought him back to the Anambra State University Teaching Hospital, Awka, known before now as Amaku General Hospital, Awka. Since then, we have been spending money to buy drugs. Any day we don't buy drugs because of money, he will not be attended to. And now I don't have money to spend and they have not even given us the bill for the bed. So, we need assistance from public spirited individuals to save his life.”Enekwechi said she had returned from Zamfara State because of the Boko Haram insurgency. “We came back in December 2012 and up till now, I have not engaged in anything meaningful before this incident occurred, and I have spent the little money I came back with. So, we need government's assistance in this matter. I am appealing to Governor Peter Obi and all the good people of Anambra State to come to our aid now that it matters most.”


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THE NATION SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

‘‘

‘ Ebele BONIFACE

The suspects


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

The car recovered from the suspects

Ukamaka

The other suspects

Nwanosike ONU, Awka.


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Inside The

Glass House WITH AMINU MAIGARI

By

Harry Iwuala


SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

Before I met my husband, I had vowed not to marry a man with tribal marks -Wife of Kwara monarch Olofa of Offa Misturat Gbadamosi Olori Misturat Sobaloju Gbadamosi, wife of the traditional ruler of Offa, Kwara State, recently marked her 40th birthday. On the occasion , she spoke with OKORIE UGURU about her experiences, the challenges that come with being the wife of a monarch and the secrets that have sustained her marriage with the Olofa. Excerpts:

Continued on Page 44


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THE NATION SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

With KAYODE ALFRED

E-mail:kayflex2@yahoo.com

Folake Thomas returns to base

TEL:08035733605


THE NATION SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

TEL:08035733605

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Remi AdikwuBakare resurfaces

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hile the wife of the Deputy Senate President, Lady Nwanneka Ekweremadu, may not be your regular reveller, it would be safe to say that her not-so-frequent appearance at parties thrown by her rank has rubbed off positively on her personality. She is one woman who has a lot of things going for her in addition to her alluring looks. Splendid manner and decent choice apparel are traits that stand her out wherever she

goes. The amiable mother of four, two girls and two boys, exudes a kind of beauty that is more than skin deep. The former teacher at Federal Government College, Enugu, now works in the Office of the Accountant-General of Federation, Abuja. Her love for the downtrodden is so much that she visits them regularly. She has done a lot to alleviate the suffering of those she has come

The return of Toyin Alakiu


Adedayo LAWAL


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Olori Misturat Continued from Page 39

THE NATION SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013


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THE NATION SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

Olori Misturat with Olofa

Olori Misturat


THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

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I feel bad whenever my stepchild comes visiting

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HILE courting my wife she confessed by mistake she had a baby, I didn’t care then but now I feel different. I am finding it difficult to cope with the thought especially whenever the child comes visiting. I wish I had not gone into it, though our marriage is blessed with two children. - Disturbed Abbey Dear Abbey, I understand how you feel but it’s an unwholesome feeling, I must tell you. Yes, you may feel bad that your wife has a child who is older than your own children and who may even be old enough to pass as your wife’s brother or sister. It may make you feel that your wife is old. Another emotion you may also be passing through is the fact that your wife would certainly be having private time with this child because as you’re feeling the way you are feeling right now, she may not want to get you involved in the child’s life, which would make you feel worse because you may be jealous of the time they spend together laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Wake up my dear brother, there’s nothing you can do about it if she’s a good mother. A mother will love all her children irrespective of how many fathers she got them for. If you like what I do, then you must know that I became what I am today partly because of the love my late stepfather, Mr. Jimi Allen gave me from a child of three years old till I became a young woman. My love for spirituality, for people, for music, for beauty and for service to mankind all came from his practical teachings. Be a good stepdad to your additional child and learn to love him or her. No matter how you look at it, he/she is a part of you. If he/she does not get real love and goes into crime or other bad things, your children are going to be stained because that is their blood brother or sister who is involved. For the sake of God and those children who share the same blood with this person you feel uncomfortable about, accommodate him/ her and borrow something from the tips below. •Be patient when waiting for your new stepchild to respond to your caring, affection, and love. Often, the child is deeply wounded by circumstances involving their biological father and the breakdown of their primary, original family unit. For many, building a new relationship is threatening to them. Time is the best healer but so is keeping actively positive and supporting yourself whenever you’re around the child. •Spend time with the stepchild in his or her activities. Helping with schoolwork, projects, and attending sporting events or clubs like scouting they’re involved with will show them you’re willing to support their efforts. The more involved you are, the sooner the child will accept you in your role of alternative dad and be grateful that you’re a part of his or her life too. •Balance the time and gifts you give your own children with the stepchild. Both your own children and your stepchild are a part of your family now. Avoid playing favourites under any circumstances; each child is to be treated as equal, and no child deserves to be treated as an outcast. Keep a watchful eye on how your stepchild interacts with your own children, if you have any. Jealousy is toxic to any relationship. If this appears to be occurring, try to head it off immediately. To maintain a happy family atmosphere, step-sibling anger must be dealt with fairly and prudently. Never treat your stepchild like he or she is not worthy of your time or affection just because he or she is not your biological child. Never make your step child feel like you don’t care or like them, or that they are in the way of your relationship with their mother. •Invite the stepchild to participate in your own activities. If you fish, golf, or do other hobby activities, where it is appropriate, take your stepchild along. Not only does this give the child a chance to see what you enjoy, but it gives his or her mother a break. On the other hand, never force the child to do what you’ve asked––if he or she shows a disinclination toward fishing or rewiring the house, don’t force it. Given time and your enthusiasm, the child might come around to trying it. But if he or she is never interested, then that’s just a reflection of his or her interests, not

What foods and fruits are good for virility? Y

ou’re a great social and health counselor. Please what class of food and fruits keep a man potent and virile? - Tex Nwaeze. Dear Tex, there are many kinds of fruits and foods that can help make your wife love you more in the bedroom. I live in Abuja where you can easily get most of these foods from any of the farmers’ markets in town at very affordable prices. Before I list the names of these foods and fruits, it is important to know that living in a crowded city like Lagos coupled with having a hectic lifestyle can reduce libido if you don’t watch it. So apart from giving you the list of these foods and fruits, I will give you tips of lowering stress level to enable you have a wonderful sex life. Ginger:For me personally, ginger does magic for both men and women and I love the feeling it gives. Like chilies, ginger is a food that can supposedly kick your libido into action. Its spicy properties can, according to research, increase blood flow and help with testosterone production. Evidence: In Nigeria, Dr. Yinusa Raji of the University of Ibadan fed rats ginger extract for eight days. At the end of the experiment, he found that their testosterone levels had increased. And, to top it off, their testes had gained weight. The study hasn’t been duplicated for verification, but it’s a surprising find nonetheless. Almonds: Almonds, and nuts in general, are good for your member and your virility. These foods contain arginine, an amino acid that is a key part of the erection process. In fact, arginine has been called nature’s Viagra. I take the supplement daily and I can tell you that arginine is one of the best things nature has ever produced. You not only have an active sex life, you glow too. Just check out my skin! Evidence: Studies at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Department of Surgery in Torrance, California, found that arginine increased the frequency and duration of erections in rats. It’s not quite the same thing as testing the amino acid on humans, but it’s worth further study. And eating almonds and other nuts can help lower your cholesterol levels to boot. Walnuts may provide a real, all-natural alternative to Viagra. The Romans and French have used them as aphrodisiacs for centuries. Like almonds, they contain arginine, but in higher quantities. Hard evidence: A team of researchers at the University of Malaya in Malaysia recently decided to test the ancient love potion. They squeezed about 3.3 kilograms of walnuts to produce a superpotent extract. The result is a pill that can keep you rock solid for up to four hours. It has been approved in Malaysia and the researchers hope to get broader approval in the future. In the meantime, you might want to chow down on some walnuts. But use them in moderation, as they’re high in calories and could lead to love handles — they’re a fast snack, but not the healthiest. Chilies: Spicy chilies can also add some zing to your sex life. The “hot” ingredient, capsaicin, increases your heart rate, dilates blood vessels and releases endorphins, which is definitely a plus when you’re feeling passionate. Hard evidence: A team of Hungarian researchers at the Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Medical University measured vascular dilation and permeability in rats that had a healthy dose of capsaicin. No surprises, hot chilies triggered increased blood flow and dilated blood vessels. Does this mean you should rub chili paste on your lil’ john? No, definitely not. Still, eating chili peppers, or food that contains them, can raise your heart rate, increase blood flow and release endorphins. Celery: If you smell nice, you’ll have better luck with the ladies. But you’ll need more than Old Spice to really get them going. Celery contains the hormone androsterone, which is released through male perspiration. It’s odorless, but it signals “maleness” and virility as a pheromone and could, therefore, land you a date. Eat a bunch of celery and you’ll be pumping out androsterone in no time. a reflection on you. Pushing the child to do things he or she hates just to try and prove you’re buddies will backfire. Instead, keep looking for common ground until you do find an activity the child would like to share with you.

From left: Secretary of Lagos PDP Women Vanguard, Mrs Paulina Akinshe; President, Mrs Abiola Folami Ada and Dr. Olayinka Eniafe-Olatunji, running mate to the PDP governorship candidate in the 2011 elections in Lagos, at a ceremony where certificates were presented to participants of a vocational training programme the Lagos PDP Women Vanguard held for Lagos women last Thursday.

