Page 1

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

EFCC stops trial of four subsidy suspects

Akingbola to pay Access N164b


Page 8

•Agency says charges filed in error

•London court rules


Page 8

VOL. 7, NO. 2204 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1, 2012



Budget: Senators join Reps in battle against Jonathan Okonjo-Iweala’s absence at session sparks anger


INANCE Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was under fire yesterday at the Senate. The Coordinating Minister for the Economy was absent at a session on the budget’s implementation. She is to appear before the Senate tomorrow to explain reasons for the non implementation of the 2012 Appropriation Act – the heart of the House’s threat to launch impeachment proceedings against President Goodluck Jonathan. Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who chaired yesterday’s aborted interactive session on the implementation of the Appropriation Act 2012, spoke of the Senate’s worry about the “poor implementation” of the budget. Appropriation Committee chair Senator Ahmed Maccido, who flagged off the short meeting, noted that the session was to “clear doubts and put records straight as well as to know what might have constituted a hindrance to the implementation of the


From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

2012 budget and how it should be corrected”. Maccido said that the Senate was at a loss on the level of performance of the 2012 Appropriation Act and desired to know what the problem was. He said that Mrs. OkonjoIweala told Nigerians that the 2012 budget performance is 56 per cent but that records indicated a performance level of 21.56 per cent. Ekweremadu underscored the displeasure of the Senate Continued on Page 2


N1.5trn N401b N324b N184b

•The capital budget •Capital allocation released as at July 20

•Amount cash-backed

•The widow and children of Mr. Istifanus Mutihir, who died in the June 3 Dana Air crash at an interdenominational service held for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) officials involved in the crash in Abuja...yesterday. Story on Page 2

•Amount utilised as at July 20

We attacked Sambo’s home, says Boko Haram •Police hold two suspects From Yusuf Alli, Abuja and Tony Akowe, Kaduna


OKO Haram (Western education is sin) yesterday claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack on the family house of Vice President Namadi Sambo in Tundun Wada, Zaria. The sect also said it was behind the explosions in Sokoto, also on Monday and the recent attacks in Bauchi, Bauchi Continued on Page 2

•Relations of the victims (from left) Mrs Halima Yusuf, Mr Ishaya Ganya and Kaka Senchi ...yesterday. PHOTOS: AKIN OLADOKUN




NEWS We attacked Sambo’s house, says Boko Haram Continued from Page 1

•Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi speaking at the Nigeria Business and Investment Summit, titled: “New World Nigeria - The World’s Most Vibrant Market,” organised by the Bank of Industry at the Dorchester Hotel, London, United Kingdom...yesterday. Listening are Managing Partner/CEO, Nubuke Investment (UK) Mr Tutu Agyare (left) and Chairman, Etisalat, Hakeen Bello- Osagie

I complained about the crashed Dana plane, says Sanusi


HE headquarters of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was yesterday enveloped in gloom as families, friends and colleagues of the eight CBN officials who died in the Dana airplane crash of June 3 gathered for a memorial service in their honour. Emotions ran high when CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi told the gathering that he boarded the same plane a few days before the crash and, along with other passengers, complained about the poor state of the aircraft. Some family members of the deceased and CBN officials could not hold back tears. They wept profusely. Sanusi, whose cousin died in the crash, described the day of the crash as “a very sad day”. According to him, “every Nigerian was touched in a much more profound way. I have a memory of that evening that

From Nduka Chiejina, Abuja and Adebisi Onanuga

will live forever because I lost a cousin on that flight.” Though nothing was done after he raised the alarm on the state of the aircraft, he resigned to fate by saying that “things like this remind us of how transient life is because any of us in this room could have died from such circumstance”. “I was on that plane a few days earlier and I remember that I complained about the condition of that plane. I was not the only one that complained; other people who flew the plane also said the aircraft wasn’t good.” Sanusi said air disasters should serve as “a great lesson to us and should make us understand that every time we spend with our wife, husband, daughters and sons could be our last with them.” While he thanked God for

the lives of the departed CBN colleagues and close family members of employees who also died in the crash, Sanusi prayed that “those assigned with great responsibilities should be able to live up to their expectations.” The eight officials on board the ill-fated Dana Boeing MD83 flight on their way to Lagos to attend a course for bank examiners at the CBN Training School, were Mr. Amiaka Rapheal (Senior Manager); Mrs. Antoniah Attuh (Senior Manager); Mr. Bamaiyi Adamu (Assistant Manager); Mrs. Falmata Mohammed (Assistant Director); Mr. Ibrahim Yusuf (Principal Manager); Mr. Kim Norris (Special Adviser to the Governor on Banking Supervision); Mr. Istifanus Mutihir (Deputy Director); and Mr. Samuel Mbong (Senior Manager). Apart from them, four oth-

er CBN workers also lost their loved ones to the crash. During the coroner’s inquest into the crash in Lagos, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, was yesterday told of the last 15 minutes of the ill- fated plane before it crashed at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos. A witness, Mr. Rafiq Olubukola Arogunjo, an Air Traffic Controller with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) related to the coroner details of his discussions with the pilot of the ill-fated airline before the crash. Arogunjo said he received a distress call from the pilot at(14.42 UTC- universal time coordinate)3.42p.m. local time and that three minutes after, the aircraft went off the radar. He said when he got the distress call, the plane was at 11 NM (nautical miles) to touch Continued on Page 57

State, Maiduguri, Borno State and Damaturu in Yobe State. The group warned Christians and informants to the security agencies, saying the sect would attack any government functionaries, security agents, Christians and anyone who pretends to be a Muslim. “We want to stress that in our struggle, we only kill government functionaries, security agents, Christians and anyone who pretends to be a Muslim but engage in assisting security agents to arrest us,” a statement by the group said. A statement sent to reporters in Maiduguri yesterday evening believed to be authored by the sect spokesman, Abu Qaqa, also claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks in Sokoto, Zaria and Damaturu. The statement reads: “All praises go to Almighty Allah. This is a very important message from the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad. We wish to extend our profound gratitude to Almighty Allah for giving us the opportunity to fulfill the promise we made on launching spontaneous attacks in Sokoto. “We have reasons for all our activities and we only kill those who wronged us. We attacked Sokoto because many of our brethren have been incarcerated there. We are gladdened by the successes we recorded at the office of the AIG in Marina and the police divisional office at Unguwan Rogo as well as the police station at Arkila. “We wish to reiterate that our crusade is not for personal gain; it is meant to ensure the establishment of an Islamic state by liberating all Muslims from the excesses of the infidels. We strongly believe that Almighty Allah will reward us with his famous paradise in the

hereafter as he rightly said in chapter 9 verse 111 of the Holy Qur’an “We wish to strongly warn people to desist from collaborating with security agents. The fact is that we are the warriors of the Almighty and even the security forces are finding it difficult to contain our activities. We want to stress that in our struggle, we only kill government functionaries, security agents, Christians and anyone who pretends to be a Muslim but engage in assisting security agents to arrest us “We are also aware of the activities of some women who have been recruited to spy on us. This is a final warning to all of them. Whenever we catch any woman spying on us, we would slaughter her like a ram. “We are responsible for the attacks in Bauchi and at the residence of Namadi Sambo in Zaria as well as the one in Damaturu where we bombed a patrol vehicle. “We equally dealt a big blow on JTF operatives in Maiduguri who, out of frustration went back and killed innocent and defenseless citizens. “It is erroneous to say that we are killing Muslims. We don’t kill innocent Muslims. The fact is the bottom line of our struggle is to set the Muslims free from enslavement. We only kill the unbelievers. Security agencies yesterday began a probe into the motive for Monday’s attack on the family home of Vice President Sambo in Zaria. Monday’s attack on the house - the second such atContinued on Page 57

Budget: Senate joins Reps in battle against Jonathan Continued from Page 1

over the minister’s absence at the meeting. For the Deputy Senate President, nothing could have been more important to the Minister than coming to explain to Nigerians how far the budget has fared. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, he said, should have appreciated the fact that she was invited not for a family affair but for a serious business. He noted that the minister had failed twice to honour Senate’s invitation on budget implementation. Ekweremadu mandated the joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance to ensure that Mrs. OkonjoIweala appeared before it tomorrow even if it meant summoning her. Some Senators shouted that a warrant of arrest should be issued immediately against the Minister. He said: “We are here to have a public hearing on the performance of the 2012 budget. “This is supposed to include the degree of releases to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the degree of utilisation by MDAs. “It is not a family meeting; it is a very serious business.

“We had expected the Coordinating Minister and Minister of Finance to be here today because she is central to all that we are going to discuss today. “As our Chairman on Appropriation mentioned; this matter was supposed to have been discussed last week Thursday. The minister was absent and we learnt she went to Asaba to declare open the SURE- programme. “We consider our meeting with her on the issue that has to do with budget implementation to be more important than any other assignment. “Today, we have also been told she has gone to London to represent the President at an investment forum of which we know there are other ministers and government officials that could have gone and done that to enable her to be here with us this afternoon. “So it is regrettable that she is not here. “I recall that when the 2012 budget was presented to us as a draft Bill, we in the National Assembly decided that we are going to do everything possible to send it back to the Executive the way it came so that there will be no argument of whether it will be implemented or not. “Over the years, we’ve had

this issue of non-implementation of the budget and the reason they usually give revolves around the area of National Assembly input. “So, we decided we are going to make minimal input if anything at all. On the basis of this, we returned the budget basically the way it came. “Even when we criticised some areas of which some adjustments needed to be made, we had to bend over at the risk of being accused of tampering with the budget. “We had to do that to ensure that they received the budget the way and manner they wanted so that implementation will be easier. Unfortunately, the level of implementation has been anything less than commendable and that is why we are worried. “As we read from the papers what they have not implemented is what they considered the tinkering by the National Assembly. What we had wanted to do today is to hear from the Executive what those tinkering are. Let the people of Nigeria hear exactly what the National Assembly did to the budget that made it impossible for it to be implemented. “It is not enough for the Executive or the Ministry of Finance to accuse the National

Assembly of tampering the budget that made it impossible to be implemented and then the National Assembly is saying, no we did not do anything. “We decided on a situation where the press will be the arbiter and then they will listen to us and listen to the Executive to know if we did anything. “If there are such areas the Nigerian public will hear. And if they ask for response from the National Assembly our appropriate committees will also respond. “Now the stage is set but the Minister is not here and we are worried about it. It is absolutely impossible for us to continue this dialogue in the absence of the Minister. “I have discussed with my colleagues and what we are going to do is to allow our committee on Appropriation to look for an appropriate date, possibly by Thursday, and ensure that the Minister comes, even if it means summoning her to ensure that she appears before the committee to tell Nigerians the degree of releases and, of course, for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to tell Nigerians the degree of utilisation. “It is not just enough that releases were made but we want

to see the releases and then utilisation. We want to see a situation where those releases and utilization are impacting on the lives of Nigerians. We want to see roads being worked on; we want to see the water projects going on. We want to see electricity projects going on. “We appropriated about N900billion for the security situation in the country. We want to see whether these monies have been released and we want to see the desired impact of the utilisation in Kano , in Sokoto, in Kaduna , in Yobe and all the northern parts of Nigeria . “That is exactly what we thought this public hearing will afford us all today. But now we are disappointed that it is not going to take place. “I have the mandate of my colleagues to adjourn this public hearing to enable the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister to show up. “And as I said, the chairman of the committee should take necessary steps, including, if possible, summoning the minister to show up before the Senate Committee on Appropriation and other relevant committees by Thursday this week.” A document obtained by our correspondent on the 2012 Capital budget performance as at 20th July, 2012 showed that out of N1,519,986,106,691.00, 2012 Capital Allocation, total releas-

•Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala

es is N401,648,460,791; Amount cash backed is N324,556,851,948; Utilisation is N184,848,092,533. According to the document, “The performance of 56.95 per cent as indicated by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation is the percentage of amount utilised (N184bn) of the amount cash backed(N324bn) as at 20th July, 2012 not of the entire capital budget. “The actual utilization of N184 billion against the total capital budget of N1.5 trillion is 12.16 per cent.” At the aborted meeting were Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Minister of State for Finance Yerima Ngama and Minister of Transport Senator Idris Umar.

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






‘Life is grim, painful, Abandoned by Cameroun, not properly settled by Nigeria, the displaced people of Bakassi are despondent and desperate, five years after the Federal Government began pulling out the soldiers from the peninsula ____ in line with the International Court of Justice’s ruling. The Chairman, Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, spoke with JOSEPH JIBUEZE on the plight of the troubled people. You have visited Bakassi a number of times. What was the experience like? Bakassi is a painful place to go to. I’ve been there on more than one occasion recently. The area that we lost to Cameroun comprises at least ten coastal and fishing settlements on the maritime boundary between Nigeria and Cameroun, now in the Kombo Abedimo sub-division as well as the communities in the Isangele, Kombo Itindi and Idabato subdivisions in the Ndian Division of South-West Cameroon namely, just across the water from Ikang in Cross-River State. The fishing settlements include Akwa 1; Akwa II; Mbenmong (Akwa III); Nwanyo (Akwa IV); Atak-Erat; Nkakaba; Nkanekure; Kombo Abedimo 1; and Kombo Abedimo II. Life in these places is harrowing. There are no cars. The nearest city in Cameroun (Mudemba) is about three hours away by the quickest means of transport (motorbikes). The only commerce really is with Ikang in CrossRiver State, some 25 minutes boat ride across the riparian boundary on the Akwayabe River. There are two market days on Mondays and Friday. There is malnutrition still among the children. The adults don’t know which country they belong to. Bakassi has few educated youths. Life is grim and the prospects for its young people are not inspiring. It seems to me the settlement should have included a jointly agreed and funded project for the economic re-generation and development of the place and its people. How this was not thought of I cannot fathom. The House of Representatives recently advised the Federal Government to file a fresh process for the review of the International Court of Justice judgment which ceded the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun in 2002. Do you think this is realistic? It’s a welcome development that the House has found time and attention for the Bakassi situation. But it is coming nearly 10 years too late. The tectonics has changed. It is true that the ICJ can interpret its decision under its statutes. However, there is no precedent and there are unlikely to be any basis for the kind of request that the Honorable members seek to have the country contemplate. Several things are important here. It is important to understand the context. The ICJ’s judgment in the Bakassi case doesn’t just affect Bakassi. It affects Nigeria’s entire eastern boundary with Cameroun from the Atlantic in the South to the Lake Chad in the North. In some cases, we lost territory; in others we actually gained territory. In the period since the judgment, Nigeria has undertaken far reaching acts of implementation and compliance, the Green Tree Agreement is only one affecting only Bakassi.

What are these acts?

There has also been far reaching delimitation of the eastern boundaries of Nigeria under UN auspices and involving both countries and international expertise. Assuming it were

possible to do so – and I don’t think it is - going back to the ICJ now means turning all these things back and consigning all the resources that have been deployed for this purpose to waste. It wouldn’t be law or justice. It’ll be worse than a fool’s errand. Moreover, the changed situation since the judgment includes the fact that Nigeria has agreed through its highest executive sovereign authority to comply with the decision and has taken the hugely significant step of pulling its troops out of Bakassi. We have staked huge international reputation through these processes. If we were to go back to the Court now, we would look worse than duplicitous – our word would be worth nothing in the committee of nations. Some Bakassi returnees protested at the National Assembly. What can the government do to remedy their situation? I don’t subscribe to the notion of “Bakassi returnees”. They are Nigerians. They were not exiled to Bakassi. They protested before the legislature of their country as they are entitled under our laws to do. What can the government do about the situation? I think they were sold short in the Green Tree Agreement. In Green Tree, Nigeria agrees to recognise Cameroon’s sovereignty over Bakassi and to withdraw its troops from the territory. In return, Cameroon guarantees those living there “the exercise of the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in international human rights law and in other relevant provisions of international law.” Are the guarantees adequate? In particular, Cameroun undertook not to compel Nigerian nationals to leave the area or to change their nationality. Cameroun also agreed to respect their culture, language, beliefs; protect their property and customary land rights, and ‘take every necessary measure to protect Nigerian nationals living in the zone from harassment or harm.’ In reality, these guarantees from Cameroun are inadequate. It makes the Nigerians effectively stateless in situ. They do not automatically gain access to the nationality of Cameroun and they become aliens in Nigeria. This was foreseeable and should have been addressed. One way would have been to make them dual nationals of both Cameroun and Nigeria. Of course, Cameroun does not recognise dual nationality currently while Nigeria does. But that could have been achieved by negotiation or arbitration, if we set our minds to it. Can Nigeria ride on Article 61 of the ICJ Statute which provides that its judgment could be overturned whenever new facts emerged to secure a favorable review? Those who wish to do so can go and try. I suspect, as I said earlier, it would be worse than a fool’s errand. The ICJ is not some black-market Nigerian institution of someone’s fantasy where you can go, pay and get whatever orders you wish.


The ICJ’s judgment in the Bakassi case doesn’t just affect Bakassi. It affects Nigeria’s entire eastern boundary with Cameroun from the Atlantic in the South to the Lake Chad in the North. In some cases, we lost territory; in others we actually gained territory

• A statement by the late Winston Churchill adopted by the Bakassi people as their creed

A people in search of a place to call home The displaced people of Bakassi have no home to call theirs, thus living as refugees, reports NICHOLAS KALU (Calabar)


F they are to be properly resettled, about 3, 000 housing units are needed. Today marks five years after the Army started pulling out of Bakassi in line with a judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), yet only 208 of these housing units are in place. And to make matters worse, they are not even allowed the use of these units. They are abandoned. Their experience has made an average Bakassi people lose faith in the country’s leadership. No thanks to promises made but not fulfilled for one excuse or the other. Cross River State Commissioner for Information, Mr Akin Ricketts, believes the anger of the Bakassi people is not misplaced. Ricketts told The Nation that the people have been left to their own fate. He said: “The powers that be have not considered stepping into this pre-

carious situation. Cross River is on its own. They have been left to their own fate. This is not what was expected after the ceding to Cameroun. They were promised they would be resettled and assisted to go back to their normal conditions and ways. They were just thrown to the dogs, so to speak. So, they actually have the right to be angry. ” The chairman of Bakassi Local Government, Dr Ekpo Ekpo Bassey, said the people have been going through pains since the ceding of their ancestral home. Bassey said: “Our people were assured that the exercise would be painless, but we thought that we could believe them. Now we have seen ourselves being at the receiving end. It has even been more painful than ever.” Really, the government has not totally left the people alone. After the

ICJ ceded the peninsular to Cameroun, it carved out three wards from Ikang, Akpabuyo Local Government Area to create a new Bakassi, backing it with the Law 7 of 2007 of the House of Assembly. Some housing units were built in the new Bakassi. By February 2009, the state government allotted 208 housing units to some of the displaced Nigerians from Bakassi at an elaborate ceremony. The ceremony was supposed to mark the end of the first phase of the resettlement programme. The gesture was intended to alleviate the problem of resettling Nigerians who lost their ancestral home to Cameroun. However, up till now, the essence of the housing scheme appears defeated as none of the houses has been occupied. Weeds have taken over the area. A source said the resettlement plan was not well-thought out. He said: “It




uninspiring in Bakassi’ ‘Why Reps want dispute revisited’ Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Rules and Business, Alber Sam-Tsokwa, spoke with DELE ANOFI on why the House wants the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula revisited. The ICJ judgment

Though the judgment does not affect Taraba State adversely but as it affects Bakassi, inadvertently, it affects the entire Nigerian society because the implication is that we are ceding almost a local government, with its people and economic resources. More importantly the consent of this people was not taken into consideration in addition to the fact that the Green Tree Agreement was not domesticated. As we speak, the agreement on which the ceding was predicated was never ratified by the National Assembly as required by Section 12 of the constitution.

Lack of ratification

• Dr.Edet

With no ratification by the National Assembly makes the implementation of the agreement by any government unconstitutional, so the implementation of that agreement amounts to an unconstitutional act by the then government. If we have to take into cognizance of the fact that both the President and members of the National Assembly sworn to uphold the constitution, therefore, for he National Assembly to sit back and allow an unconstitutional act being carried out is contrary to our oath of office.

Renewed call for review

• Bassey

Again, Article 61 of the Statue of ICJ recognizes the fact that the judgement of the court may be faulty given a particular situation. So, Article 61 provides for application for the review of the judgment within 10 years whether the affected country is in possession of new facts. Currently, the Cross Rivers State Government, House of

It’s a lost battle, say lawyers By Precious Igbonwelundu


ENIOR lawyers have said any attempt to reclaim the Bakassi Peninsular from Cameroun will fail, unless the country can prove that fresh facts have emerged since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) gave its ruling. Those who spoke with The Nation include Justice B.F. Molokwu, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe and Mr. Norrison Quakers, both senior advocates of Nigeria (SAN). They said there is nothing the country can do under the law having submitted to the judgment of the ICJ. Molokwu said the Bakassi Peninsula was under International Maritime Law, adding that Nigeria cannot appeal the decision of the ICJ having yielded to it in the first place. Fagbohungbe said Nigeria accepted the judgment and handed over the Peninsula to Cameroun. He said: “So, nothing can be done at the moment, unless we can prove that fresh facts have emanated. We cannot do anything because we did not protest against the judgment, when it was given. If we were not happy, we would have rejected the judgment at that time. “It is too late to take any decision now because the government of Olusegun Obasanjo even constituted a committee to hand over the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun. So, any step we take now is likely to be resisted by the Camerounians.” For Quakers, Nigeria is bound by the decision of the ICJ and it is a herculean task to even think of reopening the case peradventure there are fresh facts. He said: “There are two ways we can address the issue as a nation which are legal and political approaches. Legally, we cannot appeal the judgment of the ICJ, it is final. We can only go back to the ICJ under fresh facts and plead with the court to reopen the case, and we should also know that the Camerounians will not fold their arms, so it is going to be a tough battle.” Politically, Quakers said Nigeria can resort to negotiated settlement with Cameroun even as he pointed that both governments can come to a kind of agreement that will be sealed. Assembly and the people of Bakasi Peninsula are agitating that they are in possession of new facts from which they want the judgment re-

My people should’ve been resettled in Day Spring Island, says Ita-Giwa

FORMER member of the National Assembly and indigene of Bakassi, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, has said the people of the area should be resettled in Day Spring Island, the only part of the area not ceded to Cameroun. She said it was wrong to have re-

settled them in Ikang, when there is an area of the peninsular not ceded to Cameroun. Ita-Giwa said: “Is it not also puzzling that my people were ordered to be resettled in a place called Ikang which in itself is a part of the existing Akapabuyo LGA, when the only portion of Bakassi not ceded to Cameroon called Day Spring Island was available to us for resettlement. “During the last general elections, the INEC Resident electoral commissioner rightly refused to carry out voter registration and verification in Ikang for Bakassi indigenes because, according to him, the voter’s list he had listed wards named after our ancestral homes and not Ikang. “At great personal expense, I moved my people who were squatting all over Southern Cross River State and even some who stayed behind in Cameroon to the only

constitutionally recognised piece of Bakassi land within Nigerian Territory called Day Spring Island for registration. “Eventually, they all voted in the State Assembly elections, National Assembly elections, and Presidential elections all from Day Spring. Come time for the governorship elections, a strange injunction bearing the names of fake Bakassi indigenes as plaintiffs was served on us on the eve of the election after we had expended tremendous amount of money to move our people to Day Spring Island to vote. “I led my disappointed people to protest in Calabar. I am very sad that my paramount ruler was humiliated and threatened with exile because of his principled support for the registration of voters and the eventual voting that took place in Day Spring Island.”

is just not about building houses for these people. These persons had a way of life before. The displaced persons are even more worried about how they would source for their means of livelihood than where they would lay their heads. Uprooting them from their natu-

ral habitat, which is the river, where they earn their bread as fishermen to dry land poses a new kind of problem on its own.” Beyond this, the returnees feel uncomfortable being lumped with the Ikang people. This is why a

group of Bakassi people led by Senator Florence Ita-Giwa believes a place called Dayspring, which they claim is a remaining portion of the land that was ceded to Cameroun, is the appropriate place to resettle them.



viewed. That is why the House of Representatives has called on Mr. President to direct the Attorney General of the Federation to apply

for the review and once that is done then further implementation of that judgment will be stayed for proper arrangement of what should be done in the interval. As we speak now there is discontentment in Bakassi and there is an unrest in the offing and unless we stand up and take urgent steps, the bridge of the peace in Bakassi will not only affect Bakassi will affect the entire country. In essence, what is happening in Bakassi, nobody should fool himself that it is just a Bakassi problem. This is an issue that affects the entire country and as a nation, we have to rise to the occasion. One would not want to dabble into some other things but there were so many things wrong with the manner with which some people push Nigeria into Green Tree Agreement. But we thank God that Agreement was not ratified by the National Assembly.

11th hour clamour for the review

It is the power that be. It is like some people have special interest to protect and that was why they did not listen even when the former President was rushing to go into the Green Tree Agreement, there were forces against it. But we believe that President Jonathan is a President of the people and a listening President because he knows that he enjoys tremendous support of Nigerians, including Bakassi people, that is why we are pretty sure that he will not sit back and watch his own people suffer. So, we are calling for the review because we believe President Jonathan will do the right thing.

‘Obasanjo should’ve been impeached’ The Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, Dr Etim Okon Edet, spoke with NICHOLAS KALU


HAT is your position on the recent clamour for a review of the ICJ judg-

ment? If the National Assembly is saying that there was no ceding ab initio, it therefore means the people are occupying that place illegally. I don’t know why they did not impeach Obasanjo for proceeding to cede that place without recourse to the National Assembly. That was an impeachable offence, giving out the territory illegally. He can still be recalled to answer some questions. He should be recalled. In fact principally, I want to National Assembly to set up a committee to probe the Bakassi resettlement programme, to probe the Bakassi ceding – the pre and post arrangements. Let them set up a committee and invite people for public hearings. Invite Obasanjo to come, Yakubu Gowon and others to come. They should come people to come and testify so Nigerians would know all the secret behind all these problems the Bakassi people who are Nigeria are facing. But there is a housing project in

Ikang for the returnees? That was not relocation. That was a refugee camp. Those buildings were to serve as refugee camps, not resettlement programme. When you are resettling a people, you are lifting them from a former place to a new place with all the facilities, like in this case, with all the traditional institutions, political institutions, more so a local government. It is not just one place or one village, but a local government entrenched in the constitution. Proper resettlement would have been to lift them as Obasanjo promised with all those paraphernalia and put them somewhere and give them a new handwork. The people are predominantly fishermen. That they have not done. They just came and built houses and asked the people to stay there. Who is their village head there, who is their paramount ruler in that estate? That is not resettlement. So they have not done resettlement yet, almost ten years after the ceding. If you go there, you won’t see one Bakassi person there. So, it is very painful. So anybody can do anything.




08033054340, 08034699757 E-mail:-

Rotarians urged to be role models THE District Governor of Rotary Club International District 9110, Nigeria, Rotarian. Kamoru Omotosho, has urged Rotarians to be role models in the society. Speaking when he visited the Rotary Club of Lagos Central, he said people expected a lot from Rotarians. He said: “In Rotary Club, our standard is very high. People expect us to be men and women of integrity. They expect us to be decorous. We have to be cautious in our interaction with them so that they will not be disappointed. “I enjoin members of the Rotary Club Lagos Central, one of the oldest Rotary Clubs in Lagos State, to maintain high standard in all their endeavours. We are a mirror in the society. People are watching us. We have to be very careful so that we will not fall short of the standard expected of us.” The President of Rotary Club of Lagos Central, Rotarian Kunle Adedeji, said: “We have a lot of goodies for the people of this community. We intend to build on the achievements of past administrations. We shall sink boreholes and provide amenities in schools and hospitals. We intend to make life conducive for the people of this community.” He said there were plans to boost the membership of the club during his tenure, adding that at present Rotary Club of Lagos Central have 28 men and one woman.

Editor’s car recovered BARELY 48 hours after it was snatched, the car of Editor of the Nigerian Compass, Gabriel Akinadewo was recovered yesterday. The Toyota Avensis was abandoned by the robbers at Kollington Bus Stop, Alagbado on Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway. Policemen moved the car to the Alakuko Police Station and later to Alausa Police Station where it was released to Akinadewo.

Igbo in Badagry to ‘eat’ new yam By Joseph Jibueze

NDI IGBO in Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State will on Saturday celebrate the yearly Igbo New Yam Festival at the New Africa College, Mowo, Badagry. Eze Ndi Igbo of Badagry Chief Michael Uchegbu said the theme of the event is: Oji ruo ulo, akowa ebe osiri bia; ego anyi kpatara ga eru ulo (When kolanut reaches home, we tell where it came from; the money we earn shall reach home).” The publications: Igbo Language Books 1-5 and Igbo Origin Revisited, written by Uchegbu, a lawyer and chartered accountant, will be launched at the event.

Lawmakers task governor on law By Oziegbe Okoeki

MEMBERS of the Lagos State House of Assembly have called on Governor Babatunde Fashola, to direct the appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agenceis (MDAs) to publicise the penalties contained in the road traffic law he is expected to sign tomorrow. Presenting the motion on Monday, Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu Constituency 1) said motorists private vehicle owners, and motor bike riders (okada), recklessly use the roads. He said new traffic offences had been created and the penalties raised in order to deter offenders and create sanity on the roads. He said the changes made to the law would remain unknown to those whose conducts are intended to be regulated by it unless its provisions are well publicised.

•Some of the duped victims


Suspected fake Air Nigeria worker charged with defrauding applicants A 37-year-old man, Ezekiel Eledu, has been charged before an Ejigbo Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, with allegedly defrauding 41 job seekers. Eledu, from Delta State, allegedly claimed to be an employee of Air Nigeria Plc, with the management’s mandate to offer job seekers employment. The accused was alleged to have defrauded his victims of millions of naira under the pretence of getting them jobs at the airline. He pleaded not guilty to the sixcount charge of forgery, stealing and fraud.

By Precious Igbonwelundu

The offences are said to have contravened Sections 323, 361, 278 and 312 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011. The victims, who besieged the court premises, said the accused advertised that the company was employing and asked them to part with some money to enable them secure employment. He allegedly duped them of N1.2 million. “He told us that he had the mandate of the management to employ workers,

but a prospective job seeker must pay a certain amount,” said a victim. Some of the victims include, Sunday Marvin; Alen Tina; Samuel Adebayo and Anozie Esther. Others are Iloba Felix, Osagie Francis and Essiet Regina who gave him N270, 000. The accused was said to have given them employment letters with forged Air Nigeria’s letterhead. The lid was blown open when some victims went to Air Nigeria to enquire why they were employed and posted to Sokoto State at a time

when the North is under Boko Haram attacks. They said they were told by the management that no such vacancy existed. The victims took their complaints to Ikotun Police Station following which the accused was arrested and charged to court. Presiding Magistrate Mrs M. B. Folami granted the accused N700,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum. The sureties, she said, must show evidence of means of livelihood and payment of tax. She adjourned the matter till August 22.

Fashola advocates greater attention to technical education


AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola has said the nation’s economy would witness a major boost, if the government focuses on vocational education. He spoke yesterday at the graduation held at the Government Technical College (GTC), Agidingbi, Ikeja, for about 6,467 students, who finished a three-year training from the five Government Technical Colleges across the state. Fashola, who described the event as a massive boost to vocational education in the state, assured of his administration’s commitment to giving priority to vocational training and skill acquisition. He said the huge investment in such training was to reduce the unemployment gap in the society, stressing that

By Miriam Ndikanwu

technical skills formed an important components needed to upgrade and maintain the country’s infrastructure. Lamenting the trend that foreign technicians were fast taking over jobs in Nigeria, he urged the graduands to be disciplined and put the skills and training garnered into use not only to benefit themselves but also the society. Fashola who later presented the graduands with their certificates however urged them not relent in furthering their education up to university level, saying it will improve on their capacity and horizon to be relevant in the scheme of things. Earlier Fashola who also commissioned an ultra-modern Engineering Academy at the GTC

Agidingbi, Ikeja expressed optimism that it will go a long way to impact on the technical and engineering skills of youths in the state. He said the Academy was a brain child of the State government and a Korean firm, Samsung Electronics Company, equipped with state of the art cutting edge training technology gadgets to train Nigerian youths in electrical, electronic, air-condition maintenance and other households appliances. He said the significance of the Engineering Academy was because it is the third in Africa and the first of its kind in West Africa. “This is the first in West Africa and the significance is that the reality of this means that this is the third centre in the whole of Africa

after South Africa and Kenya. The difference here is that perhaps this is the strongest of the partnership that we have. It is the corporate response that we have put our money into this partnership, it’s a partnership where our money and our mouth is.” Earlier, the Managing Director of Samsung Electronics, West Africa, Mr. Nicholas Shin, said the Academy like its counterparts in Kenya and South Africa will after providing training, have present trainees with an opportunity to work in any of the company or become self employed. He said the Academy was part of the company vision of manpower development among youths in Africa who will be trained to maintain and service its range of products.

Driver gets six-year imprisonment for escaping from court


N Igbosere Magistrate’s Court, Lagos has sentenced a 28-year-old man to six and half years in prison for escaping from court. Chima Dick, a trailer driver, was said to have run away from at a Chief Magistrate’s Court on Lagos Island on December 17, 2010. Prosecuting Police Inspector Peter Nwangwu told the court that Chima escaped while he was in lawful custody of the Prison authority; an offence which contravened Section 135 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State, 2003. He said the suspect’s escape led to the arrest and detention of the Prison Warden on duty that fateful day. Nwangwu alleged that Chima went into hiding, but was rearrested in August 2011, by prison officials who pretended to be customers and needed his service. “He was then charged to court on one-count of escaping lawful

By Precious Igbonwelundu

custody on August 15, 2011 and he pleaded not guilty, but was not granted bail because the court was aware that he escaped custody. “After we have gone far in the trial and both witnesses have testified against him, he changed his plea,” Nwangwu said. The original matter, according to Nwangwu, was a case of N200 million worth of high density polyethylene loaded in the accused’s truck in March 2009, to be delivered to a Chinese firm, Shanghai Packaging Industries Limited, Sango-Ota, Ogun State. Chima was said to have disappeared with his truck loaded with 990 bags of 18 pallets high density polyethylene, property of Eke. “The complainant, who is into haulage business, contracted one Christian Uzorchukwu at Tin Can Island, Apapa, to supply six trucks to convey 40-foot containers to Sango-Ota.

“So, out of the six trucks, five delivered the goods at the company, but the accused, whose truck had the registration number XL519AJL did not deliver. “When the company did not see the driver, they contacted the complainant, who in turn contacted Christian to provide the suspect,” he said. According to Nwangwu, because the accused could not be located, Christian was arrested and charged to court at Tapa, while the complainant thinking the police at Trinity where the matter was originally lodged did not want to do a thorough job, petitioned the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police Zone 2. He said the matter was transferred to Zone 2 and it took more than one year before the accused, who went into hiding in Delta State, resurfaced and was arrested and charged to court on two counts of conspiracy and theft. The accused pleaded not guilty to the offence which contravened

Sections 516 and 390(9) of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State, 2003. Magistrate F.O. AbegundeDavies granted him N2 million bail with two sureties in the like sum. Magistrate Abegunde-Davies said she was disappointed that he pleaded not guilty having escaped from her own court. “Even if I wanted to be lenient with you, I cannot anymore, because you lied even before me. You made us go through the rigours of trials before you now decided to change your plea,” she said. She sentenced him to six-and ahalf years in prison with hard labour. She noted that his jail term should start counting from the date of first arraignment in the original case, adding that the trial on the main matter continues. The Magistrate ordered that the convict should always be produced from custody as she adjourned the case of conspiracy and theft to August 31.



NEWS N600m for Ekiti emergency service overhaul •Workers’ exam holds today • Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) (middle) welcoming the Consul-General, Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Mr Pilcheen Park, to the inauguration of Samsung Engineering Academy in Lagos...yesterday. With them are Managing Director, Samsung Electronics (West Africa), Mr Nicholas Shin (second left) and Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye.

10 groups join forces for Akeredolu’s victory


EN Yoruba groups in the North and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have teamed up for the victory of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate in the October 20 election in Ondo State, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN). The groups are: the Yoruba Awareness Forum (YAF), Ikale Political Network (IPN), Ile-Oluji Solidarity Forum (ISF), Idanre Youths for Positive Change (IYPC). Others are: the Coalition of Oka-Akoko Progressives (COAP), Ondo State Students for Good Governance (OSSGG), Ekimogun Political Alliance (EPA), Association of Concerned Transport Workers of Ondo State (ACTWOS) and Ilaje Progressive Association (IPA). Addressing reporters yes-

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

terday in Akure, the state capital, the Secretary-General of Yoruba Alliance for Aketi (YAA), Mr. Olusegun Folorunsho, said the groups have resolved to work together to ensure that Akeredolu becomes the governor. Other officers of the group are: Chief Babasola Familusi (President); Gbenga Ogundare (Coordinator); Adewole Meroyi (Vice-President); Chief Arowolo Adesanya (Treasurer) and Bidemi Akorede (Publicity Secretary), among others. The group hailed ACN National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for his political strength, particularly in Yorubaland. It noted that Tinubu’s political prowess is akin to that of late sage, Chief Obafemi

Awolowo. The group praised Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who is also the Grand Patron of the Alliance for Aketi, for his contribution to the growth of ACN in Ondo State. Its president, Chief Babasola Familusi, noted that Akeredolu was chosen because of his commitment to progressive ideas. He described ACN as a party of Yoruba at home and in the Diaspora. Familusi said the party’s achievements in Lagos, Edo, Ekiti, Osun and Oyo states must be replicated in Ondo State, the only oil producing state in the Southwest. The group’s president criticised Chief Olu Falae, whose son is a member of the ruling Labour Party (LP) administration in Ondo State, for comparing Governor Olusegun Mimiko with the late

Awolowo. He said: “What is the rationale behind the comparison, when it is on record that Awolowo kept religiously to his words that he would not challenge the 1983 election at the tribunal? “This is unlike Mimiko, who earlier said a single term was enough for a governor in the state, but now seeks a second term.” The group’s Secretary-General, Segun Folurunso, who is the publisher of Abuja Nationwide Express, berated Dr. Olu Agunloye for defecting to the LP. He said: “Agunloye’s action is inconsequential though with a moral burden…” Folorunso said the group would begin massive consultations to convince the residents on the need to vote for Akeredolu to become the next governor.

Ondo ex-militants ask Navy to vacate base


ORMER militants in Ondo State have given the Nigerian Navy two weeks to vacate their base in Igbokoda, Ilaje Local Government Area, following the alleged killing of six of their members last Sunday by the Navy. They spoke through their leaders, Dele Olaoluwa and Victor Semore, who are relatives of the deceased, Afro Medoye and Sina Ogono (aka Rambo). The former militants described the action of the Navy as barbaric and inhuman. They urged President

•Condemn killing of members Goodluck Jonathan to order the transfer of Naval officers in the area. Olaoluwa said: “We hereby give all naval officers operating in Igbokoda two weeks to vacate the area, or there will be a crisis.” Six former militants were allegedly shot dead by naval officers attached to the area when they wanted to enter the naval operational base, where an empowerment programme, organised by a House of Representatives member, Raphael

‘We hereby give all naval officers operating in Igbokoda two weeks to vacate the area, or there will be a crisis’ Nomiye, was to take place. It was learnt that an argument ensued between the

former militants and some naval officers, who opened fire. But police spokesman Adeniran Aremu said there is no need for the former militants to take the action. He said the command would resolve the face-off. Aremu said: “We have embarked on a process to solve the problem. We have begun community policing. Besides, we have made consultations with community leaders, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to ensure that the problem is resolved once and for all.”

Ekiti teachers on rural posting may get special allowance EACHERS posted to rural areas in Ekiti State may get a special allowance, the chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof. Modupe Adelabu, has said. He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that the government’s resolve to pay special allow-


ance to rural teachers was borne out of the need to appreciate the peculiarities associated with rural setting. She noted that though public service posting is a routine exercise, there is need to compensate teachers posted to rural areas because of the effect on dependants. Prof Adelabu said con-

trary to the impression in some quarters, the state government is teacher-friendly and ready to uplift the profession. She said 1,953 primary school teachers have been promoted, promising that others due for promotion would be accommodated in the next phase. The academic said the

government has designed a programme in which dilapidated structures in the state’s public schools would be rehabilitated in the next seven weeks. She urged teaching and non-teaching staff in public schools to embrace the education policies of government by shunning indolence and being dedicated to duty.


HE Ekiti State Government has approved N600 million to revamp the state emergency services. The Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wole Olugboji, said the money would be spent on fire service equipment, medical emergency and allied equipment, the refurbishing of fire stations and training of personnel. Addressing reporters yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Olugboji said Ekiti State could only boast two functioning fire service stations. The commissioner added that the state does not have standard ambulances. He said: “This means the state will be incapacitated in responding to emergencies as quickly and competently as should be expected. “The government will overhaul emergency services in the 16 local governments, including medical emergencies, which will involve a whole lot of changes. “The changes will include bringing the fire station in Ado-Ekiti and Ikere-Ekiti to acceptable standards and building additional five or

By Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

six across strategic zones of the state. “Part of the efforts to bring that crucial state department to standard is the planned Bill on the Establishment of Ekiti State Safety Commission and the first ever Safety and Security Summit to be held later in the year. “It is also planned that the efforts on investment in the emergency services department will be consistent so that by the end of 2014, all the 16 local governments will have fully functional fire services stations.” A written examination for candidates intending to join the state emergency services will hold today at Ikere-Ekiti College of Education. Olugboji said the examination would hold at the premises of the college, adding that it is a written examination. He said: “A hundred and fifty intellectually sound and physically competent individuals will be recruited through the process, which would enhance the planned overhaul of the emergency services department.”

Ex-Ondo LP senatorial aspirant, 1,000 others defect to ACN From Damisi Ojo, Akure

SENATORIAL aspirant of the ruling Labour Party (LP) in the 2011 National Assembly election in Ondo Central, Alhaji Gboyega Akindeko, yesterday defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The party also received a popular politician in Idanre, Joseph Afolabi, and over 1,000 former LP members into its fold. Alhaji Akindeko, the son of a former minister in the defunct Western Region, Chief Akindeko, said he quit the LP because the Olusegun Mimiko administration did not impact on Idanre. He said the governor has reneged on his electoral promises, which made the people in the area to vote for him in the 2007 governorship poll. Akindeko alleged that Mimiko manipulated LP senatorial primary against him because the governor felt threatened by his popularity. The politician said although the Chief of Staff to the governor, Dr. Kola Ademujimi; the senator representing Ondo Central, Ayo Akinyelure, as well as the Commissioner for Information, hail from Idanre, the town has not witnessed any meaningful development since the LP government has been in power. He alleged that Ademujimi mortgaged the development of the town for his personal interest, adding that this is why the town is lagging behind in infrastructural development. The defectors promised to work for the victory of the ACN in their wards. The party’s chairman in Idanre Local Government, Chief Ade Alalabiaye, received the defectors. His state counterpart on Contact and Mobilisation, Mr. Ade Adetimehin, assured the defectors of equal treatment. They said ACN does not discriminate between new and old members.


Amosun calls for prayers GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun has urged Muslim clerics and other religious leaders to continue to pray for peace in the state and the success of his administration. The governor spoke at the Government House in Abeokuta, the state capital, when he hosted the League of Imams and Alfas in the state to an Iftar (the breaking of fast) meeting. He assured that his administration’s development projects “are a foretaste of what to expect in the future across the state”. Amosun congratulated Muslims for witnessing another Ramadan. The governor thanked the clerics and other religious leaders for their prayers. A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Mrs Funmi Wakama, said Amosun promised that his administration would fulfil its promises to the residents.




NEWS Atiku deplores renewed violence From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

FORMER Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the latest spate of terrorist acts in the country. Reacting to the latest attacks in Sokoto, Kano, Maiduguri, Zaria and Damaturu, Atiku condemned the attacks on places of worship during Ramadan. In a statement by his media office yesterday, the former vice-president said he was more troubled by the fact that this is happening in the sacred month of Ramadan. He said the attacks are contrary to the teachings of Islam and other established religions, which place high premium on the sanctity of life. “The latest attacks on Sokoto and the attempted assassination of the Shehu of Borno and Borno State Deputy Governor were completely counter-productive to the interest of peace in the country.”

UK court orders Akingbola to refund F N164b to Access Bank ORMER Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc Erastus Akingbola has been ordered to refund N164billion to Access Bank Plc by the High Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division in London. In a ruling delivered in London yesterday, Justice Burton ordered Akingbola to refund the N164billion being proceeds of unlawful share purchase scheme and fund misappropriation which was converted into personal use during his tenure as Managing Director. Akingbola was sacked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with eight other bank heads in 2008 for running their institutions aground. Access Bank acquired Intercontinental Bank last year.

