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•Newspaper of the Year

Police demolish 500 houses in Lagos NEWS

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•Tears as bulldozers roar

News ASUU states decision today P68 Sports Eaglets star for Man City P23 Business N27.5b ‘theft’ charge stays P12

•Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

VOL. 8, NO. 2700 TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2013




•EFCC ‘IS BROKE’ P10 •BOKO HARAM: 1,200 KILLED IN SEVEN MONTHS P5 •Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi (middle) cutting a cake at his 64th birthday and two and a half years of Purposeful Governance held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan…yesterday. With him are his wife Florence (third right), the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III (second right), the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola Alao (right), Deputy Governor Moses Alake Adeyemo, his wife, Janet (second left) and Assembly Speaker Monsurat Sunmonu PHOTO: FEMI ILESANMI

Jonathan under pressure to reply Obasanjo’s letter NLC, Lagos Assembly, PDM urge lawmakers to probe allegations


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan remained under pressure yesterday to respond to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter on the state of the nation. Obasanjo, in an 18-page December 2 letter, levelled some allegations against Dr Jonathan and his administration, which he said was

The President should speak to Nigerians on the charges. Is he arming killers in an ominous game for 2015? If he is not, we need his guarantee as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces that he will rein in his men who have already exhibited signs of irritability in Rivers State —EDITORIAL PAGE 9 From Gbade Ogunwale, Frank Ikpefan, Abuja and Okoeki Oziegbe

derailing. He also urged the President

2015: INEC to spend N92.9b


to respond to allegations that he had been training snipers and a killer squad ahead of the 2015 elections. Obasanjo said Jonathan had

no moral right to contest in 2015, having promised to spend only one term when he was being nominated in 2011. But the Presidency has asked

the former president to prove the existence of a killer squad or keep quiet. Besides, Jonathan is said to be planning to respond to the

Kingdom Department for International DevelContinued on page 4

Obasanjo, which, according

Continued on page 4

Succession crisis hits Appeal Court From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

HE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may require N92.9 billion for the conduct of the 2015 elections, it was learnt yesterday. Elections may not hold in some parts of the Northeast, if insecurity persists, according to INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega, who spoke at a stakeholders’ forum organised by the Senate Committee on INEC, in collaboration with Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Abuja and the United

allegations. To the Nigeria Labour Congress (NCL), Jonathan should respond now to the “weighty allegations”. Acting General Secretary Chris Uyot said the President should respond to the critical issues raised by

W •Oando Plc Chairman Oba Michael Gbadebo, the Alake of Egbaland, flanked by Group Chief Executive Officer Wale Tinubu (right) and Deputy Group Chief Executive Omamofe Boyo at the Completion Board Meeting for the special placing of 2.5 billion ordinary shares held at the company’s head office on Victoria Island, Lagos...yesterday

HO will succeed Justice Isa Ayo Salami as President of the Court of Appacl (PCA)? The question remains as knotty as it was when Justice Salami retired in October after reaching the statutory age. Moves to appoint a new PCA for the court has created a crisis, following alleged plans to either jettison seContinued on page 4





•Vice President Namadi Sambo greeting one of the Entrepreneurs and Business-Leaders Honourees, Bukola Adubi, during the Future Award Best 100 Celebration at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja...yesterday. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN.

Maritime crime … Nigeria, naval sources said at the weekend, is losing about N250 billion monthly to maritime crimes, such as piracy, bunkering, smuggling, poaching, oil theft, human trafficking and other transnational crimes. In a year, experts say N3 trillion is lost to economic sabotage. Assistant Editor (News) OLUKOREDE YISHAU probes how this huge cash is lost.

•Navy’s counter piracy demonstration warboats.


From left: Entrepreneurs and Business-Leaders Honourees, Tobias Igwe, Tony Elumelu and Titus Igwe during the Future Award Best 100 Celebration at the Banquet Hall Presidential Villa in Abuja...yesterday. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN.

•Minister for Interior, Dr. Patrick Abba Moro cutting the tape to inaugurate the office complex blocks donated to the Nigeria Passport Office by GTBank in Ikoyi Lagos...yesterday. With him are (from left): Managing Director/CEO, Guaranty Trust Bank, Segun Agbaje,Comptroller-General,Nigeria Immigration Service,David Paradang,Deputy Managing Director Access Bank Plc,Obinna Nwosu, Deputy Comptroller-General, Olaitan Joseph and Passport Control Officer, Ikoyi Lagos, Dupe Anyalechi. PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU

•Group Managing Director/CEO, Scoa Nigeria Plc, Dr. Massad F. Boulos (left) and Chairman, Board of Directors, Mr. Henry Agbamu, at the company's 45th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Abuja.

ILL this day, the village and the villagers are still counting their losses. For 48 hours, the flames refused to go away. Not far away from the scene in Bodo village, Rivers State, illegally-installed equipment that would allow huge amounts of oil to be siphoned overseas through large barges in the sea had leaked crude oil and was inflamed by yet-to-be-identified source of fire. 6,000 barrels of crude oil found their way into the creeks and waterways. Many people died. Industrial pipelines capable of transporting thousands of barrels of oil a day have been found in the swamps in the Niger Delta. With this, thousands upon thousands of crude oil barrels are stolen through the waterways. A Catholic priest, identified simply as Father Obi, in an interview with The Guardian of London, provided an insight into how this maritime crime works. Obi said: “From the moment I got to the scene (the next day) I was suspicious. The scene had been hurriedly deserted. Shell must have known what was going on. The military must have known. Everyone knew there was complicity. I am personally sure that Shell knew that its oil was being stolen. If the managers did not know, then those who they put in charge (of the operation) seemed to know. This (theft) could not have happened without the collusion of the authorities and the military.” He raised posers bothering on complicity: “Why was a massive barge able to hold 10,000 barrels of oil being loaded at 2am with crude? Why did another catch fire? Why were excavators there? Why were local observers arrested the next day, their cameras confiscated and memory cards destroyed? Were the thieves being protected by the military? Was the company paying workers to clean up oil spilled in the process of theft they themselves were engaged in? Did Shell know its oil was being stolen from under its nose?” Managing Director of Shell Mutiu Sunmonu, said: “Unknown persons continued to reconnect illegal bunkering hoses at Bodo West even as our pipeline team was removing crude theft points.” Shell spokesperson Philip Mshelbila said: “One has to understand there is this accusation that the oil industry employees are behind this, but there are thousands of people who have the skills who may have been working with the industry over the years. These people are outside and some of them may be for hire. There is a sophisticated organisation, clearly it is not just local. There has to be a wide network.” The Bodo incident is significant because it shows


how maritime crime, especially oil theft, has reached an industrial scale, involving commodity traders, international criminals and a whole network of people. President Goodluck Jonathan said 300,000-400,000 barrels of oil per day is lost through maritime crime. This represents more than 10 per cent of the country’s production. The country and oil companies, according to the Presidency, lose close to N250 million a month to this crime. This amount is just 10 per cent of what is lost to all the facets of maritime crime. Presidential aide Ken Saro-Wiwa jnr said: “The figures are huge. (Oil theft) could destabilise Nigeria. The business is worth billions of dollars a year. It is on an industrial scale, and involves commodity traders, international (criminals) and a whole network of people. There are some allegations that the oil companies themselves are implicated.” Mshelbila added: “We (Shell) are losing 40-60,000 barrels of oil a day. This is just what we know is stolen from the trunk lines. We have to shut down lines, so, taken together it’s probably 300,000-400,000 barrels a day. We are seeing more illegal connections, more frequent shutdowns than one year ago.” A report by Chatham House indicates that oil is being stolen not just from pipelines but from tank farms, export terminals, refinery storage tanks, jetties, ports, pipelines, and




me …Tale of an industry worth N3 trillion ‘

•Suspected pirates being paraded aboard a naval ship after their arrest by the Navy at a defence jetty in Lagos August 20. The four pirates had allegedly hijacked a barge and its crew on August 14 on the eastern edge of the coast, near the port city of Calabar. PHOTOS: REUTERS

wellheads. The report said: “Officials and private actors disguise theft through manipulation of meters and shipping documents. Proceeds are laundered through world financial centres and used to buy assets in and outside Nigeria, polluting markets and financial institutions overseas, and creating reputational, political and legal hazards.” The report established that much of the stolen oil is exported to foreign refineries or storage facilities, in the U.S., Brazil, China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Balkans. The proceeds, said the report, are laundered through banks in Dubai, Indonesia, India, Singapore, the US, the UK, and Switzerland.

Not about oil theft alone The maritime crime industry is not limited to oil theft. Smuggling, piracy and bunkering are top on the list of the crimes described by a senior naval officer, Air Vice-Marshal Eko Osim, as economic sabotage perpetrated through the water. Air ViceMarshal Osim, at the weekend, said the country loses N250 billion monthly to maritime crime. This comes to N3 trillion annually, far in excess of what the country spends on education and health, which are in dire strait. Michael Frodl, who runs the USbased C-Level maritime risks consultancy, said: “In 10 days, a Nigerian pirate doing siphoning beyond the territorial waters of Nigeria can make more money than Somalian pirates can make in 10 months of holding hostages.” In recent years, the country’s maritime environment has been increasingly threatened transnational crimes, which have been encouraged by insufficient patrol ship to fight maritime crime, illegal ship to ship transfer, insufficient platforms and shortfall in naval manpower. Worse still, there is lack of information gathering and sharing in the fight against maritime crime between the country’s security agencies. All these challenges have helped maritime criminals to devise various means to beat the law. The U.S. and other western countries have helped the Navy with training and equipment, but the results are yet to be seen. The seriousness of the situation becomes more glaring when statistics on it are considered. In 2010, there were at least 45 cases of sea piracy; 2011 witnessed 64 cases. The International Maritime Bureau, a specialised division of the International Chamber of Commerce, reports that 58

cases last year. As at last month, no fewer than 32 vessels had been attacked. These figures, however, do not cover unreported cases. The President of the Nigerian Trawlers Association, Mr. Joseph Overo, said the industrial fishing subsector in the country has lost over N119 billion in the last eight years in fishing revenue to maritime crime. Statistics released by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the country’s apex maritime regulatory agency, also shows that between February 2010 and February 2011 the country lost over N445 million to the activities of sea robbers. The sophistication of maritime crime in the country has seen most attacks in the West African sub-region taking place in the Niger Delta, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). A report shows that “pirate attacks off Nigeria’s coast have jumped by a third this year as ships passing through West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, a major commodities route, have increasingly come under threat from gangs wanting to snatch cargoes and crews.” Significantly, pirates in the Niger Delta steal one commodity majorly: oil. Last year, the increase in pirate attacks in West Africa made the London-based Lloyd’s Market Association, an umbrella group of maritime insurers, to list Nigeria and nearby waters as risky. The risky status has jacked up insurance costs and the result was a significant decrease in maritime traffic in the region. The decrease, says UNODC, affected the livelihoods of the country’s citizens, by increasing the cost of imports and decreasing the competitiveness of exports. The porous nature of the maritime environment has made Shell plan to sell off four of its onshore oil blocks, which have witnessed constant theft. Other oil majors too have either sold some troubled oil blocks or are in the process of selling them. Interestingly, this theft has encouraged shutting down of pipelines, which, in turn, has made the country produce about 400,000 barrels a day below its capacity of 2.5 million barrels a day, according to The Economist. The Nuhu Ridabu Presidential Panel Report shows that over the last decade thieves had stolen between 6 per cent and 30 per cent of the country’s oil production. This tallies with the position canvassed by Martin Murphy, a professor at

Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States, a policy think tank, in his article “Petro-Piracy: Oil and Troubled Waters,” published in Orbis for the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He said: “Illegal bunkering (filling ships with fuel) is enormously profitable” in Nigeria, adding: “The scale of losses is staggering—more than $100 billion worth of oil has gone missing since 1960.”

Figures from the oil majors Shell, in a document, paints a scary picture of maritime crime as it concerns their operations. The document says: “The unrest has turned into a worrying criminal movement, which feeds on massive thefts of crude oil. Heavily armed and well-organised groups attack oil and gas facilities in the delta, shut down operations, kidnap staff and sabotage pipelines. “Barges take stolen oil to tankers waiting offshore for export. There is also a massive illegal refining business based on stolen crude oil. All these have reduced the amount of oil SPDC is producing, created environmental and social problems from oil spills and reduced government revenue that could be used to develop infrastructure and services.” The oil major said accurately determining the volume of oil lost to the oil thieves would be an exercise in futility because of the country’s challenges with data collection. It said: “How much oil is stolen is difficult to estimate and varies according to the source. In 2010/2011, there were 237 reported incidents of crude oil theft from SPDC facilities that involved vandalism, spills, fire or arrests. There were 187 in 2009/2010. “The effects of this industrial scale theft are devastating for both the people and the environment. This is evident from the thick smoke from illegal refineries that line the shore. The land, the shorelines and the water are heavily polluted with oil as a result of these activities. The scale of these operations is not hidden. The perpetrators of these crimes have set up barge building yards and storage depots for the stolen crude.This is not petty theft undertaken by desperate individuals struggling to make a living. These are well-funded crimes that may be connected with an international syndicate.” For the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), it estimates that it loses an average of one million barrels of crude oil to theft monthly. The Managing Director of NAOC, Ciro Antonio Pagano, told the House of Represen-

The perpetrators of these crimes have set up barge building yards and storage depots for the stolen crude.This is not petty theft undertaken by desperate individuals struggling to make a living. These are well-funded crimes that may be connected with an international syndicate

tatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) that this translates to a loss of N16 billion monthly.

Bleeding the economy For the Director-General of NIMASA, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, what is obtained in the Nigerian waters is sea robbery not piracy in the true sense of the word. He said: “What has come to be known as Nigeria piracy is the hijacking of ships by hoodlums who attack their targets, mainly tanker vessels with force, divert the vessel to a hidden place in the sea, siphon its products into their waiting vessel and then let off the hijacked vessel.” He said the criminals have extended their tentacles to the waters of Benin, Togo and Liberia, arguing that they started operating in the Niger Delta area, Lagos and Cameroun waters, making the IMB to rate Nigeria as second most dangerous in the world, after the failed state of Somalia. And the economy is bleeding for this. The bleeding also extends to the ordinary consumers. Maritime crime, which has engendered insurance surcharge on Nigeria-bound cargo, has translated to high cost of goods to final consumers. Maritime experts also believe that another downside of this economic sabotage is that it has not encouraged Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country’s maritime sector. But, what has made it tick?

What aids maritime crime/way out Marginalisation of oil-bearing communities and corruption are two factors that have been identified as aiding maritime crime. Dr. Christian Bueger, a Cardiff University researcher and editor of, an online research portal, in an interview with Africa Renewal, said: “Piracy tends to be conducted or supported by marginalised communities that have not been participating in economic development.” Chatham House, a British research group, reported in September that “corruption and fraud are rampant in the country’s oil sector. Lines between legal and illegal supplies of Nigerian oil can be blurry.” Also, maritime crime is aided by the fact that affected countries hardly share information on what’s happening on their coastlines. Little, said experts, is also done in the area

of joint training activities to develop procedures and learn how to use technology. In a country like Nigeria, experts say there are no strong legislations to prosecute criminals, while money for capacity building is meager compared to the challenge at hand. The country is yet to act on the recommendation of the UN Security Council urging a reinforcement of domestic legislation and development of a comprehensive regional counter-piracy framework. The maritime component of the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS treaty of 1993 intended to harmonise all maritime issues across the region is yet to have the desired effect. Not a few are of the opinion that the Somalia approach, which saw the UN allowing international collaboration, may be inevitable to stop the economic sabotage in Nigeria The Chairman of Sea and Cargo Logistics Limited, Mr. Raphael Christopher, believes foreign ships should be checked if maritime crime is to be curbed. He said many foreign ships on the country’s territorial waters engage in illegal businesses, adding that the Federal Government loses several hundreds of millions of dollars to these illegalities on the country’s waters. Experts also believe that the country must quickly domesticate international laws, guidelines, and conventions. A bill to that effect is before the National Assembly. A Lagos-based lawyer and consultant to the government on the bill, Mr. Mike Igbokwe (SAN), said the law would help Nigeria to domesticate all international conventions and clip the wings of maritime criminals. He said: “There has been a report of hijacking of vessels, cargo theft with violence on crews by robbers within the Nigerian territorial waters and off Nigerian waters. Some of the characteristics of these actions have been theft of crude oil. Recently, 23 sailors in Cyprus flagged ship were hijacked 63 nautical miles off Cotonou. “Nigeria is now being categorised the same as Somalia as a result of these incidents. But the incident in Nigeria, even in the Gulf of Guinea, is not as high as that of Somalia where vessels are being hijacked for ransom. The Nigerian maritime stakeholders are worried at the increasing trend, as businesses are being interrupted, especially fishing trawlers.” The treaties to be domesticated include the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to piracy and the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Act against Safety of Maritime Navigation of 1988.





•Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka (middle) with Managing Director, CMC Connect, Mr. Yomi Badejo Okusanya (left), Ms Yemisi RanPHOTO: ADEOLA SOLOMON some-Kuti and others at the ‘Lagos’ Tribute to Mandela night at Freedom Park, the weekend.

INEC to spend N92.9b on 2015 polls, says Jega Continued from page 1

opment (DFID) Nigeria. Jega, who spoke on “Preparations and challenges ahead of 2015 general elections”, said it was not true that the cost of the 2011 general elections was high. He noted that in preparing for the 2015 elections, one guiding principle for the Commission had been to make elections more cost-effective and to give Nigerians better value for money. He added: “Our estimate is that the cost of the election per voter, which is an international standard for viewing the cost of election, is coming down in Nigeria. “We project that for the 2015 elections, this would come further down by almost $1- from $8.8 in 2011 to $7.9, representing almost a 10 per cent drop. “This compares favourably with some other African countries. However, we are anxious about getting all our funding requirement being met well in advance of the 2015 general elections.” Jega said Ghana spent $10 per voter during its last election while Kenya spent between $8.5

to $9 per voter. Nigeria has about 73.5 million registered voters. The INEC boss assured that “preparations by INEC for the 2015 general election are very good and proceeding in earnest”. He added: “As far as INEC is concerned, the 2015 general elections will see Nigeria take its rightful place in the global comity of nations where electoral democracy is being consolidated. “However, bringing this about and ensuring a free, fair, credible and peaceful elections is not a task that INEC alone can actualise. “All stakeholders have important roles to play; we must change attitudes and mindsets, as well as strengthen partnerships and collaborative endeavours to bring this about. “Learning from the experience of 2011, especially regarding the need for early preparations, the Commission has undertaken the task of fundamental restructuring of the Commission, established new policies to guide its work and embarked on far reaching planning of its activities through strategic plan,

an election project plan and an election management system.” On security challenges, he noted that if there was a generalised systemic insecurity in the country, it may be difficult to conduct a free and fair election in 2015. Jega listed specifically insurgency in the Northeast, armed robbery and kidnapping as part of the systemic challenges the Commission would like the Federal Government to address and resolve before the 2015 election. He said, “We hope the present security challenges in parts of Northeast will be overcome before the 2015 general elections. But if it persists, we may be compelled to postpone or cancel elections in the affected areas. Jega spoke of a vacancy for a House of Representatives seat in Yobe State, but he said INEC had not conducted an election because of insecurity. The INEC boss said the Commission, he said, is concerned about widespread absence of moderation among politicians because “even if the management of elections meets the highest standards, insofar as the

contestants are unwilling to play by the rules, there will be problems.” He said: “The Commission remains deeply concerned about growing conflicts within parties and between contestants. “The use of language is in most cases indecorous, encouraging supporters to follow suit with even more intemperate language and ultimately fueling violence. “Parties even find it difficult to select candidates, creating a situation in which practically every nomination process in Nigeria ends in a court case. “In most instances, the Commission gets either directly or vicariously involved in these conflicts and court cases. “Indeed, some of the pre-election court cases in the past threatened to derail preparations for elections. “Of particular note is the spate of ex parte injunctions that have been issued the Commission. “It seems to me that a primary source of the problem here is lack of internal party democracy, resulting from lack of commitment to party rules.”

Anambra poll: INEC has no record of election staff OR the fourth day running, the Awka, Anambra State office of the In-

dependent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has failed to produce a list of permanent and ad hoc staff deployed by the electoral umpire for the November 16, 17 and 30 elections. Besides, INEC is yet to produce the voter register ordered for any ward, except for one in Aguata Local Government Area. All Progressives Congress (APC) lawyers have been inspecting election materials for four days, without the required staff list that forms part of the documents ordered to be produced for inspection and copying. INEC officials pleaded for patience to enable them produce the list today. A source close to INEC said the list does not exist, adding that “it is being put together now”. An official, who was a Polling Assistant in Idemili North, was overheard at the INEC office in Awka venting her frustrations because she was asked

Succession crisis hits Appeal Court Continued from page 1

Continued on page 68

niority or second a Justice of the Supreme Court to head the appellate court. The three senior judges of the court are the former acting PCA, Justice Dalhatu Adamu(Niger); the acting President, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa(Gombe) and Justice Amiru Sanusi(Katsina). Justice Adamu was acting president for 15 months. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa is about a year in office as acting president. It was learnt that the initial jostle for the PCA was between the three senior justices until a “Plan B” - to second a Justice of the Supreme Court to lead the appellate court – was floated. It was gathered that the decision to redeploy a Justice of the Supreme Court is aimed at reorganising the court following the polarisation of the judges during the face-off between a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu and Justice Salami.

explain himself and absolve himself of them, failing which it should commence impeachment proceedings against him.” The Lagos State House of Assembly at plenary also said the National Assembly should investigate the allegations without delay. The session, which was presided over by Deputy Speaker Taiwo Kolawole, made the call following a motion raised by a member, Mr. Bisi Yusuf, under “matter of urgent public importance”. The House called on Obasanjo to forward his letter to the National Assembly as a petition. The House said the National Assembly is constitutionally empowered to carry out such a probe,which it should do to save the country from collapse” Yusuf described the content of Obasanjo’s letter as “worrisome”. He said Jonathan should respond to the various allegations and should honourably resign his position if the allegations were found to be true. Contributing to the debate, a member, Yinka Ogundimu, said the allegations against Jonathan, coming from Obasanjo, could not be dismissed, but should be considered weighty. Many other members spoke in a smiliar manner. Deputy Speaker Kolawole

said: “I want to plead with Obasanjo to send that letter to the National Assembly as a petition that will be investigated.” The Northwest Solidarity Forum (NSF) has described the silence of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors on the letter as worrisome. In the statement titled: “Obasanjo’s letter: Where are the PDP governors?” the Forum said it was concerned about the content of the 18-page letter “which borders on issues of governance and exposes details of such other issues which should not have been meant for the public space”. The statement reads: “While the Forum is still pondering the motivation behind the declassification of the letter by Chief Obasanjo, it is quite surprising that none of the governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has deemed it necessary to intervene in the matter through measured comments that will engender reconciliation. “The silence in the camp of the PDP governors is worrisome to us. The statement added: “At this point, the PDP governors who believe in the survival of the Federal Government and the PDP cannot afford to sit on the fence or keep mute. “The salvation of our democ-

Jonathan under pressure to reply Obasanjo’s letter Continued from page 1

to him, border on national security and the management of the nation’s economy. Uyot also urged the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to ensure that the raging internal crisis in the party does not engulf the country. The labour leader argued that since Obasanjo wrote the letter, in which he expressed his view and made allegations on serious issues, Nigerians had been waiting for Jonathan’s response. He said: “The issues raised are weighty enough for the President to respond to. One of the issues borders on national security while another borders on the management of the economy. “As far as we are concerned, Obasanjo wrote a letter to the President and made those allegations, and Nigerians want the President to respond to this letter. The NLC would respond to the controversy at the appropriate time.” Obasanjo had accused Jonathan of taking actions inimical to the well being of the nation in an 18-page letter dated December 2, 2013 with the title ‘before it is too late.’ The former President, who accused Jonathan of committing anti-party activities against the ruling PDP because of his political ambition, also accused him

of training snipers and putting 1,000 politicians under watch. The main opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) has asked the National Assembly to impeach Jonathan. The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) called yesterday on the National Assembly to investigate the letter. A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDM, Ahmadu Rufai Abubakar, said the issues raised in the letter were troubling and unfortunate. Obasanjo had, among others, alleged non remittance of over $7 billion crude oil proceeds to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). “These are grave and weighty allegations indeed. We read, with deep disappointment, the President’s response or, better still, his non-response to these allegations, through his media aide. “The decision of the President to ignore these allegations, for now, is quite troubling and unfortunate. “It is totally inexplicable and unacceptable that the leader of our nation can assume that the nation can wait until such a time he feels the need to explain these grave allegations, some of which border on treason. “By his decision not to re-

spond to these allegations immediately, the President is keeping Nigeria and Nigerians in unnecessary and dangerous suspense,” the statement added. The party insisted that Nigerians had a right to know the truth about the allegations raised in the letter, stressing that the President owed the people an explanation. The PDM added: “It is not a matter of choice, it is a matter of duty for the President to respond immediately, failing which his government loses the legitimacy to continue to govern and he loses the moral right to continue to lead the country. “We view this decision by the President to defer a timely response seriously. We feel it is an abdication of duty and responsibility and it undermines the integrity of the office he occupies. It threatens the unity, peace and political stability of the nation. “In view of the above, the PDM calls on the National Assembly to discharge its duty and responsibility to the nation by compelling the President to offer an immediate response to the allegations levelled against him in the letter. “We call on the National Assembly to fully and painstakingly investigate these allegations, by asking the President to fully

to complete another form last Friday. According to her, “they told us that the arrested Electoral Officer for Idemili North has the list of all the staff who worked in the elections for Idemili North, so we cannot be paid until another list is constructed”. INEC is yet to provide the voucher for payment of electoral staff, another vital document requested by APC lawyers and ordered by the Gubernatorial Election Tribunal. “We will give them the benefit of the doubt till tomorrow as they requested,” Bona Oraekwe, member of the legal team said. The tribunal, headed by Justice J K Kaigama, last Wednesday, ordered INEC to avail APC of election materials used for the conduct of the governorship elections. They include voter register for the threephased elections. The court also granted the prayers of Emeka Ngige (SAN), leading a team of other lawyers for INEC to produce Forms EC8A,EC8B EC8C,EC8D, EC8G,EC8E (results sheets at all levels) used for the elections.

Court of Appeal justices and some members of the Bar are said to be unhappy with the likely imposition of a PCA from the Supreme Court. The last time a Justice of the Supreme Court led the Court of Appeal was in 1976 when the late Justice Dan Ibekwe was appointed as the pioneer PCA. A lawyer, Sunusi Musa, has also petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Maryam Alooma Mukhtar. A top source said: “The judges are not happy that there is a plan to circumvent seniority list in the Court of Appeal. They believe a distortion of the seniority list might give room for mediocrity and politicisation of the appellate court. “They also alleged that jettisoning of seniority may affect discipline and the morale of the judges because they will become desperate to lobby for elevation. “They said if the Supreme Continued on page 68


racy, the political careers and future of the governors should give them a sense of urgency and commitment to the task of working together to pursue peace and success for the Federal Government and the ruling party now Continued on page 68

ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 08099365644, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678



N NEWS EWS Ajudua for trial Feb. 12 for ‘defrauding’ Bamaiyi of $8.395m By Adebisi Onanuga

AGOS socialite, Mr Fred Ajudua, will be arraigned before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja on February 12, 2014, for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, of about $8.395 million. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC, which filed new charges against the suspect, said he would be arraigned alongside others with whom he allegedly committed the crime between November 2004 and June 2005. The fresh charges against Ajudua and others, dated October 14, comprise 13 counts of conspiracy and fraud. Other suspects to be arraigned Ajudua but said to be at large are: Alumile Adedeji (aka Ade Bendel), a man simply identified Mr Keneth and Princess Hamabon William. The EFCC alleged that Ajudua and the other suspects allegedly defrauded Bamaiyi at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, where he and other suspects were on remand for fraud also alleged that the suspects fraudulently collected the money from Bamaiyi, falsely claiming that it was part of the professional fees charged by a legal luminary to facilitate his release from prison. The anti-graft agency also alleged that Ajudua and the others fraudulently claimed that $1 million of the money collected from Bamaiyi was for financial assistance to treat Justice Olubunmi Oyewole’s father. The suspects were said to have told Bamaiyi that Oyewole’s father was admitted at St. Nicholas in Lagos and that $1 million was needed to assist the judge for the medical expenses of his father. Justice Ipaye adjourned the matter till February 12, 2014 for the arraignment.


•Residents of Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State marching during the inauguration of the local government’s chapter of Save Rivers Movement...on Sunday.

Jonathan launches 2014 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem

Boko Haram: 1,200 killed in seven months


HE United Nations (UN) yesterday said over 1,200 people have been killed as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast of Nigeria since a state of emergency was declared in the region in May. According to the World body in a statement, the figure is related to killings of civilians and the military by Boko Haram in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. It also includes insurgents killed by security forces repelling attacks. This is the first time independent casualty figures have been issued since emergency rule was declared. Thousands of people have been killed since 2009, when Boko Haram launched its campaign to install strict Islamic law in the north The figures do not include those killed during military operations, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) told French News Agency the (AFP) “The humanitarian situation in north-east Nigeria has been increasingly worrisome over the course of 2013,” the UN said. There have been 48 separate “Boko Haram-related” attacks in the region since emergency rule was declared, the statement added. “Information on the situation is scarce,” with figures of those displaced by the conflict and those who have fled to neighbouring states “hard to gauge”, Ocha said. Since the declaration of state of emergency in Borno state, of which Maiduguri is the capital, and Adamawa and Yobe, there has been a massive military deployment in the worst-affected areas. Attacks by Boko Haram are continuing despite the big military offensive. The military initially switched off the mobile network across the region, apparently to block Islamists from co-ordinating attacks but that has since been relaxed.


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday launched the 2014 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Over N105 million was donated by individuals and corporate bodies to the fund. Series of events on the emblem and the fund will end on January 15. The yearly event is for remembering and appreciating Nigerian military men who died in the service of the nation and their surviving colleagues who have retired from active service. Jonathan urged Nigerians to always show appreciation to ex-servicemen (Nigerian Legion) because the country survived many security challenges and emerged united

•Babangida, Abdulsalami, Buhari, Obasanjo absent From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

because of their sacrifices and heroic roles. According to him, some other countries are united and secure today because of the peacekeeping role of Nigerian armed forces. He said such sacrifices must not be forgotten. The President noted that the soldiers in service deserved honour for their courage and efforts in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and other parts of the world. Jonathan urged Nigerians and corporate bodies to support the Legion and wear the emblem in appreciation of its efforts and to encourage soldiers in active service to rekindle their hope of a decent life after retirement or

death. The President advised his ministers and senior public officials to always wear the emblem to public functions till January 15. He warned that any visitor wishing to see him at Aso Rock Villa without wearing the emblem could be turned back. Jonathan said: “I will like to encourage all Nigerians to procure and wear the emblem with pride throughout this period. In fact, for those who have the opportunity to have interaction with me within this period, if you do not wear it, please do not feel embarrassed if they turn you back.” “It will be a requirement for all our staff and visitors to wear the emblem to gain access to all government establish-

Amaechi: APC’ll protect Rivers people’s interests


IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has assured that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will protect the interests of the people. Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), spoke at the inauguration of the Eleme Local Government chapter of a pressure group, the Save Rivers Movement (SRM), at the playground of the Community Secondary School, Alode-Eleme. The event was also used for the defection of teeming Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in the area to the APC. The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Tele Ikuru, noted that his defection to the main opposition party was to protest the refusal of the leadership of the PDP to protect the interests of Rivers people. Amaechi said: “We will continue to move Rivers State forward. The people of Rivers State have a responsibility to protect themselves from outsiders and the vehicle to protect ourselves is the APC. “As long as all of you are behind us, we will continue to do things that will bring prosperity to the state and make the people happy.” The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Magnus Ngei Abe, blamed the Presidency

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

for the violation of the Constitution, especially the refusal of the Rivers Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu to take lawful directives from the governor, as stipulated in the constitution. Abe said: “If you look at the Constitution of Nigeria, Section 215 says the commissioner of police of a state shall obey all lawful directives of the governor of the state. The problem in Rivers State is that, that section of the constitution is being perverted, subverted and violated by the people who are supposed to uphold it. “Nobody should be calling the name of any minister, because no minister is seconded to Rivers State. No minister, even the Minister of Police Affairs, is on oath to upturn the Constitution of Nigeria. “We know those who are upturning the Constitution of this country. We know those who are saying the Constitution should not be respected and should not be obeyed. They are the ones causing trouble in Rivers State.” The senator also decried the refusal of the police to allow members of the Rivers House of Assembly to enter their offices. He urged Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar to direct Mbu to obey the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on the matter and to also take lawful directives from the governor.

Abe, who represents Rivers Southeast in the National Assembly, said: “As we speak, 25 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have been trying to go to the House, but the police, without any authorisation from the governor, are refusing them entry and access to the Assembly. “They (police) are saying they have not received a copy of the court judgment that said the Rivers State House of Assembly should be opened. Did they receive any court order before locking the Assembly complex?” Abe, a former Secretary to the Rivers State Government, also urged the IGP to end the Rivers political crisis and allow the Assembly to resume, in the interest of the Rivers people. The senator advised the IGP to direct Mbu to take lawful directives from the governor to ensure peace. The Interim Chairman of the APC in Rivers State, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, assured that the party would recover all the oil wells belonging to the state, which were ceded to neighbouring states, when it assumes power in 2015. The event was also attended by some members of House of Representatives supporting Amaechi. They included Chief Andrew Uchendu, Asita O. Asita; a former member of House of Representatives, Igo Aguma and the Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Oji Ngofa.

ments. I personally will put on the emblem from today till the end of the remembrance period; that is, January 15 of next year.” Minister of Information and Supervising Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku, decried the plight of the dependants of fallen heroes, whose family heads laid their lives for the unity and well-being of Nigeria and the world. He thanked Jonathan for his generous contribution and support to the Legion and urged the private sector to do same as a morale booster to retired and serving soldiers. The Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Micah Gaya, a retired army colonel, decorated President Jonathan with the emblem.




Saraki: I advised Tukur not to fight Nyako


CHIEFTAIN of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, at the weekend said he advised the embattled Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to avoid conflict with Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State. Saraki spoke in Ilorin when

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

he explained his defection and that of other defunct New PDP members to the APC. The former governor, who addressed party members at IleArugbo, explained that instead of ensuring an harmonious re-

lationship with Governor Nyako, Tukur became vindictive by dissolving the party’s Excos in his home state. The senator traced the problems in PDP to undue intervention of the party’s National Executive Council in the internal affairs of state chapters. He named the most affected states as Adamawa and Rivers.

The senator told his supporters that the defection to the APC was necessitated by the need to sustain the collective interest of the people and not out of selfish interest. Saraki urged party members and supporters to register when APC begins the exercise next year. Governor Abdulfatah

Ahmed said the non-reinstatement of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the party secretary, despite a court judgment, was among reasons the PDP had become retrogressive and devoid of respect for the rule of law. The governor promised the people that his administration, in 2014, would create 6,000 jobs.


Fish farmers deplore ‘breach of contract’ From Nwanosike Onu, Awka


HE Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the nation’s aqua culturists, under the aegis of Fishfarm Estate Developers Association, are quarrelling over an alleged breach of contract by the association. Members of the association have presented their documents on a tripartite agreement between them, the ministry and Fidelity Bank, for a systematic approval and release of the government’s special grant. Addressing reporters yesterday at Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, National President Maurice Ebo said the agreement with the ministry and the bank was on the disbursement of funds to boost fish production and exports. Ebo said the implementation progressed from the time of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua until Dr Akinwunmi took over and brought in a new acting director of Fisheries. The union leader accused the new director, who is from the Forestry Department,of lacking the disposition to handle policies relating to the trade. The association was to identify and guarantee beneficiaries before the bank would pay. Ebo alleged that since the acting director assumed office, contracts or disbursements to fish farmers had stopped.