Spend time with your stepchild and teach him or her ways to become a responsible adult. Show the child you’re willing to help out in housework. It is important for children to understand that keeping a household is a family job, a shared household responsibility, and not just the mother’s. Don’t be old-fashioned, even if the child’s real father is. •Communicate clearly and calmly. Let your stepchild know that you are available to talk whenever needed and be a good listener when your stepchild does come to you for a chat. Be open-minded and accepting of difference, as the child has had different experiences before you came along. Make your own preferences known without being harsh or intimidating––always explain your actions and preferences with sound reasons. Never let the only interaction you have with your stepchild that day be yelling and screaming. You should always try to focus on the positive things they do and not always the things they are doing wrong. Keep your negative opinions of the child’s biological father to yourself. Unless you’re asked directly, don’t bring up your opinions of him in front of the children or anyone else. If you are asked directly, be circumspect and tactful, as there is often a risk of an emotional overflow. Each parent’s parenting style is different and unless the father is not taking part in parenting at all or is abusive in any way, you don’t need to pass judgment. Never argue with the child’s mother in front of the child. Be especially careful about making derogatory remarks about her where the child may hear. The child will be highly alert to any disharmony, mostly due to a sense of protectiveness toward the mother and holding a strong hope that this new relationship will result in creating a happy family arrangement. •Respect the child’s private space. Any child, from preteen through their teen years deserve a reasonable amount of privacy and private space, and unless there is serious concern about the child’s behavior or activity, the more space they are given, the more trusted they will feel. •Raise the child in alignment with the child’s mother’s wishes, not contrary to them. This means having open lines of communication with the mother about her expectations and intentions for raising your stepchild, and having clarity on the direction both of you will take. As much as possible, defer to her preferences unless they are dangerous or threaten to destabilize the family or relationship the two of you have. Respect the child’s mother’s disciplinary and homework regimens. Even if you think they may be out of line, don’t raise this in front of the child or make passing remarks that undermine her. Instead, talk to her privately about your concerns and try to reach a compromise that benefits the child. Discuss decisions which affect your stepchild directly or indirectly with his or her mother. Don’t sign the child up for a summer at a military academy or sports camp without talking it over with her. Don’t buy the child firearms, fireworks or even seemingly harmless ones like paintball guns or BB guns without her knowledge and consent. Never take the child out on an ATV, snowmobile, micro-light or other potentially dangerous recreational vehicle without her express permission. Talk about computer games, video games, and other cultural influences with the child’s mother. Social pressure will often press on mom to let the child do it, whatever “it” is, because everyone else is doing “it”.

•Chief Missioner NASFAT, Alhaji Abdullahi Akinbode (middle), Missioner NASFAT Ijoko, Ustaz Ibrahim Akala (4h from right) with graduands at first Quranic graduation ceremony of NASFAT, Ijoko, Ogun State.


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THE NATION SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

Sen. Ndoma-Egba


THE NATION SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

Sen. Ndoma-Egba

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THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

L-R: Oba Nurudeen Olatunji Yusuf, Otunba Gani Adams, a guest and Mrs Adele Ekundayo at the event

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HE Onigbongbo, Maryland area of Lagos reverberated with the pulsating drumming, singing and dancing. It was the time for the celebration of Odun Aje, the seventh of the 17 festivals sponsored annually by the Otunba Gani Adams-led O’odua People’s Congress (OPC). According to the Yoruba tradition, the best day to go out in search of wealth is the first day of the working

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Early this week, the Olokun Festival Foundation held the seventh festival in its festival calendar, the Odunaje Festival, at the Onigbongbo area of Lagos. It was an opportunity to showcase an aspect of the Yoruba tradition and emphasise the need for hard work to create wealth, especially through agriculture week. It was not by accident, therefore, that the organizers of the Odun Aje decided to stage the festival on a Monday. Within the last couple of years, one of the things the OPC, through the Olokun

Foundation, has succeeded in digging deep into is the culture of Yoruba and trying to build on this and bring it to the consciousness of not just the Yoruba people, but the world at large.

The air of festivity enveloped the whole area as both traditionalists and residents gathered for the festival in celebration of the efforts to acquire wealth that is built on hard work and observance of the societal ethos.

It kicked off with music and merriment. Right from the palace of the traditional ruler of the town, Oba Nurudeen Olatunji Yussuf, there were some traditional drummers bedecked in native attire steadily beating about three

huge drums, about three feet tall. A little farther , a musical band was also dishing out popular Yoruba tunes to the delight of guests and indigenes who danced to the music. The high point of the event was the wealth dance done to show affluence and attract greater blessings. The chief promoter of the festival, Otunba Gani Adams, talked about the need to continue to uphold the essence of the Yoruba culture and the significance of the festival. He said: “This festival has been helping us to revive our cultural philosophy about wealth. It emphasizes the importance of Monday, the Yoruba’s designated day for commercial engagements. Yoruba people value Monday because it signifies the beginning of weekly commercial activities and people do not offer any product without any payment on Monday. That is our philosophy, we must uphold it. “In upholding this indigenous concept, we can inculcate sanity and morality in ourselves. I will, therefore, centre my discussion with you today on a Yoruba ideology: ‘inu igbe laje wa’, which literally means that wealth often hides in the forest. “I just say that this event is planned to create moral habits in the society. A moral society will produce decent individuals, if it adopts the good values of its culture. Culture can foster a desire to acquire decent wealth. We cannot toy with this important aspect of life. Though we often

Tourism News

HE development of tourism in the Middle East is the prime example of how tourism and aviation can act together as drivers of growth. With the region as a background, ministers of tourism and aviation leaders will gather at the UNWTO/ ATM Ministerial Forum to set a common agenda for air transport and tourism that allows the industry to fully seize the opportunities of future tourism growth on May 7 during the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The extraordinary growth of international tourism over the six last decades – from 25 million tourists in 1950 to one billion in 2012 – is as much due to advances in air transport as to the rise of the middle class, the growing wealth in industrialized and emerging countries and the forces of globalization. Nonetheless, and in spite of

UNWTO/ATM ministers’ meeting holds in Dubai

•Emirates Airline stand at a past ATM the immense linkages beThe UNWTO/ATM tween aviation and tourism, Ministerial Forum on “Tourseparate sectorial policies ism and Aviation: Building a result in a fundamental, and Common Agenda for too often even conflicting, Growth” held under the disconnect which constitutes patronage of H.H. Sheikh a severe constraint on the Mohammed bin Rashid Al development of both sectors. Maktoum, UAE Vice Presi-

dent, Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Arabian Travel Market, will bring together ministers of tourism and leaders from the aviation

industry to discuss how aviation and tourism policies can come closer to set a common agenda for connectivity, economic growth and sustainable development. Speakers include H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, H.E. Mrs. Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee on International EXPO Dubai 2020, H.E. Mr. Hisham Zaazou, Minister of Tourism of Egypt, H.E. Mr. Alain SaintAnge, Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Seychelles, H.E. Mr. Jamel Garma, Minister of Tourism of Tunisia and H.E. Mr. Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority. The role of air transport is central to the future development of tourism and its contri-

bution to the economy. UNWTO forecasts international tourists to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, 52% of which will arrive to the visited destinations by air and issues such as taxation, regulation, visa facilitation or climate change require a strong aviation and tourism agenda. With the Middle East as a backdrop, the UNWTO/ ATM Ministerial Forum will focus on how to remove current obstacles to the growth of aviation and tourism, how to align transport and tourism policies and how to promote connectivity between the Middle East and other world regions. The conclusions of the meeting will serve as a basis for a broader global debate on aviation and tourism during the World Travel Market UNWTO Ministers Summit in London in November 2013.


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

Tsogo Sun invests US$100m in hotels in Nigeria, Mozambique SOGO Sun Group has an

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•A traditional drummer during the Odun Aje festival

use all of our festivals to rediscover our cultural values and heritage, we also use them to uphold our social development because the cultures of the world are extremely dynamic, and we must pass our own through the spectrum as others do. “Inu igbe laje calls our at-

tention, therefore, to the neglected source of prudent and decent wealth in Nigeria. I am talking about agriculture. Without citing any figure, most Nigerians know the importance of agriculture to our economy and survival. “Agriculture is a viable

•Some of the crowd at the event

Israeli ambassador promises improved patnership with Nigeria

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HE new Israeli ambassa dor to Nigeria, His Excel lency Uriel Palti, has promised improved collaboration with the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) for more robust Christian pilgrimage exercise. He disclosed this recently during his first official visit to the NCPC corporate headquarters in Abuja. The ambassador said: “I will do everything that I can to ease pilgrimage and let more and more pilgrims come to Israel”. He further said: “I will work hand in hand with NCPC in order to make pilgrimage easy”. Palti also said: The Israeli government is favourably disposed to ensuring that the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with Nigeria is signed soon”. He thanked the Executive Secretary of NCPC, Mr. John

Kennedy Opara, for the great friendship he showed to him, his family and Israel. He said it was important to treat your friends as you would treat yourself. According to him: “This is the essence of the Bible and this is the way I feel about the Executive Secretary”. Earlier, Mr Opara described the ambassador as a “seasoned diplomat and a man of unique character”. He told the ambassador that NCPC is the only Christian agency that is linked to the government. He, therefore, called on the ambassador to ensure that the Israeli government always deals directly with the commission which was set up by an Act of the National Assembly to coordinate all Christian pilgrimage activities to Israel.

means of engaging young people and able-bodied, and it is an alternative means of revenue generation for government. At least, about 10 million young people can get employment in agriculture, if it could be repositioned . We witnessed and benefitted from developmental legaqices that Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his lieutenants used the revenues from agriculture to create in the South West. No matter how rich any one may be, he or she cannot assemble money in a plate and eat. Farmers feed the rich and the poor; they support the economy of the nation. “ Also, one of the guests, Mrs. Ekundayo Adele, a Brazilian Ifa worshipper, commended the efforts the organizers of the festival put in in promoting the culture of the Yoruba people. To her, a people that cannot uphold the essence of the culture and tradition faces cultural extinction.