From Ayodele Aminu, Group Business Editor, London

The court, according to details of the judgment made available to The Nation, held that Akingbola devised and oversaw the implementation of the strategy to buy the bank’s shares. The court found under cross examination that Akingbola lied that he did not know that the bank was buying its own shares. It was discovered that shortly before the implementation of the strategy to increase the bank’s share price, Akingbola had borrowed N9.3billion to purchase a large quantity of the

bank’s shares. The court held that the illegal share purchase scheme substantially contributed to the collapse of Intercontinental Bank Plc. Moreover, further investigation by the court showed that at a time Intercontinental Bank was undergoing significant liquidity strain, its MD misappropriated N16 billion, which was paid to Tropics Companies, a business owned by his family to repay debts owed by the companies personally guaranteed by Akingbola. He was also found to have misappropriated another £8.5million, which was paid to his English solicitors to

complete the purchase of luxury property in London in his name. This judgment may have justified the intervention of the CBN after its findings on some of the illegalities unravelled following its special audit, which led to the removal of the banks’CEOs. Akingbola’s trial was early last month stalled as the lead defence counsel, Felix Fagboungbe (SAN) and Deji Sasegbon (SAN) were absent. He is also on trial for alleged N47.1 billion theft before Justice Habeeb Abiru of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja in a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

‘Govts don’t implement budgets’ From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

A SENIOR Advocate of Nigeria ( SAN), Niyi Akintola, has said no government has ever implemented its budget completely. Akintola, a former Deputy Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, flayed the actions of President Goodluck Jonathan in exploring the weakness of the National Assembly members to draw the nation backward. Akintola spoke with reporters in Ibadan on the face-off between the House of Representatives and the President over the non-implementation of the budget. He said the issue of non-implementation of budget is not new in Nigeria , adding that no Federal Government has ever implemented the budget completely . The former deputy speaker also took a swipe at the lawmakers over what he described as “the inability to stand and fight for what is right”. “They have been doing it the way they like, as the lawmakers do not know what is right, and there are many breaches by the Federal Government in the constitution,” he stated.

•President Goodluck Jonathan with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the State House, Abuja...yesterday PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN

N2b subsidy payments: EFCC withdraws charges against four T

HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday withdrew a criminal charge of conspiracy and fraud relating to petroleum subsidy payment worth over N2billion against four persons. It said the charge against Integrated Resources Limited, Durosola Omogbenigun, Pinnacle Oil and Gas and Peter Mba was misconstrued and filed by mistake. EFCC said it found after a review that they did not commit the offence for which they were to be arraigned. Justice Samuel CandideJohnson of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, struck out the charge, following an application by the agency. Its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said he was instructed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) to withdraw the case.

By Joseph Jibueze

His words: “We have an information (charge) dated July 20 before this court. “I have the instruction of the Attorney-General to withdraw this information. “The information has not been served on the defence. I urge the court to strike out the charge.” In an application dated July 26, brought pursuant to Section 73 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2007, EFCC sought an order granting it leave to withdraw the criminal charge “against all the defendants.” In a supporting affidavit, the agency said the prosecution could not attend court last Thursday “for the single reason that the hearing notice was received late on July 25.”

It said since the prosecution had other prefixed matters coming up before Justice Habib Abiru and Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, coupled with the traffic situation in Lagos, it became impossible for the prosecuting team to attend court. EFCC added: “The charges preferred against the defendants in this case were misconstrued by the prosecution and were inadvertently filed against the said defendants. “A review of the prosecution’s case and the evidence available to the prosecution clearly show that the defendants did not commit the offences for which they are charged. “The complainant/applicant in consideration of the above fact has decided to withdraw the criminal charge be-

fore this court against the defendant and substitute it with an information filed at the registry of this Honourable Court. “Withdrawing the charge against the defendants will meet the interest of justice in the case.” Justice Candide-Johnson ordered as prayed. “At the instance of the prosecution, the information having been withdrawn is struck out,” he said. The four were charged with four counts of conspiracy to obtain and obtaining property by false pretence. The EFCC said its withdrawal of the charges was deliberate. A statement by the agency's spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said the suspects have not been let completely off the hook. The statement read: "The withdrawal of the charges was deliberate. “In the face of fresh evidence, the commission felt the need to firm up the charges."

Glo sponsors Soyinka’s Prize for Lit


EADING Telecomms Company Globacom has restated its commitment to giving value to its subscribers. The Director of Event and Sponsorship, Globacom, Bode Opeseitan, said this in Lagos yesterday at the briefing organised to herald the 2012 edition of Wole Soyinka’s Prize for Literature in Africa sponsored by Globacom. He said: “Globacom and our beloved Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, share similar aspirations in terms of developing a strong and virile Africa. “Prof Soyinka generally explores the medium of literary works to develop human capital across society and cultures, while Globacom has continued to create value with its products and services that enrich the lives of the average African.” He said Globacom had been supporting the movie industry in Nigeria (Nollywood) and Ghana (Ghollywood), adding that the company has also identified with the cultural interests of its hosts. This includes the sponsorship of FITHEB, the biggest cultural festival in Benin Republic, while in Nigeria popular festivals like Lisabi in Abeokuta, Ojude Oba in Ijebu-Ode and Ofala in Onitsha have featured prominently on Globacom calendar. The Chairman of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, Mrs. Francesca Yetunde Emmanuel, hailed Globacom for sponsoring the awards.

Admit your failures, says SERAP


CIVIL society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has told the Federal Government to “acknowledge that its implementation of the budget in the past years has failed to achieve the citizens’ human rights and satisfy international obligations and commitments to fulfil those rights.” In a statement yesterday, the group said: “We challenge the statement by the Federal Government through the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the budget is being implemented to ‘protect and enhance the best interest of Nigerians.’ “This statement cannot be supported in the face of increasing poverty and suffering that millions of Nigerians experience daily. “We are concerned that an important issue of budget implementation is being trivialised and politicised by the government of President Goodluck Jonathan.”

Nigeria’s foreign policy not suffering, says minister


HE Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, yesterday said Nigeria was not humiliated by the election of Dlamini Zuma of South Africa as the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission. He said the nation’s foreign policy is not suffering from abysmal collapse as being claimed by some Nigerians.

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

Ashiru, who made the clarifications in a statement through the ministry’s spokesperson, Ogbele Ode, said Nigeria was not a candidate for the Chairperson of AU Commission. The minister said: “The ministry wishes to reiterate, once more, that the election

of the Chairperson of the AU Commission was not a failure of Nigeria ’s diplomacy; neither will it diminish its influence in Africa . “It was not a defeat because Nigeria cannot be campaigning for a candidate that is not its own. “The support given to the Gabonese candidate was a demonstration of the quality of Nigeria ’s principle to

abide by its commitment on the continent and to go to great lengths to promote and defend African unity and solidarity. The minister said the defeat of Jean Ping could not be attributed to a foreign policy setback for the nation. He added: “One cannot suffer a defeat in a race in which one did not enter as a participant, not to mention

suffering a “crushing” one. Ashiru gave a breakdown of the gains which Nigeria recorded at the last AU Summit He said: “ A Nigerian, Ms Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, who is the Principal Envoy to Guinea Conakry, won the election to the post of Commissioner for Political Affairs. “Nigeria ’s delegation secured the endorsement of Kanayo Felix Nwanze for re-elec-

tion as President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); “Another Nigerian, Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu, also secured the endorsement of the AU for the election to the post of President of the Executive Council of the International Civil Aviation Organidation (ICAO). These elections are scheduled to hold in 2013.”



NEWS Man jailed for defiling five-year old


N Ikpoba Okha Area Customary Court in Idogbo, Edo State, has sentenced a man, David Monday (23), to three years in prison without an option of fine for defiling a five-year old girl. The prosecutor, Inspector Victor Ehiorobo, said on July 21 at 28 Ekogiawe Street, off Jesus Christ Road Upper Sokponba Road, Benin City, the accused had unlawful carnal knowledge of the girl without her consent. The prosecutor also told the

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

court that the convict was arrested and he made confessional statement which was attested to by a superior police officer. The victim was taken to the Police Medical Centre for treatment. President of the Court Mrs. Esther Eweka said the convict does not merit the mercy of the court, adding that the three-year jail term was with hard labour.

Fertiliser for farmers From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar •Cross River State Governor Liyel Imoke (second right) discussing with Ms Indira Konjhodzic and Bayo Oyewole both of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington DC, United States. With them is the Commissioner for Health, Dr Angela Oyo-Ita.

Military no longer threat to democracy, says Babangida F ORMER Military president Ibrahim Babangida said yesterday that the nation’s democracy faces no danger from the military due to the officers’ training and exposure to the tenets of democracy. Babangida spoke in Abuja at the National Defence College (NDC) Graduation Lecture of Course 20/20th Anniversary Celebration. The former military leader, in a paper, entitled: “The Creation of National Defence College: 20 Years After ’’, noted that the college’s curriculum had exposed participants to the tenets of democracy from its inception in 1992. He said the college had inculcated in military and paramilitary personnel, core val-

ues and ethics that supported democratic rule. “I can say without equivocation that our democracy faces no danger from the military. “This is because the curriculum of this college has exposed participants to the tenets of democracy from its inception. “Therefore, long before Nigeria returned to democratic rule, military officers, who passed through this college, were prepared for service under civilian leadership and control. “Thus, by the time international partners were falling over themselves to give lessons in civil-military re-

lations, most senior officers in the Armed Forces had learnt this at the college,’’ Babangida said. The military president said the college has raised a critical mass of senior officers, who are committed to democracy and that itself facilitates national development. Babangida, who said his administration built a temporary site for the college, stressed the need for a permanent site to ensure that the college becomes a worldclass institution. The Minister of State for Defence, Mrs Olusola Obada, urged security agencies to be proactive in combating secu-

rity challenges in the country. Obada urged the participants to use skills and knowledge acquired at the college to contain terrorism, kidnapping, human trafficking and other crimes. The Commandant, Rear Adm. Thomas Lokoson, said the college’s graduation lecture was to expose the graduating officers to new horizons of imagination, creativity and service in the interest of the country. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 130 participants graduated. Some participants came from Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Sierra Leone.

Rivers, Israeli firm sign MoU for farm village


IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has reaffirmed his administration’s determination to develop an agro-based economy that would compete favourably with the oil industry. Amaechi spoke during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a multi-billion naira 2,000hectare Farm Village with an Israeli firm-LR Group Limited-in Port Harcourt yesterday. He said: “I will continue to

tell the state that we are investing in agriculture to create employment, and to diversify our economy from oil.” The governor said he has pursued this vision hinged on three sectors of education, agriculture and Information Communication Technology (ICT). “We have done some major development in the area of agriculture. “We have the Banana Farm that is ongoing, now about 2,000 hectares. It’s an invest-

ment between us and a Mexican company. “We have the Songhai farm, which basically is a local attempt at taking agriculture to the next level.” He said the Etche farm was another novel attempt by the state to build on its successes, since the facility would have an industrial processing plant. The governor hoped that when it takes off, it would provide jobs and attract more investment opportunities for the state, adding that Nigeria’s huge population guarantees a

Four military gunboats arrive Bayelsa


OUR military gunboats, known as K38 gunboats, procured to curb the activities of oil bunkerers and militancy have recorded their first success. This followed the arrest and destruction of two vessels containing 1.2 million tonnes of crude oil on the Sangana River in the Brass Local Government of Bayelsa State. The bullet-proof gunboats have the state-of-the-art equipment and can withstand many


From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

attacks. The gunboats were brought to the creeks of the state a few weeks ago from Calabar. The Joint Military Command’s Media Coordinator, Lt.-Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Ihejirika, ordered the gun boats following rising criminal activities in the oil rich region. “It was during the use of

these gunboats that these vessels were intercepted,”he added. Taking reporters round the seized vessels, MV Premier and VI Suntrance, which contained 600,000 tonnes of crude each, he said the JTF is prepared to fight bunkering, pipeline vandalisation and piracy in the region. The Media Coordinator said a suspect was arrested when he attempted to bribe a JTF official with $30,300.

Varsity teachers warn kidnappers

HE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Uyo Branch (ASUU-UNIUYO) yesterday warned kidnappers to stop abducting its members. The Chairman, Nwachukwu Anyim, said in the last two months, two members had been kidnapped. Anyim, who refused to give the names of the victims, said one is a professor in the Fac-

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

ulty of Education while the other is a lecturer in the law faculty. He decried the renewed incidence of kidnapping of members in the state. The ASUU chairman urged the security operatives to double their efforts in protecting life and property. He said: “We have decided not to give the names of the kidnapped victims for securi-

ty reasons. “The two victims are a Professor of Education and a lecturer in Law. The lecturer was released on July 19, five days after his abduction. “Anyone kidnapping our members should know that we are not politicians and our salary is so small to pay for any ransom. “Even the union do not encourage the payment of ransom.”

ready large market for investors in the agricultural sector. The Director, LR Group, Ami Lustig, described the signing as landmark, since it marks the first investment the company is making in Nigeria.

‘No petition in Edo’ From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin


ARELY few days to the expiration of the 21 days stipulated by the Electoral Act for the submission of petitions, none has been submitted Edo State. The Election Petition Tribunal was constituted for the July 14 governorship election by the President of the Court of Appeal. The tribunal Secretary, Ms. Josephine Aliyu, said weeks after the six-man committee resumed sitting in Benin, it was yet to receive any petition from the opposition parties that contested the election. Ms Aliyu said the law permits 21 days for any opposition party to file its petition if not satisfied with the election results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Tribunal Secretary said there would be no room for any petition when the time elapses. She said: “If after 21 days, no party has any petition, the members of the Board which was constituted by the President of the Court of Appeal, will have no choice but to return to their various states.”


HAIRMAN of Calabar South Local Government of Cross River State Ekeng Nsa Henshaw has donated 500 bags of fertiliser to 150 farmers in various farming groups. Donating the fertiliser at a farming site on New Airport Road, Anantigha, Ekeng told the farmers that the government approved the purchase and distribution of fertilisers so farmers can achieve improved yields.

Oyerinde: Suspect seeks bail


XECUTIVE Director of the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) David Ugolor has appealed to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to grant him bail due to poor health. Ugolor was identified by a suspect arrested in connection to the murder of the Private Secretary to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Olaitan Oyerinde. He was alleged to have sponsored the killing. The late Oyerinde was murdered at his residence in Benin City on May 4 by four gunmen. Ugolor was arrested last Friday by men of the Force CID and has been in detention. The police are yet to release any statement or reveal the identity of the suspects arrested.

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Ugolor, in a letter by his lawyer, Olayiwola Afolabi, urged the IG to grant him bail. The letter appealed to the IGP to reconsider the health of Ugolor and remove him from the police cell he is being kept. CORRECTION OF NAMES I, Abayomi Mukaila Ayoola was mistakenly written in my National Diploma Certificate of the Polytechnic lbadan as Abayomi Mukaila Abidemi with details – Course Financial Studies , Matric no 99\0503\0990, dated 31th October 2002. That my correct names are Abayomi Mukaila Ayoola. All former documents remain valid. Authority of the Polytechnic lbadan and general public should take note.


I formerly known and addressed as MISS. AHIA IRENE now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. IRENE OGBOGU. All former documents remain valid. Rivers State College of Education now known as Rivers State University of Education and general public take note.



NEWS UNIOSUN gets council, Ag VC


By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

SUN State Governor and Visitor to the State University (UNIOSUN), Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has approved the reconstitution of the institution’s Governing Council. The last council, chaired by Prof Peter Okebukola, was dissolved last year. The new council is coming as the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof Sola Akinrinade, completed his five-year tenure yesterday. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, will act as Vice-Chancellor pending the appointment of a substantive vice-chancellor. Other members of the new council are: Prof G. A. Olawoyin, (SAN) (Chairman); Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Remi Olowude; Prof Akinyinka Omigbodun, Prof G. A Adegboyega, Prof Obafemi Ajibola, Sir Demola Aladekomo, Dr Abeke Omotosho, and the Registrar, who is the Secretary. They are to be joined by the Permanent Secretary, of the state Ministry of Education, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, four representatives of the Senate, two members of the Congregation, representative of the alumni association as well as a representative of the National Universities Commission NUC). The council will appoint a new Vice-Chancellor after its inauguration. During the second convocation of the university last Friday, Aregbesola explained that the delay in the reconstitution of the council was informed by the desire to appoint the best of brains.

Ekiti NULGE gives 14-day ultimatum on minimum wage T HE Ekiti State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has given the state government 14 days to pay the N19,300 minimum wage to local government workers. The state government, early this year, began paying the minimum wage to its workers and teachers. But it has not done same for their local government counterparts. The Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye, urged the workers to dialogue

By Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado Ekiti

with the government. He said the government is ready for an amicable resolution. Afuye said the government is carrying out a biometric data capturing of its workers in local governments to know the genuine ones. The commissioner said the exercise would soon be completed and the workers would be paid.

A statement yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, by NULGE Secretary, Mr Victor Ade Adebayo, said the government, last December, promised to pay N19,300 to every worker in its employ, irrespective of the tier of government. NULGE accused the government of refusing to pay the allowances of health workers in the local governments, especially the Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS) and the Consolidated Medical Sal-

ary Scale (CONMESS), 18 months after its promise. The statement said: “But, to the disbelief of all discerning minds, when the implementation began, workers in the service of the 16 local governments were excluded. “It would also be noted that the leadership of NULGE in the state has, since 2011, been appealing to the state government to be compassionate with the workers at the council level and pay the Health Workers’ CONMESS and CONHESS and the N19,300 minimum wage, as applicable.”

Ajimobi asks ministries to repair roads, bridges


YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has directed the ministries of Works, Environment and Physical Planning to repair some of the bridges affected by floods to reduce the hardship of the residents. The Commissioner for Works, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde, addressed reporters in Ibadan, the state capital, after inspecting some roads and bridges under construction in Ibadan. The floods damaged roads and bridges in parts of the state, especially in Ibadan. Akintunde said the ministries would carry out minor repairs on the roads and bridges because of the raining season, pending the beginning of major works. The commissioner said the government would upgrade the infrastructural facilities in the state to ensure the well-being of the residents. “We are trying to upgrade infrastructural facilities in Oyo State. We have just shown you an integral number of the wonders the government is performing in Oyo State. Government will not relent in its efforts at ensuring that the living standards of the people are improved upon,” he said.

Religious leader dies at 93


RELIGIOUS leader, Madam Victoria Waleola Ogunleye, is dead. She was 93. A service of songs will hold at her home at 13 Adedeji Avenue, Oke-Odo, Agege, Lagos, and a wake at 188 Ipaja Road, Agege, Lagos. The funeral service will hold at Zion African Church, Alagba, Agege, Lagos, on Friday. Entertainment of guests will hold at the Government College, Agege, Lagos.

ADVERTORIAL INVITATION TO MANAGE NUJ NURSERY & PRIMARY SCHOOLS, AREPO, OGUN STATE. Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council is inviting applications from qualified school administrators to manage its Nursery and Primary Schools located at NUJ Estate, off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Arepo, Obafemi/Owode local government area of Ogun State. The applicants, among others, must be academically qualified and also have requisite experience in school management. Interested school administrators should send their typewritten Application to Lagos NUJ Secretariat, Ladi Lawal Press Centre, No 9A Iyalla Street, Alausa, Ikeja. The Application, which should be detailed on the past and present experiences in Nursery and Primary School management, should reach the Secretariat on or before August 1,-2012. Qualified Applicants would be contacted for immediate interview.

•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (second left); President, Council of the Institute of Information and Records Management of Nigeria, Dr Jide Ayeni (second right), his wife, Deaconess Oyenike Ayeni; and Secretary of the institute, Alahji Abolade Wasiu, at the institute’s presentation of an award to the governor at this year’s induction of members and investiture of fellows, at the Sickle Cell Foundation Hall, Idi-Araba, Surulere, Lagos, yesterday.

Customs parades Beninese for ‘stealing’ employer’s car


HE Oyo/Osun Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday handed over a 27year-old Beninese, Abdullahi Isa, to the Oyo State Police Command for allegedly stealing a Chevrolet car belonging to his employer, a Kano State resident. The car, with registration number (Kano) AG189GRZ, was painted red. Isa was arrested last Saturday at Odo, near Saki, on the Nigerian/Benin Republic border. Parading the suspect at the NCS Area headquarters in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, NCS Area Comptroller Mr

•Hands over suspect, car to police From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Amade Abdul said Isa speaks only Hausa. The Customs officer said the suspect was arrested when he could not give satisfactory information about himself and the car. Abdul said Isa was brought to Ibadan for further interrogation, adding that he allegedly stole the car in Kano. The NCS chief also said the suspect had almost escaped through the border when he was arrested. He added that a

chequebook and some other documents recovered from the car showed that it was stolen in Kano. Abdul said: “My men checked the vehicle and discovered that it was stolen in Kano. His intention was to travel to the Republic of Benin to sell the car. There was nothing inside the car to show that he is the owner, except the chequebook.” Isa, who spoke through an interpreter among Customs officers, said he came to Nigeria through an unapproved border in Saki three years ago.

He said he moved from Saki to Ilorin from where he contacted someone in Kano for his job as a gardener. The suspect explained that one of his relatives, who once lived in Kano, connected him with the Kano contact. When asked why he stole the car, Isa said it was a mistake. According to him, he planned to sell the car in his country. An Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Mr Musa Kumo, who took custody of the suspect, said the command would prosecute him. He hailed the synergy between the NCS and the police.

Rep donates N1m to ex-NUJ chair’s widow


HOUSE of Representatives member from Ekiti State, Opeyemi Bamidele, yesterday donated N1million to the widow of a former chairman of the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Chris Fajemifo. Fajemifo, a director in the Ministry of Information, died in an accident in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on June 12 when he was returning from work. Bamidele, who represents Ado-Ekiti/Irepodun at the National Assembly, said the gesture was to appreciate the legacy the late Fajemifo left behind. Presenting the donation on behalf of the lawmaker, his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Ahmed Salami, said the deceased was Bamidele’s friend and a close associate since their days as students’

• N15m books to pupils By Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

union activists at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. Thanking the lawmaker for

the gesture, the younger sister of the deceased, Mrs Yemisi Omosilade, said it was at periods of adversity that people know those close to them. The lawmaker also donated books worth N15 million to

the 7,200 secondary school pupils in all 52 secondary schools in Ekiti Central Senatorial District. The gesture was part of activities marking his 49th birthday and the second MOB Empowerment and Support Programme.

Ekiti to build 1,000 low cost housing units


COMPANY, Fountain Holdings Limited, in conjunction with JD Forbes Incorporation, will build 1,000 low cost housing units in Ekiti State. The Managing Director of Fountain Holdings, Mr Olusegun Osinkolu, yesterday told reporters in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, that the project would cost over N4 billion. He said tourism is the most viable industry in the world, adding that his company would acquire additional shares at the Ikogosi Warm Spring, in which the state government has 18 per cent share. The company chief said Fountain Holdings is partnering Galaxy Blackbone, a Federal Government Internet Service Provider (ISP),

By Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) investment in the state. Osinkolu said the company is a private company, which manages state government’s investments. He added: “It (Fountain Holdings) has secured the commitment of a foreign partner, J.D. Forbes Incorporation, for the injection of about $33 million (about N5.4billion) into the multi-billion naira project.” Osinkolu said the housing units would comprise 300 units of two-bedroom flats at N4.5million; 500 units of three–bedroom bungalows at N5.5million each, alongside 200 duplexes, at N12 million.




I’m no attack dog, says Okupe

Mills to be buried August 10 From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja


HE Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, yesterday said he was not hired as an attack dog for the Presidency. Okupe, a former Senior Special Assistant on Media to former President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2001, said he was prepared to defend the President. He spoke at the Presidential Villa when he was introduced to the State House Press Corps by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati. Okupe said: “Somebody said Okupe has been hired as an attack dog; if President Jonathan hires a 60year-old man as attack dog, then he is employing a weak attack dog. I am not an attack dog. “My job basically is public advocacy. The opposition in Nigeria is a strong one. We must admit that, very boisterous. We need to engage the public; we need to engage opposition to deepen the understanding of the opposition on what government policies are. “One message I want you to leave here with is that Nigerians should give President Jonathan another look; take another look at this man called Goodluck Jonathan. “Is he exactly what the opposition is saying? Nigerians should take another look.” He said his appointment would not bring about friction in information dissemination at the State House. Okupe said: “From time to time, what you can only find is a unity of purpose between my good self and my younger brother here. We are going to work together. Like he said, what we share is the passion for President Jonathan. “My relationship with Dr. Abati spans over 15 years. By chance, most of the things I believed in in the past,

•Okupe and Abati... yesterday

we have shared the same views and visions. He has been a tremendous pillar of support for me, even while I was here in the Villa. “His place in history is a different one. He comes with a lot of integrity and honour. I have a lot of respect for him. The position of Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs is not in any way conflicting with the job of the Special Adviser to the President. “The Special Adviser to the President remains the presidential spokesman. All official policies and statements emanating from the President are released through him. Anything that is official, that has to do with what the President has spoken will be spoken of by Dr. Reuben Abati. “My job is public affairs. Later this afternoon, Dr. Abati and the President will be travelling to Trinidad and Tobago. While they are away, issues become current, debates surface and somebody in Trinidad and Tobago cannot be the one at the same time engaging the public. So, my department, which is not going to be in the Villa, is to engage the public on issues

The Special Adviser to the President remains the presidential spokesman. All official policies and statements emanating from the President are released through him. Anything that is official, that has to do with what the President has spoken will be spoken of by Dr. Reuben Abati

that are current and of national synergy, not a conflict.” Abati said there would be no conflict in information management at the State House. He said: “In the last few days, there has been a lot of speculations out there in the media; all kinds of theory,

all kinds of assumptions on whether there is friction in the Villa; whether there is confusion in terms of the President’s information management process. “This morning, I have called this meeting to introduce to you specially Dr. Doyin Okupe, who has been appointed by Mr. President as the Senior Special Assistant in charge of Public Affairs. There is no conflict in our information management process. “Dr. Okupe is joining our team with a lot of experience. He is a man that you all know very well. He is gifted with a lot of political savvy, very amiable, very highly respected within the society. “I know there will be all kinds of interests who will like to give an impression that they are fighting in the Villa; that they are confused; that they have Reuben Abati; why do they need to have Dr. Okupe again? “There is no conflict at all. We are working together as a team and you are not going to see any kind of friction. If anything, you are going to see us engaging the public with a lot of coherence.”

Tambuwal condemns Sokoto, Kano, Zaria bombings


OUSE of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal yesterday condemned bombings in Sokoto, Kano and Zaria. In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs Imam Imam, Tambuwal described the acts of terror visited on the towns as unfortunate. Tambuwal said the attacks, which occurred during Islamic holy month

of Ramadan were disappointing and meant to distract the people who had committed themselves to the worship of Allah. He said that gains made in recent months in the North should be built upon in order to protect the citizens at all times. The speaker urged all groups with grievances against the state to stop further attacks and embrace the offer of dialogue made by the Federal Government.

ACN insists PDP chief Tukur should resign T

HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday insisted that the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur, should resign to ensure the subsidy scam trial is not jeopardised. Tukur’s son, Ali, is one of those being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged subsidy scam. In a statement issued in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said not even PDP’s resort to rationalisation has changed the reasons for is call for Tukur’s resignation. ACN said: ‘’We called on the PDP Chairman to accept moral responsibility and step down from his high office because his party is right at the centre of the biggest corruption scandal in the history of our dear country, and also because his son is among the suspects. Our call has nothing to do with Alhaji Tukur being on trial or not, and we made that clear in our earlier statement. ‘’Because the PDP is the ruling

By Wale Ajetunmobi

party, in a country where unprecedented corruption has left the people badly impoverished, any linkage between a huge scandal like the fuel subsidy scam and the party immediately raises a red flag over the commitment of its government at the centre to effectively tackle this cankerworm. ‘’It is, therefore, imperative for Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, whom we agree has made a name for himself within and outside the country, to uphold that name and keep his integrity intact by vacating the leadership of the PDP today. He should not just step down, he should do so with a rousing speech that will be a reference point for all time, and convince millions of our youth that Nigeria still has men of integrity.’’ ACN said since it is known for taking on issues instead of personalities, it would ignore the mud thrown at it. The party said: ‘’Unfortunately, PDP’s response - which was panicky because the call for Alhaji Tukur to

resign stung the party like a millions bees – did nothing to address the issues we raised: That while indeed Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is not on trial over the fuel subsidy scam, his position as the chairman of the PDP has been diminished by the allegation against his son and the involvement of the party he leads in the scandal. ‘’The PDP would not have needed to struggle to make its case had its Chairman not been in charge of the ruling party in Africa’s most populous nation, a party that has presided over the unprecedented looting of our commonwealth since 1999, a party that has pushed Nigeria to the edge of the precipice through its ineptness, a party that has made Nigeria more a candidate to be a failed state today than when it took power in 1999. These are the issues that led to our call, and the PDP’s response skirted them all.’’ On the PDP’s contention that the ACN should have given credit to the PDP and its Federal Government for bringing the fuel scandal suspects to trial, the party said: ‘’it is not the business of a responsible opposition like


ours to hail a ruling party for doing what it is supposed to do anyway adhere strictly to the rule of law and show respect for the Constitution. ‘’In any case, the credit for the ongoing trial of the fuel scam suspects goes to Nigerians and the House of Representatives, who left the government in no doubt that they will not allow things to be swept under the carpet this time.’’ ACN said if the PDP still believes that the call on its Chairman to resign over the fuel subsidy scam is ‘’outlandish and sheepish’’, as it claims, an acclaimed organisation should conduct an opinion poll on the issue.

THE late Ghanaian President, John Atta Mills, will be buried on August 10, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Muhammad Mumuni has said. Mumuni spoke yesterday when he received a five-man delegation to President Goodluck Jonathan. The minister, who spoke to State House Correspondents shortly after delivering the message from President John Dramani Mahama to Jonathan, said the delegation was in Nigeria “ to come in accordance with our revered African customs and tradition to formally announce to President Jonathan the demise of his brother and colleague, President Atta Mills and also to announce the funeral arrangements and deliver an invitation to attend the funeral. When President Mills was alive, he had good working relations and very good chemistry, they consulted very closely on issues of national, regional, continental interest.” “ We think it is a personal loss to President Jonathan as well and he has expressed grief sentiments of condolence, sympathy and wishing his support and solidarity which we will dutifully convey to President Mahama,” Mumuni said. The funeral will start on August 8 and climax with the interment on August 10. “The body will be laid in state on the August 8 and 9 for viewing by general public and distinguished guests to our country,” the minister said. Jonathan said: “Nigeria will continue to work with Ghana. We will continue to consult on bilateral, regional, continental and global issues. I was shocked and sad when I heard of the passing away of my brother, President John Atta-Mills.” He said Nigeria would be represented at the funeral at the highest level, adding that an official delegation would be sent to convey the country’s condolences before the burial.

Clinton to tour Kenya, South Africa, others UNITED States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday began an 11-day tour of six African countries. Clinton is billed to visit Senegal, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa during the trip lasting between July 31 and August 10, the State Department said in a statement on Monday. Clinton’s first port of call would be Senegal, where she would meet President Macky Sall and other national leaders. The statement said after Senegal, she would move to South Sudan, where she would meet with President Salva Kiir . It also said in Uganda, the Secretary would meet with President Yoweri Museveni to encourage strengthening of democratic institutions and human rights. Clinton will also travel to Kenya to meet President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Rahila Odinga, and other government officials. She will also meet with President Sheikh Sharif and other signatories to the Roadmap to End the Transition. “The secretary continues her trip in Malawi, visiting President Joyce Banda to discuss economic and political governance and reform,’’ it stated. According to the statement, in South Africa, Clinton will pay her respects to ex-President Nelson Mandela. The statement noted that during the visit Clinton would be accompanied by a U.S. business delegation.




54 investors bid for 11 electricity distribution firms


HE 11 electricity distribution companies up for privatisation have received bids from 54 investors. The firms are part of the 18 successor companies created from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in preparation for privatisation. The spokesman of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Chukwuma Nwokoh, said out of the 11 distribution companies, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company Plc got 10 bids; they are followed by Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc with nine bids. Others are Benin Elec-

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

tricity Distribution Company Plc seven; Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc seven; Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc five; Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc four; Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company Plc three; Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc three; while Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company Plc, and Kano Electricity Distribution Company Plc got two bids each. Nwokoh said in keeping with the timeline for

the privatisation of the distribution companies, the BPE on July 31, received technical and financial proposals from 54 investors, adding that the revised timeline had July 31, as deadline for receiving technical and financial bids from the investors for the 11 distribution firms. He said the prospective core investors, who must be local and/or international power distributors, or investors with power distributors as technical partners, will be responsible for operating the distribution companies, making the necessary investments to improve the

distribution network and customer service in line with government’s objectives. He said: “The transaction timeline reveaed that the evaluation of the technical bids will take place between August 14 and 28, this year, while the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) will approve the results of the technical evaluation by September 11. “The deadline for the shortlisted bidders for generation companies to submit their letters of credit is September 18, 2012, while October 2, 2012 is the deadline for shortlisted bidders for

distribution companies. “Consequently, NCP’s approval will pave way for the opening of financial bids of the shortlisted investors. The BPE will on September 25, 2012 open the financial bids of prospective investors for the generating companies while October 10, 2012 is the date for the opening of the financial bids for the distribution companies. “The announcement of the preferred bidders for the generating companies is October 9, 2012 while October 23, 2012 is the date for the announcement of the preferred bidders for the dis-

tribution companies. The electricity industry has been unbundled into six generation and 11 distribution firms and a transmission company to encourage private sector participation and attract foreign and local investment into the power sector to ensure economic and reliable electricity supply. The government plans to complete the privatisation this year.

New PIB has security features, says Senate Leader • ‘203 Bills introduced in Senate’ From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor


ENATE Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, yesterday said the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) submitted to the National Assembly on July 19 is embedded with security features. He stated this at a press conference on “the status of Bills, motions and confirmations and legislative measures of the Senate from June 18, 2011 to July, 19, 2012.” He said the security features became necessary to submission of fake copies of the Bill to Senators, adding that the Senate discovered that different versions of the Bill were in circulation. He said the version the Senate President has was different from that of other senators. This made the Bill to be withdrawn for harmonisation, he stated. “But this time around, the PIB came with security features to ensure that it is authentic,” he said. Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, assured that the Bill would be treated with desptach. He said the Bill was submitted on the day the Senate began its yearly leave, explaining that this would afford senators enough time to read it. He said if any Senator had another version of the Bill, it was not known to the Senate. On the alleged request by the Presidency for the amendment of the Appropriation Act, Enang said until it was granted, the Appropriation Act would stay. He noted that between June 2011 and July, this year, 203 Bills were introduced into the Senate. The Bills, he said, have passed different stages, adding that out of this, 23 have been passed and moved to the House of Representatives.





LONDON Calling with Ade Ojeikere & John Ebhota




Women pray against disaster

Suswam tackles unemployment

Uduaghan renews infrastructure







Page 17



•Prof. Ikechebelu


HERE is hope for childless couples, thanks to in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) technology at Life Fertility Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State headed by Prof. Joseph Ifeanyichukwu Ikechebelu. Several families have smiled home with kids and many are hopeful. Ikechebelu, a consultant and lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi (NAUTH), has delivered a woman of her fifth baby, named Favour, through the process, saying he is fulfilled giving hope to hopeless women. “The answer to inability to conceive is assisted reproduction,”

Hope for childless couples From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

he said. “IVF is the answer to a woman with complicated abortion at early stage of her life because through IVF she can still have her own baby.” He has helped five women to have babies through the IVF method. These births comprised triplets and single babies. Through the facility, several others are expecting their babies. Prof. Ikechebelu said: “IVFbased reproduction still has an edge over adoption because in

adoption, you have a baby that you have no genetic contribution to. But in in-vitro fertilisation, you are contributing genetically or if you are not contributing genetically, you are carrying the baby. There is that sense of ownership.” Assistant Embryologist of the hospital, Mr Okwelogu Izunna Somadina said “IVF is a process through which the woman’s egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the woman’s womb through some complex medical procedure and implanted back to the woman’s womb.”

On whether the children have the same features as other children, the Head of Paediatric Department, Dr Osuorah Chidiebele Donatus noted that an IVF child is not different from other babies, adding that IVF has no side effects on the growth and development of the baby. Dr Osuorah said: “From experience, they live normal life, if not even better than other children. Children delivered through IVF rarely come to hospital. •Continued on Page 14


EAPS of cassava stems have been distributed to farmers in Taraba State, with Governor Danbaba Suntai urging accelerated cultivation of the high value crop. The state boasts vast arable land capable of yielding enough food not only for its residents but the entire country. Suntai was speaking in Jalingo, the state capital, as the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) programme was inaugurated in the state. The GES is a scheme of the Federal Government designed to boost food production and stave off the nation’s agricultural challenges. Under the programme, farmers across the country are equipped with subsidised facilities to enhance production. The programme is anchored by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the state governments. In Taraba, the programme is targeted at supporting the planting and growth of cassava that can feed the entire nation. The state is said to be one of Nigeria’s most fertile lands for both cereal and root crops. Fat tubers of cassava produced from the state are turned into one form of food or another and consumed by the nation’s teeming population of over 150 million people, said Suntai. “I saw President Goodluck Jonathan eating bread made from cassava produced from Taraba State,” Suntai stated at the flag-off of the Roll Out for the Distribution of Cassava Planting Materials for the 2012 Cropping Season. The occasion took place on the premises of the State Ministry of Agriculture, Jalingo. Suntai said: “The Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s choice of Taraba for the cassava programme is not because the minister loves me; it is be-

•Governor Suntai (middle) launches the programme by handing a bundle of cassava stems to a farmer, to his right is his deputy

Taraba steps up food sufficiency drive Suntai flags off cassava planting From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

cause of the huge commercial agricultural potentials he has seen in the state. “In the next 10 to 30 years, Taraba state would be posi-

tioned as the number one destination of cassava in the continent”. The Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said: “I am amazed by the huge agricultural potentials of Taraba State”.

Adesina, who spoke through a representative, Dr. Oyebanji Oyeshola, explained that Taraba is one of the six states selected for the IFAD-assisted Value Chain Development Programme. The minister said: “We are in

Taraba State today to roll out the GES programme for the commodities that Taraba has comparative advantage to produce, process and market. One of the priority agricultural commodities the FMA&RD is promoting under the agricultural value chain development programme is cassava. “The cassava transformation agenda of FMA&RD focus on the development of cassava based agro-industries for dried cassava chips, cassava grits for livestock feed, high quality cassava flour, starch, ethanol and sweeteners”. To meet the cassava roots re•Continued on Page 43



Benue tackles unemployment


•Governor Suswan

HE Director General, Benue Planning Commission, Mrs Dorcas Ukpe, says the commission will assist the state government to tackle unemployment through entrepreneurship. Ukpe said this when she paid a courtesy visit to the Vice Chancellor of University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Prof. Daniel Uza. She said that the commission would collaborate with the university in the area of entrepreneurship. The director general stated that the collaboration would be targeted at reorganising the Benue Investment Farm to create job opportunities for the teeming youth in the state. She stated that the partnership would

Jigawa builds archive, gallery


HE Jigawa State government has awarded N22 million contract for the construction of ultra-modern archive and gallery. The Director, History and Culture Bureau, Alhaji Dan-Iya Uba, made this known to newsmen in Dutse last week Uba said more than N18 million was voted for the construction of the archive while N4 million was set aside for the rehabilitation of its theatre. He said adequate provisions were made in the 2012 budget to facilitate smooth running of the project.

Jigawa “The archive will serve as library, documentation and research centre to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the people of the state. “The renovation of the theatre will also enable the cultural troop and dancers from the state to rehearse and organise plays,” he said. He added that the state government had concluded arrangement to construct a central gallery to enable all the five emirates present their heritage.

Council seeks greener environment


HE Ayobo-Ipaja Local Council Development Area, Lagos State has joined other local councils in the state in planting trees for a greener and safer environment. According to the council chairman, Hon Shakirudeen Yusuf, planting of trees will help prevent erosions and other flood-related disasters in the council. The council chief while emphasising the importance of trees in the community, urged the residents of the council to cultivate the habit of tree planting and avoid cutting down of trees in the area. “We should be doing it on daily basis, not even the issue of planting the trees alone, there is need to nurture it so that the trees can grow well,” he said. “The importance of tree planting is to prevent flood and erosion; it also serves as a source of shade for the people in their various homes to relax and take fresh air to enjoy themselves,” he added. Hon Shakirudeen also urged the people to keep their community clean and tidy at all times to prevent outbreak of diseases in the council and state at large. The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babtunde Raji Fashola was represented by Hon Sultan Adeniji –Adele, member Lagos State House of Assembly while the Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello was represented on the occasion by Hon Adepitan Oke.

T was another promise made, promise kept in Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State, as the Chairman Apostle Oloruntoba Oke, distributed 300 General Certificate of Education (GCE) forms to indigent candidates in the council. The gesture came on the heels of a five months intensive extra mural classes organised by the local government for the candidates preparing for GCE, JAMB and NECO examinations, to assist them make good grades and consequently get admission into higher institutions. In a related development, the council chief on Monday, took delivery of 15 new Toyota Corolla salon cars and distributed same to all government functionaries including supervisors, special advisers and councillors. The Vice Chairman, Hon. Babatunde Rajh-Label, who responded on behalf of


By Aminat Adesina

The governor said tree planting gives opportunity for recreation and provision of habitat for wildlife. “Trees also give us the opportunities for recreation as well as provide habitat for wildlife. Trees help us experience connections with our natural heritage and with our most deeply spiritual and cultural values,” he said. The governor stated that the tree planting campaign has yielded the desired result, saying over three million trees have been planted so far since its inception in 2008. “In the realisation of the importance of trees to sustainable environment, our tree planting campaign continues to wax stronger having planted over 3 million trees across the state since 2008. The air around Lagos is now faster and cleaner,” he said. The Commissioner, Mr Bello said tree planting will help in vegetation and water management in the state. “Planting trees and other vegetation expands the urban forest, creates wildlife habitat and improves storm water management, making communities more pleasant to live,” he said. According to the commissioner, the trees to be planted this year are the Asoka (police type), Ashoka (hands up), ficus (yellow) and melaina, saying the trees were deliberately chosen for site specifications


UJI Local Government in Jigawa State has disbursed N2. 2 million as scholarship allowances to 616 students in tertiary institutions across the country. The Chairman, Alhaji Isa Bello, told reporters in an interview in Buji that the gesture was aimed at assisting the students to undergo their studies easily. He said that his administration would continue to accord top priority to education. The chairman urged the beneficiaries to use

T •Governor Lamido

Council chief boosts education By Yinka Aderibigbe other beneficiaries, was full of praise to the Chairman, whom he described as a man of his words. Rajh-Label said, the Chairman’s largesse is the height of magnanimity, understanding and sensitiveness to the feelings and needs of fellow beings. “Oke at the assumption of office had set an agenda to pursue the needs of the generality of the people of the council, before any benefits to the functionaries, this he has demonstrated true to his words,” Rajh-Label said. Rajh-Label said the gesture would further propel them to work and deliver more dividends of democracy to the people they are elected to serve.

Jigawa the allowances for their education. Belloalso advised parents to support their children pointing out that education was the key to human development.

Nasarawa fights hunger with cassava

HE Nasarawa State government has expressed its determination to promote cassava production in the state to stem hunger and lessen import dependency. Governor Umaru Al-Makura said this in Lafia at the inauguration of the Growth Enhancement Scheme for cassava farmers in the state. Al-Makura, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Ahmed Tijjani-Usman, said that his administration would make the cassava value chain development a priority, to encourage increased productivity among farmers in the state. He also pledged the government’s commitment to providing farmers with the necessary agricultural input to enhance their productivity. The governor charged beneficiaries of the scheme to live up to expectation, adding that the state government had set aside the sum of

Nasarawa N400 million for the procurement of fertiliser. He said that the commodity would be distributed to farmers at subsidised rate. In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, promised to ensure the provision of high quality cassava stems and fertiliser for farmers in the state. The state Coordinator of the scheme, Mr Naphtali Dachor, disclosed that 29 redemption centres had been set up in the state, adding that the necessary arrangements had been concluded for the scheme.

Lagos Commissioner assumes duty


HE Commissioner for Lagos State Office of the Public Complaint Commission, Mr. Funso Olukoga has assumed

duty. His resumption followed the inauguration in Abuja recently of the Chief Commissioner, Justice George Uloko and 37 other Commissioners representing the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital, by the Senator David Mark at the National Assembly. Olukoga is a legal practitioner with more than 22 years experience in the government and private sector. With the inauguration, the commissioner

became fully constituted to carry out its statutory function of providing service to the citizenry and all residents in Nigeria through investigation and resolution of complaints against government at all levels as well as private organisations and their officials in Nigeria. Public Complaint Commission, Nigeria, is the statutory Ombudsman for Nigeria, regulated by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the provision of the Public Complaint Commission Act CAP 37 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.


• From right: Hon Akinyemi-Obe; Council Manager Mr Ige Onala; SLG Mr Oluyemi Aina and Supervisor for Chieftaincy and Culture Adeleke Ogunsanya

Sanitation team inaugurated


HE Chairman, Coker-Aguda Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Hon Omobolanle Akinyemi-Obe, has inaugurated the environmental sanitation team. The team, tagged Dirt Managers, according to the council chief, is to ensure that the people of the council comply with the monthly sanitation exercise. Aside ensuring cleanliness of the area, Hon Akinyemi-Obe described it as another initiative of her administration to create employment for the teaming youth in the council. “We have done enlightenment and sensitisation on cleanliness and we also need to engage our youths with something meaningful. She said the initiative was one of the outcomes of the Stakeholders meeting held with the people shortly after she resumed office. The team, she said, must relate well with their people and ensure discipline during sanitation. “Their job is to have one-on-one interaction with the community in terms of ensuring that the environment is clean and bring defaulters to book to serve as a warning to others,” she said. Hon Akinyemi-Obe said that setting up the

By Abike Adegbulehin

committee would also help prevent outbreak of diseases related to dirt. “If our environments are kept tidy, we will be free of so many diseases that consume the little fund at our disposal. Those funds can be channeled to meaningful projects,” she said. The council chief urged the residents to cooperate with the Dirt Managers by cleaning their surroundings. “The cleaning will help the environment to change its ugly areas and people will notice thathere is a difference. A scholar once said if you are going on the road and you are able to count the number of sachets of water on the road, that means the road is clean because we have nylon bags and different littering objects. So, when you are able to count that means cleanliness has taken place in that area. So we want to be able to count the number of sachets of water on our roads. That will determine our achievements. We really need to create better environment and reduce all the waterborne diseases, airborne diseases among others,” she said.