Metuh: Tukur not quarrelling with PDP governors From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja


HE National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has distanced itself from a statement credited to Senator Abubakar Umar Gada, the Special Adviser to the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Bamangu Tukur. A statement yesterday in Abuja by PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, noted that Gada’s statement “suggested” that Tukur and some PDP governors were at loggerheads over some political issues. Metuh said the comments credited to Gada “does not in any way represent the true state of affairs in the party”. The statement added: “For the avoidance of doubt, the NWC enjoys a harmonious relationship with our governors, Board of Trustee (BoT) members, elders of the party and other key stakeholders, with the National Chairman piloting all in supporting President Goodluck Jonathan to deliver the Transformation Agenda for the good of all Nigerians.”

•From left: Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba; Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubike Ihejirika and Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, at the launch of the emblem for the 2014 Armed Forces Rememberance Day celebration in Abuja... yesterday.

SSANU: discard NEEDS Assessment report


EMBERS of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) yesterday urged the Federal Government to discountenance last year’s NEEDS Assessment reports. The report recommended the reduction of the non-teaching staff in public universities. SSANU said if the Federal Government implements the report, it might go on strike. SSANU’s National Vice President Comrade Alfred Jimoh spoke in Ilorin, Kwara State, at a lecture organised by its Western Zone. He said: “The unemployment market in Nigeria may be witnessing another increase, if federal and state governments are deceived into laying off the non-teaching staff under the guise that they are not involved in ‘core academic activities’ and a ploy to ‘halt’ their so-called ‘artificial growth in the system.’ “This lecture serves as part of the responses of the non-teaching staff to half truth/utter falsehood being celebrated and glorified as the best thing that has ever happened to the Nigerian public universities in the name of NEEDS Assessment Report.” Speaking on the topic, Public lecture on the report of the

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

committee on NEEDS Assessment of Nigerian public universities, Federal University of Agriculture Chairman AbdulSobur O. Salam said the NEEDS committee’s report had several flaws and errors. He said: “While some could be traced to ignorance on the part of the committee; some other aspects are deliberately created to protect the academic staff in the system. “We thus say that the purpose of the committee and its report have failed to ‘objectively and robustly examine the critical human, material and infrastructural need-gaps within the public universities and come up with practical solutions.’ “For there to be a proper repositioning of the Nigerian public university system, the NEEDS committee report must be discarded by the Federal Government. If we have to return, re-energise and relocate our public universities to glory, the process must start with a serious NEEDS assessment, not a work that is deep with incurable congenital and acquired defects...”

Kwara APC: rescuing Nigeria transcends all divides


EMBERS of the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have said the task of rescuing Nigeria from the doldrums transcends regional, ethnic, religious and political divides. The members hailed the efforts of the party’s national leadership for ensuring a broad-based coalition to rescue the country from collapse and hopelessness. In a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting, the members noted that “the task of rebuilding Nigeria requires all patriots, irrespective of political leanings to forge a common front to remake and redirect the country. We reaffirm the indispensability of building consensus and compromises, which are required to stabilise the polity, give our party a hard inner core, and make it a force to be reckoned with”.

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

The communiqué was signed by Alhaji Taiwo Eleja (Ex- state ANPP chairman), Alhaji Suleiman Buhari (ExCPC state chairman), Chief Kayode Olawepo (Ex-ACN chairman), Abdulrasheed Taiwo (Ex-APGA chairman), Tope Olayonu (member, Kwara State House of Assembly), Alhaji Hassan Oyeleke (member, Kwara State House of Assembly), Alhaji Abdullahi Sanmor (APC chieftain) and Alhaji Bala M. Lade (ex-APGA governorship candidate). The communiqué reads: “That it is in this light that we pledge the full cooperation of the existing APC members of the state with our friends from the PDP. We assure them that APC house is big enough to accommodate everyone, especially those who believe in our party’s

ideologies of justice, equity and economic prosperity for the good people of Nigeria. “We particularly recognise the pre-eminence of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and Senator Bukola Saraki and all other stakeholders of thought in the state. We note with delight their doggedness in fighting injustice in their former party and their commitment to the Nigerian ideals. We are convinced beyond doubt that these leadership qualities, among others, are in tandem with the vision and aspirations of the founding fathers of the APC. “Finally, we wish to assure members of the public, who have reposed so much hope and trust in the APC, that they shall not be disappointed. With APC taking charge of the government in the state, our supporters and sympathisers can beat their chests and

look forward to a more robust, boisterous and reflective government.” Some chieftains of the party loyal to the 2011 governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), headed by Rev. Bunmi Olusona, addressed reporters on the defection of Senator Bukola Saraki and Governor Ahmed. Olusona said: “While we welcome Senator Saraki and his members into the APC, he should not receive any privilege in his entry into the party; he should be allowed to establish himself and compete for his position. “We are glad that the APC is now considered nationwide as a formidable, attractive party, which is strong enough to the rebel governors in their battle for survival. This probably may constitute an added advantage in our collective struggle to liberate our country.”

‘Nigeria has no accredited laboratory’ From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja


HE Director-General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr Joseph Odumodu, has said there is no internationally accredited laboratory in Nigeria. This challenge, he said, makes it mandatory for products to be taken abroad for tests and certification before being accepted by the international community. Odumodu spoke in Abuja at the presentation of an overview on quality infrastructure. He noted that an accredited laboratory would reposition the country in the global market place.

Kwankwaso wins NUJ award From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


ANO State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has won the Fiscal Responsibility and Transparency in Governance award of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). NUJ’s National President Muhammed Garba presented the award to Kwankwaso at a ceremony in Abuja. Garba noted that the governor had excelled in prudent fiscal administration and realistic budget implementation. He said Kwankwaso was singled out for the award because he stopped leakages of funds in government, strengthened public institutions and improved the lives of Kano residents, especially those in the rural areas. The NUJ President said the award was aimed at encouraging leaders and individuals to provide services to their people and remain accountable and transparent at all times.



NEWS Suspended Ondo lawmaker knows fate tomorrow

Bola Ige Symposium postponed to Jan. 15, 16

From Damisi Ojo, Akure


ULING in the suit filed by suspended Ondo State lawmaker Mrs. Fola Olaseinde (Ose Constituency) was stalled yesterday, following the absence of Justice Olaseinde Kumuyi. It has been rescheduled for tomorrowat the Akure High Court 1. Mrs. Olaseinde, a lawyer, was suspended on June 18 for allegedly keeping fetish objects in her former apartment. A committee, headed by Mr. Olotu Fatai, was raised to probe the matter and submit its report within two weeks of her suspension. When nothing was heard from the committee after five months, Mrs. Olaseinde approached the court, seeking nullification of her suspension, her reinstatement and payment of her allowances. The court registrar said the ruling was deferred because the judge is on official assignment outside the state. Scores of Labour Party (LP) leaders and members from Ose Constituency were in court in solidarity with Mrs. Olaseinde.

Lagos Assembly confirms nominees By Oziegbe Okoeki


HE Lagos State House of Assembly confirmed yesterday Governor Babatunde Fashola’s nominees for the Water Regulatory Commission. Mr. Adesanya Sebioba is the chairman. Members are Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, Abimbola Onafowokan and Adedoyin Owolabi. The nominees were screened last week.



•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun inaugurating the Homeowners Charter Programme in Abeokuta, the state capital... yesterday. With him is his deputy, Prince Segun Adesegun and others.

Ajimobi pleads for forgiveness as he turns 64 O

YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday asked for forgiveness from those he may have wronged in the line of duty. He spoke at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex in Adamasingba, Ibadan, the state capital, during his 64th birthday celebration. Ajimobi dedicated his life to the service of humanity, pledging to do his best to improve the state. The event was preceded by thanksgiving services at the Government House Chapel and Mosque, where special prayers were offered for the governor. It was attended by eminent personalities, including the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III; the Olubadan, Oba Samuel Odu-

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

lana Odugade I; the Aare Musulumi of Ibadanland, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Arisekola-Alao; Ambassador Olusola Saanu; Chief Kola Daisi; politicians, religious and community leaders, traders and ordinary folks. Ajimobi thanked God for sparing his life and the people for their support, pledging not to let them down. He said: “Nobody can become anything except he is allowed by God. I know that my becoming governor was by the grace of God and the support of the people. I, therefore, have no choice than to continue to

work for the peace, progress and development of this state.” Oba Adeyemi offered special prayers for the governor. Oba Odugade said he was proud of Ajimobi as a true son of Ibadanland, adding that the development being witnessed in the state was last witnessed 60 years ago. Saanu thanked the governor for not disappointing the people, who gave him their mandate in 2011. Oyo State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief Akin Oke and Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON)

Yekini Popoola pledged to support the governor for a second term. A prominent Islamic scholar and preacher, Sheikh Muideen Ajani Bello, said the goodwill the governor enjoys from religious leaders was due to his “outstanding performance”, adding that the state is witnessing “unprecedented development”. Speaking with reporters after the ceremony, Ajimobi said his administration had given N25 million to traders, who were displaced by the clean-up of Ibadan. Ajimobi said it was the first tranche for traders displaced at Molete/Challenge. Traders on the road were removed and relocated to the Scout Camp.

How pastor, Briton, council chair were kidnapped

HE police in Lagos State have arrested two suspected kidnappers. They are suspected members of a gang that abducted a woman pastor and a Briton. The suspects were apprehended after the woman escaped from their uncompleted building hideout. Police sources told The Nation that the gang repeatedly raped their victim after kidnapping her. It was learnt that on the day she escaped, the gang went on an operation and left her in the care of a member. Sources said the woman ran out of the hideout after she pushed away her guard, who attempted to rape her again. It was gathered that the man’s head hit the wall and it took him some time to recover. When the guard realised that the woman had escaped, he reportedly ran away to avoid the gang leader’s wrath, leaving the Briton unguarded. It was learnt that residents gave the woman some clothes and took her and the Briton to Area N Police Command. Residents said they did not know that the uncompleted building was a kidnappers’ den. Other members of the gang, including their leader, simply identified as Sam, are

•Two suspects held

By Jude Isiguzo

still at large. Narrating how he became a member of the gang, one of the suspects, simply identified as Emeka, said he was a trader. He said he used to travel to Cotonou in Benin Republic to buy fairly-used clothes, adding that life became tough for him after Customs officers seized his goods. A police source said: “Emeka said after Customs officers seized his goods, his business collapsed. He said during Christmas and the New Yam festival, he used to go to his village with his friends to display his wealth, but all that stopped. “Emeka said he went to the village last December and saw Sam, who he had once assisted financially. He said he told Sam about his problems and Sam gave him N21,000. He said Sam told him to call him when he gets to Lagos. “As soon as he got to Lagos, he said he called Sam and they agreed to meet at a certain hotel, where he met four other men. Emeka said Sam told him to excuse them and he (Sam) discussed with the men for sometime. “After the meeting, Sam and Emeka drove to his house in Ajao Estate. At night, Emeka

said Sam woke him up and told him that he and the four men he (Emeka) saw at the hotel were professional kidnappers. “He said Sam told him they do not kill, but threaten their victims. He said Sam told him that his uncompleted building in the village was being financed by money gotten from kidnapping. He said Sam told him he would soon become rich again, if he joined them. “He said Sam told him to meet him on a Saturday at a hotel on the international airport road, but because it was raining, he waited for him under a bridge. He said Sam and four others in his vehicle picked him up and they went to Ajah. “He said Sam was driving and repeatedly kept making phone calls. After one of the calls, Emeka said Sam became angry, but did not say why. He said the phone rang again, but Sam refused to pick it. He said a vehicle overtook theirs and Sam said confirmed. He said Sam overtook the vehicle and on sighting armed men, the driver jumped out and ran away. “Investigations revealed that the driver, Jude Muyiwa, planned the kidnap of his boss, a local government chairman. When the driver abandoned his boss, some of

the kidnappers took over the car while Emeka and Sam remained in the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) the gang came with. The SUV followed the Black Toyota Yaris, which the gang had snatched, along with its occupant. “They drove for about an hour until they got to an uncompleted building at Ogijo where the victim was stripped naked. The gang members knew their victim was a local government chairman, but Emeka said he found out when they reached the uncompleted building. The kidnappers used the victim’s phone to contact his family and demanded ransom. “One of the kidnappers, who spoke Hausa fluently, identified as Innocent, was the one communicating with the family. After four days of negotiations, the chairman was dropped off at a filling station close to Onipanu. “Later, Sam told Emeka that they collected N5 million ransom from the victim’s family. Emeka collected N500,000 as his share. Emeka said after that deal, there was nothing for almost two weeks. “The third week, Sam called Emeka, explaining that there was another operation. This time, they kidnapped a Briton, who worked with Chevron, and kept him at the uncom-

pleted building. While negotiation was ongoing for the Briton’s release, the gang kidnapped the woman pastor. They contacted her husband and demanded N20 million. “Later, Sam raped the woman, followed by Innocent and Emeka. She was kept permanently naked, to allow them easy access to rape her anytime they wanted. Initially, the gang demanded N50 million as ransom for the Briton, but settled for N25 million.” Emeka said: “The woman used to cry every day. She also used to pray continuously and I felt sorry for her.”

CTIVITIES marking the 12th Bola Ige Memorial Anniversary, earlier slated for Wednesday and Thursday, have been postponed to January 15 and 16. The two-day event includes a symposium and the showing of the film, Ofin-Ga, by renowned playwright Prof. Akinwumi Isola. At the symposium, Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) will speak on Impacts of unresolved political assassinations on future elections and on Nigeria’s security; and National Conference according to Bola Ige’s dream. Isola will chair the symposium. Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief Bisi Akande will be the father of the day. APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is expected as the chief guest of honour. Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola will be the special guest of honour. Governors, lawmakers and the Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN) are expected at the symposium. Inspector-General of Police M.D. Abubakar and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega will speak on assassinations, security and elections in Nigeria. Lead discussants are Ekiti State Deputy Governor Prof. Dupe Adelabu; Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji; Oyo State House of Assembly Speaker Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu; Southwest Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Prince Kunle Ayantoye and Chairman, Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State Ayo Adewale. The events will hold at 6pm on January 15 and 11am on the 16th. The venues remain the Arts Theatre and Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan (U.I.). Chairman of the Organising Committee Awa Bamiji said the postponement was in response to appeals by students, who are off campus because of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike. The late Ige started his political career/unionism as a student in UI.






Senator Tinubu holds musical fiesta for youths


HE Annual Musical Youth Fiesta organised by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central District) was held yesterday at the Expo Centre of the Eko Hotels and Suites on Victoria Island, Lagos. About 5,000 youths were expected, but more turned out. Youths from various church denominations and musical groups displayed their skills at the four-hour fiesta. Guests, including the wife of the Lagos State governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola; her Ogun State counterpart, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun; former Lagos State Deputy Governor Mrs. Sarah Sosan; the Asoju Oba of Lagos, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas; Dr. Stella Okoli and Lagos State House of Assembly Deputy Leader Lola Akande, took to the dance floor as the youths sang melodious songs. Senator Tinubu said: “I thank God for taking us this far. The vision given to me in 2011 was to bring about 5,000 youths together under one roof to entertain people. In 2011, the theme was ‘One church’; 2012 was ‘Dare to be like Joseph’; this year’s theme is ‘The Generation that seeks Him’. “All we offer as an organisation will not have been possible without the Lord, who blessed us with many individuals and corporate bodies, who have partnered us. Be blessed by all God provides for you in this fiesta and, please, go out there and transform your community. Remember that your life is incomplete until you are committed to the community. Do this with the fear of God and our world will be better for it.” She wished the people a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Dame Fashola, who described Senator Tinubu as ‘Grandma of the state’, saluted her efforts to give youths a sense of belonging. She urged youths to use the opportunity presented at the fiesta to showcase their talents. According to her, the gathering was to fellowship with one another and discover talents.

•From right: Mrs Fashola; Mrs. Amosun; Senator Tinubu; Mrs. Akande; Okoya-Thomas and Mrs. Tosin Bakare...yesterday. By Tajudeen Adebanjo

“We all belong to different denominations but we have come here to praise God. The generation that seeks Him will have all the good things of life,” she added. Mrs. Amosun said: “It is astonishing to see the amount of talents being showcased here. I saw the angelic performance of these youth and marveled. No doubt, this platform provides an opportunity for you all to be noticed outside this hall.” The performances that thrilled the gathering included those of the Enoch Peter-led Enoch and Group band; the Christ Apostolic Church (C.A.C.), Ebute Meta choir; Oluwatobi Befo-led Tobi Sax; the Acapella Band and the Mountain of Fire (MFM) Guitar choir. Chairman of the Organising Commitee Jide Sanwo-Olu thanked those who supported the fiesta. Sanwo-Olu, a former Lagos commissioner for Establishment, said: “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. Your selfless contributions have made this event and its impact in the lives of youths possible. “We recognise and acknowledge with gratitude the talents displayed by our participating choirs, drama groups, bands and individuals, who performed beautifully this (yesterday) afternoon. May the joy you bring us be multiplied in your lives. “I believe the success and future of nations lie in the hands of today’s youths. And if young people have strong values, the best education, good health, right priorities and full sincerity, then we can say that the future is bright. “We say a big thank you to all our young people for coming and being a major part of the fiesta. May your futures be great, bringing pride to your parents, generation and the entire nation.” Senator Tinubu rewarded the early birds at the event with phones and iPads. Among the beneficiaries were MFM Director Dr. Joseph Olubukola; Bode Omojorin from EtiOsa Local Government and Moyo Ojikutu from Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area (LCDA).

•From right: Prince Rotimi Agunsoye; Dr. Foluke Bello and Prof. Ibiyemi Bello.

•Some youths playing the violin.

•A boy playing the violin.

•Participants from Yaba Local Government. PHOTOS: NIYI ADENIRAN

•Some youths playing the trumpet.




EFCC: we can’t meet our obligations


•Agency has less than N2m in its kitty


HE Economic and Finacial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday lamented that its operations are being hampered by lack of funds. The commission’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Adegboyega spoke at a public hearing on the bill to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA) organised by Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes in Abuja. Adegboyega said the poor financial position of the EFCC was made known to the Senate committee during its oversight visit to the agency. He said the anti-graft agency was cash-strapped to the extent that, at the present, it has less than N2 million in its account. He said: "I could recollect when the committee paid an oversight visit we did make our financial position known to the committee that as at now EFCC do not have N2 million in its accounts. "We have been complaining that no money has been released for us for operations. As at now we don't have up to N2 million. "If we can afford to pay salary this month (December), that is all. That is the position under which we operate." The EFCC secretary also opposed the Bill which seeks to establish the NFIA as an independent financial intelligence agency.

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

He claimed that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) currently domiciled within the EFCC was discharging its responsibility efficiently without complaints from financial institutions. He said if granted an autonomous status, the FIU would become exposed to desperate politicians who are capable of securing court injunctions to frustrate EFCC's operations. He said: "All the (existing) FIU needs is adequate funding to continue its work. This bill (NFIA) is unnecessary and should be jettisoned." The Director, Legal Services, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Amusa Ogundana, who represented the CBN Governor, supported the establishment of NFIA. Ogundana, however, suggested that Section 6(g) of the NFIA Bill should be deleted because it imposed supervisory and regulatory functions on the agency. He criticised the "supervisory" function provided for in Section 6(g) of the proposed Bill, saying it is in breach of the Money Laundering Act. He said: "CBN is wholeheartedly in support of having this bill sail through. We believe it will strengthen the administrative and operational performance of the agency." Representative of the National Drug Law and Enforcement

•EFCC chair Ibrahim Lamorde

Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Joseph Sunday, noted that the FIU as presently structured lacked a legal status. Sunday, who is the NDLEA Director of Prosecution Services, said the agency supported the bill because it would empower the FIU to effectively disseminate financial intelligence to law enforcement agencies. Similarly, Mrs Blessing Egbefor, representing the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said the bill, when passed into law, would strengthen the fight against financial crimes. She said: "NAPTIP supports the bill, so that the FIU can discharge its administrative and operational functions with greater autonomy." The Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), State Security Services (SSS), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) were among the agencies that supported the Bill. Earlier, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Senator Victor Lar, urged the stakeholders to ensure that their inputs were in the national interest.

ASUU: NEEDS Implementation body raises monitoring teams

HE NEEDS Assessment Implementation Committee for public universities has constituted monitoring teams to oversee the execution of projects on the campuses of the 59 federal and state universities. They are to benefit from the Federal Government’s N100 billion intervention fund. The constitution of the monitoring teams was the high point of the meeting which held at the Benue Governor's Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja. The meeting, chaired by Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam was attended by Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike; representatives of the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Education Senator Atiku Bagudu and Dr Macjohn Nwaobiala, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), and leaders of industrial unions in the university system (NASU, SSANU and NAATS) with the Acting Executive Secretary of TETFund as Secretary. Members of the committee include the Minister of Education, Minister of Labour,Senator Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, Hon Jerry Alagbaoso, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Education, Executive Secretary NUC, Chairman Board of TeTFund, Presidents of ASUU, NASU, SSANU and NAATS while Mr.Ifiok Ukim,Head of Legal Services at TeTFund will serve as Secretary. The Committee constituted

six monitoring teams for the six geo- political zones with responsibility to monitor project implementation in all the universities within the zones. The North- Central team which has Hajia Hindat Abdullahi as chairperson will monitor the projects in the zone. Mr Oluwole Oluleye will chair the monitoring committee for northeast zone. The Northwest has Mallam Aliyu Na'Iya, Acting Executive Secretary of TeTFund as Chairman with Prof. Kimse Okoko, Chairman, Committee of Pro- Chancellors as Chairman of Southeast Monitoring Sub-Committee. The Southsouth Team will be led by Mrs Sarah Alade (Deputy Governor, Economic Policy), representative of CBN

while the representative of the NNPC, Dr Dan Efebo will chair the Monitoring Team for the Southwest geo- political zone. Suswam urged the teams to take the assignment seriously. He described the exercise as a call to national service. The Benue governor appealed to the governing councils of the 59 benefitting universities in the first phase of the intervention programme to expedite action on their procurement processes so that the actual work on the projects will begin in earnest. The Federal Government had last month disbursed N100billion to the public universities in a bold move to redress the serious infrastructural deficit in the university system.

Fire razes 100 homes in Lagos


By Jude Isiguzo

O fewer than 100 makeshift houses were burnt in Ilaje, Bariga, a Lagos suburb yesterday. It was learnt that the fire started in the early hours of yesterday and was caused by a generator explosion in one of the shanties. Although nobody died in the incident, all property on five acres of land were razed, rendering scores of people homeless. Director of the state fire service, Razaq Fadipe, said on the telephone that the firefighters spent three hours to put out the fire. Fadipe said the service also expended 60,000 litres of water to douse the flames. He said, "Around 12.33am, we were alerted of a fire in the area and we deployed three trucks from Alausa, Ikeja and Ilupeju fire stations. Each of the tankers contained 10,000 litres and we had to refill each tanker before we could put out the fire around 3.45am. "Upon investigation, we discovered that the fire was caused by a generator which exploded. We therefore advise Lagosians to avoid putting generators on tyres because due to the vibration, the generators sometimes fall over, spill fuel and catch fire." Meanwhile, it was learnt that three stores and two shops were damaged by fire at 238 Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba while a lockup shop was also consumed by fire in Ikeja area of the state.

NEWS (SHOWBIZ) Lagos Speaker, KSA for PMAN’s carnival By Babatunde Sulaiman


ESTERDAY, another landmark event was recorded in the annals of the entertainment industry in Nigeria, as the much-hyped music exhibition and carnival organised by the Performing Musicians and Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Lagos State branch, kicked off at the open ground of the Lagos State Council for Art and Culture, Ikeja, Lagos. Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, is billed to speak on “The necessity for entertainment-enabling laws in Lagos State” on Wednesday, December 18, while ace Juju musician, King Sunny Ade, will speak on “Music, the big machine that will rank into any platform”. Also, former governor of Lagos PMAN, Dr. Adewale Ayuba, will deliver a lecture titled “Curbing the menace of piracy”. While speaking on this event, the incumbent governor of Lagos PMAN, Kabiyesi Ayinde Olomide, said the music exhibition and carnival is in conjunction with the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture. According to him, “The idea is a new innovation aimed at telling the history of the now buoyant music industry. Some people don’t know the history of music. They don’t know where the industry is coming from. All these old format of music presentations will be on parade at the exhibition centre.”

•Soyinka flanked by performing artistes at the event

Soyinka gathers poets, activists for Mandela


RIOR to the interment of the late South African President, Nelson Mandela, at a private ceremony in Qunu, his country home, on Sunday, the Nigerian art community last Friday took time out to celebrate the memories of the late freedom fighter. Led by Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, it was an assemblage of political activists, public commentators and literary figures, who are noted for their undaunted campaigns for good governance. The passing of the South African icon provided yet another opportunity to mirror the unique place of sacrifice in leadership. Through thought-provoking poems, musicals and dance drama, the crowd, at the Freedom Park, venue of the Lagos Tribute, savoured with great interest, the eulogies on an

By Victor Akande

extraordinary mortal. Grammy nominee, Femi Kuti, excited the crowd, performing with his Positive Force Band. His show at the event was complemented by other groups, including the Lagos City Chorale, Crown Troupes of Africa and the Black Image Theatre, among others. High-ranking Nigerians at the event included the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; his counterpart from Rivers State, Honourable Rotimi Amaechi; Consulate General of the South Africa, Lulu Louis Mnguni; Director-General, Centre for Black Arts and African Civilisation, CBAAC, Professor Tunde Babawale; Barrister Femi Falana; Professor J.P Clark; President of Campaign for Democracy (CD), Dr. Joe Odumakin; Professor Kole Omotosho

and literary guru, Odia Ofeimun, among others. Soyinka’s poem, No, I Say, was a rendition that highlighted selflessness, courage and sacrifice, dwelling on Mandela’s refusal to trade his incarceration for freedom at the expense of other activists who were serving in other prisons. The poem explains how Mandela refused to accept some negotiations, in spite of how some African leaders had pressed him into accepting conditions for his release. Governor Amaechi launched a direct one on the political situation in Nigeria, asking for a common rise against corruption and corrupt leaders. “You heard about $50 billion, but nobody is talking. In some countries, people will be on the streets. If you don’t take your destiny in your hand, we,

leaders, will continue to steal. It is because you have stoned nobody that we are stealing,” Amaechi said, with reference to the money said to be missing from the Excess Crude Account. Reacting to the governor’s remarks, Ofeimum urged Nigerians to join hands by wrestling corrupt leadership as a way of returning the country to its past glory. His rendition, through a dance drama, A feast of return, complemented his thoughts on the issue. One would have thought that his position was pre-planned to meet the governor’s query. Known for his elevated literary style on political matters, Governor Aregbesola noted that Mandela was not only the symbol of the struggle, but an individual who defined the trajectory of his country. He took his peg from the

rare spirit of forgiveness, which Mandela preached after his release. He described Mandela’s ingenuity as an “unsurpassable grace and that he (Mandela) brought no baggage of malice from prison. And he still forgave his jailers.” Everybody who spoke at the event left no one in doubt of the virtuous life of Mandela, hinging their thoughts on the need to immortalize him by emulating his legacy. Apparently impressed by the gathering and all that was said about his countryman, Mnguni thanked the organizers, while also noting that “We have lost a giant and we are going to miss him visiting the sick, old people’s homes, orphanages and home of abandoned children. We are going to miss that voice that preaches reconciliation, respect for fellow men and peace.”






“Until recently, the Nigerian banking industry had not given much attention to sustainability beyond ticking off environmental impact assessment on checklist for credit risk assessment for evaluation of loan applications, other jurisdictions have for decades been engraving sustainability ethos in their financial system,” –CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

CBN to restore confidence in banking system

‘Cashless’ll limit cash usage’ From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba


From Yusufu Aminu Idegu,



HE Central Bank of Ni geria (CBN) has said bank customers deserve effective service and must derive maximum satisfaction in their transaction with banks across the country. Director, Consumer Protection Department of the CBN, Hajiya Khadizat Kasim, who made this known in Jos yesterday in a press conference, said the apex bank has put up several measures aimed at protecting consumers and restoring confidence in the financial system. “In line with the mandate of CBN to promote a sound and stable financial system as enshrined in the CBN Act, the consumer protection department saddled with the responsibility of regulating conduct of financial services providers, will not shy away from that responsibility, she said, adding that it was lack of consumer sophistication amongst several other factors that was responsible for the near collapse of the financial system in the recent past.” She said the apex bank introduced several reforms to sanitise and stabilise the financial system and consumer protection was included as a cardinal component of the reform program. “Protecting the consumers can be achieved through intensive consumer enlightenment activities. We must increase awareness and understanding of financial products and services and empower Nigerians with requisite knowledge to make informed choice and take effective action that will enhance their financial well-being.

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

• From left: Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Osun State on Public Affairs, Mr Femi Adeniran; Group CEO Interbrand, Mr Doug de Villiers and Chairman/CEO, Phillips Consulting Nigeria, Mr Folusho Phillips, at a breakfast meeting on Enterprise Brand Valuation held in Lagos.

Fed Govt to prosecute telcos over poor service quality By Simeon Ebulu

• Mrs Johnson


HE Federal Govern ment yesterday threat ened to institute legal action against any erring telecom operator in the country in a fresh move to address the vexed issue of poor service delivery(QoS) in the telecoms sector. The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Jonhson, who made this known yesterday in Lagos, said the Ministry of Communications Technology, the Consumer Protection of Nigeria (CPN) and the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), are collaborating to sanction or prosecute erring telecoms operators that have been delivering poor quality service to Nigerians. She lamented that despite the fact that the ministry has been working relentlessly to provide an enabling environment for the deployment of ICT infrastructure, such as Base Transmission Stations (BTS) and Optic Fibre Cable (OFC), the poor service quality persisted, adding that the pains subscribers go through necessitated the collaboration with the NCC and CPC. She said henceforth, subscribers with genuine cases that seek redress, will promptly get reprieve in such cases as usage irregularities, inaccurate billing and opportunities to opt out of unsolicited SMS messages. She said subscribers are daily faced with poor network service delivery that makes it impossible for consumers to receive calls. The Minister listed drop calls and lack of sustainability of calls, unsolicited text messages at odd hours,

unsolicited telemarketing calls, deceptive broadband speed adverts by some service providers and failure of service delivery without compensation to consumers, as other challenges faced by the subscribers. Mrs. Johnson said insufficient customer care lines, unrelenting sales promotion, despite poor network service delivery, non-compensation to consumers for loss of airtime and poor service delivery, and network insecurities characterised by uncontrollable interruptions on networks by unidentifiable third parties, are additional hurdles consumers contend with. Operators have in the last few years listed challenges confronting and limiting their ability to deliver effective quality service, such as multiple regulation and taxation, Illegal access denials and site shut-outs, inadequate power supply, lack of incentives to drive service penetration to the remote and rural areas, rent seeking charges for permits and approvals necessary for deployment and security, among other issues, she said. But to address some of these obstacles, she said the ministry, in partnership with the Ministry of Works, developed new Right of Way (RoW) guidelines for Federal Government roads to enable operators have unencumbered means of laying OFC which is critical for infrastructure development and quality of service, and to remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations that impede telecoms development across the nation. Mrs Johnson state Governors and relevant authorities both at the state and federal levels have agreed to address the issue of multiple taxation and adopt measures that will remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations to enhance service delivery across the nation. She said an agreement has been reached with the Lagos

State Governor, Babatunde Fashola to remove constraints to the installation, rollout and deployment of BTS and OFC in the state. She said Lagos State has agreed to reduce taxes, and levies in Lagos by over 40 per cent and RoW fees were reduced from N3000 to N500, adding that the Federal Government will no longer condone poor service delivery to subscribers.

It’s no longer shall be business as usual, stressing that operators must rise up to redress the current poor state of quality service delivery She said: “We are concerned that the poor quality issues still abound. I am inundated with complaints about quality of service and the seemingly uncaring attitude of our telecoms’ operators to resolve these issues on a regular basis.

N Don at the Depart ment of Marketing, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Anyaogu Peter Maduabughichi, has described the recently introduced cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as one that would curb some of the negative consequences associated with the high usage of cash in the economy. Anyaogu, who spoke at the annual lecture of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria held in Aba, Abia State, entitled, ‘Database Marketing in Nigeria’s Cashless Economy: Challenges and Prospects,’ said that high cash usage enables corruption, leakages and money laundering among Nigerians. He listed informal economy, high subsidy, inefficiency, corruption, high cost of cash, and high subsidy, as other negative consequences associated with high usage of physical cash in the economy. He said the policy was introduced to “drive development and modernisation of our payment system, and as well improve the effectiveness of monetary policy in managing inflation and driving economic growth. He said if the cashless policy is well packaged and adequate facilities are provided up to the rural communities, especially as it relates point of sales (POS) terminals, it woild enhance and facilitate exchange process.




Alleged N27.5b theft: Court declines Atuche’s application to dismiss charges


USTICE Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos High Court yesterday dismissed an application filed by a former Managing Director of the defunct BankPHB, Mr. Francis Atuche challenging the jurisdiction of the court to try him. Justice Okunnu held that the trial of the former Managing Director of defunct BankPHB will continue in the court. Atuche is standing trial alongside his wife, Elizabeth and former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, Ugo Anyanwu over the alleged N25.7 billion theft charged preferred them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC). At the resumed trial of the matter on Monday, the court declined to consider the decision of the court of appeal which said that only federal high courts have jurisdiction on charges bordering on capital market offences as in the

By Adebisi Onanuga

case of a former Managing Director of defunct Fin Bank, Mr. Okey Nwosu. Atuche, had urged the Court to dismiss the charge against him and his wife, Elizabeth on the ground that the subject matter of the charges against them emanated from the issue of acquisition of shares of the bank. He had argued then that the control of capital issue is item 12 on the Exclusive Legislative list in the 1999 constitution and same exclusive to the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court by virtue of Section 251(1) of the 1999 constitution and section 7 (3) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 Cap F12. But Justice Okunnu in her ruling delivered after parties had finished their arguments declined to grant Atuche’s application. The trial judge held that granting the application to dis-

miss the charges would amount to preempting the decision of the court appeal in an appeal filed by Atuche on June 22, 2011, in which he had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the charge. Justice Okunnu said, it will amount to judicial rascality to do so and therefore opted to continue with the trial pending the determination of Atuche;s appeal at the appeal court on the same issue of jurisdiction. The judge subsequently adjourned till March 10, 2014 for continuation of trial Atuche had in the motion filed by his counsel, Chief Anthony Idigbe SAN and supported with a four paragraph affidavit deposed to one, Martins Nwankwo, contended that the Lagos High Court does not have the power and jurisdiction to review and make judicial pronouncements on most of the exhibits tendered so far; the exhibits being subject of

item12 of the Exclusive legislative list . He had further contended that the court cannot reach a fair, just and whole decision at the end of the trial without considering the Exhibits bordering on capital market issues upon which the court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate by virtue of the 1999 constitution. But counsel to the EFCC Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) in their notice of preliminary objection to the motion urged the court to dismiss in limine ( from beginning) for being scandalous, frivolous and vexatious. The anti-graft agency in the motion filed December 3, 2013, also contended that the plaintiffs were gambling with the process of the court contrary to the Supreme court decision in Abubakar v. Yar’adua (2008) 4 NWLR (Pt.1120). EFCC therefore urged the court to dismiss the motion being vexatious and abuse of court process.