nounced that its plans to invest US$100 million (R900 million) in two projects in Nigeria and Mozambique . This is in line with the group’s growth strategy. The project in Nigeria involves the acquisition of an approximate 75 per cent stake in Ikoyi Hotels Limited, the holding company of the Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel in Lagos . This hotel has been managed by the group for the original developers since opening in 2009. The group’s expected investment, including loan funding, is approximately US$70 million (R630 million). The acquisition is subject to several conditions precedent, including regulatory approvals. Shareholders will be notified once these have been fulfilled and the acquisition becomes effective. The acquisition is not a categorized transaction in terms of the listings requirements of the JSE Limited. The Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel has 195 guest rooms and suites, a restaurant, a business centre as well as meeting room facilities. The hotel also has additional land available for future expansion. Says Von Aulock: “This acquisition will cement our presence within the fast-growing and progressive Nigerian economy as well as provide a base from which to expand our operations in Nigeria.The investments totalling US$100 mil-

lion will be funded through a combination of existing offshore cash and new US$–based borrowing facilities’’. Tsogo Sun will spend US$30 million (R270 million) to expand its hotel in Mozambique, the Southern Sun Maputo. This will involve a complete refurbishment of the existing 158 rooms , including the bedrooms and public areas as well as an expansion of the restaurant, the addition of 110 new rooms as well as new conferencing facilities. The expansion takes advantage of the unique location of the hotel, extending along the beachfront on the Avenida de Marginal. Says Marcel von Aulock,

FTAN, FCT hold investment forum

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HE Federation of Tour ism Associations of Ni geria [FTAN] in collaboration with the Federal Capital Development Administration [FCDA] has concluded arrangement to organise Nigeria’s first tourism investment forum. The event, slated for May 21 to 22 will hold at the prestigious Ladi Kwali Hall of Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers According to Chief Samuel Alabi, President of FTAN, the objective of the programme is to enable stakeholders discuss and address the issue of funding as vital element towards the development and maintenance of tourism products and destinations that can induce creation of new tourism frontiers by the creation of accessible funds.

•Mr. Alabi Other reasons put for forward by Alabi on the need for the forum are: to showcase the potential of the tourism sector to the economic development of Nigeria; to organize as well as to promote local tourism products and destinations to Nigerians before

Airlines are hurting our business, says NANTA

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HE National Association of Nigerian Travel Agen cies has decried the unfair treatment being meted out to them by airlines. According to the association’s national president, Alhaji Aminu Agoha, despite the huge amount money the NANTA is making for the airlines, S1.03bn, the airlines still go ahead to undercut the travel agency operators. He said: “Although NANTA enjoys a good relationship with some of the airlines, most of them are still operating in direct competition with travel agencies and all efforts to get them relocate their sales offices to the airports have proved abortive. Most of the airlines even sell tickets direct to corporate bodies which is a violation of the standard practice. All airlines on BSP should be compelled to close their city sales offices and

CEO of Tsogo Sun: “The Mozambican economy has shown encouraging signs of growth in recent years, and Tsogo Sun has benefited from a strong trading performance at the Southern Sun Maputo. The group has for some time been planning to utilize the additional land owned next to the hotel and believe that this exciting expansion programme will cement the Southern Sun Maputo as the destination hotel of choice in the city.” Tsogo Sun operates hotels in seven African countries, including South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria and the Seychelles.

From left: Alhaji Aminu Agoha, NANTA president; Mrs Ngozi Ngoka and a representative of NTDC DG, Alhaji Kunle Kaka move to the airports as it is the accredited agents of the airlines, our fares tend to be more expractice all over the world. “The airlines have continued pensive than those of the airto post cheaper fares on the lines. The airlines charge the Niinternet than the ones on the gerian travellers taxes which travel agencies’ booking plat- have no basis. We appeal to form. This means that as the this distinguished committee to

taking same to the international market and strengthen relationship between the tourism investors and their service/ product providers. The two- day event, which will comprise a seminar and exhibition, is expected to proffer a new direction for the tourism industry, most critically the much-talked about “Tourism Intervention Fund” which is yet to see the light of the day. Participants are expected from federal agencies, states, airlines, hotels, travel agents, tour operators, among others. FTAN president said necessary contacts are still being made within and outside the sector to ensure that the issue of intervention fund is given the deserved attention.

compel the airlines to desist from these sharp practices.” He continued: “With a workforce of over 5000 Nigerians, the travel agencies account for 75 per cent of the capital sales revenue of about $1.5b for the year 2011. But regrettably enough, the major airlines do not pay our members commissions on tickets sales; rather they remit all the money to their home countries. This is capital flight and an attempt to kill the downstream sector of the aviation industry. “Most of the airlines do not give our members withholding tax receipts for taxes collected on their behalf. This is partly because most of them trade with the money instead of remitting it to the FIRS. “In order to force down prices in the interim, airlines should be compelled to immediately abolish the fuel tax surcharge and a technical committee set up by government to review the cost components of the airfares.”


FAMIL Y HEAL TH AMILY HEALTH

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THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

Consequences of defiling the marriage bed (IV) D

EAR reader, Welcome to the concluding part of this month’s series. I strongly believe that you have been blessed and edified. Today, I shall be looking into Ways Out Of Marital Infidelity. We live in modern times, where a lot of virtues our parents upheld are pushed aside as being old-fashioned. Liberality appears to be the password of the new generation. Thank God, the Bible was not inspired by man’s customs and ideologies, else, several updates would have become mandatory. What is contained therein was inspired by the Holy Spirit, Who is eternal. The Word of God in 2 Timothy 3:16 says: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Renew Your Mind: For anyone to be free from today’s pollution, renewal of the mind is inevitable. The Bible says: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2). God’s Word cannot become obsolete; His Word cannot become old-fashioned. The

Health Matters With DR MIKE OYAKHIRE 08170268670

potency of God’s Word is as ever. It is the best ‘water’ that can wash away every contamination. If you discover that you have a weakness towards the opposite sex, do not fold your hands, fight spiritually and overcome the devil. Lay hold on the Word of God, read, study and meditate on it. Get materials like books, tapes, etc. These will help your mind from wandering about. Be careful not to watch or read materials that can prompt you into your old ways. Be Open: Keeping secrets could be dangerous, especially with the opposite sex. Sending text messages that you would not want your spouse to know about, is like sitting on a gun powder. Any relationship that your spouse is not comfortable about should be dropped. If you are a single person, be careful not to stay alone in secluded places with the opposite sex. The Bible says: …for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). I receive mails on a daily basis of wives suspecting their husbands and men not trusting their wives, because of secret calls and text messages. The truth is: there is nothing secret that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad (Luke 8:17). Marriage is founded upon a very delicate material called trust. One cannot afford to get caught in the web of adultery. When trust is broken, suspicion sets in and eventually the marriage breaks. By committing adultery, you literally take the honour God bestows upon you and

Congratulations! You are now born again! Till I come your way next time, please call or write, and share your testimonies with me through: E-mail: faithdavid@yahoo.com; Tel. No: 234-1-7747546-8; 07026385437; 07094254102 For more insight, these books authored by Pastor Faith Oyedepo are available at the Dominion Bookstores in all the Living Faith Churches and other leading Christian bookstores: Marriage Covenant, Making Marriage Work and Building a Successful Family.

Health of women: The french study on ptosis (sagging) of the breast, backpain and (bra); a dissent

email: drmikeoyakhire@yahoo.com

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INDINGS from a French study on the effect of bras siere ordinarily referred to as bra on breast form were released for publication about a week ago .The 15 years long study was said to have been carried out on a population of 330 volunteers aged 18 and 35 years, and the investigators concluded that Medically, Anatomically and Physiologically the breasts do not benefit from having the effect of gravity removed by the use of Bra support ,and that bra or the use of it actually causes breasts of young women to sag or droop instead of becoming firmer. The Authors also reported that those who use bra are not less likely to have back pain, an aspect of the study difficult to honestly allowed to remain unchallenged for the reasons that will be provided in this piece. First we look at non specific issues before going into specific considerations Two areas of the human body draw attention when seeing a Women particularly for the first time, the face comes first followed by the chest ;on the other hand, women spend 80 percent of their time looking at their faces , but Teenage girls and older women in affluent societies spend nearly 90% of their leisure time looking at their breasts .Breast texture, position, and size influence direction of gaze of the owner and women who have developed the habit of looking down at their chest to check “ or two things” are more likely to develop diffuse non specific headache, neck and back pain, without really knowing where it is coming from. The Bra covers the breast, provides support, gives the wearer a tidy appearance, and keeps a woman calm and confident without having to wonder what people are seeing and thinking. Breast support is recommended when a patient has breast engorgement arising from many situations where breast milk outflow exceeds removal. Plus the instruction to express some breast milk Breast size and shape differ in different conditions even between the two breasts of a woman Anthropologists will certainly want to look at what efforts were made in that study to control for the cofounding variables of geography and race; after all Asians have small breasts, Native Australians and Black South Africans have larger breasts Obesity is associated with large breast size, and recent studies point to better nutrition as the reason why age at first menses( menarche) is decreasing. It is now common to find young females 13 years of age weighing more than 47kg, most of the weight coming from the chest region Though nerve supply of the breast corpus is from anterior and lateral branches of the 4th to 6th intercostal , pain and discomfort, from unsupported and dangling breast when present may not necessarily be felt in the area of the back of the chest directly behind the breast but can be felt without precise localization any where around

cast it before swine: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matthew 7:6). When your honour is trampled upon, nothing remains of it. Another dimension to this is that the respect or value which your spouse has for or placed upon you is shattered. There are many out there, who are ready to play on your emotions and get at you; do not give them room. No one can overcome this nature except by the power that is in the Blood of Jesus Christ. Are you ready to be saved? If you are ready, please say this prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I come to You today, I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. I believe You died and rose on the third day for my sins. I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Make me a child of God today.