Fashola lauds Lions Club

L •BRITISH COUNCIL COMPETITION CHAMPIONS: Pupils of Opebi Primary School, who won a competition tagged ‘Festival Olympic Dreams’ organised by the British Council. With them (wearing a buba and sokoto) is the Chairman, Onigbogbo Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) Francis Babatunde Oke, who hosted them at the council’s secretariat and other officials of the council.


•From left: Mr Simon Kolawole; Mr Akin Fadeyi, Dr Abdulrahman Sambo, Acting Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme, Abuja, and Mr Paul Njoku, M.D Founting Securities Ltd, during the media presenation of Bridges National Health Insurance Schemes Advocacy drama project at Protea Hotel Ikeja.

Jigawa council gives N2.2m scholarship B

Benue also assist the state to reduce unemployment to the barest minimum. Ukpe acknowledged the role of the university in training and research, and urged the institution to sustain the effort. The vice chancellor praised the DG for the initiative, saying it was an important move that would ensure the development of new jobs for the people. He said the university would cooperate with the commission to evolve a workable partnership that would fast track entrepreneurship development.


‘Nigeria needs reformation, not transformation’

HE best way to execute the transformation agenda of the Federal Government is to add to it reformation, an expert has said. The expert, Prof Wiliams Egboka, stated this at the induction of fellows of the Institute of Researchers and Administrators of Nigeria at the University of Lagos (UNILAG). He said reformation is akin to rebranding mooted by former Information Minister, Prof Dora Akunyili. He said: “The character and behaviour of the average Nigerian needs reformation if we are to move forward. The continuous upsurge of terrorist activities by extreme militia organisations, especially the Boko Haram cannot help us as a nation. Hooliganism, killing, stealing and destruction of lives and property cannot lead to transformation. When the government is busy chasing the issue of security, the economy cannot improve.” Egbuta, who is the President, High Grade Professional Education Centre, urged the institute to find solutions to the problems of the country. He tasked its members to provide adequate knowledge and skills for national development “and imbibing sound ethical standards, discipline, integrity and transparency, which are important ingredients for achieving political, economic and social development and advancement of Nigeria.” In his welcome address, the institute’s Di-

By Joseph Eshanokpe

rector-General, Prof Jacob Etinagbedia, said the institute is unique because its objective is to redefine research and administrative practices. He urged Nigerians to tackle corruption and corrupt people. “How long can we allow these unpatriotic elements to glisten in devilish pepetuity.”

Church programme


HE King in Christ Ministry International a.k.a. Solution Ground, will hold a threeday cultural programme from Thursday, August 16. The aim is to preach oneness in the society. Senior Pastor and host, Rev. Chidi Anthony, who tagged the programme: Woe Unto My Enemies, explained that the programme is an event where various tribes with diverse languages and cultural background are brought together to interact with in a condusive atmosphere. The morning session on August 16 will begin at 8.00am. This continues the following day with an all-night programme beginning from 10.00pm. The event comes to an end on Sunday, August 19. The venue is 18/20 Osolo Way, Ajao Estate, Lagos. Special feature of the event include command performance by John Okafor a.k.a. Mr Ibu, Kingsley Ogbonna a.k.a David and Victor Osuagwu, among others.

AGOS State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN),has lauded the Lions Club for complementing government efforts to make life more meaningful for the less-privileged people in the state in particular. He gave the commendation at the presentation ceremony of the new District Governor of Lions Club International, District 404B, Nigeria, Lion Stella Agbogun, at The Haven, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. The governor, who was represented at the event by the Director, Job Creation in the state Ministry of Special Duties, Mrs Bisi Onayemi, however, charged them to do more, even as he restated his government’s continued support for the club’s humanitarian efforts. “The welfare of the less-privileged is among the prime concern of our administration and it is quite impressive to see the Lions Club

By Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor

among others, commits itself to the same goal. Our administration will continue to support your efforts in this direction,” the governor said. While assuring that the state government would not look back in its avowed commitment to making life more bearable for the generality of Lagos residents, he encouraged other non-governmental organisations to continue to do their best in the area of rendering humanitarian services to the people. Lion Agbogun, who praised the state government for its continued support for the club’s activities, sought more of such gestures as she pledged the unrelenting cooperation of the club with the government, especially on its people-oriented policies

Tricycle operators warn NURTW against harassment THE Three Wheelers Beneficiary/Operators Association of Lagos State has warned some officials of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to desist from harassment of its members over their refusal to affiliate with their union. In statement by the General Secretary of the association, Comrade Akeem Abdullahi, the association asked NURTW to await the outcome of a case filed at the Federal High Court, Ikeja instead of forcing its members to join the union. “It is amazing and disheartening that members of members of NURTW and some unscrupulous elements have been going round mischievously spreading false information that our case was dismissed instead of ‘struck out’(on technical ground) and that the court had declared them winners contrary to the clear, conspicuous and unambiguous contents

By Kunle Akinrinade

of the judgment delivered on June 12,2012.” “It is instructive to state and inform the general public that we have since refilled the case before the court and pursuant to the rule of law, the status quo remains. Therefore, members of our association should be allowed to continue to operate from our various parks in respect of which we have permit from relevant authorities. Any attempt to prevent our members from the use of our parks and garages or subject them to any form of intimidation, harassment or maltreatment is tantamount to contempt of court, illegality and direct invitation to breakdown of law and order which we shall resist with every legal machineries at our disposal”.

•Hon. Adepitan (right) presenting official car to Hon. Aro Abdul Lateef Olayinka .With them on the left is the Secretary to the local government, Hon. Ismail Yahya.

‘We’ll give priority to staff welfare’


NE of the ways the elected officials can discharge their duties without fear or favour is to have minimum

comfort”. This was the statement of the Chairman of Mushin Local Government Area, Hon. Olatunde Babatunde Adepitan, at the presentation of official cars to elected, appointed and some public officials. Adepitan said, mobility is a certainty adding: “often times we inspect projects and my councilors follow me on Okada, this is not acceptable. It is not easy to contest and win elections. As the representatives of the people, your condition must improve better than when you came

in. You have all endured enough, use this vehicles to monitor what is going on in your ward and report back to me promptly, so that we can take necessary measures”. Over thirty vehicles were purchased for top officers of thelocal government . In the same vein, a giant generator was commissioned for the use of the entire workforce in the council. Adepitan called on everybody to imbibe maintenance culture. The officials of the National Union of Local Government Employees also got a brand new Toyota Hiace Bus to run their activities.





When the government kills

Over-stretched military? •Gen. Abdulkadir’s complaint is unwelcome surrender


S the Nigerian military truly overtasked? Is the escalating security challenge in the country a threat to democratic survival? These questions become pertinent in view of a recent report credited to Major-General Usman Abdulkadir, Chief of Army Standards and Evaluation, at a Ramadan lecture organised by an Abuja-based Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN). The general reportedly averred: “…Nigeria has several pockets of crises that are beyond the Nigeria Police. The result is that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is deployed to several parts of the country at the same time, thereby over-stretching military resources.’’ He said further: “Invariably, continuing escalation of violence and crises across the country interrupts the survival of democracy.” As a responsible organisation, we detest violence under whatever guise. However, whenever it arises, the state should be better prepared to quell it before it gets out of hand. Internally, the security agency that is saddled with this task is the federally controlled Nigeria Police Force (NPF). But the reality today, as pointed out by General Abdulkadir, is that the task of maintaining peace and quelling internal insurrection has proved too enormous for the ill-equipped and illmotivated personnel of the NPF. This is why for effective security delivery, Joint Military Task Forces were deployed to checkmate unscrupulous militants in the Niger Delta, and presently to combat the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northern states of Borno, Kaduna, Yobe, Plateau and Kano, among others.

Though the military is constitutionally saddled with the duty of protecting the na tion’s territory against external aggressors, its occasional use to quell out-ofhand internal challenges, under normal circumstances, should not lead to any complaint. Afterall, the military, apart from the deployment of a few of its men for foreign peace-keeping missions, which is a secondary discretionary duty, has remained largely redundant for years. Yet, the military annually consumes a large chunk of the national budget. Its leadership had made political rulership look so much (albeit erroneously) like its primary duty until May, 1999, when the civilians returned to power. Moreover, we are aware that the deployment of soldiers to quell destructive acts in security challenged areas has achieved little results. Despite military personnel’s involvement, it could largely be discerned that the battle against criminal attacks and terrorism is still far from being won. Rather, the storm generated in the affected states is assuming gargantuan dimension, with more suicide bombings of churches and public buildings, and killings becoming routine. The complaint of the military is tenuous, just as it has brought, once again, to the front burner, the issue of having a well equipped police and the incidental issue of ripeness of state police for the component units in the country. The fact as it is today is that the Federal Governmentowned police in this warped federation has failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians. With state police, there is no

doubt that the security excesses being witnessed currently across the states would be drastically curtailed. With a more effective police force, the tendency to bring in soldiers to quell civil unrests would be minimised. Even, the incidence of illegal arms proliferation would then be easier to track and checkmate. This is of the essence in view of the revelation that over 70 per cent of eight to 10 million illegal weapons in West Africa are in Nigeria. We hope that General Abdulkadir is not testing the waters by his allegedly reported statement that: “The present situation has also bred an atmosphere of political insecurity, instability, including declining confidence in the political leadership and apprehension about the system.’’ Nigerians say no to any rude prospective military intervention in power.

‘We hope that General Abdulkadir is not testing the waters by his allegedly reported statement that: “The present situation has also bred an atmosphere of political insecurity, instability, including declining confidence in the political leadership and apprehension about the system.’’ Nigerians say no to any rude prospective military intervention in power’

The infernos in Rivers •Sadly, both mishaps would have been avoided if every agency had played its part well


S the people in Rivers State were still trying to put the tragic event of July 12, in which a tanker caught fire after it was involved in an accident in Okogbe, Ahoada Local Government Area of the state behind them, a vessel went up in flames on July 20 at the Abuloma Jetty, also in Port Harcourt. Reports said the casualties could not be less than 30. They included welders who came to carry out maintenance work on the vessel and ladies suspected to be students of some higher institutions in the state. If we add the casualties to the over 140 who died in the tanker fire, the state must have lost no fewer than 170 persons to both incidents within one week. This, as the state commissioner for health, Dr. Sampson Parker said, was a “national disaster”. The unfortunate thing about both incidents is that, as usual with such mishaps in the country, they were avoidable. Take the tanker accident for example: The traditional ruler of Igbiguya clan, Ekpeye Kingdom, Ahoada West, Eze Joshua Ibiya, among others, said: “If the roads were good, this incident would not have happened…” The East-West road has seemingly been in endless construction by the Federal Government. Indeed, the tanker fell while trying to avoid an accident with another vehicle, spilling its contents into a hollow space. But if the government was inept and negligent, the people of the area who rushed to the scene to scoop fuel did not help matters either. It is inconceivable that people would lose their lives in the bid to get (in many cases) only about four litres

of fuel. Sadly, this would not be the first time that such accidents would occur. From the October 18, 1998 pipeline explosion which occurred in Jesse community of Ethiope-West Local Council of Delta State, to the ones that had happened in Lagos and many other places across the country, no lessons appeared to have been learnt. The ideal thing is for people to run away from the scene of such mishaps and seek help from the Fire Brigade and others trained to handle them. Regrettably, the reverse had been the case on many occasions when, rather than flee the scenes, people actually rushed there to scoop fuel. Regarding the vessel, an eyewitness, Isaac Sanko said: “The fuel tank of the ship was not properly washed and flushed before the welding work began ...” This was another case of negligence, if the account was correct. One basic rule that even roadside welders know when about welding the tank of a car is to ensure that the fuel is completely drained and the tank flushed, to prevent it from catching fire, how much less people who wanted to seal an opening on the fuel tank of a ship? Without doubt, the governments must do something fast about the poverty in the land, even though we have to quickly add that the phenomenon of rushing to scoop fuel during such mishaps cannot be explained by the poverty theory alone. We doubt the ignorance theory as the cause of this kind of incidents too. For instance, the driver of the tanker warned the people to stay off it as it was burning because it could explode any moment.

Even if those who rushed to scoop fuel had forgotten the past accidents, that warning ought to have served as a reminder of the consequences of their action. Rather than heed the driver’s warning, many of the commercial motorcycle operators nearby started calling their colleagues on their mobile phones to come and take their own share of the fuel. We can only hope, as Governor Rotimi Amaechi said while commiserating with the families of the victims, that this would be the last time this kind of thing would happen. But then, we all must be ready to play our parts to make this wish come to pass; all of us including people whose responsibility it is to ensure that only roadworthy vehicles ply our roads. The rate at which articulated vehicles fall on the roads has reached an alarming proportion.

‘Even if those who rushed to scoop fuel had forgotten the past accidents, that warning ought to have served as a reminder of the consequences of their action. Rather than heed the driver’s warning, many of the commercial motorcycle operators nearby started calling their colleagues on their mobile phones to come and take their own share of the fuel’


HE Constitution’s guarantee of due process means the president can’t act as judge, jury and executioner of suspected terrorists, especially when they are U.S. citizens. Whether or not it succeeds in court, a lawsuit challenging the killings of Al Qaeda figure Anwar Awlaki and two other U.S. citizens clearly lays out the problems with the Obama administration’s policy of “targeted killings” of suspected terrorists even outside the battle zone of Afghanistan. Allowing the president of the United States to act as judge, jury and executioner for suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens, on the basis of secret evidence is impossible to reconcile with the Constitution’s guarantee that a life will not be taken without due process of law. Under the law, the government must obtain a court order if it seeks to target a U.S. citizen for electronic surveillance, yet there is no comparable judicial review of a decision to kill a citizen. No court is even able to review the general policies for such assassinations. (Awlaki’s family failed in 2010 to persuade a court to enjoin the government from killing him.) The suit filed this month by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights seeks an after-the-fact determination that the killings of Awlaki, an associate named Samir Khan and Awlaki’s 16-yearold son, Abdulrahman, were not legal. The elder Awlaki and Khan were killed in a drone strike in Yemen in September; Abdulrahman Awlaki was the apparently unintended victim of a strike two weeks later. Although it ended some of the Bush administration’s abuses in the war against Al Qaeda, the Obama administration has jealously guarded what it sees as its executive prerogative when it comes to targeted killings. There is congressional oversight of the program, but Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. has rejected any role for the judiciary. In a speech in March, Holder distinguished between “due process” to which Americans targeted for killing are entitled and “judicial process.” In the same speech, Holder insisted that targeted killings would take place only when there was “an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States” and when capturing the suspect was “not feasible.” But Holder defined “imminently” broadly to include action that would head off “future attacks.” Ideally, this lawsuit would result in a thorough examination of the legality of targeted killings (without the administration hiding behind the “state secrets” privilege, as it has done in the past). But it’s doubtful whether the plaintiffs will succeed in their effort to collect damages from Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panettaand other officials. Twice in recent years, in lawsuits against former Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, the Supreme Court has rebuffed attempts to hold officials personally liable for abuses related to the war against terrorism. But if the United States is going to continue down the troubling road of state-sponsored assassination, Congress should, at the very least, require that a court play some role, as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court does with the electronic surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists. Even minimal judicial oversight might make the president and his advisors think twice about whether an American citizen poses such an “imminent” danger that he must be executed without a trial. – Los Angeles Times

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso

•Editorial Page Editor Sanya Oni

•Chairman, Editorial • Executive Director Board Sam Omatseye (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi • Gen. Manager (Training and Development) •Editor Online Soji Omotunde Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli

•Chief Internal Auditor Toke Folorunsho

•Managin Editor Waheed Odusile

• Senior Manager (Sales) Akeem Shoge

•Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon •Deputy Editor (News) Niyi Adesina

•Advert Manager Robinson Osirike •IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness

•Group Political Editor Bolade Omonijo

•Press Manager Udensi Chikaodi

•Abuja Bureau Chief Yomi Odunuga

•Manager, Corporate Marketing Hameed Odejayi

•Sport Editor Ade Ojeikere •Group Business Editor Ayodele Aminu

• Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye





IR: One of the numerous reasons Nigeria is not making meaningful progress is that there are too many undemocratic elements in the democratic setting. There are also those who cannot differentiate between what is constitutionally right and what is morally unacceptable. If the first lady is not being sworn in as permanent secretary in a state, the husband is either accepting a church ‘gift’ from a construction company or shouting through his ministers that he can rule from anywhere in the world. Of late, this bug of has caught up with the National Assembly. Most Nigerians have chosen not to be rankled any longer by the acts of people who find shame too dignified a word to believe in. What most Nigerians will not stand is the recent gibberish from Senate President, David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark. As Communication Minister, he argued that telephone was not for ordinary people. Having


David Mark, social media and democratic freedom watched him for some time, especially with the maturity he has piloted the affairs of the Senate so far, people like me started believing he may have been done with the military mentality and his usual trademark of firing over the bar. We are wrong. His recent comment in Umuahia on the need to censor the usage of social media in Nigeria has clearly marked him out as an undemocratic Senate President in a democratic dispensation, and it appears also that the avalanche of undemocratic tendencies of the Jonathan-run executive is catching up with the Senate under David

Mark. David Mark may have passed this comment as an individual, but he was speaking in his capacity as Senate President, more reason he has to be careful with what he says so that he does not spread his undemocratic tendencies to the few lawmakers who may still believe in the tenets of democracy. Mark’s argument was that Nigerians use social media to ‘demean’ their leaders, but he may have gotten his facts upside down. The socalled leaders, including the Senate President, have for years demeaned Nigerians through their unbridled

corruption, military mentality, moral bankruptcy, financial profligacy, greed and wanton destruction of Nigerian lives through selfishness. For a very long time, Nigerians waited hopelessly that they would turn a new leaf until hope itself became a banished word from Nigeria’s vocabulary. Social media is just God’s blessing to Nigerians to give vent to their pent-up despair and hopelessness. But here comes ‘General’ Senate President David Mark asking that it be censored so that Nigerians can be further repressed, so that atrocities and mis-

My belated debt of gratitude to Mike Awoyinfa


IR: I refer to Sam Omatseye’s IN TOUCH column published on July 23, in The Nation titled Happy 60th Mike Awoyinfa. I want to use this as an opportunity to thank Mike Awoyinfa, perhaps belatedly for the good turn that he did to me when he showcased me as the new CEO of MC&A Advertising Agency in the Weekend Concord of Saturday, May 1994 which saved my job as well as became the turning point in my career. How? I had just taken over as CEO of MC&A, the then-Saatchi & Saatchiaffiliated agency in Nigeria in March 1994 in a most controversial circumstance. The exit of my predecessor took the industry by surprise, especially for those looking into the agency from outside, without precise knowledge of her operation. The surprise came from the fact that the agency was on a roll with a meteoric growth and taking the industry by storm to make it a force to be reckoned in just about 12 months of her debut. The boss then was personable, debonair, and elegant with a swagger and a bigger-than-life personality. He commanded pres-

ence; he was good looking with starry eyes and a voice to match. He was eloquent and could charm a snake out of its skin. Whilst these didn’t necessarily amount to successful management, they were undoubted strengths then. So why the change in management? The figures didn’t add up. But the outsider didn’t know this. All they wanted to believe and parrot was that the trendy and popular gentleman was shown the door because Biodun Shobanjo, Chairman of Troyka, the holding Company, was uncomfortable with his “overshadowing” him. This was false, uncharitable, & wicked. All hell broke loose with my appointment to take over with a chorus of, who is this Victor Johnson? Then the oracles and all-knowing amongst them took over with ah, what do you expect? Wasn’t he Shobanjo’s best-man and a sameChurch member with Lanre, his first wife? Were they not buddies at NBC in the 60’s and didn’t he facilitate this Johnson fellow’s entry into advertising at Grant in 1972. These insinuations insult Biodun who has a

nose, an uncanny gift and ability to identify talents a mile away and never hiring people on anything less than uncommon intellectual competence and moral uprightness. Anything less would be anathema to him and compromise his formidable standards on which his empire was founded. True, I was no match to this predecessor in the panache and visibility department, but I came to the job with an impressive CV, solid pedigree and successes in multinational marketing. Adding to my worry was his popularity with the staff, the less-than-friendly attitude of the Saatchi & Saatchi people and some Clients over unflattering stories swirling around my relationship with Biodun and the circumstance of the management change. So I arrived MC&A with a debilitating baggage that put me up the creek without a paddle, in a manner of speaking. Then, out of the blues, succour came in the person of Mike Awoyinfa who providentially walked in, to interview me for a piece he was planning in his Week-

end Concord newspaper on the MC&A imbroglio. The interview gave me an opportunity to let it all hang out, so to say, backed by facts and figures. But more importantly, it allowed me to trot out my credentials and be able to bury deep, the haunting ghost of my predecessor’s towering image. As a clincher, the Saatchi & Saatchi brass, made up of the Chairman, Vice & CEO of the African Network came calling to see things for themselves and possibly reject me. They gave me the nod and a clean bill health after discussion and visits to Clients. The rest, as they say, is history as the Agency, discharged from the ICU, waxed strong and went on to glory, post profit year in year out. No question, this was facilitated by grace of God and Mike’s publication, which, in one fell swoop, removed all obstacles and challenges in my path to be able to tell this happy story. This is why I owe Mike Awoyinfa a debt of gratitude. • Sir Victor O Johnson Lagos.

steps of so-called leaders like him can only be discussed in hushed tones. Were it to be the military era, I trust that ‘General’ David Mark would have effected this heinous censorship that has long occupied his mind, but has recently been expressed. The Freedom of Information Act was passed under this same man. Though riddled with encumbrances that almost made the law dead on arrival, Mark’s recent comment about the social media shows clearly that people like him allowed the half-bread FOI Act sail through, not because they willed, but because Nigerians willed. His comment has also shown that we cannot continue to allow people like him space in our democratic theatre if we really want to progress. True question be asked, do people like him even understand the word ‘democracy’ or the moral responsibilities attached to leadership? While declaring open the retreat for the Senate press corps in Umuahia, Abia State, the Senate President, referring to the fourth estate of the realm, said: “we need to change our attitude on how we report things about our country, and we should emulate the foreign reporters, who never report negative things about their countries”. Mark, no doubt, is not a student of history. The American media sufficiently reported the Clinton/ Lewinsky scandal, same way Watergate was reported. Mark should also endeavour to get a copy of the 9/11 documentary by Michael Moore to see how George Bush was lambasted and blamed for being responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US. Were it to be in Nigeria, Michael Moore would be in prison by now for disparaging the president. Maybe Mark should explain what he means by foreign reporters. He should know that unlike his ‘telephone’ that was not meant for ordinary people, ordinary Nigerians now have access to satellite TV, so they know what obtains the world over. He should forthwith stop insulting our sensibilities. • ‘Dimeji Daniels Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State




The Nigerian pothole: Economic sabotage; Mass murder; fill it, don’t feed it!


NOTHER major crash, from wrong side driving, on the Ore-Benin road murders 13 fellow Nigerians. Now another needless 13 graves will Tony be dug and 1,300 at 100 Marinho mourners/dead fellow Nigerian will be prematurely mourning. Who cares? Who will pay for this mass murder? No one! Was there yet another starry-eyed NYSC member among them? Add the consequences for the families and the loss for Nigeria? Many die in a N500 pothole, the cost to fill most potholes by an area boy or villager. The speed limit of public transport must be taken seriously. It should be increased but be strictly enforced. Motor parks should be censured and a sign put up about any RTA. Drivers should be investigated, with licences withdrawn, a trial and drivers and ‘owners’ must pay compensation through a compulsory insurance scheme. Life is priceless, but made worthless in Nigeria. What is the compensation? N1m? N20m/dead? It is only in Nigeria that we pray fervently for a ‘safe journey’. We lose up to 35,000 fellow Nigerians a year to road mishaps the equivalent of nearly 350 planes or 500 BRT buses or 3,000 football teams! For how many Nigerians is a road death their unwanted end? You say ‘God Forbid’ but we do nothing to prevent it. In spite of the billions spent to service NASS, FERMA and FRSC, there is still no signboard warning of potholes and no filling of potholes as a major economic strategy. Imagine the cost of that accident or road traffic attack in lost potential, lost love, pain and disappointment, lost education. Nigerians are not too demanding from government. They are underserved by corrupt governments who have stolen everything leaving only growing potholes. Their collaborators in the private sector give big kickbacks or massive presents at weddings or funerals. Nigerians are good people if given the wherewithal. Now the acquisition of wealth beyond the wildest dreams of a drug addict high on cocaine is normal and undergoing ‘Generation Transfer’ and is now in the hands of the sons and daughters. Some say the sins of the

parents are being visited upon the children. Others say that as over 21 year adults, they are responsible and not their parents. With all this money and multi-billion contracts being announced weekly by the FEC meeting, are we not overlooking important short term or interim simple solutions to Nigeria’s massive problems? Government knows that it could have halved Nigeria’s diesel consumption and doubled or tripled the power grid supply by importing large ship generators while awaiting the long overdue IPPs. Nigeria has failed its loyal citizens. Nigeria has no sincere maintenance policy and child and adult artists painting a landscape, paint potholes - permanent features of our landscape. Billions are not needed to fill Nigeria’s potholes, just millions. How much does it cost to fill one major pothole? Anything from N500! But let us suggest N10,000-30,000. To fill the top 10,000 potholes nationwide and thus save 10,000 lives would cost just N100,000,000-300,000,000- less than a politician’s annual ‘constituency allowance’. Alternatively, if we are too broke to fix them, to mark them as ‘Warning: Pothole’ would cost just a billboard, maybe N500/pothole. Why are these not done? Authorities, contractors and politicians make more from billion naira contracts and thus allow potholes to remain unmarked, growing, or deliberately dug. They invest in death. We refuse to see the employment opportunity for thousands using Nigeria’s pothole manpower sitting idle nearby including area boys and girls. Have you ever seen a pothole inspection team? Pothole filling takes a few minutes, saving lives of potential crash victims and those around like the 191 killed and 300+ burnt from scooping fuel at the recent N40m tanker crash and inferno. Who is next to die in a pothole so cheap to fill? Should the petrol tanker company be held responsible for its driver, the crash, the fuel spill, the fire and the death? This should be tested in court by NGOs. Who will pay compensation to the victims? As a first step to help the authorities, IT whiz kids should set up a database internet website like www. and we can send pictures of our ‘Worst pothole’ with GPS coordinates, LGA etcetera. This may force the authorities into genuine ‘Potholes Filling Campaigns’. We can give awards to the worst potholes

and visit to pray that they do not kill anyone while waiting to be filled. Why not use the tested old PWD, Public Works Department, low-tech method of the past. Divide every road into five or 10km sections among local villages, chiefs and communities to maintain and run competitively, with rewards for best and punishments by withdrawal of contract for worst performers. These in turn will create local jobs by employing 5-10 staff empowered with techniques for pothole filling and with simple equipment like a small roller, ‘instant pothole filling mixture’ popularised by an engineer a few years ago and ignored by Nigerian contractors seeking bigger profits. Where is the ‘Pothole Filling Unit’ of your Ward, your LGA, your State and your FG? Every level of government should be filling potholes while waiting to award that mega road contract whose money had in the past to be divided among political party, governor, commissioner, ministry officials and the contractor and the road! EFCC, what is the division now? Nigeria should fill our potholes not feed them with our blood!

‘Nigeria has failed its loyal citizens. Nigeria has no sincere maintenance policy and child and adult artists painting a landscape, paint potholes - permanent features of our landscape. Billions are not needed to fill Nigeria’s potholes, just millions. How much does it cost to fill one major pothole? Anything from N500! But let us suggest N10,00030,000. To fill the top 10,000 potholes nationwide and thus save 10,000 lives would cost just N100,000,000300,000,000- less than a politician’s annual ‘constituency allowance’’

‘Fighting Terrorism in Nigeria’


ANY years ago, terrorism and terrorists’ operations were alien to this clime. Even when it reared its ugly head in places like Algeria and Somalia, Nigeria was still exempted from the deadly scourge. Today, the story is different. Terrorism and terrorists’ operations have berthed in Nigeria, ravaging everywhere. The first major incursion was the bomb blast in Abuja two years ago which almost truncated the celebration of 50 years of Nigeria’s Independence. Since then, the country has come under a plethora of terrorists’ strikes to the extent that it now features prominently in the comity of terrorists’ haven. Nigeria’s security agencies were caught napping at the advent of these terrorists’ activities. Terrorists have been having a field day, operating with impunity and hitting their targets with precision anytime they embark on their deadly shuttles. So much is the rapacious onslaught of these hoodlums that “the fear of terrorists is the beginning of wisdom” has now become an acceptable cliché. Even when information about a likely terrorist strike is circulated all over the place and security agents are consequently placed on the alert, the most astonishing thing is that these terrorists still succeed in unleashing indiscriminate attacks on the public and government interests thereby creating a perpetual climate of fear in the country. I was in Abuja last week. The fear of terrorist strike was palpable everywhere. In the first instance, some

of the prominent hotels have lost a good number of their clientele to terrorists’ threats. Patronage has fallen to the lowest ebb, while business is booming in the small and medium-sized hotels and guest houses that are now considered safer than the big brands. There is this feeling that government might have been paying only lip service to the security challenges. Even among the security agencies, some moles are believed to have been giving away vital information to these terrorists in return for God knows what. Although all arms of the security agencies appear to be involved in one way or the other in the fight to extirpate terrorism from Nigeria, the heat is mostly concentrated on the military. Their officers and men have been having sleepless nights either in the Niger Delta, in Plateau State, Borno State and, in fact, the whole of the north-east of Nigeria, including Abuja. One good thing is that while the military have been waging a relentless war, they have also been involved in a good number of humanitarian gestures in these areas to win the minds and hearts of the populace. Unfortunately, not even one of these activities gets mentioned in the press. What take precedence in news reports in Nigeria are possibly negative stories which are enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the soldiers. Besides, the terrorists have set up some powerful propaganda machinery through which they churn out misinformation to the public and the outside world, especially through the social media - Twitter,

‘’If we must win this war on terror, the government of the day should be more decisive, stop playing politics with the security of the nation and refrain from treating those identified as terrorists and terrorism sponsors as sacred cows!”

Facebook, You-Tube and others. But if I may ask, why is it proving so difficult to win the war against terrorism? The answer is not farfetched. Like I said earlier, obviously, there are moles in the security apparatuses of the nation. There is also the absence of the required will by the government itself to take this war to its logical conclusion. Those at the helm of affairs seem to be playing politics with the security of lives and property of Nigerians. That is why the willpower is not there regardless of the usual sermons, tough talks and long speeches after each devastating terrorist strike. Also worthy of note is the fact that the public have not deemed it expedient to cooperate in this war by volunteering information to security agents. Just last week, Little Okojie, the director of the State Security Service in charge of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, hit the nail on the head when he alleged that some communities were shielding members of these terrorists groups from security operatives. Okojie said the security threat posed by these terrorists had become seemingly intractable because of the cover provided by members of the communities. He added that the terrorists’ asymmetric mode of operation also contributed to the difficulty in going into meaningful dialogue with them. According to him, the situation was further complicated by the fact that intermediaries of the group refuse to disclose the identities of the members. Okojie’s disclosures underscore the frustration of the security agencies in the ongoing war. It might also interest the public to note that in the past one or two weeks, more than 200 suspected terrorists have been rounded up by the military in Abuja alone, particularly at night. The suspected terrorists, who are all Nigeriens, were intercepted by military undercover agents in long vehicles conveying them to Abuja. Apparently, they had entered the

country through the porous borders from where they headed to Abuja. When they were asked about their mission and destination, they did not even know where they were going to or what their mission was. The security implication of this is that some unscrupulous Nigerians are recruiting and giving tacit support to these terrorists. Otherwise, how can large contingents of foreigners enter the country by road and drive all the way to Abuja with no defined mission or even proper destination without being noticed or accosted on their way? Such people are brought into the country, then indoctrinated and turned into pawns in the hands of terrorists. These are the foot soldiers deployed as suicide bombers all over the place to visit mayhem on unsuspecting and innocent Nigerians. It is obvious that the Nigeriens will be handed over to the Immigration authorities for deportation to their country of origin. But then, there is no assurance that those who aided them to come to Nigeria would not devise other ingenious methods to bring them back. Nobody can guarantee that. Perhaps, another source of worry over the war on terrorism is the conspiracy of silence over the activities of these terrorists in the northern part of the country. Even though the activities of these terrorists have almost turned the area into a ‘pariah’ zone, no prominent figure has come out to openly condemn these terrorists. Each time the terrorists wreak havoc, the sing-song has always been that the federal government should “address poverty in the North and take measures to address the growing discontent which breeds terrorism.” No condemnation of the dastardly acts ever gets mentioned. Yet, the issue of who or what is responsible for poverty in the North is another matter altogether. At any rate, it took the terrorists several years to perfect their plans. When the Seal - an elite branch of

Dele Agekameh the American Marines - stormed the residence of the late Al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, in Abotabab, Pakistan, last year, several documents were ‘retrieved’ from his residence. Among them were letters between Bin Laden and terrorists groups in Nigeria seeking support. In return, he promised them financial support, training and other assistance. He particularly linked them with Al-Qaeda cells in Africa - Algeria, Somalia, Mauritania, Chad and other places in the Maghreb region. The fall of Muammar Gaddafi from power could have also led to stockpiled Libyan arms finding their way into Nigeria. The truth is that the terrorist group operating in Nigeria is a franchise of Al-Qaeda, which has been funding and providing logistics to them. And that is why they are so vicious in wreaking havoc on the country with impunity. Therefore, if we must win this war on terror, the government of the day should be more decisive, stop playing politics with the security of the nation and refrain from treating those identified as terrorists and terrorism sponsors as sacred cows!

Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)



COMMENTS ‘You got it all. Mandela gave a damn that is why he asked his interviewer to call his driver to the place of interview. If it were to be Nigerian leaders he would have been tagged a thug. Nigerian leaders were given power, unfortunately, they have become gods. They were elected to serve people but ended up being served. Our leaders lack humility. Our leaders should learn a big leason from Mandela and Ghana. Revolution is the answer so that our leaders would stop all sorts of unholy act. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Dockyard, Apapa, Lagos’ People”. Very good! You asked for comments by SMS, do you welcome comments by email? From Dr. Adebimpe Okunade For Olatunji Dare •Oshiomhole

For Segun Gbadegesin Sovereign National Conference (SNC) will lead to power tussles in the states over delegate-picking as well as breed discord if it takes place. SNC will be a drain-pipe on our already lean national financial resources! Whoever has anything agitating his/her mind, developmentally, should route it/ them through our elected representatives directly, indirectly or in writing and keep a copy. From Lanre Oseni, Lagos I cannot agree more with your position; this house (Nigeria) is tottering and we cannot just patch it up and hope that things will be okay. We need to sit down and decide which way to go. The voice of the people must prevail! From Chizoba, Jos Where is NLC and TUC? It is only when Nigerians go on strike with a provision asking the National Assembly to resign that national conference will be meaningfull. From Uche Lawson, Aba Your piece on “The senate versus the people” is incontestable. The top secret is that the National Assembly is spiritually caged by northern Muslims who control the socalled PDP Family. Except ACN legislators, others are tied to their apron string and dance to their tune. Shame on the legislators from the South who know the truth and imperative of national conference but keep mum. From Polycarp Onwubiko, Awka Anambra State You echoed my mind on “The Senate vs the People”. We must use our votes to open the brains of these Senators. Can seminars be organised, I will offer to speak on the issue. From Rev. Fr. Pat Anaere Thanks for your piece on “NASS vs the people. Please, they should inshrine a clause for referendum and constituent assembly for people’s participation in our national decision making process. From Jumbo The Senate’s sovereignity emanates from the people; they should hearken to the yearnings of the people to have a restructured nation where all animals are equal, a nation of equal opportunity for its citizenry, equal number of states in the six geo-political zones, equal number of LGAs in all the federating states, option of people to join any state contiguous to it/sharing same faith/ culture to enhance harmonious co-existence. There are many issues to be addressed by a national colloquim, the Senate may not address some issues because of conflicting interests. I wish I wil be a part of the colloquim. Anonymous I read your comments. Sorry, I will not believe that any elected official who recieves or accepts fat allowances is patriotic or has good intentions. All these praise of our leaders having good intentions and patriotism is unfortunate. In a country with almost 70 percent living below poverty level and very low per capita income, greed is inhuman and ungodly. It is also a security risk for you and I because our security men who recieve peanuts are discouraged and ill motivated due to the injustice of bogus pay. Anonymous I read your comments “The Senate vs the

We have disallowed fix-it veteran from fixing this one. It is the end of the road for a professional rigger. From Alh. Adeboye Lawal Re: The fixer’s last dance. I think we should thank Almighty God for making the Edo election end peacefully. For those journalists who analysed objectively before the election, kudos! For those with bias, they need to speak progress for Nigeria rather than fanning embers of discord. Shouts, alerts, alarm and rejection of the army were the same do-ordie politics OBJ was accused of then. Let us have some elements of trust in institutions placed for us by governments. Congratulations to Oshiomhole and Mr fix it should learn that position is transient. From Lanre Oseni Your article on the fixer’s last dance made an interesting reading. Mr. fix it, an apostle of rigging, could not fix it this time around because of overwhelming support for the Comrade Governor. It was too hot for Mr. fix it even with the whole arsenal and ballistic missiles at the disposal of security agencies who could not contain Jos crises. Will somebody tell Mr. fix it to go home and rest after almost two decades in politics. He is now irrelevant in contemporary politics. I salute the courage of the Comrade Governor and wish him another four years of purposeful leadership. From Ayo Apelogun, Ilesha I think the compilers of the Guinness book of records omitted an important ‘first’ in their compilation. Chief Tony Anenih deserved to be accorded the status of the first person in history to trade away the victory of his political party in a national presidential election. Please, correct me if I am wrong. From Bode Lucas Please, let us forget Mr. Fix it, but pray for the people’s Comrade Governor for God to give to him wisdom and knowledge to pilot Edo State to the promised land. Mr. Fix it has been silenced. We pray God to do same to Oloye of Kwara. From Obed E. O. Ilorin I am happy Oshiomhole won the Edo State governorship eletion, but INEC has refused to change from its evil ways. No sane man will believe Jega that names are missing from the register used less than 15 monthts ago. INEC and Jega disappointed in this election. I foresee danger in future if INEC continues in thìs manner. INEC deserves no commendation for this election. From Benedict Ageloisa, Benin City Why should we congratulate Jega for doing the right thing? Having low expectations of ourselves is bad, especially if that is what you are supposed to do. Anonymous Prof Dare, I approached your column this morning expecting your trademark denunciations and condemnations, justifiable or not. I was not disappointed. You started out condemning the President for justifiably deploying troops for the good of the poll. I hope you have heard of or read Governor Oshiomhole’s praise for the President on the conduct of the security forces and their contributions to the success of the poll. The title of your column is a misnomer. You are not at home at all in the context of the current realities in Nigeria. From Iboro, Lagos Re: The Fixer’s last dance. While your piece was an eye opener, may I humbly state here that contrary to your claim, the Elections Pe-

titions Tribunal actually gave victory to Governor Oshiomhole. Also former Governor Oyegun was elected on the platform of SDP but not DPP. More power to your elbow. From J. I. A. Akhigbe Esq. I enjoyed your piece in The Nation newspaper of July 17, entitled “The Fixer’s last dance.” The routing of PDP in Edo State shows clearly that the Godfather has expired, and he should do the honourable thing by bowing out of active poliics. Age too is no longer on his side. I recommend that he goes into philantrop y as a way of redeeming his battered image. Anonymous The piece is short-sighted. Rigging will never go because nobody is in jail for the sin. We ask: who are behind the killings before the election? Hear Sun Wu Tzu: “Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat.” Congrats, Edo. From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna Thanks for the beautiful piece in your regular column in The Nation of July 17, 2012 entitled “The Fixer’s last dance”. My only comment is on your submission that The Elections Petitions Tribunal affirmed the purported election of Professor Oserienmen Osunbor. On the contrary, the tribunal and the appelate court nullified Osunbor’s election in favour of Comrade Oshiomhole. May your pen continue to flow from the fountain of wisdom. From Sam Ajana, Benin City Just to point out a minor error in your column today. Osarhiemen Osunbor’s election was never affirmed by any tribunal. He lost at the election tribunal and at the Court of Appeal. Anenih’s statement was in spite of the tribunal’s judgment. From Dr. I. K. Omoruyi, Benin City What a wonderful write-up. This is the type of people that have eaten and continued to eat what belongs to the future generations. Congrats my Comrade. From Emma Ochu, Lokoja. For Gbenga Omotoso According to The Nation of July 26, 2012, the man, John Fifi Atta Mills, was a man of the people, a Christian to the core and God fearing person. My advice to all African leaders is to emulate him and build the nation. From Lanre, Akure Ondo State Our greatness as a nation I think is in size. Sometimes, bigger size could be terrifying and, often times, irrelevant! The latter is our case. You recall Keneth Kaunda’s Zambia shall be free whose story of liberation ended with “But I know, one day, Zambia shall be free.” Since then, I knew Zambia would be great in decency, orderliness and discipline. Quite unfortunate, Nigeria remains static. One only hopes we will be there in terms of excellent leadership and corruption-free society. May John Fifi Atta-Mills’ soul rest in peace, ameen! From Lanre Oseni No Sir! ...that is distorted history. Ghana hit Oil during the second term of John Kuffour. We can not stand our legacy twisted as you do here. Thanks! Anonymous I fell in love with the man John Atta Mills the day I saw him campaigning on television. I prayed that he wins the election because I saw him as one who loved his people. How I wish PDP can allow people like Oshiomhole or Rochas to rule Nigeria. Anonymous The rancour-free transition of power in Ghana has underscored the glaring need for an all-encompassing overhaul of the political structure in Nigeria. We cannot lay claim

•John Atta Mills

to true regional power in the face of crippling inefficiencies. God bless Nigeria. From Joe Odey, University of Maiduguri A nice write-up from you; but the question is: when are we getting there? Anonymous Could Nigerian leaders afford to behave like Ghanaians when those privileged will want the country to stand still? From C. C. Njoku, Abia State You got it all. Mandela gave a damn that is why he asked his interviewer to call his driver to the place of interview. If it were to be Nigerian leaders he would have been tagged a thug. Nigerian leaders were given power, unfortunately, they have become gods. They were elected to serve people but ended up being served. Our leaders lack humility. Our leaders should learn a big leason from Mandela and Ghana. Revolution is the answer so that our leaders would stop all sorts of unholy act. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Dockyard, Apapa, Lagos Well done for your Editorial Notebook comment about the smooth transition in Ghana. I want to state that even the democratic process in Ghana that brought JFA Mills to power was applauded globaly. And the late Yar’Adua faulted the system that enthroned him. So, how could such transition be expected when Nigerian politics is cabalised by currupt, fraudulent and regional actors with no national interest.Thanks! From Darlynton, Maikuri Zambia and Ghana were lucky not to have amalgamated Hausa/Fulani of the North of those countries with Christians of the South as in Nigeria! From Uche Lawson, Aba I would rather spend my one hundred and fifty naira for your column than buying some other newspapers. What a piece of indepth write-up. Zambia my Zambia. From Chief Sam Eyengho In fact, your write-up on July 26, was very emotional. But its a pity that most of the leaders at the moment do not have much time to go through the very emotional and unflinching write-ups like it. Indeed, a good lesson should be learned from Mandela (D Mandiba). From Adewale Adelani, Osogbo. Ghanaians did not need to invoke any dubious ‘doctrine of necessity’ before swearing in VP Mahama as President. Anonymous Let the governor of Bayelsa State read Matthew 6:1-7. From Chief Thomas Ovwe Leadership is a thing of the mind. Nigeria has the potential for good leaders to arise but it lies in us deciding if that is what we want. Until we do this and get our leadership questions right we will continue to see ourselves in a cycle of hopelessness while smaller nations move on. From Igboeli Arinze It is true, ‘good people do not live long.’ Mills was a good man. From Victor Kulo, Lagos. I agree with the piece that John Fifi Atta Mills was not only good but a well educated African leader. I beg to ask: Why is it that they cannot see that the neo-colonial socioeconomic system is behind pauperism and poverty in Africa? If they are aware, why do they not create a society that will not oppress and exploit the people? Nantso wie, Mr. Mills! From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna





Senator Annie Okonkwo was a member of the Sixth Assembly on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He represented Anambra Central Senatorial District. He now the leader of a group called Committee 21 (C21). Okonkwo announced his defection to the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) last weekend. In this interview with MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE, he examines some issues confronting the country and how best to tackle them.