Etisalat supports SMEs at 2nd Nigeria Leadership Summit Etisalat said it is commited to the development of the Nigerian youth through empowerment and identifying with their goals and passion. The company stated this at the just concluded 2013 Nigeria Leadership Summit, which held in Lagos. The three-day summit, organised by Anabel Leadership Academy, in conjunction with Etisalat Nigeria, started on December 9, with

a two day conference tagged “Let’s get to work”, put together for the youth and entrepreneurs. The summit ended with a grand finale that was attended by prominent Nigerians, including Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Commonwealth Secretary General and renowned diplomat, who led the launch of the ‘Empower Nigeria Initiative’ and ‘One Million Jobs for the Nigeria

Project.’ Speaking on the ‘Empower Nigeria Initiative,’ Head, Business Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Bidemi Ladipo, said that Etisalat has always supported youth entrepreneurship programs across the country, citing examples of the annual Market Access and EasyBusiness Millionaire Hunt, a scheme designed to provide grants of up to N20

million in support of SMEs, as some of the ways Etisalat supports entrepreneurship development. “In support of the Empower Nigeria Initiative, Etisalat is giving out free EasyBusiness lines to all registered members of the Empower Nigeria Initiative. The Etisalat SIM cards will be given to every small business owner irrespective of the number of staff they have.


Inflation rises 7.9% in November

ONSUMER Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation in November rose by 7.9 per cent yearon-year. The development is a marginal increase of 0.1 per centage points from the 7.8 per cent recorded in October. According to the CPI statement issued by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this is the first uptick in yearon-year rates recorded in four months, even as rates remain in single digit range for the 11th consecutive month. Eleven of the twelve Classification of Individual Consumption according to Purpose (COICOP) Divisions recorded increases during the month, which was also evident in both the Food and Core sub-indices. It reads: “Similar to the Headline index, the Food sub-index also increased for the first time in four months. Prices increased in major food classes such as Meat, Fish as well as Bread and Cereals. However, the impact of the harvest continues to be observed in some classes as moderations were observed in Dairy, Fruit, Vegetables, Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa classes. The core subindex continues to edge higher on a year-on-year basis, increasing for the fifth consecutive month. There were moderations however in the Electricity, Gas, and other classes such as Major Household Appliances and Household Textiles amongst

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

others. “It should be noted that the Headline Index is made up of the Core Index and Farm Produce i tems. As Processed Foods are included in both the Core and Food sub-indices, this implies that these sub-indices are not mutually -exclusive. After increasing at the same rate for the previous two months (on a monthon-month basis), the Headline index increased by 0.72 per cent in November. This was lower than the 0.75 per cent increase recorded in October. “The Urban Composite CPI was recorded at 150.2 points in November. This represented an 8.1 per cent yearon-year increase, 0.2 percentage points higher from the 7.9 per cent year-on-year change recorded in October. The corresponding Rural National CPI recorded a 7.8 per cent year-on-year change in November, unchanged from October. On a monthon-month basis, the Urban All-items index increased by 0.8 per cent in November, increasing at the same rate over the last three months, while the Rural All Items index was recorded at 0.68 per cent, marginally down from 0.73 recorded in October. “The percentage change in the average Composite CPI for the twelve-month period ending in November 2013 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelvemonth








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



•A portion of the bare farm

In the Lagos social circle, the Rhodes family stands out. The late Chief Babasola Rhodes (SAN) was an eminent member of the family. Nine years after his death, his family is squabbling over his multi-billion naira property, SEYI ODEWALE reports.


INE years after the death of prominent Lagos lawyer and former Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC) Chief Babalola Rhodes (SAN), his children and relatives are locked in legal battles over his estate. In two separate suits before the Lagos High Court and the Federal High Court, the parties are laying claim to the estate of Rhodes, who died on October 8, 2004. Novojo Farms and fisheries Company Ltd., Mrs Clara Oye Otoki and Olayinka Rhodes (Jnr) are plaintiffs in both suits in which Mrs Biola Babalola and Miss Mojisola Rhodes are defendants. In a 45-paragraph statement of claim deposed to after filing a writ of summons at the Federal High in Lagos on July 23, last year, the plaintiffs said the defendants were no longer directors of the estate and farm. They are seeking these reliefs: “An order that the defendants (ie Mrs Biola Babalola and Miss Mojisola Rhodes) ceased to be directors of NOVOJO Farms (the 1st plaintiff herein) pursuant to the instruction of the late Rhodes and the abandonment of their responsibilities to the 1st plaintiff for over 20 years; “An order mandating the 2nd plaintiff to notify forthwith the documentation of the 1st plaintiff (NOVOJO Farms) with the Corporate Affairs Commission (the shareholding inclusive); “An order mandating the defendants to return forthwith all documents taken pertaining to 1st plaintiff (NOVOJO Farms and Fisheries Company Limited); “An order restraining the defendants or their agents from further hounding, threatening and using state security apparatus against the plaintiffs and “An order restraining the defendants or their agents, from further parading themselves as directors of the 1st Plaintiff.” The deponent to the document of claim, Mrs. Otoki (the 2nd plaintiff), who claimed to be of the same mother with the late Rhodes, averred that to keep the memory of their mother alive, they named Novojo Farms after her. “The 2nd plaintiff avers that the late Rhodes and her were both of the same mother, who bears the name Novojo.

Trouble in the house of Rhodes

•Family divided over late lawyer’s estate Amongst the siblings of four to wit: i. Yinka Rhodes (Snr), ii. Babasola Rhodes (SAN), iii. Mrs Clara Oye Otoki (Nee Eweka) iv. Steven Osayande Eweka: she and the late Chief Babasola Rhodes (SAN) were the closest. In order to keep the memory of their late mother alive, the project was named after their late mother. Hence, the name Novojo Farms and Fisheries Company Ltd,” paragraph seven of the claim said. The 2nd plaintiff avers that after the incorporation, the 1st plaintiff (NOVOJO Farms) applied to the Lagos State government for the allocation of land for the purpose of its objects. The government graciously granted the 1st plaintiff 38,496

hectares of land at Oko-Ado in Eti-Osa Local Government Area. The land was delineated on Survey Plan no LS/D/ LA371. Certificate of Occupancy with registration no: Ag/ 23/23/1991 was effectively issued to the 1st plaintiff. The Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is pleaded and shall be relied upon.” Unable to secure long term loan for the farm, the late Rhodes, the deponent averred, sold a considerable number of plots to start the project. “The late Rhodes sold considerable numbers of plots. Part of the money realised from the sale, the chief used in the development of the residential part of the land, i.e. the building of the farm house, gymnasium and recreation centre”, she said. Mrs Oye Otoki went on: “The 2nd plaintiff avers that sometimes in late 1991 and in early 1992, she and the late Chief Babasola Rhodes (SAN) sat down to fully discuss the issue of the shareholding of the 1st plaintiff and who should be part of its directors, and whether they should mortgage their mother’s estate to raise fund. In the process of the meeting, “the 2nd plaintiff avers that she and the late Chief Babasola Rhodes (SAN) agreed that the grand-children be intermittently brought in as directors to manage the project. Vide a registered resolution of the Board dated 14/4/1992; the 3rd plaintiff and the defendants were made directors. The resolution dated 14/4/1992 is pleaded and shall be relied upon.” The statement went further in paragraphs 17, 18, 20, 21 and 22. “The 2nd plaintiff avers that sometimes in the mid/late 90s the late Chief Babasola Rhodes (SAN) had serious challenges with his two daughters-the defendants herein, and insisted that they should be stripped of his personal interests.” Sometimes in 2000, the defendants deserted their father. Upon insistence of the late Chief Babasola Rhodes (SAN), it was agreed that the names of Miss Biola Rhodes (Mrs Biola Babalola) and Miss Mojisola Rhodes (the 1st and 2nd defendants) be removed as directors and same to be replaced •Continued on page 15





‘Lagos needs N400b to protect its coastline’ Many believe that the Eko Atlantic City belongs to the Lagos State government. But the Commissioner for Waterfront and Infrastructure Development, Prince Adesegun Oniru, whose ministry oversees the project, says the state is only playing a supervisory role on the private initiative. He spoke with Seyi Odewale.


HO are the true owners of Eko Atlantic City? The owner of Eko Atlantic City is called South Energyx Nigeria Limited. The role being played by the Lagos State government is supervisory South Energyx was given a 78-year Certificate of Occupancy to own the place. Eko Atlantic came into being as a result of ocean surges, which usually happen at the Lagos Bar Beach. They are a thing of the past. The state spent money to put a permanent solution to it as it were, in 2005/2006 to protect Victoria Island (VI) from flooding and regular ocean surge. And the next phase after this is to reclaim what was lost to the Atlantic Ocean. And purely, that is what Eko Atlantic City is all about, to reclaim back what had been lost to the Atlantic Ocean and to develop it to decongest Victoria Island from the commercial activities that are going on there now. Can you give an update on the City? The state of things in the Atlantic City is that the city has reclaimed beyond five million square metres of land. When it reached five million square metres of land, former United States (US) President, Bill Clinton was invited to showcase what we have done. As far as everyday development is concerned, the first building is being constructed. They are now pilling. Secondly, infrastructure works are on-going. These include roads,

drainage and other key things. The city is developing and allottees are being given their land of various sizes in the city. This is a plus for Lagos State and this is a big-plus for developers that are spending money to develop the city. Is there a time frame for the development of the city? There is nothing to do with time that does not have financial aspect to it. The developer, like I said, has 78 years, so the onus is on that developer to ensure that the city is developed on time. We cannot control the pace of development in the area. Ours is to ensure that all we agreed upon are adhered to. Will those that own plots in the city be given a tax holiday? The city in question is within Lagos State. There are rules and regulations to be adhered to if you must live in Lagos. And because that city is still within Lagos, there will be no concession whatsoever. And the State has no right to grant that concession. But as it is now, the area is part of Lagos State and people should have it at the back of their minds that there is nothing we are doing in Eko Atlantic City. We are only reclaiming the lost part of the land to build it. We are not going beyond the boundary of Lagos State. For instance, if you are going to construct on the city, you will still seek approvals like everybody else. The only difference is that the developer collects the funds on behalf of government and remits same to government. That was what we agreed upon in the signed agreement with the firm. How correct is it that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the city, came much later after dredging and piling had begun? It is good that you asked this and everything you talked about is not correct. I would start by letting you know that for a project like that, covering about 10 million square metres, it will not require a single EIA. The EIA for such a project is a continuous exercise. There will be EIA for starting the work, there will be EIA for reclamation and there will be EIA for the general layout of the area. This is because some people claimed that they were living in the area before the work commenced there. How can this be possible? The whole place was full of water about 15 metres deep, so how can people be residing in this kind of place? Nothing was fast-tracked. The company that did the EIA and the Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) is from Holland. They did the work in conjunction with Lagos State Ministry of Waterfront and Infrastructure Development and the Federal Government. How far has Lagos State gone about climate change and coastline protection?


Before I tell you about how far we have gone, the figure I referred to when I delivered a lecture on climate change at the Nigerian Civil Engineers’ event where I talked about what would be needed to resolve the problem in Lagos, what would be needed actually is to resolve the problem we have in the east commodore channel. The Commodore Channel is where vessels coming to our ports in Lagos, Apapa and Tin Can use. It is between Eko Atlantic City and the Takwa Bay. Everything east of that is where we have a major issue with the Atlantic Ocean simply because the natural flow of sand is being disturbed by the construction of moles in that area, especially the west mole. The west mole is the one at the light house on the other side of Takwa Bay that is stopping sand from reaching the Bar Beach and beyond. When this strong surge is coming, the problem you have is that as it comes in and it is taking the sand away, nothing is coming back from the Bight of Benin to nourish that side of the Atlantic. These are the areas that we have problems with. From that area to the boundary of Lagos State with the next state, Ogun, we have about 87 Kilometres to look after. The project you are talking about is only covering about 7 ½ Kilometres of that coastline. And Eko Atlantic City project covers 7 ½ Kilometres from the Bar Beach all the way to just before Goshen Estate where the project ends. But like any responsible government, you cannot leave everywhere exposed, so the work we are doing now is another 7 ½ kilometres that takes you to Alpha Beach and beyond. It is what we are working on with HITECH the contractor in charge; that is the development that is going into the Atlantic, especially with the use of the groins as described. The groin goes into the Atlantic. When the waves come, it traps sand and sand accumulates to replenish the ones lost to the surge in that area. But beyond that, we are still going to have problems because of climate change,

change in the sea level and the current activities that go on under the water that take the sand away. So, unless we have a way of artificially bringing sand to protect the area, we must continue what the government is doing now. As it is now, based on the costs incurred so far on the 7 ½ Kilometres, we will need nothing less than N400billion to protect the rest of the state. The interesting thing is that it is not just Lagos State anymore. We have eight other states that have border with the Atlantic with a distance of 853 Kilometres of coastline in Nigeria. Out of that distance, Lagos State only has 186 Kilometres of it. And our troubled area as it were, that we must look after is about 87 Kilometres after the completion of Eko Atlantic City. After that lecture the American Embassy wanted to see me and I went to them the next day. And it is amazing what was being said to me. They told me that they have been looking for someone to champion the cause of protecting the coastline since 2008, but everybody they contacted at the Federal level never came back to them. They asked if I was willing to champion the cause for Nigeria. My answer to them was that let me resolve the problem of Lagos State first and then we can talk about Nigeria. It is obvious that we have problems along our coastline in Nigeria. And that problem is not peculiar to Lagos alone. And what do I mean by that? The Atlantic coastline is a national boundary. So why should any state dissipate so much energy on this problem? My plea to the Federal Government is to make funds available to the littoral states to combat this problem. You have millions of readers you can help make the noise about the coastal erosion that I’m talking about. That was what my lecture was all about. I just used Lagos as a case study. If we don’t do anything about it the problem will continue and everybody that resides with that Atlantic waterfront will suffer and more, particularly people who cannot afford to protect their property. So the call is again to the Federal Government to make special provision in the annual budget for littoral states to protect the coastline. Looking at the ecological fund how far has it helped and what is the level of collaboration with other states faced with this problem? The simplest answer to your question is no, no collaboration. This is because as far as I know, this is the only state that has a ministry for waterfront. Number two, it should not be my lot to be talking to other commissioners in the states that borders the Atlantic Ocean. A couple of years ago, we had a major disaster at the Alpha Beach, It was so bad that Mr President came, he was shocked by what he saw, a whole community was wiped out. He made a promise that he would do something for Lagos State with ecological fund and any other help that the Federal Government could render. Well, maybe the help would come tomorrow.

Trouble in the house of Rhodes •Continued from page 14

with Dr Bolaji Bamboye owing to his experience. The name of Mrs Clara Oritsejafor, the 2nd plaintiff herein, was amended to reflect her current marital status i.e. Mrs Clara Oye Otoki.” She added: “That shortly afterwards, the late Chief Babasola Rhodes (SAN) began to have health issues and his health challenges stalled the drive to raise the needed fund to put 1st plaintiff into business. Money raised through sales of some plots was expended by Chief Babasola Rhodes for his health challenges.” Chief Rhodes’ health challenges also stalled the steps taken to effect the changes in the particulars of directors at the Corporate Affairs Commission. On the 25/10/2002, vide a letter with reference no ALHA/AGRIC/ 2635, the Lagos State revoked the grant of the Certificate of Occupancy for non-usage for the purpose it was granted. The Lagos State government however ceded 5.124 hectares of the revoked land not meant for agricultural purposes to the 1st plaintiff (NOVOJO Farms and Fisheries Company Ltd).” Following the revocation, Mrs

Otoki said she refunded some affected buyers whose Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) was revoked. She said in her efforts to carry out her brother’s wish in perfecting the documentation of the 1st plaintiff, Dr Bolaji Bamboye, the 3rd plaintiff and herself “agreed that the records of the 1st plaintiff be perfected with the Corporate Affairs Commission. And that the wishes of the late Chief Rhodes should be effected. “That the defendants’ names be formally removed as directors. The agreed shares of the late Chief Rhodes be allotted to Oladeji Rhodes, being the eldest son and also Oladeji Rhodes be made a director.” She claimed that when the defendants heard about the steps being taken concerning the farm, they ‘vowed’ to use ‘Alausa power’ against everybody in NOVOJO Farms. She said she received a letter from the chambers of Simmons Cooper Partners, acting as solicitors to the defendants that she should hand over the Will of the late Rhodes. But the defendants in their 38-paragraph Statement of Defence denied almost all the paragraphs of the plaintiffs’ claim. In their statement of defence they denied paragraphs 2, 4, 6 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,

18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31. They also rejected the claims in paragraphs 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44 and 45. They admitted paragraphs 1, 3, 5 and 11. “Save and except as is hereafter expressly and specifically referred to as the defendants deny each and every allegation contained in the Statement of Claim as if the same were hereinafter set out and traversed seriatim,” they said in their defence. They said: “The insinuations contained in the statement of claim suggesting that the 2nd plaintiff is the Managing Director of the 1st plaintiff whilst the defendants are ex-directors of the plaintiffs. “The defendant shall contend that sequel to the demise of their late father, Chief Babasola Rhodes no meeting of the Board of Directors or shareholders of the 1st plaintiff has been called to appoint any of the Directors as Managing Director or to remove any existing Director of the plaintiff.” Contrary to paragraph 6 of the statement of claim that the sole promoter of the 1st plaintiff was their father, Chief Babasola Rhodes and the 2nd plaintiff was only invited to the company as a nominal director out of their father’s goodwill.

Pursuant to paragraph 9 above, the defendants averred that the second subscriber/shareholder in the first plaintiff named Mrs Olatowun Candide-Johnson (Nee Martins) on the 22nd of June 2012, transferred her one share in the 1st plaintiff to Mrs Abiola Babalola (Nee Rhodes), the 1st defendant. The defendants aver that further to the facts averred in paragraph 14 above, the estate of the late Chief Babasola Rhodes and the 1st defendants are the only shareholders of the 1st plaintiff.” They also averred that “the 2nd plaintiff scared away the defendants after their father’s death and surreptituosly tried to assert control over their father’s properties, including the 1st plaintiff. The 2nd plaintiff never made any attempts to contact the defendants as her intention was to keep them away from their father’s properties and convert them to herself.” When The Nation visited the disputed estate at Farm bus stop on Lekki/Epe expressway, nothing depicted the place as a farm. The main gate has been pulled down while the once beautiful farm house comprising a swimming pool, a gymnasium and recreation centre is no more. Save for the relics of the swim-

ming pool, the land is bare with two or more buildings belonging to those that bought land from the late Rhodes, still standing. A man, who pleaded not to be named, and lives in one of the quarters in the estate, described how the place was demolished last year when bulldozer pulled down the expensive farm house built by the late chief. “My brother, if you were here when the house was pulled down you will weep for the family and wondered why they could not settle whatever quarrel they have among themselves. Although the family has money, but the wastage here last year was serious, he said. Pointing to the relics of the swimming pool, he said: “This swimming pool is the only thing to show that there was once a house here. The bulldozer could not remove it.” He said some portions of the land were being offered for sale, adding that people are buying them, oblivious that the said land is a subject of litigation. “A plot of land is being sold for N20 million and people are buying them; only a few are left,” he said. When told of the status of the land, he said: “That won’t be a problem it will be ratified after the case has been decided.”











Obasanjo’s letter


•President Jonathan should respond swiftly and credibly to the serious charges from the former president

HE letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo has concentrated the minds of Nigerians since it hit headlines last week. And for good reasons. The former leader charged the letter addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan with allegations that no one can ignore who wishes the country and its citizens well. Among other things, the letter in its 18page enthusiasm accused the president of arming and training a killer squad, showing dishonour, pursuing a regime of corruption and intra-party witch-hunt and division. The most serious of all the allegations was of course the charge that the president is following the Abacha example of training killers with a view to sending them after perceived enemies of state. The former president also noted that the president has an enemies’ list of political players numbering over 1,000. This is the first time that the Jonathan administration would face this very charge of potential murder. The other allegations are, however, common knowledge. Yet, all of them are serious enough for the nation to take note. President Obasanjo in all his public career may have drawn ire from persons great and small for a number of reasons. It could be because they belong to opposing world views or because of his lifestyle choices. But the former president has never been known to make flippant remarks. For him therefore to say that President Jonathan is nurturing a killer squad ahead of the 2015 elections underscores a cloud of suspicion that some politicians and statesmen have woven around the

president. We have also known that the Rivers State governor, Rt. Honourable Rotimi Amaechi, had, at several times, raised dust over threats to his life over his clash with President Jonathan on the matters of politics and governance in Rivers State. We have witnessed glaring acts of violence not only in the histrionics at the state house of assembly, but the blatant acts of defiance by the state commissioner of police. We also witnessed a former Niger Delta militant parade the streets of Port Harcourt as a show of solidarity with the president and defiance of the governor. The president has contended with fission in his PDP and that has arisen because of his inability to serve as a unifier. The result was that five governors under the banner of the PDP defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), thereby deepening the discord not only in his party but also in the political society in the country. The importance of the Obasanjo charge lies in the fact that Nigerian election years often are bloody. The President must not leave the response to the letter to any spokesman with soporific rhetoric. Rather the president should speak to Nigerians on the charges. Is he arming killers in an ominous game for 2015? If he is not, we need his guarantee as the commanderin-chief of the armed forces that he will rein in his men who have already exhibited signs of irritability in Rivers State. We cannot also forget that he mobilised the forces of state to oust former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, in an effort that many Nigerians

stood as though numb as though we could not see or could not hear or as though there was no opposition in the land. An offence for one is a potential offence for all. The president’s antipathy probably comes from his undeclared insistence to run for a second term against the position of those who claim he proclaimed on his honour that he would serve only one term. We are not privy to that agreement, but whatever the truth is should not turn Nigeria into a theatre of absurd bloodletting. We need this democracy to survive. President Jonathan must ensure that peace, not funeral tears, reign.

‘The importance of the Obasanjo charge lies in the fact that Nigerian election years often are bloody. The President must not leave the response to the letter to any spokesman with soporific rhetoric. Rather the president should speak to Nigerians on the charges. Is he arming killers in an ominous game for 2015? If he is not, we need his guarantee as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces that he will rein in his men who have already exhibited signs of irritability in Rivers State’

Bad example


•Jonathan’s criticism of Nigerian politicians at Mandela memorial service is unpresidential

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan certainly ought to have sufficient experience in office by now to know that he is the chief salesman and public relations officer of the country. Like a competent Chief Executive Officer of an organisation, his primary responsibility is to project the strengths and virtues of his enterprise while working unobtrusively to deal with problems, challenges and weaknesses. A company executive who specialises in showcasing his outfit’s faults will most likely soon be out of business. But this was exactly what President Jonathan did in what was supposed to be his tribute to Dr Nelson Mandela at the memorial service organised in honour of the legendary freedom fighter

‘Nigerian politicians have their faults just like politicians everywhere, including Mandela’s South Africa. Even then, Jonathan’s generalisation is inappropriate and indefensible, especially for a trained academic and a scientist at that. With the kind of unprincipled and irresponsible politicians he has portrayed as running the country, why should foreign investors channel their capital to Nigeria, for example? This is how weighty such careless presidential pronouncements can be’

at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on December 8. The President did not exhibit good example when he chose the solemn occasion to run down Nigerian politicians, claiming that they lack the virtues of the late Mandela. While rightly extolling Mandela’s widely acknowledged attributes of humility, a forgiving spirit and the ability to unite people, he described Nigerian politicians as being disposed to issuing threats, boasting and playing little gods. He put down members of Nigeria’s political class as “tiny men” who give the impression that “Nigeria is their bedroom from where they make proclamations and intimidate others”. For one, the occasion where the President cast aspersion on his fellow politicians was most inauspicious. In attendance were members of the diplomatic corps who must have gone away with a very bad impression of the country’s leadership class. If the President has such contempt for his fellow politicians, why should outsiders take them serious? For, it is from the political class that the country’s leadership elite are recruited. If they are as mean, conceited and frivolous as depicted by Jonathan, how can they be expected to behave responsibly and decently in public office or uphold the rule of law? Again, members of the audience must have gone away with an equally poor opinion of Dr Jonathan himself. This is because he is also a Nigerian politician and did not drop from the moon. Yes, Nigerian politicians have their faults just like politicians everywhere,

including Mandela’s South Africa. Even then, Jonathan’s generalisation is inappropriate and indefensible, especially for a trained academic and a scientist at that. With the kind of unprincipled and irresponsible politicians he has portrayed as running the country, why should foreign investors channel their capital to Nigeria, for example? This is how weighty such careless presidential pronouncements can be. It is not unlikely that Dr Jonathan is unsettled by the often fierce criticisms his administration has been subjected to. But he should expect no less in a vibrant democracy. After all, members of his party also vigorously criticise the opposition in states where the latter are in power. That is how democracy can thrive and grow. When the President faces unfair criticism, he must have the equanimity to take it in his stride and decently put the records straight. If subjected to objective criticism, he must demonstrate the humility to admit errors and make amends. If confronted with mean and vile attacks, he must exhibit the generosity of spirit to forgive and never demean his office by throwing mud. After all, those are the virtues for which he and the rest of the world have heaped fulsome praise on Mandela. Of course, this is not to say that the office of President should not be given its deserved reverence at all times. It only stands to reason that those who seek to be respected if privileged to occupy the position must avoid doing anything to demystify its dignity.

See you, see me – ‘Selfie’ spirit at a memorial Mandela would have enjoyed


OR Winston Churchill, it was a gun carriage pulled by soldiers through stilled Westminster streets. For Martin Luther King, it was a mule-drawn wagon and dignified chants of “We Shall Overcome”. But the passing of Nelson Mandela, who emerged from 27 years in prison to bring democracy to South Africa, was marked by moments of baffling, glorious chaos. Tens of thousands turned out to honour their national liberator at a memorial service in Johannesburg. But dismal weather left many seats in the FNB stadium empty. President Jacob Zuma, who faces elections next year, was roundly booed every time his face appeared on screen. It was left to Barack Obama to restore a sense of occasion with a memorable speech. He declared that the example of Mandela had inspired his own improbable rise as the first black man to become US president. Yet even as his sonorous words echoed around the world, there were further disruptions, further amplified by the power of modern media. A man, apparently a sign-language interpreter, waved his arms in senseless gesticulation beside world leaders as they delivered their eulogies. He was later said to be a fraud. Decorum failed even the holders of high office when the Danish prime minister snapped a selfportrait with Mr Obama and David Cameron using a mobile phone. That act of portraiture might never have come to light had it not itself been captured in press photographs. The words “We are not amused” appeared written on the face of Michelle Obama, the First Lady. And so a story was born. Yet it was the revellers inside the stadium and not the moralists outside who captured the spirit of the man. Mandela bristled at the tendency to make of him a saint. The memorial service in Soweto was not beautiful the way a work of art is beautiful. It was a fitting tribute to a moral giant and to South African democracy: raucous, rough and full of life. - Financial Times

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IR: I was amused reading the response of the Chief Economic Adviser to President Jonathan, Nwanze Okidegbe, in The Nation November 18, page 6, refuting the submission of World Bank’s Country Director, Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly that 100 million Nigerians are living below $1.25/N200 per day and under acute destitution. It is unfortunate that our political appointees hardly ever tell their principals the truth about the state of the nation. How could the Chief Economic Adviser to the President deny the prevailing harsh economic realities? Is it a case of being disconnected from the underclass which they have helped ruin their potentials and destinies through bad economic policies? How many Nigerians have access to regular potable water supply on daily basis? Minister of Water and Natural Resources sometime ago accepted that about 80 million Nigerians still lack access to potable water. How many Nigerians have decent shelters to lodge, even with the claims by the Minister of Housing that 6,100 housing are being built in the six geographical zones of the federation? No nation can get out of poverty without stable and regular power supply to generate energy to power the economy and create jobs for the teeming youths. Recently, Brazil embarked on Operation Electricity For All project to bring power supply to all nooks and crannies of their country. The federal government has been telling the whole world about mil-



millions of pensioners are not being paid their allowances as at when due because the billions of naira SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF meant for their payment are being NOT MORE THAN 800 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS. embezzled. Okada has become the major means of transportation with E-mail: many of our young graduates and engineers turning Keke NAPEP riders, while their counterparts in serious societies are great inventors and space engineers. Somebody should please tell tures. lions of jobs they have created for as a result. Okidegbe to advise the President on Over 10.5million Nigerians chilNigerians. Shouldn’t the public be Despite the huge petro-dollars revissues of poverty and its attendant dren are out of school, according to allowed to verify the authenticity enues accruing to the government evils with all seriousness before disUNICEF. This poses a serious threat of these claims after a record exyearly, Nigerian workers are still sipating energies on 2015 which is to our future leadership position on penditure of N50billion on job creaamong the poorest paid in the world still in the hands of God to give to the continent. Kerosene is now out tion? just as basic amenities that could any deserving one. of reach of common man as a result How many Nigerians have access enhance living conditions are still of its high price at the filling stato health care? Many of our hospilacking. Corruption and insecurity •Pastor Mark Debo Taiwo [JP], tions. Many Nigerians now resort tals are mere clinics with obsolete are the order of the day. Takie, Ogbomoso. to the use of charcoal and firewood equipments and creaky infrastrucRetirement is like death warrants;

World Bank on Nigeria’s poverty


IR: It is not without good reason that Nigeria and Nigerians are unduly maligned for crimes committed in heinous proportions in other climes such as drug trafficking, Internet and credit card frauds, among others. The reason is simple. Nigeria is among the countries in the world where there is inadequate social infrastructure to combat such crimes effectively through an integrated identity management systems which enable security agencies to track, prevent or apprehend those committing such crimes, and to also keep serial offenders under surveillance. Until the recent introduction of the e-passport in Nigeria, ordinary Nigerians, as well as the criminal

Banks’ biometric standard minded ones, and even non-Nigerians, especially those from West and Central Africa, can be in possession of as many as two to three Nigerian passports procured through the right channel, under different aliases. This ease of procurement and duplicity of access is not peculiar to the passport; it applies to other vital national identification means such as the National Drivers’ Licence and the National Identity Card, thereby eroding the integrity of these national identification types. The negative effect of this disquieting development is unquantifiable in proportion. It has not only tainted the image of Nigeria abroad, it has also affected the

growth and development of the local economy negatively. For instance, this duplicity has seriously impeded offline and online transaction growth as well as the flow of credit to young Nigerian entrepreneurs because their identities are unverifiable. For this same reason, activities of Nigerians were restricted on global e-commerce platforms that include Amazon and Ebay before we are able to buy just books, gift cards and flowers. It is noteworthy that economies with thriving small and medium scale business have functional identification system driving the credit administration system – the lifeline of business. As such, banks are able

Like Oloibiri, don’t forget Bomu

IR: Bomu is a community where oil was discovered in commercial quantity, quality in 1958 by the Dutch oil giant, Shell, two years after oil was first discovered in Oloibiri. Oloibiri is now synonymous with oil. The Federal Government through its interventionist agencies approved the proposal for the construction of an oil and gas museum in Oloibiri, Bayelsa State at the cost of N33,945 billion. The museum, according to reports, will house a Research Centre and an InternationalConference

Centre. NDDC has also constructed and commissioned concrete internal road for the Oloibiri Community and other social amenities like, water project, link bridge, landing jetty and electrification respectively. One is indeed thankful to the federal government and its interventionist agencies for these laudable insight and initiative for the goose that laid the golden egg for the nation while I rejoice with the recipient community, Oloibiri.

However, apart from an empty glorification in the historical documentation, there is absolutely nothing concrete to signify that oil was discovered in Bomu in 1958. May I therefore appeal to the federal government and the various agencies to act like true sportsmen because, in a field of play, the runner up in a competition always goes home with a prize. The plight of Bomu Community in terms of oil exploration, exploitation, destruction of our aquatic life, environmental degradation and total abandon-

ment from oil companies and government agencies is detrimental and call for a grave concern. It is my appeal that Bomu as the second runner up as well as the most promising community in Oil and Gas discovery in Nigeria be rewarded with project(s) as a replication of what is applicable or obtainable in Oloibiri Community in Bayelsa State. What is good for the goose should also good for the gander. •Tanifo, Bethel N. Bomu Community, Rivers State

to lend to the people, and are also able address the issue of fraud. Against this backdrop, the decision of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee to improve the banking industry Know Your Customer (KYC) requirement by deploying a biometric solution in 2014 is heartwarming. The initiative will strengthen the integrity of Nigeria and its financial services landscape by preventing pervasive identity theft, financial fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing. It will also fast track the attainment of the financial services objectives of the Vision 20 2020 of the Federal Government of Nigeria. First of its kind in the world, this biometric KYC project is a win-win for the financial services industry and its customers. Apart from yielding significant cost savings to banks, it will also enhance customer trust and confidence in the long term. The project will ameliorate the customer identification and verification challenges facing banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria which are rooted in the existence of identity systems that are not standardized and integrated into centralized database for customer identity verification. • Luqman Balogun, Lagos






Police not even hiding their hideous partisanship; and rogue legislators, backed by rogue “federal might”, threatening to plunge that state into anarchy. Then there are opposition allegations of Jonathan turning the Ecological Fund into some crony gravy — allegedly reOlakunle warding friends, punishing foes., 08054504169 (Sms only, please) Abimbola Of course, there is also the abiding allegation, supported by CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is undercutObasanjo’s rather crude tongue, in his endless playing to the lic good, but a litany of woes against his estranged protégé, ting the country and the president doesn’t appear to have a gallery? President Goodluck Jonathan. Obasanjo played his usual clue about it all. Is it Danjuma who, not long ago in a fit of media anger, grandstand as some self-appointed overseer of Nigeria; and That these allegations are made at all show the near-hopedismissed Obasanjo as “Aremu of Ota”? postured without end as the all-consuming patriot. less depth the Nigerian presidency has plumbed under Or Babangida, who earlier as self-proclaimed “military presiYet, it was nothing but another unabashed glorification of Jonathan. That is unfortunate. But even more grievous is dent”, endured the Jonathan treatment, the same grand hypocthe Obasanjo self — that ever intrusive persona that, on the Obasanjo’s allegation that Jonathan is arming snipers to desrisy the grim Sani Abacha could not stand and, before the inbalance of fair evidence, can’t even pass the muster of the model patch political foes. fernal theatrics started, despatched the grand dramatist to gaol citizen. Though the now crusading Obasanjo had more than a fair on phantom coup charges? Like most of Obasanjo’s hyper-reported public interventions, share of unresolved politically motivated killings during his Or is it Ekwueme that Obasanjo muscled into silence while, it was another grand show of a show-actor craving a stage and presidency, this is one allegation Jonathan must deal with, if as president, he started destroying the Peoples Democratic Party cheap applause — cynical applause at the expense of some only to clear his presidency’s sagging reputation. (PDP), the logical conclusion of which he now, ironically, acpolitical foe. The former military head of state (1976-1979), But aside from this alleged killer squad, most of Obasanjo’s cuses and ridicules the luckless Jonathan, though his name be two-term elected president (1999-2007) and fundament of the charges, in his long epistle of lamentation, were pure gas. Goodluck? Nigerian problem is crying wolf! There was nothing Obasanjo accused Jonathan of that he himIf Jonathan has his Bamanga Tukur, didn’t Obasanjo have his Yes, there is indeed some “wolf”. But Obasanjo himself was self did not do during his best-forgotten presidency. own Garrison Commander, Ahmadu Ali, both relentless presiits author and finisher: Goodluck Jonathan, after all, was NNPC is opaque. But how open was it during Obasanjo’s dential puppets that smashed the ruling party so a bully presiObasanjo’s political creation. But the creator would rather term, even when he was his own oil minister? dent could stand tall, like some Gulliver in Lilliput? Jonathan was some tabula rasa — on which he could write and On corruption — what has Obasanjo to teach, after his Yet, no tears for President Jonathan. He plunged his knife erase at will — which the protégé has resisted. Obasanjo Presidential Library’s bared-faced extortion? If into a dead hippo, fallen by the pool; and he richly deserves his Godson cannot, therefore, hear the godfather. Things have Jonathan responded with a contractor building his village a running diarrhoea. There is always a stiff price for crass opfallen apart, so mere anarchy, to paraphrase the Irish poet, marvel of a church, it is evidence that Jonathan is master of his portunism! William Butler Yeats, is loosed upon their once cosy world! political father’s rotten tactics, corruption be damned! Besides, despite being the first Nigerian president to bear Jonathan wants to run for second term — and so what? Didn’t But how is that a problem of Nigeria and Nigerians as Obasanjo the academic prefix of PhD, Jonathan’s actions have no rigour, Obasanjo do two legal terms and was plotting an illegal third? now trumpets? no grace, no gravitas, just plain humdrum! Indeed, by his Fortunately, Jonathan is doing more than enough to be guilloIndeed, Yeats in his poem, “The Second Coming”, someactions and inactions he has, perhaps more than any other, tined at the polls. So, let the people decide his fate. what echoes the loud but empty Obasanjo interventions: “The afflicted his presidency with a rare pull him down (PHD) comTherefore, to now grandstand at some ogre, hinting at some best lack all convictions, while the worst are full of passionate plex. non-democratic change, under some pseudo-messianic comintensity!” His is a grand study in wilful conspiracy against self; and the plex, is not only cheap but outright subversive. But it is anThat brings the discourse to Obasanjo’s “permission” to share resultant harsh wages of promotion beyond competence. His other cynical drama, for Obasanjo knows that he too would the Jonathan letter with the quad of Generals Theophilus presidency is therefore a grand let-down, right from the bevanish without trace, should Jonathan meet his electoral Danjuma, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar and 2nd ginning — and there appears no redeeming factor. waterloo. So, would his and Jonathan’s credo of power withRepublic Vice President, Alex Ekwueme — to earn some high Indeed, as one contemplates the Jonathan Presidency, with out responsibility; and lollies without service. profile sympathy? Ah! its welter of terrible constitutional infractions and heinous Obasanjo and Jonathan are an inglorious past and ignoble But which of these, aside from Abubakar, has not tasted allegations, and the man at the vortex of it all feigning none present that must be electorally swept away, from polluting the wiser, the disturbing image of the Biblical wolf in sheep’s the future. The Ebora Owu’s long letter of tumbling adjectives, “Yes, there is indeed some “wolf”. But skin floods the mind. and buzz words like honour and credibility that, from Obasanjo himself was its author and But even as the president sweats under the crushing weight Obasanjo’s own conduct in office hardly meant anything, is of his elephantine troubles, his feet, in fatal distraction, appear his way of buying time and shopping for new puppets. finisher: Goodluck Jonathan, after all, was still foraging for needless troubles with ants. He fails — except, of course, with the gullible and the excitObasanjo’s political creation” The induced Rivers crisis is an abiding case in point, with the able!