the trunk .this is as a result of the pattern of nerve supply to the breast and the other anatomical structures directly related to the organ , such as the mid back, neck, part of the head bone behind the ears , between the ribs, the breast bone, Between the woman in the rural communities, primitive tribes and women in the cities, it is not too difficult to stop the difference; In primitive and hungry tribes, what to eat is the issue, clothes are secondary , women go about topless . during their growing years access to bra may either have been denied for cultural or religious reasons or impossible because it just could not be afforded. A simple piece of wrapper which covers from just above the breast mounds down is usually all that these people use. They use the Bra only when they go to , Church because it will be immoral to make visible the outline of the breast in a place of worship. They only use the bra when they go to market, so they can keep their money in there away from thieves, but we can see evidence of sagging( ptosis) all over the place , The relationship between breast ptosis, back pain can not be fully established without detailed analysis of motion characteristics of the solid structures around the breasts, namely the costal fibers of the Erector spinae complex , the true Ribs, the very important Thoracolumbar fascia , the Trapezius, and others that will be briefly

characterized later. Some activities of daily living are better performed with a Bra .Physical activities such as suddenly swinging around in a chair to restrain or hold a falling child, bend to serve food ,drinks to visitors , stoop dash across the street as a car makes it’s appearance or squat to replace a flat Tyre involve rapid changes in posture that can pull muscle and strain ligaments, wearing bra that is of appropriate size will act as a girdle to hold all together so that the thoracic segment acts like one unit Though not common, pregnancy can occur in a female as young as six years(documented evidence in Williams Obstetrics, ISILO emed bks), and irrespective of age breast tissue gradually , reverts to its resting state , and alveoli but breast ducts never return completely to the pre-pregnant state. Therefore for Women who want to stop breast feeding by way of weaning or because baby is no longer alive, a combination of bra support and medication is often helpful. Sagging in the six year old ‘’child mother’ delivered of a baby by Caesers will not begin immediately but will occur sooner compared to others of the same age and race.. It will certainly not be due to the use of bra Probably because of its closeness to the heart, the left breast is often larger and longer than the right, this asymmetry is one reason women wear bra and also why some will go to the surgeon for either reduction in size of the larger one or increasing the size of the smaller one. Wearing Bra in this situation does not significantly affect breast size. Just as the use of bra cannot correct this asymmetry, it also can not induce the cellular atypia that is characteristic of sagged breast. Surgical procedures on the breast are not cheap , so for some women the solution is to wear bra with pockets designed to hold pieces of rubber so as to bring the size of the smaller one to the bigger one. Perhaps one day scientists will be able to produce something different and could still be called bra that can induce cellular changes to either reduce breast size or increase it to achieve symmetry and make women joyful Specific issues The breast is a modified sweat gland, arises from the skin and usually two but can be found any where from the axilla(armpit)to the vagina. there are no muscles in the breast, just skin, fat and glandular tissue, the shape, form and size of the breast depends on the amount of fat present. Recognizable breast development known(Thelarche) actually begins at puberty , but palpable breast tissue occurs un tanner phase 3 at this period and up to age of 14 the issue is breast coverage and little talk about breast support Before puberty , there is actually not much of breast tissue present, considering that the appearance of the breast mound in tanner classification stage 11 signals the appearance of breast. After the menopause, something gets missing and all that is left especially in women of slight or asthenic build is skin and areolar tissue. The issue concerning whether or not bra causes sagging (ptosis of the breast should center around the period between puberty and menopause


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

PDP crisis: Tukur sacks 14 aides in one fell swoop

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HE national chairman of the People’s Demo cratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has sacked his 14 political and personal aides in one fell swoop. A statement dated April 25 and personally signed by him said the decision was informed by the necessity to reorganise his office for service delivery, stressing “I, therefore, relieve all my political and personal aides of their appointments”

Gbade OGUNWALE, Assistant Editor, Abuja The affected aides are: Principal Secretary, Senator Ibrahim Ida; Political Adviser, Alhaji Ahmed Gusau; Special Adviser on Electoral Matters, Senator Saidu Kumo; Special Adviser, Media, Mohammed Ujudud Sheriff; and Special Adviser, Economic Matters, Chief O. Akindele. Others are Special Adviser, Inter Party Affairs, Alhaji

Shittu Mohammed; Special Adviser, Security Matters, Sir Mike Okiro; Special Adviser, Mobilisation, Chief Ishola Filani; and Special Adviser, Monitoring, Bennard Mikko. Also affected are Special Adviser, Governance, Osaro Onaiwo; Special Adviser, General Duties, Prince Igwe Uche; Special Adviser, National Assembly, Abdullahi Gumel; Special Adviser, Special Duties and Protocol, Saidu Sulaiman. Tukur added: “After one

year in office, the political journey was interesting, challenging and I am better equipped in the general understanding and approaches of the operating system viza-viz the relationship between the party, executive and legislature which are important components of political governance. “There is no doubt that the multiplier effect of Nigerian democracy has been quite impressive, particularly in the general overview of the sce-

narios and encounters, thus prevailing on the fact that my leadership as national chairman shall be more strengthened and determined to move the party forward. “Our resolve for reconciliation and delivery of a new national vision of acceptable internal democracy should certainly attract some adjustments and cooperation, of which this action is paramount and timely considered.

NLC urges FG to review pensions

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•From left: Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and the Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman at the signing of the MoU between the Ministry of Planning and Anambra State over the implementation of the EU’s 10th EDF in Abuja yesterday. •Story on Page 60

Akpabio rejects calls to place NDDC under Niger Delta ministry

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HE calls to bring Niger Delta Development Com mission (NDDC) under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs which dominated the fiveday stakeholders’ conference and maiden meeting of the National Council on Niger Delta has met a brick wall. Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State yesterday rejected the idea, saying it was not the best for the region. Besides, he said what the people of the region wanted from the Federal Government was action not speech, development and not sympathy. The commission was established purposely in 2002 to fasttrack development in the oilrich region, following a series of agitations by youths from the region as a result of neglect by successive governments. The commission is placed under the Presidency. Akpabio, who spoke shortly before the inauguration of the National Council on Niger Delta in Uyo, said the idea to place the NDDC directly under the ministry might alter the plan of the agency and consequently the development of the region. He was of the opinion that the NDDC’s autonomy should be allowed to be for the sake of placing the development of the region in the hands of the people of the region, a situation, he said, that would not be guaranteed at the federal ministry level. The governor, who seems to be sharing the sentiments of other governors in the region and the agency itself, argued that budgeting for the ministry under such arrangement could be an issue of disagreement at a latter date, especially at the

Vincent IKUOMOLA and Kazeem IBRAHYM, Uyo National Assembly, stressing that such development could hinder the development of the region. He, therefore, advised that while the ministry does its job and also plays its supervisory role, the NDDC too should be allowed to fulfil its mandate as provided by its provisions. He said: “ Before I step aside, I know you have delibrated on lots of issues. But forgive me to just give my personal opinion on one. It might look very beautiful that the Niger Delta Development Commission should be under the ministry, but there could be a Pharaoh who does not know Joseph and the children of Isreal may suffer. “Independence of the NDDC with its provision to allow Niger Deltans to always head the commission such cannot be said of a ministry at the federal level. The president has the right to appoint any minister to head any ministry, irre-

spective of state or tribe and what would happen then. At that stage, if you have a minister who does not share the same passion with the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua and President Goodluck Jonathan, and sits on the ministry and truncates all the efforts of the NDDC to develop and if the NASS finds it difficult and puts the entire budget of the NDDC under the ministry separately to be dealt with, and says this ministry cannot have more budget than other ministry. “I believe that as a patient prayer can never be too much for you, development cannot be too much for you. If development comes from Federal Government initiatives under the Federal Executive Council under the Niger Delta ministry, we should also allow the development to come from NDDC under the commission.” He also reminded the gathering that the plight of the region cannot be over laboured, stressing that there have been

many programmes of development for the region, but none has met the desired development the people are yearning for. He, therefore, said what the people of the region demand from the Federal Government is action not speech, development and not sympathy. He further noted that what is needed to unleash the potential of the region is an holistic development process. This he charged the newly inaugurated council to pursue. The governor also urged leaders of thoughts in communities across the region to appeal to their youths to allow work to go on, saying the idea of stalling projects and demanding for some sorts of settlements for the gods of the land and others will only hinder progress and development in the region. In his welcome address, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, said the council had discussed important issues that could open the access road to the future development efforts by government and development partners.

HE Nigeria Labour Con gress (NLC) yesterday asked the Federal Government to review the allowances being paid to the Nigerian pensioners to reflect the country’s current economic reality. The congress also condemned the non-capturing of a significant percentage of pensioners on the pay-roll the defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension. NLC President, Comrade Abdulwahed Omar, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday at the 9th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP). He insisted that the tax force acted as a décor to raise funds for the Federal Government rather than addressing the plight of the senior citizens. The conference was organised to elect a new national executive council that would pilot the affairs of the union for the next four year. Omar noted that the success of the struggle for the N18, 000 minimum wage would amount to nothing as long as those who had laboured for the country in their youthful age could not benefit. His words: “ It is worthy to note that our campaign for the review and implementation of minimum wage will never be complete, if a review of the pension is not guaranteed as provided by the law. The con-

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Ebele BONIFACE Comptroller, Mr. Dera Nnadi, extolled the Deputy Commissioner of Police Tunde Shobulo for his timely response to a distress call when two expatriates from Canada were attacked by armed robbers. Mr. Nnadi also stressed the importance of prisons in the securty system of the country. Shobulo, who represented

the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, CP Umar Manko, said all the public relations officers present must have a common goal “which is to reflect the policies of the Federal Government in all their activities.” He said CP Manko mandated him to tell them to avoid unhealthy rivalry in order to perform brilliantly as professionals. The secretary-general of the

John OFIKHENUA, Abuja gress is fully aware of the hesitation of the Federal Government, particularly some state governments to pay pension that is commensurate with 53.34 per cent salary review and payment of the N18, 000 minimum wage. We urge the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, conclude the review of pensions and immediately commence the payment of the pensions to the pensioners. “The NLC is also disgusted with the outcome of the Presidential Task Force on Pension, specifically the way and manner in which pensioners were omitted from the pay-roll. This shortchange was predicated in acquiring more revenue for the government rather than addressing the issue that the task force was mandated to do. We, therefore, demand for a thorough review by the Federal Government alongside NUP to mainstream the short-changed pensioners into the federal payroll.” In his remarks, the out-gone NUP President, Comrade Ali Abatcha decried the unfair treatment being meted out to the Nigerian pensioners, stressing that successive governments in the country had turned them into “endangered species.”