HE House of Representatives said the implementation of the 2012 budget so far has fallen short of expectation. Do you consider this to be a fair assessment? The implementation of the budget is the duty of the executive. Once an Appropriation Act is passed and signed, which is the budget, if you don’t implement it faithfully, things are bound to go wrong with the economy. There are certain things you have to do especially where capital expenditure is involved. The situation on ground, as we have been made to understand, is that the the President has been able to meet the recurrent budget. The question is why can’t he meet the capital budget which will take care of projects? I am happy with what the House of Representatives has done by taking some serious steps to ensure that the implementation of the budget meets the desired expectation. For some time now, the practice has been such that even when the budget extends to March instead of December, it is still not implemented to a satisfactory level. We must be able to implement our budget 100 per cent and I think it is possible to make additional budget if it becomes necessary. But a situation where the budget is not properly implemented, it becomes difficult to lay your hand on the performance of the different sectors of the economy. The immediate implication is that something is wrong. So, we must be able to look into such critical areas, and once funds are appropriated to these areas they should be implemented. There is really no excuse why a budget should not be implemented well enough if the funds are available. Some of those involved in the oil subsidy scam are being currently prosecuted. But then a twist was added to the whole drama as the the hunter has become the hunted. Today, those who conducted the probe are being probed. What does this portend for our country? You can see that nobody is happy about the development, especially, the amount of money that is involved in the fuel subsidy scam. Nigeria has been losing a lot of money for so many years now. I don’t think this thing just started recently. But we thank God that it has come to the open and now we have realised that people are doing everything they can to ruin this country. The money that ought to be used in the development of the country is what a few people just corner for themselves. They have been doing this through many fronts but the fuel subsidy is one major way of fleecing the country of enormous resources. It is not only greet and corruption, I think it is wickedness because how can someone not deliver anything out of the cargo they are supposed to deliver and still go ahead to claim the money. At other times they deliver less quantity but curiously go ahead and claim huge amount of money from our commonwealth. They have made the government to spend more money; I think that today we are making huge progress in the light of the things happing concerning the subsidy. People must go in for it because what is on ground is very glaring

• Okonkwo

‘State police is answer to security challenges’ and there are lots of issues parting these people who have gone to claim money without doing anything. People have equally forged document which they have tendered for claims, this is really bad for the country. It is really a bad thing for our country. But the happy thing is that the matter is being investigated by the appropriate agencies. I think that once people are prosecuted and punished, if found guilty, the situation will definitely change. We will start to have a better deal once justice is done on behalf of the people of this nation and may ultimately begin to have value for our money. The names involved in the subsidy scam appeared powerful and some of them related to big time politicians in the country, can Nigerians expect justice? I really would want to think so because there ought not to be any

sacred cow no matter how highly place the individual might be. If we say we are running a democracy, then we must allow the rule of law to run its full course. In other parts of the world, there are no exceptions in matters like this; therefore, if the law catches up with anybody, I expect the individual to face the full wrath of the law. My reading of the situation is that God has come to intervene in the matter troubling Nigeria that is why the thing has come to the open. I strongly believe that whoever is involved in this despicable act, if found guilty should be made to face the music in so far as he has inflicted so much suffering on the people of this country. The process for a constitution amendment is on. But some people think the operators are the ones to blame and no need for amendment. What is your take? First, I think there are critical ar-

eas in the current constitution that must be amended. I remember that the 1999 Constitution was hurriedly put in place by the military. As a nation we cannot make progress if we decide to fold our arms and continue to operate a democratic government with a constitution that was put together in a hurry by the military. We must address those issues that are very paramount to the progress of this country; therefore, we cannot run away from the constitution amendment. For instance, today Nigeria is divided into six zones of six states each but the people of the East have only five states. This is a clear case of marginalisation of the zone and we cannot continue to tolerate such imbalance in the country. The issue of Sovereign National Conference has to be discussed. We need to discuss state police because we are talking about the security of the country. We need to look at the constitution and tackle those issues that are very important to the development of the country. But the Senate has said no to Sovereign National Conference. The issue of a Sovereign National Conference is a very important one because there are issues that must be discussed. A lot of people still believe that there are issues which needed to be looked into in terms of how this country should be administered. Like I said we have a lot to do in this country, the conference will address various things including security and other matters in this country. The youth who have taken to crime is because of their idleness, they say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. We must begin to think of how to engage our teeming youths so that they can join the process of moving the country forward by creating avenue for them to fulfil their dreams through employment and other programmes. I think the conference will address many problems through meaningful engagement. The Northern Governors Forum has kicked against state police. Do you think it will be better off with a federal police? To be honest people are always afraid that a state governor will use the state police to harass, intimidate and generally abuse it. I don’t think so. What we need is the courage to tell ourselves the truth. If it will take the creation of state police to address the security problems facing the country why can’t we do that? Why should we continue to live with the present security challenges in the country when things are certain to change for the better if we have state police? There are lots of lapses here and there because the governors are not really in charge of the security apparatus in the states. If there is a state police, the security challenge

‘Why should we continue to live with the present security challenges in the country when things are certain to change for the better if we have state police? There are lots of lapses here and there because the governors are not really in charge of the security apparatus in the states. If there is a state police, the security challenge of every state will be the primary concern of the governor’

of every state will be the primary concern of the governor. Not that they don’t care just now but the fact is that they will definitely do more to enhance security in the country. For me, state police is answer to our security challenges we are facing. So, the issue should be what can we do to strengthen security and if there is any debate about the creation of state police I think I will go for it. Some have also opined that state creation is unnecessary and we don’t need new ones for now because some of the existing ones are not viable… Yes, that is what people are saying because people have argued that if we must create states then we must create the resources. My take is that That each zone should be in the position to create their resources and do whatever they want to do, we must be able to address these problems so that it would be of benefit to the people. The House seemed to favour a single tenure for the executive arm of government. Should those currently in government benefit from it? I don’t think so; the issue is that some people have been sworn in for four years. If the constitution is amended the incoming administration would then be sworn in for a single term of either seven, six or five years. One thing that is clear, however, is that some people would benefit while others would lose. And it would be unfair that because some people will benefit while others won’t, therefore, the amendment should not take place. That will be wrong. The issue of second term has caused a lot of problems; it has its advantages and disadvantages. And if it is agreed that we need to do a single term, then the constitution must be able to spell out, in clear terms, the single term that is being advocated and those who have been sworn-in for four years can’t be part of it. What I think is that only new people should benefit from a change to single term. How soon should this become operational in the country? I think for now everything depends on the constitution amendment which is on going now at the National Assembly and you know the process of Constitution mendment takes some time. When the National Assembly finishes its part it goes to the 36 states of the federation, so its going to take some time before the process is completed. How would you describe the situation in Jos where a serving senator lost his life? Isn’t the situation getting complicated? What is happening in Jos is quite unfortunate and very sad. It shows that what happened had gone beyond the point many of us thought it was. It was Senator Dantong yesterday, it could have been anybody and nobody knows who it would be tomorrow. It has become the concern of all Nigerians that government should rise up to the occasion and address it. I believe that the government should do some thing about it. Government must try as much as possible to resolve the matter on ground. The security of lives and property should be fully guaranteed and people should be able to live their lives freely in any part of the country.




LP’s loaded lies in Ondo State EXPECTEDLY, as the much anticipated gubernatorial poll in Ondo state inches closer everyday, the major political gladiators are up in the race to clinch the prime laurelthe governorship. It has however, come to the notice of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state, the calculated and malicious attempt by the incumbent Governor Segun Mimiko and his Labour Party, LP to give the wrong perception to the public that we are out to undo him by all foul means. To achieve his ignoble aim, he has gone to town to hawk loaded lies on the streets of desperation for power. For instance, only recently the media was awash with the news item that as many as 10,000 party faithful of both the ACN and the PDP have defected to the LP. We wish to state here categorically that nothing could be further from the truth. It is pure fallacy because virtually all the politicians he claimed have decamped to the LP have been denying it all. One of such is Mr. Felix Rawa , the former gubernatorial aspirant of the ACN who Mimiko claimed has jumped ship to LP. He has since gone public to deny it out rightly. The same goes for Gbenga Akinsoyo (Garo), the erstwhile publicity secretary of the ACN who has similarly denied the spurious claim by the governor that he too had decamped to the LP. We have noticed, with utter dismay that it has become his stock-in-trade to lure potentially influential politicians with the promise to give them plum appointments only to renege at the twinkle of an eye. He is in the habit of dropping them like some filthy rags after he must have used them to his benefit. The most recent and indeed famous of such victims he has hoodwinked with the spider’s gift is none other than Olu Agunloye, another former governorship aspirant then on the platform of the ACN. After dancing himself dizzy at the recent public declaration of Mimiko’s intention to run for a second term, Agunloye was left handling the wrong end of the stick when the governor’s promise to announce him as his running mate fell flat on its face. The incumbent, Ali Olanusi was retained instead. Agunloye became a cheap pawn in the chess game that Mimiko has turned Ondo politics into. Unable to contain this rude shock, Agunloye has since removed all LP logos from his office in Akure and others across the state. Again, he must have learnt a bitter lesson on what it takes to swim with the

• Akeredolu By Idowu Ajanaku

sharks. But he is not the only politician of Ondo stock gritting his teeth or biting his nails over the crafty and deceptive disposition of Mimiko. On his part, Yele Omoguruwa, the former Commissioner of Works was promised a tidy sum of money that remained only in the realm of some distant dreams. He has now pitched his tent with the PDP . Not done, in his failed bid to cause disaffection amongst the stalwarts of the ACN, Mimiko at a time claimed that the respected Senator Ajayi Boroffice has moved back to the LP. To put the records straight, he too has gone public to deny that claim. While we recognise the fact that accessing political power in Nigeria has become one fierce battle all because of the winner’s penchant to dip his hand into the oily till for self serving reasons rather than to satisfy the wishes and aspirations of the electorate, we in the ACN are making the paradigm shift using good performance as the benchmark. Perhaps, even Mimiko may have enjoyed our patronage if he has performed creditably well. But he has not. That is the bitter pill that he has found too hard to swallow. Was it not the ACN he turned to when he was up the creek against the PDP without a paddle in 2011? Instead of curtailing his excesses and acknowledging the fact that he has not kept faith with the pledge he made to meet the needs of Ondo people as well serve only one term Mimiko is

busy using all manner of crude Machiavellian tactics to browbeat his political opponents. That will not work. Made worse is turning himself into a scaremonger. Using paid thugs to create a sense of fear amongst the people as exemplified by the recent attack on Barrister Akeredolu’s convoy at Oyemekun Road, Akure on his way to Owo could only back fire. Going to town to claim and falsely too, that ACN thugs attacked LP secretariat in Akure will not work. Over time, Mimiko has blatantly refused to heed the wise counsel from eminent politicians to change his style of governance; to embrace the contributions of others under a peaceful atmosphere. Such patriotic admonition had come from people such as Olaiya Oni the former chairman of the LP in the state and Ayo Abegunde, the lawmaker in the House of Representatives representing Akure South-West,the largest senatorial district in Ondo state. But like a self-destructive hunter’s dog he turned deaf ears to the concerned views of other stakeholders. Instead, he has been listening to his inner urges and of course the deafening drumbeats of sycophants. We have also noticed that the message, method and motive behind his recent campaigns are equally antithetical to accepted democratic norms. Using sheer propaganda to paint himself like a helpless orphan whose oily bean cake is about to be stolen from him by an intimidating bully is nothing but cheap blackmail. It will not work. Put in the proper perspective, the truth of the matter in Ondo state is that the ACN as a progressive purveyor of good governance has come out to intervene in the perilous political situation in the state. As a consequence, thousands of politicians are decamping daily from the LP to the people’s favourite. They too want to benefit from the positive impact of ACN –led state governments’ capacity to create over 30,000 jobs in the first one hundred days in office as has been proudly accomplished in Lagos, Osun and Ekiti states. That is what is making Mimko jittery, giving him sleepless nights and unfortunately making him to resort to giving under the belly punches to his perceived political foes rather than engaging in a redemptive mission. But even that is too late in the day. And it will not work.The good people of Ondo state will prove that come October 20, 2012. Ajanaku is director of media, publicity and strategy for the campaign organisation of Ondo ACN candidate, Akeredolu.

• Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Ami Lustig of Israeli firm LR Group after they signed an MOU to establish a multi-billion naira 2000-hectre farm village in Rivers State ... yesterday.

Ekweremadu seeks extra powers for ECOWAS Parliament From Sanni Onogu, Abuja


PEAKER of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament Senator Ike Ekweremadu yesterday called for the enhancement of the powers of the sub-regional law making body. Ekweremadu, who is also the deputy president of the Nigerian Senate, stated this while presenting a Draft Supplementary Act of the ECOWAS Parliament to the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo in Abuja. He also called for the election of ordinary citizens into the parliament through electoral college formed by national parliaments. He noted that the Parliament which aims at accelerating and deepening the integration process within the sub-region is currently on transition and, therefore, do not make laws. He added that Article 4(2) of the Supplementary Protocol of the 115-member parliament provides that the parliament powers “shall be progressively enhanced from advisory to co-decision making and subsequently to law making role in areas to be defined by the Authority.” He lamented that whereas ECOWAS Parliament was the only supranational parliament with solid structure and prospects of transforming into a full legislative body throughout the African continent at the time of its inception in year 2000, it had remained a mere consultative and advisory Parliament whereas other regional parliaments it predated had either gained legislative powers or at the fringes of doing so. Apart from the European Union which he said had long assumed full legislative powers, he cited the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) as an example of a sub-regional parliament that have gained legislative powers in specific areas while the processes of transforming the Southern African Development Commission Parliamentary Forum (SADCPF), and the Pan African Parliament had reached advanced stages. He said: “The internationally acceptable best practice is to democratise the integration process by having a legislative Parliament that will make laws and conduct oversight to enhance transparency, accountability, and proper separation of powers.” Speaking on the salient aspects of the document, the Speaker explained

• Ekweremadu

that Draft Supplementary Act seeks the election to the ECOWAS Parliament by Electoral College and a codecision status with Council such that both Council and Parliament could initiate Legislative Acts. He added: “The Draft Act seeks the integration of Parliament into the Community Mechanism on Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping, and Security and for the Parliament to be involved in Election Monitoring. “It seeks to empower the Parliament to oversight Community sector policies, confirm the appointment of Statutory Appointees, and strengthen interactions between ECOWAS Parliament and National Parliaments”.

Impeachment threat: Rep advises Jonathan By Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor


MEMBER of the House of Representatives of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Dr. Ifeoluwa Arowosoge, yesterday advised President Goodluck Jonathan not to see the House as his enemy over the impeachment threat against him. The lawmaker representing Ekiti South West/Ikere/Ise/Orun Constituency told The Nation yesterday that it was a patriotic effort to put the Jonathan-led executive on its toes in a genuine concerted bid to move the nation out of the woods. Tracing the genesis of the frosty relationship between the executive and the House, Arowosoge disclosed that it was spurred by government’s lack of transparency on the nation’s financial status and the lopsidedness of the content of the 2012 Budget. His words: “We have nothing personal against Mr. President and indeed, the executive. The impeachment threat did not ensue overnight out of malice. It was a response to some unconstitutional violations. The executive was fond of complaining about lack of funds each the issue of development projects arose in recent times and at a point, we got worried and tired of such complaints. Thus, we felt the need to look into those agencies like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) among others, all in a bid to ascertain the veracity of such a claim. To our dismay, we found out that there had been enough funds. “Moreover, we discovered that Recurrent Expenditure swallows over 70 per cent of the 2012 Budget, leaving a paltry 30 per cent for Capital Projects, a situation we saw as unhealthy for any entity that wants to smell growth and development. Our overriding objective is to put the government on its toes with the ultimate aim of running a system that is responsive to people’s yearnings.” Arowosoge further explained that the development had nothing to do with partisan politicking because according to him, any elected public office holder reserves the constitutional duty to work for the good of his constituency, his political party notwithstanding. “My party, the ACN, is irrevocably committed to seeing the country through to the Promise Land. And it is what we members and indeed ambassadors of the party were taught to imbibe, not unhealthy partisanship in matters that demand honest patriotism.” • Arowosoge




The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

Text only: 08023058761

•Sir Victor Olaiya

Maestro Olaiya hits 60 on stage ‘Anytime I am with the horn...I must carry my white handkerchief...The symbol of my success’ SEE PAGE 16

Friends honour Mandela – Page 27

‘Music industry should be cleaner than what it is’ – Page 28



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

•Sir Victor Olaiya

Maestro Olaiya hits 60 on stage In commemoration of his 60 years on stage, Dr Victor Olaiya will be on the bandstand on September 16 during a concert at the Banquet Hall of Lagos City Hall, writes Highlife promoter FEMI ESHO.


HOSE who stamped the sobriquet “the Highlife Evil Genius” on Dr Victor Abimbola Olaiya years back must have been convinced he was the highflier to beat in all ramifications. From that moment, his star, too, began to shine, justifying Olaiya’s placement. These have been manifesting in cunning and unfolding dramatic scenario with big time performances here and there. One of them was recorded when he took the centre stage during Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Nigeria in 1956. Four years later, Olaiya consolidated that recognition when he beat other contemporaries to play as the official band during Nigeria’s independence in 1960. On that auspicious occasion, he actually mesmerised all, especially those in government. That expectedly fetched him another big time engagement when Nigeria became a republic in 1963. During that landmark gathering, Cool Cats Orchestra led by Dr Victor Olaiya shared the stage with famous American Jazz player the late Louis Armstrong. Olaiya, who hails from Ijesha Ishu in Ekiti State, capped these national outings with his appearance at the famous Prague International Jazz festival in Czeckoslovakia, where he represented Africa and made her proud. Olaiya recalled with nostalgia how he was besieged to sign autographs for his teeming fans who witnessed the grand performance. On the heels of this, the man nicknamed Evil Genius of highlife because of his successful adaptability of the traditional music of Nigeria’s many tribes stormed and thrilled troops of the United Nations Forces during the Congo (New Zaire), crises. Back to Nigeria, he faced his music career, churning out what observers regard as evergreen releases, which not only fetched him popularity, but also honorary academic awards by various universities and professional bodies. These include the city of Los Angeles, California, United States where he bagged a honorary degree and later fellowship of the Institute of Administrative Management of Nigeria. For playing for soldiers in 1967 during the civil war, he got the honorary Lt. Col insignia.

INTERVIEW LIFE The musical evolution of Dr Olaiya, who was born on December 31, 1930, dates back to his early days in Calabar, the Cross River State capital. His late father, Pa Alfred Omolona Olaiya was a church organist, and late mother, Mrs. Batsheba Ayodele Olaiya, a folk singer. These parental traits, which may have been passed to Olaiya propelled him into music quite early. A past pupil of RCM Primary School, Owerri, the Imo State capital, Olaiya started his career in 1946, blowing the French horn for the school band at African College, Onitsha, Anambra State. Olaiya stunned observers when he suddenly advanced to the B Flat Cornet, before graduating to trumpet Bb. This, he took to the Lagos City Orchestra in the early 50s, moving over to the late Bobby Benson’s Jazz session and finally Sammy Akpabot’s band before going solo in 1954. That band named Cool Cats Orchestra was formed in conjunction with the late A.B.C Cole. There, Olaiya’s talent began to rise like the morning Sun

As a foresighted musician, he prophesied Nigeria’s ever ailing economy in a number “Kosowo Lode”, which literally means scarcity of money. His music is not only philosophical and poetic, but educative. Today, all tumultuous passions and quick sensations appear to have subsided in him.

from the East. Hits followed in quick succession on the Badejo’s sound label. Olaiya celebrated for his knack for love songs, although spots a rough voice which he has since learnt how to blend well with his brand of music, making it pretty agreeable and acceptable to the ear drums. That, he has since complemented with his dexterity on the trumpet, which actually qualified him to play alongside the legendary American Jazz Whiz kid, Louis Armstrong. That too brought the acclaimed highlife giant of Africa and the late Ghanaian top highlife, E.T. Mensah close. Both did one popular and evergreen joint album which actually became a best seller. That number, released decades ago, came to past with the current global economic melt down. His philosophical leaning, he has since displayed in “Aiye soro” where he admonished those who have everything going for them to soft pedal because nobody knows where the pendulum will swing. Like other musicians identified with a unique dress sense or any physical attribute, Olaiya has successfully singled himself out on the stage with his horn and white handkerchief. In fact, over the years, the horn, white handkerchief and Olaiya have been like triplets. Their inseparability is visible and interesting. That may be as a result of the effective synchronisation of his songs, horn and white handkerchief whenever he is on stage. He confesses that the handkerchief symbolises his success. Olaiya does not only romance, but confesses his love for white handkerchief. He has same for his horn. It is what he lives by and all that he lives for. The horn, according to him, is the Man. It is the musician. Without it, Olaiya can’t make music or music that is peculiarly his. This distinctive highflier embraced this openly. He said: “Anytime I am with the horn ... I must carry my white handkerchief ... The symbol of my success.” •Continued on page 17



The Midweek Magazine


Friends honour honou Mandela


T was a gathering that cuts across all spheres of life. Children, diplomats, a man of letters and those in showbusiness. They all came to celebrate former South African President Nelson Mandela, who turned 94 on July 18. Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, who was the special guest of honour, led diplomats, such as the Consul-General, South African High Commission in Nigeria, Mokgethi Sam Monaisa; his Cameroonian counterpart, Paul Ekorong Adong and the Counsellor, Political Affairs, South African High Commission, Thandi Mgxwati, among others, to the event held at the Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island, Lagos. Soyinka, who came in from Ogun State, described Mandela as Commander-in-Chief, saying there is only one commander-in-chief in the continent and his name is Nelson Mandela. He recalled some rare moments he had spent with Mandela and shared a section of the freedom fighter’s biography, Long Walk to Freedom, where Mandela had left prison and was negotiating with his former jailers. According to Soyinka in a section of the book, Mandela had been served a rich British breakfast and the cook suddenly realised that this could be detrimental to his health and was on the verge of taking it back when Mandela grabbed it and proceeded to eat it.”Anytime I recall that section of the book, I find myself-laughing no matter where I am,” Soyinka said, adding that the section of the book inspired a change in his morning ritual. “For several decades, those close to me knew breakfast was all about my small Espresso coffee,” he said. Monaisa, who spoke shortly before the start of the celebration, said: “Mandela spent the first part of his life fighting for the life of the downtrodden. He did not do this for South Africa alone, but for the whole world. It was due to his leadership that a democratic election took place in South Africa. He advocated that the people of Africa must live in peace and Africa must attain stability. There was a smooth transition between him and his successor, Thambo Mbeki. He served one term and he handed over to Mbeki.” Mandela’s love for the downtrodden and his quest to inspire change is part of the icon’s philosophies being inculcated in the younger generation as a part of the Mandela Day celebration. Mgxwati said: “In line with the Madiba’s principle, we are pushing for good citizenry and putting smiles on the faces of people. We will take action and inspire change and make every day a Mandela Day. The values that Mandela stands for should be the driving force behind the celebration.” According to Mgxwati, this is because Madiba loves children and he is not just a South African citizen, he is an international citizen. “It is exciting sharing information about him with Nigerians because Nigeria was a great ally of South Africa during our struggle,” she added. As a proof that the Mandela phenomenon transcends all languages, Adong noted that he was not sure if the next generation would have the opportunity to have a man like Mandela in their lifetime. Since 2009, United Nations, in recognition of the contribution of the former South African president to the culture of peace and freedom, declared July 18 as Mandela International Day and enjoined people across the globe to spend 67 minutes of every July 18 doing charity work in appreciation of the 67 years of Mandela’s life that he dedicated to the service of humanity.

•Soyinka (centre) flanked by children and other guests

•From left: Head of Malls, Africa, Silverbird, Mr Baxter Slaton; Business Manager, Silverbird Galleria, Nkechi Ofoma; ConsulGeneral South Africa High Commission, Ambassador Monaisa, Mgxwati and a Cameroonian diplomat. By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)

CELEBRATION Earlier, as part of activities marking Mandela’s birthday, Shoprite and Unilever accompanied staff of the South Africa’s Consulate to an orphanage in Makoko area of Lagos for the customary 67 minutes of charity work which included donations to the children. They also held an awareness campaign at the orphanage and school run by the Red Cross. The birthday celebration was not all about long speeches as Imole Ayo Band was on the bandstand thrilling the guests to melodious South African tunes such as Miriam Makeba’s Pata pata’. The event also featured an art exhibition showcasing

Celebrating music icons

Maestro Olaiya hits 60 on stage •Continued from page 16


VERGREEN Musical Company held a Golden Tunes Concert in October, last year, at the Prestigious Lagos City Hall during which 45 great Nigerian and Ghanaian Highlife giants were honoured. It has since been confirmed as the greatest highlife festival ever held in Africa. Dr. Victor Abimbola Olaiya is the oldest most active highlife legend in the world following the death of Bobby Benson 24 years ago and Jerry Hansen leader of Ramblers Dance Band of Ghana three months ago at 85. Several music maestros have passed through his tutorage. They include the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Sir Victor Uwaifo, Dele Ojo, great trumpeter Zeal Onyia, Rex Jim Lawson, Crosdale Juba and several others. He has also touched the lives of several non-highlife musicians such as King Sunny Ade, General Ayinla ‘Kolington’. The late Ayinde Barrister, Dele Abiodun, Shina Peters, Abass Akande Obisere etc. all of who used Dr. Olaiya’s Stadium Hotel in their early years as a daily rotational base to perform. This great highlife giant performed during Nigerian’s Independence on October 1, 1960.

selected photographs of Mandela’s struggles till the end of apartheid. Also, available for the guests were variety of wines from the stable of Westlog Nigeria Limited, owned by a South African based Nigerian, Chief J. A. Rowland. For Rowland, all African leaders should follow the footsteps of Mandela because of his positive leadership quality. “I believe we should replicate what is happening in South Africa over here so that we can encourage the economy of Nigeria and provide employment for Nigerians,” he said. The children were not left out in the celebration as kids from the popular television children programme, The KKB Show, were on hand to sing a happy birthday song for Mandela and to sign a birthday card. The children also joined Soyinka and the other dignitaries to cut the birthday cake with Mandela’s bold picture on it.

•Mr Esho

Olaiya also represented Africa at the Famous Prague International Jazz Festival in Czechoslovakia during which he bagged his Honorary Doctorate Degree in music. He performed during Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Nigeria in 1956. became Republic in 1963 alongside with the Famous Louis Armstrong.

Beneath the veteran musician’s showmanship, lies his ability to pen philosophical, poetic and melodious songs which appeal to young and old. He has so many songs in his kitty. There is virtually no issue under the sun that he has not sang about. That is from love to the socio - economic and vanities of life. For instance, in Adogan, he lamented the perceived sweet-pain of pint - sized men who are into relationship with fat women, satirising their perceived suffering. As a foresighted musician, he prophesied Nigeria’s ever ailing economy in a number “Kosowo Lode” which literally means scarcity of money. His music is not only philosophical and poetic, but educative. Today, all tumultuous passions and quick sensations appear to have subsided in him. No more tormenting caves or boisterous pleasure to agitate him. More that ever before, he insists on the externalities of life. That, he does without necessarily betraying his love for music which he plays every Saturday in Papingo Dabalaya Nite Club, an annex of the massive Stadium Hotel, Surulere, Lagos. Few metres from here, he runs a sprawling business of importation and distribution of musical instrument and accessories. This business spans the entire West Af-

rican sub region, grouped as ECOWAS. Beyond Olaiya’s musical and business inclination, lies his sports disposition. This, the “Evil” Genius confirmed years back when he played for the football association in 1954, excelled in high jump, pole vault and swimming. He loves tendering bird and pets like dog and cats. His unquenchable thirst for music and relevance, was boosted recently with package observers maintain cuts across age and social strata. With this, it is evident, that although, God created Olaiya for the last century, but through handwork and perseverance, he found himself in this century, from strong indications, has since qualified for the next century. Olaiya’s invaluable contributions to highlife music shall forever be cherished by students and players of music. Reference may also be made to the Giant Jubilee (Golden Tunes Concert) a most successful celebration organised by Evergreen Musical Company Limited for Nigerian Independence in October 2010 during which 45 greatest Nigerian and Ghanaian Artistes were celebrated and given various awards, some posthumously including Bobby Benson, E.T. Mensah (Ghana), Fatai Rolling Dollar, Ebenezer Obey, Sunny Ade, Rex Lawson etc. It has since been confirmed as the greatest Musical Celebration in Nigerian history.



The Midweek Magazine


‘Music industry should be cleaner than what it is’ Edo-born Mustapha Bello, also known as T-Kross, is a graduate of Civil Engineering-turned musician. He is out with a single entitled: Don’t be Stupid. In this interview with EVELYN OSAGIE, T-Kross speaks on trends in the industry and more.


S it because engineering jobs are hard to come by that you went into music? It was not because I was jobless, but because of my passion for music. There was a job and opportunity to work a nine-to-five job, but I wanted to be paid doing what I loved doing. The company where I did my internship was willing to take me back after I graduated. Civil engineering doesn’t pay much except it is private contracting. In my early days as an artiste, you go for one show and you are paid N30, 000, which covers your one month salary as a civil engineer. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have to do other personal investments to get money to do recordings. How will you describe your brand of music? I do R&B pop songs, such as TuFace, Banky and the new kid, Whizkid. I would actually describe my brand of music as ‘message songs’ because music should always have a meaning. Even though my song featuring Tuface was a love song, it had a message. In the song, due to religious and parental control, I wasn’t able to be with the girl I loved. I don’t support repeating of lyrics. And I don’t believe people should dance to the beat without of listening to the song’s lyrics: there always has to something that would connect to the listeners. So, once you listen to my songs, you would be able to tell that the song is mine through my voice and the message. Not long ago, you released another single. What are you offering Nigerians in that album? I am bringing a revolution. Sex sell; we all know; but sincerely, I think the industry should be cleaner than what it is. No doubt, there is money already. When you are well-branded, you’d always get endorsements. But we don’t want to be putting parental control or censored in our music as it’s already happening. Songs are getting banned in this country and we were not always like that. Artistes before us like Majek Fasek did clean music. You can make people dance, celebrate, happy and feel sensual, if that is your intention, without being vulgar. I am not here to clean the streets; but I am out to do songs that would be remembered, loved and accepted. And they are cut across several genre or class and generation because they are not clean and are not lyrics to be scared of. When did music begin for you? I used to sing in church as a chorister and performing in shows at school. However, professionally, music be-

•T-Cross (Bello)

INTERVIEW gan for me in 2008. This was when I dropped my first single Aye mi da, meaning my life is good. It is based on the belief that you should keep saying what you want to be until you become it. It was produced by Gospel with TY-Mix in Abuja. Then I did another song Follow follow featuring popular Project Fame’s Iyanya, produced also in Abuja. And when I got to Lagos, I realised I had to start with its market afresh. Today, I have gone beyond that. Two years ago, Eyaa, on Nigeria at 50, got me to perform before President Goodluck Jonathan and at the Governors’ Forum, and Dubai. I have also performed at AY-Live; industry night; and done a couple of paid shows. I have also performed in Dubai, New York, alongside the Mo-Hits Crew and TuFace. And I call all that progress. And I am also an MC.

The music industry has grown; and is growing and the growth is continuous. It has grown from what we used to know it, so much so that the corporate bodies are endorsing many artistes that’s a huge progress. Interaction with the bigger artistes has also made it easy for upcoming ones.

How did your parents take it? It wasn’t funny. Every parent wants to invest in their children and expect that when they graduate, they would come back home and get a job. But when I left school instead of going back to Benin where my parents lived, I took off to Abuja. Like most determined young men, I started from somewhere. I stayed with a friend for a while until I could afford to pay my rent and decided to do music. The heeding the call to do music wasn’t easy at first, but with time, my parents came to believe in me because they saw I was making progress. What is your view about the industry? Anything that can take away joblessness from people is a good thing. And the government and corporate bodies have recognised it and are investing. The music industry has grown: and is growing and the growth is continuous. It has grown from what we used to know it, so much so that the corporate bodies are endorsing many artistes - that’s a huge progress. Interaction with the bigger artistes has also been made it easy for upcoming ones. It has helped to raise their profile. For instance, featuring Tuface in my song with Tuface, my love for you is true has helped me get so much viewership on the internet alone. The song got me to New York to perform all thanks to Sphinx Entertainment, who has been very supportive. When the song came out online, the last time I checked, I saw over 16,000 viewers. Still, there are those whose songs have been around for years and their viewers not 10,000. How did it feel working with Tuface? The first time I met him was in a hotel at Abuja. This was before we walked into the studio with him. I had gone there with my girlfriend, and although I was shaking, I did not let her know that I am only a fan of the star artiste I was planning to feature. When we walked in, he was with people and there was no empty seat; I bent down to greet him (shaking visibly). What calmed me down was the way he received me. He shook my hand and talked as if we were long-time buddies. That was a major lesson for me. How was growing up like? I am from a humble background. My parents were civil servants: my father is a retired military man and my mother, a matron. We had what made use comfortable: went to school and graduated. But Tuface helped me realised that: no matter where you are or going, respect people. And it doesn’t matter whether they have anything to offer you or not. With regards to the few artistes I have met, Tubaba is humble. He gives you respect and has taught me to have regards and respect for people. You have released several singles, when is your album coming out? The management is going to be announced the launch of the album soon; but it would be by the end of the year. We have over 29 songs. We just released my song last two weeks, entitled: Don’t Be Stupid, meant to call attention the need to do the right thing. Aside Don’t Be Stupid, My love is true, which video was dropped in January, and Shere are still enjoying airplay. Have you been able to go for musical training to enable you do better as a musician? I believe in change. And if you are calling for change, you have to learn how to do things differently. Most artistes, today, mime along with their beat during their shows. That is not music. Real music is about live performance, like what Majek Fasek and Tuface do. It is about knowing your chord/keys and being able to sing with it. When I was in the United States, I did a two-month course on acoustics. I’m still on acoustics: I can play the guitar and play drums efficiently. I can now tell you when you are singing off-key. Vocally, your producer can also help you a lot with that, from each song you record to the next, they can tell you how to improve: do and don’t.

World Book Capital: Jonathan, Amaechi, Anyaoku hail Port Harcourt


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan and his River State Governor Rotimi Amaechi have congratulated the Mrs Koko Kalango-led Rainbow Book Club on the choice of Port Harcourt as World Book Capital 2014 by the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Port Harcourt beat 10 other cities including Oxford and Lyon to merge as the book capital for 2014. Jonathan said: “We welcome UNESCO’s recognition of our collective efforts to revive the reading culture. I would also like to congratulate the Rainbow Book Club led by Mrs. Koko Kalango.” Amaechi said Port Harcourt was ready to be the first world book capital city in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, former Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku said he was confident that the impressive record of the Rainbow Book Club and the unfailing support of the Rivers State government in promoting literary activities would ensure the success of Port Harcourt as the world book capital city in 2014. Mrs Kanlango, whose club organises the yearly Gar-

By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

LITERATURE den City Literary Festival in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has said the proposed multi-million naira library complex would at completion serve as the official venue for all activities of the festival in future. She said it is part of efforts at institutionalising the literary festival for sustainability. She spoke in Lagos while announcing the date for this year’s edition of the festival. The festival, which is in its fifth edition, will hold at the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt, Rivers State between Monday, October 15 and 20 featuring symposium, writers’workshop, library and book launches, master class, interactive sessions and drama performances. The theme for this year is Women in literature. Keynote speaker is Cote d’ Ivoire writer, Veronique Tadjo, while other writers such as Lizzy Attre, Ugandan writer, Doreen Baingana, Lola Shoneyin, Noo Saro-Wiwa and Chibundu Onuzo are participants. As part of activi-

ties directed at the children, a national essay competition for senior primary school pupils will hold and will be assessed by the English Language Teachers Association of Nigeria (ELTAN), Also, workshops in writing, drama, and arts will be facilitated by the Children and The Environment (CATE), and Polly Alakija, a children author based in UK. Among the books listed for festival in October include Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, Elechi’s Amadi’s The Concubine, Chibundu Onuzo’s The Spider King’s Daughter, Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria by Noo Saro-Wiwa, and Tropical Fish by Doreen Baigana. Others are The Blind Kingdom by Veronique Tadjo, Buchi Emecheta’s Joys of Motherhood, and The Secret Lives of Baba Segi by Lola Shoneyin. The festival partners include the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), The Reading Association of Nigeria, the British Council, Alliance Francaise and PEN International. It is organized by the Rainbow Book Club in collaboration with the Rivers State Government and the University of Port Harcourt.





CBN may withdraw licences of distressed Finance Houses

Forecasts Q3 Sept 2012 Oasis Ins Turnover N450m Profit after tax N63.894m Access Bank Gross earnings N54.782b Profit after tax N11.907b Resort Savings & Loans Gross earnings N960.736m Profit after tax N165.540m Trans-Nationwide Exp Gross earnings N170.342m Profit after tax N40.568m GT Assure Gross premium N9.525b Profit after tax N1.241b Pharma-Deko Turnover N454m Profit before tax N10m Cornerstone Ins Premium Revenue N919.418m Profit after tax N41.002m Skye Bank Gross earnings N99.710b Profit after tax N13.933b CCNN Turnover N3.683b Profit after Tax N402.165m Custodian & Allied Gross Premium N8.540b Profit after tax N1.345b UPDC Turnover N10.274b Profit after tax N1.002b Nestle Nig Turnover N28.850b Profit after tax N4.014b UACN Turnover N48.313b Profit after tax N4.611b Julius Berger Turnover N125.541b Profit after tax N3.993b Diamond Bank Gross earnings N27.315b Profit after tax N3.107b Oando Turnover N123.207b Profit after tax N2.967b Presco Turnover N2.400b Profit after tax N613.760m Berger Paints Turnover N976.303m Profit after tax N88.258m Eterna Turnover N56.413b Profit after tax N859.734m Consolidated Hallmark Ins Gross premium N4.110b Profit after tax N511.564m MRS Oil Nig Turnover N76.804b Profit after tax N1.068b Transcorp Total income N2.658b Profit after tax N1.507b Evans Medicals Revenue N1.619b Profit after tax N64.656m AIICO Ins Gross premium N2.561b Profit after tax N344.406m GSK Nig Turnover N6.756b Profit after taxation N580.824m Abbey Building Society Gross earnings N1.300b Profit after tax N217.537m Regency Alliance Gross premium N1.300b Profit after tax N303.777m Total Nigeria Turnover N54.466b Profit after tax N1.804b Red Star Express Turnover N2.888b Profit after tax N200.557m Cadbury Nig Turnover N9.873b Profit after tax N735m Okomu Oil Turnover N2.176b Profit after tax N667.068m Continental Re Turnover N10.028b Profit after tax N1.207b Livestock Feeds Turnover N1.379b Profit after tax N51.654m IEI Gross Premium N4.250b Profit after tax N533.898m

As far as local content is concerned, the ICT industry is uncompetitive because it is cheaper to import a base station than to fabricate one in Nigeria. It is cheaper to import a chip card than to make and personalise in Nigeria. - Mrs Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communications Technology


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may withdraw licences of 49 finance houses whose liquidity were called into question in May. The apex bank had in March, given a 30-day notice given to 47 closed or inactive finance companies to submit evidence of their existence and/or operations, or lose their operating licences. The order had expired on Tuesday, April 18. The banking watchdog said the affected finance companies had closed shop, ceased to operate, or abandoned finance company business. An insider source at the Finance Houses Association of Nigeria (FHAN) told The Nation that with-

By Collins Nweze

drawal of the institutions’licences is certain because their conditions are beyond repair. The apex bank is also considering developing a regulatory framework that will govern finance lease practice, institutionalising a “funding pool” to stimulate lending activities in the sub-sector and structured programme to address the reputation and poor visibility challenges of the sub-sector. Also to address challenges confronting the sector, FHAN is discussing with chief executive officers of finance companies operating in the country. The body is discussing salient issues

in the operating environment, which should be addressed in the new policy framework that is in the works. President of the association, Samuel Durojaye, had earlier said in a statement that the CBN reforms in the sector would transform, and reposition the finance company sub-sector to enable it play increasing role in Nigeria’s financing value chain. He acknowledged the apex bank’s continued support to and engagement with the association on this project. He called on FHAN members to support the bank’s efforts at strengthening the regulatory environment by regular and timely rendering of statutory returns and reports, as well as

the renewal of their operating licences yearly. Durojaye enjoined them to note that the apex bank is taking corporate governance practices serious and, therefore, urged members to identify structural weaknesses in their various organisations and take immediate remedial steps to rectify them. He advised that members expand the ownership structures of their businesses, broaden their various boards by recruiting independent non-executive directors, create board committees on specific operational issues, and address evident insider abuses and market indiscipline, which hamper operational efficiency and corporate growth.

AfDB offers Nigeria five-year devt plan


•Minister, Housing and Urban Development, Ms Ama Pepple (left) and Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer Federal Mortgage Bank Alhaji Gimba Yau Kumo during the briefing on Housing Development, at the State House Abuja. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN

Contract Coalition launches power monitoring tools


HE Nigerian Contract Monitoring Coalition has launched a project to monitor procurement processes in the power sector. The Coalition, a division of the West African Contract Monitoring Coalition regionally, co-ordinated by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), is implementing a World Bank-IDA supported project entitled: “Multi-stakeholder engagement for effective public

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie

procurement process in Nigeria.” Under the project, the group is deploying observers, comprising engineering professionals and representatives of civil society organisations, to monitor procurement processes for power projects in Lagos, Ibadan and Abuja. Members of the coalition include the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the Nigerian Society of En-

gineers, a media representative and civil society organisations, such as Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), the national Convener; Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Centre for Organisational and Professional Ethics (COPE-AFRICA), Initiative for Food, Environment and Health Society (IFEHS). Ahead of the monitoring, the Coalition held a workshop in Abuja.

Port concession: operator to pay govt N163b


HE ports concession initiative of the Federal Government is yielding fruits as it would receive about $1 billion (about N163 billion) from one of the terminal operators at the Lagos ports. The revenue is part of what accrues to the Federal Government for the concession of 26 ports and terminals to private operators and making the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), functioning as the land-

BoI, ADB, others not well •INSIDE: funded, says Fed Govt •Page 30

By Oluwakemi Dauda

lord and regulator. Sources told The Nation that the management of the leading container terminal, APM Terminal, Apapa, would have to pay the $1billion to the Federal Government as part of its concession and throughput fees. Although the time and the method that would be adopted in the payment was not disclosed, sources at

the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said the management of the terminal was aware of the money and the conditions attached to it. A senior manager of NPA, who craved anonymity, said the authority has ensured that the operator of the terminal invested $190 million in automated processes and equipment in fulfilment of the agreement they signed with the Federal Government through the Bureau of the Public Enterprise (BPE) and NPA.

Nigerians oppose CBN’s bail out for banks, survey •Page 32

HE African Development Bank (AfDB) has offered to improve Nigeria’s macroeconomy in the next five years. Its Resident Representative in Nigeria, Mr Ousmane Dore, has said in Lagos. He spoke during a conference entitled: Project finance in Nigeria: Issues and challenges. Speaking on Renewable energy projects: AfDB interventions in Africa,Ousmane said the huge funds the AfDB was bringing in, would be useless there was a sound macroeconomy. He said the bank had, at a meeting with the government last week, rolled out its growth strategies in the next five years, adding that a conducive business environment was on the agenda. He said: “ The bank held a meeting with the government last week. There, we set up the bank’s strategies for the next five years. If you put all the billions the bank has brought together here and there, it is useless as long as there is no effort to improve the economic environment. “The issue is: how can the bank help the government in bringing about a good environment to make the country use its resources effectively? That is what AfDB would work in the next five years. It is not about having projects here and there, it is about getting the policy on the environment right. “I think what a government can do in Africa is to have a degree of macroeconomic environment, that is stable and sound in place to encourage growth of investments.” He said the government needs to put in place fiscal monitoring policies to aid economic growth, advising that efforts must be made not to go back to a more volatile economy of the 70s and 80s. Ousmane said the documents on Vision 20: 2020 transformation agenda, and national implementation programmes talked about development of the private sector, adding that efforts had not been geared towards that direction.

‘Half-baked agents dangerous to industry’ •Page 34




BoI, ADB, others not well funded, says Fed Govt T HE Federal Government is to recapitalise Bank of Industry (BoI), Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), and other Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), Finance Minster Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said. Speaking at the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) conference on the economy, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said she had been advised by the government to lead a group that will discuss recapitalisation of these DFIs because they are not well funded. Dr Okonjo-Iweala also called for long-term resources for growing the economy. According to her, government will be leading a group to look into the various development banks like BoI, ADB, and Urban Development Bank, among others, because they are not

Stories by Collins Nweze

well capitalised. The purpose, she explained, is to streamline and properly recapitalise the institutions so that they can offer long-term development funding. “We want to streamline and properly recapitalise these institutions so that they can offer long term development funding,” she said. The minster also said the 24 banks were fully capitalised, with the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) playing a key role in the capitalisation of the eight intervened banks. “Financial soundness indicators show that Industry Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) is now above 18 per cent while non-performing loans is about five percent. She said

that implementation of New Banking Model is progressing well,” she said. She lamented the high interest rate charged on loans, saying that the maximum interest rate in the economy can be up to 23 per cent, which means that for businesses, it is very difficult to borrow. The Minister said that for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to thrive, there is need to look at the structure of interest rate in this economy and is being done by the Central Bank of Nigeria. “I don’t know many countries in the world where the real rate of interest, which is the rate between the nominal rate and inflation, is as high as six or seven per cent. Usually, it is between one and two per cent. But in Nigeria, it is hovering as high as six per cent,” she

• From left: NESG Chairman Mr Foluso Phillips; Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and Deputy Managing Director, UBA Plc, Mr Kennedy Uzoka, at the event.