HE Senegalese, Mariama Ba (19291981), wrote So Long A Letter, a semi-autobiographical novella, that chronicled the plight of the African woman, under the combined pressure of African and Islamic cultures. The male chauvinists that dominate both worlds would scoff at the late Madame Ba’s “ranting” against the marital status quo, so violently skewed against the woman in both cultures. But her 1980 classic has provided gender rights activists, determined to right these age-old wrongs, an evocative literary tool. On December 12, former President Olusegun Obasanjo made public his own long letter, not for any overriding pub-


epublican ipples

ATE him or love him, there is something about the Olusegun Obasanjo persona that manages to evoke mixed passions both in the polity and in every one of us. A classic study in ethical and moral abdication, his story, emblematises the ugly face of the nation’s leadership regression. For a man whose entire public life had the ever tending hands of benevolent gods doing the cracking of his proverbial palm kernels for him, those who endlessly accuse him of opportunism merely acknowledge the gracelessness that has dogged his entire life. So much for the naked dance of the self-appointed diviner of fate! The issue of course is the ex-President’s inelegantly worded 18-page ‘advisory’ to the estranged godson dated December 2 – that is few days before the December 5 passing of the great Nelson Mandela. Although it seems highly improbable that the timing of its ‘leakage’ had anything to do with an attempt to burnish the shrunken stature of a man who once rubbed shoulders with global statesmen as a member of Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, even at that, there are those who would swear that Obasanjo actually chose the timing of the release of the ‘satanic verses’ as his own revenge on a world that has long expunged his name from its roll of statesmen! I must say that one of the difficult, unenviable choices of being a Nigerian is being called upon to pick between the graceless, unforgiving, hypocritical and the outright lawless godfather and his utterly incompetent, vacillating and corrupt clone! I have been asked the question nearly a dozen times – what do I make of Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan? My ready answer is –it is vintage Obasanjo with its signature self-serving patriotic pretensions and alarming prognostications. Simply because he created Jonathan in his image and after his likeness, he seeks to remain the jealous god to whom the man must defer whether in the running of the party or the conduct of his government! It’s part of living in the illusion of being the ultimate shuttle diplomat – consulted by Presidents and kings – to do what he does best – dousing the fires created by the many marionettes on the continent! Such make-believe larger than life image of Obasanjo obviously plays to type. It is part of the myth woven round the man now pejoratively call Baba. Recently, I watched Baba spar with ex-CNN man, the Kenyan-born Jeff Koinage on You-Tube. I struggled to reconcile the image of a once celebrated professional with the practiced actor fawning before our own OBJ at some downtown conference in East Africa! And how the man loved the comical spectacle! Why is OBJ angry with GEJ? Is it for surpassing his

So long a letter

Policy Sanya Oni 08051101841

Before it is too late? administration’s records in serial abuses of our laws and institutions? And talk of fidelity to party; didn’t Obasanjo blaze the trail in party infidelity when he supported Ikedi Ohakim, the PPA candidate against Ararume, the candidate of his party? What about the serial impunities in Ekiti, Plateau and Bayelsa? And the corruption? The third term subversion, etc. Nigerians, it must be said truly know who their troublerin-chief is. Now, let’s turn to the sanctimonious Jonathan presidency. I wish there was something left of that intangible called ‘sympathy’ for an administration that has done all in its power to mismanage virtually all aspects of our lives in a little over three years since it took charge. From a broad pan-Nigerian mandate of 2011, what we have now is a presidency diminished both in moral authority and in grandeur. In this, Obasanjo was neither original nor expressed anything outside what other Nigerians have come to perceive as the gracelessness of our Ijaw brothers in appropriating this Presidency as theirs. And how they rub it in! Under Obasanjo, at least you knew who was in charge; today what we have is a laissez faire presidency – a party of all comers. Imagine an administration presiding over the daily theft of 20 percent of its main revenue source – crude oil? It would hardly be uncharitable to qualify it as an administration only in name. In saner climes, that is a cause for war! What do we have instead? Brigands calling the shots leaving state actors to squabble over the dregs in the pot. And this is supposed to be a country with a standing army, navy and air force. Welcome to GEJ’s gangland republic. That was what Obasanjo inferred with his allegory of the thief being invited to guard the house. Only the presidency can afford to pretend not to know who the thieves are; or the

house being ravaged. We know. We know what the supposed minders have done with our lives. It’s etched on the faces of the ordinary man on the Main Street. It is of course that graft in high places of course stinks to high heavens. The scale of impunity beggars believe. Ever heard of corruption-complaint administration? There is putrefaction everywhere; the NNPC is an island unto itself; or so it has always been. The accounts, we are told by those who should know, are for their eyes only. Only in Nigeria would the variation on existing contract quadruple the initial contract sum. If in doubt, ask Works Ministry; the smart operators in the powerful ministry have just enough tools to convince, confuse and confound anyone! I need to talk about the little matter of the aviation ministry. Yes, Stella Oduah of the Stellagate fame is still in charge. You ask; how come? Our President of course thinks corruption is overblown; that it is more of a perception thing. Now, we have since learnt how easy it is to purchase two bullet-proof vehicles outside the strictures of appropriation process in clear violation of the procurement laws; that is of course permissible so long as you have the ears of the President. Never mind that those who should approve the expenditure have long denied that they gave no approval for anything of the sort. With the chief of state settling for an administrative panel rather than haul the alleged felons before the courts, the case appears closed. I don’t think Nigerians can suffer the indulgence of ignoring Saint Obasanjo. That would be fatal. An erstwhile commander-in-chief obviously knows the implication of raising hell over the 1000 names said to be on political watch list and an alleged recruitment of hit squads for whatever agenda. It goes beyond wishing that the worst would not happen. It calls for action on the part of the National Assembly as the elected representatives of the people. As the Yorubas would say – the log that poses a threat to the eye is better taken off from a safe distance. Hardly a time to cast lots between godfather and godson.

‘From a broad pan-Nigerian mandate of 2011, what we have now is a presidency diminished both in moral authority and in grandeur. In this, Obasanjo was neither original nor expressed anything outside what other Nigerians have come to perceive as the gracelessness of our Ijaw brothers in appropriating this Presidency as theirs. And how they rub it in!’





HE emergence of the practice of Public Relations in Nigeria dates back the years following the end of the Second World War. That was when the spirit of nationalism began to flourish. Colonialism and its attendant subjugation of the people’s will was becoming louder and louder and the colonial powers found it expedient to begin to control the damage of misrules as much as possible. This gave rise to the application of public relations strategies through the massive use of information techniques. In 1963 some young Nigerians, notably, the late Sam Epelle, Ikaz Yakubu, Tony William, Late H.K. Offonry and Bob Ogbuagu formed Public Relations Association of Nigeria in Lagos. Gradually, this association spread Enugu and Ibadan. Then, a substantial number of other practitioners came in by the sheer nature of their functions hence they learnt it on the job. As the profession began to be widely accepted and membership expanded, the name was changed to Nigerian Institute of Public Relations. From 1963 to 1990 when the profession was officially given a legal status, it was that of cumulative efforts resulting in tremendous growth of the profession. It was during that period that when the pioneering leaders, particularly Alex Akinyele and Mike Okereke, did everything to ensure that the profession was given its right of place within the nation’s socio-economic and political life. Achievements then included the growth in membership, the streamlining of the admission of members, the granting of fellowship, the classification of membership into student, affiliate, associate, member and fellow. Two chairs were also established at the University of Nigeria and Ibadan offering Masters of Art Degree in Public Relations, Master of Science Degree in Public Relations. Although each of the national presidents of the institute made contributions towards its growth and development, it was during the tenure of Okereke that some major achievements were accomplished. These include; the granting of legal recognition to the institute in what is now known as Decree 16, of 1990 which recognized the Nigerian Institute of “Others say it cannot be done, But go ahead and do it! That is the stuff history makers are made of.” -Anonymous HE most memorable moments of life’s varied encounters sometimes come without a force or fanfare. But as events unfold years later, we come to recognize their landmark nature and what truly defined them. Such was my first chanced meeting with the former governor of Lagos State, the icon of democracy, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It remains an unforgettable scenario which was replicated later with the current, highly resourceful governor of Ekiti State, the ‘Land of Honour’, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi. For the former, waves of nostalgia feather me back to 1993.One can still vividly recall that I was just settling down at The Guardian under the tutelage of one of Nigeria’s finest sub-editors of his generation, Gbenga Omotoso. It was during one of the most turbulent periods of the nation’s chequered political history with the crude and callous annulment of the June 12 presidential election, adjudged to have been freely and fairly won by Chief M.K.O Abiola (of blessed memory). It was on my assignment to cover the postelection crisis that trailed the annulment by the famed military president, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, IBB when I first encountered the Asiwaju, one of the pillars of the struggle to actualize that mandate. Back then however, his compelling political pedigree and persona were yet to unfold like the colourful flower’s petals to the sun’s glorious rays before he slipped into exile, to the United States during the Abacha regime‘s dreaded military dictatorship. Still, he was elected and sworn in as the governor of Lagos State, the Centre of Excellence, in 1999 I elected to watch his government from a distance. That was, until the charm of his then Chief Press Secretary, Segun Ayobolu drew the attention of notable journalists to his government. Coincidentally, media missiles were then flying all over the political sphere; mostly to ascertain what form and shape his government would take as the take-off itself was up against the clouds precisely in the first six months. But it was not long before he exhibited a master stroke with the whirlwind of a media tour. On that momentous occasion, he looked relaxed with a wan smile playing around


NIPR: Need for paradigm shift By Chuks Osuji Public Relations as the sole authority to regulate practice of Public Relations in Nigeria. Although it began during the regime of Akinyele who gave a vital push before the end of his tenure, Okereke, capitalizing on his experience as a top functionary of the United African Company, UAC, was well placed to diversify the profession and the institute. One of his major achievements was to secure the granting of government subvention as an arm of the Federal Ministry of Information. Apart from the formalization of entry requirements, regular seminars and workshops were organized by the institute from which it receives a substantial sum of money and establishment of Sam Epelle annual lecture. Besides, most of the public and private corporate bodies were persuaded to employ only registered members of the institute as their public relations staff. It will not be an exaggeration to say that Okereke’s era was the golden era of the institute. Public relations began to be highly recognized, respected and factored into high echelon of management of several organizations. The PR practitioner was seen as no longer a man who carries portfolio or a glorious messenger, but as a well cultured, groomed and admired corporate officer or manager. However, things began to take a gradual decline from the tenure of Sabo Mohammed, particularly in the area of proliferation of fellowship and admission of sometimes not so qualified members. Things had in fact gotten bad when Mohammed left. When Jibade Oyekan came in as President, things were no longer in good shape. Oyekan’s regime lasted for only two years.

At the AGM of 2001 in Owerri, Oyekan, who, in my mind would have done better if he had been given enough chance, was voted out. It must be mentioned that Bobo Brown’s era saw a serious effort to collectively give the Nigerian nation a new reputation among the comity of nations. However, his era which stretched from 2001 to 2005 was characterized by belligerence which invariably alienated some senior leaders of the institute and government officials particularly in the Ministry of Information. His support for the highly respected scholar and marketing professional, Prof. Ike Nwosu to take over from him did not go down well with many members who had thought that the Presidency should have gone to the South-West. His emergence would dampen the professional spirit of many members. Another sour issue was the enthronement of Frank Tamuno Coco as chairman of Board of Fellows in which he has remained till this day for more than 12 years running. Unfortunately, he used the position to ensure that only those who would support any presidential candidate anointed by him and Bobo. That was why Nwosu replaced Bobo and that was how Abdullah Mohammed emerged to replace Nwosu. By this arrangement, mediocrity was installed over meritocracy and the fortunes of the institute began to decline. Nwosu helped in no small measure to rectify the anomalies in the appointment of fellows and in addition to ensuring the setting up of Education Board which has done very well to sanitize admission. Thus, the new paradigm shift which a new council is expected to embrace among other things must ensure that the “near perpetuity” of the chairmanship of Board of Fellows is changed and made only for the person to serve four years; appointment of Fellows

JKF: One great term deserves another By Idowu Ajanaku his lips as he gave details of his master plan to institute enduring structures in Lagos State. Good enough for his administration some six months later his promises had started bearing fruits. What with massive infrastructural development in the critical areas of road construction, education, primary healthcare delivery and the transport sector. With them came free eye screening project, LASTMA and LAMATA just to name a few. The rest, as they say is history. Incidentally, a similar scenario was about playing itself out in my encounter with the current governor of Ekiti state, JKF. First, was the opportunity for me to gain from his fecund mind as one enjoyed reading his thematically relevant and thought-provoking essays in the African Guardian where he had worked briefly. That was before one’s professional ship of journalism safely berthed there. Subsequently, I got more acquainted with him when he became a major fighter in the pro-democracy group. That was during the desperate struggle to find answers and validate the June 12, 1993 election impasse. Worthy of note was the fact that he was the brain behind the immensely popular Radio Kudirat that sent shivers down the spine of late General Abacha’s military monstrosity. All because of the implicit trust the western world reposed in him, JKF became the dependable link between it and the pro-democracy activists. It is on record that twice he was offered huge sums of money in hard currency, surreptitiously to play the Judas and thwart the collective will of Nigerians and twice he rejected the lure of the lucre which he considered evil. On this score, I had no hesitation in throwing my weight behind him when he took the bold decision to throw his hat into the gubernatorial ring of his state. But in a similar vein to the encounter with the Asiwaju, I waited, patiently for two years to critically assess the political situation in Ekiti if he would match words with action. Specifically, in line with the promises he had made during the electioneering campaign and the well

articulated Eight-point Agenda. Now, some three years on, JKF has indeed, walked the talk; making my generation proud to be associated with a performer-perexcellence. In a paradigm shift from the average Nigerian politician angling for power only for self aggrandizement he has directed the tool of governance to be more peopleoriented. From massive infrastructural development through truly free education and human capacity development policy to modernizing agriculture, health care services, industrial development to opening up the beautiful tourists’ attractions for the entire world to see and gender equality, JKF has become the agent of change. He made history as the first governor in Nigeria to sign into law the Freedom of Information (FoI) Law on Monday, July 4, 2011.This was to set the template to ensure that government business is conducted with the desired probity and accountability. In the area of infrastructural development there are various road construction going on in towns, villages down to the remotest settlements parts of the state. This was attested to during his recent tour across the local governments to commission one project or the other. Not too long ago he commissioned ten major roads totaling 103 km in fulfillment of the promise to make the state accessible by motorable roads by 2014. To exhibit the human face nature of his administration, it is a notable fact that Ekiti state is also the first in the country to practically demonstrate a welfare scheme for the aged as the indigent elders are receive N5,000 monthly. Only recently, the federal government keyed into it by expanding the programme to reach selected women in the state. After one year of receiving the stipend they could be offered soft loans to start their businesses. This is commendable and should be emulated by other state governments in the country. His imprint in the area of education would remain an enduring legacy. Said he: “The entirety of the programme is about quantitative and quality education from primary to secondary schools. And this is all encompassing involving the students, the teachers, the

through examination is not achieving its objectives because some fellow appointed through the so-called examination process between 2004 till date did not write the submitted projects themselves. They simply got some more qualified members or even their staff to write them for them. A more decent and or transparent method must be fashioned out beginning with the rule that nobody can become a Fellow, unless he has been on the membership status for 10 years. This rule has been grossly abused. Besides, venue for holding AGM must not be left at the whims and caprices of the President who would always set the date and venue to serve his parochial interest; the current council members to certain extent have not honestly asserted their authority. The administrative and secretarial matters must be streamlined in which case Registrar must be allowed to help make inputs into certain decision and not as a mere “party” scribe. This must go with the complete auditing of the past finances of the institute. The 2013 AGM should ensure that the next President come from the South-west to ensure equity. Unfortunately, the institute has not responded to the yearning that women should be carried along in many issue of national concern. No female has ever served as the President or even Vice President of the Institute. The paradigm shift must include this. • Osuji, OON, FNIPR writes from Owerri, Imo State

‘Unfortunately, the institute has not responded to the yearning that women should be carried along in many issue of national concern. No female has ever served as the President or even Vice President of the Institute. The paradigm shift must include this’ parents, the corporate and civil organizations and the public. It also involves good infrastructure, the conducive environment and every other value that can aid development in the sector. So, in Ekiti state, no student is asked to pay a kobo as school or whatever fee.” Similarly he stated that: “Many dilapidated school buildings which had not been touched for 40 years are being demolished and rebuilt with work at completion stage in various public schools.” Not left out is the health sector. For instance, he has commissioned a health centre at Ido Ile and a Skills Acquisition Centre at Iropora Ekiti which were carried out under the State Community and Social Development Agency. There is a regular health monitoring of the citizens through medical check ups which are free in addition to the cancer centre built in memory of the late deputy governor of the state. The governor also commissioned five water treatment plants at Ipole Iloro, Efon, Ido Ile, Okemesi and Mary Hill Ado Ekiti as part of people-oriented projects scheduled to mark the second anniversary of his administration. It is geared towards providing potable water to at least 80 per cent of the state population by 2014. In a complementary gesture, all the four dams in the state would become functional as a bulk of the 2014 budget is to be earmarked for the delivery of potable water. To up the ante in the tourism sector, the popular Ikogosi Warm Spring has been upgraded with requisite infrastructural development to make it a tourist‘s haven, as some cultural festivals are being rejuvenated to enhance the industry. To boost the capacity of the power sector, the people of Odo Uro, a community in Iyin Ekiti are delighted as the governor commissioned a rural electrification project. The work done involved about 0.1km Inter Town Connection (ITC), 1.8km Township Distribution Network (TDN), a 300KVA transformer and street lighting. Indeed, if leadership entails the unfailing elements of vision, the uncommon capacity to identify the most pressing needs of the led majority and provide them, the courage to do the right thing at the right time and of course, being a beacon bearer to show the people the way out of the long, dark tunnel of poverty and apathy, Fayemi is an epitome of it all. Having proven his mettle so far, one great term deserves another.

Pg. 24


Newspaper of the Year



On Plateau hills of death •PAGE 28

Kaduna’s multi-purpose dam? •PAGE 30

Peace sermon at Yuletide •PAGE 41

Inside Kano’s dying textile yards S

UCH was its popularity that merchants from various countries crossed the Sahara Desert in search of it. The texture of the local Kano fabric was irresistible. Its colour was engaging. It drove international trade. But gradually, the charm began to fade away. Some of the foreign merchants still come, though not necessarily by the desert, but things are no longer the same for the once famous local fabric or their makers. In Kano, the commercial nerve of

From Kolade AdeyemI, Kano

the North, traditional industries from which indigenous craftsmen and artisans make a living abound. The dyeing pits which have existed for over 500 years is one of them. Investigations by our correspondent indicate that the dyeing industry in the ancient commercial city has continued to suffer neglect by successive governments as those in the business complain of lack of support and encouragement from the authorities. There is no gainsaying the fact that the local dying

pits in the ancient city are fast becoming a shadow of themselves as the few dyers who manage to remain in business cry out over what they describe as total neglect by the government. One of them, Alhaji Aminu Abdullahi, 43, who inherited the business from his father who passed on 33 years ago, said they are just managing to remain in business as prices of raw materials sky-rocket by the on daily basis. According to him, their resources are so lean that they are being forced out of business since they can no longer com-

pete with modern dyers who he described as the kings of the market. “I have been in this dying business for over 35 years and this is the only business I have known all my life. We are the people that produce the real thing but these modern dyers have taken over the market as we don’t receive encouragement or assistance from anybody, including the government. They have abandoned us to our fate and we are only struggling to survive. •Continued on page 39

The Mandela factor at FEC meeting •PAGE 46




Inside Kano’s dyi

It is a known fact that the near-extinction of the cloth-dyeing profession is a great misfortune to the once booming Kano business empire. The spiraling unemployment, social ills and security threat and most importantly, the skills lost along the line which may not be recovered, form the price Kano may be paying for leaving the legacy to die


Fed Govt, UNDP launch online jobs scheme

ORRIED by the increasing rate of youth unemployment in the country, the Federal Government has launched an online job recruitment scheme to stem the trend. The programme, named the Junior Professional Officers Programme (JPOP) is being organised in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Minister of Sports and Supervising Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi who launched the scheme said interested youths are expected to submit their applications online to partake in the scheme. He said the Federal Government of Nigeria has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU with the UNDP to participate in the programme. Abdullahi said, “the programme is a

From Bukola Amusan

United Nation Programme for recruitment of young professionals to work with the UN system around the world for a period of one to two years depending on satisfactory performance. “The programme provides young professionals pursuing a career in development with hands-on experience in multilateral technical cooperation,“ he said. The Minister further added that the programme is opened to young people under the age of 32 years with a master’s degree or the equivalent with excellent information technology skills. The Permanent Secretary, Henry Akpan in his address said since the youth are the best partners and assets for future needs, it is necessary to invest heavily in them as their empowerment is of significance in the overall development of any nation.

However, despite all the hiccups, we manage to remain in business as we continue to get patronage from customers from Mali, Togo, Niger, Senegal and some countries in Asia and Europe. But I tell you that if we get adequate encouragement from the government, we will do even better and keep the legacies of our fore-fathers aright,” Alhaji Abdullahi stated. According to him, after the production, they state economy. Then, the famous guinea brocade and a good chunk of clothes worn by the highand-mighty were dyed at the pit, but today, the story is different as a visit to the pits by our Correspondent showed

that the legacy of the founding fathers of the pits is gradually waning. In reminiscence, Alhaji Muktar Illyasu recalled how, “men were staying at the dye pit complex to dye their clothes as children would spend their leisure while women were doing the embroidery at their homes. It was indeed, a business mixed with fun. Traders from all over the country, including neighbouring Niger, Mali and Chad used to visit the dye trunks to buy guinea brocades, among other local fabrics.” Today, it is a known fact that the near-extinction of the cloth-dyeing profession

is a great misfortune to the once booming Kano business empire. The spiraling unemployment, social ills and security threat and most importantly, the skills lost along the line which may not be recovered, form the price Kano may be paying for leaving the legacy to die. Abdullahi Kofar Mata, one of the sons of the founding families of the pit, admits that business activities are not as lively as they were in the past: “Before, every visitor to Kano could not go without visiting the dye pit. We have their pictures. But nowadays, they seem to prefer other attractions and the imported clothes at Kurmi

Charity foundation to hunt for ta


NON-GOVERNMENTAL charity organisation known as James Ene Henshaw Foundation says it has concluded plans to scout out talents in the creative arts in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the six geo-political zones of the country as part of efforts to boost literary work. Secretary of the Foundation, Mr. James Henshaw Jnr told journalists at a press briefing in Abuja that the foundation would continue to encourage and promote emerging African writers, initiate and support projects where young people will engage in creative activities. He said the idea for the James Ene Henshaw Foundation stems from the playwright’s own concern for literary work that reflects the experiences of African audience because the Foundation is determined for the promotion and understanding of African culture

From Gbenga Omokhunu

through literature and drama. “Of particular concern too, was his desire for plays that could be read and produced by young people in schools and colleges. To continue this vision, the Foundation will seek to promote James Ene Henshaw’s vision by ensuring that his plays continue to be accessible to a wider and younger range of audiences, through the publication and performances of this plays,” he stressed. He observed that as the older generation of writers move on, there has been a dearth of new playwrights coming through to take their place, saying that among the main aims of the Foundation is to contribute to the development of new and emerging African writers through projects and events that will identify, nurture and promote young talents.

“The art of dr not operate in a myriad of vario able the writer’ come a reality eit vision or the film “To this end, seek to provide fessional training other creative sk recting, stage m lighting design stated. He equally rev dation would see yearly festival of Calabar, involvi amateur theatr around the coun for drama wou programme of th “The aim of th support and nur tion of African pl




ying textile yards

fice, I realised that a lot of things had to be put in place to boost tourism and commerce in the state. I discussed the issue with His Excellency, Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso who directed me to go ahead and think of what we needed to do to revitalize some of the sectors that have been abandoned over the years. The Kofar Mata Dye if you there, you will that we have done some improvements in that place in terms of the environment. Our plan is to modernize the industry because we are aware that apart from being economic assets, the Kofar Mata dye pits are also tourist attractions as so

many tourists troop into Kano just to catch a glimpse of the pits. We have started renovations in that area and we are also looking at the facilities to see a way we can modernize them. So, very soon, the Kano dyeing pits will take a different shape— we are on it.” With the promise by the Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso’s administration to revive the dyeing pit industry, Kano and its people are keeping their fingers crossed as the a new face of the pits habours yet another boom in the economic and social life of the ancient commercial city of the North.

Men were staying at the dye pit complex to dye their clothes as children would spend their leisure while women were doing the embroidery at their homes. It was indeed, a business mixed with fun. Traders from all over the country, including neighbouring Niger, Mali and Chad used to visit the dye trunks to buy guinea brocades, among other local fabrics

talents in creative arts

of dramatic writing does in a vacuum, it requires a various other skills to eniter’s creative vision bety either on stage, the telee film movie. end, the Foundation will vide resources for the proining and development of ve skills in the area of dige management, set and esign and costume,” he

y revealed that the Found seek to initiate a national val of drama to be held in volving pro-fessional and heatre companies from country, while the award would be the flagship of the Foundation. of the award is to identify, d nurture the next generaan playwrights. The award

will be run bi-annually and awarded to a young writer who can demonstrate unique talent and commitment to the art form. The bulk of the award will go to sponsoring the writer to work with an experienced thea-tre director or to participate in a writer-development programme. It will be expected that the writer will complete a new play during the 18-month period,” he added. The James Ene Henshaw Foundation is a charitable organisation dedicated to maintain and promote the literary legacy of James Ene Henshaw, as well as contribute to the development of the dramatic arts in Nigeria and the African diaspora at large. Other aims of the Foundation includes to maintain and promote the literary legacy of James Ene Henshaw, publish the collected works of James Ene Henshaw and to oversee the publication of a collection of the author’s plays in one volume.

•A car crash scene at Area 11 Junction, Abuja

Market, because modernity and easy life have driven the supposed descendants of the founding families to other professions.” Kofar Mata who has similarly opted for another trade feels the founding fathers’ predecessors make name and not money from the dye profession these days. So the younger generation, he says, has no option but to seek succour elsewhere. Speaking to The Nation on what the state government is doing to revitalize the dye pits, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Tourism, Dr. Danburan Nuhu Abubakar, said, “when I assumed of-




On Plateau hills of death ‘

The dangerous nature of the road notwithstanding, the hills remain busy day and night with vehicular traffic for the simple reason that it is the only route to Jos through that axis


RAVELLING to Jos, Plateau State capital, is a hill-climbing exercise. Imagine climbing a hill on foot and the stress, exhaustion and amount of energy involved. That is the what you experience travelling to this hilltop state called Plateau. There are three major routes through which travellers get to Jos: through Saminaka in Kaduna State; through Bauchi, and through Kafanchan in Kaduna State. Travellers from Nasarawa State can also get to Jos as well through Shendam, Quan-Pan, among other routes. But majorly, travellers from the northern parts of Nigeria can only get to Jos through Kaduna or Bauchi. Travellers from the southern parts of the country can only get to Jos through Forest, Kaduna State. But from whichever direction you come to Jos one must climb the hills. Of all the hills one must climb to get to Jos, that of Hauwan Kibo in Riyom Local Government Area is the most dreaded. The hills of Riyom are identified by a popular name known as “Hauwan Kibo”. They consist of about 20km of undulating hills surrounded by gullies and valleys. This steep hills are chained together with six dangerous bends. Speeding through them by any motorist is a confirmed suicide mission. The risk of climbing the hills is teh same as the hazards of descending them. Many lives have perished on the road due to loss of control while ascending or descending the hills. All motorists plying the route have to be alert as soon as they get to the stage, a little shift from total concentration can land you in one of the valleys along the hills. To minimise the loss of lives on the hills, government agencies and civil society organisations have had to place danger signals at every bend of the hills, or at every 100 meter along the hills. This is to alert motorists especially those plying the road for the first time. The measure is just to reduce crashes and but it does not stop accidents along the hills. It got to a level that the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) had to establish a branch office at the foot of the hills in Hauwan Kibo. The branch office is equipped with emergency response road safety personnel and a fleet of ambulance

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

and mobile clinic vehicles. They are always involved in rescue operations. The dangerous nature of the road notwithstanding, the hills remain busy day and night with vehicular traffic for the simple reason that it is the only route to Jos through that axis and it is a single lane track of road. As a matter of fact, there is no road leading Plateau State that is a dual-carriage way. They are all single lane from whichever angle you may be coming from. The danger of the roads is often compounded with a scenario where heavy haulage-long vehicles popularly called ‘trailers’, Luxury buses, short buses compete for space on the narrow road with little cars like Honda Accord and it’s likes. Hauwan Kibo is a hill many heavy haulage trucks will hate to climb because their engine always fail them while climbing, causing

the vehicle to roll backward and end up in the valley. Hence, trailer drivers who are not sure of the strength of their engine often stop over at Hauwan Kibo to allow the engine to cool off and gather enough strength to be able to climb successfully. It is not unusual to see numerous such long vehicles parking by the side of the road at any point in time. That was the story behind the settlement created at the foot of the hills in Hauwan Kibo; most of the trailer drivers do pass a night there before climbing the hills. Buying and seeking was created there. Mechanic and vulcanisers created shades there and food vendors found a market there as well. Of late, security agencies like the police and FRSC have also become members of the village as a matter of necessity. That was the origin of the small village called “Hauwan Kibo”. A resident of the village, Dauda Bala, “To me, the major cause of accident on the hill is the fact that the road is very narrow and is always busy; trailers cannot speed on the hill and small cars cannot wait behind trailers. As soon as the small cars try to overtake trailers, they have coalition with opposite cars. The road record several accidents

in a day, at times in the night. Another resident, Adamu Bako said, “To stop accidents and untimely death on this road, government must consider to dualise this road; if the road is not dualised, these accidents will continue.” The risk of this federal road notwithstanding, it provides some relief to travellers and motorists. The hills stand as boundary between Plateau State and others. You feel the hot weather before you get to the hills and while climbing, but as soon as you get to the top of the hills, the cool weather of Jos appeared to welcome you to the serene climate of Jos. Every traveller cherished this natural change of weather. A first time traveller must notice the natural change and often ask why the sudden change of weather, and you will be told; this is Jos. The change of weather is the first thing to welcome you to the plateau. It provides a kind of relief from the stress of the long journey and the harrowing experience of the hills and valley of death that led you to the top. Travellers often live the car windows open to attract fresh air, but once they get to the natural boundary, they often request for windows to be closed to reduce to cold

air coming in. Plateau is indeed a wonder of nature.


N101m go

ARD drugs, rice, cooking oil and clothing materials were among goods impounded by the Sokoto State command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) since the beginning of the year. The Deputy Comptroller of the command in charge of Enforcement, Investigations and Inspection, Saka Yunusa, put the value of the goods at N101 million. Yunusa told reporters in Sokoto that the items were seized between January and December. He explained that the seizures were made in the three states under the command, which include Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara. According to him, the area command had secured ten convictions during the same period under review. “There are also seven suspects in custody in the command, who are undergoing various stages of prosecution,” he added. Yunusa further commended the officers and men of the command. “All the officers who recorded





•Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed (left), Senator Bukola Saraki (middle) and Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Rasaq Atunwa at the summit

200 youths attend Kwara jobs summit From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

as lucrative as it is liberating. It frees you from the dangers of placing your ladder on someone else’s wall, thus making you the architect of your prosperity. You are also invited to take advantage of our skill reform, such as the master trainers’ scheme and skill acquisition centers, to gain vital skills. “Through these skill reforms, we are standardizing the cost and quality of service in the trades and creating opportunities for apprentices to become self-sufficient. Our new International Vocational Center, Ajasse-Ipo will also play a pivotal role in this regard by establishing Kwara State as the hub for vocational skills. Therein lie the ultimate solutions to the menace of youth unemployment.” Saraki, who is the senator representing Kwara central, added that “individuals cannot do it all, you must be ready to seize the opportunity, you must be committed and you must be serious and see it as a journey to success.

goods seized in Sokoto From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

these seizures would soon be rewarded through promotions by the customs headquarters,” he said. “The officers and men of the service nationwide are fully committed to the religious implementation of the federal government’s fiscal policies,” he added.

While acknowledging that Nigeria’s borders were porous, Yunusa said that the officers and men were committed to taming the menace of smuggling activities in the country. “The management of the service is committed to stopping the menace,” he said.