PDP Governors leave Amaechi, Shema to fight for seat •Continued from Page 2 The exact date of the election was unknown last night. A source said: “It is any day in May. Although the date is at the discretion of the NGF chairman, he is required to give a 72-hour notice.” The source however claimed that the election may hold on or before May 24, 2013 because Amaechi was elected in Ilorin, Kwara State on May 24, 2011. The source added: “I think the election might hold on or before May 24, 2013 when Amaechi’s tenure would have lapsed.” On the crisis in the SouthWest, Governor Emmanuel

Group meets to move Nigeria forward VER 50 public rela tions officers from the police, military, customs, immigration, among others on Thursday gathered in Lagos to discuss areas of cooperation to move Nigeria forward. A member of the Military, Police and Paramilitary Public Relations Officers’ Forum (MILPOPPROF), the group which organised the programme, an Assistant

Change is the only permanent thing in life. “May I also use this medium to thank all the aides for their devotion, patience, cooperation and endurance in the course of serving the PDP. It should be noted that leadership in whatever magnitude goes with the desire to conform to the changing circumstances, including rationalisation, stabilisation and consolidation”.

MILPOPPROF, Chibueze Hosea Igwe said: “MILPOPPROF started in 2006 immediately after the clash between soldiers and policemen at Surulere, Lagos and its main objective is to find a way of making the police, military and all paramilitary operatives work together as united body, adding that it was during the time of the retired Lagos Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Adebayo that the idea was mooted.

Uduaghan was quoted as saying that consultations were on with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. “The Governor of Delta State informed the Forum that they met with the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on the PDP crisis in the South-West. “He said Chief Olusegun Obasanjo commended the efforts of the PDP Governors’ Forum in setting up a committee to look into the crisis and expressed his willingness to cooperate with the committee members to find a lasting solution to the crisis. “Continuing with his report, the Governor of Delta State stated that consultations were still going on with other PDP elders from the South-West, adding that the strategy of the committee was to explore ways of reconciling the various parties. He stated that the chairman of the committee would brief the Forum during its next meeting.” On the Adamawa crisis, the chairman of the Forum reportedly informed members that the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido would present his final report on the PDP crisis in Adamawa State


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

IGP tasks policemen on quality service to Nigerians

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N order to render quality and competitive services to Nigerians nationwide, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, yesterday charged officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to collaborate with the citizens towards engendering efficient and effective police force. He made the remark while commissioning the State House Veterinary Medical Centre, Abuja and in commemoration of the World Veterinary Day. Abubakar said there was need for the security agency to reconnect and partner with the people in discharge of their duties rather than the two sides seeing themselves as enemies and working at cross purposes. According to him, the completion of the hospital equipped with the state-ofthe-art facilities for a veterinary centre of international standard facilitated by President Goodluck Jonathan has posed a great challenge to the police to improve on their performances and give better ser-

vices to the country. He said: ”Today is epoch marking ceremony in the sense that we are not only celebrating what has been achieved, but we are as well celebrating Police Week 2013 which had long been abandoned. “The last time Police Week was celebrated was in 1976 ever before some of us came into the Nigeria Police Force and today we are proud to say that we have rekindled hope and true hope not only to the Nigerian police officers and men, but to Nigerians because the theme of the Police Week is “Reconnecting to the People. “You have to reconnect to people, you have to collaborate with the people, you have to partner the people entirely in the country for you to have efficient and effective police service that can give quality and competitive service delivery to the people of this country. “I am particularly happy to be here today because this particular building signifies so many things. It is a symbol of safety and security of the

Augustine EHIKIOYA, Abuja State House and I want to use this opportunity to thank the President for making funds available to make this building a reality, and for enhancement of the quality of service that this place will give to the State House and to this country. “But the challenge is now for all officers and men that work here. We need to give better services in terms of collaboration and partnership with all agencies of government and Mr President deserves to have a better security outfit and services in terms of performance. So, you have a great challenge.” The Inspector General of Police commissioned the veterinary complex in company with the Chief Security Officer to the President, Mr. Gordon Obua, who were conducted round the facilities by the Officer in Charge of the Centre, Assistant Commissioner of Police Dr. Aishat Abubakar. Abubakar, however, appealed to the President for

‘Boko Haram got $3.15 million to SLAMISt sect, Boko free French hostages’ Haram, was paid an

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equivalent of around $3.15 million by French and Cameroonian negotiators before freeing seven French hostages this month, Reuters reported yesterday quoting “a confidential Nigerian government report.” It said the memo did not specify who paid the ransom for the family of seven who were all released on April 19. Cameroon was said to have freed some Boko Haram detainees as part of the deal. France and Cameroon reiterated denials that any ransom was paid. Nigerian authorities declined to comment. Armed men on motorcycles snatched Tanguy Moulin-Fournier, his wife, brother and the couple’s four young children, the youngest of whom was four years old, on February 19 while they were on holiday near the Waza national park in north Cameroon, some 10 km from the Nigerian border. They were believed to have been held in northeast Nigeria. Boko Haram claimed the capture of the family of Moulin-Fournier who worked in Cameroon for French utility firm GDF Suez.

French President Francois Hollande at the time denied any money was paid when the family was released on April 19. The Nigerian memo, according to Reuters, suggests that 1.6 billion CFA francs ($3.15 million) was paid, but that right up until the last minute Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had insisted on double that, before agreeing to reduce it if some Boko Haram members in Cameroonian jails were freed. Reacting to the report, a French foreign ministry official said that France has passed a clear message that it does not pay ransoms. Cameroon government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary said “Cameroon did not pay any ransom”. A spokesman for Nigeria’s government declined to comment. The report suggests Nigerian security forces decided not to try to rescue the hostages so as not to endanger their lives. A botched rescue attempt of a British and an Italian hostage believed to

have been held by Islamist sect Ansaru in March last year resulted in both hostages being killed. French news network i-tele reported earlier yesterday that a ransom of $7 million had been paid, suggesting either Cameroon President Paul Biya or GDF-Suez had paid it. Eight French hostages are being held in the Sahel region, although the fate of one of them is unclear after alQaeda’s north African arm last month said it had beheaded Philippe Verdon. Hollande has said Paris has ended a policy of paying ransoms for hostages, but suspicion that the country still does despite official denials has been a source of tension with the United States. France brushed off an allegation by a former U.S. diplomat that it paid a $17 million ransom in vain for the release of four hostages abducted in 2010 from Niger. Hollande told the family of the Sahel hostages in January that the new policy also meant that he had told companies and insurance firms not to pay ransoms.

South East youths to FG: grant Boko Haram amnesty and court more trouble

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HE South East youths have risen against the planned amnesty to the terrorist group known as Boko-Haram by the Federal Government, warning that it is unacceptable to them. After a meeting yesterday in Awka, Anambra State, the group under the aegis of the Youth Ambassadors for Change in South East, warned “that if such a thing happens, the federal government will be inviting more trouble.” The communiqué by the group was read by its coordinator, Comrade Magnus Uche Magnus. The youths called on the Federal Government to declare, without delay, a state of emergency in all the northern states where the activities of

the terrorist group are on the increase. The group further said: “The activities of Boko-Haram have created pain in the entire country and it is a total sabotage to the leadership, unity and peaceful co-existence of this great country. “What prevents the Federal Government from granting a non-violent group like the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) amnesty. Is it because the group has not become violent. “Any plan to grant amnesty to Boko Haram is an attempt to create more trouble in this country because other groups are likely to spring up from different parts of the country.

“Also granting amnesty to such terrorist group will amount to contravening the principles of peace, equity of purpose and natural justice. “At a time there is a global war against terrorism, Nigeria should, because of the trauma the people of the country have experienced in the hands of Boko-Haram, be in the vanguard of this war and not aiding and abating such wickedness.” Furthermore, the group said it would take over the fight between Aguleri Otu community against Ibaji in Kogi State , “if nothing urgent is done by the government.” The people said they would not allow Kogi State to continue terrorizing communities in Anambra, adding that “enough is enough”.

replication of the hospital in other parts of the country for easier collaboration and extension of the services nearer to the people. He said: “It is rare in Africa to have this kind of setting, and this is to show that Mr President is concerned about the safety and security of this country. This is a good beginning and I do hope that to the transformation efforts that we are making, Mr. President will be able to establish another centre somewhere in this country so that we can be able to partner and collaborate and make it a better service.” Speaking earlier, the State House Permanent Secretary,

Surv. Emmanuel Egbile, said that President Jonathan, in line with the transformation agenda, identified with the ideals of commemoration of World Veterinary Day celebration and the global impact it bestows on humanity. He traced the development of the State House Veterinary Hospital from 1996 when it was first established till date and noted that it had recorded major feats. He said: “The State House Veterinary Unit has over the years successfully and proficiently managed a large variety of livestock, dogs, horses as well as wildlife in conformity with international requirements. “It might interest you to

note that the unit, which was established in 1996 with only one veterinary surgeon and two animal keepers, has now grown to a strength of over 50 staff made up of various professionals, including veterinarians, wildlife officers, laboratory technologists and animal health superintendents, among others. “With the commissioning today of the erstwhile veterinary clinic as a full-fledged veterinary centre, we shall continue to grow from strength to strength.” He expressed appreciation to the Veterinary Council of Nigeria for the upgrading of the veterinary unit to Veterinary Medical Centre.