CBN begins forex audit on wheat importation T HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is auditing the foreign exchange (forex) spent on wheat importation last year to curtail its abuse. It said the step became necessary to reduce the volume of forex spent on wheat import. CBN Director, Trade & Exchange, Musa Batari, told authorised dealers that failure to provide information on customer name, date of purchase, address, Form ‘M’ number, volume of purchase in metric tonnes, source of funds, country of origin, total value, among others, would result in sanction. CBN’s action followed the government’s hike in levy and duty on wheat and rice from July 1. The government imposed a 100 per cent import duty on wheat flour; 20 per cent on wheat grain, 30 per cent on husked brown rice and 50 per cent on polished rice. Government said the move is to expand domestic production of these staples in order to create employment. The extra levy is intended to put further strain on the importation of the commodities and protect local producers. Other measures to be implemented during the year, include zero duty on agricultural machinery and equipment, zero duty on power sector equipment and machinery, prohibition of cassava flour importation and zero duty on cassava flour processing equipment to encourage the purchase and utilisation of locally produced commodities, CBN said with effect

• CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido

from July 1, wheat flour would attract 65 per cent levy and 35 per cent duty; wheat grain will attract 25 per cent levy and five per cent daily. Likewise, husked brown rice will attract 25 per cent levy and five per cent daily, while imported polished rice 40 per cent levy and 10 per cent daily. The CBN said it took the decision in order to expand domestic production, boost exports, generate employment and create a level playing field for local manufacturers. However, the concessions and waivers will be granted only on sectoral basis while authorised dealers are required to bring to the attention of their customers these

measures for strict compliance. The apex bank had on June, said that new import levy on wheat and rice will add to the price pressure adding that Nigeria imported an estimate of 3.5 million tonnes of wheat as at May 2012. “Floor millers are likely to transfer burden of higher costs to consumers. We forecast inflation rate by a maximum of 0.6 per cent,” Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane said. Nigeria spends about N1.7 trillion annually on rice and wheat imports and continues to import subsidised rice of about three million metric tonnes valued at N468 billion and over N600 billion of wheat to the detriment of its domestic agriculture, farmers, and food security strategy. He said that government policy increasing tariffs on rice and wheat may seem protectionist but the government has limited options in the short-run to correct the current anomaly. However, it will assist government generate savings and increase its revenues from domestic taxes. Rewane explained that the downside of these policy actions is the risk of increased smuggling activities as the demand outstrips supply in the short-run. But critics argue that productivity and growth rates of industrialised economies have been halved during the years of liberalised global commerce, compared with the period when trade was more regulated.

said. She there are lots of global economic uncertainties and Nigeria has to ensure that it builds sufficient buffers to protect the economy. According to her, the reserve rose from $32.9 billion at the end of 2011 to $37.7 billion in June 2012, but has declined recently on the back of global developments. “The reserves now stand at $36.37 billion, but our target is $50 billion by the end of the year. With

the volatility in oil prices and the uncertain growth in the rest of the world, we need to. As it stands now, Nigeria does not have sufficient buffers,” she said. She explained that when she came into office last year, excess crude had been spent to $4.22 billion and now there is also need to build it to $10 billion. She said achieving the feat is difficult because the state governors have said there is no need for savings.

‘Dollar content of foreign reserves still high’


HE Federal Government has said data from the first quarter economic report showed a total reserve of $35.20 billion, as at end of March, 2012. This represent an increase of 7.8 and 6.0 per cent, when compared with the level recorded in the preceding and corresponding quarter of 2011. The holdings of foreign reserves in US dollar in the review period, constitute 82.0 per cent, indicating an increase of $2.05 billion to $28.67 billion in the first quarter of 2012. Other currencies in the basket include Euro (7.3 per cent) Pounds Sterling (2.3 per cent), and SDR units worth $2.60 billion. A further breakdown of the External Sector Developments in the first quarter, revealed that the Swiss franc (CHF) registered the least holdings of $0.002 billion. The volume of Japanese yen in total reserves during the review period decreased from $0.02 billion in fourth quarter, 2011, to $0.019 billion and was lower than the $0.026 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2011. The euro component remained high at 7.3 per cent and should be reduced and diversified to other stable currencies in order to minimize the currency and exchange rate risks associated with the euro holding occasioned by the persisting Eurozone debt crisis. Analysis of foreign exchange utilised by sectors in the review period revealed that $8.13 billion was spent on the importation of various items into the country. This

represented 81.3 per cent of the total foreign exchange utilised during the period and indicated an increase of 4.2 per cent and 38.3 per cent in comparison with the levels recorded in the preceding and corresponding quarters of 2011, respectively. In first quarter, 2012 the average Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS) rate depreciated by 1.39 per cent as the naira exchanged for N157.95 to a dollar as against N152.00 and N155.75 recorded in first quarter and fourth quarter, 2011, respectively. Similarly, at the bureau-dechange (BDC) segment of the market, the naira depreciated by 3.42 per cent at N161.63 to a dollar as against N156.11 recorded in first quarter, 2011. It however appreciated marginally by 0.02 per cent when compared with fourth quarter, 2011. Consequently, the Bureau De Change premium narrowed from 3.80 per cent in fourth, 2011 to 2.33 per cent during the review period. The average inter-bank exchange rate stood at N159.19 in first quarter, 2012 as against N153.51 and N160.27 in first quarter and fourth quarter, 2011, respectively, an appreciation of 0.68 per cent in comparison with the preceding quarter and a depreciation of 3.57 per cent when compared with the corresponding quarter of 2011. The movement in the interbank rate was in line with the trend at the WDAS segment of the market.

Lemo:Banks complying with rules on offshore funding


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said its rules on banks’ funding of offshore subsidiaries and guaranteeing of deposits are working. Speaking at a conference on cashless banking organised by the banking watchdog and Phillips Consulting in Lagos, CBN Deputy Governor, Banking Operations, Tunde Lemo, said the banks were keeping to the new rules which banned them from guaranteeing the deposit of their foreign subsidiaries. The policy also stops the lenders from recapitalisng their offshore subsidiaries with funds from parent companies. The apex bank had noted with concern the incessant demands on Nigerian banks by various host regulators for the recapitalisation of their foreign subsidiaries. These demands, it said, have exerted enormous pressure on the capital base of most parent banks due to the lull in the capital market, making it difficult to raise capital, diminishing profit margins and increasing competition. The apex bank said these capital demands are not in tandem with the level of growth in business activities in these lenders, saying it would not allow banks to continue funding their subsidiaries from

parent companies, but would encourage them to consider mergers and acquisitions with other local or foreign banks in the host country. “The CBN shall not permit any further capital outlay from parent banks to augment the capital needs of foreign subsidiaries but would rather encourage banks to consider mergers and acquisition arrangements with other local and or foreign banks in the host country. Under no circumstances are parent banks allowed to guarantee the deposit of their foreign subsidiaries,” it said. Also, the apex bank said the banks can source for fresh capital from the host country capital market either through private placements or public offers. It also recommended that parent banks whose foreign subsidiaries are unable to raise additional capital in the host country market will be required to submit exit strategies from those jurisdictions not later than June 30, 2012. Additionally, Nigerian banks with foreign subsidiaries are required to submit within 60 days from May 18, 2012 recapitalisation plans in anticipation of regulatory capital increases under Basel II and III and any other unforeseen increases by host countries.




CBN urges passage of bills on cash-less policy T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria has called for the passage of the Cash Management and Ombudsman bills into laws to facilitate the cash-less policy. The cash-less policy was introduced in 2010, while its first phase implementation took place on January 1, 2012. The Head, Shared Office Department, CBN, Mr Chidi Umeano, said in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, that the apex bank was having issues with some of the laws to run the cashless policy. Umeano said CBN had sent the bills through which special courts would be created to serve the interests of aggrieved banks’ customers. He said there was no response yet on the bills presented to the National Assembly for consideration. He said: “While we are in the process of establishing the office of the Ombudsman for financial services, the CBN has created a Consumer and Financial Protection Department to strengthen user’s confidence and promote adoption.” The need to protect depositors, he said, made CBN to direct banks to publish the contacts of their complaints desk in customers’ interests.

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

CBN, he said, is also leading in the area of informing the public to contact its desk when there are deviations from the guidelines on the resolution of their issues as stipulated in the law. He said the adoption of electronic payments is usually inhibited by poor dispute resolution and lax consumer protection regime. This, he said, can be more debilitating to the objective of financial inclusion for low -income earners. According to him, the realisation made CBN to step up actions towards ensuring that users of e-payment services get adequate attention from providers. Umeano noted that the creation of the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NEFF) was to formulate cohesive and effective fraud risk management strategies. On cashless, he said reports from the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) have shown remarkable improvements on the performance of the various payment channels. “We see the trend going upward. We are getting reports from NIBBS on the growth in other electronic payment channels, and we are told that its increasing daily”, he added.

He said the banking watchdog has identified a lot of issues to drive the policy. “We have identified a lot of things and we are working on them. Like I rightly mentioned, one of them is infrastructure. Connectivity is a major problem because we rely on the cheapest means of communication. We are engaging the telecom operators to ensure connectivity, and they have re-assured us that they would improve and enhance their services in the future,” he said. In a related development, the Chairman, Data Sciences Nigeria Limited, Mr Dan Etiebet, said a lot of innitiaves must be geared towards getting the bills passed into law to ensure smooth running of the cashless programmes among other activities of the CBN.Etiebet said the apex bank needs to involve stakeholders in the information technology sector to achieve this goal. He argues that CBN needs to lobby the IT operators, adding that the operators would further lobby the National Assembly on the issue. He said such efforts would result in the speedy passage of the bills into law for effective running of the cashless policy.

‘Nigeria’s economic growth slow’ ECONOMIC expansion in the 25 leading rapid-growth markets (RGMs), including Nigeria, has started to slow sharply since the beginning of this year, but would bounce back in no distant time, according to Ernst & Young’s quarterly report. Carl Astorri, Senior Economic Adviser to Ernst & Young said RGMs are well placed to weather the major risks facing the global economy at the present time, given that they have the space to relax fiscal and monetary policy. This, he said, has already happened in some RGMs, adding that there would be further easing of monetary policy in the months ahead, particularly if the global economy deteriorates further. Alexis Karklins-Marchay, Co-Leader of the Emerging Markets Centre, said although slower expansion in the rapid-growth markets is likely this year, it will only be a blip and we will see a return to significant growth towards the end of the year. “Soaring domestic demand in economies starved, for some time, of investment and consumption will offer business exciting new markets for goods and services in the years ahead,” he said. Bisi Sanda, Senior Partner, Transaction Advisory Services, believes that power sector holds the key to the Nigeria’s economic growth and development. He says: “If the government of Nigeria completes its privatisation of the power sector assets in 2012, it will provide much required fresh breath to the much delayed reactivation of stimulus of the manufacturing sector, including the reactivation of over 100 textile mills that closed down or relocated from Nigeria between 2000 and 2007. Power is an enabler in Nigeria.”

ICAN seeks improved financial skills THE Registrar and Chief Executive, Institute of Chartered Accountants Nigeria (ICAN), Olutoyin Adepate has emphasised the need for improved skills among accounting experts to tackle money laundering and financial crimes in the country. At the induction of new members of the Association of Accounting Technicans (AAT) in Lagos, Adepate said the promulgation of the Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism laws demanded specialised professional expertise to deal with emerging issues in the banking and economic environment. He said accounting technicians need to develop skills to assist the government in the crusade to curtail the growth of the practice. With the government making legislations to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, Adepate urged accounting officers to ensure the soundness, integrity and stability of the financial system is not compromised. Adepate stressed the need for officers to acquaint themselves with international accounting standards to institutionalise greater transparency in financial reporting. The registrar said the world is moving to a single set of high quality accounting standards, ones that would make financial statements comparable around the world. He urged the young practitioners to get them selves equipped to respond to the changes.

Bank creates new product

S • From left: Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji; Chairman, ASO Investment & Development Company, Mr Collins Chikeluba and Managing Director, Mrs. Isoken Omo, during the ground breaking ceremony of the proposed 400 units’ Ochendo Liberation Housing Scheme in Amauba Community, Umuahia.

N38.3tr cheques processed in six months T HE values of cheques processed in the past six months by the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBBS) stood at N38.3 trillion, its Managing Director, Ademola Shonubi, has said. He said the institution processed cheques worth N449.133 billion (January), N683.57 billion (February), N862.51 billion (March), N616.346 billion (April), N678.818 billion (May), and N607.890 billion in June, 2012. He said the volume of cheques processed within the period under review was 5.6 million, adding that the feat is remarkable. He said the number of Point of Sales (PoS) registered on NIBSS platform increased in the past six months. He said 5,720 terminals were registered in January, 42,327 in February, 93,133 in March, 110,729 in April, 117,192 in May and 151,717 in June. Shonubi said NIBBS was making efforts to commence cheque truncation, adding that the issue would fast-track the clearing of cheques. He said the development

would reduce the clearing of cheques from T+2 to T+1. The former Acting Managing Director, Mr Niyi Ajao, had said an efficient payment system was a prerequisite for the development of the economy. Ajao said the development would increase sales, as more convenient payment options were now available to buyers – this has a multiplier effect on profitability, higher wages, higher employment and on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He added that a good payment system would also increase the velocity of money. “Money is the oil of commerce. Efficient national payments system result in increased commercial activities e.g. sales proceeds are available to sellers quicker and in a convenient manner.” He explained that reducing the volume of cash kept outside the banking system (CIC = CIB + COB), will enable banks to have more li-

quidity for lending to the needy sectors of the economy, at attractive rates; enhance the efficiency of Monetary Policy in managing inflation and driving economic growth. “And help in reducing corruption. Electronic payment is traceable.” Continuing, he said an efficient payment system is security and convenient for payer and payee and aid in the reduction of overall cost of banking and payments, thereby reducing bank charges, and bringing the benefit of banking services to more citizens. Ajao, who said NIBSS was mandated to initiate and develop an integrated nationwide network for the electronic or paperless funds transfer and settlement of transactions, and provide framework for elevating the level of efficiency in funds transfer services generally, noted that there was need for more education and enlightenment on the parts of all stakeholders involved, stressing that government alone should not be the only one to do the campaign.

TANBIC IBTC Bank has deployed a new product, SME Quick Loans, to bridge the huge funding gap in the Small and Medium Enter prises (SMEs) segment of the economy. The product will enable eligible SMEs access finance within five days of applying for a loan. Mrs Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Bank, said the introduction of SME Quick Loan will benefit SMEs that could not access funding due to lack of financial statements and collateral, reiterating the bank’s commitment to the deployment of innovative products and services to the retail segment of the market. According to her, the product not only provides finance to a large pool of entrepreneurs, but does so quickly, in recognition of the urgent financial needs of growing businesses. The Head of Personal and Business Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Obinnia Abajue, said the bank is committed to closing the financing gap for small businesses, through its SME Quick Loan product. “Small businesses, which are typically the backbone of the economy, suffer considerably from inadequate access to capital. SME Quick Loan will help to mitigate this problem and empower SMEs to contribute more opti• Stanbic MD Sola David-Borha mally to economic development. It entails a new credit evaluation approach that reduces loan disbursement process from weeks to less than five days, reduces application forms from 19 pages to two,” he said. “Stanbic IBTC invested significantly in research in the SME segment in Nigeria, to complement the credit evaluation with processes that fit the SME business owner. All this has improved our ability to determine future risk profiles of customers. The combination of this together with affordability assessments as well as fraud management and prevention allows the bank to increase credit risk appetite. We are able to offer unsecured loans ranging from N100,000 to N4.5 million, to SMEs to enable them to achieve high level of productivity and capacity.” SME Quick Loan employs a unique psychometric evaluation to overcome the traditional challenges of assessing risk in the SME market. Its introduction by the Standard Bank Group has resulted in 84 per cent increase in access to loans by applicants. Through the product, over N2.2 billion has been disbursed to 1,100 small businesses in Nigeria.




Large share reconstruction looms in banks, insurance firms


INANCIAL services companies may have started expected huge share reconstruction in the sector as banks and insurance companies modify large outstanding share capital to provide headroom for future capital issue and ease share management. Industry sources said nearly all banks that have opted to regroup into holding company structure under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) new banking regulatory regime would use the restructuring as a window to reconstruct their share capital. Fifteen banks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) have 335.36 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, representing an average issued shares per bank of 22.36 billion shares. Outstanding banks’ shares ranged between 12.76 billion shares and 33.7 billion shares. Insurance companies have 237.3 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each with a range of 211.6 million shares and 28 billion shares. Banks, which account for some seven per cent of total number of quoted companies on the NSE, have the largest issued shares of nearly one third of total shares outstanding on the bourse. Banking sources said banks were worried about the size of outstanding shares, especially in the light of future new capital issue and returns. Although insurance companies were still a bit tepid about shares reconstruction, most banks were said to be considering substantial share reduction.

Stories by Taofik Salako

Already, Stanbic IBTC Bank has indicated it would reduce its outstanding shares by a total of N7.5 billion, which would result into cancellation of 15 billion out of the 18.75 billion ordinary shares. FirstBank of Nigeria has also hinted on the possibility of share reconstruction, although the ratio has yet to be made public. Share consolidation refers to reduction in number of outstanding shares by exchanging a specific number of new shares for certain number of outstanding shares. The value of the reduced or cancelled shares is factored into the new

shares, which technically increase the market values of the new shares on the secondary market. Besides, shareholders’ shareholdings will remain unchanged in terms of percentage share-holding, although the number of holdings may reduce. Market analysts however have expressed concerns that the reconstruction might lead to depreciation in investors’values unless reconstructing banks generate substantial earnings and positive market perceptions to sustain the revaluation. They cited a bank that had recently reconstructed its shares and re-listed the shares at substantially high price, but the share

price lost more than 50 per cent of the added value. Beside the cost of managing multi-billion shares, large outstanding shares have thinned out banks and insurance firms’ earnings and adversely affected pricing of banking stocks. Existing large issued shares also diminish ability of the issuing company to issue new shares either through capitalisation of reserves or new offer for subscription. Many banks that had traditionally maintained regular bonus issue year-on-year have recently either declined to issue bonus shares or alternatively increase the ratio of the issue. Unity Bank has the largest

number of shares at 33.7 billion shares. United Bank for Africa followed with 32.98 billion shares while First Bank of Nigeria and Zenith Bank has 32.63 billion shares and 31.4 billion shares respectively. Other banks with large aboveaverage outstanding shares include Guaranty Trust Bank, 29.43 billion shares; Fidelity Bank, 29 billion shares and Access Bank, which has 22.9 billion shares in issue. Substantial portion of banks’ outstanding shares were issued during the 2005 to 2007 capital raising exercises, which were later deemed as bubble capital by financial services authorities.

Nigerians oppose CBN’s bail out for banks, survey


•From left: Immediate past president, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Alhaji Rasheed Yussuf; Managing Director, Lotus Capital Limited, Mrs Hajara Adeola and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema, at the launch of NSE-Lotus Islamic Index (NSE LII) in Lagos.

FCMB grows net profit by 26%


IRST City Monument Bank PLC (FCMB) Plc grew net profit by 26.3 per cent in the first half of this year as the bank continued to integrate synergies from its recent acquisition. The six-month report for the period ended June 30, 2011, which was presented in the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS), showed appreciable improvements across income lines. The report, which included report of recently acquired FinBank, now a wholly owned subsidiary of FCMB, shows that gross earnings rose to N52.56 billion in 2012 as against N33.55 billion recorded in comparable period of 2011. Profit before tax also improved to N7.8 billion com-

pared with N5.32 billion in corresponding period of 2011. Shareholders’ funds meanwhile rose by 43.4 per cent from N602.9 billion to N864.5 billion. The bank said it expected performance in the period ahead to be significantly better as the synergy effects from further integration of FinBank will offset restructuring costs and barring unforeseen circumstances lead to CIR reduction and PBT improvement. The report showed a stronger balance sheet. Liquidity ratio improved by 28.7 per cent to 58.7 per cent in June 2012 compared with 45.6 per cent in June 2011. Net Interest Margin improved to 6.6 per cent in June 2012 from 6.1 per cent in March 2012.

Commenting on the results, group managing director, First City Monument Bank PLC (FCMB) Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, said the bank was marginally ahead of its forecast net revenue for the second quarter of this year, in spite of the adverse interest rate environment. He, however, noted that profitability was dampened by the surge in expenses arising from the ongoing streamlining and consolidation of FinBank. “With the delays in regulatory approval almost out of the way, we expect that the synergy benefits will not only be substantially realised in the fourth quarter of the year, but also still have a positive contribution to the 2012 financial year-end,” Balogun said.

OST Nigerians feel the use of public funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to rescue troubled banks was inappropriate, according to a survey conducted by the Federal Ministry of Finance. The online survey measured two days ago showed that three-quarter of respondents disagreed with the use of public funds to rescue banks adjudged insolvent by the apex bank, showing a major contrast with the CBN’s position that the rescue served greater public good. The 10-month survey started in October 2011 and was measured on Monday, July 30, 2012. About 76 per cent of respondents remonstrated against the use of public funds to bail out banks with most respondents stating that they strongly disagreed with the idea. According to the official survey results from the Ministry of Finance, the survey indicated that 47.1 per cent of respondents were fervently against the bail out while 28.4 per cent only expressed opposition. Only 22.1 per cent consented to the bail out. Some 2.5 per cent were indifferent or neutral on the issue. The survey scrutinises one of the legacies of the Sanusi Lamido-CBN and raises a major poser on the public judgment of the thrust of the banks’ rescue plan. The survey result came on the heel of a report from the House of Representatives, which criticised the process adopted by the apex bank to finance the bail-out. However, the report did not oppose the entire idea of bail-out as a rescue plan. The report by the House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on Capital Market stated that the “Central Bank of Nigeria’s action

in disbursing N 620 Billion bailout funds and other intervention funds afterwards did not follow due process of law and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999". The report noted that the apex bank did not secure appropriate authority to source and disburse such funds. The report recommended that any bail-out plan in future should receive appropriate authorisation and should be done after a comprehensive and transparent determination and location of the beneficiaries, borrowers, lenders and relevant collateral provided. The report also criticised CBN-orchestrated nationalisation of three quoted banks-AfriBank Nigeria Plc, Bank PHB and Spring Bank and their subsequent change of names to Mainstreet Bank, Keystone Bank, and Enterprise Bank, pointing out that the conversion was in violation of relevant statutes. According to the report, the processes of transfer of the three nationalised banks were fraught with potential forgery, unethical practices, abuse of office and various unacceptable bad corporate governance precedents. The report called for review and investigation of key personalities involving in the nationalization including chief executives of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and all other parties to the nationalization. The report further blamed what it described as “contradictory monetary policy of the Central Bank Nigeria” for the downturn at the capital market.




Okomu Oil vs Presco: Harvest of growths

FACTS TO FACTS Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity

Okomu Oil 2011 2010 % % 82.7 52 79 136.3 483.1 61.6 62.9 41.9 32.4 140.8 581.6 32.6 18.7 44.4 27.8



Average % 67.35 39.5 309.7 62.25 37.15 361.2 25.65 36.1

Pre-tax profit margin (Okomu Oil)

Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity

Presco 2011 % 58.5 84.1 93.4 49.6 30.2 54.5 16 36.1

2010 % 34.5 294.7 42.6 24.8 358.2 14.8 31.1

Average % 46.5 42.05 194.05 46.1 27.5 206.35 15.4 33.6

Pre-tax profit margin (Presco)


KOMU Oil Palm Plc and Presco Plc are the two largest stocks in the agriculture sector. With hectares of palm oil plantations, they represented the vast agriculture potential of Nigeria. Both Okomu Oil Palm and Presco are integrated agricultural companies with oil palm plantations, palm oil mills, crushing plants and oil refining plants. They engage in cultivation of oil palm and extraction and refining of palm oil into finished products. They are major suppliers of specialty fats and oils to several large and medium companies. Besides similarity of business operations, the two companies shared several similarities including the location of their farms in Edo State and substantial foreign shareholdings. They are also companies of nearly the same size and run the same business year. Okomu Oil Palm, the older and the larger of the two companies, was incorporated in 1979 and listed its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 1991, the same year Presco was incorporated. Presco became a public limited liability company and listed its shares on the NSE in 2002. Okomu Oil Palm has market capitalisation of about N15 billion while Presco trailed with N14.7 billion. Altogether, they accounted for more than 90 per cent of the total market capitalisation of the agriculture sector. In essence, they determine the sectoral direction and upswing or downswing reflects the changes in each or both of the stocks. Latest audited reports and accounts of Okomu Oil and Presco for the year ended December 31, 2011, meanwhile, showed striking similarities, with all key indices jumping to new highs. From turnover to profit and returns, both

Stories by Taofik Salako

companies recorded considerably high growths, putting recent average growth for many indices in three digits. The agriculture stocks had bumper harvests, but Okomu Oil maintained its lead on several counts.

Sales generation Okomu Oil Palm grew sales by 83 per cent in 2011, consolidating the top-line performance in 2010 when incomes grew by 52 per cent. Average sales growth in recent years thus stood at 67.4 per cent. Presco also improved on its 35 per cent sales growth in 2010 in 2011, with increase of about 59 per cent in 2011.These indicated average growth rate of about 47 per cent. The top-line performance showed improvement in operating environment and expansive investments by the agriculture stocks.

Profitability Both companies also witnessed considerable improvements in profitability, with significant outward growths and stronger underlying profit-making capacity. Okomu Oil Palm grew gross profit by 79 per cent in 2011 as against an increase of 84 per cent recorded by Presco. With better cost management and negligible financial leverage, Okomu Oil Palm magnified its

top-line performance into threedigit improvement in the bottomline. Profit before tax doubled by 136 per cent in 2011 while profit after tax jumped by 141 per cent in 2011. With 483 per cent and 582 per cent growths in pre and post tax profits respectively in 2010, average growth in profit before tax stood at 310 per cent while average net profit growth stood at 361 per cent. Similarlarly, Presco grew profit by 93 per cent in 2011, in addition to an increase of 295 per cent in 2010, representing average growth rate of 194 per cent. After taxes, net profit rose by 55 per cent in 2011. Net profit had grown by 358 per cent in 2010. Average net profit growth thus stood at 206.4 per cent. There has also been remarkable improvement in the inherent profit-making capacity of the agriculture stocks. Presco’s gross margin improved from 43 per cent in 2010 to 50 per cent in 2011, indicating average margin of 46 per cent. Pre-tax profit margin increased from 25 per cent in 2010 to 30 per cent in 2011. Although Okomu Oil’s gross profit margin slipped marginally from 63 per cent in 2010 to 62 per cent in 2011, pre-tax profit margin improved from 32 per cent to 42 per cent. Average gross profit margin thus stood at 62.3 per cent while average pre-tax profit margin closed 2011 at 37.2 per cent.

Actual returns Returns to shareholders and other stakeholders continued on the upward. Presco returned 16 per cent on average assets in 2011 as against 15 per cent in 2010, indicating average return on total assets of 15.4 per cent over the years. Return on equity-to shareholders who provided the equity funds, also improved from 31 per cent to 36 per cent. Okomu Oil also performed above average during the period. Return on total assets improved to 32.6 per cent in 2011 compared with 18.7 per cent in 2010. Return on equity trended upward from 28 per cent to 44 per cent. Average returns on assets and equity thus stood at 25.7 per cent and 36.1 per cent.

The Bottom-line Agriculture is the dominant sector of the economy. With a land area of 910,768 square kilometres out of a total area of 923,768 square kilometres, Nigeria is largely an agrarian economy with agriculture the largest sector and biggest employer. Nigeria’s arable land use stands at more than 33 per cent. From the North to the South, from West to East, Nigeria’s climate and terrain are suitable to cultivation and breeding. Notable agriculture produce across the regions include Cocoa, Peanuts, Palm oil, Corn, Rice, Mil-

let, Cassava, Sorghum, Yams, Rubber, Cattle Sheep, Goats, Timber, Fish among others. Agriculture has shown considerable resilience during this downturn, sustaining growth that has served as catalyst for Nigeria’s growing Gross Domestic Products (GDP). Government’s fiscal policy measures aimed at encouraging domestic agricultural companies also appeared to be impacting positively on the sector. The Federal Government had in its fiscal policy measures for this year granted several incentives to agriculture sector including a zero duty on agricultural machinery and equipment with effect from January 31, 2012. The new fiscal measures were introduced to support the development of agricultural sector. Also, as part of the encouragements to local farmers, government had indicated it would prohibit importation of cassava flour. Besides, many agricultural companies had benefitted from financial incentives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which helped to reduce financial leverage and pressure on the bottom-line. The performance of Presco and Okomu Oil reflects the emerging potential of agriculture stocks, especially farsighted companies with medium-to-long-term investment plans.

Unilever Nigeria records N4b profit in first half


NILEVER Nigeria Plc recorded a profit before tax of N3.82 billion in the first half as the conglomerate struggled with sluggish top-line and lower margins. Interim report of Unilever Nigeria for the first half ended June 30, this year showed that sales rose by 1.2 per cent to N26.92 billion as against N26.6 billion recorded in comparable period of last year. Gross profit however dropped from N10.13 billion to N9.76 billion. Profit before tax also slipped marginally from N3.93 billion to N3.82 billion. Profit after tax meanwhile inched up to N2.83 billion in 2012 in contrast with N2.71 billion in 2011. Unilever Nigeria had distributed N5.30 billion to shareholders as cash dividends, representing a divi-

dend of N1.40 per share, 27.3 per cent above N1.10 per share paid for the 2010 business year. Audited report and accounts of Unilever Nigeria for the year ended December 31, 2011 showed that turnover rose from N46.81 billion in 2010 to N54.72 billion in 2011, an increase of 16.9 per cent. Profit before tax closed 2011 to N7.98 billion as against N6.15 billion recorded in 2010, representing an increase of 29.8 per cent. Profit after tax also increased by 31 per cent from N4.18 billion to N5.49 billion in 2011. The conglomerate’s shareholders’ funds improved to N9.66 billion compared with N8.34 billion in 2010. Speaking on the prospects of the company, Chairman, Unilever Nigeria, His Majesty Nnaemeka Achebe, said the company has built sufficient structure to ensure sus-

tained growth and returns to shareholders. He said the company has fared well despite the difficult operating environment and assured shareholders that the company would continue to consolidate gains from huge investments in previous years to provide improved returns to shareholders. He pointed out that the strong fundamentals of the company show the success of its growth initiatives and its resilience to sustain growth into the future and deliver improved shareholder value over the years. Citing the positive performance of the company, Achebe said the 27 per cent increase in cash dividends for the 2011 business year was a reflection of the commitment of the company to sustained shareholder value and its investor friendly

policy. “Our company’s performance reinforced its capability to continue to win the hearts of its consumers through brands which create a better future for them every day. Our strong fundamentals attest to the success of our growth initiatives and our commitment to continue to invest into the future and deliver sustained shareholder value,” Achebe said. He pointed out that the company has raised the level of investment in manufacturing capacity, upgraded its plants for better quality and better capacity which would allow it to further drive its internal efficiencies and withstand operating challenges. According to him, 2011 was a proof that Unilever Nigeria has been well positioned to continue its

upward growth trend into the future. The growth initiatives embarked on in 2011 would continue to yield sustained results while the company’s commitment to future investments will enable it to leverage emerging market opportunities. “As a member of the Unilever Group, Unilever Nigeria will continue to deliver products to satisfy the future needs and aspirations of our consumers and develop new way s of doing business that will allow us to double the size of our business while reducing our environmental impact,” Achebe said. He added that Unilever Nigeria would partner with stakeholders to achieve its growth objectives and corporate social responsibility goals urging shareholders to support the company’s aspirations.




‘Half-baked agents dangerous to industry’


T is risky to have people who do not have basic skills or who are half-baked to sell insurance products, the Director-General, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Adegboyega Adepegba, has said. He said skilled manpower has been a challenge to the industry, adding that the institute has risen to it by developing a curriculum to train professionals. He said the aim of the institute was to provide the required human capital needed to achieve the objectives of the industry, adding that it has continued to make effort in this area. He said: “The institute’s major concern on the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) programme is to provide the human capital that is required to achieve the objectives of the initiative. If you studied the document on MDRI, you

Stories by Chuks Udo Okonta

would observe that there is a prime position for agents. Agents that would be in every part of the country; who would not concentrated in the urban areas. Before they can do that, they must be trained with the requisite skills, as insurance canvassers. “The CIIN is working on this – training them. In the last two months, we have been able to train about 1,000 agents, and the target is to train between 5,000 and 8,000 this year. Insurance business is, indeed, good, but there is a certain havoc been wrecked on the practice by people who do not know what they are doing. It is dangerous to have people who do not have the basic skills or who are half-backed to be let loose into the market. “Most of the problem insurance has

come from the activities of people who canvass for business. For example, if you look at the motor insurance business, there is great havoc on the business in licence offices. So, if we have people who are adequately prepared and trained to go out and tell people what insurance is all about, the industry would continue to grow. From our projection and feedbacks, the MDRI is already on the route to success and whatever, we are doing is to complement and ensure that the project is successful.” Adepegba said the institute would engage in research that would boost the industry and the economy, adding that the college of insurance set up by the CIIN would help bridge the gap in human capacity development. On the college, he said: ‘’Shortly, we will go into operation. What we

have been able to achieve in the last few months is to get a befitting place for the college. We have not been able to complete the administrative blocks, but that does not stop the college from functioning. We have plans to begin to train people at the college. We will start conducting research that will benefit people in the industry and fundamentally make input in the economy through research.” He noted that the college would boost the industry’s performance and make tremendous contribution to the nation.“You cannot do research in insurance in isolation; research would have to look at the micro and macro economy. You have to look at the insurance itself, look at the economy within which it is operation and, therefore, for you to have any meaningful research, it has to be all-embracing. And maybe it has to start from conducting research on products and the need of the industry. You really need to know what the skill gaps are; where one can quickly put in place pre-requite training programme. For in-

stance, in the oil and gas, there is a gap; that is, the skill required to do that job effectively, which may not be adequate for now and in the next few months the institute is going to do something to bridge that gap, there are so many other areas,” he said. He said CIIN is committed to the grooming of professionals that will sustain the industry and advanced it performance, adding that it was established for determining the skill that is to be obtained by those who will hold themselves high as professionals in the country. And that has confined on the institute the responsibility of providing the required manpower for the industry. ”Over the years, we have conducted our examinations and certified some people to practise and we have continued to train and re-train them through our Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) programmes. We have also had our annual conferences, seminars and trainings. We have a fullfledged training directorate,” he added.

Brokers eye N1b NLNG account


• From left: Executive Director, Mansard Insurance Plc, Mr Kunle Ahmed; Chairman, Mr Victor Osibodu and Chief Client Officer, Mr Tosin Runsewe, during the unveiling of the firm’s corporate identity in Lagos.

Why we can’t curb unethical practice, by ex-NIA boss


HE inability to curb unethical practices among insurers is still a problem, former Chairman, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi, has said. He told The Nation that, despite the association’s efforts to get members to work according to the law, some of them are still breaching market agreements. He said: “That can be taken as one of the dark spots in my tenure. I did not succeed in that regard. That is the simple truth. It is a pity. “What we do in NIA, a apart from protecting the interest of members of the association against external forces that are inimical to the welfare of the association, is to look at intra-association relationships between the member companies. And the major challenge is getting members to compete on ethical lines. Trying to bring our people to compete fairly among themselves has been the main challenge. I am not sure whether we are winning but we are not discouraged. We will continue to do our best. “The market has become a problem and I have explained the frustration of the association. The most difficult thing is that everybody complains, but nobody is reporting defaulters to the association. “We are not policemen in NIA secretariat. If our members report, it will be easier for us, but rather everybody goes back to join the bandwagon and the truth of it is that the market agreement is being observed in the breach of it. But, at NIA, we have resolved that we take an official position of

NIA on every matter. So, whoever decides to go against it is not going in accordance to NIA rules and everybody knows the NIA position.” He said the association would not relent in its efforts to sanitise the industry, adding that the customer complaint bureau was set up to make operators abide by the rule of a unified premium rate. “In an effort to counter free fall of premium, we have established the customer complaint bureau. “We have resolved that we are not going to court to settle insurance cases; all the cases that are decided by the bureau, our members accepted them. Because we did not want people to feel aggrieved with the decision of the bureau; that was why we took the pain to get a retired Supreme Court judge to be the chairman of the bureau and that the only way we can checkmate our people. “We have esteemed our standard. If we have a report of violation, when what we are preventing operators from doing happens, they will have no hiding place because they are not going to cover up anybody and that the best NIA can do for now.” Director-General, NIA, Mr Sunday Thomas, said market agreement is not just about rates, it is about service delivery. He said people would have misconstrued market agreement to mean rates, adding that it is beyond that, as a lot of things are meant to be achieved appropriately. He said the association’s disciplinary committee has sanctioned some errant members. “Some members have been sus-

pended and on serious cases some members have been expelled. Ours is a voluntary association not set up by the government. If the way a member conducts his affairs is not consistent with the belief of the association, it has the right to excuse the fellow. If the association sees that what you are doing is not helping the interest of the association, they would ask you to move, which is part of the constitution of the association,” he added.

AVING lost the Nigerian National Petroleum Corpo-ration (NNPC) account most brokers are eyeing the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) insurance, The Nation has learnt. A source from the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) said brokers are banking on the-yet-to-be released NLNG account to make up for their loss of the NNPC account where only 14 brokers were considered. The NLNG’s over N1 billion premiums cover its operational insurance policy, general third party liability policies, group life assurance policy, group personal accident policy, comprehensive motor insurance policy, fire and allied perils policy, including occupiers’ liability, electronic equipment insurance policy and local marine Policy. President, NCRIB, Mrs Laide Osijo, said brokers have been equipped to provide all types of oil and gas risks, adding that the Local Content Act has created enormous opportunities for insurance firms, especially the brokering sector. President, Lagos Area Council (NCRIB), Tunde Oguntade, said the NLNG business is good for brokers, adding that having successfully bid for the NNPC

insurance, brokers are ensuring that they seize the opportunity effectively. He said: “The national secretariat of NCRIB through the president passed the information to all members, immediately the offer was made by the NLNG. We have been urged to take advantage of the offer and we are working hard to secure the deal. “The area chapters of NCRIB have also begun to pass the information to members all over the country to enable them to prepare their documents and bid for the business before the April 4 deadline.” Oguntade said the involvement of brokers in the scheme of oil and gas business would enable them to boost their capacity and growth, stating that the operators are banking on the 70 per cent provided by the Local Content Act. He said the involvement of operators would stop the outflow of premiums. “We are looking at 70 per cent as stated in the law. That means that 70 per cent premium that used to go outside the country in the past, now has to be with local underwriters and brokers. This would enable us improve on our capacity, train, source good rates and do corporate social responsibility,” he said.

Brokers appeal against new premium rules in UAE


HE brokerage community has approached the Emirates Insurance Authority (EIA) for a reappraisal of its recent decision on how premium payments are collected. Last month the insurance regulator mandated that all premium payments on policies sold or renewed by brokers should be issued directly in favour of the insurers. The directive came into effect from March 1. For the 70-odd active insurance brokers this represents a sharp U-turn from the way they have conducted their business for decades. "It can be confirmed that representatives of the broker community have approached the EIA for a re-look at the directive," said an industry representative. "We are hopeful that the practical aspects of what we have proposed will be taken on board. "This is an issue of extreme sen-

sitivity for the wider insurance industry and not confined to the brokerage firms." Industry sources, however, declined to comment on what these proposals were. They also did not say whether any alternate arrangements had been proposed. In the past, the premium collected was used by brokers for their own short-term working capital needs as per arrangements with the insurers. They would make the payments to the insurers at the end of a specified period, usually averaging 60 days. The Emirates Insurance Authority brought in the new requirements after a brokerage firm in Dubai was found to have mishandled premium payments collected from its clients. This happened last year, and since then the regulator brought in changes that ensured such repeats would not occur.

It was also part of a broader move by the EIA to bring in an updated regulatory regime for the insurance industry as a whole to function. Earlier, the EIA issued a circular requiring brokers to maintain separate bank accounts for premium collected from customers. "While brokers have welcomed all the recent initiatives from the EIA, we feel there is a need for an extended discussion on the premium payment issue," the industry source said. According to Siddarth Razdan, chief operating officer at the brokerage firm Insighters, "The new regulation will lead to changes in operational procedures, both at the insurance companies and the insurance brokers' end. "Personally speaking, I do not see a reason why the new regulation should lead to a shake-up in the insurance broker community."




• Mrs Odutola

-Adebola Orolugbagbe

How MSMEs can get funds F

OR any business to grow, it must avail itself of any opportunity to get funds. This is because funding is the live wire of any organisation. Thus, the scarcity of money could make good businesses to die. According to experts, the capacity of any business to survive is known in its first 18 months.That is when the ability of the business owner or management is tested through various indices, such as lack of infrastructure, poor power supply,bad business policy, mis-management of funds and notably, insufficient funds, factors that could lead to the collapse of about 90 per cent of new businesses. The difficulties involved in getting funds from banks, donor agencies, either foreign or local by business owners,particularly those in the Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), have been of major concern to those involved in making economic policies of the country. Despite the provision of various funds by the Federal Government, business owners still complain of getting funds which sometimes run into billions of naira. It is in the realisation by business owners that to survive in the harsh economic climate of the country, they have to seek regular funding that the executives of the National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) signed an agreement with FirstBank of Nigeria to provide loans. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), according to NASSI Chairman in Lagos State, Mr Segun Kuti-George, “will avail NASSI members and non-members the chance to access fund from an unlimited pool of resources as three finance windows are open for them to explore.” He said the three windows are

By Ajose Sehindemi

backed by three stakeholders - the government, FirstBank and NASSI. “The essence of the agreement is to come up with a multi-dimensional solution to problems of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), such as funding and lack of capacity building,” he said. He said they wanted to see how they could help themselves for the government to help them, adding that steps had been taken before on the issue, but they were not getting to those at the grassroots who needed it more. “The cardinal point is funding. FirstBank is ready and willing to assist members in getting loans secured by NASSI guarantee at a single digit, help in capacity building in organising seminars,training workshops to assist or improve the members capacity to do business. ‘’It also provides a platform for NASSI to get its members in Nigeria captured through use of bio-metrics data identification for each member as individuals can be profiled through it, providing a platform in which other businesses, such as telecommunications company, statistical agency can work with,’’ he said. “The loan is open to all Nigerians, as long as you are doing business and what you will do is to walk in to any branch of First Bank and pay N4,000 at a designated account for a form, completing the form helps in

capturing your data and when you are returning it as an existing member,you deposit N15,000 and a new member will deposit N22,000, which is called participation fee and this is because of the need to involve serious minded people. “A bio-metric card will be issued, three weeks after submission of the form, making you a bonafide member of NASSI that can participate in the loan scheme and then one begin to take into consideration what is needed, whether fund or capacity building as it is not all businesses that needs funding”. On the provision of the fund, KutiGeorge said the three stakeholders would be combined, first from the government side, as the three tiers of government will provide funds for it and now that states are doing counterpart funding with other banks, the state government will be urged to partner with FirstBank as they have the branches and manpower to deliver and when the states put down their contributions, FirstBank backs it up with additional amount and the fund is disbursed to NAASSI members in that state. The second stakeholder, NASSI, would pool the participation fees from which NASSI would make recommendations to FirstBank to people who need smaller loans. “The third major partner, First Bank, will come into play if we have a loan that exceeds certain limit, like

one who needs hundreds of billion of naira. The association has to sit with the FirstBank and because the onewho needs the loan is our member, he would be given preference. The Group Managing Director of FirstBank,Bisi Onasanya, said it is not about profit but about the bank giving back to the society hence the nine per cent being used as interest rate.The amount is not captured in sums but in the large windows. “The government’s window is saying we are ready to put, say N500million and FirstBank will back it up with another N500million to be given with NASSI angle in the participation fees collected,’’ he added. He said from the participation fee, “we can pool a certain chunk of money for businesses that need loans up to N5million. That is another platform and on top of it is FirstBank, not backed by anything, but as a result of this MoU, it is able to give loans to our members to any digit only if it goes to say above N5million that you may have to provide additional security, up to N5million. NASSI guarantee is sufficient.” On the MoU, NASSI President, Chuku Wachukwu, said the bank by giving the SMEs in its fold access loans at a single digit rate of nine per cent is an indication of its commitment to the country’s economic growth. Onasanya said the agreement to further the bank’s support for SMEs and is meant to promote the growth

‘The loan is open to all Nigerians, as long as you are doing business and what you will do is to walk in to any branch of First Bank and pay N4,000 at a designated account for a form, completing the form helps in capturing your data and when you are returning it as an existing member,you deposit N15,000 and a new member will deposit N22,000, which is called participation fee and this is because of the need to involve serious minded people’


•From left: Base Manager, Aero Contractor Nig. Ltd., Capt. Dayo Awasun; General Manager/Head, Flight Operation, Capt. Patrick Agbonlahor and Chief Executive Officer, ST&Y Communications, Mr Simon Tunba, at a briefing after a facility tour of Aero’s Port Harcourt office.