My hope and dream is that from our discussions, we will find a lasting solution that will provide for jobs for over 5000 people immediately. This will include both entrepreneurship schemes largely and regular white collar jobs

“My hope and dream is that from our discussions, we will find a lasting solution that will provide for jobs for over 5000 people immediately. This will include both entrepreneurship schemes largely and regular white collar jobs. The entrepreneurship schemes will provide at the end of the programme a capital take off grants. I will seek the governor’s partnership in coming up with a solution. My idea is we spend the next four weeks reviewing recommendations and putting together a roadmap.” Earlier, Director, Youth and Student Affairs, ABS office, Alhaji Nasiru Subair said “it is an understatement to say how pervasive the problem of youth unemployment is in our society. Governments at all levels and individuals have been making pragmatic efforts in addressing this big challenge. “The summit is about changing the mindset of our youth from seeking white collar jobs which are no longer forthcoming to that of gainful self-employments where youth themselves will become employers of labour in the state. “The summit will expose the youth to a wide range of business opportunities and also skills involved in preparing good business plans and proposals that will enable them access credit facilities in financial institutions.” Subair added that the purpose of the summit was to create a synergy between the government, the unemployed youth and financial institutions. Said he: “It is intended to create progressive rapour between all

O fewer than 200 unemployed youths in Kwara State have participated in aone-day technical summit. The summit was organised by the Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) constituency office. The summit theme is ‘youth unemployment in Kwara state: The way forward,’ is aimed at critically examine the problem of youth unemployment and the need to develop entrepreneurship skills in promoting self employment among the youth of the state. Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and Senator Bukola Saraki, who were both at the summit vowed to, in the next four weeks, provide no less than 5000 jobs to youth in the state. They said “it is time federal government declared state of emergency on youth unemployment in the country, just as we have declared a state of emergency on power and security. Until we continue to find a lasting solution to this problem, it cannot he immediate, but we can start a process that will give the youth hope.” Said Governor Ahmed: “As the largest component of our population and the inheritors of the future, youths are our most vital resource. We must nurture, support, and prime them for productive engagement through appropriate training and tangible opportunities. Therefore, this technical workshop’s theme-Youth Unemployment in Kwara State: The Way Forward- is a poignant reminder of the challenges facing youths and a clarion call for urgent action. “As a youth-focused administration, we have implemented several interventions to get more youths into employment and into business since 2011. “For us in Kwara state, the solution to this social challenge is twopronged. First, we are creating a new crop of youth entrepreneurs through capacity building and access to affordable micro-credit funds on the platform of cooperatives. Not only is the informal sector a major driver of the economy, its multiplier effects include facilitating youth job creators and the emergence of change agents. “Second, in line with Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki’s vision for agro-led prosperity in Kwara State, we are assertively promoting youth involvement in agribusiness through targeted training, access to funding and mentorship. “I therefore call on Nigerian youths to take up entrepreneurship by leveraging the spaces created by government in the informal sector and in agribusiness. To own a successful business is

stakeholders in resolving youth unemployment in the state in particular and Nigeria in general.

“I wish to use this opportunity to appeal to our youths to make the best use of the opportunity and develop the right attitude towards this project. You should concentrate on business plans of your best interest with a special passion in order to obtain the greatest advantage of this programme. Whatever plans you develop will be critically looked into to assist in securing facilities for the implementation. The constituency office will develop effective follow-up system of your various business interests to continually measure the degree of performance. I wish to also appeal to the government to provide the conducive environment and necessary infrastructure that will fast track the process of assisting our youth to be self-employed.”

Joy, pain of a travellers’ haven


From Ene Abbah, Abuja

HY do tanker drivers stop off at Tafa village in Niger State? The answer is not quite elusive. Tafa at night is a different village entirely, very bubbly, but in the day time it is as calm and peaceful as a village should be. The village is typical of a modern city at night. The way of life there is interesting for residents. At night the community comes to life as everything turns golden for tanker drivers because of the flock of women who throng the place. These women serve as acquaintances to tanker drivers who visit the village at night. Tafa, located on the fringes of the Federal Capital Territory, is one of the local government areas in neighbouring Niger State. It has a population of 83, 874 (1991-2006 Pop. Census figures), comprising different language groups (such as Gbagi, Gwari, Nupe, Hausa and other Nigeria languages). It is home to Christians, Muslims and traditional worshippers. It is also a gateway to most parts of Northern Nigeria, which makes it a very busy area. It is located at the Abuja–Kaduna expressway. The town is quite a commercial centre, with a lot of Hotels, businessmen and women busy running their day to day activities on both side of the express way. The traders also said most of their customers are tanker drivers who usually travel along the road. Although the community may lack the attractions of modern day cities or towns like basic amenities, accessible roads and modern transportation, the community still presents an interesting place to visit because of its interesting features. Their ways of lives, mode of living, cultural festivals are fascinating to first time visitor. The community promotes communal living. They share things among one another. However, apart from lack of basic amenities, the parking of heavy duty tankers along the roads in Tafa is posing a major challenge. At Tafa, the rates of accidents are on the rise as a result of these tankers. They occupy space which makes movement difficult, thereby creating unnecessary hold up and at the same time major accidents along the roads. In an interview with The Nation, the Transport Manager Petroleum Tankers Drivers Association, Alhaji Baffa Mangal who resides around the Area, said they are not in full support of these trailers and tankers parking along the road but they have no other place to park whenever they come to repair their vehicles or visit their Family.




Gurara: Kaduna’s multi-

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

released for its completion until September 2012 when funding resumed and the new completion date fixed at December 2014. The Nation learnt that the dam has a total embankment of about 8 million cubic metres is 52.5 metres deep and 3.1 km long, with a reservoir which has a surface of 61 square kilomtres and a maximum capacity of 880 million cubic meters of water. It also has a 1.16 km tunnel with 42 meter high intake tower on the right bank of the dam which has been equipped with hydraulic valves which will transfer the water to the conveyance pipeline to Abuja. The irrigation component of the dam is designed to serve about 2000 hectare of farm land for both local and commercial farmers. Already, a test irrigation scheme has been put in place, but it was not immediately clear the quantity of food that will be produced by the farmers who are likely to benefit from the scheme. It was also discovered that the dam was designed to provide a multi-system pilot scheme (drip, gravity, sprinkler, mobile machine, pivot) with the water provided by the dam. However, it was not immediately clear how beneficial the project will be to the local farmers who may not have the capacity to tap into the pipes laid. The availability of a constant flow of 22 million cubic metres of water, regulated by power plant is the core of the implementation of the irrigation scheme. The water flow according to action plan will be provided by booster stations, regulated by an automatic control in a flow range, while a network of primary, secondary and tertiary pipes regulated by hand operated valves will distribute the regulated water to the fields and determining a 12 months development of the crops both during the raining and dry season. Available information indicates that apart from the irrigation, power and water component of the project,

Apart from irrigation, power and water component of the project, it is expected to serve as a source of fish farming and a possible development of tourism. Even though the tourism potentials of the dam have not been built into the project, a visit to the area shows a rich mountain formation that could be used for tourism and generate revenue and also provide a possible future agro-industrial development for Kaduna State

it is expected to serve as a source of fish farming and a possible development of tourism. Even though the tourism potentials of the dam have not been built into the project, a visit to the area shows a rich mountain


HE need to address the perennial water shortage in the Federal Capital Territory prompted the Obasanjo led government to award a multi-billion naira Gurara Water Transfer project towards the end of the year 2000. The contract for the project was signed between the government represented by officials of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the Contractors, Selini Construction Company was eventually signed on January 20, 2001 at a total cost of N15.123 billion. They were given three years to complete the project. The dam was designed to supply raw water to the Lower Usman Dam in the Federal Capital Territory for a 50 year period. But there was nothing in the initial design to take care of the local communities. Mr. Ibrahim Babaji of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources said that the project was initially designed to provide water to the FCT only, adding that additional components of a hydro-power plant to supply 30 megawatts of electricity to Kaduna and a pilot irrigation were later added. Available information from the ministry suggested that the dam was completed and commissioned in 2007, while the power plant has also been completed and tested. According to an information booklet made available by the ministry, the dam has been supplying raw water to the FCT through the conveyance pipeline to the lower Usman dam to serve the original purpose. It also said that “in order to optimise the full utilisation of the 30 megawatts hydro-power plant, it was foreseen that a 132 kw high voltage transmission line of 140 kilomtres to Kaduna would be erected, additional access roads to Kateri and Kenyi would be constructed, including the completion of the irrigation project”. The additional work led to the review of the project cost to N54.343 billion with a completion period of July 2011. The ministry said further that the project suffered delay when funds were not

formation that could be used for tourism and generate revenue and also provide a possible future agroindustrial development for Kaduna State. A visit to the project site revealed

a heavy presence of security operatives in the area possibly to scare away the locals who may come to protest their neglect. The Nation learnt that in April 2009, two years after the supposed completion and commissioning of the project by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the host communities embarked on a peaceful protest over lack of amenities such as potable drinking water in the communities. They accused the federal government of failing to implement the agreement entered into with the communities before the commencement of the project in 2001. Part of the agreement, according to a spokesman of the demonstrators, Samuel Bahago include the construction of roads linking the communities with other parts of Kaduna state and provision of electricity and potable drinking water to the people. Bahago who then the President of Kuturmi Development Association

•A vehicle laden with scrap fell on the highway at Km 13, Keffi-Abuja Road, Nasarawa State




-purpose dam? ‘

I can see the case of resource control coming up here. I agree that those from whose land the water is generated should benefit from the project. So, I want to appeal to the contractors and the consultants to look at the possibility of doing that

said that the communities do not have potable drinking water, despite being the source of the water that is being supplied to the Federal capital Territory saying it is also disheartening that the road from Katari, on the Kaduna-Abuja expressway linking the communities with the outside world and also the one from Anturu village to the dam are in deplorable condition, contrary to the agreements reached in 2001 with both the federal government and Salini, the contractors of the dam, that the road will be constructed and made motorable. Bahago noted that the government should implement the agreement of 2001 should be implemented while social amenities like clinics, primary schools, accessible road network and market which have all been denied them should be provided as contained in the agreement of 2001. He also lamented that sick people and pregnant women in the communities are always at serious risk due to the absence of a health centre, pointing out that the closest clinic to them was located about 60 kilometers from them, with only one secondary school. However, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as the access roads leading to the communities are currently being attended to by the company handling the project. When The Nation visited the project

site on Saturday, December 7, 2013, one of the roads, linking the dam to Kateri was being tarred while the other remained dusty. Engr. Ibrahim Babaji, a representative of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources supervising the project said the two roads when completed are expected to serve the communities who hitherto had no access roads. Chairman of Kagarko local government area, Danjuma Akuso appeal to the government to extend the water component of the dam to the host communities, pointing out that it was out of place to take water from the area to service the Federal Capital Territory, while the host communities of the project are living without portable drinking water. Kingsley Osadalor who led the Good Governance Tour team to the Gurara dam project site agrees with Akuso that the host community need to benefit from the water. Osadalor said “I can see the case of resource control coming up here. I agree that those from whose land the water is generated should benefit from the project. So, I want to appeal to the contractors and the consultants to look at the possibility of doing that”. Former President Obasanjo who conceived the project was quoted as saying while commissioning it in April of 2007 that his vision for the water resources sector of the Nigerian economy was to provide sustainable access to safe and sufficient water to meet the socio-cultural and economic development needs of Nigeria. It was this zeal that was said to have informed the construction and rehabilitation of dams, irrigation schemes and domestic water supply projects across the country. Obasanjo was quoted to have said further that the Gurara water project is in line with the unwavering commitment to ensuring the provision of adequate and efficient infrastructure in the FCT saying “given its rapid population growth, the adequate state of domestic water supply in the FCT necessitated the need to explore other sources of water to supplement the present supply from the Usuma Dam. This led to the birth of the Gurara Water Transfer Project, which is expected to be able to meet the average daily raw water demand of the FCT in the next 50 years. I am informed that this project which consists of a dam with a reservoir capacity of 880 million cubic meters and a 3metre-diameter, 75 kilometer-long steel pipeline, is one of the few of its kind that exist in Africa today,’’ he said, adding that the availability of water in the Dam has given birth to the power plant

Kaduna State is building and a 2000 hectare irrigation scheme with the potentials for small-scale industries, job creation, poverty reduction and wealth creations”. It was gathered that the irrigation component of Gurara Dam is designed in phases; the first of which is a test irrigation farm, where groundnuts, rice, maize, sugarcane and pineapple have been planted. The second phase is on a 2000 hectare irrigation scheme which is also on and is being irrigated through surface, sprinkler and drip irrigation. The 2000 hectare is located close to the local community for their benefit and has Banana, Pineapple, citrus, sugarcane, tomatoes, onions, maize and wheat. The third phase involves a 14,000 hectare scheme which covers part of FCT, Kaduna and Niger with the potential of producing about 100,000 tonnes of food annually. The Nation investigations revealed that the current Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo was said to have approached the federal government with a view to allowing the state tap into the power component of the dam and utilising it for the revival of the industrial sector in the state. Sambo who was then the governor of Kaduna state was said to be concern about the power situation in the state and on realizing that a solution can be found from the Gurara dam initiated the power project which was later taken over by the federal government and the cost built into the dam project contract. In this regard, the dam is expected to generate 30 megawatts of electricity which will be evacuated to the Kudenda, one of the two industrial estates in Kaduna metropolis for use of some of the comatose industries. However, The Nation was told that one factory, the Northern Noodles will take about 10 megawatts of the 30 megawats of electricity to be generated from the dam. Although the power component of the dam has been completed, construction of the 132 KV line covering about 111 km to evacuate the power from Gurara dam to the Kudenda power plant is yet to fully commence. However, preliminary work on the power line has commenced at the dam site. All the facilities needed to operate the power projects have also been put in place. It was however gathered that the dam has the capacity to generate up to 600 megawatts of electricity. However, it was also not clear if there are arrangements for the host communities to benefit from the power that will be generated from the dam.

Skill acquisition centre for women in Kebbi


From Khadijat Saidu, Birnin Kebbi

N continuation of her three-day advocacy visit to Kebbi State as part of efforts to eradicate poverty among women, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina has commissioned the Women Skill Acquisition Centre in Birnin Kebbi, which was built and equipped by the Federal Government for women in the state. The Minister expressed the determination of the Federal Government through the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan to eradicate poverty amongst women in the country by providing them with skills after undergoing training in their chosen trade. Hajiya Maina made the remarks while commissioning the multi-million naira skills acquisition complex centre, in Birnin Kebbi. “This is part of the effort of Federal Government to eradicate poverty amongst Nigerian women through the Ministry of Women Affairs as part of Mr. President transformation agenda by making sure that skill acquisition centres are built across the country,” she said. The Birnin Kebbi skill acquisition centre for the women, according to the Minister, was equipped with facilities such as computers, hair dressing ,soap making, tailoring,fashion designing and other gender friendly facilities for women and would be handed over to Alkali Hussaini Foundation, an NGO in the state capital to manage for 3 years . “I hope that within 3 years of its operation the center would graduate 3000 women and youths and the Federal Government is determined to complete and equipped the remaining centers spread across the country’’, she added. In his speech, the Kebbi State Governor, Saidu Dakingari, represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Ibrahim Khalid Aliyu reiterated the commitment and efforts of the state government to better the lives of women through various empowerment initiatives.

CAN urges churches on leadership


From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

HE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has urged churches in the country to come up with discipleship programmes that will enable Christian political office seekers to easily perform in office. Assistant Secretary of CAN in North Central zone, Rev. Cornelius Fawenu said this in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital in a forum organized by state chapter of Fellowship of Christian Leaders in Nigeria (FCLN). He therefore urged clergymen to be more concerned about encouraging political leaders to be Godly and successful in office than outright condemnation of the leaders for failing in office. He said: “The Church should begin to come up with discipleship programmes that prepare men to be Godly not only on pulpit but also on the rock because it is easier to be Godly in some circumstances than the others.” In the topic entitled: “Fruiting on The Rock,” Rev Fawenu said there is a potential in every one to do well at where ever he is called by God for assignment and advised that people should not submit to the hardship of the environment they find themselves. He said that some of the ways to be successful in one’s assignment as a leader who is entrusted with the welfare of the people is to be committed to the assignment and be selfless and urged the leaders to imbibe these qualities. Earlier, the Coordinator of the FCLN, Ago King Paul said there is high rate of spiritual and moral decadence in the country and that this affects the development of the nation. He stated: “At the heart of our family, national and global crisis there exists a pervasive lack of spiritual insight, responsible for the attainment of moral quotient critical to moral leadership in all sector of our society. “Our collective mishap is traceable to our clear departure from the divine tenets of the creator and reliving our own crafted ideology in our Utopian society. “The lack of moral leadership is demonstrated in the continued uncovering of unethical behaviour from the family to the highest corridors of power.” Paul called for a spiritual and moral rebirth to aid the development of the nation saying “The imperativeness and significance of our moral and spiritual rebirth as family, society and nation remain to our conviction uncompromisable.”

•Members of the 18th Regular Course of the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy during their 2013 annual dinner in Abuja




‘Why Benue can’t pay teachers minimum wage’

Primary school teachers in Benue state have been on a prolonged strike over non-implementation of the National Minimun Wage. The Special Adviser to Governor Gabriel Suswam on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Solomon Wombo told journalists why Benue State government cannot pay its teachers. Our correspondent, UJA EMMANUEL was there.

If we are to implement new minimum wage on what the federal government takes, that is, adopting exactly the structure of the federal government, we will need about 2.6 billion to do minimum wage in Benue


OR some time now government has claimed it was carrying out screening of primary school teachers in the state and upon completion, payment would commence. However, there appears to be a problem somewhere as the teachers have again embarked on an indefinite strike. What went wrong? Well, I will address the issue of screening first. It’s true that we went out to screen the teachers to be able to establish who and who were genuine teachers and those that were not genuine. We want to thank God that the screening yielded some results, at least we were able to discover that over a thousand people were on the pay roll were not genuinely our teachers and those names have been expunged. Also, we discovered that some people that are due for retirement, that are no longer productive were there and those ones were also expunged from the list. And that helped to reduce the strength of our teachers to just 15, 200 from the well over 16, 000 that we had. So, in that regards, I’d like to say the screening paid off, at least a considerable number of people that are not supposed to be on our pay roll were expunged from the pay roll. The second aspect of what went wrong; well, on our own side, I think nothing went wrong in the sense that the essence of the screening was to establish the number of teachers and pay the minimum wage. And like we said, if you’ve been part of my briefings before, I’ve always met with the press on monthly basis to brief them of happenings here, since August, we started paying salaries based on the resources available to us, there is a minimum wage. In fact, we were one of one of the first states to implement 27.5% increment on the salary of teachers in Northern Nigeria. So, this is a precedent that has been set with regards to the welfare of teachers. And above that, the governor willingly, willingly increased the salary of teachers when he came into power. He saw that figures were not too good and that their pay packets couldn’t create any impact, he willingly increased the salary of this people without any agitation from any teacher. So, these are things that indicate good intentions, they are precedents the governor has set, that he is concerned about the welfare of the teachers. So, this background should be able to give everyone an insight into the capability of the governor in terms of handling the welfare of his own people. So, what happens is, the local governments which I preside over is responsible for paying teachers and when we finished the screening, we now looked at our resources and how much we could pay. Now, instead of taking exactly what the federal government implemented at the national level which will not be feasible in the local government setting, we decided to do a new minimum wage structure that was in line with the resources that were available to us. Okay? If we are to implement new minimum wage on what the federal government takes, that is, adopting exactly the structure of the federal government, we will need about 2.6 billion to do minimum wage in Benue. And like I always say in my meetings, the allocation to our local governments are not hidden to anybody, they’re not. You can just google FAAC and get all the figures there, you don’t need to go any far. So, these things could be verified. Last month we had 2.8 as the statutory allocation and we had above 400 mil-

lion as the cat. These are the only sources that are available to our state to utilize. So, if you are to implement what the federal government is paying federal government staff at the local government in Benue, clearly, you will not be able to pay because the money won’t be there. You know how much we get for internal revenue, it’s not a hidden thing, the figures, I publish them. So, the issue of primary school teachers and the strike, they are saying we should harmonise what the state and federal governments are paying. In fact, the NUT chairman said we should adopt what the federal government gives, that is what he said. What we are saying here is, we don’t have enough resources to adopt exactly what the federal government has done, we don’t. And it’s not an issue that is not verifiable. Like we did, we called the management of NUT and we showed them, these are our figures, this is what we have collected overtime. This is what we used it to do; we give the local governments this


amount, we give SUBEB this amount, we give pension this amount, we give money for training and supervision this amount. These are statutory. And the total there is still what we arrived at. And so, this is not a gimmick, it is not politics, it’s reality, that what we have cannot pay exactly what the federal government or the state government is paying. We don’t have such money and it’s real. And they have access to our books and we have always shown them to them, that look, this is what we have and what you are demanding for cannot be paid from here. But instead of leaving you at where you were before, we will do a new salary scale based on the resources available to the state. So, this is what went wrong. How do you distinguish between what the government is paying and what we know as the minimum wage? I’ve said you do not set people’s salary based on their own needs. You set salaries based on the resources you have available to honour this salary

obligation. If you set salaries based on the needs of the people that are working for you or what people are doing you could make a mistake. In sharing of the federal allocation, for example, the federal government does not take the same with the state, the state does not take the same with the local government. The state takes about 36 point something per cent, federal government more than 52 per cent while we take only 22. So, there is no way you can set salary the same at all levels. The negotiation was done by the federal government based on the resources of the federal government and not on the resources of the local government. So, if you go to implement what the federal government and the state are implementing, you could be making a mistake because you’ll end up not paying salary anymore because you’ll have to gather your salary, your allocation for two, three months before you’ll be able honour even one month obligation. And I said, if we are to adapt exactly what the state did,

or the federal government did, you need nothing less than 2.6 billion to pay the more than 25, 200 teachers that you have in Benue and this is not possible. I said earlier that Benue local governments have the highest staff in the entire north central, we have the highest number of teachers in the entire north central and our resources are not the same. So, when we looked at the structure of the state government and the federal and we saw that it would not be practicable here, we invited them, we told them, look at our resources, we cannot just adopt this, we’ll end up not paying salaries at all. So, look at what we have and let’s do something reasonable. And you remember I told you earlier, because of the enhancement of the salary of teachers and other workers in Benue state, our teachers were taking quite reasonable sums of money as salaries, yet we said despite the fact that they are not earning below the minimum wage, let’s increase their salary based on the resources that are available to us. We brought them, we showed them our allocation for this month, I keep repeating, go to the net and check, 2.8 billion statutory, 400 million vat, the federal government clearly said no more argumentation, whatever thing we served is what we distribute. These are things Nigerians are hearing, these are things every Nigerian is aware of, it is not from me, I don’t distribute federal allocation. It is what is given to us here that we use. So, we showed it to them, this is what we had and the only thing we can do is to cut our coat according to the size of our cloth, not according to our own size even because if you have a small piece of cloth and you go and cut it according to your size you’ll end up not wearing that coat at all. So, we have to structure our coat according to our own resources, and we said from level one to six, fine, we can adopt that because the increase is manageable. But when it begins to be unmanageable we will tinker with it a little, the difference it quite a little. But they are saying, okay, we have seen that you have increased our salary, what we are asking you is, adopt what the state and federal governments have done at the local government if not we wont accept. We are telling them and pleading with them that the resources we have cannot accommodate this. This is the point we can’t meet, that is the issue that is in contention.

FCTA to employ after promotion exercise


N order to maintain the chain in the service of the FCT Administration, the government will embark on a recruitment exercise after it is done with the biometric and promotion exercises next year. The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed said this to the FCT Workers Unions while meeting with them after they withdrew from their warning strike last Monday at the Banquet Hall, FCT Minister Official Residence, Gwarinpa I District, Abuja. The Minister pointed out that with the conclusion of the biometric and promotion exercises in the first quarter of 2014, there would be some vacancies to be created, which would immediately be filled with the new recruits to maintain the chain in the service. Senator Mohammed also announced that his administration

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

would establish a durable and functional transport system for all the FCT Secretariats, Departments and Agencies (SDAs) to ameliorate their transport problem especially for those at the lower cadre. He however remarked that such transportation system would be paid for, because of the existing policy of monetization for public servants. The Minister, who revealed that considerable amount of money had been expended on staff training this fiscal year, said that as from next year, the FCT Administration will have a Training Master Plan to guide all SDAs. His words: “Accordingly, all staff training would be planned with specific officer to ensure that such staff development programme go round

to avoid unnecessary acrimony”. Senator Mohammed remarked that with this new policy, staff training for all the cadres in the FCT Administration service would have their training requirement clearly spelt out, adequately budgeted for and transparently allotted to deserving staff. According to him, the FCT Administration under his supervision has never delayed staff salary as wages and salaries are always paid on or before the 25thof every month and urged the Unions to instead commend the Administration for such pro-active gesture. Senator Mohammed recalled that in the history of the FCT Administration it is only this administration, which has paid 13th month salary bonus in 2011; insisting that the records are there. The Minister thus, noted that


though his administrationn started it, but it would not be possible in this fiscal year because of the heavy debt burden as one cant be indebted and at the same time be giving bonuses.



Today, many extraneous qualifications have crept into the appointment of judges so much so that people working in public limited liability companies have been appointed judges to satisfy geographical spread. Pray, what sort of judgments do we have with this type of sloppy appointment to the Bench.

See page 39


• Adesina




The presidency and other executive positions will be up for grabs at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) election in July, next year. It is the turn of the Southwest to produce the president. Some would-be candidates have thrown their hats in the ring. One of them, DELE ADESINA (SAN), was said to have been picked to fly the region’s flag at the election, but others are crying foul. ADEBISI ONANUGA and JOSEPH JIBUEZE report.

The politics of NBA election


•Southwest’s adoption of candidate sparks row

BOUT seven months to the Ni gerian Bar Association (NBA) election, in which the next president and other officers will emerge, would-be candidates are lobbying their colleagues for support. Though the association has yet to signal the beginning of campaigns, that has not stopped

them from gathering and strategising. The regions hold the key to determining who wins the race. There are three recognised groupings for NBA elections: The Eastern Bar Forum (EBF), the Arewa Lawyers Forum (ALF) and the Yoruba Lawyers Forum (also known as the Egbe Amofin). The Midwest Bar Forum is part of Egbe

Amofin, and is also entitled to contest on the Egbe slot in the election. A new forum, the Middle Belt Lawyers Forum (MLF), was created from ALF, but its strength and political relevance have yet to be tested. It is obvious that it will remain under Arewa until NBA decides to recognise other fora outside the three. It is Egbe Amofin’s turn to produce the next NBA President. Prominent members of Egbe have indicated interest to run the association’s affairs. The candidates are Funke Adekoya (SAN), Dele Adesina (SAN), Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), Augustin Alegeh (SAN) and the incumbent First Vice-President of the NBA, Osas J. Erhabor. Though NBA is yet to lift ban on campaigns, candidates vying for various elective offices have engaged in subterranean moves, clandestine activities and manoeuvres, which they consider useful in actualising their ambitions. These have also affected the activities and operations of the regional fora that will invariably play the role of clearing houses for their candidates. The groups have been making effort to strengthen their operations. The EBF changed

its leadership in July this year, electing the Ogbonna O. Igwenyi-led administration which took over from Mr. Kemasuode Wodu. The Arewa conducted its election in October when it elected the M. A. Abubakar-led executive, who took over from the Hajiya Fatima Kwaku-led steering committee that had managed its affairs in the last five years. To strengthen its own position to face the challenges of the election, Egbe Amofin set up a review committee to amend its constitution and reposition the forum for better performance. It also set up a five-man screening committee under the chairmanship of the former Lagos branch chairman, Mr. Taiwo Taiwo and Secretary, Mr. Ranti Ajeleti to screen its candidates for the forthcoming election. This is to ensure that the zone presents credible, popular, charismatic and winning candidates. It is clear to all who are familiar with NBA politics that Egbe took these steps to improve its electoral fortunes at the bar because its candidates are believed to have performed •Continued on page 34



LAW COVER CONT’D •Continued from page 33

woefully in the past two NBA elections. Therefore, there is need to review and overhaul the system to forestall future re-occurrence. These steps notwithstanding, there have been discordant tunes within the Egbe Amofin family. Until recently, the Egbe had no constitution, the minutes of the forum was never circulated neither does it have an account in its name. Critics said all legitimate agitations and requests to restructure and democratise the Egbe like the other fora had been resisted until the meeting of May 29 this when they finally yielded to the popular clamour for restructuring. The first major breakthrough was recorded at the meeting of August 17 in Abeokuta where a Constitution Drafting Committee was allegedly forced on the leadership to be set up. The said Committee gave a report at the just-concluded Akure meeting held on December 7, at the resident of Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN).

How rotation began

By an informal arrangement of the (NBA) which started in 2000, election into the office of NBA President began to rotate among the Eastern Bar forum, Egbe Amofin, and Arewa. The East started the Presidential rotation in 2000, followed by the West in 2002, and North in 2004. Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) indicated interest to run for the office of NBA President in 2000, so also was Mr. O. C. J. Okocha (SAN). Meanwhile, Okocha, had run in 1998 and lost to Mr. T. J. O. Okpoko (SAN). This led to series of discussions between Okocha and Olanipekun. Eventually, both of them brought leaders who sealed up their agreement and Chief Olanipekun, though a senior to Okocha, both at the outer and inner Bar, stepped down for Okocha in 2000. That was the introduction of the rotation arrangement to NBA presidential elections. In 2000, Olanipekun naturally renewed his interest. Mr Segun Onakoya, a former General Secretary, also showed interest in the race. Egbe Amofin set up a Committee and the Committee recommended Olanipekun for adoption and he was duly adopted. Mr Onakoya refused to step down, he ran and lost the election. Again, the East picked another round in 2006, the West in 2008 and the North in 2010.

Any gentleman’s agreement?

In 2008, when it was again the turn of Egbe to produce a president for the NBA, two aspirants Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN) showed interest. Three meetings were reportedly held at the instance of Chief Olanipekun at his office at No. 94 Norman Williams, South West Ikoyi, Lagos and both aspirants attended this meetings with delegates drawn from their supporters. At each meeting, the house recognised that both Adesina and Akeredolu were eminently qualified to contest the office and that both of them could be Presidents of the NBA but at the same time rather one after the other. Consequently, pressure was mounted on Mr. Adesina to allow to Mr. Akeredolu to run and Adesina would wait till this year. At a meeting held on April 19, 2008, and hosted by Chief Olanipekun (SAN) at his country home in Ikere Ekiti, Oba Abolade of Oke-Ila, a respected traditional ruler and a lawyer was in attendance at this meeting. He appealed to Mr. Adesina to wait for the next time around, insisting that it is unreasonable and unnecessary for the Egbe to dissipate resources and energy when we can understandably agree that one person could go then and the other later. Chief Bandele Aiku and Olanipekun co-presided over the meeting and at the end of the day, Mr. Adesina stepped down from the race in due deference to the request of the elders and the generality of the people at

The politics of NBA election



‘It is an elementary principle of law that he who has the power to appoint also has the power to remove. We appointed him (Ajeleti) Secretary and we have removed him’ the meeting, although contrary to the wishes and desire of majority of his supporter, particularly those from outside the Southwest. It is believed that Adesina was promised adoption in the current dispensation, but other contestants in the forthcoming election have made it clear that adoption or not, they were prepared to run the race to an end. This prompted the Chairmen and secretaries of Egbe branches to convene meeting of the association on May 29. A meeting of the Branch Chairmen and Secretaries was held at Chief Bandele Aiku’s residence at Ibadan. Some of the decisions taken at that meeting were: To restructure the Egbe with a view to democratising its leadership (Memoranda were called for from branches towards the restructuring). The secretary was mandated to do a letter to the Midwest forum regarding the agitation of one of its members to run for the NBA President in next year’s election and, to call a general meeting as soon as possible. A statement by Egbe Amofin Steering Committee Chief Adebayo Ayodele and Secretary Olubunmi Olugbade reads in part: “Nothing again was done until August 27, 2013 when a general meeting was finally called at Abeokuta after persistent demands by the branch chairmen. The meeting was held in Chief Adebayo Ayodele’s residence, the present Chairman of the Steering Committee.’’ N December 7, the commit tee of branch chairmen and Secretaries attended a meeting in Akure where it adopted Adesina as the candidate of Egbe for the forthcoming election. But the Secretary of Egbe Amofin, Ranti Ajeleti reacted to the development, saying that Egbe Amofin has not adopted anybody for the election. He said that the position of Egbe Amofin will be made known after its meeting slated for January 18, next year at the Bar Centre Ibadan. Adesina’s adoption is said to have caused some ripples within the rank of the Egbe, as members made frantic efforts to confirm the veracity of the claim. Earlier, while stating that only seven, out of 28, branches of NBA in the region were represented at the Akure meeting, Ajeleti said it was illogical that about one third of the group would take a decision on behalf of the whole. He also said such a decision was unfair on two other candidates from the region, since only one out of three was present at the meeting. Besides, the statement claimed that though the meeting was held in Akure the “chairman of the Akure branch and execu-


tive members were not in attendance”. Aside from the reactions over the published outcome of the meeting, the attendance of some members at the Akure meeting is said to have created some crisis within some of the branches. It is said some branches may have started to question the authority under which some of its members went to the meeting, while some have stated that members who attended from their branches did so on their personal recognition, not as representatives of the branches concerned. Ajeleti said: “Ordinarily, we would not have reacted to such sheer mischief but we do not want the public to be deceived or misled because a lie told appears as the truth, hence, this rejoinder to set the records straight. “Let it be noted that Egbe Amofin did not summon any meeting. Rather, it was in the fancy of some desperate persons to call a meeting of Dele Adesina apologists, masquarading as Egbe Amofin, which was unaccepted to the majority of members. “Of the 28 branches that constitute the Southwest forum of the NBA, only seven chairmen attended the meeting, contrary to the bogus claim of the unrecognised conveners of the meeting. “It is logic upside down for such a far-reaching decision to be taken at a meeting where only one of three aspirants contesting for the presidency of the NBA from the zone was in attendance; two thirds of branch chairmen and secretaries were absent and majority of the members stayed away. “The composition of those who attended the meeting revealed the sponsors and their premeditated plan. The meeting was held in Akure where the chairman of NBA Akure branch and executive members were not in attendance. This shows the lack of welcome, even by the host community. “One would consider this a huge joke carried too far with the purported sacking of the leadership of Egbe Amofin by persons who were aliens from the NBA at the time Egbe Amofin was started by those they now claim to have sacked, seeking to replace them with their yes men.” The statement also accused a senior lawyer of sponsoring the meeting to sack the leadership of Egbe Amofin. Ajeleti added: “It is strange that names of the attendees of the Akure sectional Egbe Amofin’s meeting were not given. Or, could some of them be ashamed of their dishonourable actions? “Members of Egbe Amofin are advised to disregard the outcome of the illegal Akure meeting and wait patiently for a notice of the meeting of the authentic Egbe Amofin to be con-


vened soon by the recognised leadership.” Reacting to the purported endorsement, Adekoya said it carried no weight. She described it as an unfortunate and meant to ridicule the Egbe and should be deprecated by all rightthinking lawyers of Yoruba extraction. “Why the hurry to endorse when the campaign season has not commenced? Why not agitate for the screening to be concluded? “To me, it betrays a lack of respect for the electorate and an unveiled attempt to push them in a particular direction,” Adekoya said. Akintola said no candidate had been endorsed. He said those who met knew how and why they did so. “If anyone thinks he can have a sectional meeting, all we can do is wish him good luck. “In Oyo State, my base, the four branches did not attend the Akure meeting; only one branch attended from Osun. Of the four branches in Ogun, only Abeokuta attended. From Lagos, only Lagos and Ikorodu branches were there. “Even the Ikorodu branch has petitioned the Egbe, distancing itself from the action of the chairman. In Ondo, Akure and Owo branches did not attend the meeting. “The only state fully represented at the meeting was Ekiti. Of the five SANs who attended, four are from Ekiti State. “Then, in a zone that has over 50 life-benchers, just two were at the meeting. And with over 150 SANs, only five attended…” OWEVER, Adesina has in sisted that he was en dorsed by 20 of the 23 branches of the association in the region. He said Ajeleti’s statement refuting his endorsement was in bad taste. The lawyer dismissed the claim that the Southwest had 28


branches. “The statement is from a person who does not have the right to issue such. He has been removed since Saturday, December 7, as Secretary. “It is an elementary principle of law that he who has the power to appoint also has the power to remove. We appointed him Secretary and we have removed him. “A meeting was duly called and he was invited. But he chose not to attend. That he failed to attend did not stop the meeting from holding. “It is a useless statement from a useless source. He is on his own. “On the number of branches, there are 23 branches and not 28. Lagos has four, Ogun (four), Ekiti (three), Ondo (four), Osun (five) and Oyo (three). That’s how they were at the time of endorsement. “It was only at the end of November that Shaki branch was approved by the NBA National Executive Committee (NEC) and it has not been inaugurated. “Anybody who said it was only seven branches that attended the meeting is a liar. Twenty representatives of branches attended, including 15 chairmen and secretaries. Everyone at the meeting signed the attendance sheet. “It was laughable to know that while we were at Akure, we received text messages sent anonymously purporting that Badagry, Ota and Ogbomosho branches were not at the meeting. No fewer than six chairmen, including those of these branches, were having dinner with us in the hotel. “The people are deceiving themselves and they know it. Go and ask these chairmen yourself and hear their responses. “So, it is a lie for anyone to say they were not aware of the meeting or did not receive a requisition. I received mine through my email box and so did everyone. “The invitation was also delivered through courier. They all stayed away at their own peril.” Confirming his attendance at the meeting, Falana said the meeting had 15 chairmen and seven SANs in attendance. He added: “The Egbe Amofin has 23 and not 28 branches. So, if 15 of the 23 attended a meeting and endorsed a candidate, what is left? Is Ajeleti a senior lawyer? Who is he in Egbe Amofin or NBA? “The chairmen met and sacked the forum’s Exco. Part of the reason for their sack was that they fixed a meeting for Akure and the chairmen raised a requisition. But on the day of the meeting, they (Exco) did not turn up.” Also, the Chairman of the Ikeja branch of the NBA, Mr Monday Ubani, said he was present at the meeting. Ubani said 20 branches from the zone had representatives with 15 branch chairmen present. It has become manifestly evident that unless the Egbe Amofin puts its house in order, it may not give its best to the Bar.