FG has changed strategy for accessing intervention fund, says minister

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HE Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Musa Sada yesterday said that Federal Government has changed the easy process for accessing the intervention fund. Speaking while receiving the Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers Council (COMEG) in his office at Abuja, he explained that the ministry has presented an acceptable programme to the government in order to access the Natural Resources Fund. He stated that there must be an explanation of the economic benefits that are accruable to the nation from every fund intervention. “The process of financial

John OFIKHENUA, Abuja intervention has changed because you don’t just spend money,” said Sada. He further said: “What people don’t even know is that the capacity to spend is a problem. This government is very strict on fund administration. You don’t get it simply because it is written that you will get it. Yes this money was allocated to us from the moment we completed our roadmap because we know we are implementing it to achieve a comprehensive result.” Meanwhile, COMEG chairman, Chief Chamber

Oyibo, noted that while the council is making all effort to reposition the COMEG, there is low awareness of the statutory functions of the council due to lack of funds. Another challenge, according to him, is the compliance of quarry operators to employ only COMEG registered professionals as quarry managers/supervisors and blasters. He also noted that the council is the agency in the ministry that has no permanent office accommodation and has to contend with rented properties. Oyibo, therefore, called on the minister to facilitate the acquisition of a permanent structure for office accommodation for the COMEG.


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Kwara police kill two robbery suspects

Jonathan, Borno Governor meet in Aso Rock n Augustine EHIKIOYA, n Abuja

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WARA State police command has killed two armed robbery suspects that have been terrorizing Ilorin and its environs. The command gave the names of the suspects as Vincent and Lastborn, adding that the suspects were smoked out of an hotel in Afon, Asa local Government area of the state. The command also disclosed that it recovered one single barrel gun, one locally made pistol, five live cartridges and one expanded cartridge, some quantities of cannabis sativa, three motorcycles, a Mazda Space Bus with registration number Lagos JJJ 168 BF and one iron cutter. Other items recovered from the suspects include two pairs of hand gloves, army camouflage jungle hat and charms. The state Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdul Bube, told reporters that the command also impounded over 200 motorcycles for violating the 7pm deadline for okada operations in the metropolis. It will be recalled that in the wake of the increasing rate of car theft and other criminal activities in the metropolis, the state government imposed a restriction on the operation of motorcycle operators in the metropolis.

‘Why I ejected LG hospital from my land’ land owner in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, Latifu Mobolaji Oluboyede, has explained the reasons behind his decision to eject a maternity home operated by Ibadan North Local Government Area from his land. Reacting to an earlier story, Oluboyede, in a letter, tagged Re: Policemen, court bailiffs forcefully eject patients from Oyo hospital, said he purchased the said land from the late Dr. V. O. Awosika in 1977. He said some contractors of Ibadan North Local Government Area encroached on the land without his permission, and erected a building. “I purchased the land referred to in the news item from the late Dr. V. O. Awosika in 1977 and was conveyed to me by agreement dated 15th September 1977… “Thereafter, some contractors of Ibadan North Local Government, Agodi, Gate, Ibadan, entered the land without my permission to start erecting a building.” He said he later went to court after attempts to reclaim his property from the local government.

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•The two houses allegedly used as camps by the kidnappers

Lagos police seal off kidnappers’ camps HE Lagos State Police Command has sealed off two detention camps used by kidnappers to keep their victims in different areas of the state. Also sealed is one of the kidnappers one-storey building, which the police claimed was built with proceeds from ransom paid by abducted victims. According to the police,

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n Ebele BONIFACE n one of the camps is located in the Ikorodu area of Lagos, while the other is at Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos. Addressing reporters on Friday at the Lagos State Police Command h e a d q u a r t e r s , Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, said his men will not rest until the

kidnappers of the chairman of Ejigbol Local Council Development Area, Kehinde Bamigbetan, are arrested and prosecuted. He said the kidnappers are in two groups. He gave the names of the members of the first group as Pastor Solomon Eze aka Deliverance pastor (33); Sunday James (29);

Emmanuel Oloakazi aka Landlord (26); Ikechukwu Okafor aka Osuofia I (37); Obinna, 26; Ikechukwu Chedom aka Osuofia II and Christian Ezinkwo aka Alhaji (31). He promised that men of the Lagos State police command are ready to ensure that criminallyminded people are chased out of the state.

Rivers PDP: Amaechi, Wike in counteroffensive •Minister’s camp moves to suspend lawmakers, ALGON chiefs •Governor’s faction to ‘flush out’ more Wike’s men UPPORTERS of embattled Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State in the State House of Assembly and those of the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, are locked in a counteroffensive in a bid to control the party machinery in the state. The Felix Obuah-led executive council of the PDP which was installed last week at the instance of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja,is threatening to suspend PDP members who are on the side of the governor in the battle for the soul of the party in the state. The planned suspension by Obuah is to frustrate the pro-Amaechi lawmakers from actualising their own plot of suspending the five legislators loyal to the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike. Wike is Amaechi’s chief opponent in the state and the No.1 governorship aspirant in the camp of Abuja-based PDP members from the state. The five pro-Wike lawmakers- Michael Chinda (Obio/Akpor II constituency), Kelechi Godspower Nwogu (Omuma), Evans Bipi (Ogu/Bolo), Martins Amaewhule (Obio/Akpor I) and Victor Ihunwo (Port

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n Bisi OLANIYI, Port Harcourt n

Harcourt III)- according to sources,are to be deployed in removing Amaechi as governor soon. The covert and overt activities of the two factions of the PDP have put the state under tension since their struggle for power blew into the open. The pro –Amaechi National Councillors' Forum (NCF) in the state has condemned Obuah's emergence but passed a vote of confidence in Amaechi for his ‘developmental strides’. Already, the governor’s camp may also have planned to ‘flush out’ more men from the rival faction in the Assembly. The NCF, in a communiqué at the end of an extra-ordinary meeting in Port Harcourt, described as very sad, the activities of Wike, Obuah and the ‘Abuja forces’ who they said were planning to destabilise the state. Chairman of the forum , Lesor Branu Nwigbaranee and the Secretary, Aruchi Nsirim , who signed the communiqué wondered why some Rivers indigenes, who are holding top positions in Abuja, would gang up to fight the governor. They claimed that by

distracting the governor,his opponents are ,by extension, hampering the progress of the state. They pleaded with Rivers elders to intervene and call the errant politicians to order. The Association of Local Governments in Nigeria (ALGON) Rivers state chapter, in a separate statement said Chief Godspower Ake who was sacked by the court for Obuah , remains the dulyelected chairman of the party. ALGON also dissociated its members from the activities of "disgruntled elements," who,according to him,are bent on causing confusion thereby paving the way for the declaration of a state of emergency in Rivers and illegally remove Amaechi. The ALGON members who said they were not afraid of expulsion from the PDP alleged plan by the Obuah-led executive to

suspend them for ‘anti-party activities’. Obuah said his exco is fully in control of the party, having taken over the state secretariat of the PDP on Aba Road in Port Harcourt. The new chairman said: “The PDP members in Rivers State, who are still supporting Ake and beating the drum of war, should guard their utterances and give peace a chance. “We are going to instil discipline in Rivers PDP. There will be no room for lawlessness. No elected or appointed official of government can be bigger than the political party. “Those who are abusing President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience, by describing them as ‘Oga and Madam at the top' should desist forthwith." Obuah added that all was well in Rivers PDP, while asking the "few" aggrieved members to come on board, in order to move forward.

Alamo Foursquare Church holds praise night LL is set for the Worship and Praise Extraordinaire of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Alamo- Magboro in Ogun State, as Benita Okorie, popular gospel act treats the congregation to sonorous and soul-lifting songs on Sunday, April 28, 2013. According to the Senior Pastor of the church, Pastor Eniola Netufo, the programme , which is scheduled to start by 2p.m, is meant to appreciate God for His wonderful works in the lives of all members of the church.

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ORNO State Governor Kashim Shettima, yesterday met with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Shettima, who was clad in cream-coloured attire and hat to match, declined to speak with State House correspondents on his mission to the Villa. His state has been the stronghold of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, which has sent many innocent Nigerians to their early graves. One of the latest attacks was recorded at Baga, a border town in Borno State early this week where 185 persons were estimated to have been killed and 2,000 houses razed. The deaths resulted from a clash between soldiers and members of Boko Haram. Some residents of Baga, a town famous for having the largest fish market in Nigeria, alleged that the killings and burning down of houses were perpetrated by soldiers. The incident has attracted both local and international condemnations. While President Jonathan had already ordered the probe of the incident, he has declared that any security official found wanting will face the wrath of the law.

Women hold training programme HE Lagos PDP Women Vanguard has concluded the first phase of a vocational training programme for women in the state. At the end of the programme, certificates were awarded to participants at a colourful ceremony which held in Surulere, Lagos. Speaking at the occasion, President of Lagos PDP Women Vanguard, Mrs Abiola Folami Ada, said that the vocational training programme became necessary in order to complement the Federal Government's women empowerment efforts. Further, Mrs Ada noted that notwithstanding the presence of many women in President Goodluck Jonathan's administration, women have remained the underdog in the political arena, their efforts as grassroots mobilisers notwithstanding. "Despite the role of women in politics in Nigeria, they have not been adequately compensated." She then called on women in public offices to remember their gender and lend helping hands. "Women occupying political positions must help women in the grassroots and see to it that the quota of 35 per cent of political positions for women is entrenched in the constitution." Mrs Ada however noted that women empowerment is not and should not be about doling out money.

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THE NATION SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

Nine students going for JAMB die in Aba auto crash

INE students on their way to Aba from Port Harcourt for today’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UMTE) yesterday lost their lives in a motor accident. Twelve other passengers were killed in a separate accident in Awka,Anambra State, yesterday, after a trailer rammed into three other vehicles. The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), however confirmed five dead and 17 injured in the accident at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University junction. The first accident occurred at Obeaku-Ihe in Ugwunagbor Local Government Area of Abia State between a Hiace bus with registration number, Rivers XY 249 PHC and a Mack Truck with registration number XC 109 SLK.