3740 firms in Kwara get N268.6m loans


HE Kwara State government has disbursed N268.6million to 3,740 artisans and small business owners under its MicroCredit Intervention Scheme for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). This represents the first tranche of the N500million intervention launched by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed last April. A breakdown of the figure shows the figure was disbursed to 374 beneficiary co-operatives comprising multipurpose societies, farmer associations, FADAMA associations, transporters and artisans. The state government said N268

million was disbursed through the 10 microfinance banks shortlisted for the exercise by the state government during the launch of the Micro Credit Intervention Scheme by the Governor, according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Dr Muideen Akorede in Ilorin. The state government praised the beneficiaries for keeping to the repayment schedule, adding that another set will soon be empowered under the scheme. It announced plans to implement the next stage of the scheme, which is targetted at providing micro credit to enterprenuers in the state

as part of the government's efforts to enhance the capacity of SMEs to empower the people and stimulate economic development under Shared Prosperity. Governor Ahmed flagged off the N500 million scheme in April with a pledge to boost the capacity of SMEs based on their strategic role in economic development. He also announced plans to accelerate commercial farming in the state with a N750million intervention scheme for farmer cooperatives. Already, the government has started verifying the farmer groups as a prelude to disbursing the funds to qualifying farmers.


and development of the sector. “This MoU also supports the bank’s strategic focus on financial inclusion as it would mitigate the challenges of credit delivery to the unbanked market’s segment through mobilised funds that will avail credit facilities to registered NASSI members at concessionary rate,” he said. Other agencies that provide fund for SMEs include NERFUND, a development bank with which it has an agreement and is already assisting small scale businesses in the country. Kuti-George advocated the strengthening of banks instead of merging them. “NERFUND gives out loans up to N5million without collateral, amounts you cannot get from banks and if merged, it means that the facility could be taken away. Another agency is the Raw Materials and Research Development Council (RMRDC). ‘’That agency should be left alone to do what they can do as it is organising a raw materials exhibition coming up soon in the country, a programme which will develop businesses and if merged would affect it as we know agencies that are beneficial to us.”

Young entrepreneurs meet in Calabar

IGHT young Africans in environmental sustainability advocacy, agriculture and food security, international development among others, have converged on Calabar for the second edition of The Bridge Leadership Foundation’s Career Day entitled: Talent, leadership and entrepreneurship. The event was aimed empowering young people in choosing the right career. It was also aimed at providing a platform for young non-graduates and graduates seeking to enter the job market. The Acting Director of the Foundation, Mrs Ini Onuk, said: “Our speaker line-up is informed by the need to show participants how young people in Cross River State and outside Nigeria, share common challenges, stories and opportunities at success and contributions to national development. ‘’To defy the excuses that the successful members of the older generation may have had it easy or do not understand the complexities of today’s reality; we have some young people who are indigenes of the state or have lived and schooled here – in the same locality – and yet have taken charge of their lives.”

Speakers spoke on three subthemes. They are: common thread, facilitated by Emmanuel Etim of the Directorate of Human Resources, Science and Technology, African Union Commission, Ethiopia and Nnaemeka Ikegwonu, Executive Director, The Smallholders Foundation, Nigeria. The journeys of personal discovery to national impact were shared by Programme Director at Wennovation Hub and President, Oxford University Africa Society, Idris Bello and Atlas Corps Fellow at Population Action International, United States, Esther Agbarakwe while Grace Nanyonga, Founder, Granafish Supplies, Uganda, Tobias and Titus Igwe, Founders -SpeedMeals Kitchen and Steve Harris, Chief Executive Officer, EdgeEcution, told participants stories of survival, success and significance. Other highlights of the event included an interactive session, where participants; a contest for some participants to win the Official Biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacton. The first 100 participants won prizes from the foundation while the first participant, Ms. Iquo Nya, was rewarded with a three-month free internship with the foundation.

‘To defy the excuses that the successful members of the older generation may have had it easy or do not understand the complexities of today’s reality; we have some young people who are indigenes of the state or have lived and schooled here – in the same locality – and yet have taken charge of their lives’



MARITIME Rail and port development By Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

THE Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Branch, has said an efficient rail system is strategic to the development of the port system. Its President, NPA Branch, Comrade Umar Jimoh, said would not only enhance the movement of cargoes from the port but would improve the port system. He called on the Federal Government to channel its effort to the development of inland waterways. “No maritime nation can move forward without the seaports connected to the rail system. Cargoes are not to rest at the ports; the ports are not meant to be warehouses. It is when the ports are connected to the rail system that goods are moved in and out of the ports and that will ease congestion. It will reduce the turn-around time, which will lead to more money for the government and jobs for Nigerians.”

NIMASA suffers from enforcement incapacity

•Apapa port, Lagos

Stakeholders decry Suleiman’s sack


S the new Managing Director of the Nige rian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Habeeb Abdullahi, takes over from his predecessor, Mr Omar Suleiman, today at Marina, Lagos, stakeholders have challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to tell Nigerians the offence Suleiman committed. President Jonathan, stakeholders said, is yet to create any strong or easily identifiable initiative that can promote the maritime sector, despite his constant removal of heads of organisations in the industry. In 2010, they recalled, the President sacked the former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and NPA the same way Suleiman was removed. Speaking with The Nation on Saturday, the Executive Chairman, Bolus Shipping, Mr Gbenga Parakoyi, said the removal of Suleiman shocked stakeholders. He warned that Nigeria‘s race towards 2020 target to

• President Jonathan Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

join the league of most industrialised nations would remain a myth unless the leadership problems confronting maritime agencies were resolved. Parakoyi said the six-yearold port concession would only be successful if the position of the helmsman of NPA is stable given that the authority is the landlord and regulator at the ports.

He suggested a closer relationship between the office of the President and the NPA so that the country could enjoy foreign direct investment. Also, a maritime lawyer, Mr Felix Animasahunn, said President Jonathan should have acted in the interest of the sector by allowing Suleiman to complete his tenure, instead of bowing to the parochial interest of the few around him. Many stakeholders were worried over the removal of Suleiman, who was appointed by the President about one and half years ago. Stakeholders said instead of lack of performance, diligence and wherewithals to carry out his responsibilities, they attributed Suleiman’s sudden removal by the President to some pliticians who are determined to put NPA under their foots. A shipping magnate, Mr Tayo Sarumi, said Suleiman is an excellent administrator who should have been allowed to consolidate on his reforms at the ports. Suleiman, he said, champi-

oned the e-system at the ports, the dredging of the Lagos channel to over 13.5 draught, the removal of critical wrecks from tShe waterways and reduction in the number of government agencies at the ports among others. “There was no justification for his removal except that the government was playing politics with his position. “As from the time Suleiman was appointed by Mr President, till the time he was removed, the political big wigs in the ruling party would not let him have peace of mind because some of them feed fat on the authority and they had always want their man-Friday in that position. The National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Custom Agents (ANLCA), Alhaji Olayiwola Shittu, said Suleiman’s removal by the President spells doom for the sector, and urged the President to tell Nigerians the offence committed.

Importers seek lift of ban on rice


HE Federal Government has been urged to lift the ban on rice import through land borders in the interest of the masses. Investigation by The Nation revealed that rice import through land borders and smuggling have reduced because of the high landing cost of the commodity due to the surveillance by the Customs. Some importers in Badagry said the price of rice went up because those importing it through the seaports were shylocks who work against the interest of the country. The importers refuted the claims that they were shortchanging the government by evading duty, saying they were ready to pay. The spokesman of the group, Bolarinwa Badero, said rice was one of the nation’s staples. He urged President Goodluck Jonathan to reconsider the position by allowing them import the commodity through land borders. Badero said the landing cost of rice through the seaportswas expensive compared to neighbouring

ports. Another member of the group, Goke Adeboye, said they were aware that rice importers were required by the law to pay 20 per cent Customs duty in addition to a 20 per cent levy, a condition he said they always complied with. “It is bad for those in the government to tag us that are doing our legitimate business and paying the necessary duty to Customs as smugglers. We are not smugglers, but importers and rice

merchants. “We prefer to import through the neighbouring ports because we cannot compete with the local importers that use billions of naira to import the commodity. “With as little as N4 million and N6 million, you can import rice from Cotonou or other neighbouring countries. But that is not the case in Nigeria. That is why the government needs to assist us to feed our families and pay the school fees of our

children. “Those who engage in smuggling are still in business. They have their routes and know how they convey their rice to the market. “We are not smugglers since we don’t go into the bush to bring our rice to the country. We import our rice through other ports, load it on trucks and bring it through the Customs-approved road and pay the stipulated duty,” he said.

Minister urged to support deep seaport sector that needs to be HE Minister of Transdevelopment key developed by the Goodluck port, Senator Idris


Umar and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have been urged to support deep seaport development. Speaking at a summit organised by the Green Field Limited, last week, a maritime operator, Mr Tola Deyemi said the country needs a seaport draught of not less than 40 metres with better facilities that can berth and accommodate bigger vessels. The need, he said, was in line with increased cargo traffic nationally and inter-

nationally as global logistics trends and practices. The result of global trends in port development, he said, showed that out of over 100 seaports projects being executed across the world, about 75 per cent are deep seaports or terminals. The balance, he said, is mostly inland water way ports and jetties. Also, the Managing Director, Maritime Energy Base Limited, Mr Charles Irabor, said maritime transport is a

Jonathan administration. He urged the minister to see to the rapid transformation of the sector so that it would impact on cargo handling of the sea ports and increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before the end of his tenure. He said the country, as the largest importer and exporter of cargo in West Africa, needs at least one deep seaport as a hub for West and Central Africa based on an increase in its maritime and general trade volumes.

THE Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, has identified enforcement as the bane of the agency. Speaking at a seminar organised for reporters by NIMASA in Apapa, last week, Akpobolokemi said there was a need for stakeholders to take urgent steps to address the challenges faced by NIMASA in the enforcement of the Act that set it up. “It is our conviction that the starting point would be to give the agency express power to prosecute offenders for breaches committed under the enabling Acts. “NIMASA recognised its limitation in the enforcement of its mandate, particularly when there is an infraction of the provisions of its enabling laws,” he said. Akpobolokemi said the agency had, therefore, entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Navy (NN) as well as a public-private partnership (PPP) with a service provider to provide platforms for NIMASA staff. The agreement, he said, was signed in April 2007 and it has led to the deployment of a detachment of the Navy to NIMASA called the Maritime Guard Command. He added that the agreement has helped in the detention of vessels found to have violated the NIMASA Act, Merchant Shipping Act and the Cabotage Act.

‘Govt killing export’ THE Managing Director, Sea Trade Investment, Mr Dolapo Adetona, has accused the government of not taking serious the export sector. He said the government, over the years, has not been able to create an enabling environment for exporters to operate. “The government is unserious with our export sector. The Federal Government needs to create an enabling environment for such business. “Also, the government’s work is to generate revenue to sustain the economy. I guess part of the reason our government is behaving this way is because they do not need export trade to sustain the economy as long as oil is there,” he said. Adetona described export as very lucrative and urged the government to pay attention to the sub-sector. He said many people who ventured into it failed because of lack of commitment and the will to do the business. He urged exporters to develop themselves technologically to enable them succeed.

Firm launches three boats in Lagos TO boost water transportation in Lagos State, an indigenous firm, Waterbird Ferry Services Limited, has launched three new boats worth millions of naira. Speaking at the event, Mr Tony Osarenren, said the company would operate ferry services from its Marina terminal to Mile 2 and Badagry. He said ferry service was a vital means of transport in the state, adding that an efficient coastal and inland waterway system has the potential of removing pressure from the roads and rails. The company’s boss added that the waterways could carry many people and goods at very low rates if well patronised. According to him, the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos and its rapidly increasing vehicular and human population underscores the need for a better organised means of transport. He lamented the high cost of providing ferry services, which he said was an “albatross to the ferry scheme,” because of its low return on investment. He, however, pledged that the company would abide by the rules guiding the sector. “Waterbird Ferry Services Limited, an initiative of our management team and the support of LASWA and other waterways authorities, has been designed to meet these criteria and provide exceptional water transport services to Lagos State commuters. “We acknowledge that our growth is still in the cradle, but our aspirations are gigantic as we aim to dominate Lagos waterways with our boats at every route to provide guaranteed, safety, assured transport in passenger commuting and hiring services,” he said.



The Midweek Magazine



HE accused kidnapper stepped gingerly in worn bathroom slippers as the prison guard closely followed him into the tightly packed courtroom. Tola Wewe, clearly one of the most prolific contemporary artists in Nigeria, nodded in my direction. The gesture indicated to me that the slight young man being led into the courtroom was indeed the fellow facing trial for the abduction of his mother, who was kidnapped two years ago. The prisoner’s hands and legs were unfettered. This surprised me. His limbs would have been heavily chained if such a trial was held in the United States, where I reside. But I recall that recently in Ibadan, three petty thieves accused of burglary wore handcuffs as they entered the courtroom. The prison guard removed their handcuffs after the accused fellows settled on a thin bench behind a long desk. Here was a defendant of a violent crime that carried the penalty of life imprisonment entering the court without any restrains. Was he not a potential high risk who could endangered his life and threaten the security of the rest of us in the courtroom? After all, he was standing trial for a heinous and inhuman act. On the morning of July 4, this year, the day of the trial, it rained buckets. The entire southwest of Nigeria was soaked in an unrelenting deluge for a full fortnight. Little London— as the residents of Akure nicknamed their city—sat in large puddles dyed crimson by the red laterite soil bleeding into the downpour. Yet the weather remained warm. Inside the courtroom, the temperature seemed elevated by the sensation of the kidnapping case. After all Wewe, a prosecution witness, is not just another successful Nigerian artist. He was the Ondo State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism when bandits abducted his mother late 2010. What does a murderous kidnapper look like? Everybody in the courtroom was curious. My appetite was only further wetted after the accused person walked into the courtroom. I could not get enough of him. He was not the huge monstrosity that I had imagined. This animal, it turned out, even had a wife, a petite pretty lady who sat alone at the far back of the court. How did such an ogre win the heart of such a beautiful woman? And why was she still interested in him after they arrested him for committing such a horrific crime? My eyes could not sufficiently contain him. I wanted to feel him with all my senses. To better understand his character, I decided to draw him. Because all I had was a newspaper and a pen, I began to capture his likeness with ink on printed newsprint. Was he handsome? I was beginning to understand how he managed to fool the unfortunate woman who married him. But the more I stared at him, the more the mask of humanity fell from his face as the grotesque monster emerged. By the time my pen touched the surface of the paper and his portrait began to spread over the page of the newsprint, the erstwhile handsome fellow had transformed into a monstrous deformity. His face looked twisted by malice and wanton lust. He sat defensively with his arms wrapped around his chest, as if to wall himself off from the rest of humankind. Months of solitary confinement had engraved him with brutal features. His hands were free, but his soul was sealed in a fathomless hole. He stared down, constantly fidgeted, and shifted in his chair. When he quickly threw a glance in my direction, our eyes collided. Next to me seated Madam Wewe, Tola Wewe’s mother, the lady that was kidnapped. She sat between Wewe and me. She was lost in reflection and the accused kidnapper was trying to catch her eye. When my penetrating gaze grazed his eyes, he dropped his face, and quickly stared out through the window at the free world that unfolded outside his physical reach. From where we sat, I could only access his profile. His protruding brow highlighted his bushy eyebrow. Behind

Who kidnapped Tola Wewe’s mother? By Moyo Okediji

VISUAL ART this facial panoply, his gaze was blank and dead, a consequence probably of too many sleepless nights. His cheeks looked hollow, resulting probably from irregular and poor prison diets. The penitentiary guard behind him wore a bulletproof vest conspicuously over his black shirt. The grid pattern on the shirt that the accused man wore contrasted against the subdued uniform of the guard. The prisoner leaned forward in his seat, looking minuscule and lost. His eyes looked weary and sunk in their sockets. His demeanor was that of a goat at the end of its tethers, waiting for the inevitable knife of the slaughter man. Two years ago, he was allegedly in the Alagbaka Government Quarters, pacing the front of Wewe’s official residence, in the section of Akure reserved for state commissioners. According to police reports, he sold the idea of kidnapping Wewe’s mother to the gang of kidnappers

who organised and executed the abduction. The bandits demanded 1N50million. After two weeks of negotiations during which Wewe’s mother languished in the hands of the kidnappers, the gang settled for a N1 million ransom when it became clear to them that Wewe was not quite as wealthy as they thought. They hid Wewe’s aging mother among the creeks in the Niger delta, and she suffered tremendous physical and emotional trauma before Wewe garnered enough fund to secure her freedom. During the process of releasing her, the abductors carried Wewe’ agents through a series of rough rides through several towns and highways in Edo and Delta states. After they received the ransom, they deposited Madam Wewe at a hidden location that the kidnappers eventually disclosed to Wewe’s agents, who brought her safely home. The experience was so harrowing that Wewe did not immediately expect her so survive the ordeal. But to his delight, she gradually returned to her old self. Madam Wewe watched me as I drew the prisoner’s picture. She smiled, gamely nudged me with her shoulder and remarked, “Strong semblance.” I smiled back, and replied, “A monster.” His hair was cropped low, his lips full, and his cheekbones protruded. He looked almost ordinary, as if you could walk past him on the streets and not even notice anything strange. Yet there was something subhuman about the sum of his facial features, though each part seemed ordinary. Clearly his neck was too long, somewhat effeminate, even graceful. But it also seemed to cast him apart from the rest of humanity. His high and protruding cheekbones accentuated his effeminate demeanor. But the stubborn knotting of his jaw betrayed a sinister nature, as if he was carved by a brutal god committed to alienating him from humankind. The calm around him bordered on the acceptance of the inevitable. A cold and curious chill froze his features into a demonic device of boundless destruction. The dark patches under his eyes betrayed the palette of insomnia. With his downcast eyes, he appeared to be sleeping, but it was clear to any observer that he had already murdered sleep and could no longer slumber. Shifting, he placed his left hand on his jaw, exposing a marriage ring. I wondered what it felt like to be the wife of this beast. What mother birthed such a monster? Did he suckled on breast milk like everyone else? Did his wife console him with a warm embrace when he returned from his murderous missions? When the court clerk announced his name, he reacted as if a bolt of electricity jolted his body. He jumped up and staggered to the dock.The judge studied him without betraying any emotion. “Is anyone with you today?” the judge asked. “My wife, my lord,” he sighed. “Your lawyer has written the court again,” the judge continued. “He says he cannot be in the court today. He is in the habit of writing to the court that he cannot appear. You better engage the services of another lawyer, or you will remain long in prison custody.” The state prosecutor immediately stood up and addressed the court. “My lord we humbly apply for an order of the court, to request the chambers of the Attorney General to farm out this case in the interest of justice.” She wanted a public lawyer appointed to assist the accused, to move the case forward. She claimed that the case had experienced too many adjournments because the lawyer of the accused person could not be in court. “Today, I will grant an adjournment,” the judge ruled. ”But this is the last time. If your attorney does not appear the next time, I will ask the AG to appoint an attorney for you.” The judge adjourned the hearing. The prison guard, armed to the teeth, led the accused man out of the court. •Okediji is of the University of Texas in Austin, USA.

Liberians celebrate 165th Independence anniversary


T was party time for Liberians in Nigeria last Thursday in Lagos. Liberians in Lagos and its environs rolled out big drums to celebrate the 165th independence anniversary of their country. It attracted their countrymen from all walks of life while Liberian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador who was absent telephoned in his goodwill message. The event, which was held at the Ibis Royal Hotel, Ajao Estate was put together by the Liberian Union in Nigerian in conjunction with the Liberian Embassy. The Liberian Ambassador, Prof Alhassan Conteh, urged his countrymen to live in peace and stay off crime in their host country. He commended the Liberian government for its efforts at rebuilding the country’s economy. He also charged his countrymen to return home and join in the rebuilding process, adding that the atmosphere in Liberia is conducive now for any form of investment. The Chief Executive Officer of the hotel and a former Honorary Consular-General in Lagos, Chief Cliff Nzeruem, noted that the administration of Mrs Johnson Sirleaf is doing well in Liberia and that the environment is

By Jude Isiguzo

CELEBRATION more friendly and conducive for economic activities. “We have good roads, uninterrupted power supply and lots of other infrastructure on ground to oil economic activities. We thank Nigeria and Nigerians for been a good host and a brother when we needed them most”, he said. Nzeruem noted that most Liberians, who are living in Nigeria are those who have been integrated into the Nigerian system and have legal means of livelihood. He urged them not to misuse this great opportunity which Nigeria has offered them, rather he encouraged them to stay away from crime and engage in meaningful activities that would help them integrate later in Liberia. “It must not be government providing jobs for its people. Liberia is very conducive for business now and Liberians should seize the opportunity and go back home so

•Chief Nzeruem (middle) with members of the Liberian Union at the event. PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN

that they can establish themselves and assist in the rebuilding process”, he explained. Eddie Flolin, a Liberian pastor with the Bible Way International Church in FESTAC, Lagos, who has been living in Nigeria for over 22years, said his country is grateful to Nigeria for all its investment at ensuring that peace returns to Liberia. The pastor, who

came to Nigeria in 1990 at the peak of the war in Liberia, said:“We were the first to come into Nigeria and Nigerians have been very kind and accommodating. We can only build in unity and we have to unite. We have to join our president to rebuild our country because we have no other country but Liberia. Most importantly we need to go back home and build our country.”



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

The challenges facing people with disabilities (PWDs) were brought to the front burner at a workshop on disability reporting in Lagos, EVELYN OSAGIE writes.

A push for PWDs


XPERTS on disabilities matters are praying that more attention be given to people with disabilities (PWDs). According to them, individuals with disabilities are disproportionately affected in disasters, emergencies and conflict situations due to lack of accessibility in major areas of life and exclusion of disability issues in planning and preparedness. They stated this at a three-day workshop on disability reporting organised by the Lagos Civil Society Disability Policy Partnership (LSCDPP) with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). Participants were drawn from the media, including print and electronic; LCSDPP members; and representatives of the Lagos State Office of Disabilities Affairs (ODA); State Advocacy and Voice Initiative (SAVI), an organ of the Department for International Development (DFID) - sponsors of the event. Using Lagos as a case study, PWD rights activist Dr Adebayo Adebukola observed that the PWDs number makes up a large ratio of the world’s population. Developing this community, he said, will foster Nigeria’s vision of reducing its poverty rate by the year 2015. In his paper entitled: Perspective of disability, Dr Adebayo called for the adoption of the social model of disability, saying it will ensure disability-friendly and inclusive policy formulations. “The social model of disability sees the issue of ‘disability’ as a socially created problem and a matter of the full integration of individuals into society. In this model, disability is not an attribute of an individual, but rather a complex collection of conditions, many of which are created by the social environment. Hence, the management of the problem requires social action and is the collective responsibility of society at large to make the environmental modifications necessary for the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of social life. “Also, it suggests that while the challenges experienced by PWDs may be obvious, all persons are physically, morally and psychologically challenged in various ways. However, good public policies and positive social practices will sufficiently reduce or totally eradicate such challenges such that everyone can participate effectively in the policy process irrespective of the degree of their challenges,” he said. He lamented that the PWDs have been excluded from the processes of drafting and implementing governmental policies that concerns them, saying: “People with Disabilities have been conspicuously excluded from the processes of formulating and implementing strategies and policies aimed at creating public awareness and positive orientation and attitudes on the realities and challenges of disability and the need to evolve and sustain environmentally friendly behaviour.” Dr Adebayo noted that all hands must be on deck to better the lives of PWDs, adding the onus is on the government and the society at large if the rate of discrimination against them is to be reduced. He said: “All stakeholders – the government, the private sector, the media, civil society organisations (CSOs), the family and the society – must take necessary action to reduce and/or remove all


ADVOCACY attitudinal, institutional, environmental and social barriers which aggravates the challenges of PWDs. These actions must seek to rehabilitate, re-empower and reintegrate PWDs into mainstream society so they can live independently just as other citizens.” Experts praised Lagos state government for being in the forefront of promulgating a law called “Lagos State Special People’s Law”, 2010, for that seeks to protect the PWDs through the instrumentality of legislation, and, for its establishment of the Office of the Disability Affairs (ODA) meant to implement the law and cater for PWDs. “We urge other state government to take a cue from its Lagos counterpart and put in place policies that would better the lives of PWDs in their states,” they said. A legal practioner and parliamentary consultant, Mr Daniel Amaechi Onwe, who spoke on Disability laws and other legal frameworks, observed that although Lagosians are naturally disposed posed to assist PWDs; the law will further arouse their moral sensitivity. “Therefore, if the provisions of this Law brought home to them I think they will substantially comply with it. The ODA on its part must, as a matter of necessity, be proactive in illuminating the path, to the implementation of the Law. At the end of the workshop, participants signed a communiqué. They resolved that as watchdogs the media houses should “continuously investigate the implementation and compliance of all sectors to 2011 Special Peoples’ Law passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly.” It stated: “Media practitioners are enjoined to avoid usage of terminologies derogatory to people with disability and other special needs in their reports; and media organisations are encouraged to imbibe disability friendly and Inclusive employment policies / work practices; media houses should consider creation of designated desk (s) for disability issues for more effective reportage.” NUJ was also enjoined to make presentations to other media bodies like: Guild of Editors, Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) to support creation of the desk. Participants emphasised the urgent need to incorporate “Sign Language and Braille Reading” into School’s Curriculum and the mainstreaming disability policy in every sector.


Also, people living with ‘Intellectual Disabilities’ are enjoined to be clustered with other existing efficient disability organisations; Disability organisations are enjoined to work harmoniously, putting the interest of the people first as well as pursue vigorously their identified set goals and objectives.” The communiqués further stated: “The need for PWDs to re-discover and avail themselves of the opportunity given to them by Lagos State Government through the passage of 2011 Special People’s Law on: health, education, transportation, good governance, access to information and infrastructure to mention but few. Also, “the disability reporting manual be validated and be used as a guideline by all media houses in their reportage of disability stories/issues, among others.”


Wewe for Olympic art show

Sefi Atta’s The naming ceremony at London 2012


ORMER Ondo State State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Chief Tola Wewe will lead other African artists to a group exhibition entitled Creative Cities Collection, opening today, at the Barbican Centre, London. The group show is put together by the China International Culture Association, China Society for the Promotion of Culture, and Beijing Association for the Promotion of Olympics Related Culture. It will run till the end of the Olympic Games. Another Nigerian exhibiting alongside 500 artists drawn from 74 countries is Uche James Iroha. Artists from Benin, Burkina Fasso, Congo, Cote d’ Ivoire, Senegal and Togo are among the exhibitors. According to Wewe, he will on return from London show be preoccupied with organising the Return of Ona, an exhibition of re-union of Ona pioneers holding in October in Lagos. “So far, I have succeeded in persuading all members to participate in the show. The pioneer Ona artists that will be exhibiting are Moyo Okediji,Kunle Filani,Bolaji Campbell,Tunde Nasiru and Tola Wewe.


HE play will be part of the Nigerian house, a cultural festival, celebrating the best of Nigerian Life and Arts at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, London, during the Olympics. The play which is directed by Ifeoma Fanfunwa. The cast list includes Olu Jacobs, Joke Silva, Tosan Ugbeye, O.C Okeje and Kemi Lala Akinjodu. Atta is an award winning novelist and playwright who is based in the United States.

Damilola Oshilaja as artistic director for exhibition



E has been chosen for the director for the forth coming Art exhibition schedule to hold at the Wazobia Lounge Nigerian section of the African Village, Kensington gardens from July 30 to Aug. 12. Chinwe Chkwuogo-Roy-Gallery, National Gallery of Arts Nigeria and Grunge studio will be participating at the event.



The Midweek Magazine




Writers for Olympics


Dance of fury


Feyi-Abiodun Oyeniyi


FeyiSam (Publishing) Ventures Ltd, Ikeja, Lagos



Year of Publication:

2009 (New Edition)


Against child, woman abuse


HE strength in women is multi-dimensional. Train a woman, you have trained a nation. “Behind every successful man”, the most popular aphorism stresses, there is a woman”. Women are the salt of life and dictate the rhythm of any society. Consider a church, even in the dark world, where there is no single woman. The whole place will be dried and boring. Why then is it that women are often abused in our society, particularly in Africa and the third world countries? This seems to bother the writer of the play, Feyi-Abiodun Oyeniyi, Dance of Fury, by this student of post graduate school of the University of Lagos. The author, a politician now studies for a Masters Degrees in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies (MDSS) in the Department of History and Strategic Studies, Faculty of Arts of the citadel of learning. Dance of Fury, an adaptation of one of the stories in the writer’s first published work, Frogs for Dinner and Other Stories, is a drama adapted from a prose, Iyawo Sara, for the films and theatres. Filmmakers will find this particular book, not only interesting but, easily adaptable for screen production. Dance of Fury, also on the list of books recommended for students in

the Senior Secondary School Three (SSS III) of the Lagos state government, is laced with Yoruba words and phrases. Readers need not to worry as its publisher provides for glossary pages at the end of the pages. The play is set in Omu-Aran, as the original story, the prose, an Igbomina area of Kwara State. It tells the story of two lovebirds, Abike and Adewale who both hail from different warring communities in the town. In the ensuing love tango between them, Abike became pregnant. While the two decided to formalize their union through marriage, their people insisted that history and tradition forbade such relationship. Under duress, and while the mother of the girl, Abike faces criticism and ostracism, being blamed for her daughter’s waywardness, she was forced to terminate her pregnancy. Abike and Adewale were forced to separate, and each betrothed to different persons thereby resulting to pains, sorrow and regrets for them, until the two felt compelled to eat the forbidden fruit and break the jinx of tradition and faced the consequences which readers can only garner by grabbing a copy and reading it. The play, Dance of Fury demonstrates the author’s firm belief in the

rights of women, particularly the girl-child and widow who are often victims of obnoxious cultural and traditional practices in our society. It is crafted as a weapon exposing the ills of polygamy forced and early marriage, abuse of widows and bitterness caused by disregard for African cohesive bonds. Dance of Fury exhibits the beauty of African culture, and at the same time, laments its internal contradictions. The writer, in the play has woven his sense of creativity, humour and his experience in script writing, radio and television production to making the story captivating and interesting to readers who have love for plays or drama. The play which is 182 pages, with the author’s picture on its front-cover, in deep orange colour of fiery fire, symbolizing ‘fury’ in line with its title depicting the fury of the African gods against various abuses which he attempts to address in the story seem voluminous for contemporary play. However, he shares an attitude of such with Williams Shakespeare. It has some typographical errors which are forgivable. According to the Publisher of the book, Feyisam (Publishing) Ventures Limited, attempts are being made to replace the cover with more artistic work depicting the title better.

Diary of a troubled state


HE collection of eleven stories by the journalistturned banker is a reflection of contemporary Nigeria, nay Africa. The writer explores societal archetypes to tell his stories. Although the tales are fictional, Rahman’s thematic preoccupations are not remote. The characters are near-to-life, and you could feel them. Their values and dispositions are typical of a society befuddled by social ills. The stories are set in Nigeria and some fictional African states. Unlike some writers who shy away from issues, Rahman’s messages are direct at the opening piece. From Candidate Number One, the writer lampoons the malaise tagged godfatherism in Nigerian politics. He attacks moral depravity in Aunty Stella the Lamb, adopting a style akin to Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter. The novelist reflects on corruption in high places in A Dream Comes True. Through the protagonist, Nengi, a rights activist and critic, Rahman tells the tragic story of a man who compromised his avowed principles for a life of sleaze and corruption. The story is a good instance of how the system corrupts even the incorruptible. Nengi’s travails can be likened to the $3million oil subsidy probe bribery saga currently rocking the lower house of the National Assembly. Lovers of political history would savour Olympic in Savannah. It is a parody of the culture of profligacy among repressive, dictatorial regimes, Africa had known. Perhaps, Rahman, had a once upon


Circus of the Absurd (Short Stories)


Deji Rahman




Kraftgriots Press

Nigeria’s maximum ruler in mind. In the story, the principal character, Zanzimi, a tyrant, hung on false hope to alter his destiny and rule the kingdom of Madiff for life. His tragic end, ostensibly, should serve as lesson to some sit tight rulers and despotic rulers across Africa and other parts of the

world. Rahman’s creativity is incontestable. He draws from sources and his themes underscore a writer who is not constraint. The storyteller who reminds readers of the 2009 crash of the capital market in a Circle of Fortunes, attacks the Nigeria’s moral ineptitude and crumbling societal values in Aunty Stella, the Lamb, King George and Queen Elizabeth, Tears from Heaven, and The Grateful Refugee, among others. He underscores the strength of romance as lubricant for conjugal bliss in A July like no other in which the writer counsels male spouses to spare ample time for their wives. According to the author, the readers should learn from the mistakes of Ogie, a medical doctor, who took his wife for granted, and sacrificed love and affection for his spouse for material pursuit. Rahman’s language cuts across levels of readership with his treatment of the themes. His fluidity of language and proficient use of dialogue brings in so much drama into his narratives. Circus of the Absurd is a 2012 publication of the Kraftbooks, a household name in literary publications, based in Ibadan. The book is neatly packaged and the layout of the text makes for easy reading. The publisher’s must have thorough in reducing the so called printer’s devil to the minimum. The cover design is quite imaginative. The collection is another impressive contribution to the legion of literatures on rescue mission for our comatose reading culture.

N the spirit of Olympics, the Nigeria House in London will host some arts and cultural products and expressions from Nigeria. It opened on July 23 and will run through August 15, featuring Nigerian arts, culture and lifestyle in the course of the Olympics in London at Theatre Royale, Stratford East. The literature segment, which is to feature book display and sessions with top Nigerian writers is being anchored by the Committee for Relevant Art, (CORA), organisers of the quarterly Art Stampede since 1991, as well as the yearly Lagos Book and Art Festival, LABAF since 1999. Titled Nigeria House Literature Showcase, the event is designed to exhibit the best of Nigerian literature through book readings, conversations on literature and a display of a wide range of books by authors at home and in the diaspora. Select authors being featured include: Diran Adebayo, Sefi Atta; Helon Habila, Ade Solanke, Zainabu Jallo, Nnorom Azuonye, Chibundu Onuzo, and Rotimi Babatunde, whose recent win of the Caine Prize is still being celebrated. The authors will be on parade on July 26, 30 and 31 at the Theatre Royale Stratford East. Their books will be on display and available for sale, with other books by authors, at the same venue from the July 24 through August 3.The event is sponsored by the Bank of Industry(BOI) and is produced by British Council and CORA Art & Cultural Foundation.

Nigerian stars thrill at pre-Olympics feast


HE Bank of Industry(BoI) has sponsored a new world Nigeria event at the G-Live Centre in Surrey, United Kingdom recently showcased the best in fashion, art, theatre and music to the rest of the world. Nollywood legends Olu Jacob and Justice Esiri put on a stage play featuring other stars such as Joke Silva, Segun Arinze, Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey and Bimbo Akintola. To round off the eventful night, music stars such as Tiwa Savage, Neato C and Tuface were joined on stage by The Nigerian Diasporama All Star Band, featuring Asa, Dele Sosimi, Tony Allen and Keziah Jones. They performed some of their hits to an excited audience.

Arts festival holds in Ekiti By Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


HE first Ekiti State Festival of Arts and Culture tagged EKIFEST will hold between September 9 and 15. The Commissioner for Culture, Arts and Tourism, Alhaji Fola Jinadu, disclosed this at a meeting with Community Development and Area Education Officers in Ado-Ekiti. He called on stakeholders to identify all cultural heritages in the state to make the festival a worthwhile experience. He urged them to carry out necessary research and mobilise people as well as create awareness at the grassroots, saying all the cultural activities of each Local Government should be harnessed for presentation at the event. The commissioner pointed out that the essence of the festival is not to worship any idol but rather an effort towards the identification of the various latent potentials of the homogeneous people of the state with regards to their rich culture and outstanding creative ability in arts and crafts. Alhaji Jinadu stated that Ekiti state has the largest collection of carved doors in Africa as state in Oye , while the late legendary Olowe from Ise- Ekiti, is one of the most renown wood carvers in Africa. According to the Commissioner, EKIFEST is aimed at promoting the culture of Ekiti people and harnessing the tourism potential of the state to drive indigenous economic enterprise, generate employment and, ultimately, make Ekiti State a toursm destination. While thanking all the stakeholders for rising up to the challenge, Jinadu resteratesd Governor Fayemi’s interest in the social, cultural and philosophical re-orientation and reawakening of the people to expoe every cultural material in the state for possible consideration into the UNESCO Heritage site list. He said that UNESCO heritage site is a place of human enduring activities, such as •Dr Fayemi forest, lake, springs and which 745 are cultural, 187 are monuments, which has listed natural, while the remaining 29 961 around the world, out of are mixed properties.



The Midweek Magazine



What a nap! A little boy having a rest in a parked trailer during the monthly environmental sanitation in Agege, Lagos •PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

‘Time to revamp the theatre is now’


ORRIED by the increasing dilapidation of some of the nation’s public buildings, especially the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, Minister for Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has called on the private sector and investors to direct their corporate social responsibility towards the renewal and rehabilitation programme of the national edifice. He said the National Theatre complex provides rare estate opportunities adding that they are in dare need of development especially its auxiliary sectors such as leisure and entertainment. He spoke at the weekend in Lagos during a visit to the National Theatre in Lagos. He noted that federal government has expressed alarm over the integrity of some public buildings and has therefore called for the integrity and status report on such buildings across the country. “The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation has, therefore, decided to do a recee of the theatre because of its national brand. It is not that government has not expended money on

•National Theatre

By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

THEATRE the theatre in the last 30 years. But for the competing demands of resources, adequate financing of the theatre may not have been given in the last one decade. Corporate Nigeria should deplore their corporate social responsibility and look favourably at the rehabilitation and

‘This is the most recognised and imposing national building in Nigeria. Therefore, after 35 years of existence, the government is interested in finding alternative ways to ensure that the edifice is made more conducive for not only stakeholders, but to fulfill the purpose for which it was erected. As we look forward to celebrating Nigeria at 100, the time to address the dilapidation of the theatre is now’


renewal of National Theatre. “This is the most recognised and imposing national building in Nigeria.

Therefore after 35 years of existence, the government is now interested in finding alternative ways to ensure that the edifice is made more conducive for not only stakeholders, but to fulfill the purpose for which it was erected. As we look forward to celebrating Nigeria at 100, the time to address the dilapidation of the theatre is now,” he said. The minister who was accompanied on the tour by the General Manager, National Theatre, Mr Kabir Yusuf, also used the occasion to enjoin the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), the firm handling the Lagos light rail from Victoria Island to Okokomaiko to brace up to meet the May 3013 deadline of the project. Acting project manager of CCECC, Mr Li Bing, promised that the on-going eight kilometre section of the project would be completed on schedule. The poor state of the Artists Village located within the theatre complex also attracted the attention of the minister, who urged the resident artists to keep the village habitable and clean at all time.







Oyo council boss appeals to Fed Govt on floods From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


•Participants and the cassava stems at the event •Continued from Page 13

quirement of the agro-industries, Adesina explained that sufficient quality cassava tubers would be produced. The aim of the cassava transformation programme, he said, is

Taraba steps up food sufficiency drive to increase the current productivity its tubers from an average of 12 metric tons per hectare in the state to at least 25 metric tons per

hectare, through the use of improved product specific cassava cultivars, application of fertilizer –specifically blended for its pro-

Hope for childless couples •Continued from Page 13

“The children are delivered through the same process of child delivery but the only difference is that it is relatively expensive. It costs between N500,000 to N1m, depending on the materials used and number of attempts and age of the patient.” Grandmother of baby Favour who does not want her name in print, told Newsextra that “infertility is not only a disease but an aberration in this part of the world and nobody would give you a chance. They believe you lived a wrong and regrettable life, hence you cannot conceive. “So, my daughter has been childless for many years and when we had lost all hope, we were told she was pregnant. We could not believe it but we kept hope with God and today it is a reality. She gave birth to a bouncy baby boy.” Prof. Ikechebelu advised couples not to wait till they are old before they go for IVF. He said: “Age is a serious determinant. Our appeal to couples is that if they are having challenges with child-bearing, they don’t have to wait until they are old before they access this assisted reproduction. They know that women who are younger

•An attendant with one IVF baby

have a better success rate than the older ones. “So, we are appealing to couples that they don’t need to wait

for 20 years before looking for assistance because the chances of success are bright when they are young.”

duction and adoption of other recommended agronomic practices. Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Anthony Jellason assured that GES on cassava and other value chain crops would be a huge success in Taraba. He, however, reminded President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Suntai that their commitment would inspire the cassava farmers to produce enough to feed the nation and sustain the market for other value chain crops. He revealed that at least 52,000 cassava farmers in the state already supply cassava tubers to the Autonomous Processing Unit at Bantaje, Wukari Local Government Area of the state. “That is the quiet revolution on cassava and the agricultural sector generally that is going on in Taraba, which the people, even those in the Danbaba Suntai administration don’t know,” Jellason said. A major feature of the event was the distribution of cassava planting materials to cassava farmers who registered under the FMA&RD. Each of the beneficiaries obtained 15 bundles of cassava stems and two bags of specially blended fertilisers at 50 per cent support price.

RANSITION Committee Chairman, Oluyole Local Government Area of Oyo State, Mr Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, has appealed to the Federal Government to use the Ecological Fund to assist the state and particularly the local government on flood disasters. The council boss spoke with Newsextra over the incidence of floods which sacked some communities in Ibadan and its environs recently. Abass-Aleshinloye lamented the magnitude of the damage done by the flood that attended the devastating August 26 last year rain and the recent one. He explained that Oluyole Local Government is usually worse hit because it is the terminal end of all rivers in Ibadan. He said a total of 16 bridges have been destroyed since last year’s downpour, thereby piling more pressure on the meager resources of the council as well as complicating the poor living conditions of the rural dwellers within the council. Of the lot, he explained that the state government was already reconstructing two while the council was reconstructing six. The work is costing the council over N70 million, he said. Highlighting the plight of the residents, Abass-Aleshinloye said they no longer sleep whenever it rains, particularly in the night for fear of being swept off. The council boss therefore appealed to the Federal Government to come to the aid of the state and particularly Oluyole Council due to the ecological nature of the area. The council, he said, is unable to foot the bill of the reconstruction works required to restore normalcy to residents of the local government. His words: “Oluyole Local Government is the terminal end of all rivers in Ibadan land. Hence it is badly affected during heavy rains. The council should not be treated like any other because of this problem. In fact, we will need up to N400 million to reconstruct damaged infrastructures across the local government. We appeal to the Federal Government to come to our aid through the Ecological Fund because the council cannot afford the huge sum.”





VER 3000 teachers, mostly from the Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State converged on the multi-purpose auditorium of the institution to seek better ways of shaping the society and getting a better deal for themselves. The event, organised by the Research Conference Committee of the institution, had Dr. Chukwuka Eyibe as chairman. In attendance were lecturers from Imo State University, Abia State University Uturu, Enugu State University of Science and Technology and Anambra State University of Science and Technology. The guest lecturer, Prof. Theresa N. Kanno of the Faculty of Education, Abia State University spoke on the topic “the image of effective teachers in the contemporary Nigerian society.” Other academics in attendance included Prof. Sam Okeke, Dean Faculty of Education Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Provost of the college, Prof. Josaphet Ogbuagu was represented by the Registrar Sir Augustine Udensi and the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Mr. Mbogu Emmanuel. Professor Okeke said that “the lecture is the beginning of wonderful things to come to this school.” Head, Department of Chemistry of the institution, Israel Justina, expressed concern over achieving effective teaching in an ineffective environment.

•Prof. Kanno (middle) and other lecturers

Conference seeks teachers’ effectiveness From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

Kanno, in her lecture, defined effective teacher as a competent and efficient professional who always

Teachers of today do not combine moral instruction and religion in their instructional activities, which has caused the decay in the society

strives to attain all stipulated objectives within a given classroom situation. She also said that an effective teacher is one who has good initiatives and ability to give and take constructive and destructive criticisms, as well as one who can effectively transmit the acquired skills to learners. She reeled off qualities that enhance a teacher’s effectiveness to be acquisition of appropriate teaching skills, good communication, organisational abilities, flexibility and self confidence, among others. However, she stated that in the

contemporary Nigerian society, many factors militate against the positive image of an effective teacher. These, according to Kanno, included misplaced values, indiscipline on the part of the teachers, students and the public, flair for various forms of examination malpractice, self-abuse, low self-esteem and lack of professional update. Another major factor, she said, is hunger engendered by delayed and or non-payment of salaries as and at when due. Contributing, Dr Eyibe said teachers of today do not combine

moral instruction and religion in their instructional activities, which, according to him, has caused the decay in the society. He further said that some teachers do not obey the 10th Commandment which says; “thou shall not steal,” even as he added that the bane of most teachers today has been extortion and that, he said, has made it difficult to identify effective teachers. Eyibe said: “Religion invented education and for us to do the work well in education, the words of religion must be listened to and obeyed.”

Plateau women urge prayers against disaster


LATEAU State women have asked residents of the state to turn to God to heal their land and avert further disasters. The women, drawn from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, made the appeal under the aegis of Women Without Walls Initiative. They urged Plateau residents to

From Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos

turn to God in prayer, repent of the evils they have committed, so that God can heal the land and revert His anger towards the state as the various atrocities committed have defiled the land and put the inhab-

itants in agony. The women spoke in Jos, the state capital, while commiserating with victims of the recent flood disaster which claimed scores of lives especially those of women and children as well as the attacks in which two prominent lawmakers and other residents of the state died. President of the group, Pastor

•Marketing Communications Manager, Bulb Ideas Creations, Dumebi Agbakoba-Ishaku (middle) Creative Designer Adaeze Mbogwu (left) and Ifeoma Agbakoba of Pfizer World Beauty during the unveiling Bulb Ideas Creations in Lagos

(Mrs.) Esther Ibanga and the groups’ Secretary, Hajia Khadijah Hawaja, who addressed newsmen, condemned in strong terms the gruesome acts of violence resulting in the wanton destruction of lives and properties. They stressed that the constant bloodshed is defiling the land and would bring God’s wrath not only on the state but the nation. The duo said: “The constant bloodshed is defiling our land and bring about God’s wrath and judgment not just on Plateau but on Nigeria. We need to repent and desist from these evils as the incessant loss of lives and property has become prolonged and unhealthy affecting mostly women and children.” They advocated that any individual or group whose speeches are found to be treasonable should be tried in court, arguing that such utterances contribute to the recurring problems in the nation. They also called on government at all levels to address the polarisation of Christians and Muslims along religions and ethnic lines as

•Governor Jonah Jang well as the unemployment issue in the country. Jobs, they said, will keep youths from being ready tools in the hands of evil-minded individuals. They urged the people of the state to remain focused, united, courageous and to continue in prayers in order to entrench lasting peace in the state.