Book on Justice Cudjoe for presentation


HE public presentation of a book, Reminiscences of A Lady Ju rist: The Story of Hon. Justice Rahila Cudjoe OFR, will hold on Thursday Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Hall, Murtala Square, Kaduna at 11.00am. The book is from the stable of Gems Communication Resources Limited. The event, billed to attract dignitaries from all walks of life, would be chaired by the former President, Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Umar Faruk Abdullahi, while Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, will be the Special Guest of Honour. A statement by Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Gem Communications Resources, Yemi Adebisi, said the Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, will be the Chief Host, Emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris

will be the Royal father of the Day, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu (Walin Dutse) is Chief Presenter while Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN) is the reviewer. The book written in honour of Hon. Justice Cudjoe, the Chief Judge of Kaduna State, chronicles her family background, her eventful career path, which started on a record-breaking note from when she was called to the Bar in 1973 as the first female lawyer from Kaduna State, to her 17 years as the Chief Judge of State. It also captures some of her landmark judgments, spanning 30 years, from 1983 to this year, as well as chapters highlighting her views on certain issues and comments from about 90 eminent Nigerians and foreign personalities.



LAW REVIEW December 10 was Human Rights Day to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly.The day was marked in Nigeria. ADEBISI ONANUGA and REMILEKUN OSASONA report.

Respect others’ rights, says UN


HE Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly was held on Tuesday, last week. It also marked the 20th year of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, when member-countries moved against violation of other’s right. In Lagos, the state government, civil society groups and individuals joined in the celebration. With the theme “Rights of people living with disabilities, the activities also included a Human rights essay and debate competition among private and public schools at Alausa, Ikeja. Governor Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), at the event, reiterated his commitment to the protection of citizens’ rights, including that of the physically challenged. He said the state would redesign its public infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the physically challenged. The government, he said, was using the celebration to reaffirm its readiness to continue to uphold the rights of Lagosians, adding that no one is able or disabled by choice. The governor, represented by the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Ade Ipaye, said the state has passed the Special People’s Law in 2011 to address the challenges being faced by the people living with disabilities. Fashola said the state has also provided that the physically challenged enjoy equal opportunity in terms of employment, stressing: “The state is an equal opportunity employer without discriminating against prospective employees on the ground of physical infirmity.” To buttress this view, the governor said not less than four state counsels, who are physically challenged, have been employed in the Ministry of Justice, pointing out that they are performing excellently well. The governor, however, urged the citizens to be responsible and not to encroach on other people’s rights as there are no absolute rights. Earlier, in a key address, the Dean of Law, University of Lagos, Prof Imran Oluwole Smith, remarked that there could not be a human right without the rights of people with disabilities. Prof. Smith, who was represented by the Head of Department, Private and Property Law of the university, Dr Chinwuba Nwudego, suggested that a disability fund be put in place and administered by the Office of Disability Affairs and into which individuals, corporate bodies and the government might make contributions. The purpose of the fund, he said, would be to advance the cause of persons with disabilities. He, however, noted that the legislative progression on the recognition and protection of rights of persons with disabilities among the states in Nigeria had been slow and unimpressive given the multitude of efforts by the international community. He, therefore, urged other state governments to emulate the Lagos government in recognising the rights of the special people’s rights by passing disability rights. Earlier, the Solicitor-General, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), remarked that disability should not prevent any person from achieving success. He berated those who discriminate against disabled persons. Pedro said records had shown that physically challenged persons performed better than others if given the opportunity. Prior to the Human Right Day, the UN had also on November 25, 2013 marked the International Day to end violence against women. The UN had initiated a 16-day action programme, which ended on the human rights day. The National Information Officer/Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, Mr. Oluseyi Soremekun, during a visit to Ikoyi Prisons last Monday, said the programme kicked off with 16 days of activisim against gender-based violence campaign, explaining that the campaign called on individuals and civil society groups around the world to act to end violence against women and girls. He said this year’s human rights day, which has as theme, “working for your

rights” and coincided with the 20 years of Vienna Declaration, also marks the beginning of a renewed effort to strengthen and to further implement human rights instruments that have been constructed on the foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights since 1948. He, therefore, counselled parents and guardians to respect the child rights, adding:”violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights. Let this be stopped. If we all respect the rights of one another, there would be less friction and violence in the society,” he said. The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips stressed the need to protect and respect the rights of other people, irrespective of tribe, religion and other circumstances during the Prison organised by the UN in collaboration with the Lagos State judiciary and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The Chief Judge, who was represented by the Chief Registrar, Mrs. Olamide Akinkugbe said that it is part of human rights to dispense justice speedily and fairly, no matter whose horse is gored. “Justice means the prisons are decongested and freedom is given to those deserving it”, she said adding that she remained committed to prison decongestion and that the exercise would be carried out quarterly in the state. Justice Phillips identified rape, domestic violence, marriage of underaged girl, kidnapping for money among other society vices posing challenges to human rights. She suggested that more awareness should be created on what constitute human rights to enlighten the people across the world and emphasised that the issue should be kept on the front burner of UN action programme at all time. Lagos lawyer, Mr Femi Falana has, however, called for a new approach in the celebration of the Rights Day. He counselled human rights bodies to start paying attention to the enforcement and implementation of socio-economic rights. Falana, in a statement to mark the day, told the NHRC and non-state actors involved in the defence and promotion of human rights to appreciate the fact that political and civil rights are meaningless to the majority of our people who are battling with deprivation. He argued that the rights to life has no meaning to people who have no means of livelihood or who cannot afford medical expenses when they fall sick while freedom of expression is of no relevance to millions of illiterate people adding that it is high time human rights bodies in Africa paid due regard to the enforcement and implementation of socio-economic rights. He regreted that socio-economic rights have been deliberately made non-justiciable in the Constitution in the country. “Consequently, the Government cannot be dragged to court for its failure to provide adequate funds for education, health, housing, transportation and employment,” he noted. According to him, the Supreme Court has upheld that such laws are enforceable by our courts. “It is on record that our municipal courts and the Community Court of Justice (ECOWAS Court) have begun to enforce the socio-economic rights of Nigerians in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A 9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004,” he stated. UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in a statement, urged member-states to fulfil the promises they made at the Vienna Conference 20 years ago to end violence against women and girl child and ensure respect for the rights of others. He said the UN secretariat was committed to the provision of funds and programmes to vigilance and courage to fight human rights violation. He added that the promotion of human rights remained one of the core purposes of the UN since it was founded. “The key to success is the political will of member-states. It is the states, in the first instance, that are obliged to protect human rights and prevent violations at a national level and to stand up when other states fail to live up to their commitments,” he added.

•Dr. Chinwuba and Ipaye

•Pedro and Mr. Byron Fagbenro

•Mr. Clem Baye and Mr. Adeboye Abioye

•Mr. Emmanuel Bamidele, Mr. Soremekun and Mrs. Akinkugbe

• Deputy Chief Resgistrars Lagos High Court (left) Mrs. A.O. Soladoye, Mrs. O.A. Okunuga and Mrs. D.T Olatokun




Olanipekun, Daudu, others get fellowship T

HE Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) has conferred its fellowship on two former presidents of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Joseph Daudu (SAN). Others are Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), Damian Dodo (SAN), pioneer chairman of the NBA Section on Business Law (SBL) Mr. George Etomi, and Justices Tanko Muhammed and Mary Odili of the Supreme Court. NIALS Director-General, Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN), said the institute’s fellowship is only conferred on lawyers who have made meaningful contributions to law and have assisted it in fulfilling the dreams of its founding fathers. “As a Fellow of the institute, one is automatically part of the faculty of the Institute. In this regard, a Fellow is expected to participate in the scholarly programmes and activities of the institute and of the institute and advise management on the best ways to achieve international standards. “Fellows are also entitled to oversight activities of the institute and act as Ambassadors of the institute have been engaged in independent scholarly conversation on some burning issues of national importance. “Just recently at the Festival of Legal Scholarship organised by the institute in October 2013, Fellows of the institute participated actively in the conversation on standard of legal education in Nigeria and the views canvassed and arguments preferred undoubtedly enriched the whole proceedings.” The conferment/Lecture is coming on the heels of two important activities of the institute. On December 4, President Museveni of Uganda delivered the Convocation Lecture. Azinge said: “For us, it was as epochal as it was historic because for the first time in the 34 years’ history of the institute, a sitting President of a sister African country delivered the Convocation Lecture of the insti-

By John Austin Unachukwu

tute. “Also, on December 7, 2013, history was made when the institute produced its first set of PhD graduates with the conferment of Doctor of Philosophy in legislative drafting on two well-deserving candidates. “This conferment presents a platform for us to chronicle some achievements of the institute in the year under review. Our sociolegal research has proved highly successful, particularly our Restatement of Customary Law. “ He continued: “The Centenary Law Summit has been internationally applauded as the best scholarly engagement by any tertiary institution this year. So, also is the Festival of Legal Scholarship adjudged locally and internationally as the most innovative and brilliantly conceived programme globally this year. “ He also said the institute publishes 20 peer reviewed journals of international standard and this were miles ahead of any institution. He added that the public lectures, roundtables, books had contributed to raising the status of the institute to an enviable position. He added: “The institute is proud to confer its highly coveted fellowship on jurists, legal scholars and luminaries who have contributed immeasurably to shifting the frontiers of law in this country. “These illustrious sons and daughters of Nigeria in many ways than one have over the years identified with the activities of the institute either by delivering public lectures or by helping out as resource persons in our annual capacity building programmes. “The institute is immensely proud of their contributions and believes that by acknowledging their efforts through conferment of fellowship, it will ginger them to continue to participate and identify with activities and programmes of the institute.”

•From left; Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Utuama, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) and Prof. Azinge

•From left: Prof. Akintunde Obilade, Justice Odili and Justice Mohammad (JSC)

•From left: Chief Kalu, Chief Olanipekun and Prof. Charles Ilegbuna (SAN)

•From left: Winnie Olanipekun, Dr. Dapo Olanipekun and Bode Olanipekun

• From left: Dodo, J. B. Daudu and Etomi

•Yusuf Ali (SAN), High Chief Raymond Dokpesi and and Justice Nwosu-Iheme

•From left: Prof. Maxwell Gidado, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN) and Dr. Valerie Azinge



FROM THE COURT How to improve legal practice and achieve judicial excellence was the thrust of the sixth annual business luncheon of a law firm, SPA Ajibade & Co. JOSEPH JIBUEZE reports

‘How to achieve judicial excellence’


HY does judicial excellence matter, and what are the key areas in which changes may be made to maintain progressive improvements? There were some of the questions a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Queen’s Counsel (QC) Prof Oba Nsugbe sought to answer at the Sixth Annual Business Luncheon of a law firm, SPA Ajibade & Co, where he delivered a lecture on the topic: The future of legal practice in Nigeria – achieving judicial excellence. Judges, he said, played unique roles in the society: they are the “litmus test” by which social conscience can be judged; are the guardians of hard won freedoms; are the last defence for the oppressed and are ambassadors in and outside the court. Even though they are also faced with challenges of chronic transportation problems, poor infrastructure, chronic power outages, difficult working conditions, corruption, among others, judicial officers must continue to represent “the public face of justice,” Nsugbe said. Despite efforts at achieving judicial excellence, the professor said a high number of cases remain bogged down by bureaucracy, inefficiency and needless technicalities; cases are adjourned at last minute without any proper justification; judges do not sit when they should, while some give “unusual” and “unexpected” judgments that fly in the face of facts. To achieve excellence, therefore, there must be changes, beginning from the way judges are appointed. Only the best candidates should ap-

ply, and the system must be robust enough to select them, he said. “Nigeria’s system of judicial selection and appointment is in drastic need of an overhaul,” he said, adding that it is time to revisit the base qualifications and criteria for appointments. Nsugbe recommended the devising of more robust systems for testing the required competencies of applicants. “In my view, there is an over reliance on a rather opaque system of nomination and references. Theses processes of selection are notoriously unreliable as they tend to rely upon a high degree of subjectivity,” he said. Other ways of achieving excellence, he said, was to make the job of judge even more attractive to an aspirant practitioner. “For example, how often do we see the top SANs applying for judicial appointments in Nigeria?” He also called for the introduction of a system of “trainee judges” or recorders, such as is done in the United Kingdom where leading practitioners act as part-time judges in the Crown or County Court, which affords them an opportunity to test their aptitude and ability to become full times judges. In addition, Nsugbe said there was need for better quality assurance by developing a culture of review and constant improvement; training and provision of other support resources for the judiciary. The bar also has a role to play, as it represents the principal source of future appointments to the bench and bears a solemn duty of care to

• Justice Akaahs, Prof Nsugbe and Chief Solomon Asemota (SAN)

•Justice Okunnu and Chief Ajibade

• Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), Olayode Delano and Dr Ajibade

the court and to judges, Nsugbe said. He urged legal practitioners to be more concerned about the way the judiciary is perceived, adding: “Let us re-examine the way we practice and give decisions.” Akaahs said judicial appointments should go beyond politics. Only people who are knowledgeable, hard working and honest should be appointed through a more transparent process. A judge of the Lagos State High Court, Justice Lateefa Okunnu, said to persuade a judge, lawyers should have excellent communication skills. She said it was important that judges s attend trainings and refresher courses aimed to achieve judicial excellence. Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, said particular attention must be paid to undergraduates. “The future of the legal profession can be protected from the foundation,” he said. He called for innovative in creating judicial excellence by teaching junior members of the bar how to practice law. According to him, ethics is downplayed, while social values are undermined. Chief SPA Ajibade founded the firm in 1967 in Ibadan, Oyo State. Its Principal Partner, Dr Babatunde Ajibade (SAN), said the luncheon is the firm’s contribution to national building. “This is our contribution to the development of Nigerian judiciary and part of our corporate social responsibility for the development of the legal profession,” he said.


with gabriel AMALU

The charges against Jonathan


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan in the past week stood charged in the court of public opinion, for various offences. His main traducers are former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal and by decoy, the Governor of Central Bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. The most grievous of the charges against the president is the allegation of corruption, whether of his office or against the criminal laws of the state; and the corruption allegation spirals across the three accusers in various forms. Of the three, former President Obasanjo’s involvement had the most telling effect, and it was an elaborate 18 page petition, that also contains other sundry allegations, including anti-party activities. Some of the allegations against the President are indeed grievous. As a matter of fact, Sanusi Lamido’s accusation which attracted the least press attention should attract the greatest worry for the ordinary Nigerians, if indeed it is true. In a statement credited to the CBN Governor, $49.8 billion oil money is missing. According to the allegation, the corrupt nest of our country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which was supposed to have remitted the alleged missing money into the federation account; never did. Mallam Sanusi no doubt courts controversy, and this column is not his fan, but he is no doubt fearless or reckless as some will prefer. But regardless of how he is perceived, there is a need for a thorough investigation of this allegation. It is interesting that the NNPC which has always behaved as if it was a law unto itself, even before the ascendency of Jonathan, has released a statement that Mallam Sanusi’s allegation was political, and if that assertion is correct, then Mallam Sanusi has shown gross incompetence. According to the NNPC, the money in question was supposed to have been remitted by the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS). For Nigerians there is an urgent need for an open and transparent investigation of this allegation, for that sum is about our annual national budget, and if it can be stolen under President Jonathan’s watch, then he deserves to be impeached. However, it will be a shame if Governor Sanusi was merely crying wolf. The next accuser, Speaker Tambuwal, accused President Jonathan of condoning corruption. The Speaker at a round table organized by the Nigeria Bar Association, in Abuja, literally flew of the handle, to hurl the President before the public to answer charges of aiding and abetting corruption. He listed the allegations against important officials of the state still enjoying the confidence of Mr. President. Speaker Tambuwal listed the oil subsidy scam, and the president’s feckless handling of bringing to justice those responsible for that organized crime against the state. He also rightly made a feast of the President’s handling of the pension scam and the bullet proof cars, which if pursued could really expose the underbelly of the present political actors. Interestingly on the pension scam, one of the chief culprits claimed some legislators were dishonestly seeking his calve. Hon. Tambuwal also accused the President of ignoring the demand by the House of Representative that the Security and Exchange Commission, particularly the Director General Arunma Oteh have allegations of corruption to answer, and as such deserve no funding from the federation account. This allegation unfortunately also exposes the Speaker’s constituency as part of the problem of corruption in our country, if we remember that the Chairman of the committee investigating the commission is presently facing corruption charges for seeking gratification in the course of the investigation. Unfortunately, the National Assembly also has serious allegations of corruption to answer, particularly as regards their unlawful appropriation to themselves of our common resources, in complete abuse of the constitution. As I have severally argued on this page, the National Assembly is morally disenabled to fight corruption in Nigeria; unless and until they exhibit the courage to stop their hemorrhaging of the national resources, through illegal salaries and other emoluments. But still Mr. President must also show that he truly abhors corruption in his regime. Unfortunately, the most influential accuser of President Jonathan has the biggest baggage, in terms of credibility, as a witness. In law, he is what is called a tainted witness, and in some of the allegations, his evidence is of little difference from the evidence of an accomplice. A tainted witness is one who is driven by malice or some other reasons and as such, his evidence though admissible, must be treated with wary. Save for the issue of allegations of corruption which indeed is very grievous; the rest is a further show of the context for power, within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Strangely despite the believe in some quarters that Jonathan is clueless, he seemed to have outfoxed Obasanjo even within the south-west PDP, and so Obasanjo is obviously seeking to claw his way back within the party. One allegation by Obasanjo against Jonathan, which is unconscionable, is that the North is entitled to take back power in 2015, based on morality. The reason is that if at all morality is an issue in the matter of who becomes the President of Nigeria in the next election; then the North has to queue-up behind the South-East, after the South-South has had their well deserved two terms, though not necessary by President Jonathan. Well, if it happens that with the alliance between the major power brokers in the South-West and the so called, core-North, the North wins back the Presidency in 2015; then it has nothing to do with morality; but all to do with real politick. Here is wishing my readers a merry Christmas in advance, as I take a few weeks break.




ECOWAS Court summons Fed. Govt, NJC



HE Federal Government and the Na tional Judicial Council (NJC) have been summoned by the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Court) over a suit initiated by a Nigerian, Jude Eluemuno Azekwoh, alleging, among others, unlawful denial of right to fair hearing. The government and NJC are, by the summon, requested to enter appearance and respond to the suit initiated by Azekwoh who accused both defendants of unjustly denying him the opportunity of having his case property adjudicated upon by the Nigerian judicial system. The plaintiff, who seeks among others, $10million compensation, argued that the their actions or inaction, the defendants violated his rights as guaranteed under sections 3, 7 and 13 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR). Azekwoh had contested participated in the 2011 Delta North Senatorial election as a candidate of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), in which Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa of the People’s Democratic Party ((PDP) was announced winner.

Dissatisfied with the election’s outcome, Azekwoh went before the Electoral Tribunal.The tribunal struck out his petition on the ground that application for the pre-trial session was not by way of motion. He proceeded to the Appeal Tribunal, Court of Appeal, Benin, Edo State where, he said, his appeal was unfairly dismissed. He said his recourse to the ECOWAS Court was because of the alleged failure of the NJC, an agency of the Federal Government, with control over the nation’s judiciary, to act on the petitions written by his lawyer in the case, Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN) asking the NJC to look into the case. Okpeseyi had, in one of the petitions, stated that Azekwoh’s “petition was sacrificed on the altar of technicalities” at both the tribunal and the appeal levels, thereby leaving unresolved, the questions he raised about the competence of the PDP candidate, who now occupies the disputed senatorial seat. “The decision and approach of the panel of justices of the Court of Appeal, Benin in respect of this matter, violently violated our client’s right to fair hearing, compromised his appeal and has occasioned miscarriage of

justice,” Okpeseyi said in one of the petitions, copies of which formed parts of the court documents. Azekwoh argued that where his appeal against a decision of an electoral tribunal was “dismissed for no reason in law and in fact, without hearing,” his right to equality before the law, protection of the law, fair hearing and right to participate in government, guaranteed by the ACHPR, have been violated. He is praying the court to declare: •That his right to equality before the law and protection was violated was the Appeal Court in Benin allegedly refused to hear his appeal petition on no justifiable legal or factual ground. •That the his rights, as a Nigerian and citizen of ECOWAS, to have his case heard at the appellate level of the country’s court and be accorded fair hearing were violated when the Court of Appeal, Benin refused to hear his appeal no: CA/B/EPT/ 230/2011. •That the failure of the NJC to act of his petitions, has resulted in the continuing breach of his right to fair hearing and freedom to participate in the government contrary to Articles 7 and 13 of the ACHPR.

In view of calls to regularise and standardise the procurement and distribution of drugs, Chief Magistrate of Imo State AUGUSTINE OGOMA examines the Medical and Pharmacy Laws.

Legal restrictions to sale, advert of drugs


RESERVING the health of the nation re quires the need for a strict control of the manufacture, sale and advertisement of drugs. This is because drugs are special commodities which could save or endanger the life of the consumer depending on how they are used. In realisation of this, government all over the world usually put in place some degree of control over dealings in drugs. The objectives of pharmaceutical legislation can be summarised as follows: •To provide rules and regulations which will ensure that only people with the necessary training, qualifications and experience handle various operations associated with pharmaceuticals. •To ensure that possession of any given pharmaceutical license is in accordance with laid down rules and regulations. •To protect the ordinary citizen against the dangers of drug abuse, drug resistance, substandard drugs and drug adulteration. There are various legislations regulating and

controlling drugs in Nigeria and these includes: The food and Drug Act cap 150 LFN 1990; the National Agency for food and Drug Administration and control (NAFDAC) Act No 15, 1993 the counterfeit and fake Drugs (Miscellaneous provisions) Act Cap 73 LFN 1990; The National Drug formulator and Essential Drug list Act, Caps 257 LFN 1990; THE Drug and related products (Registration etc) Act No19, 1993, the pharmacists council of Nigeria Law No 91, 1992; the dangerous Drug Act Cap 91 LFN 1990, THE National Drug Law enforcement Agency Act Cap) 253 LFN 1990; And Pharmacy Law of various states particularly, Lagos State. Definition of drugs Section 20 of the food and drug Act Cap 150 LFN 1990 defines drug to include any substance or mixture of substance manufactured, sold or advertised for use in:•The diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of any disease, disorder abnormal physical state or the symptoms thereof in man or in animal.

•Restoring, correcting or modifying organic functions in man or animal. •Disinfections, or the control of vermin, insects or pets or contraception It has to be noted here that section 30 of NAFDAC Act also defines drug in similar terms. Possible offences •Sale of drugs in prohibited places: Section 2 (1) of the counterfeit and fake drugs (miscellaneous provisions Act Caps 73 LFN 1990 makes it an offence to hawk, sell or display for the purposes of sale, any drugs or poison whatsoever in any market, kiosk, motor park, roadside stall, bus, ferry or any other means of transportation or other place not duly licensed or registered for the purpose of sale and distribution of drugs or poison. It has to be noted that an offence under this section does not depend on the nature or quality of the drug in question but on the place of sale. •Continues next week


•From left: Justice Adenike Coker; Justice Phillips and Justice Taofikat Oyekan Abdullai


Lagos CJ restates commitment to infrastructure renewal

AGOS State Chief Judge, Justice Ayotunde Phillips has restated her commitment to up grading the infrastructure in all courts. She urged the public to take care of utilities at the courts. Justice Phillips spoke at the inauguration of the ultra-modern public toilets at the High Court, Ikeja. Unlike the former toilets, which facilities are worn out and inadequate, the new one has 12 rooms, six each for men and women, in addition to two shower rooms. The Chief Judge, who lamented the bad state of the former toilet, urged the public to use them properly. “Use these toilets as if they are the ones you have in your various houses and leave them like

By Adebisi Onanuga

you met them for the benefit of other people”, she said. Justice Phillips bemoaned the bad state of the public toilets in Ikeja and Igbosere high courts, describing them as an eyesore, adding that they needed urgent attention. “It is very sad that we don’t have toilets within the court premises of the state high courts where people can ease themselves at their convenient time. But I am happy today that the toilet is ready for our use,” she said. Justice Phillips added that those who would use the facility would be required to pay a token for their maintenance.


Lawyer threatens to sue court over colleague’s death

HE Chief Judge of the Federal High Court (FHC), Justice Ibrahim Auta, has been urged to intervene in the case of a 29-year-old lawyer, Joseph Nnaemeka Ogenyi, who was allegedly killed in Port Harcourt, Rivers State by the court’s staff bus. The request is contained in two letters dated October 22 and November 13, written to the Chief Judge by Anthony Oka to the bereaved Damian Ogenyi family of Ebonyi State. Oka is threatening legal action should the Chief Judge fail to take any meaningful steps to reach out to the deceased’s family. Oka said Jospeh was knocked down and killed on May 22 by a Coaster bus belonging to the court, with number-plate HC184FJ driven by Ekenedirichukwu Ojukwu, a driver in the service of the court. “The additional information we wish to bring to the notice of your lordship is that the said bus was being driven against the run of traffic in what is usually described as ‘one way lane’ in Port Harcourt, Rivers State when it knocked down and eventually killed our client. “Mr Ogenyi was taken to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital Choba where he later died from the injuries sustained from the incident. “He was born on November 23, 1984. He graduated from the Ebonyi State University in 2008 with a Bachelors degree in Law and was called to the Nigerian Bar on the November 3, 2009. He was survived

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

by six siblings and parents. “After his death, we are made to understand that the Federal High Court Authority gave the family N500,000. “The life of Ogenyi was cut short, brutally in its prime. He could have risen to serve his fatherland and, indeed, humanity in any capacity; but that is not going to be. “Prior to his death, Mr. Ogenyi was already assisting in the education of his siblings and in the upkeep of his parents, and relations. All these hopes and aspirations and assistance are lost. We hold the Federal High Court Authority vicariously liable for Mr. Ogenyi’s untimely death. “We have been instructed by the family of the late Barrister Ogenyi to demand from the Federal High Court N500million as damages and compensation for the negligence that caused his death,” Oka said. He stated that his decision to write the court’s Chief Judge was informed by his understanding of the provisions of Section 1 of the Federal High Court Act which states that “The Chief Judge … shall have overall control and supervision of the administration of the court.” “It is thus your supervisory role over the administration of the court and as Head of the Court that informed our decision to address our letter to you,” Oka added. He urged Justice Auta to note that the letters “give you statutory notice of our intention to proceed to court against you if you do not meet with our demands within the length of the statutory notice”.



LEGAL OPINION The quality of judges and their judgments have been identified as part of the bane of the judiciary. Tunde Olofintila writes that appointing judges from the academia can improve quality of judgments.



‘Why more lecturers are needed on the Bench’

OR some time, there has been some growing an worried concerns by jurists, legal practitioners of note and ordinary Nigerians about the quality of judges being appointed to the Bench and the quality of what some of these judges churn out in the name of rulings and judgments. The most recent were during the various activities marking the golden jubilee of the legal icon, Aare Afe Babalola’s call to the Bar, where jurits like the Hon. Justice Emmanuel Ayoola JSC (rtd), some thespians and Babalola himself expressed reservations about the goings-on in the nation’s judiciary, particularly on the Bench. At some point during the celebration, Ayoola and the thespians came to the unwavering conclusion that the geographical entity called Nigeria is indeed sick. Ayoola, the Guest Speaker, who spoke on a topic titled: “The Future of Law in Nigeria”, echoed the pathetic goings-on in the nation’s judiciary when he said “comparing the past with the present and the future has enough that can easily fill one with despondency. The gains of the past seem to have been swallowed up in the decline of the present. It is against this background that the truth must be told that unless we take immediate steps to arrest the prospect of law’s increasing impotence and apparent irrelevance, the future of law is bound to be dismal”. If artistes, who as social engineers entertain and educate the populace and a Jurist in the mould of the highly discipline and thoroughly distinguished Ayoola could come to that conclusion at different times and settings within 24 hours, then Nigeria is indeed and undoubtedly sick. Babalola, who was more forceful and forthcoming in his diagnosis, agreed with both the artistes and Ayoola that what ails the project Nigeria mainly is dishonesty and mismanagement of funds, whether of employers or of government, corruption and poor attitude to work as well as eye service, poor planning and execution at all levels among many other despicable vices. Now fishing in familiar waters, Babalola recalled how many lawyers have been asking for the abrogation of the SAN title in last few years. Their grievance being that they



• Justice Ayoola (rtd)

apply yearly with as many as 70 qualifying for the award every year. But at the end of the day, the Legal Privileges Committee of the Bar, which admits Legal Practitioners into SAN-ship, would lean so heavily on the law that says they cannot appoint more than 15 in any particular year, thereby leaving (having) a backlog of those who are qualified, but not awarded. The question then arises: if a person is qualified at a particular time, at what point does he become unqualified again? Perhaps one may ask those who are charged with the duty of appointing 15 out of 60 or 70 qualified practitioners what criteria they use to jettison those who are qualified. The problem here is that without knowing it, this practice of appointing 15 out of the several that are qualified has led to corruption, sectionalism and favouritism and corner cutting by some junior lawyers, thereby lowering the standard of practice in the country. Nigeria should copy England where the idea of the silk (SAN title), the equivalent of Queen’s Counsel (QC) in England was borrowed from root, stem and branch. From time immemorial in England, no matter the number that qualify in a particular year, be it 60 or 70, all of them would be appointed, leaving no room for any backlog. Nigeria must do the needful in this regard if it must not be left behind. On the judiciary, he said it will be pretentious for anyone to say or think that all is well with the judiciary as it is today, both in the quality of appointees and the judgments they deliver. His words: “Up to the late 1970s, lawyers were invited to the Bench based on quality and competence of such lawyers, but nowadays, all that is required is that you must have 10years post call and nothing more as a result of which the nation is not likely to get the best through that way of appointing our judges. Today, many extraneous qualifications have crept into the appointment of judges so much so that people working in public limited liability companies have been appointed judges to satisfy geographical spread. Mind you, these are people who have not been to court

before, who have never practised and yet they are being appointed judges only to satisfy some interest alien to the administration of justice. Pray, what sort of judgments do we have with this type of sloppy appointment to the Bench” He added: “With this type of people on the Bench, there have been numerous cases where judges have adjourned ex-parte motions because the other party has not been served. A ridiculous and ludicrous situation indeed because ex-parte motions do not involve lawyers on the other side! Lawyers have been faced with the ridiculous situations where ex-parte motions were adjourned because there is no evidence of service in the file”. Babalola, therefore, suggested that if people who qualify to be made SANS are not restricted in number, there would be a ready pool of SANs, who have made good money in their practice years, and ready to accept elevation to the Bench like the late Hon. Justice Taslim Olawale Elias and the late Hon. Justice Augustine Nnamani, thereby increasing/improving quality of judges and reducing corruption. But beyond Babalola’s therapy, another sure way of improving the quality of appointees to the Bench, particularly at the appellate levels, and by inference the quality of their judgments is by appointing some seasoned Academics as is the practice in the United States where no fewer than five Justices of that appellate court are Professors of Law who have been able to inject innovation and reform to the administration of justice. They are Hon. Justice Antonin Scalia, who after some time in private practice, became a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia and a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago as well as Visiting Professor of Law at the Georgetown University and Stanford University before he was appointed Judge of the United States Court of Appeals and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in September 1986 and Hon. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who after a stint in private practice became a Professor of Constitutional Law at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific before his appointment to the United States Court of Appeals in 1975 and eventually as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1988. •To be continued next week

UNN sued over alleged unauthorised PG programme

HE University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has been sued for its alleged admission of students for a programme it was not authorised to run by the National Universities Commission (NUC). The suit was filed by one of the about 400 intending students, who applied for the programme, paid over N220,000 and was admitted into the Master of Art (MA) programme in English to be run from the school’s Abuja centre. The plaintiff, Sunday Essienekak, said in a statement of claim that sometime in 2010, UNN advertised in a national daily and on its website, for interested candidates to buy forms from a designated branch of Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank) for admission into its postgraduate programme to be run in its Abuja centre. He said he bought the form at N11,000 which he paid into an account with number: 6020020178 belonging to a firm, C & T T22T Services Nigeria Limited, who acted as the school’s agent for the transaction. Essienekak said he was issued a postgraduate form and brochure after payment. After going through the admission procedure stipulated by UNN, he said he was issued an admission letter for the programmme. The plaintiff averred that on receiving the admission letter, he was made to pay N230,500 as registration fee and bank charge into the same account. He also exhibited copies of receipts he said the school issued for the payments. He said he later went to the named centre, where he was equaally given a registration number: PG/MA/AL/0066. He said he was,

•Varsity: It is a simple contractual obligation From Eric Ikhilae

however, surprised when, on completing the admission process, the school could not start lectures and had failed to do so till date. , Abuja The plaintiff stated that upon enquiry, he discovered that the NUC did not authorise UNN to run the programme in Abuja. He also said he found out from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) that the school’s agent – C & T T22T Services Nigeria Ltd, in whose account with Bank PHB, funds were paid – was not registered. He is praying the court to ,among others, compel the school to refund all he paid, 7.5 per cent interest on the amount paid; N1million as general damages, and N350 as cost of prosecuting the case. Essienekak also wants the court to compel NUC to investigate UNN and its agent in respect of the programme, and make a declaration that the purported admission offered by UNN and the fees it collected were “illegally perpetrated to con the plaintiff to lose his finances.” Sued with UNN are its alleged agent, C & T T22T Services Nigeria Ltd and NUC. The NUC has denied authorising UNN to run the programme and for which it collected money from subscribers. NUC, in a statement of defence filed by its lawyer, O. N. Iroaganachi, said: “No accreditation has issued from her to the first

defendant (UNN) in her (NUC’s) statutory duties as a regulator to either run the programme described by the plaintiff in his claim and or any other programme closely associated with it.” It also said neither UNN nor its alleged agent “obtained the permission, leave or authority of the third defendant (NUC) in the discharge of her statutory obligation to run the programme as described in plaintiff’s claim, leading to his purported admission.” NUC urged the court to strike its name from the suit as no cause of action had been established against it. But UNN raised an objection and prayed the Federal High Court, Abuja, before the case was initially initiated to strike it out for lack of jurisdiction. In a motion on notice filed by its lawyer, Ejike Ume (SAN), the school argued that the plaintiff’s claims are within the contemplation of Section 251 of the Constitution, and that it revolves around issues of simple contract between parties. Ume queried the legitimacy of the inclusion of the alleged agent in the suit, when the plaintiff had said it was a non-existent entity. He argued that an agent cannot be held liable for the action of a known principal. When the case came up Justice Ademola Adeniyi agreed with Ume that since the case relates to a dispute from a simple contract, his court lacks jurisdiction. Justice Adeniyi, however, refrained from striking it out, but elected to transfer the case to the Abuja High Court.