•Five others killed in Awka

Nwanosike ONU, Awka Sunny NWANKWO, Aba Seven died on the spot while two died in hospital. The Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), Geoffrey Ogbonna, who confirmed the incident, said the remains of the dead including the driver of the bus and his conductor had been deposited at the mortuary. The injured were rushed to the hospital for treatment. The PPRO said: “the students were coming from Port Harcourt to Aba in a Hiace bus when their driver rammed into the Mack truck packed by the road side of the

express. He said that most of the 15 passengers were believed to be on their way to Aba for the UTME, against the background of items recovered from the scene of the accident. An eyewitness, who gave his name as Victor Iheakamdu said that the bus driver lost control of his vehicle when he wanted to overtake the vehicle in front of him. “When he saw an oncoming vehicle after he had engaged in overtaking the car in front of him, he veered off the express and then rammed into the Mack truck that was packed on the road.”

The other accident was caused after the brake of the diesel-laden trailer unexpectedly failed, leaving the driver to lose control. Time was 4pm . The trailer rammed into three L-300 Mitsubishi buses. Officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), police, army and the Civil Defence Corps (NCSDC) personnel had a hectic time trying to rescue the injured and clear the road for smooth traffic. The FRSC Sector Commander, Mr. Hygenius Omeje, confirmed the accident and the casualty figures.

Anambra, Cross River best in EU 9th EDF

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OVERNOR Liyel Imoke has disclosed that Cross River and Anambra States were committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015, even if Nigeria failed to do so. He spoke yesterday at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between six participating states for 10 European Union Development Fund with the Ministry National Planning at the Minister’s Conference Room. Imoke’s position was informed by the fact that Anambra and Cross Rivers States were recently adjudged the best in the EU’s

Crippled, three others remanded in prison for allegedly raping 22-yrold Osemwengie BEN Ogbemudia, Benin

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cripple and three others have been remanded in prison custody by an Oredo Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Benin City. The suspects were allegedly to have of gang-raped a 22 year-old-girl. The accused persons, Saturday Enabulele (28), Moses Okoeki (18), Osasumwen Enina (17) and Junior Odubu (20), were also alleged to have on April 13th 2013 at 9 Akugbe Street, Siluko Road, Benin City, beat up the girl, tore her skirt and pants, and fingered her private part and consequently filmed her with a camera phone. Apart from filming the victim’s nudity and showing same to people, the prosecution further alleged that the accused persons and others now at large collected the girl’s Nokia handset and a wallet containing the sum of ten thousand naira. They pleaded not guilty to the twelve count charge brought against them. The trial Chief Magistrate, Peter Edo Asemota remanded them in prison custody. Hearing was adjourned to May 7th, 2013.

9th EDF, which ended on June 11th, 2012. A total of 120 million Euro was spent under the 9th EDF. While the EU provided 94 million, the participating states provided 26 million. Speaking shortly before the signing, the Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman said that the approval of the 10th EDF was because of outstanding performances of states involved in 9th EDF. He called on them to redouble their efforts to make the 10th EDF better and more beneficial to the

people. Responding on behalf of the governors, the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke said the partnership with the EU had brought about veritable results to the communities were various projects from the fund were utilised. He thanked the EU and the Planning Ministry and assured that the participating states would live up to expectations. Also speaking, the governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi said that when he attended functions such as

the signing ceremonies, they inspired him to believe that Anambra would in due time overcome all its difficulties, which have been substantially reduced under his government. “When I became governor of Anambra State, no development partner was working or carrying out any project in the state, but today, due to the return of sanity, all of them are working with us and as far as I am concerned, this is very good for the state and we will continue to build on that.”


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THE NATION SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

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SPORT EXTRA Okpekpe race: organisers engage indigenes, Police, Para-military for security

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O FEWER than 100 volunteers and security personnel, including the Police and the Para-military, have been engaged by the organisers of the maiden Okpekpe 10km International Road Race, an official said on Friday. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over 2,000 athletes have registered for the one-day event scheduled

for May 4 in the Etsako-East Local Government of Edo. Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, Chairman, Main Organising Committee (MOC), told NAN in Lagos that the volunteers included indigenes, because security should start with them. ``Security starts with the indigenes because they know the environment, more than

CLUB OWNERS, LMC FACE OFF

Reactions trail minister’s comments T HE former Chairman Technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mallam Suleman David has described the comments credited to the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi over the on-going face-off between the club owners and the Nigeria league Management committee as unfortunate and amounts to adding fuel to a raging fire. The former NFF boss who was reacting to the Minister’s comment that the club owners are not only ignorant but lack the powers to sack the league management committee told sports writers in Minna over the weekend that the Minister, should act as a father in the ongoing face off and not to take side. “We least expected this kind of outburst from the minister who act like a father in this crisis. He should be a mediator in this matter because he is a leader and I think those closed to him should have let him know this” Suleman David who is the

pioneer chairman of the club owners in Nigeria admitted that the persistent crisis in the Nigeria football system is not good for development of the game, he maintained that position taken by the Minister does not speak well of a leader. “Honestly the position of the Minister is quite disturbing; we expect that as a father when your children are fighting, you call the two of them to the round table for dialogue even if they failed to bring the matter before officially. “If the Minister whom we all have a lot of respect for as someone who has passionate interest in the development of the game of Football in the country decides to go on the pages of newspapers to castigate the club owners on this matter that he should have called then for dialogue, then I think we have a long way to go as far as football development is concerned.

any other person; they know who is who, among them. ``Security personnel like the Police and the Para-military will also be engaged, they will all be put in strategic positions, to ensure maximum protection of lives during the race,’’ he said. Nesiama said the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) would be in charge of officiating, as it is experienced enough to do so. ``We are handling the event on our own, we are experienced enough to handle events like this because we have been handling the Obudu Mountain Race which is tougher than this. I see no reason why we will not be able to do this without foreign officials. We will be objective in our approach and the results. ``The AFN has competent officials who will officiate, they have undergone a series of trainings before now,’’ he said. The race will start and end in Okpekpe Village in the Etsako-East Local Government Area, with participants running through hills and valleys. The winner in the male category will receive 25,000 dollars, the first runner-up 15,000 dollars and the second runner-up 10,000 dollars. The prize money for the women category winner is 10, 000 dollars for the winner, the second will get 7, 000 dollars and third placed will receive 5,000 dollars.

After Ekeji what next? •continued from back page years should leave the place for others to make their contributions. Those who are in continental and international federations shouldn’t be allowed into the federations, if such a body has not organised enough tournaments to keep their athletes in good shape in the last regime. Ekeji introduced the concessioning of sports federations under the PPP arrangement. We need to look at what they achieved. We also need to re-jig the workings of such concessioned sports federations to make them more viable. We must change the modalities under which the last arrangement was made. Such flawed templates wouldn’t change the face of the industry. Concession should be done with corporate firms who have a history of funding sports, not friends of the undertakers of such initiatives. This writer is bemused by the talk of concessioning when there isn’t a sports calendar. Lovers of sports know when the next competitions of their favourite games will hold. This foresight gives them the opportunity to save cash to watch the particular tournament that interests them. By the same token, firms can interface with our sporting events when they know that the dates are sacrosanct. Adept knowledge of the game should form the fulcrum on which members are cleared to contest elections into the federations. The idea of having friends of top government functionaries in sports bodies is chiefly responsible for the dearth of competitions. These lackeys of men in high places get disillusioned when it dawns on them that what they have is not a money-spinner. To these political jobbers masquerading as sports federation members, traveling with Nigerian contingents is only an opportunity to shop and watch films in their hotel rooms; not a time to watch the events for which they claimed to have travelled. Federations populated by members who are passionate about their sport will generate ideas to ensure that competitions are held regularly. The National Sports Commission (NSC) must ensure that timelines are given to the federations. These timelines should be accessed periodically. Defaulting federations should be eased out. But such drastic actions must form part of the rulebook that each federation member must sign after the elections; otherwise, they will scuttle the process through endless litigations. Members of the federations must have the clout to attract sponsors. They must know how to market their sport to attract cash. If there are no competitions, there won’t be the need to repair facilities. Even the good ones would gradually corrode, if not used. Competitions will spur the sponsors to rehabilitate venues as the competitions transcend from the domestic scene to the international platform. The sports minister should ensure that those scheming to be members of federations have verifiable means of livelihood. The toga of being businessmen and women is unacceptable. They become leaches to the federations when they eventually became members. Some of them used the platform to secure entry visas for their kids, wives and relations. Central to good performance in sports is the culture of having qualified coaches. This idea of having unqualified coaches to train our athletes accounted for 80% of our failures. For instance, in table tennis, Nigeria doesn’t need to look too far to get a qualified Nigerian for the job. Congo qualified for the ping pong event at the 2012 London Olympic Games through the technical savvy of a former Nigerian star, Kasali Lasisi. The Congolese knew the mileage they would get if their nationals sat on the bench, dishing out instructions to their athletes and they dropped Lasisi. Lasisi’s savvy qualified him to lead the continent’s crew for a continental event. What else do we need from Lasisi before naming him as our table tennis coach? Of course, those in the federation have their reservations because they cannot dictate to him. Is that not the type of coach we need? Lasisi has seen it all in table tennis. He played the game to the zenith, discovered and trained players. His case is one of several that we can talk about. But it must be said that these Nigerians who are celebrated in their sport should take charge as we strive to reinvent our sport. The era of recycling failed coaches and administrators in our sport, I dare say, is over.


THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013

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TOMORROWPUNCHLINE IN THE NATION

What is strange is that the archaeologists of military laws have not given citizens good reasons to believe that they are not just being capricious or arbitrary SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL.7, NO. 2474

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S a trained medical doctor, Dr. DoyinOkupe, Senior Special Assis tant to President Goodluck Jonathan on public affairs, ought ordinarily to be in the business of curing people of their various ailments. But the good doctor has abandoned his stethoscope for so long that he may be a potent danger to any patient who dares consult him for his professional services. But more importantly, Dr. Okupe himself is in urgent need of intensive medication for wilful ignorance in the discharge of his current public duties. When he assumed office as Senior Special Assistant to President Jonathan, Dr.Okupe was quick to assure Nigerians that his mission was not to be an attack dog for the president. In fact, he emphatically stated that he could not play such a role at his age. Okupe is over 60. Yet, he has not conducted himself in his present position with the restraint, caution and wisdom that both his high office and his advanced age demand. Dr.Okupe is clearly a loose cannon. He is a huge liability to the Goodluck Jonathan administration. His views are often jaundiced and utterly lacking in credibility. When Dr.Oby Ezekwesili recently questioned the management of the country’s foreign reserves by the Jonathan administration, Okupe along with Information Minister, Labaran Maku went for the messenger rather than address the message. Instead of simply providing the requisite statistics to the public, they insinuated, mischievously that Ezekwesile corruptly enriched herself in office as Minister of Education while steadfastly refusing her challenge to a public debate. Dr. Okupe was once again at his mischievous best when reacting to the recent convention of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) where the party resolved to merge into the new All Progressives Congress (APC). Of course, the good doctor must earn his pay. But he must not seek to do this at the expense of truth, fairness and the public interest. For one, Dr.Okupe ought to realise that a vibrant and virile opposition is a necessary condition for democratic sustainability. This is a necessity not only at the federal but at the state and local government levels. When he thus describes General MuhammedBuhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, arrow heads of the emergent APC as ‘political liabilities’ Okupe does our political system a great disservice. Would he, therefore, want all leading political personalities to ally with the ruling party perhaps for obvious pecuniary benefits? Do those who decide to form a viable opposition against all odds not deserve some respect and encouragement even from members of the ruling party? Can Dr.Okupe not learn some appropriate lessons from Governor Babangida Aliyu, the Chief Servant of Niger State, who has hailed the on-going merger process by the opposition as healthy

Curing Doyin Okupe’s ignorance

•Okupe for Nigeria’s democracy? Incidentally, the Niger State Governor was the Chairman at the launch last Thursday of the new book, ‘Witness to history’ written by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, National Publicity Secretary of the ACN. The Niger State governor did not hide his commitment to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even as he demonstrated the highest respect and regard for the opposition. Incidentally, the foreword to the book was written by no other than Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a chieftain of Okupe’s party. One would wish that Dr.Okupe learns the appropriate lesson from such political decency. Unfortunately, Okupe did not go into details to explain what he meant by describing Buhari and Tinubu as political liabilities. But can there be any greater liability to the Nigerian nation than a President, Doyin Okupe’s boss, who is the most divisive leader

in Nigeria’s history; a man whose tenure has spurned sectarian violence only on a scale surpassed during the civil war? In his ill- advised press conference, the medical doctor/ politician turned attack dog narrowed down on the person of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu saying “The leader of the opposition, Chief Bola Tinubu, who spoke disparagingly about the Federal Government on a number of issues, was once a governor of Nigeria’s richest state for eight years all have a record of what he made of that position.” Again, Okupe does not specify details. All residents of Lagos know that the state was virtually a failed one when Tinubu assumed office in 1999. The internally generated revenue of the state was barely N900 million in 1999. Through Tinubu’s ingenious financial engineering the monthly internally generated revenue was approximately N8 billion by the time he left office in 2007. According to Okupe, “Bola Tinubu who spoke about poor budget implementation at the federal level never attained 60 per cent budget implementation while he presided over the affairs of Lagos State…”. Of course, the facts are there for verification if Dr.Okupe cares to check. The average percentage budgetary performance of the Lagos State government under Tinubu’s leadership was 71.5%.The expenditure performance of the administration was 81% for 1999, 61% for 2000, 66% for 2001, 71% for 2002, 63% for 2003, 81% for 2004, 75% for 2005 and 74% for 2006. This is why the state witnessed massive infrastructural modernization and expansion across diverse sectors including roads, education, health, the judiciary, the environment, public transportation and water supply among others. Most of the roads constructed by the Tinubu administration over a decade ago are still solid and motorable. They include KudiratAbiola road, Oregun; Awolowo road,

— Ropo Sekoni Ikoyi; Akin Adesola road, Victoria Island; Adeola Odeku road, Victoria Island; Agege Motor road; Ikotun-Igando road; Yaba-ItireLawanson-Ojuelegba road; LASU-Iba road, Ojo; Ajah-Badore road, Eti-Osa; Oba Sekumade Road, Ikorodu; Adetokunbo Ademola Road; Victoria Island and the ongoing modernisation of the Lagos-Epe Expressway as the largest concessioneering project of its size and complexity in Africa. In any case, has the National Assembly not been perpetually at war with the Jonathan administration over abysmally poor budgetary performance? If Dr. Doyin Okupe cares to educate himself, he will discover that the Tinubu administration constructed over 6000 housing units. These include the Abraham Adesanya Estate, Ajah; Ibeshe low-income housing scheme; Oba Adeyinka Oyekan Estate, Lekki; Ayangburen Estate, Phase 2, Ikorodu; Gbagada Medium Housing Scheme; Amuwo-Odofin Housing Scheme; Abraham Adesanya Estate, Phase 2; Ojokoro Millenium Housing Scheme; Alaagba Low-income Housing Scheme, OkeEletu and Oko Oba Low-Income Housing Schemes. The administration built new General Hospitals at Mushin, Shomolu, Ibeju-Lekki and IsheriIba as well as upgrading existing health centres to full-fledged hospitals at Ijede, Ketu, Agbowa and Agege. This was in addition to upgrading the buildings and facilities at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to international standard as well as rehabilitating and expanding old General Hospitals in Lagos, Gbagada, Epe, Isolo, Ikorodu, Badagry, Agege and the Island Maternity Hospital. Only recently, Okupe’s boss, President Goodluck Jonathan, was the special guest of honour at the inauguration of the Eko Atlantic City project. He heaped high praise on the venture – a brainchild of the Tinubu administration. The Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) is another outstanding success story. It continues to convey millions of commuters from one point to the other daily. That was another conception of the Tinubu administration. Of course, we do not have sufficient space here to detail other achievements of the Tinubu administration. But I think I have said enough to cure Okupe of his wilful ignorance. If a solid foundation like that in Lagos had been laid at the federal level between 1999 and 2007, Nigeria would not be in today’s rot. On his exit in 2007, Tinubu identified a capable successor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who has elevated Lagos to new levels of developmental excellence. What have we had at the federal level? The Ota soldier-farmer-politician handed over to a physically incapacitated successor and with his passing a former “shoeless” school boy who is completely clueless about handling the affairs of a complex polity like Nigeria. Lagos offers a sterling example of Nigeria’s transformative possibilities. A thousand Okupes cannot hide that fact.

Ade Ojeikere on Saturday talk2adeojeikere@yahoo.com 08111813079 - sms only

After Ekeji what next?

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HERE is muted celebration in Abuja. Reason: The Director of Sports Dr. Patrick Ekeji has resigned. There will be peace in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), many have whispered into my ears. A fighter, Ekeji took swift decisions, although many of such decisions would have been better applied if he had reflected on them. One thing Ekeji had going for him was the ability to consult widely. But he perished the gains of such exercises by refusing to accept discerning views from those he hitherto sought ideas from. They became pariahs. And the lickspittles around him fed him with lies that created gaps between him and his former allies. Ekeji’s failure to attain the heights where he would have celebrated today was because he fought other people’s battles. This distraction ensured that his task of instituting an enduring template for sports became a mirage. He was very firm. He was not scared to ruffle feathers. He left the NSC fulfilled, despite the fact that Nigeria finished without a medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games,

not for the first time. It is to Ekeji’s credit that our athletes enjoyed one of the best welfare packages at the 2003 All Africa Games which Nigeria hosted and won. But he was sent to the Federal Ministry of Planning and Statistics after the Games. Team Nigeria project ensured that sports federations had good vehicles for their athletes. Some of the vehicles are rickety now; others are being used by staff of the federations and the NSC to take guests to parties, churches and funerals while athletes trek home after training. Many who didn’t interact closely with Ekeji, like Amos Adamu, see him as the problem with our sport. They felt that Ekeji didn’t know the solutions to all the problems. Ekeji left good things behind that we must build on. But it is the proper constitution of the sports federations that would inject the new approach for the industry here. We must ensure that those federations that didn’t organise credible competitions in the last terms are shown the way out. Those federations with dictator chairmen who were cogs should be sacked. The number of mem-

bers should be reduced to seven; one each from the six-geo-political zones. There should be task-driven chairmen, not estacode seekers. Frankly speaking, all the sports federations are too unwieldy. One was shocked during the registration for the 2012 London Olympic Games seeing more board members being accredited than the athletes. We must stop those chairmen and members who use these platforms to contest elections into continental and international bodies, albeit to entrench themselves in such federations. Little wonder we have instances where federation members attend competitions where their athletes don’t. You ask: of what use is such an exercise, if the primary targets- the athletes - don’t benefit from their positions in these sporting bodies? Officials don’t win laurels; athletes do. I would love to recall what happened during the Presidential Sports Retreat earlier this year in Abuja. Former Super Eagles Chief Coach Adegboye Onigbinde, Soccerstar Editor Kunle Solaja and I were placed in one of the study groups. We met, like others, and agreed on points that would change the par-

ticular sport. In fact, what we agreed was read to us for amendments, which we did. Surprisingly, when our study group addressed the congregation, he reeled out what was not said during the session. And that was the general complaint from other groups - The chairmen’s interests taking the centre stage against wise counsel. This is the major problem with sports development. We have chairmen who run the federations like cults. They subordinate members, create camps and effectively ruin the place by running the federations from their homes and offices. Indeed, in re-assembling the federations, any person who has spent two terms of four years should leave the place for others to make their contributions. Those who are in continental and international federations shouldn’t be allowed into the federations, if such a body has not organised enough tournaments to keep their athletes in good shape in the last regime. Ekeji introduced the concessioning of sports federations under the PPP arrangement. We need to look at what they achieved. We also need to re-jig the workings of such concessioned sports federations to make them more viable. We must change the modalities under which the last arrangement was made.

•Continued on Page 62

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THE NATION SATURDAY 27, APRIL 2013