Muslim foundation provides doctors, retools Sokoto varsity


•Governor Wamakko


HE Benue State AIDS Control Agency has bemoaned the prevalence of homosexual activities in the state, saying it complicates efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the state. The Executive Secretary of the agency, Mrs. Grace Ashi Wende said such practices help to accelerate the spread of the deadly virus. Health experts said homosexuality is high in some major towns of the state, adding that it accounts for HIV/AIDs prevalence and would thwart efforts in fighting the scourge. Investigations revealed that in Makurdi, the state capital, gay activities thrive in such areas as near Plaza Hotel, Katsina–Ala Street and along University of Agriculture Road at the North Bank where practitioners park

HE World Muslim League has lifted the operations and standards of the Murtala Muhammed General Hospital, and Orthopaedic Hospital, Wamakko, both in Sokoto State, by providing them with medical doctors at no cost to their management. The League made the gesture through its International Islamic Foundation for the Development of Education in Nigeria (Rabidah) The Rabidah Foundation has also undertaken to provide the newly established Sokoto State University with free science and technology lec-

From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

turers from across the world. Briefing newsmen in Sokoto, the state capital, the Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Professor Musa Garba Maitafsir said the Foundation would take care of the remuneration and all other allowances and fringe benefits of the experts. Maitafsir explained that the gesture resulted from a visit by a team of senior officers of the Foundation to the state. “They were taken round and were

impressed with the Almajiri system of education and other educational and health developments in the state,” he said. The organisation, a subsidiary body of UNESCO and the highest Islamic organisation whose activities are carried out across the globe, has also appointed the state governor Aliyu Wamakko as member of the Foundation. Maitafsir said: “By Wamakko’s appointment, the Sokoto State governor is the second personality to occupy the seat after the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello.

The Rabidah Foundation has undertaken to provide the newly established Sokoto State University with free science and technology lecturers drawn from across the world “The governor is free to be in Saudi Arabia as a special stranger to the government with automatic membership on any event on Islam,” the Commissioner added.

Benue AIDS control agency laments homosexuality From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

their cars waiting for clients during late hours. In Oturkpo Local Government Area, some men who are into the business are said to be lurk around Otobi Junction in their numbers during late hours waiting for would-be customers who are taken to brothels at appreciable fees. A resident of Oturkpo town, Samson Adakole, told our correspondent that it was an indigenous man who was studying at Benue State University, Makurdi that first introduced the act in the

community. It was that man, he said, who “recruited some of our youths into this. It is a very strange thing in this community.” This is how our young ones here are gradually being recruited into the gay game.” Mrs. Wende said the menace of homosexual activities in the state poses a threat to the campaign against the spread of HIV/AIDS. “The implication of the trend is that HIV is being spread rapidly in such places. The homosexuals are a critical factor in the spread of HIV in Benue State.” The Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr.

Orduen Akunku said sexual activity among people of the same gender has been prohibited by an act of the National Assembly and therefore will not be allowed to rear its head in the state. He said the state has pledged to work with relevant

stakeholders to check the trend. The National Coordinator of Jireh Doo Foundation, Makurdi, Mrs. Josephine Haba noted that people involved in the gay act also keep female partners in order to satisfy the society which frowns at gay activities.

The implication of the trend is that HIV is being spread rapidly in such places. Homosexuals are a critical factor in the spread of HIV in Benue State

‘How to avert flooding in Lagos’


AGOS State government has enjoined Lagosians to make use of the emergency numbers in alerting its agencies to disasters, stressing that citizens’ cooperation is needed to avert tragedy. Commissioner for Special Duties Dr Wale Ahmed told reporters in Lagos that the “Command and Control Centre” has been fortified to respond to emergency calls through “767” and “112”, which are toll-free. He alerted residents on the imminence of more rains this season, advising them to desist from blocking drains and canals. Ahmed also cautioned against building houses, kiosks and shops on canal pathways to avoid flooding, which he said, has posed danger to the mega city. He said: “Rain came early this year, since January. And if we want to go by the prediction of the meteorological department, we should expect a lot of stormy weather, not just in Lagos and Nigeria, but throughout the world. The weather is getting more inclement every day. All over the world, there is global warming. There is rise in sea level. That is leading to flooding all over the world. “In Lagos State, the government has been proactive enough. It has put in structures to anticipate, plan for and handle emergency situations. There is the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, which is an award-winning agency, to take care of emergency occurrences. Recently, the Lagos

•A makeshift bridge washed off by flood in Lagos By Emmanuel Oladesu

State Safety Commission was established to sensitise the people, institute safety standards and let people know what to do at work, at home, factory, construction site, hospital, offices. “Then, the Ministry of Environment has been going around to ensure that the drains and canals are not blocked. More canals have been built by government to increase the capacity of canals to absorb flood water. “The administration of Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) is doing its best to make sure that structures are in place to mitigate whatever situation. “One of them is the recently commissioned Command and Control

Centre in Alausa that operates 767 and 112 emergency lines. If you call any or the two numbers, there are people there to receive these calls on 24-hour basis and process them and determine who to call, depending on the complaint you give them. “They are able to scale the emergency situation. It is an innovation and that the only one in this country by any state government. May be, the military may have something that have a semblance of a command and control centre, but it is another first scored by Fashola Administration.” The Commissioner also spoke on precautions against flooding, urging people to cooperate with government in sanitising the environment. He said: “Our people have re-

sponsibility to desist from certain habits, that is, putting garbage in drains and canals, which increase the likelihood of flooding after little rain. We want to urge our traditional rulers, leaders of thought, community leaders in various areas to educate the people. They should form a selfless vanguard to police other people. It is important for them to stop people from this habit and even report people who indulge in them, if they persist. It is a collective responsibility. I also want residents to call my number, apart from these two emergency numbers; 767 and 112. My number is 08022234870. I know the various stakeholders to call. My ministry controls the activities of Lagos State Emergency Agency, Lagos State Safety Commission, and to some extent, the Fire Service. We

have relationship with the Fire Service. I have the phone numbers of all those that should take immediate actions. If you call my number, I will call the necessary people related to the matter.” On measures put in place to sensitise the people to disasters, he said: “The Ministry of Information and Strategy is mounting a sensitisation programme, printing leaflets and handbills to educate people about deadly habits that can injure the environment. The ministry has also published the numbers of the chairmen of 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas, cabinet members and heads of agencies directely related to the management of emergences. •Continued on age 38




HE Anambra State government has donated N20m to Christ the King College (CKC), Onitsha to enable it to carry out renovation and rehabilitation work in the school. Governor Peter Obi, an old boy of the school, announced this during a visit to the institution. He said that the money was to facilitate the take-off of a science laboratory building project in fulfilment of his earlier promise. He commended the students especially for maintaining high academic standards, discipline and decency which made CKC uniquely famous, just as he promised to visit them again to interact with the students as an old boy of the college. In his speech, the Principal of the school Rev. Fr Charles Okwunmuo thanked Governor Obi for the gesture and his commitment to promotion of education and infrastructural development of the state. He described the governor as the best education-friendly chief executive of the state since its creation, noting that he has continued to provide essential facilities and equipment to schools. He prayed God to give more wisdom and strength to the governor to enable him to accomplish his mission of total development of the state. A student of the school, Master Chijioke Nnoli, thanked the governor for his gesture. Governor Obi also presented an 18-seater bus and 10 sets of computers with accessories to Holy Child Convent, Amichi. St. Michael’s Boys’ Secondary School, Eziora Ozubulu and

•Governor Obi addressing students of Holy Child Anglican Convent, Amichi

A boost for Anambra schools From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

Mother of Mercy Girls’ Secondary School, Nnewi also received gifts from the governor.

Governor Obi urged him to continue to uphold decisions made in the interest of the generality of the people in the service of God and humanity

He explained that the provision of computers to schools would encourage students to key into the global trend of information communication technology, even as he said that his visit to schools would enable government to identify their problems with a view to providing adequate solution. The Bishop of Amichi Anglican Diocese, owners of Holy Child Convent, Rt Reverend Ephraim Ikeakor, thanked the governor for his empowerment of schools.

He urged him to continue to uphold decisions that promote collective welfare irrespective of public opinion in the service of God and humanity. He assured him that the Diocese would sustain partnership with government to actualise quality education. The principal of the school, Mrs. Ijeoma Nnueche said the Governor’s visit and empowerment remained indelible in the life and history of the school, even as she noted that the governor had made remarkable im-

pact in transforming all sectors of the state’s economy. At Mother of Mercy Girls’ Secondary School, Nnewi, the Vicar-General, Nnewi Catholic Diocese, Reverend Father Patrick Ezeabata praised Governor Obi’s commitment to the development of education. The Principal of St. Michael’s Boys’ Secondary School, Eziora, Ozubulu, Reverend Father Anthony Eze disclosed that the Obi administration had launched intellectual revolution that had restored hope in the state.

‘Let’s fight climate change with trees’ LANTING trees is more than a trendy campaign; it is about preserving life and the comfort of human beings. That is the position of the Chairman of Somolu Local Government Area, Lagos, Hon Gbolahan BagoStowe, who led members of his cabinet in a tree-planting programme at the council. Bago-Stowe said planting trees is the best way to fight climate change because they help to absorb harmful greenhouse gases which heat up the environment. Trees, therefore, help to preserve life, he said. The council chief also applauded the tree planting campaign championed by the state governor Babatunde Fashola, urging residents to sustain it. The theme of this year’s cam-


•Chairman, Shomolu Local Government, Hon Bago-Stowe (right)planting a tree, with the support of Tunde Adeyemi, representing Commissioner of Environment, Hon Tunji Bello

By Emmanuel Udodinma

paign is “Plant trees for a better climate.” Bago-Stowe said trees are indispensable in life, noting that the first man and woman ate from fruits of trees in the Garden of Eden. He urged the council residents to join the tree-planting campaign in order to avoid the looming danger posed by climate change. The council chief lamented that half of the world’s population use trees as cooking fuel and loses millions of hectares of the forest annually with the consequences of carbon emissions, global warming and environment degradation. “When we destroy trees, we badly alter the natural shape of the world and we rob our children of

When we destroy trees, we badly alter the natural shape of the world and we rob our children of the opportunity to get materials for medicine, books, furniture and environment sustainability

the opportunity to get materials for medicine, books, furniture and environment sustainability. Tree planting is a campaign that must be sustained; the planting has to be more aggressive especially now that our people appreciate the values trees add to our environment and also understand the health advantages. The days of tramping upon planting trees and willingly uprooting them are gone for good,” he said. Bago-stowe appealed to Shomolu residents to be more committed to the cause of environment regeneration, urging them to plant more trees in their garden, schools and parks, amongst other places. “With trees, we ward off natural disasters which harmful gases inflict on the world. The responsibility to fight off these gases lies in our hands. “Take care of trees and plant more,” he urged. “When we plant trees, we give life; we give hope to ourselves and to the future generation. Governor Fashola was represented at the event by Hon. Omotaya Oduntan who represents Alimosho Constituency II at Lagos state Assembly. Mr Tunde Adeyemi represented the Commissioner for the Environment, Hon. Tunji Bello.



Our first of the three challenges in the education sector was the issues of access to education by our children. The access was hindered mainly by fees and all sort of levies. Now, we have removed that hurdle since 2007

Infrastructural renewal in Delta


VER 18,000 classroom blocks in 1,500 schools, spreading across hundreds of communities, towns and cities in 25 local government areas of Delta State are benefiting from the massive education infrastructure development embarked upon by the state government. It is arguably the most ambitious and daring education project, at least in the primary and secondary sector, ever undertaken by the government. Shortly after Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan took over the reins of government in the state on May 29, 2007, he convened an education summit in Asaba, the state capital, where stakeholders, including Mr. Gamaliel Onosode, decried the state of education in the oil rich state. In spite of the laudable programmes, including the Quick Win initiative, announced during the summit, the face of education in thousands of primary and secondary schools in the state remained relatively unchanged,

•Governor Uduaghan •Continued from Page 36 “The Ministry of Environment, as I told you, has been improving on the capacity of the drainage system. But our people should desist from throwing refuse into the drains. That is why we enjoin the community leaders to police the

By Shola O’Neil

except for a few like Cavegina Primary School in Warri. Four years after the summit, the magic wand has been pulled out and the dangerously crooked walls, creaky and leaky roofs are steadily being replaced by beautiful walls that even the children would think twice before writing on. Dirty floors that send dust up to loosely hanging ceiling boards are giving way to ultramodern public and missionary schools that are already causing concerns for private schools, which have over the years benefited from the failure of government to provide proper learning environment in public schools. Scores of schools, including the St Patrick College, Asaba, Nana College Warri, Ighogbadu and scores of other schools are already gleaming. Interestingly, the wind of change sweeping through the various public schools does not evade the missionary schools that have either been handed over to their original owners or would soon change hands. Speaking with our reporter at the Anglican Girls Grammar, Ozoro, Isoko South Local Government Area of the state, Governor Uduaghan said over 40 missionary schools – 27 to Catholic, eight to Anglican and four to African Church respectively – are involved in the massive renovation effort. In fact, our check revealed that rather than being neglected, the AGGS, St. Theresa College (Ughelli) and other missionary schools, were some of the schools where huge investments are taking place. Uduaghan, who inspected the educational projects and others, disclosed plans by his administration to make learning environment friendlier for

•St. Patrick’s College, Asaba, touched up in the renewal students in the state. Justifying the decision not to restrict the renovation to public schools, the governor noted that it was important that all public schools be included in the exercise because “Whether public or missionary, it is our children that are attending the schools.” Uduaghan identified three key hurdles on the path to better public school system in the state. “Our first of the three challenges in the education sector was the issues of access to education by our children. The access was hindered mainly by fees and all sort of levies. Now, we have removed that hurdle since 2007.” “After that, we had the second challenge, which is that of the staffing (teaching and non-teaching staff) particularly our schools in the rural areas. We have also tackled that by a radical employment of teachers and introduction of incentives alongside sanctions for the new teachers employed. “The third challenge is the aspect of infrastructures not just the building, but equipment and system change. What people often look at when you mention infrastructure goes beyond

physical building, it includes furniture, equipment and other basic amenities that you need to have to make the schools standard,” he added. He said that nearly every community in the state would benefit from the new modern school structures as part of government plans to reposition basic and secondary education in the state. The governor further disclosed that the new model schools would be built with standard design. Thus, the wall tiles, paint, roof and even writing board would be identical in all the schools. Apart from just building the edifices, the government has also provided over 8,300 desks and seats for students as well as over, 1,000 teachers’ tables and chairs to the various schools across the state in 2011. In the long neglected schools in the riverside areas, 4,000 desks were shipped to students and pupils just as teachers got 1,064 tables and chairs. Pressed for the financial implication of the gigantic investment in the key sector, Uduaghan declined comment. He hinged his decision on the controversies that are usually generated,

‘How to avert flooding in Lagos’ drainage system. It is difficult for agents of government to be everywhere, every street, every time of the day. It is the duty of all to assist in policing the drainages”. The commissioner asked the peo-

ple to obey environmental laws in their own interest. Ahmed added: “We as a government have a duty to conduct enlightenment programme. Certain people may not comply. It is a state

•Chairman, Ojokoro Local Council Development Area, Lagos, Hon Benjamin Olabinjo presenting a free CD GCE form to one of the 400 beneficiaries

with a very big population. But most people will comply and those ones would have a positive effect on those that may not comply. So, at the end of the day, we will have an enlightened population that will know what to do and what to stay away from.” What is government doing about those fond of erecting buildings, kiosks and shops that block the canals? “We have been appealing to people to stop building houses that block canals. People should stay away from known flood plains. If you are going to Ikorodu, there is an area, Ajegunle, where there was flood disaster in 2010. The area is a flood plain. It is supposed to be a reservoir to expand the capacity of flood water. It will be flooded when there is rain. If you go and look at the topography of that area, it is sure that it will be flooded when it rains. We have been telling the people in that area to vacate. When the flood disaster of 2010 occurred, the residents of that place were displaced and government took them to the relief camp at Agbowa. They were there for 10 months before government gave them some stipends to enable them move on with their lives. “The second one is being built at Igando. Actually, the Fashola administration plans to have three relief camps; one per senatorial district. So, the one for Agbowa is for

stressing instead that he would rather focus on the gains at the end of the exercise. Nevertheless, our independent investigation revealed that the projects would lost about a staggering N100billion. It would be recalled that the state government sourced over N50billion from bonds in the capital market. But if reactions from pressure groups, parents and observers in the state are anything to go by, whatever is expended on the renovation, construction and provision of facilities in the schools may yet be arguably the governor’s most remarkable achievement. Uduaghan has been commended for the ‘silent’ revolution going on in the education sector of the state since the commencement of his second term. Reacting to the education revolution, a ferocious critic of the governor and National Coordinator of Southern Mandate, Prince Alex Oyoro, said: “Since the second tenure he (Uduaghan) has improved in infrastructural development within the short period compared to his first four years.”

We have been appealing to people to stop building houses that block canals. People should stay away from known flood plains the East. The one at Igando is for the West. Paper work is going on right now on the third one somewhere in the Central Senatorial District. I also want Lagosians to know that the local government chairmen are the chairmen of emergency management committees of their various local governments. They are the incident commanders for their local governments. That is why their numbers have been published. And they have been advised to identify flood-prone areas and high grounds within their local governments so that we can know where to move people to temporarily.”

•Zhou Jun

•Kevin Cordon of Guatemala celebrates victory during his Men's Singles Badminton match against Rajiv Ouseph of Great Britain on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.

•Japan go up against the Netherlands in the

women's Hockey

Keiko Manabe of Japan (L) and Lidewij Welten of Netherlands challenge for the ball during the women's Hockey match between the Netherlands and Japan on Day 4 at RiverbankArena. Netherlands won the match 3-2.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

•Mohamed Samandi of Tunisia competes against Husayn Rosowsky of Great Britain in the Fencing Mohamed Samandi of Tunisia competes against Husayn Rosowsky of Great Britain during the round of 64 men's Foil individual on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL

•Jefferson Bellaguarda of Switzerland dives for the ball during the men's Beach Volleyball preliminary match between Brazil and Switzerland on Day 4 at Horse Guards Parade

•Sanya Richards-Ross

•Mohamed Samandi of Tunisia competes against Husayn Rosowsky of Great Britain in the Fencing Mohamed Samandi of Tunisia competes against Husayn Rosowsky of Great Britain during the round of 64 men's Foil individual on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL

•Venus Williams of the United States returns a shot to Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada during the second round of Women's Singles Tennis on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wimbledon.

•Andy Murray made short work of Jarkko Nieminen to advance to the third round in the

•Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito of Canada compete in the Women's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.





Why we no longer blush Conclusion of text of the lecture delivered by Prof Niyi Osundare under the auspices of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on July 9. •continued from last week

The Way Out


ORRUPTION is one hell of a demon which virtually everyone in Nige ria talks so about, but which only few are ready to confront head-on. This is because, as hinted above, corruption is the very lifeblood of Nigeria’s politics and economy. As run in this country, the socalled presidential system does not only feed on corruption; it actively encourages it: the huge deposits expected from office seekers, the large sums that exchange hands among party ‘stakeholders’; the perverse tradition of patronage through booty-sharing and largess-dispensation; the shocking combination of immunity and impunity by public functionaries; the absolute lack of transparency and accountability. It is in the light of the above that we must appraise President Goodluck Jonathan’s recent statement on asset declaration visà-vis corruption. Boasted the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces: It is personal and I don’t give a damn about that [asset declaration]. The law is clear about it and so making it public is no issue and I will not play into the hands of the people. . . . I declared (assets publicly) under late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua because he did it, but it is not proper. . . It is not the President declaring assets that will change the country - The Nation, Mon day, June 25, 2012, front page. And President Jonathan sees all this as ‘a matter of principle’. Whose principle? What principle, you are tempted to ask? For him, asset declaration is ‘personal’, ‘not proper’; it will lead to ‘play[ing] into the hands of the people’. Again, which ‘people?’, you want to ask. Can it be the Nigerian people to whom he owes his mandate and to whom he swore to be transparently accountable? ‘I don’t give a damn’, swaggered the once God-fearing, meek-looking Jonathan, with an egregious arrogance so redolent of his “Nogoing-back” braggadocio when he unleashed that untold agony on the Nigerian people in the opening hours of this year, and his unilateral re-christening of the University of Lagos as a grand May 29 gesture . ‘I don’t give a damn’: that must have been his reaction to the public outcry when Gitto Construzioni General Nigeria Limited, a company with substantial construction business deals with the Nigerian government, refurbished a church in Otuoke, his hometown as a ‘friendly’ gift, and the President and his entourage trooped to that church to give thanks to the Lord for his blessing. Watch out, Nigeria: a new Jonathan seems to be emerging, one who confuses cockiness with confidence, tactlessness with toughness, strong-manship with statesmanship. Is Nigeria witnessing the rise of another ‘African President’, obstinate even when wrong, intolerant even of positive criticism? President Jonathan’s combination of naivety and amorality is as profound as it is injurious to the health of this country. Can a corruption-compliant ruler really lead a corruption-free country? The American people know the answer to that question (And I am using the America example since the United States is one country in the world Nigeria is aspiring to copy). That is why they hold their leaders to high ethical standards. That is why those leaders treat them with unstinting respect. In the first quarter of this year, President Obama made public his tax returns, and later his total assets. Mitt

Romney, though a presidential candidate, followed suit. Those are leaders who ‘give a damn’ about the just, the proper, and the decent; leaders who know that ‘the President declaring asset [can] change the country’. Those are leaders with demonstrable respect for their people and the rule of law. To fight corruption in Nigeria we must first get our rulers to change their attitude to the ruled via the rule of law. And we must do this by changing our own attitude to those in the position of power. Too often we the Nigerian people encourage the criminality of our rulers by kow-towing to their every whim and caprice; we invite their disdain by denying ourselves any claim to self-respect; we court their oppression by readily offering them our backs to ride upon. We cow when we should kick; we temporize when we need to toughen up. We smile when we should smite. We need to change the Kabiyesi Syndrome that forbids the asking of critical questions and the insistence on having them answered. It is the typical Nigerian attitude to power that has turned our rulers into aseyiowuu (the one who does as s/he pleases), and encouraged them to corrupt the immunity innocently enshrined in the constitution into the impunity of criminal rulership. ET us interrogate the way the Nige rian system pampers public officials with extravagant emoluments: the bloated cabinets at all levels of government, the slew of personal assistants, special advisers, ministers of, ministers for, ministers on, ministers under, ministers to, and suchlike spongers who constitute a drain on the national economy. Not to be forgotten: the estacode regimen and its use and abuse by functionaries in the political realm as well as those in the civil service. Let every Nigeria ask their councilor, assembly man/woman, representative, and senator today: how much exactly do you earn? What is the difference between your stipulated salary and your actual income? How much is your constituency allowance and how much of it actually goes to your constituency? Let us ask the president and the governors: how much exactly does the nation spend on security votes? How is the money spent? Where is that ‘security’ in a country so beleaguered by wanton violence? We need to ask these questions and more because experience has shown that Nigerian public functionaries steal so greedily while in office so as to stow fortunes away for the continuation of their extravagant lifestyle when their term is over. (For instance, a governor, minister, senator, permanent secretary, or vice chancellor


• Prof Osundare

already used to flying first/business class at public expense, or being fussed over by a crowd of ‘personal assistants’, will have a serious withdrawal problem letting go of these privileges and perks. The solution? Steal all you can in preparation for the rainy day! Nor can/must we forget the issue of religion and its ironic role in the sanctification of corruption in Nigeria. It is a known but hardly acknowledged fact that Nigeria boasts one of the highest church/population ratios in the world and yet ranks as one of the most corrupt countries on planet earth. As concerned compatriots such as GA Akinola, Biodun Jeyifo, Ebenezer Obadare, Eddy & Bene Madunagu, Okey Ndibe, Festus Iyayi, Pius Adesanmi, Ogaga Ifowodo, Abimbola Adelakun, and others have frequently observed, for the most part, religion in Nigeria is nothing more than superstition, a crafty mask, and grand pretence. This is particularly so with the country’s swelling ranks of Prosperity Gospel preachers, those faith-vendors who purchase sins and sell forgiveness at equally exorbitant prices. If you are poor, we are told, it’s because of your sin; if you are jobless, it’s because you’ve strayed from the straight ‘n narrow way. Absolving the creators of the corrupt socio-economic system that turns its victims into paupers and social cannibals, these preachers portray every crook in power as God-chosen, even when that power has come through rigged elections and murderous brigandage. They conduct thanksgiving service for notorious political jobbers and perform homecoming ceremonies for returnees with looted fortunes. When the wealthy crook hands them the key to a luxury car (or private jet), they shower the ‘cheerful giver’ with blessings, beseech God to ‘prosper his ways’, and extol his virtues to the heavens. Hardly do they ever ask, as father did

‘If Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. Corruption has taken over the commanding heights of Nigerian society. It is, without doubt, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic. Like a frightfully aggressive cancer, it has metastasised to the vital cells of our body politic, and the debilitating symptoms are everywhere: perverted moral values, a rig-prone electoral arrangement designed to throw up criminals in place of leaders, fraud-choked banking and finance system, irregular power supply, dry water-taps, death-trap roads, death-dispensing hospitals, a progressively illiterate educational system, global notoriety’

in those days: ‘ibi se ti reo ree?’. And, very important, Nigeria’s superstructure and the phenomenality of corruption. This may sound rather farfetched to some people, but one of the ways of tackling graft in this country is to address the structural corruption in the very composition of Nigeria itself. The present rickety, loosely assembled contraption with all its Lugardian paralysis is riddled with dissonance and disconnect. A succession of visionless, closeminded rulers has made the country both loveless and unlovable. To many Nigerians, Nigeria is ‘their country’, some distant no-man’s-land where you go to scoop your own fortune and take your loot back to your own clan. They may call it stealing in Abuja, but as far as the home crowd is concerned, you have only brought back your/their share of the ‘national cake’. The cases of James Ibori, Bode George, and Maurice Iwu mentioned above owe their peculiarity to this kind of double consciousness and moral ambivalence. The erudite political scientist, Peter Ekeh, has put this mentality down to the existence in Nigeria of two republics: the primordial/ethnic/pre-colonial and the modern/national/post-colonial, the former exacting near-sacred loyalty, the latter begrudged with faint political observance. This curious situation has led to the relativization of morality in Nigeria, as what is wrong and condemnable in one republic is but right and commendable in the other. In a nutshell, to solve the problem of corruption in Nigeria, we must first face head on the issue of the national question. And finally,


F Nigeria does not kill corruption, cor ruption will kill Nigeria. Corruption has taken over the commanding heights of Nigerian society. It is, without doubt, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic. Like a frightfully aggressive cancer, it has metastasised to the vital cells of our body politic, and the debilitating symptoms are everywhere: perverted moral values, a rig-prone electoral arrangement designed to throw up criminals in place of leaders, fraud-choked banking and finance system, irregular power supply, dry water-taps, death-trap roads, death-dispensing hospitals, a progressively illiterate educational system, global notoriety, . . . .. Melo la o ka leyin Adepele?. (Oh how many shall we count/ Of the teeth of Adepele?. . . .) The malaise is massive, the dysfunctionalities are daunting. But we must NEVER allow this situation, grim as it is, to plunge us into cynicism and despair. Yes, indeed, Nigeria is worth fighting for. And this fight will have to be carried out by the people of this country. The soldiers have shown by their many years of misrule that our national salvation is not in their hands. The present gaggle of civilian rulers is proving to be no different. At no time, therefore, is the role of civil society more crucial, more imperative than the present. Let there be more of the coalition of civil society organizations that brought Nigeria back from the chaos that ensued from the politicization of President Yar’Adua’s illness; the type that forced the “No going back” Jonathan to back down on his callous, inequitable fuel price hike. This country has enough to make life comfortable for ALL of us and generations yet unborn. Let us begin to ask: Why are a few Nigerians so rich and the rest of us so poor? Let us go beyond this and engage in a massive civil action for change, knowing full well that our fate is in our own hands. It is organized massive action from the Nigerian people that can eliminate the canker worm of corruption that is sucking the lifeblood of this bountifully endowed but criminally misgoverned country. We must make sure that we kill corruption before it has the chance of killing Nigeria. I thank the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) for inviting me and you for being such an obliging audience. Yio see se o (May it be possible).




•From left: President Fatima Charity Foundation Hajia Bintu Tinubu; the Chief Imam of Lagos, Sheikh Ibrahim Garuba; the Alfa Agba of Lagos, Alhaji Teslim Gbajabiamila and a Muslim leader, Alhaji Mujitaba Giwa, during the society’s Ramadan Tafsir at the Aunty Ayo Girls Secondary School, Ikoyi, Lagos. PHOTO: RAHMAN SANUSI

•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (second left); Commissioner for Information and Strategy Alhaji Lateef Ibirogba (second right); the Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi (right); and Alhaja Ramdat Okunola during the Eighth Justice Muri Okunola Memorial Ramadan Lecture at the Eko FM Open Field, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos.

Imam urges peaceful coexistence

Zamfara lifts 6,000 orphans, less privileged


HE Zamfara State Zakat and Endowment Board has distributed wrappers and Shadda brocades to 6,000 orphans and less privileged persons in the state. The Executive Secretary of the board, Alhaji Bashir Surajo, said the distribution was to enable them prepare for the Eid-ilFitr Sallah celebrations. Surajo was speaking on yesterday in Gusau at the ceremony to kick-start the dis-

tribution of the items. He said other beneficiaries of the government’s gesture would receive rice, beans and millet to cushion the effect of the economic hardship. Government, he said, is committed to making life better for the orphans and less privileged persons in the state. According to him, this is in accordance with the Islamic teachings of extending olive branches to the

needy and the poor in the society. He said government is aware of the need for the vulnerable groups to enjoy minimum comfort of life during the fast. “This is by making meals for Iftar (breaking of fast) available to them as well as providing for them clothes for Sallah celebration.” Surajo urged those responsible of distributing the items to fear Allah and

ensure they handed over the gifts intact to the beneficiaries. He appealed to the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the items, and warned them against disposing of them in the market in exchange for other purposes. Chairman of the board Alhaji Muhammad Liman hailed government for its consistent efforts towards making life better for all categories of people in the state without segregation.

Jigawa councils set aside N64.8m for food


IGAWA State Governor Sule Lamido has directed all the 27 local government chairmen to spend N64.8 million for free feeding. The Commissioner of Local Government and Community Development, Alhaji Salisu Indirawa, spoke in an in-

terview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse. Indirawa said that densely-populated local governments like Dutse, Hadejia, Birnin-kudu, Kazaure and Gumel, among others, were allowed to spend N50, 000 each day.

RAMADAN GUIDE WITH FEMI ABBAS e-mail: Tel: 08122697498

Neighbours’ right


ENERALLY, neighbours are neighbours, Ramadan or no Ramadan. They are the people with whom one interacts on a daily basis in the same vicinity. Neighbours are co-inhabitants in the same residence, area, office or market. Some of them are permanent. Others are temporary. In Islam, neighbours are as important as the next of kin. And, Islam attaches so much respect to them. According to Bukhari and Muslim, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) was reported to have sworn by Allah three times saying: “he does not believe in Allah whoever creates fear in his neighbours atrociously” In another Hadith also reported by Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet was quoted as saying that “whoever believes in Allah and the last day let him be nice to his neighbours and respect his guests”. In the month of Ramadan a good Muslim is expected to wear a new toga of sobriety and repentance. He doubles his good deeds to his neighbours, extending generosity to them and cultivating a new atmosphere of friendliness and trust with them. He genuinely gives them as much impression of love and brotherhood as he does with his consanguine relatives. It does not matter whether the neighbours are Muslims or non-Muslims. Neither does it matter whether they are tribesmen or non-natives. The Prophet did not discriminate in his Hadith when he was admonishing on neighbours. And that is the inalienable position of Islam on neighbours. Whoever, had quarrelled with his neighbours, therefore, let him go and settle the quarrel. Besides abstaining from food, drinks and sex, in the month of Ramadan, a good Muslim must mind his relationship with people around him including neighbours. Fasting in the month of Ramadan cannot be taken in half measure. Whoever wants to receive full reward for his religious activities in Ramadan let him treat his neighbours well. And, when Ramadan is over, the good deeds must be kept on.

According to him, the lesspopulated ones are directed to spend only N30, 000 per day. He said the programme was aimed at providing free food to the less-privileged in the society. The commissioner enjoined the councils to keep the food in strategic locations like motor parks, market squares, mosques and major streets where it could be easily obtained. Indirawa said the denselypopulated local governments would spend N1. 5 million each within the 30 days of the fasting period while the less-


By Tajudeen Adebanjo

cial scientific solution has failed but we are optimistic that with divine intervention through sincere supplication for peace and security, it will become things of the part,” the duo said. They pray Allah to guide the leaders and give them boldness to take the right decisions for justice to prevail. Without justice, Sheikh Ibrahim and Sheikh Abou said, no meaningful progress could be made.

No peace without justice, says cleric By Amidu Arije

A •Lamido

populated ones would spend N900, 000 each. He said the 27 councils would spend of N64.8 million for the programme.

‘Emulate Muhammed’s virtues’ Muslim cleric, Sheikh Khalid Yasin, has urged Muslims to emulate the virtues of Prophet Muhammad. Yasin made the call at a public lecture, organised by Muslimah Global Foundation on the theme, “ Islam is the religion of peace“, in Abuja. He stressed the need for Muslims to adhere strictly to the teachings of the holy prophet, which encouraged mutual relationship with non-Muslims. He said Islam encouraged Muslims to interact with Christians in peace and harmony wherever they find themselves. “If we can emulate the holy prophet’s interaction with Christians during his lifetime, there would be peace and tranquility in Nigeria between the Muslims and their Christian counterparts. “Muslims should see it as a must to invite their Christian brothers and sisters to break the fast with them, as this will


HE Chief Imam, Lagos State Sheikh Ibrahim Garuba and Baba Adinni of Lagos, Sheikh Abdul Hafeez Abou, has urged Nigerians to resist people plotting to create chaos in the polity. The duo, in a joint statement, congratulated Muslims across the country. They urged, Muslim Ummah to utilise the opportunity of Ramadan to pray for unity and peace in the country. “No doubt, every other so-

promote peaceful co-existence among them,” he said. According to him, Nigeria is facing numerous socio-political and religious challenges as a result of religious intolerance. “This is the time for all Nigerians to rise up to the challenges ahead of us so that our efforts to contain this insecurity will be fruitful,” Yasin said. He identified extremism as the major cause of religious crisis and insecurity and advised the Federal Government to give priority to agriculture and other sensitive areas of the economy in order to create jobs. He also urged Muslims to caution their children against the use of the negative aspects of the social media. Yasin called on Muslims to exhibit the noble character of Prophet Muhammad, not only in Mosques, religious gatherings and seminars, but anywhere they find themselves.

N Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ismaheel Ashaokani, has said there could be no peace without justice. Sheikh Ashaokani said there must be justice in the land to achieve the desired peace and tranquility in the country. Without justice, the cleric said, peace cannot be achieved. He made this remark during the 5th annual Ramadan lecture of the Unified Local Government Muslim (Staff) Association, Lagos State chapter. The scholar spoke on “Pristine Islam and the larger society”. Sheikh Ashaokani stressed that for a peaceful and harmonious relationship no one must hurt the neighbours and none must touch the property of the orphans. “And come not near the property of the orphans, except to improve it, until he (or she ) attains the age of full strength; and give full measure and full weight with justice,” he said quoting the Quran.

Council buys N30m worth of items


SA local government council of Sokoto State has purchased N25 million worth of assorted grains, textile materials and sugar for distribution to its people, according to the Council Chairman Umar Muhammad Walin Isa. The council has also established three feeding centres for the breaking of Ramadan fast at the General hospital Isa, Isa Central Mosque and Gebe District respectively.

From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

Speaking to reporters in Isa, headquarters of Isa local government area, Alhaji Muhammad said the gesture was aimed at cushioning the demand for the items by its people during the Ramadan. The council Chairman explained that the gesture approved by the state government was being carried out across the 23 local governments in the state.

Lawmaker spends N10m on feeding


member representing Bida/South in Niger State House of Assembly, Malam Bala Faruq, donated assorted grains worth over N10 million to his constituency. The lawmaker told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) shortly after distributing the items on Saturday in Bida, that the gesture was aimed at cushioning the effect of fasting on his people. He said 1,200 bags of rice, 200 bags of millet, 100 bags of beans, 200 bags of sugar as well as 150 cartons of milk were distributed to the people.



NEWS Obi launches N1b Anambra farmers’ loan


NAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi has launched the distribution of the N1 billion Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme at the Women Development centre, Awka, the capital city. The inaugural ceremony attracted farmers from all parts of the state yesterday. The revolving loan, initiated to promote commercial agriculture has a maximum tenor of seven years and a year moratorium with 9.4 per cent annual interest rate. Obi said that all the necessary measures have been taken to ensure that only genuine farmers benefitted form the largesse. He said the beneficiaries were selected by All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN). Obi said that his administration was playing a key role in the ongoing efforts of the Federal Government to

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka and Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

achieve food security and reduce importation. He also spoke of plans to reposition the Omor Rice Mill and another mill at Ebenebe, Awka North Local Government Area to ensure self-sufficiency in rice production. The Permanent Secretaryof the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Andy Umeobi, said the scheme would increase agricultural output, generate employment, diversify the revenue base, increase foreign earnings and provide the necessary raw materials for agrobased industries. AFAN Chairman Nnamdi Mekoh said the inauguration of the scheme marked a turning point in the development of agriculture. He noted that the governor has through the scheme touched the lives of more than 10,000 farming families and

• Governor Obi presenting a cheque to one of the beneficiaries...yesterday reduced state dependency on other states for food needs by 30 per cent. Mekoh assured that the funds will be judiciously

utilised. Two of the beneficiaries Mrs. Amaka Odunukwe and Mr. Samuel Nwafor thanked the governor for his interven-

tion and assured to make judicious use of the funds. Agriculture Minister Dr. Adewunmi Adesina, who was represented by Uche

APGA chair Umeh loses bid to vacate court order


MBATTLED All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), National Chairman Chief Victor Umeh yesterday lost his bid to have an Enugu High Court vacate the order restraining him from convening a national executive meeting of the party. After considering “so many weighty legal issues raised and canvassed by counsel to the parties”, the Enugu State Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezuluike, said it was impossible for his court to make a magisterial pronouncement on the case. He was of the view that the issues that were raised, including the preliminary objection, locus standi, domestic political question, abuse of court process and jurisdiction, were not issues that can be ruled in a jiffy. In his verdict, Justice Umezuluike said: “The interim order shall endure until this court’s ruling in the defendant’s application fixed for 17, September, 2012.” A chieftain of the party in Anambra State, Chief Stephen Okoke, urged Umeh to embrace peaceful resolution of the lingering crisis. Tracing the crisis to Umeh’ leadership style, Okeke said:

•Court reserves ruling till Sept 17

Party chief shocked…cancels NEC


ATIONAL Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh yesterday reacted to an Enugu High Court verdict that denied his application for the vacation of an existing order barring him from stating party meetings. He expressed shock that the court, presided over by the state Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezuluike, extended the ex parte order till September 17 without the prayer of the parties involved in the matter. Umeh said: "We are surprised by the ruling of the court today which extended the ex parte order it made on July 25, 2012 to September 17, 2012 without any request from any of the parties in the suit for the court to do so. "Secondly, by the Enugu State High Court ruling, an ex parte order lasts for seven days and renewable, at the maximum, for another seven days, which makes the lifespan of any ex parte order obtained or made by any High Court in the state to lapse after 14 days. "But today (yesterday), the lifespan of the ex parte order was extended to 48 days without any request from the plaintiff for such an extension. Order 39 Rule 3(3) & (4) of the High Court Rules of Enugu State, 2006 states that an order From Chris Oji, Enugu

There had been no windows open to stakeholders and even

From Chris Oji, Enugu

of injunction made upon an application ex parte shall abate after seven days. "A judge may upon application extend the effective period of an order made ex parte if he is satisfied that the motion on notice has been served and that such extension is necessary in the interest of justice or to prevent an irreparable or serious mischief. "The application for such an extension shall be made before abatement of the order and the extension shall not be for a period exceeding seven days from the day the extension is granted. "The court order was also made to bind APGA even though the initial ex parte order was not made against APGA. "As a law abiding party, we shall remain calm and study this order. Already, our counsel has prepared a notice of appeal and due grounds of appeal against this order including an application for a state of execution of the order, which will be filed today. "By this order the National Executive Committee meeting of our party scheduled for August 1, 2012 has been suspended. "I call on all members of APGA to remain calm as this situation is temporal."

officials of the party with independent mind had no opportunity to make contributions on the way forward.

Umeh’s counsel, Chief Patrick Ikwueto, (SAN), told the court that the party had scheduled the meeting in June

before the July 25 order, restraining his client from presiding over such meeting. He posited that the ex parte order was in bad faith “as indeed a meeting had already been convened since June and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) fully informed.” Ikwueto urged the court to see the decision as an injustice and therefore vacate the order. He also faulted the fact that APGA was not joined in the suit, arguing that the suit therefore injured APGA as an entity. “Absence of APGA in this suit is fatal. Where does the plaintiff derive his locus standi. APGA is the rightful entity to take this action and not the plaintiff,” Ikwueto argued. But the plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. Chudi Obieze, countered that the action can be competently taken without APGA being mentioned. He told the court that the interest of the plaintiff, Chief Jude Okoli was as a member, just as the defendant is member, actions by the defendant would definitely affect the plaintiff. Obieze explained that the action was not targeted at a particular group but only the party chair.

Cleric, witch doctor confess to killing 18 in Nnewi A

N unholy alliance between a self-acclaimed cleric and a native doctor has allegedly claimed the lives of 18 people in Nnewi, Anambra State. Prophet Ebube Yahweh Orajiuba, who is the founder and general overseer of Messiah House of Prayers, Iyaba Umudim Nnewi and a witch doctor, Aguebue Obiekwe from Umuennem Otolo Nnewi, allegedly confessed to killing 18 people in Nnewi. The startling revelations were made inside a hidden shrine in Orajiuba’s church, a development that prompted angry youths to destroy the church. They set ablaze most of the artifacts deemed devilish.

•Shrine found inside church From Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

Some of the items discovered were two fowls tied together, a human skeleton, an oracle, a basket containing charms and a tree like an effigy with hundreds of nails. It was learnt that the nails removed from the tree signified the 18 people allegedly killed by the duo. Trouble started when Aguebue visited Orajiuba yesterday to allegedly take a final decision on their next victims. Their discussions on how

to kill 10 people allegedly filtered into the ears of a member of one of the targeted families. The family, it was learnt, had been worried over the spate of calamities befalling its members. Youths and neigbours who were attracted by the alarm raised by the eavesdropper, raced to the church en masse to hear the confessional statement of the witch doctor and self-acclaimed cleric. The native doctor allegedly confessed that he and

the cleric had been on a killing spree. He confirmed that they were actually discussing the list of another 10 people to deal with when the bubble burst. As the attention shifted to the prophet, the native doctor escaped being lynched as he fled without his motorcycle before the police arrived to take the cleric to their station. Orajiuba, who had earlier admitted the allegations, debunk the claims at the police station. He said: "I did not kill anybody. I am living in an Obi (a special place for heir in a family). All the charms is for protecting the Obi as first son which if I don't do it, I will die.

Nwafor, commended Obi’s efforts for being the first to key into the agricultural transformation agenda of the Federal Government.

Enugu laments abandoned N1.2b rice farm From Chris Oji, Enugu


FTER four consequtive awards, the N1.2 billion Ada Rice Farm rehabilitation project in Enugu State is yet to be implemented, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof Martin Anikwe, alleged yesterday. Expressing displeasure at the moribund multi-billion naira project, the commissioner said the Federal Government had been awarding contract is for the rehabilitation of the farm since 2009 but that nothing has happened at the site. “It is a sad story for Enugu State that every year, money is allocated in the budget and nothing is happening as I speak”, he said. Anikwe disclosed that the farm has about 5000 hectares of land for rice production, adding that the farm, when completed, has capacity to produce twice or thrice yearly. According to him, the state would have enough rice for local consumption after the rehabilitation of the farm. He called for the intervention of the authorities to prevail on the contractor to complete the project in “no distant time”.

Community petitions Okorocha From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri



NENATOR Ihioma monarch Eze C.S. Okafor has been reported to Governor Rochas Okorocha. He was reported alongside his son - Onyemauche Okafor.

Nnenator Ihioma is in Orlu Local Government. The indigenes, under the aegis of Concerned Citizens of Nnenator Ihioma Community, alleged that the monarch was yet to give peace a chance in the community. In the petition signed by Mr. Johnson Eke, the community alleged that the deposed monarch and his son were engaging in the acts that led to his suspension and the demolition of the palace by the government. The community also accused some government officials of aiding the embattled monarch to keep parading himself as a monarch.



NEWS UniAbuja medical school crisis deepens From: Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja


TUDENTS of the suspended medical school of the University of Abuja (UniAbuja) yesterday blocked major roads leading to the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja to demand transfer to other institutions. The students, numbering over 50, alleged that they were deceived by the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. James Adelabu. President of the University of Abuja Medical Students Association, Mr. Uche Anyanwu, who led the protest, said more than three months after the Vice-Chancellor’s promise, there was nothing to show for it. He recalled that they were led into believing that facilities at the medical school would be ready for accreditation within six months.