LAW & SOCIETY A lawyer Mr. MURITALA ABDUL-RASHEED writes on State of Osun Governor Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s achievements in the judicial sector


Aregbesola’s giant stride in judicial sector

Y now, very few people, except of course malicious po litical opponents, would refuse to acknowledge that the incumbent governor of the State of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is a man imbued with a class when it comes to the issue of leadership. However, I will leave his accomplishments for the state in general terms for the chroniclers of history, having decided to limit myself for what he has impacted on the administration of justice since he ascended to office three years ago. To impugn the insinuation that this is just a routine hagiography of a popular public office holder, I would also refrain from making direct, positive evaluative remarks but would leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions from the factual and well-documented performances of the Oranmiyan. My real intention for writing this piece is to show how a ruler, convinced on his ideology and principled enough to make sacrifices for their actualisation, can bring about far-reaching changes. I am a lawyer and being wellschooled in the philosophy that law is an instrument for positive social changes, I am always delighted whenever I perceive that any person, body or institution is making worthwhile contribution to help the cause of justice administration. Accordingly, I want to place it on record that I have been so excited about the remarkable landmark achievements that Ogbeni Aregbesola has made to overhaul justice administration in the state. The governor had earlier promised that the revival of the justice sector would be a subset of his administration’s larger Osun Rebirth Project. He made this vow in his campaign brochure published as the Green Book- My pact with the people of Osun State, stating solemnly as follows: “My government will ensure speedy access to justice by all individuals in Osun State, by reforming the courts system and procedural rules, introducing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms and free legal services.” That vow now seems to have turned prophetic! While space may not permit wholesome recitation of the governor’s endeavours in this context, I would briefly mention those that I regard most remarkable. Now, let us move down to the facts and figures. Prior to his ascension to office, there were only 18 magistrates holding sway throughout the expansive Osun state. Since the majority of the cases are invariably handled by magistrates, Aregbesola felt the inadequacy this limited number of judicial officers foisted on the Judiciary and its concomitant negative impact on efficient administration of justice, he therefore, appointed additional 19 magistrates to bring to 37 the number of this cadre of judicial officers. The governor also appointed 18 more state counsel to boost the efficiency of service delivery at the state’s Ministry of Justice. He established the state’s Citizen’s Mediation Centre to settle disputes between citizens without the need to resort to litigation and thereby decongest the courts. He did not stop there; he appointed 309 presidents and members of the customary courts in the state to revive the court, which had become remarkably in-operational because of lack of quorum and failing to meet the objectives for which it was established. Furthermore, to ensure that only quality persons are appointed into the judicial service, the governor tinkered with the body charged with the issue of appointment of judicial officers, the Judicial Service Commission. On June 9, last year, he appointed competent, fit and proper persons into Osun State Judicial Ser-

•Governor Aregbesola

vice Commission. After the efforts to appoint a very brilliant and erudite judge of Osun State extraction, Justice Joseph Olubunmi Oyewole, proved abortive, Aregbesola adhered strictly to the recommendations of the National Judicial Council (NJC), which culminated in the appointment of the unassuming and generally acceptable first female Chief Judge for the state. To consolidate on all these appointments, the governor also made a lot of investment on human capacity building of judicial officers. For example, all legal practitioners in the government of the state and magistrates (which have become enlarged in size as noted above) were sponsored to this year’s Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Calabar. They were also sponsored to this year’s International Bar Association Conference, which held in Boston, United States. All magistrates in the state were also sponsored to Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria Annual Conference, which held in Lagos earlier this year, with the state recording the largest number of contingent at the conference among the 36 states. Besides, judges of superior court are sponsored to overseas training periodically to sharpen their skills and equip them with modern ideas on justice delivery. Aregbesola’s relationship with the bar has been excellent. All the five branches of the NBA in the state, namely Osogbo, Ikirun, Iwo, Ilesa and Ife, have, at one time or the other, become beneficiaries of the state governor’s largesse. For example, At the annual Sapara Williams Law week of the NBA Ilesa which held on November 26. Ogbeni announced the donation of three buses to the Ilesa, Ife and Iwo branches of NBA, which did not have buses of their own, unlike the remaining two other branches of Osogbo and Ikirin that have. Under the vibrant leadership of Ogbeni, the state’s legislature has been proactive by passing many laws. These include Osun State Agency For the Control of HIV/ AIDS (O-SACA) Law, 2011; State of Osun Security Trust Fund Law, 2012; State of Osun Centre for Black Culture and International Understand-

ing (Amendment) Law, 2012; State of Osun Legitimacy (Repeal) Law, 2012; State of Osun Anthem, Crest and Flag Law, 2012; State Of Osun Debt Management Office Law, 2012 and The Osun Protection Against Domestic Violence Law, 2012. In addition to these laws, there are also many bills at different stages of passage at the state’s legislature; these include justice-sector bills, such as the State of Osun Special Offences Court Bill, 2013. In short, the legal/policy reform initiatives of Aregbesola’s administration cut across nine major sectoral areas. These include (a) Public Finance Management; (b)Revenue Generation; (c)Education and Human Capacity Development; (d) Urban Renewal and Environment; (e)Governance and Security; (f) Judicial Sector Reform; (g) Health and Safety; (h) Agriculture and Food Security and (i) Institutionalisation of Social Welfare Schemes. An objective reader may ponder on why a governor who is not himself a lawyer may embark on revolutionising the justice sector on such an expansive and ambitious scale. But, I am not surprised; having known that the governor is a beneficiary of a courageous and uncompromising judiciary, he will strive to fulfill on his promise to make the society better that he met it. Though he is an engineer, Aregbesola somehow understands the great importance a good administration of justice system implies for harmonious co-existence, progress and sustainable development. This is easily shown in the way he handled the matter of his governorship election debacle in his state. Having been cheated of his mandate through massive election rigging in the last governorship election in the state, the governor urged all his followers and supporters not to take law into their hands through violence. He assured them he would follow the unpredictable and expensive procedure of litigation. What a torturous path that proved to be! For whopping three years, he fought a relentless legal battle, which would have exhausted the patience of men of lesser steely con-

stitution. To claim back his stolen mandate, he called more than 100 witnesses and tendered 168 exhibits in his petition before the Election Petitions Tribunal, to prove the allegation of mass rigging of the election. Eventually, the judgment came on November 26, 2011, when the Court of Appeal declared Aregbesola the winner of the election and ordered he should be sworn-in the following day. Furthermore, it is remarkable that all the above quoted achievements of Ogbeni were done for the Judiciary alone despite the fact that Osun State is the smallest economy in Nigeria. To make this objective

and the larger dream realisable of Osun Rebirth Project, the governor embarked on major drive to increase phenomenally the internally generated revenues of the state. It is noteworthy that as at 2009, Osun had a meagre Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of N110 billion ($963 million) and internally generated revenue (IGR) of N320million monthly, but as of today, the state has an IGR of about N1.4 billion per month, also, the state’s GDP is about N738 billion. Commenting on the performance of Aregbesola after three years in office at the Ilesa Bar- organised Law week in honour of Christopher Alexander Sapara-Williams show case session, the guest speaker and Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Mr. Ajibola Bashiru, gave an overview of the governor’s justice sector initiatives as follows: “Aregbesola has led an administration to modernise governance; institutionalise good governance practices; facilitate and support investment; improve security and social welfare; promote public good and realise the Six-point Integral Action Plan of the Administration. “Governmental institutions and policies become more meaningful, achievable and sustainable when they are entrenched in the legal framework of society. The immense development being witnessed in various facets of life in the State of Osun is functions of not only purposeful leadership, but clear re-engineering of different aspects of the society including financial, legal, judicial and social sectors.” In conclusion, I would like to state that the governor has erected a great foundation for dynamic and efficient justice administration which is solid enough to carry the weight of subsequent superstructure of legal reforms. This exemplary legacy would surely give him a place in history. Abdul-Rasheed is a former National Publicity Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association



MAN called his lawyer one day to ask a routine question about an ongoing matter with which both parties were familiar.The lawyer gave a quick routine answer, and the entire phone conversation took no more than 60 seconds. The man was understandably a little dismayed to find a bill from the lawyer in his mail a few days later. The bill charged for 1/4 hour of consultation time, the minimum billing increment, at the lawyer’s rate of $225 per hour. The client grumbled considerably as he wrote out the check for more than $50. Two weeks later, while out for a walk, the client happened to walk past the lawyer’s house. The lawyer was outside, watering his lawn, and waved to the clien0 ANSWER THAT!!!!” A seasoned pro loses on a robbery trial. His client turns to him and says: “Well, where do we go from here?” The pro replies “Son, you’re going to prison, I’m going to lunch!” A scientist and a lawyer were discussing the marvels of technology. The lawyer is asked to identify an invention that he would classify as “miraculous.”His answer: the thermos bottle. Why the thermos bottle? “When you put

hot things in it, it keeps them hot, and when you put cold things in it, it keeps them cold.” So, what’s the miracle? “How does it know?” A young person is approached by the devil, who shows him the two paths in life to follow (the straight and narrow and well, you know...). He also shows him hell, to which, as we all know, the latter path leads. The young person observes masses of people enjoying all manner of earthly pleasures, possessing all the goods than one might want, and in general, enjoying themselves immensely. He chooses the devil’s path and becomes the stereotypical lawyer. Years passed, the no-longer-young person dies, goes to hell, and is greeted by the devil. He is assigned to a cell, from which he observes people being subjected to all manner of hideous tortures. He is told that his torture will start in the morning. Puzzled, the lawyer, who followed the devil’s path to the best of his ability asks: “But what happened to what I saw when you showed this place to me years ago when you signed me up?” The Devil responded, “Oh, you must have been here during our summer associate programme.”


Page 41


•Abuja awaits Christmas

Peace sermon at Yuletide From Gbenga Omokhunu and Grace Obike

compassion; I call on everyone across all socio-economic and religious boundaries to let us rededicate ourselves to the purpose of peace, unity and love for our common growth. As this tree stands visible day and night, let it stand as a reminder to all Nigerians that together we can build a peaceful and prosperous nation.”

The Minister of State for the FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide who was the chief host of the occasion, explained that the symbol of the Christmas tree is to promote tourism and add beauty to Abuja during the season; it will also be a beehive of activity and add colour or backdrop to photographs for visitors and residents. Akinjide in her speech said, “ The purpose of the tree is to fill the environment with its magnificent beauty and lure residents and visi-

tors with its charm; the tree stands as a physical reflection of the message of the season, It is my fervent desire that the institutionalisation of the lighting of the national Christmas tree as an annual event will be a rallying symbol of peace and unity in our country and a reminder of the oneness of our people, which will last beyond this period.” His eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan who gave the exhortation at the ceremony said that

It is a well known fact that there are many things going wrong in our country; the forces of darkness and chaos are skilfully at work, agents of disunity, perpetrators of violence, indiscipline and selfish people in low and high places who corner for themselves more than their fair share of our common national patronage. Let each person be satisfied with what is his or her own without greed and jealousy


HE Federal Capital Territory (FCT) took advantage of the Yuletide to preach peace amongst Nigerians. The message was propagated at the lighting of a 23-meter-high Christmas tree, which has 2,700 meters of branches. The tree consumes 3 kilowatts of electricity, with 20,000 LED. Its length of light garlands is about 2km while the cables measure 1km. The ceremony, which attracted lots of dignitaries and members of the diplomatic community, featured lovely performances by the Laz Ekwueme chorale orchestra. The first lady, Patience Goodluck Jonathan who performed the tree-lighting ceremony, took the opportunity to rededicate her commitment to the social advancement of women, youths and children as well as better opportunities for the disadvantaged in the society. She said: “Christmas period is a time to celebrate God’s love and

Christmas is the celebration of life which is Jesus Christ and the little ceremony of putting up light on the Christmas tree is our feeble attempt to imitate and bring to life the great light that filled the sky that first Christmas night announcing the arrival of Christ the son of God. Onaiyekan who urged Nigerians to resist all works of the devil said, “It is a well known fact that there are many things going wrong in our country; the forces of darkness and chaos are skilfully at work, agents of disunity, perpetrators of violence, indiscipline and selfish people in low and high places who corner for themselves more than their fair share of our common national patronage. Let each person be satisfied with what is his or her own without greed and jealousy. ”The devil and his agents will continue to throw the world back into darkness and chaos but the light of God will always overpower the forces of darkness.”




Kuje residents seek compen


What the government is doing is not good and I have remained worried ever since they marked my house I built two years ago on the land I bought from Kuje Area Council for demolition. Just like that, they have marked my house for demolition without any explanation for their action

HERE are many problems associated with living in satellite towns in Abuja. Poor transport system is one of them. Inadequate security is another. Then add the bad road or lack of road networks. There is also the issue of lack of social amenities. These are enough reasons to live in fear in any of the satellite towns in Abuja. But most disturbing of these problems to residents who leave in these satellite towns are the presence of bulldozers pulling down structures deemed to be affecting development projects. When buildings are marked for demolitions, residents become apprehensive, sleeping at night becomes a nightmare. In Abuja, marking buildings for demolition has gradually become a common culture. The trend started with the administration of former FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir El – Rufai. El-Rufai won the praise and hatred of many for his campaign, which he said was to protect the city’s master plan. At the time, it was common for families to lose their homes and other property. However, what is not common when these structures are pulled down is the compensation. Who pays the compensation for pulling down houses? For many, the wait for compensation is elusive; they never get any. In this regard, the residents of Pasali, a community in Kuje Area Council are asking for compensation. The Federal Capital Territory Administration’s (FCTA) Department of Development Control, recently, commenced the demolition of some illegal structures in the area. The FCTA had on November 28 and 29 marked some houses for demolition. The new demolition move which will render many residents of the community internally displaced when carried out, will pave the way for the construction of the FCT rail tract. Residents of the once quiet town, since the demolition notice was served on their houses now live in fear from being sacked by the FCT authority. Investigation revealed that over 1225 marked completed

From Frank Ikpefan

houses as well as the numerous demolished uncompleted ones are built on an extended landmass originally designated as “government residential lay out.” Located in the extended landmass that accommodates six settlements, namely Pasali, Action areas 1, 2, 3, 4 and 4 extensions, Government Girls Science Secondary School, and the Hajiya Asara community, no less than 20,000 people will be displaced even as the proposed demolition will lead to loss of economic investments. Some residents whose houses have been marked for demolition by the authority described the plan as harsh. An indigene and resident of the area whose house has been marked for demolition, Shehu Sule said he has had sleepless night since the action by officials of FCDA. He said:

“What the government is doing is not good and I have remained worried ever since they marked my house I built two years ago on the land I bought from Kuje Area Council for demolition. Just like that, they have marked my house for demolition without any explanation for their action. Government has started breaking down some houses in the area which has not been completed. We don’t know when they will come again to continue from where they stopped. ”I want government to help even if they say they must demolish our houses; they should give us money we used to acquire the land and show us another place where we can go and build our houses. “Because I don’t have any other place to live again apart from this place.” However, Spokesman for the Demolition Control Department of the FCDA Mr. Kalu Emeta, in response to the

allegations of the residents said: “The marks on their walls are adequate notification and that will last for 21 days and that is what the law prescribes. Anyone who says he has not heard of this demolition is not been truthful and he or she is behind the trend because it has been highlighted in the media severally. “We do not remove structures for the fun of it, the structures being demolished in Kuje were built on the rail track and now that work is progressing on the railway, the structures have to go.” But Chairman of Kuje Residents Association, Pastor Emmanuel Okorie in a chat with our reporter at the weekend said that the settlement was designated government residential layout, a reason he said was responsible for settlers to build residential houses in it. He said: “All the houses marked for demolition were built on lands

properly got from the government with all papers of allocation necessary. If government wants to use the land they gave us, the law requires that they compensate us adequately both for the economic trees and give us time to relocate. If for overriding public interest, the government wants to use the land for a project it considers is in greater interest of the public, then it should compensate those it will affect, that is our prayer. They have to pay for the lands and for the structures and other investments like trees already made on that land.” Also, the Chairman of Action Area (AA3) Residents Association who spoke on behalf of some affected residents, Alhaji Olayiwola Olayinka, said they were surprised by the sudden marking of their houses for demolition by the FCDA to pave way for the proposed rail line project, as nobody was informed about the exercise.




nsation for demolition T

Abaji students hail council chief over scholarship cash From Gbenga Omokhunu

HE student union executive of Abaji Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has commended the council administration under the leadership of Hon. Yahaya Gawu, for supporting the educational development of the area, through regular payment of scholarship to the student at tertiary institution. Comrade Aliyu Abdullahi, the President of the student union, who stated this during the disbursement of scholarship to the last batch of students in the council which captured 350 students for last year, from Agyana, Nuku/Sabongari and North/east ward of the council, expressed gratitude to the chairman for fulfilling his promise to the students and called on other chairmen to emulate Abaji Chairman in alleviating sufferings of the student in their respective councils. Abdullahi also called on the students to make judicious use of the gesture from the council by ensuring that they use it to assist themselves in their educational pursuit, thereby urging the council not to relent in supporting educational sector at all levels. The council chairman represented by his vice chairman, Hon. Nuhu Yakubu called on beneficiaries to reciprocate the council’s gesture by putting more effort in utmost performance in their different discipline of education to make the council be proud of them in future. He further promised the council’s support in all educational sector, by providing learning facilities to Basic and Post Basic Education in the council, thereby advicing none governmental organizations to support government efforts in educational development. “This administration is determined to take education to the next level, by putting in place mechanism required to enhance teaching and learning process, contract for the supply of free exercise books, dossiers and other teaching facilities have since been awarded,” he said.

Catholic secretariat launches anti-poverty campaign From Gbenga Omokhunu


line with the applicable town and regional planning law in the country. “What we are asking for is that, since government wants to pursue public interest, it should pay appropriate compensation and give us time within which we must move out. Because if they should come and demolish without any compensation, then it means that they are slapping us.”In a telephone interview with our reporter, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Resettlement and Compensation, of the FCDA, Joseph Atta, said that the issue of compensation and demolition has been put on hold as regards the FCT rail line project.He said: “Before any compensation must hold, there must be a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) and approved building plans by the Development Control Unit. If they don’t have any documents, there is nothing anybody can do.”

We do not remove structures for the fun of it; the structures being demolished in Kuje were built on the rail track and now that work is progressing on the railway, the structures have to go

“But when we saw markings on our properties, we started asking questions about what was going on; then they explained to us that they were marked because they were sited along the way of the rail line project. “The FCDA officials told us that they want 200 meters mapped out, because in addition to the rail line there is a road 106 project that is coming too, and everything is parallel to each other. All the rail line that is usually seen, the highest you can see is 50 meters, but this one is big. “It is embarrassing that you wake up or return from work one day, just to see red markings of demolition threat on your property, if they put food on the plate one wouldn’t have the appetite to eat or sleep well. If that is the situation, we are not opposing the government development imitative in the area, but the real fact is that it should be done in

HE Catholic Secretariat in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has launched an anti-hunger and poverty campaign with the vision to completely eradicate hunger in 2030. The campaign which has the theme, “One Human Family without Hunger and without Poverty,” was in collaboration with All Caritas Network is being driven by Caritas Nigeria on behalf of the Secretariat. Speaking at launching ceremony, the Executive Secretary of Caritas Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey said the campaign was about human rights, to question structures and preach care for one another,that the gap between the social classes in the society was appalling and challenged Government and NGOs to close the gap. “World Human Rights Day is a celebration of humanity, everybody has dignity and it should be defended. It is appalling to see some people walk freely while other are limited, some sleep over fed while others go hunger, some have houses in all the capital city of the world while some have no place to lay their head, it is a shame,” he said. Bassey said the areas worst hit by hunger and poverty were the northern part of the country and blamed the situation on desert encroachment and security crisis in the area, that Caritas Nigeria had made cash donation to 2000 families in the north and that they were creating a pool of funds through to keep the support going.




‘Why youths aren’t benefitting from Fed Govt’s investment’


From Bukola Amusan, Abuja


Our youths cannot benefit from government’s huge investment in human capital development without the right attitude and proper value orientation


HE Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation Chief Edem Duke has said lack of the right attitude by Nigerian youths has been hindering them from benefiting from government’s huge investments in the sector. He also named lack of value re-orientation as one of the major factors responsible for their human capital development deficits. Duke who was represented by Mr Tipato Daniel, Director, Orientation in the ministry, said this at a oneday national youth summit organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Abuja. The theme of the programme was “Rebuilding Nigeria’s National Image Through the Youth”. Duke said that government’s effort would “come to naught” if the citizens do not have the right attitude, adding that without the right attitude, there would be no development. “Our youths cannot benefit from government’s huge investment in human capital development without the right attitude and proper value orientation,” he said. the minister urged the NOA to remain committed to the task of value re-orientation and attitudinal transformation of Nigerians, with particular emphasis on the youth. “It is my conviction that if our youths are consciously cultivated and nurtured in the right values

24 patrol vans for FRSC at Xmas

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

and attitude they would grow as responsible adults equipped to contribute to the development of Nigeria,” he said. He added that the programme was put together to sensitise the youth on their “crucial” relevance to nation building and the role they should play to secure the future and destiny of the country. The minister called on the youth to begin to take interest on issues affecting the country even as they prepared to take over from the


older generation. He said that the federal government had created multiple programmes and platforms for youth empowerment, adding that the federal government inter-ministerial and inter agency synergy on youth were unprecedented. Mr Mike Omeri, Director General of NOA said that the Nigerian youth was the greatest among equals, this he attributed to their excellent innate potentials, which had been manifested in some Nigerian youths. According to him, everywhere

you go, the Nigerian youth remain the greatest in their exploit such as literature, science, banking and business. He said that the Nigerian youth had the capacity to change the world. Omeri frowned at some youths who he said have been tarnishing the image of the country by their conduct and attitude. He called on youths to take advantage of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan in order to add value to their lives.

HE Federal Ministry of Works in partnership with the World Bank has donated 24 patrol vehicles and four trucks to the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC to ensure an accident-free yuletide. The equipment are also targeted at ensuring safety and enforcement on specific road corridors where the bank is currently carrying out rehabilitation projects. While handing over the vehicles to the Corps Marshall of the commission, Osita Chidoka, the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen said expected target under the Road Sector Development Safety Corridor Project is to ensure fewer accidents and zero deaths. Among the expected equipment from the World Bank under the second phase of the Road Sector Development Programme are 21 patrol motorcycles, 3 heavy tow vehicles, 1 low tow vehicle, 6 double stretcher ambulances and 11 single stretcher ambulance among others. These road safety and communication equipment from the World Bank is to ensure that Nigeria meets its decade of action target on road safety over the next few years. The Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Osita Chidoka while receiving the equipments promised to mobilize his men to put them into good use to achieve the desired results.

FCT literacy level hits 60 per cent

HE literacy level in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT has increased to 60 per cent compared to 30 per cent that it was in 2011 . The Director, Agency for Mass Literacy Alhaji Musa Yakubu Maikasuwa who said this at the FCT Literacy Day held at Gwagwalada Area Council, said efforts are still being taken to ensure that a full level is achieved. Alhaji Musa Yakubu explained

From Gbenga Omokhunu and Grace Obike

that the celebration of the day was to showcase the effort of the Agency for providing second oportunity for the disadvantaged youths and adults residing in the FCT who missed acquisition of suchthese literacy in a formal setting in their impressionae childhood and early adult years. To bring literacy to the doorsteps of the residents according to the

Director the agency established six vocational centres on tailoring , fashion and design, brick laying, automobile mechanic, woodwork and joinery at Karshi, Bwari, Abaji, Kwali Gwagwalada as well as in Kuje ARea Council. The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Muhammad who was represented by the Secretary for Education Secretariat, Mallam Kabir Usman called for a synergy between the formal and informal sectors in the edu-

cation system to eradicate all forms of illiteracty in the society. The Minister pledged the commitment of the FCT Administration to develop the education sectors. Some of the representatives of the area councils at the exhibition commended the Agency that have assisted them in producing working tools that have made them to remain self reliant.

‘4000 living with HIV/AIDS in Abuja’


•Children dancing during the end-of-the year party of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Maitama, Abuja


From Gbenga Omokhunu

HE coordinator, Organisation for Female Reproductive Health Care (OFFERCARE) Mr. Azie Emenike had said that about 4000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in different communities of the Federal Capital Territory. Emenike disclosed this while speaking during a community outreach for schools and youths on HIV prevention in Shekugo village in Kuje area council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). According to him, the desire to sensitize the youth before their adolescent age became imperative against the background of lack of information and knowledge about the virus which is still existing in the midst of the people. He urged the youth to pay much attention to the resource person as the knowledge they received at the occation may be their guide against HIV/AIDS tomorrow. The coordinator explained that the organization is making efforts to ensure that majority of the carriers of the deadly virus benefits from the free drug made available for them by the federal government and donor agencies. He maintained that federal Ministry of Health said 57,000 children are born each year with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, because only 30% of pregnant women with HIV/AIDS have access to PMTC treatment that prevents unborn children from contacting the virus, thereby called on the people to encourage those living with HIV/AIDS and stop discrimination. Earlier, the chief Etsu of Shetugo community, Mohammed Shaba expressed gratitude to the organisation for choosing Shetugo as their point of enlightenment campaign against HIV/AIDS and called on the youths in the area to shun a moral activities that might lead to them contracting the dreaded HIV/AIDS.




•From left: Vice President Namadi Sambo; President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey; President Goodluck Jonathan, Chairman, South East Traditional Rulers, H.R.M. Cletus Ilomuanya and others during their visit to the president at the Presidential villa Abuja.

•From left: Senior Programme Officer, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, James Ugochukwu; Africa Director, MacAthur; Dr Kole Shettima and Programme Manager, MacAthur Foundation, Hauwa Kazim during the presentation of Security Threat Assessment Towards 2015 Election at the Bolton White Hotel in Abuja.

•From left: Minister of Communications and Technology, Omobola Johnson, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina; Minister of Information And Communication, Labaran Maku and Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu during a session of tributes to Nelson Mandela at Federal Executive Council meeting at Presidential Villa in Abuja.

•From left: Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr Ali Gulak; Minister of State, Power, Carious Ishaku; Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri; FCT Minister of State, Jumoke Akinjide and Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu during a meeting at the State House Abuja.

•L-R Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, US Department of State, Bisa Williams; Minister of Petroleum, Deziani Alison Madueke; Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo and Assistant Secretary, Operational Energy Plans and Programmes, US Department of Defence, Sharon Burke during their courtesy visit to the State House Abuja.

•Conoil Filling Station opposite the NNPC on fire in Central Area Abuja.






AST Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo had a sizeable number of ministers in attendance compared to past sessions. The moment President Goodluck Jonathan is on an official trip abroad, many Ministers are often in the habit of staying away from FEC meetings even though they are in the country. These Ministers, however abandon every assignment they have to attend the meetings when the boss is in town. In my write-up of October 1, 2013, entitled “Where are the Ministers”, I pointed out how only 14 Ministers attended the FEC meeting presided by Sambo on September 25, 2013 and how the council could not achieve much because of the poor attendance. The meeting only lasted for about one hour, 40 minutes. Apart from FEC meeting of September 25 and many other instances before that date, the attendance of FEC meeting conducted by Sambo on Wednesday 4th December, 2013 was not too impressive while full house was recorded the following day when President Jonathan gave 2013 Nigerian National Order of Merit award to three professors at the same venue. As if they have all turned a new leaf, 22 ministers did not only appear for last Wednesday FEC meeting, but they were very punctual. The President was away on a trip to South Africa for the late Nelson Mandela’s burial ceremony By the time the digital clock in the Chamber was showing 10:00 am, which is the deadline for arriving for the meeting, 19 out of the 22 ministers had already arrived. The ministers who attended last week FEC meeting which lasted for about five hours include Special Duties, Police Affairs, Petroleum Resources, FCT, FCT (State), Niger Delta, Niger Delta (State), Mines and Steel, Trade and Investment, Trade and Investment (State), Labour. Others include Communication Technology, Power, Agriculture, Women Affairs, Health, Finance, Finance (State), Works (State), Information, Transport and Interior.


The Mandela factor at FEC meeting One major reason for the ministers’ high attendance at the meeting is being linked to the opportunity given last week to pay tribute to the Late Nelson Mandela. Each of them was given the opportunity to make a comment on the late anti-apartheid crusader. Most ministers who were not on foreign trips but absent in FEC meetings presided by Sambo are believed to be using the opportunity provided by the President’s trip abroad to attend to their personal issues. Even outside the country, some of them have been accused of abandoning international conferences and seminars to go on shopping spree and other personal businesses. A point in case was the recent accusation that some ministers abandoned the Honorary International Investors’ Council (HIIC) meeting

in London. But the President on arrival in Abuja defended the ministers, saying: “All of them performed very well. I think there are some kinds of misconception. Ministers are not meant to sit throughout the period.

Ministers are meant to go and make presentations even in Nigeria.” “The only person that normally sits throughout is the Minister of Trade and Investment that warehouses the HIIC. Some ministers

From the Villa By Augustine Ehikioya

don’t normally sit for two days, in a day you may not see a minister. If a minister is meant to make a presentation on the second day, is not that for the two days you will expect all the ministers.” “Because I read some of the perception in the media, that the Minister of Communication Technology was not there on Thursday, the Minister of Petroleum was not there on Thursday. They were not meant to make presentation on Thursday, they appeared on Friday and made their presentation. So there is no issue about ministers, people make a lot of insinuations out of nothing.” He added It must be said here again that true service to our fatherland, devoid of pretence or deceptions is paramount in delivering the goods in line with the transformation agenda of the government.

FCTA pays N3.6b staff salary monthly

ESPITE the grievances of some staff of the FCT Administration, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed has assured that the issues raised would be tackled as he revealed that the Administration has a staff strength of over 28,000 personnel and pays about N3.6 billion monthly as staff wages and salaries. Mohammed said this as some staff of the administration staged a peaceful rally over some welfare issues. The Minister, who was represented by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. John Chukwu remarked that it was this high number of staff and huge monthly wage bill that informed the decision of the FCT Administration to embark on biometric exercise to ascertain that these monies are not being paid to ghost workers. Senator Mohammed reiterated that there is no way any reasonable Administration would embark on promotion exercise without first verifying the actual number of its workforce and ensuring that Manpower budget, vacancies, establishment and budget are provided to cater for the additional costs envisaged. “The FCT Administration wants to ensure that every dime spent is well spent with commensurate value in tune with the Transforma-

From Gbenga Omokhunu and Grace Obike

tion Agenda of the Federal Government”, he stressed. According to him, the FCT Administration under his supervision has never delayed staff salary as wages and salaries are always paid on or before the 25th of every month and urged the staff to instead commend him for such patriotic gesture. Senator Mohammed recalled that in the history of the FCT Administration it has only been his administration, which has paid 13th month salary in 2011; insisting that the records are there. The Minister stated that the biometric exercise has been concluded and over 3,000 staff, have cases to iron out; adding that to be sure that injustice is not done to any staff, those with cases have now been rescreened and cleared in batches while their salaries are restored accordingly. He emphasized that after all these done; the government would now embark on promotion exercise based on the vacancies declared and availability of funds. On long service award, the Minister revealed that his administration has already set aside some plots of land to be given to some staff with meritorious long service in the FCT Administration. He however,

noted that some staff had already been allocated plots. The Minister disclosed that his administration is making arrangements with reputable Motor Com-

panies in conjunction with financial institutions to organize a Car Loan Scheme for befitting staff. The Administration is also working on the allocation of Affordable

Housing plots for the staff Cooperative Societies and the Unions to have befitting staffing housing scheme for its members, he added.

•From left: Secretary-General, D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation Seyed Mohammad MOUSAVI, Secretary-General African-Asian Rural Development Organisation Mr. Wassfi Hassan El Sreihin, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and Vice President Namadi Sambo during the Minister of Agriculture of D-8 countries meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN




Abuja Area councils urged to support NHIS T

NGO decries poor educational facilities for children


HE Federal Capital Territory Administration has urged all departments, secretariats, agencies and the area councils to support the FCT Health Insurance Scheme (FHSS), geared towards addressing the health needs of staff for continuity. The Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Ademola Onakomaiya made the plea at an interactive meeting of FHSS team and managemnt staff of all FCTA hospitals in Bwari Area Council. He said the scheme is one of the dividends of democracy and the administration is determined to have a healthy workforce. His words: “The FCT health Services Scheme as an organ of the Federal Capital Territory Administration with the aim of addressing the health needs, especially out of pocket expenditure of staff (and

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

their dependants) of secretariats, departments, agencies and thz six area councils has come to stay and all efforts geared towards its sustainability should be encouraged” “Our patients, especially FHSS enrollees who access services in our hospitals are our primary concerns and we must ensure that thei hopes and confidence in the scheme will not be dashed” He lauded the FHSS team for restructuring activities that are ongoing to reposition the scheme for effective service delivery. In his welcome address, programm manager, FCT Health Services Scheme, Dr. Evans Onyekele, said, now the scheme has over 65, 000 enrollees “and we are not raising our shoulders yet

as more work still needed to be done” He said, the scheme is bedevilled with many challenges ranging from “inadequate staff to meet the tasks and late payment of capitations” adding that the meeting is to look into and address the challenges that mitigate against adequate service delivery to the enrollees. He said also that the scheme want to revalidate all the enrollees to detect those who are no longer in service and remove their names from the scheme and its also reaccrediting the private health care facilities in order to remove those that fall short of standard or no longer in existence. The FCT Health Services Scheme was established by the 12th FCT Executive Committee Resolution on April 4, 2006 and was officially flagged off in August 21, 2009.