BSIEC promises free, fair poll From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

HE Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) yesterday held a stakeholders’ forum in Makurdi, preparatory to the local government election. It promised a free and fair poll in November. The forum, which began about 10am, attracted many people. Party leaders, traditional rulers, electorate and Governor Gabriel Suswam were in attendance. The governor urged political stakeholders to play the game according to the rules, adding that there should be political tolerance. He said as the chief security officer of the state, he would not tolerate misconduct by anybody irrespective of political affiliation and position.


•A cross section of the graduating students of the National Defence College Course 20, at the graduation/anniversary lecture in Abuja... yesterday.

Kwankwaso to implement report From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


OVERNOR Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso yesterday received the second report of the North West University Implementation Committee, with a promise to implement the recommendations to enable the institution open next month. Kwankwaso, while receiving the report from the Chairman of the committee, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, assured all that the government would do everything possible to implement the recommendations. He said education occupies a pride of place in his administration. The governor told the committee members that he is awaiting the third report and final report to enable the university begin operation as scheduled at its temporary site, ICT Park. He noted that the government has reintroduced free feeding at the primary school level and provision of two pairs of school uniform.


JTF intercepts rocket launchers

HE Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State code-named “Operation Restore Order” yesterday intercepted eight rocket launchers among equipment of mass destruction recovered from Boko Haram members. The task force said two members of the sect were killed. Spokesman for the task force Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said last night that members of the JTF in conjunction with other security agencies intercepted a large consignment of arms


V A C A N C I E S The Cross River State Government of Nigeria sought and has obtained a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) whose objective is to sustainably increase access of the poor people to improved social and natural resource infrastructure services. The Cross River State Community and Social Development Agency has been established to coordinate the implementation of the project in the state. The Cross River State Community and Social Development Agency now invites applications from suitably qualified candidates to fill the following positions: PERSONS SPECIFICATION PROJECT OFFICER – PROCUREMENT MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE At least a first degree or HND in Business Administration, Engineering, Architecture,Marketing, Purchasing and Supply or related field, with at least 5 years post qualification experience part of which must related to procurement in a foreign funded agency or state government due process office. Computer literacy is compulsory and experience in community contracting is an added advantage. DUTIES • Be responsible for procurement at the SA including procurement planning, design, implementation, management and training; • Be responsible for the preparation of bid documents (inclusive technical specification for the acquisition of goods / services); • Serve as secretary of all evaluation and selection of consultants and suppliers within agreed processes ; • Effectively manage all contracts and ensure that deliveries (quality/ quantity/ time) are in line with contract provisions; • Ensure appropriate sanctions are applied on defaulting contractors; • Provide training on procurement and community contracting to operations officers; • Provide assistance to financial officers on contractual disbursement; • Ensure that CPMCs adhere to procurement procedure and guidelines; • Prepare and summit procurement status report on a quarterly basis as part of financial monitoring report; • Prepare evaluation report for all evaluation of goods and services; • Maintain comprehensive procurement unit cost database to be used in preparing project cost; • Document and provide up to date information on all procurement at the SA • Ensure that procurement plans are implemented as scheduled. • Provide training to the communities on community contracting; • Any other duties may be assigned by the General Manager. PERSONS SPECIFICATION SECRETARY TO THE GENERAL MANAGER At least HND in Secretarial Studies or Administration with at least 7 years relevant post- qualification experience, computer skills, Presentations, internet and Microsoft office packages. DUTIES The secretary to General Manager shall be responsible for: • Support General Manager as a personnel Assistant / Confidential Secretary; • Providing secretarial assistance e.g prepare all letters, memorandum and any requisite document for the General Manager; • Organizing itineraries, meetings and related schedule; • Maintaining adequate filling systems for all mails and correspondence of the General Manager; • Assist the General Manager in covering Board meetings. METHOD OF APPLICATION Interested applicant from private and public sector should summit ten (10) copies of written application with comprehensive curriculum vitae and photocopies of credentials not later to: The General Manager Cross River State Community & Social Development Agency 137b Ndidem Usang Iso Road, Calabar Not later than two (2) weeks from the date of this advertisement. Signed: GENERAL MANAGER

From Joseph Abiodun, Maiduguri

and ammunition including eight rocket propelled launchers at Daban Masara in Monguno Local Government Area, based on intelligence report. He said: “The incident occurred about 9 pm on Monday during which two sus-

pected Boko Haram terrorists escorting the consignment were killed in an exchange of fire.” Musa said the large consignment was being moved by the sect members from Baga/ Daban Masara to Maiduguri in a blue Hilux vehicle with registration number NGU19XA. He said the arms and ammunition inside the vehicle

are, eight rocket launchers, 10 rocket bombs, 10 rocket chargers, two AK 47 rifles, 13 magazines with six rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and a Bank PHB ATM card The JTF in the release reinstated its appeal to the public to provide useful information to security agencies in order to stop the spate of isolated killings in the state.

Explosive device discovered at college


HE anti-bomb squad despatched by the Kano State Police Command yesterday removed an item identified as an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Federal College of Education, Kano. The students, who were writing examinations, ran for safety. It was learnt that the IED was found by the security men of the college. A statement by the police command, signed by the spokesman, Rilwanu Mohammed Dutse, said: “On July 31, at about 0800 hrs, the command received information from the security department of the Federal College of Education,

•Policeman shoots mate dead From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

Kano that an item was seen at Block 400. “The anti-bomb disposal unit was despatched to the scene. On arrival, they removed the item, which was found to be an IED contained in an aviation gas tube. They took it to a safer area and defused it. “Normalcy has been restored to the college. Students are writing examinations. “The command urges the public to report any suspicious package or item for necessary action.” A policeman yesterday

shot three of his colleagues, killing one. The incident occurred at Michika in Adamawa State. Police spokesman Ibrahim Muhammad said the officer had a “sudden change of behaviour,” shot his colleagues in a police station and ran away. He said he was shot dead after he refused to give up his arm. The incident occurred hours after assailants bombed a police station in Mubi. Muhammad said a policeman was injured in the attack and one of the assailants was killed.

Middle Belt youths seek separate identity


HE national body of the Middle Belt Youths Forum has decried the development in the North and demanded a separate identity. The forum, led by the National President, Comrade Pius Attah, said in Jos yesterday: “We want to be known constitutionally as the ‘Middle Belt’. We can stand on our own. We have a right to change our name and identity as a people.” According to the forum, the reason for seeking a separate identity followed the insecurity in the zone and the inability of the northern leaders to find a solution to the problem. The forum said: “It is obvious that the core North, and the Middle Belt (North Central) cannot coexist. We call on President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, take steps towards separating the Middle Belt Zone from the North.” Attah said: “We are tired of the intrigues of the core

•Decry region’s insecurity From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

North. The oligarchy always claims that we are one North but has refused to accept the fact that there is a sponsored genocide against the people of the Middle Belt. “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi donated N50 million to Kano State and ignored the situation in Jos and environs. This shows the discrimination of the North against the Middle Belt. “There have been frequent attacks in Jos and many people have died. These unwarranted and unprovoked attacks on innocent people in villages in Plateau State have been on for years and the northern leaders have done nothing to stop them. “The attacks resulted in the death of two lawmakers from the state, the late Senator Gyang Dantong and Gyang

Fulani, when they were attending the funeral of the people earlier killed. “Similar attacks have occurred in Kaduna, Kogi, Niger, Abuja, Gombe, etc, which indicate that the Middle Belt is under siege.” The forum berated the inability of the Federal Government to prevent the attacks. “The failure of the Federal Government to curb these incessant killings has shown that our collective security cannot be guaranteed by the security agencies. “We, the people of the Middle Belt, have the capacity to defend ourselves, but it will be too bloody if the Federal Government allows us to defend our land. We urge the Federal Government to act fast and perform its constitutional responsibility of defending its citizens.” The forum called on the youths of Middle Belt to be vigilant and prayerful.




Banking system’s net foreign assets hit N7tr


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said net foreign assets of the banking system currently stands at N7 trillion. The apex bank said in a circular on its Annual Report for the year ended 2011, that the figure represents an increase of 10.4 per cent, in contrast with the decline of 14.3 per cent at the end of the preceding year. It also noted that the movement in money supply (M2) was largely driven by the expansion in domestic credit and foreign assets of the banking system. It rose to N5.8 trillion at end of December, 2011 from N5.3 trillion at end of December, 2010. Meanwhile, credit to the domestic economy grew by 42.4 per cent compared with 10 per cent in 2010. At that level, domestic credit exceeded the in-

By Collins Nweze

dicative benchmark of 29.3 per cent for fiscal 2011. The development reflected the 52.7 per cent growth in credit to the Federal Government and the 31.6 per cent rise in credit to the private sector. The result also showed that net domestic credit to the economy contributed 32.1 per cent to the growth of total monetary assets. Net credit to government (NCG) rose by 52.7 per cent, compared with 51.3 per cent at end of December, 2010 and the indicative benchmark of 29.3 per cent for fiscal 2011. The substantial growth in credit to the Federal Government was attributable to the issuance of treasury bills and bonds during the review pe-

riod. Notwithstanding, the Federal Government remained a net creditor to the banking system in 2011, as in the preceding year. The apex bank result also showed that the value of cleared cheques rose to N22 trillion, in th review period, from N19 trillion the previous year. Likewise, the volume of cheques increased by 11 per cent to 37.72 million from 33.99 million recorded in 2010. The banking watchdog said the rise in volume was due largely to the slow implementation of the Federal Government’s e-payment policy in respect of taxes, staff salaries, pensions and contractors’ payments. Clearing activities nationwide had peaked at N2.33 trillion in November, due to the

increase in business activities that preceded the end of year festivities. The Lagos Clearing Zone accounted for 74.5 per cent (volume) and 70.9 per cent (value) of the total cheque transactions in 2011. This, it said, was attributed to the fact that Lagos remains the economic and commercial hub of the country. Cheque clearing activities in the Abuja Zone, however, shrank because of the implementation of e-payment by the Federal Government for staff salaries, suppliers’ and contractors’ payments. According to the apex bank, the volume and value of interbank funds transfer, through the Interbank Fund Transfer System , increased by 32.1 and 26.1 per cent to 492,953 and N117.2 trillion in 2011, respectively compared with 373,248 and N92.9 trillion the previous year. The volume and value of electronic card transactions increased significantly from 195.5 million and N1 trillion in 2010 to 355.5 million and N1.6 trillion, reflecting an increase of 81.5 and 55.8 per cent, respec-

Foreign reserves down 1.4% to $36.4b


IGERIA’S foreign exchange reserve fell 1.4 per cent month-on-month to $36.40 billion at July 25, from $36.93 billion a month before, hit

by falling oil prices and strong dollar demand, latest figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria indicated yesterday. Foreign reserves for the

country, Africa’s top energy exporter stood at $36.71 billion at the end of June, higher from $33.45 billion a year before

Firm rebrands for improved service delivery


CQUILA Leasing has unveiled a new logo, which is part of its strategic plans to redefine service delivery for the fledgling market. While unveiling its Logo and its brand essence, the Managing Director/CEO, Chuka Onwuchekwa, said the company has reached a

milestone in preparing for the next growth challenges through strategic initiatives, like brand transformation. He said the company is prepared to offer cuttingedge service delivery to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Large Corporate institutions that desire to leverage the advantages of

Chief Operating Officer, Henk Kruger, said the firm is committed to building a world-class leasing firm that will be effective in business delivery functions as it is being positioned for market leadership, adding that it is focusing on equipment leasing with competence in finance.

leasing in advancing their corporate goals. Furthermore, the Chief Finance Officer, Yisa Akindele, said the firm has put in place reforms to deliver fast and quality service to its fast growing clientele, while striving to attain international leasing best practices.


Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012




4.41 3.01 26.77 3.13 42.28 3.14 1.32 1.10 4.20 14.70


4.63 3.16 28.10 3.28 44.30 3.29 1.38 1.15 4.39 15.34

O/PRICE 120.00 6.43 19.14 11.29 1.63 6.94 3.29 2.27 31.39 2.17

C/PRICE 114.00 6.11 18.19 10.73 1.55 6.60 3.13 2.16 30.00 2.08


more participants in its savings promo- Aim, Save and Win, as it holds a second round of the Zonal Draws in five different locations across the country. Winners at the zonal draws will take home motorcycles, plasma television sets, generators, bicycles, refrigerators and telephone handsets. According to the External Communications Manager, Sani Zaria, the zonal draws will take place in Lokoja, Kogi, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Ibadan, Oyo State, Gombe, Gombe State and Kano in Kano State. Savers numbering more than 6,000 under the category of N75, 000 are qualified for the draws, while those on the category of N5,000 are in the

neighbourhood of 64,000. Zaria said the draws will be witnessed by qualifying customers, officials of the National Lottery Commission, Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the public. The bank held the first zonal draws in May, and the national version on June 30, this year at which one of the Savers, Mrs. Bikudamai Joura, in Maiduguri, won one of the star prizes of Hyundai Verna car. Explaining the rationale for the promo, the bank’s Executive Director, Information Technology and Operations, Ahmed Yusuf, said it was the bank’s way of rewarding its customers for their loyalty and grow their capital for development.

CHANGE 6.00 0.32 0.95 0.56 0.08 0.34 0.16 0.11 1.39 0.09

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

Date 2-7-12 27-6-12 22-6-12


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

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51














July ’11

Dec ’11





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 12.6%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days


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

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

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%



0.22 0.15 1.33 0.15 2.02 0.15 0.06 0.05 0.19 0.64

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m


LOSERS AS AT 31-7-12


Unity Bank to reward NITY Bank said it is more savers ready to reward

Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m

Currency OBB Rate Call Rate

ATMs stood at 9,640, while the volume and value of transactions amounted to 347.5 million and N1.5 trillion, at end-December 2011, respectively.




•CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido



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

tively. The increase was attributed to enhanced public confidence in electronic card payments. Data on various e-payment channels for the period under review indicated that Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) remained the most patronised, accounting for 97.8 per cent, followed by web payments, 1.0 per cent, Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminals, and mobile payments, 0.6 per cent each. Similarly, in value terms, ATMs accounted for 93.4 per cent, web 3.5 per cent, PoS 1.9 per cent and mobile payments, 1.2 per cent. The number of

Offer Price

Bid Price


9.08 1.00 122.94


0.72 1.09 0.93 1,716.34 8.51 1.33 1.80 7,730.70 191.08 1.62


Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2011

Current 07, Aug, 2011

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833





Stock market records N446b gain in July


HE Nigerian stock market witnessed its biggest month-onmonth rally in July as investors pocketed N446 billion in capital gains in a period that saw several stocks trading around their highs. Aggregate market capitalization of all quoted companies closed yesterday at N7.341 trillion as against its opening value of N6.895 trillion for the month of July, representing an increase of 6.5 per cent or N446 billion. The benchmark return index for the market, the All Share Index (ASI)- which tracks prices of all quoted companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), also showed corresponding return with a month-on-month return of 6.77 per cent for July. The ASI opened the month at 21,599.57 points and closed yesterday at 23,061.38 points. With the rally in July, the

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

seven-month year-to-date return at the NSE stood at 11.24 per cent, equivalent to a gain of N808 billion. However, the last trading day of the month saw significant profit-taking transactions, which depressed market value by 1.03 per cent. With 24 losers to 23 gainers, losses by highly capitalized stocks such as Dangote Cement, Zenith Bank, Oando, Cadbury Nigeria and Access Bank coloured the overall market situation. Dangote Cement led the slackers with a loss of N6 to close at N114. Okomu Oil Palm followed with a loss of N1.39 to close at N30. Arbico dropped by 95 kobo to close at N18.19 while PZ Cussons Nigeria dwindled by 74

kobo to N24.51 per share. Other top losers included Forte Oil, dropped 56 kobo to close at N10.73; Capital Hotel, dropped by 34 kobo to close at N6.60; Chellaram Plc, lost 32 kobo to close at N6.11; Cadbury Nigeria, dropped 30 kobo to close at N14.30; Access Bank, lost 20 kobo to close at N7.30; Zenith Bank dropped by 9.0 kobo to close at N14.40 while Oando lost 5.0 kobo to close at N14. On the positive side, Lafarge Wapco Cement Nigeria led the advancers with a gain of N2.02 to close at N44.30. Nigerian Breweries followed with a gain of N1.88 to close at N119.11. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria chalked up N1.33 to close at N28.10. Guinness Nigeria rose by N1 to close at N242. Unilever Nigeria added 93 kobo to close at N35. Presco gained 64 kobo to close at N15.34. National Salt Company of Nigeria rallied 22 kobo to N4.63 while Guaranty Trust Bank rose by 20 kobo to N17.30 per share. Investors staked a total of N3.70 billion on 408.79 million shares through 4,293 deals.




NEWS We attacked Sambo’s home, says Boko Haram Continued from Page 2

tack got the security agents cracking. But Sambo said he would not be intimidated by such attack as he called on the aggrieved to come forward for dialogue. The police in Kaduna said yesterday that they had arrested two people in connection with the incident in which a gang of three, riding on a motorbike, shot at the building in Tundun Wada, killing a cobbler and injuring the two policemen watching over it. The building has been unoccupied following the previous attack at the time of Monday’s incident. It was learnt that one of the clues being considered is the suspicion that the gunmen wanted to snatch the policemen’s rifles. The Presidency is believed

to have directed other security agencies, including the Military Intelligence, to team up with the Police to probe the motives behind Monday’s attack. It was learnt that taking of samples of shrapnel and metals at the scene was completed last night. A source said: “Security agencies are investigating the incident because this is the second time the VP will be a target. “The house was the same one that was burnt last year. So as at the time of the attack, nobody was in the house. The police were there to prevent further vandalisation of the house, pending renovation.” Sambo, however, pleaded with the gunmen to come out for dialogue in the interest of the country. His spokesman Umar Sani said: “The attack is unfortunate. We are still calling on them to come to the

table for dialogue; whoever they are. We are ready to discuss with all such categories of gunmen. “The VP is not happy that an innocent life (a cobbler) was lost in the incident. Every life is important to him; he is sad over the incident. “The government wants to discuss with them with a view to ironing out all issues they are aggrieved about.” Asked if the VP did not feel intimidated, Sani said: “Certainly not. You don’t intimidate anybody in a house no one is living in.” The Police said the two arrested people are suspected to be part of the three-man gang behind Monday’s attack. Kaduna police spokesman Abubakar Balteh said one of the suspects was arrested in a hospital where he had gone for treatment for his gunshot wound.

He said the suspect, who was injured during an exchange of fire with the policemen, was identified by one of the injured policemen also receiving treatment at the hospital. Balteh said: “One of the suspects who sustained injuries during the battle with the policemen guarding the house was identified on a hospital bed by one of the injured policemen and he was arrested immediately. “Another policeman was able to identify one of the four robbery suspects we arrested this morning (yesterday) in Zaria as one of the suspects. One of the robbery suspects was killed in a cross fire by our men.” Balteh, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said the police smashed a fourman robbery gang in Zaria, killing one and arresting the others.

NNPC, JV partners endorse divestment from OML 34


HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday endorsed the equity divestment plan of its Joint Venture (JV) partners; Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and Total Nigeria on Oil Mining Licence (OML) 34. Shell along with other foreign oil majors Total and NAOC through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding relinquished their 45 percent ownership on OML 34 to Niger Delta Western (ND Western) which is a consortium of three firms; Petrolim, Walter Smith and Niger Delta Petroleum. The pact was signed at the NNPC Towers in Abuja. The agreement will allow the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the exploration and production arm of NNPC assume operatorship of the oil block with 55 per cent of NNPC’s hitherto equity

I complained about Dana plane, says CBN governor Continued from Page 2

down adding that he thought it would crash inside the airport. He said the distress call was transferred to Aerodrum Controller consequent upon which emergency agencies, including fire services, search and rescue team and others were deployed to the landing field. The Air Traffic Controller said when he got the distress call, he spoke with the pilot who told him that the aircraft had dual engine and throttle

failure. Arogunjo told the coroner that prior to the distress call, the pilot was given descent to flight level 5000 feet and its arrival was expected on runway 18L for landing but that two minutes later, the pilot requested for approach on runway 18R and was obliged. “At 14.43UTC(3.43p.m local time, I observed the aircraft on radar with dropping speed and altitude then at 14.45(3.45p.m) the aircraft went into coasted status, that is, fading from the scope, and later disappeared.

“I informed tower about this and a few seconds later, tower said they could see the aircraft on the extended centreline of the runway with dark smoke” he said. Asked why the radar could not monitor the aircraft up till the time it crashed, he said: “What we have is a terminal approach radar. It will not show the object on the ground. The one that will show objects on the ground is a surveillance radar” adding “ we have had training on its use but we don’t have it in Nigeria”. Arogunjo said an Ibadan-

bound private helicopter volunteered to be vectored to the crash site for observation and assistance adding “although the location of the crash was not in doubt, we had the coordinates and we had passed it to other parties”. Another witness, Dr. Oluwafemi Osanyintolu, General Manager of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), told the Coroner that though they got to the crash site early, the huge crowd there was an impediment to rescue operations.


From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

ceded to it, while ND Western acquires the outstanding 45 per cent that belonged to SPDC, NAOC and Total. OML 34 which has been a subject of controversy following a seeming lack of approval of the joint ventures divestment plan by the Federal Government, is located in the western division of SPDC’s operations, containing a number of fields that include prominent fields such as Utorogu and Ughelli fields that are rich in gas reserves; the block also has within it the Warri River field. Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, the Corporation views the divestment deal as an opportunity to grow the capacity of NPDC in line with its growth aspiration which will see it rack in a production capacity of 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day in 2015. Yakubu added: “So far, this is the fourth in the list of divestment of assets that we are going to celebrate and bring to the platform of upstream activities.” Managing Director of SPDC, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, said that the processes involved in the exercise were quite complex and needed meticulous management. “This is a complex deal and we should come to appreciate the fact that it is the first time that such a major field will be transacted. We have multiple partners whose interests needed to be taken into consideration and each of the partners needed to go to their boards for approval. Simply, multiple partners and such complexities contributed to the delay,” Sunmonu said.






Keshi meets with Adidas today S

UPER EAGLES’ Head Coach Stephen Keshi will today storm Germany to meet with officials of the team’s sponsors, Adidas. NationSport gathered at the Glasshouse secretariat of the NFF on Tuesday that the former international will be travelling alongside the Chairman of the Technical Committee Christopher Green. According to the source, “the Coach will be travelling alongside Christopher Green. They will travel through Lagos. They are going to discuss so many

From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja issues relating to the Super Eagles and their proposed friendly matches. The company is also very eager to meet with the Head coach, because they have not done so since he resumed duties”. In another development, the proposed training tour of the National Women U-20 team (Falconets) to Korea suffered a hitch on tuesday, as the Korea embassy in Nigeria is yet to grant the contingent entry visas to their country. According to NationSport

Rep member lauds Fashola over stadium approval


OR approving the construction of a mini stadium in Ifako Ijaiye Local Council, a House of Representative member, Otunba Yomi Ogunnusi has hailed Governor Babatunde Fashola. Ogunnusi, who initiated the proposal for a stadium to be sited in the council, said Governor Fashola has continued to exhibit his passion for the well being of the youths, with the approval for the stadium. “I personally proposed that a stadium should be sited in the council and I am happy that Governor Fashola has given the go-ahead for it. We are happy that this is coming at this time that youths need to use their energy for

meaningful activities like sports. “I think this will make the youths to be engaged positively and keep them off vices,” he said. For sports development, Ogunnusi said Fashola has indeed raised the bar for others to follow with his support for grassroots sports development through various sporting activities taking place in Lagos. He added: “I know Lagos will host the next National Sports Festival (NSF) and I believe with what Fashola has put in place, the state will surely host well. I am impressed with all the activities going on in sports in the state and I believe this will surely help to empower lots of youths.”

normal source, “we have submitted all the needed requests within the stipulated time, but as at Tuesday when the team was supposed to leave Abuja to Lagos, they had not been granted Visa. We are not relenting on it, as eggheads of the football federation visited the embassy to ensure that the issuance is facilitated. This becomes important because if they fail to leave today, then, it would be next week. This would have rubbished the Technical crew’s programs”. However, the team has not allowed this deter their preparation as they continue their build up at the NFF Technical centre in Abuja. They continued to train

twice daily to fine tune all their tactics towards the tournament which begins later in the month in Japan.


Death of Somali’s Under-17 keeper shocks CAF


OMALI National U-17 football squad 1st goalkeeper Abdulkader Dheere Hussein has been killed in Mogadishu by unidentified assailants, the Somali Football Federation (SFF) announced on Thursday. The young footballer was killed in the Waberi district of Mogadishu after he returned from a training session. “Still we don’t know who was behind the brutal killing, but the Somali Football Federation is investigating the matter to find out who was exactly behind the killing of our young footballer” the Somali Football Federation Secretary

General Abdi Qani Said Arab said in his statement Thursday, July 26th 2012. The CAF President expresses his deepest condolences and those of the Executive Committee and the entire African football family to the family of the deceased, the Somali Football Association and the people of Somalia. The Confederation of African Football is determined to promote peace across the African continent among its social responsibility programs, including the "Make Peace Happen" campaign in conjunction with the African Union Commission.

NFF canvasses support for Flying Eagles


HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has called on Nigerians to fully support the U-20 National Team, Flying Eagles, as the team has shown commitment to qualifying for the 2013 African Youth Championship to be hosted by Algeria. Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, Chairman of NFF’s Media and Publicity Committee, High Chief Emeka Inyama urged ball fans to forgive the team for a poor outing at the Cape Town International Challenge at the end of May and the defeat by Rwanda’s U-20 Team in an international friendly in Kigali on Tuesday last week. “I was not happy with the team when it lost all three matches at the Cape Town International Challenge,” said Inyama, who was leader of delegation to that invitational tournament. “And I made it clear to the Head Coach, his crew and the players that Nigerians would be angry with them. “However, after losing to Rwanda, the team has realised the enormity of the task before it and this clearly reflected in the way and manner they charged at their Tanzanian hosts and scored two goals before the hosts could not score one. “It is now contingent upon us all – NFF, ball fans and the generality of Nigerians – to forget what has happened of recent and give the team full backing for the challenges ahead.” Inyama charged ardent football fans to be at the Ilorin

Township Stadium on Sunday, 12th August to cheer the Flying Eagles when they take on Tanzania’s Ngorogoro Heroes in the return leg of their 2013 African Youth Championship fixture. “We cannot afford to rest on our oars and think that the fixture is over, simply because we won the first leg. It is important to to stay focused and for Nigerians to get behind the team full steam. “We have to remember that the Flying Eagles remain one of our most successful National Teams in history, winning six African titles and two runners-up positions at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, as well as bronze from the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Surely, the team will take shape and qualify to defend the African title in Algeria,” said Inyama. The NFF Executive Committee member also believes in the ability of Head Coach John Obuh to turn the team around and make champions of the players. “Obuh is a good Coach, no doubt. He led the U-17 team to runner-up position in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009, led the Flying Eagles to win the African Youth Championship and to reach the quarter-finals at the World Cup in Colombia last year. We believe he can lead the team not only to retain the title in Algeria but also to make better impact at the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals in Turkey next year.”








New Barca contract talks on track



APTAIN Carles Puyol wants to stay at Barcelona until he retires - and insists there will be no problem in agreeing a new deal with the club. Puyol's current contract only runs until next summer but after a difficult few months during which he missed the European Championships due to a knee injury, the 34-year-old defender is desperate to get back onto the field of play for the start of the season. He told sports newspaper Marca, "I have always felt very valued by the club, the fans, my team-mates and the manager. I can't have any complaints. There isn't going to be any problem and the talks are on the right track. "I have changed my idea (about the experience of playing at another club) and now I want to retire here. I will try to do so. I have the will and desire to continue playing if the club wants me. What I don't want though is for me to become a drag, I am very clear on this. "It has been a hard summer, I have to train a lot but it has borne fruit. I am happy to be already with the team. I always try to take care of myself as much as possible. I will try to contribute everything to the team, to win everything and then we will see what happens."


to leave I

•Thiago Silva


Thiago understands Milan decision

T Henry hoping RvP stays put


HIERRY Henry is hoping Robin van Persie will stay at Arsenal, but insists life will go on if his former team-mate leaves the Emirates Stadium. Van Persie's long-term future in North London appears uncertain after he confirmed earlier this month that he will not be signing an extension to his contract, which expires next year. Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus are all keen on the striker, but no clubs have yet matched Arsenal's valuation of their captain. Henry left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2007, before returning for a loan spell earlier this year, while the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have also been high-profile departures from the club in recent seasons. If the Netherlands international follows the lead of several of his former colleagues, Henry remains confident that the Gunners can still challenge for honours. "We hope it stays, and that's the way it is," Henry told Sky Sports News. "I don't know exactly what is happening but as an Arsenal fan I want him to stay. "He is still an Arsenal player and the boss has to deal with it."


NTER’s Julio Cesar has announced he is to leave the club after seven years at the San Siro. The Brazilian has been deemed surplus to requirements after the Nerazzurri’s capture of Samir Handanovic from Udinese. “They have been seven beautiful and successful years, but, in a few days, my adventure in the Inter shirt will end,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I would like to thank all of you fans for the support you have given me and I hope you have a lot more success to enjoy.”

HIAGO Silva has admitted that he knew it would be almost impossible for Milan to turn down Paris SaintGermain’s offer for his services. The Diavolo initially snubbed a PSG bid for the Brazilian and instead extended his contract. However, just weeks later, the French club announced the defender’s capture.

“I had clearly said to everybody that I wanted to stay at Milan until the end of my agreement,” Thiago Silva told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “PSG director Leonardo phoned me to tell me that negotiations had re-opened, that he wanted me and I was a bit confused. “I spoke to Massimo Ambrosini and told him that I didn’t know anything, but I knew that Milan

had some economical difficulties and that it would have been difficult for me to stay. “If that wasn’t the case then I would still be at Milan today because I’m not a mercenary and Milan is my home. “Saying that, Milan did some great business because they signed me for €10m and sold me for €42m.”

BVB hopes to retain Schmelzer


ORUSSIA Dortmund general manager Michael Zorc is eager to sign left-back Marcel Schmelzer to an extended contract with the Bundesliga champions. Schmelzer, who was a member of Germany's Euro 2012 squad, still has another two years left on his current deal at the Westfalenstadion. The 24-year-old was pivotal to the Borussians' title defence last term, and Zorc is hopeful the German outfit can retain the defender's 'super' services for longer. "We are trying to sign a new long-term contract with him," Zorc told kicker-Sportmagazin. "He is doing an excellent job at left-back. "The total package that he is offering to us as a player is just super! "He is tactically strong, has a great defensive mind and a splendid left foot - one that turns out to be a weapon every now and then. He has loads of quality."



Roma confirms

€19m Destro deal


ATTIA Destro’s transfer from Genoa to Roma has now been confirmed, as has the total amount he could cost the Giallorossi. The move has been considered as all-butcomplete for the past week, but this is official after the capital club’s move to confirm it, as well as the details of the deal reached with the Grifone. Enrico Preziosi’s club will receive a fee of €11.5m for Destro’s initial 12-month loan, a further €4.5m if Roma want to make the switch permanent next year and coownership of promising duo Giammario Piscitella and Valerio Verre. The latter will then join Siena on loan. With the two Giallorossi men rated at €1.5m each, the total value of the deal comes to €19m. Destro arrives at Roma after 12 goals scored last term for Siena.




Female debut 'awesome' Culson feeling pressure for US of expectation fighter

Khalil relaxes ahead of Olympic taekwondo


AFWAN Khalil may be the envy of Australia's Olympic camp. While fellow Australians battle nerves about impending and progressing competition, and other campaigns have already ended, the Games debutant is relaxing with more than another week until his taekwondo event begin. "I'm on August 8, I'm day 12, so I've got a little bit of time to enjoy these sort of receptions and go and see other events," the smiling 26year-old told guests at an Australian Olympic Committee function on Sunday. "I actually watched our girls win the first gold medal for Australia ... so we're just enjoying the first week, acclimatising, still doing our training, and Monday we'll start training a little bit more." Khalil will compete in the men's less than 58kg class. While his older brother Ali Khalil is in London as the the Australian taekwondo coach, the younger sibling won't have any immediate family cheering in the audience, as they remain at home observing Ramadan. "I only have a small family, there's only about 400 of us," Khalil joked. "So (Mum's) got to cook and prepare food for everyone back home because we are fasting for Ramadan now and my father as well is working long hours. "So they're glued to the TV and they're just going to have to support from home."



HE man who could stand between Dai Greene and an Olympic gold medal has admitted he is feeling the weight of a nation's expectations. Puerto Rico have never won an Olympic gold medal in any sport, or a medal of any colour in athletics, but in Javier Culson they have the world number one in 2012 and favourite for victory in the 400 metre hurdles. Culson had to settle for silver behind Greene in the World Championships in Daegu last year, but the 6ft 6in 28-year-old has beaten the Welshman in all three of their races this season. "I am very motivated, really fit and very excited. I can't wait to get to the first stage of

the competition," Culson said. "I feel pressure, not so much from other athletes but a huge amount of pressure from my countrymen. People are really behind me so there's a lot of pressure back home. "Athletics is quite big back home although we have not won a medal. The country does grind to a halt when I race. "There's also pressure in having the leading time in the world. "It would be very special (to win a medal). We have won other medals but not in athletics. "It would be marvellous for me and I want to be the first person to win a medal from my country."


Rudisha eyes gold, T


IX months after revealing she had been abused by her father for years as a child, Quanitta 'Queen' Underwood just wants to talk boxing, and can hardly contain her excitement knowing that she is about to be one of the first women to box in the Olympics. The U.S. lightweight has been at London's boxing arena each day since the Games began, supporting teammates and soaking up the atmosphere. The butterflies in her stomach get more intense the closer she gets to Sunday's opening bout. That's when the 28-year-old pipefitter from Seattle and 35 other women will break into the last all-male sport at the summer Games and look to prove wrong any remaining doubters who say women have no place in the ring. "We're going to come out and shock and stun the whole world," Underwood, hair braided and wearing one of the biggest smiles in London, told Reuters late on Sunday after watching Errol Spence make it four wins from four for the American men. "Everybody's thinking 'What are these ladies going to look like when they fight?'. It's just going to be awesome. This should have happened a long time ago but when we get on the platform, it's going to get a lot of respect," she adds, laughing giddily at the prospect. Last February, Underwood detailed for the first time how, as a 10-year-old, she would lie in bed as her father molested her older sister Hazzauna in the same room. She told the New York Times that when Hazzauna and her step-mother were out of the house, Assad Underwood would abuse her too. When she was 13, the sisters spoke out against their father and he was jailed for seven years. Underwood doesn't want to discuss the abuse now. Her concentration is fully on the Games, so much so that she has left her beloved bulldog with dog sitters for the last few months in order to step up her training. "There was a lot of attention on that (the abuse), I spoke about it plenty of times and I'm just happy to focus on my boxing now and make the best of my life," she said.


HE 800m World champion and record holder David Rudisha is not only targeting another collection but also improving on his personal best 1:41.01 at the London Olympic Games. While Rudisha reckoned that a World record calls for perfect weather, the 23-yearold said he has built strong resistance to any kind of weather and opposition. “Indeed, a World record needs perfect weather but I am prepared for anything after I almost came closer in Paris not in so good conditions that were chilly coupled with drizzled. “I think I have built enough resistance to any kind of weather beside strong mental framework especially after I lost to Ethiopian Mohammed Aman, who ended by 24 otuing winning streak towards the end of last year,” said Rudisha as he led his charges for the

London Olympic Games Monday night. Rudisha said his condition going to London is better and stronger than when he won the World title last year in Daegu. “I had an ankle injury at the beginning of last year and I didn’t get to do my sessions well to produce my best even though I got to win the World title.” Things have been smooth for the 2006 World Junior 800m champion this season both in training and competiron. “I have posted a sub 1:41 twice this year,” Rudisha, who won the New York’s Diamond League in 1:41.74 on June 9 before missing his World record by 0.53seconds in Paris on July 6 timing 1:41.54. “That is a sign that I am in good shape ready to ascend to the coveted throne. I need to make my predecessor and Kenyans happy”






VOL.7 NO.2,204

‘‘If we must win this war on terror, the government of the day should be more decisive, stop playing politics with the security of the nation and refrain from treating those identified as terrorists and terrorism sponsors as sacred cows!’ DELE AGEKAMEH



N writing my column last week I started out with the intention of devoting at least half of it to the reactions, by text and email, I’d received on my piece about the subject above of the week before. As usual the reactions were a mixed bag but mostly abusive and emotional. Among them, however, was this highly readable and sensible piece by one, Emmanuel Lar, that seemed supportive of my thesis but, read in between the lines, also seemed to say to me “physician, heal thyself.” Lar’s response was what triggered my intention to publish some of the reactions to my column in question. In the end, however, last week’s piece took up the space provided for it. Hence my decision to still publish those responses today in the hope, albeit admittedly forlorn, that Lar’s exemplary appeal to reason rather than to emotion would help in pointing the way to the media on how it can play its role in the resolution of the Boko Haram and other forms of sectarian violence threatening, not just the peace and unity of the country, but its very existence. I have edited the responses, especially Lar’s, for space, and in the case of texts, for spelling. Dear Sir, Your article in the Wednesday Column gives an insight into the role and importance of the media in crisis situations such as the one Nigeria is presently going through. The crux of its message is the need for the Nigerian media to be objective, factual and balanced in their reporting, especially in crisis situations that border on sentimental issues like religion. Never at any time in the history of our nation has the media been as critical to our survival as a nation and even as individuals because indeed “the clouds of fear are gathering” over our heads. A cursory glimpse into most of our newspapers today will reveal how yellow they have all suddenly turned. The reporting of the Boko Haram phenomenon especially has degenerated into a war of indoctrination based on falsehood and crass sentiments. Returning to your column, I would like to cite two examples from the article of how the media can negatively influence the perception of a section of a population in a crisis situation. The first is the general definition and perception of the Boko Haram sect and what it stands for. It has been commonly reported that the activities of the sect are essentially targeted at Christians and Christianity and that they are either sponsored or carried out with full knowledge of the Muslim leadership in Northern Nigeria. Although overtime and with the modus operandi of the group many may be tempted to accept this position, the origins of the organization and the general feelings and reactions of a majority of Muslims especially in the north about the sect’s actions would prove otherwise. This is a fact which many of us can attest to. However, the media has failed to do a deep reflection and investigation to bring out the truth in this case. It has become too fixated on a religious propaganda to the near total exclusion of facts that would educate the public about the sect and its objectives. Christian leaders must look beyond the propa-



People and Politics By MOHAMMED HARUNA

Still on the media, civil liberties, Boko Haram and the nation

•The late Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf

ganda in order to find lasting solutions to the trust deficit that this crisis has thrown up. The second issue is the recent relocation notice given to residents of some villages in Plateau State and which you also cited. The reporting of this notice which is an entirely military operation has been so coloured that what was supposed to be a “temporary relocation order” as we were all made to understand was reported and interpreted as an “eviction order” targeted at a particular set of people. This is not minding the fact that the residents of these villages include other tribes which have been living together all along until the recent crisis. This to my mind is pure propaganda and “one sided coverage” which is also an example of a “more propagandist than factual and objective” reporting as you stated in your column. Sadly, our religious leaders have fallen victims of this propaganda. The recent statement by the Secretary-General of JNI is a pointer to this fact. For a highly respected Muslim leader like the Secretary General who has lived in Plateau State to make or accept to sign such a statement is not only intriguing but baffling. In all, when one considers the lopsided and bias manner of reportage by local and even international media in the entire country in recent times, one sees the failure of our me-

dia as a watchdog that is capable of constantly engaging “in deep reflection that will enable it realise its full potential as a guardian of good governance and tribune of sustainable development.” More worrisome is the uneven spread of media houses in the country which leads to misrepresentation of information and facts on crucial issues that border on cultural and religious interrelationships and differences. The North is today worst hit by this negative propaganda which is affecting all facets of its existence as an entity. This is simply so because it is a victim of a self inflicted imbalance in media representation due to negligence and failure to recognise the media as a tool of mass information and integration. Over reliance on foreign media that are heavily skewed towards one language and culture and the assumption that power only resides in the office are also contributory to all these. The shift from mass information to propaganda for both religious and commercial ends has already put the North in self destruct mode. The onus is on experienced professionals like you to change this ugly trend. Emmanuel Lar 0805... Sir, Commenting on the killing of over 500 people in Dogon na Hawa in Jos some years back, this same Mohammed Haruna reported that the Hausa Fulani Muslims were being attacked in their land of birth as against the widely known and held truth of Berom people being attacked on their land. It is, therefore, not surprising to hear this abuse of civic liberty coming from the same Mohammed at this point of national disaster when we should all sympathise with Nigeria, the North and indeed, the good people of Plateau State on this continuous massacre of their people, mostly women and children, on their land by these callous, mindless and Godless people. Mohammed Hrisonsaruna has shown the same ethnic and religious sentiment that has hitherto divided this country. He has demonstrated his lack of sincerity in reporting issues that border on national security and unity. This is rather un-



T must be a reflection of their unease about the direction Nigeria is heading that former heads of state, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo and Gen Ibrahim Babangida, have publicly and jointly warned of the consequences of allowing the country to slip into anarchy. Obasanjo was head of state from 1976 to 1979, and then president from 1999 to 2007, while Babangida ruled between1985 and 1993. They were probably referring to the Boko Haram insurgency that has rendered large sections of the North inhospitable for both living and business. Their joint statement was issued on Sunday, and has attracted conflicting responses. The highly publicised statement was understandably tame in its appreciation of the reasons for the troubles facing the country. But it dwells extensively on the impact of insecurity, complete with the oft-repeated and now increasingly sterile assertion that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable, as if those troubles can be browbeaten by positive speeches and intimidatory posturing. The statement, however, soars more inspiringly, in the estimation of the two former heads of state, when it turns its attention to discussing the panaceas to the large-scale insecurity unnerving the country.

fortunate, shameful and disheartening. What is not good is certainly not good. Alexander, Jos. +234705.... Sir, You have captured it as it is! Our greatest threat is indeed the media. I was actually dumbfounded yesterday, 17th July 2012, listening to Channels 10pm news. After all the details we received that an Islamic school was attacked, with one boy killed, Channels reported it like this “ A school (Note, a school, without mentioning Islamic) was attacked early today, with one person killed, but it was ascertained that the school was not the actual target(without saying who told them that).” However, in the main body of the news, the military man there, and all other persons around, attested to the fact that it was the Islamic school that was attacked. My point: If it were a Christian school that was attacked, the headline would have been like this “A Christian school was attacked early today”! I am saying this because I watch Channels regularly. +23480305... Sir, Still on your today’s article, there is picture that appeared on page 23 of Thisday today with caption “recent crisis in Kaduna.” This same picture was all over Facebook during the post-election violence of last year and was taken in Kano. M.Y. Usman +234803059... Sir, I just read your piece and was wondering if you are a supporter of Boko Haram. Let it be known that we Christians will not sit back and let you terrorists Islamise Nigeria when it is so obvious that has always been your secret plans but you all have failed woefully. One with God is more than a million Mohammed Harunas. +23480794... Sir, Point of correction: the ultimatum in Plateau was not 24 hours but 48. Cross check facts before you write, ok? By the way aren’t the Fulanis settlers and trouble makers? Please be careful when you put pen to paper! Israel, Abuja +23480212... I stand corrected about the deadline. MH. Sir, We all know you are Boko Haram. You talk about liberty for all, including the succourers of Boko Haram like you who do not carry guns. You’ll pay for it someday. +2347087... •For comments, send SMS to 08054502909

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Obasanjo and Babangida’s homilies But considering the fact that the causes and effects of insecurity highlighted in their statement can’t seem to align, it is hard to understand why the retired generals felt traditional rulers, community leaders, local governments and religious leaders were best placed to stanch the flow of blood drenching the country. It is indeed curious that the two former army generals thought they had any tangible message to pass on to the beleaguered country it was their fortune to rule rather flippantly for decades in between them. In the first place, no substantial commonsensical message is discernible in their statement. Why they also couldn’t keenly appreciate the irony of offering solutions to problems whose genesis many Nigerians trace to their times in office is a sad puzzle. They are right to feel concerned; but few believe their concerns are genuine. More, considering the lack of originality of their governments, the warped political and social values they promoted in their years in office, and their considerable selfcentredness, it is unlikely anyone would set great store by their prognoses and panaceas. The primary purpose of a government, as many constitutions assert, is to establish and promote justice,

and ensure domestic peace. While it is true the Goodluck Jonathan government has paid only lip service to this onerous responsibility, and has thus opened itself to superfluous advice and gratuitous insults, it must be remembered that both Obasanjo and Babangida did their damnedest to thwart this primary purpose of government, and in the case of the former, to virulently undermine constitutional rule. The insecurity threatening to destroy the country was neither triggered nor inspired by the Jonathan government. The roots of today’s insecurity in fact go far back, particularly to the scheming Babangida government which perverted the course of Nigeria’s political history in 1993; while its intractability was set in the Obasanjo presidency which foisted uninspiring and lethargic presidents on the country. Having both promoted injustice for so long and etched it in the national consciousness so grippingly, the least the two renascent social engineers can do now is to fade from the scene. But if they won’t, we should cultivate the habit of not dignifying their periodical homilies with our priceless attention.

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

The Nation August 01, 2012  
The Nation August 01, 2012  

The Nation August 01, 2012