From Grace Obike

HE Isaac Moghalu Foundation has decried the poor standard of educational facilities in schools, which makes it impossible for children to learn. They said that so many children in poor communities learn under trees or uncompleted buildings, while so many people can afford to elevate their problems but instead wait for the government. The Executive Director of the Isaac Moghalu foundation and wife of the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Maryanne Moghalu made the statement in Abuja, at the commissioning of new classroom blocks donated by the NGO (Non- Governmental Organisation) to LEA primary school, Gishiri. She said, “We came here to bridge the gap that can be found in our educational system, in the aspect of the private and public schools, although it is the role of the government to provide such, we as citizens should not just fold our hands and watch because they are our children and someone has to do something. “We have provided them with a block of three classrooms, renovated their administrative block and included a library and also given them a new borehole and rehabilitated their water system because formally they did not have drinking water.” Mrs Moghalu explained that the foundation which is basically family sponsored also gives out full scholarships to students from secondary school all through the University and so far, they have sponsored about eight students nationwide and by September intend to begin taking 20 people every year to provide scholarships. It is also an educational institutional programme where they renovate and equip schools, just like they did in Gishiri. She explained that the foundation which is a legacy of her father-in-law who was very passionate about education, partnered with Regent schools in Abuja to provide books for the library. She said that the Regent school will sustain the program after the foundation leaves and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the LEA to continue the program, whereby every child in the school will each donate a book to the Gishiri library on their birthdays for as many years as possible. A school teacher with Regent school, in charge of the project stated that, “We use the opportunity to make our children who are use to some luxury things in life and air conditioned classes understand that there are children in other places in need and how lovely it will be to help them.

Abuja radio to boost 2015 election coverage


• Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima signing a condolence register at the abuja residence of former military administrator of Borno, Retired Col. Augustine Aniebo in abuja

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

HE Nigeria Info FM station is counting its successes at one year of broadcasting, even as it plans to dedicate most of its programs to massive political education of Nigerians towards the 2015 general elec-

tions. Head of the station, Uche Victor Nwaneri, told journalists during the anniversary of the radio station in Abuja , that from the year 2014, the station would commence the journey to salvage the country from political misfortune in 2015 through its dedicated programs. He said that they were pleased with the reach by the station and the acceptance it has earned within the past one year, stressing that they would consolidate on these gains to achieve their dreams of a sound political and economic environment for the country. Nwaneri stated that the station was covering over 17 million listeners presently, adding that they’ve got the software to show the extent to which people hooked up to the station at every five minutes. He assured that they would continue with balanced information while holding the politicians and other stakeholders accountable towards a successful 2015 elections and proper administration of the country, which was the role of the media.

•L-R President Goodluck Jonathan, First Lady Dame Goodluck Jonathan, President Mother Eunice Jonathan, wife of the Senate President Hellen Mark, Senate President Senator David Mark and others at a special church service in honour of the late former South African President Nelson Mandella at the Aso Villa Chapel Abuja. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN




O most people, Abuja is not only the capital of Nigeria; it is also the money centre of the federation, which generally fuels the belief that only the rich live there. With the level of unemployment on the increase in a country with such a huge population, people in other parts of the country now nurse the believe that if they cannot find jobs in other parts of the country or encounter any form of hardship, they simply believe that all they have to do is relocate to Abuja with its high rise buildings and beautiful roads and everything will be fine. Abuja presently is probably filled with more unskilled workers than skilled, a visit to some estates like the Mbora estate in Jabi, AMAC Aco estate along the airport road etc and the Maitama Nicon junction, Beggar Junction and other specific locations, unskilled workers come out every morning in their numbers with shovels and daggers and wait for either construction companies or people in need of labourers pick them up for daily menial jobs. Such unskilled labourers are involved in the ever present construction jobs that is ever prevalent in the city, whether it is in the construction of roads, rails, estates or even private buildings, they are found everywhere ready to do jobs even


From Grace Obike

as little as weeding the highways or weeding grasses of the porches of private buildings. Adamu Musa, a native of Kaduna who sometimes hangs around the Mbora estate said that he is not lazy or afraid of hard work. “I was born on the farm and have worked on a farm my whole life. I had to leave the village because farming is now unprofitable and I have a lot of mouth to feed at home, it’s just unfortunate that the jobs we get which are very tasking pay very little.” Another set of unskilled workers complained bitterly to the Nation about the kinds of treatment meted out on them by their Chinese owners, most of them who only posse secondary school degrees insisted that the Chinese companies they work for treat them with no iota of respect and whoever dares to complain is immediately relieved of his job. These workers who resume work as early as 6am and can still be seen on the site latter than 6pm insisted that they are very hardworking and honestly enjoy being construction workers since the country itself is prevalent with unemployment but will love to be treated more humanly. 33 year old Samson Moses who works on the rail construction along

‘They don’t pay us well but what can we do? They greatest problem we have here is that although we are involved in such a dangerous job, the company does not provide any safety measure for us and whoever gets injured on the job will be the one to treat himself which is not fair’ Kubwa- Arab road said that although they are not well paid, they are left with no option but to keep working due to the situation in the country, he said, “they don’t pay us well but what can we do? They greatest problem we have here is that although we are involved in such a dangerous job, the company does not provide any safety measure for us and whoever gets injured on the job will be the one to treat himself which is not fair.” Another worker who sounded really bitter, Isaac Alaqi said,” being a construction worker is not

easy, we work all through the day, including Sundays, nobody cares if we eat or not, we don’t have a uniformed salary here, we are paid from N15,000 to N25,000 and one will have to work for complete 30days to receive the amount. Since we do not have representatives or allowed to create one and whoever tries to speak up is immediately sacked since there are many jobless people ready to fill the space.” They all said that it is unfortunate that expatriates are allowed to come into Nigeria and maltreat Nigerians without anyone daring to caution

them or tell them how to respect citizens of this country. Other unskilled workers in Abuja who are not involved in business are mostly the Okada or tricycle riders, drivers etc, while another percentage of them flood the satellite towns and municipal areas where they are involved in jobs like packing of refuse popularly called mai bola, shoe making, tailors that mend little tears from house to house, pure water sellers and those who sell items in traffic and the most surprising amongst them all are the Hausa boys whose only job is to manicure people nails. Unskilled workers flood into the city everyday and resort to other criminal activities like stealing, defrauding people of their money, mostly using the excuse of property sale to defraud people and the most common is the fraudsters popularly known as one chance pretend to be taxi drivers to defraud innocent citizens. The unfortunate thing about being a job seeker in Abuja, people continue to stay back even when they cannot find suitable jobs but keep hoping and praying for a better day, when things will get better, such a job seeker is sometimes advised to try other states, most refuse believing that just hanging around the city will probably be enough to meet their needs.

NUJ disappointed with Abaji council leadership over projects

HE chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Abuja chapter, Comrade Chuks Ehirim has expressed disappointment over the nonchalant attitude of the leadership of Abaji area council, Hon. Yahaya Garba, towards the NUJ projects tour of area councils, by not willing to make themselves available for the projects inspection. Ehirim who could not contain his disappointment over the attitude of the council and some mandate secretariats, when journalists of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Chapter, visited Kuje area council on the media assessment tour of projects execution by the FCTA, area councils and National Assembly members in the FCT, said that the action of the leadership of the council is evident to the fact that the council may be hiding the fact that there no meaningful projects in the council for them to showcase to the public. According to the NUJ boss, they gave Abaji two expecting dates which the leadership of the council shifted without genuine reasons, saying that the members of journalists were supposed to have visited the council as agreed, but in the morning they got a message across to the leadership of NUJ that they were not ready to receive the team of journalists again. “This projects tour which was given approval by the FCT Minister of State, which is the supervisory Minister of the area councils, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide. We were supposed to have started with Abaji last two weeks, but they pleaded that we should give them some days, which we did and they shifted it again. What it means is that it is possible that they do not have any project in Abaji area council to showcase.

We were supposed to have started with Abaji last two weeks, but they pleaded that we should give them some days, which we did and they shifted it again. What it means is that it is possible that they do not have any project in Abaji area council to showcase


Abuja, city of job seekers

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

“Because this tour is about showing the area councils what they are doing with their resources, even the mandate secretariates are included in this attitude, some of them are not showing interest in this projects tour, when they are called upon, they will give you documents that they have done, without coming out to show you where they are sited. “Abaji has not given genuine reasons for shifting the dates, other than that their chairman is not around. We are not moving anywhere with the chairman, he could delegate his officials to

show us what they have done, because, we are not bothered about if the chairman is available or not, because it is not a cogent reason. “We are not happy about it, because it defeats the aim of the tour itself. We are calling Abaji area council and some of this mandate secretariats to take this project tour seriously. If Abaji has no projects to showcase, we will go there and show that they are not doing anything and that is what we are going to do,” he said. Ehirim said that no matter how much the leadership of Abaji tries to frustrate the effort by the NUJ from visiting the council, they will not be deterred, that they must visit the council, to know the projects on ground, saying that they do not know the reason why they are shying away from the projects tour. “We went to Kwali area council and we were pleased with what we saw; the much the council chairman has done under six months. It is not an imposition, we are not forcing anybody, we are saying show us what you have done, just like the STDA has shown us what they have done in Kuje, Kwali and Gwagwalada area councils and we have helped them to publicize this projects. “I also want to use this opportunity to appeal to the FCT authority to assist the contractors handling this road projects, because some of this roads are very vital, they are major link roads by the inhabitants of the FCT to the city. “Like we have heard from some of the contractors, their projects are hampered by paucity of funding. So, whatever should be done so that they get their funds as at when due, should be considered, so that they could complete the projects for the benefit of the people, we will appreciate it,” he said.







President Goodluck Jonathan has postponed the presentation of the 2014 budget to the National Assembly. Correspondents VICTOR OLUWASEGUN and DELE ANOFI write on the politics of budget delay and its implications for governance.

Playing politics with Budget 2014 A

NXIETY is mounting as President Goodluck Jonathan prepares to present the next year’s budget to the National Assembly. The budget presentation was postponed last month, following the shifting political allegiance in the Senate and the House of Representatives triggered by the defection of many legislators from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP0 to the All Progressives Congress (APC). The presentation has been aborted on two occasions. The President may have read the handwriting on the wall. Although the government explaineed that the postponement became necessary because the House of Representatives was yet to conclude work on the 20142016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), and reconcile differences on the crude oil benchmark figure with the Senate, critics said that the delay was informed by political reasons. In 2011, President Jonathan presented the 2012 budget proposal before the joint sitting of the National Assembly when the House of Representatives was yet to concluded work on the MTEF and FSP. It was the other way round when the President presented the 2013 budget proposal as the Senate was still working on the document. House Spokesman Zakari Mohammed alluded to that fact when he advised the President to put up other reasons for his failure to appear before the lawmakers as promised. “It is not our fault that the budget was not presented because the House is still within the timeframe for passing the MTEF”, he said. Mohamed said the President was being diplomatic, recalling that the President had presented the budget in the past at a time the Senate had not passed the MTEFF. “Last year, the Senate was yet to pass the MTEF, but the House had passed it when the President presented the budget. But, it was not an issue then. When we look at it from another angle, the coming of the MTEF to the NASS was even belated because, according to the constitution, the MTEF is supposed to be transmitted to the NASS six moths before the end of the year. But we got this in September,” he added. According to Mohammed, the implementation of the budget may suffer. If this happens, he said the National Assembly will not take the blame. Sources said the aborted presentation may not be unconnected with the alleged plan to embarrass the President by some aggrieved lawmakers, who have sympathy for the New Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It was learnt that some of them wanted to demonstrate to the President that he does not command parliamentary majority support. Following the defection of five of seven aggrieved PDP governors, tension had enveloped the National Assembly. In fact, many legislators allegedly boasted that they would take a pound of flesh

• House of Representatives in session.

from the party for its culture of tyranny. A PDP legislator from Kano State, Aliyu Madaki, however, urged the Presidency to embrace the reality. He said that the earlier the President and the PDP accept the new political reality on ground, the better for democracy in Nigeria. He said: “For me, I see this as a way forward for our democracy and with this, the future is not only bright for our democracy, but the entirety of Nigerian people. I believe Nigerians will begin to see a more vibrant federal legislature because there is a new order in place. We will leave the PDP. The injustice is too much. We will follow our governors; there’s no doubt about it. We cannot continue to stay and face injustice. This is the moment we have been waiting for, and this will eventually change the leadership in the House”. Already, 57 New PDP legislators have openly reiterated their determination to oppose the President, if there is a compelling reason to do so in the national interest, and in accordance with the constitution. Also, there are rumours that certain principal officers of the House may be removed. The Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, is said to be working round the clock to appeal to the new power bloc to mellow down. It is believed that, when the 137 APC members and 57 new PDP members join forces, the 194 legislators may pull the rug off the feet of the PDP. According to sources, the APC members were initially pushing for the removal of the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, the majority Leader, Mulikat AkandeAdeola, the Deputy Leader, Leo Ogor, the Chief Whip, Isiaka

Mohammed Bawa, and the Deputy Chief Whip, Ahmed Mukhtar Mohammed. But, ahead of the APC’s plan to unveil the strength of its members, the Speaker moved to douse the tension generated by the proposed change in the power structure. However, the Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the unveiling is coming soon. Tambuwal is popular on both sides. Therefore, he was able to persuade his colleagues to avoid any action capable of creating further division in the House. The Presidency and the PDP have been scheming to break the ranks of the new PDP and the APC in the House. The desperation, according to a source, was borne out of the benchmark tussle and the need to give the President a soft landing in the National Assembly. It was alleged that the legislators took bribe to toe the party line. But on December 3, Deputy House Spokesman Victor Ogene debunked the allegation that each member received a 100,000 dollars to peg the benchmark of the 2014 budget at $76.5 per barrel of crude oil. The benchmark has been a source of contention between the Presidency and the House, with the House insisting on $79 dollars per barrel against the Senate’s adoption of $76.5 per barrel. The House went into a two-hour executive session on the issue of parameters to adopt on the 20142016 MTEF sent to the National Assembly by the President, particularly the benchmark. Ogene said members did not fight over the issue at the closed door session as alleged by some people. “Seriously speaking, you all saw us when we came out smiling. The issues, I told you clearly, was between those who insisted that the

benchmark remains at $79 and those who feel that that it was okay at $76.5”, he clarified. The lawmaker while referring to the allegations of money- forbenchmark, cautioned Nigerians against glorifying rumours, adding: “If money went round in the Senate, I’m not a senator, and I’ve not read any such report. In fact, I’ve not seen any dollar. So, if money has come from anywhere, the question should be put to the person sending the money. I will be glad to get money on behalf of my people, if you have a leeway to the person sharing the money”. Before the defection of the five governors, the cold war was raging in the PDP. A lawmaker said that the development was not surprising, pointing out that the PDP has always been in the minority, despite being the majority party in the House. The PDP member, who pleaded anonymity, said not many were taken by surprise by the defection, noting that, since the inception of the Seventh Assembly, Executive Bills and motions have often been resented. She said: “PDP has always been in the monitory. It is not a new development because of the posture of those that have defected now. Though they were in the PDP, they were never sympathetic to the cause of the party. So, it is just only the few of us that have to battle every time to see that bills and motions sponsored by the executive see the light of the day and that has been a tough battle”. President Jonathan has not been in the good books of the Lower Chamber. The legislators often complained that he had ignored their inputs into governance. Last month, over 30 bills listed for presidential assent were allegedly ignored. Some of the bills have

‘Already, 57 New PDP legislators have openly reiterated their determination to oppose the President, if there is a compelling reason to do so in the national interest, and in accordance with the constitution’

been with the President for more than 60 days. According to the constitution, the President ought to have assented to them within 30 days. The lawmakers believed that it was a deliberate act, especially when a presidential aide said that resolutions of the National Assembly were mere opinions. With the PDP on the brink of becoming the minority party, the days ahead may be difficult for the President. and vice versa for the hitherto opposition party, APC, options of muscle flexing for President Jonathan are disappearing and fast too, says a political analyst, Dr Alfred Armstrong. According to a critic, Dr. Alfred Armstrong, the President has two options. He said: “If he sees the office as an opportunity to serve his people and leaves the country better than he met it, then, he must tow the line of compromise. Against what any of his advisers would say, President Jonathan must be ready to make sacrifice by instilling on the PDP members in the House that fact that the nation comes first and that they must not do anything to jeopardise motions, bills and reports emanating from the APC or other parties”. Armstrong warned that, if compromise is jettisoned, the President and his party may lose the battle. He said that, even if the new PDP lawmakers refrain from defecting to the APC, their actions and activities would ultimately be detrimental to the interest of PDP. “Intimidation and revenge, which are the second option would leave the country worse off. To agree on most matters of national importance would be a Herculean task for both the lawmakers and the Presidency. The power struggle would play out during the budget debate and executive bills would find it harder to scale through. We should also expect more vigorous and targeted investigations from the lawmakers. “ If we put these together in another form, our democracy may be better for it, but the PDP would not find the new political equation too welcoming,” he added. The Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Hon. Dakuku Peterside, said that the change in power structure would bring a better Nigeria. He said: “There has been a lot of alignment and realignment. There’s a whole new political current going on in the two chambers of the National Assembly. One thing that is certain is that the power configuration must change. “Now, the change in power configuration will come with consequences and implications. It might affect the leadership of the parties in the National Assembly, and again, it will also affect the way the NASS relates with the executive arm of government. It might be negative or positive, but ultimately, it will be for the good of the Nigerian people. “For the first time, there will be effective checks and balances. It will no longer be family affairs. The days of family affairs are gone and gone for good. The politics of Nigeria will never be the same again.”



POLITICS The Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, spoke with reporters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, on the protracted feud between him and Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crisis and his 2015 governorship ambition. BISI OLANIYI was there.

Wike: I never betrayed Amaechi Y

OU and Governor Amaechi were very good friends. What went wrong? The Rivers State governor and I were not good friends. We worked together. Working together does not make you to be friends. I worked for him seriously. I cannot leave my party (the PDP). It is not done anywhere. If I quarreled with the governor, would that have been enough to make him to leave the same party that produced him? The Supreme Court said on October 25, 2007 that it was the party that won the election. I am not the issue. Am I trying to be President of Nigeria? Am I trying to be the Vice-President? What of your 2015 governorship ambition? So what? Who told you I would not want to be the President of Nigeria? You are a Christian and you want to go to heaven. Does it mean that you will go to heaven? If I say I want to be the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, does it mean that I will be? When has ambition become a criminal offence? Assuming I want to be Rivers governor in 2015, so what? Is it because I want to be governor, that is why Amaechi is quarrelling with President Goodluck Jonathan? Governorship is an ambition. If you are working hard, people will suspect you. You are working hard because you want to be somewhere. If you do not want to work hard, they will say he is not intelligent. Is there anybody that was born to be governor? Are we running emirate system, where when the emir dies, they know who will be the next emir? Governor Amaechi and you are from Ikwerre. He wants his successor to come from another ethnic group or senatorial district. Don’t you believe in the zoning agreement? Zoning in which of the political parties? Amaechi ran on the PDP platform, while Dr. Abiye Sekibo, the former Transport Minister, ran on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). So, the PDP zoned it to where? The ACN zoned it to where? If it was the turn of Ikwerre people to run, why did the ACN produce a governorship candidate outside Ikwerre? Since Amaechi’s friend wants to be governor, then it is Ogoni turn. If I

want to be the governor, it is Ikwerre turn. If Okrika person wants to be governor, it is Okrika turn. If you are from Opobo, it is Opobo turn. Such things do not intimidate me. If I want to run for the governorship of Rivers state, nothing will stop me. The situation is tense in Rivers State. Can the House of Assembly resume now? The police is also in a dilemma. Who presides between Bipi and Amachree/Kwanee? Is it for the police to decide who will preside? If the police envisage that there will be breakdown of law and order, they know what to do. The business of the police is to ensure that there is law and order. I watched on television, where Dakuku Peterside, a member of the House of Representatives from Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro Constituency, decided to join the socalled lawmakers to sit on bare ground at the centre of Moscow Road (opposite the Rivers House of Assembly) in Port Harcourt. It is clear that he has taken sides and you want the members of the National Assembly to again take over the functions of the Rivers House of Assembly. If Bipi says he is the speaker, you will challenge him in court. All they are doing now by sitting on the road is to go back to the National Assembly and say they are unable to sit, for their functions to still be taken over. Rivers people will resist it. We have resisted it before and we will continue to resist it. Amaechi has defected from the PDP to the APC. Are you not worried? For you to survive in life, you must take risk and overcome fear. I will never disappoint my supporters. Let nobody worry about what is happening. The PDP is one. Let us keep ourselves together. We will achieve what we intend to achieve. In the House of Assembly, there are pro and anti-Amaechi lawmakers. What do you have to say

• Wike

about the face-off? The truth of the matter is that the Federal High Court, Abuja, on December 11, gave a judgment. Prior to the judgment, there were issues in contention. Those who went to court, why did they go to court? What issues were raised? Those who went to court sued the National Assembly, the InspectorGeneral of Police and the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation. The National Assembly took over the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly and they went to court to challenge it. I do know that, even when the members of the House of Representatives met on July 10, after the July 9 fracas, there was already a pending matter at the Federal High Court, even before the National Assembly took the decision. Nobody can stop the members of the National Assembly from performing their functions, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution,

but the way and manner the members of the National Assembly took over the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly, were they right? The Rivers State Government and the Rivers State House of Assembly were never sued. While the matter was going on, the Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice (Worgu Boms) filed and joined. The so-called Speaker (Otelemaba Dan Amachree) and lawmakers supporting him, filed to join in the suit, led by Mr. Ahmed Raji, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). They were never sued. The Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly were sued. When they joined, what did they do? For the first time in the history of this country, that the AttorneyGeneral of a state said it was proper for the National Assembly to take over the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly. The so-called Speaker said the National Assembly should take over the functions of the Rivers House of Assembly. The same people who said they were unable to sit passed the supplementary budget that same day. If they passed the supplementary budget on July 9, how were they unable to sit? The House of Representatives immediately took over. The court said the way and manner you took over the functions were not in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. We know the National Assembly members have the right to take over the functions of the Rivers House of Assembly, but there are processes or procedures to follow, which they did not follow. What the Rivers governor wants to achieve now is that even if it means to sit at the gate of the House of Assembly, the lawmakers supporting him must sit and pass the budget. Is it not true that your group wants to impeach Amaechi at all costs? If you want to impeach, where is

‘We know the National Assembly members have the right to take over the functions of the Rivers House of Assembly, but there are processes or procedures to follow, which they did not follow. What the Rivers governor wants to achieve now is that even if it means to sit at the gate of the House of Assembly, the lawmakers supporting him must sit and pass the budget’

the Chief Judge? Will you not serve the governor a notice? Will the governor not reply you? If they raise allegations against the governor, he will respond within a specified time. If he responds and you feel that the response is not enough, the Chief Judge must set up a panel. Where is the Chief Judge to set up a panel? People are telling lies. Don’t you know how ex-Plateau State Governor Joshua Dariye was impeached? In the case of Dariye, there was a chief judge. When the impeachment notice is served, a panel will be set up by the chief judge. If there is no chief judge, who will set up the panel? In Dariye’s case, the day the House of Assembly members met, was it the day he was impeached? We must face the reality. The court judgment was given on December 11. Have you seen the order? On December 12, they said they wanted to sit, but police did not allow them to sit. On December 12, were police served with the order? So, police would hear on radio or television. Even if police receive the order, there are contending factions. Evans Bipi (who represents Ogu/Bolo constituency) is the speaker. Amachree, who was impeached on July 9, following due process, is still claiming to be the speaker. Amachree is overseas, but his deputy (Leyii Kwanee) is saying he is the acting speaker and he and the so called lawmakers want to sit. What do you want the police to do? What is the business of the police to interpret the law on impeachment of a House officer? Is it possible for anybody to have sat? Bipi is speaker. Amaechree and Kwanee are saying they are the Speaker. What do you want police to do? What Amaechi wants is for the 2014 budget to be passed today and that is the end of the matter. He needs the money to spend by 2014. You and the six anti-Amaechi lawmakers, how do you intend to stop Governor Amaechi? Who tells you that Amaechi has 25 lawmakers on his side? We are talking about politics. Some people do not know how politics works. Who tells you that everybody who appears with you is with you? It is clear that what Amaechi wants is for the so-called lawmakers to pass the budget for him. That is why he asked them to go and sit inside Government House, Port Harcourt.

Yobe warming up for council poll From Duku Joel, Damaturu

• Gaidam


FTER he succeeded his predecessor, the late Senator Mamman Ali, in January 2008, Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam unfolded his vision for the state during the presentation of the Appropriation Bill to the House of Assembly. He promised not to subvert the democratic structure at the local

government level. The governor immediately directed the Yobe State Independent Electoral Commission to set up the machinery for the poll. The governor’s pronouncement a loud ovation. The legislators applauded the decision. Barely two months, the electoral body swung into action. It held consultations with the stakeholders, including political parties, security operatives, civil society organisations, and the media. The election was held on August 8, 2009. According to the Yobe State Local Government Amendment law, the tenure of office for elected council chairmen is two years. However, for six years now, caretaker committees have been administering the councils. The Mohammed Abdu-led commission could not organise the election, following the Boko Haram insurgence. Gaidam has shown commitment to the development of grassroots

democracy. he has said that the election will hold, when the security situation improves. Many believe that he is still faithful to this agenda. The umpire, Abdu, told reporters in Damaturu, the state capital, that the stage is now set for the poll. He said it will hold on December 28. Abdu also disclosed that both the sensitive and the non-sensitive materials for the poll are ready. The electoral chief said that 10 political parties are participating in the exercise, adding that the chairmanship and councillorship candidates have been screened by the agency. But the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) has announced that it will boycott the election. The party said that the atmosphere is not conducive, since the state of emergency has not been lifted. But the chairman of the commission disagreed with the party, recalling that it had consented to the choice of December 28 as the poll day. The PDP Chairman, Lawan Gana

Karasuwa, said: “We cannot run an election in a state where there is a state of emergency. Initially, we welcomed the decision to participate in the election, hoping that the state of emergency would expire as at the time the election would be conducted. But, with the recent extension of the emergency rule, we cannot go into that election as law abiding citizens. I think they are just wasting their time”. Abdu said the emergency rule declared in the state does not affect democratic structures. He said that, based on this, the election will hold. “If they (PDP) decide to back out of it, it is entirely their problem as the commission will not force any political party to participate in the election. We have all our democratic structures intact in the state of emergency. So, we are going ahead with our elections”, he maintained. The Coalition of Political Parties in Yobe State has thrown its weight behind he exercise. Its Chairman, Umar Kukuri, expressed confi-

dence in the ability and neutrality of the commission. “While supporting all the programmes towards the success of this election, we also call on candidates and political parties to conduct themselves peacefully throughout the electioneering process. Similarly, we urge supporters of all political parties to turn out en masse and elect candidates of their choice”, Kukuri said. This is the second time the PDP is boycotting the local government election. In 2009, the party accused the ruling All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) of not providing a level playing ground for the election. The ruling party ANPP won all the chairmanship seats. As Yobe prepares for the poll, the argument for local government autonomy is also raging. Many have argued that the lack of autonomy has crippled the development of the local government system. Others have pointed out that corruption is rampant at the local government level. The joint state/council account has become their albatross.






Worried by the state of tertiary health care, some specialists who live overseas under the umbrella of the NigeriaAmerican Medical Foundation (NAMF), have dreamt up an arrangement to return excellence to the sector. OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA was at the inauguration of the foundation’s advisory board.


Tertiary health care of their dreams

AN Nigeria reclaim its lost medical excellence? A team of medics in North America and some of their colleagues back home are working to ensure that. They have formed the NigeriaAmerican Medical Foundation (NAMFI) with the vision of re-enthroning medical excellence in Nigeria. At its inauguration meeting in Lagos, Professor Emeritus Yetunde Olumide minced no words when she explained the frustration some highly skilled medical specialists and sub-specialists go through in the country. “They cannot find the tools and equipment or the facility to work with. A medic was encouraged to go for training in a sub-specialty abroad. She did and came back to the country. Almost 20 years later, she is underutilised because there is no equipment to practise with. “Yet, there are patients trooping to our tertiary institutions daily, seeking attention. There are skilled and highly specialised professionals but it is distressing that they do not have what it takes to practise, in terms of paraphernalia. For example, I, with some dermatologists, are looking for N33m to set up a unit that can deal with skin problems, especially cancer of the skin, but till now, we are still searching.” These are some of the challenges specialists and sub-specialists face. NAMFI plans to address the challenges. At the meeting were the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Femi Olugbile, who represented Governor Babatunde Fashola; Health Minister Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, represented by the Ministry’s Head of Diaspora Unit, Dr Bola Olowu; former Ministers of Health Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi and Prof Adenike Grange; Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Publisher of The Guardian, Mrs. Maiden AlexIbru and some accomplished physicians and surgeons. Inaugurated into the NAMFI Advisory Board were former United States Ambassador to Nigeria Howard F. Jeter; Mrs. Alex-Ibru, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi and former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade. The Secretary, NAMFI Board of Trustees, Dr. Adeyinka Shoroye, while giving insight into its mission, said the health sector was in crisis. He said, though Nigeria has improved marginally in life expectancy, infant and maternal mortality ratings since independence, current statistics on the three major indices of quality of healthcare is a far cry from what obtains in other countries. “NAMFI aims to fill the vacuum of medical diagnostic and tertiary care in the country through visiting experts as well as a select group of Nigeria-based experts who will offer specialist medical consultations that are sought abroad by thousands of Nigerians. The foundation will work collaboratively on a referral basis with a network of first rate laboratories and hospitals in the country to ensure effective follow up and treatment.

“This is a five-year plan to impact tertiary healthcare in Nigeria. NAMFI is a non-profit organisation and network of highly specialised Nigerian medical professionals based in Nigeria and North America. As tertiary healthcare specialists, who received the best training almost for free before leaving this country, we realised that one way we can contribute to improving healthcare in Nigeria is by collaborating with our counterparts here to provide specialist consultation and diagnosis that are sought abroad. The goal is to have a national referral system for specialised healthcare at the end of five years,” Dr. Shoroye said. Dr Shoroye, a Paediatrician specialising in Allergy/Asthma and Immunology, said: “The Nigerian-American Medical Foundation is a product of its time the brain drain of highly-trained medical specialists and sub-specialists. The infrastructural ebb in the past 25 years has created a generational vacuum of adequate tertiary care in Nigeria. This is a patriotic response and a humanitarian calling to the pain and suffering at this time in Nigeria’s history to the pain and suffering of sick fellow country men and women, young and old, requiring tertiary care not available in Nigeria. “Health is, indeed, a human right and a sacred duty of good governance in any society. We have deferred primary and secondary tiers of health care delivery system to others already in the system and have decided to focus on tertiary care which appears to be in dire need in Nigeria, as a vision of giving something back to society to reverse the brain drain to a brain trust. Many travel abroad at higher expense, some return with no adequate follow-up care. There are many cancer survivors who return from abroad, particularly breast and prostate cancer patients, who require follow-up laboratory tests and needless frequent trips abroad had those test available on the Nigerian soil. And there is the very many who cannot afford the cost of seeking tertiary medical care overseas.” On how the organisation has succeeded financially without government input and sourcing for professionals, he said, “Personal donations came from the founding members as initial seed endowment’s. From the modest beginnings, eminent and highly regarded Nigerians were consulted for wise counsel and a repertoire of ideas from an informal honorary advisory body from both sides of the Atlantic. The main goal is to fill the vacuum of medical diagnostic tertiary care on the Nigerian soil thereby improving disease diagnostic capabilities and patient care. “The planning stage also somewhat coincided with an historical landmark of health care development in Nigeria- the formal launching of the National Health Care Insurance Scheme (NHIS) by the Federal Government of Nigeria in June 2005 by the President of Nigeria and specifically, the third-party payor mechanism and provision of a fee-for-service structure in the tertiary health care phase (both laboratory/imag-

•Prof Kofi Duncan of EKO Hospital, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi and Prof Grange at the event



ing tests and specialist consultation services) in a managed care setting.” He said: “This innovation, solely on tertiary care, is arguably the largest specialty/sub-specialty network group in Nigeria with about 40 Physicians in the practice model and to expand to about 500 physicians in the next five to 10 years. The medical staff model with doctors mostly from United States and Canada, experienced and eminent Nigeria-based Physicians, including retired Nigerian medical professors, all specialists and on-site in Lagos year-round, on a rotating schedule in over 50 medical and surgical specialties and sub-specialties. The project is designed for non-emergencies. “There is special referral mechanism in our telemedicine system with the finest doctors across the United States for second opinions, diagnostic puzzles and further consultations. The Foundation will operate as a charitable trust in a non-profit model that is planned to be self-sustaining, fitted to Nigerian needs and evolving over time from the present modest diagnostic centre temporarily located in Ikeja that opened its doors in January 2007 to a world-class institution at a permanent site in a gradual 20 year development

The NigerianAmerican Medical Foundation is a product of its time- the brain drain of highly-trained medical specialists and sub-specialists. The infrastructural ebb in the past 25 years has created a generational vacuum of adequate tertiary care in Nigeria plan.” Dr. Olowu, the Federal Ministry of Health, Head of Diaspora Unit, said public sector was limited in its ability and capability to provide the level of healthcare services necessary to meet demands in Nigeria hence, Federal Government has been providing conducive environment for the promotion of public private partnership. “It is expected that Nigerians in Diaspora would key into the various identified projects as follows: State-of-theArt specialist Hospitals; trauma centre; diagnostic centres; mobile clinics; small holders specialists clinics in different specialists of medicine and surgery and pharmaceutical Products factories in production of condoms, HIV/AIDS drugs, test for HIV/AIDS and Malaria Artemisinbased combination drugs.” NAMFI is supported by some organisations, such as Coca-Cola Nigeria. Clem Ugorji, the company’s Public Affairs and Communication Manager, described NAMFI as a model for professionals and experts in the Diaspora who are concerned enough to want to contribute to ongoing efforts to rebuild the country. “Nigeria needs the best of its talents to overcome the challenges of development, particularly in the

health sector. Coca-Cola is proud to support the NAMFI initiative, which aligns with our commitment to help forge the Golden Triangle of government, business and civil society working together to address the challenges that confront our society,” Ugorji said. While commending the group for committing to reverse the trend of brain drain in the health sector, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi called for a synergy that complement the government efforts to bring about the much needed improvement in the sector. “There are eminent people and corporate institutions in the country with the funds, but without ideas. There are also professionals with ideas and skills that can go a long way to change the situation but without the funds to make the ideas work,” Prince AdelusiAdeluyi said. “Therefore, we need to have institutions support the foundation’s vision so that we can bring the country out of the dire situation it is currently in.”

NGO gives out gifts to children at Xmas


ENOLA Cerebral Palsy Initiative plans to visit three hospitals in Lagos as part of the season’s celebration. Its Co-Founder, Mrs Alaba Gbadebo, said: “This year’s Children’s Christmas Gift celebration started yesterday, continues tomorrow and on Friday at the Children’s wards of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), IdiAraba, Massey Street Children’s Hospital, Lagos Island and Lagos Island General Hospital.” “The visits are in continuation of the organisation’s effort at bringing succour to sick children, including those living with cerebral palsy. “During the visit, hundreds of toys will be handed out to children in the wards. It is also aimed at raising awareness about cerebral palsy.”




LASUTH acquires ultrasound machine T B

HE Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja has acquired a 4D ultrasound machine, in conjunction with Landwind medical/First Foundation Medical Engineering Company Limited in Ikeja, Lagos. The machine would assist in dynamic evaluation of fetal behaviour which reflects directly the processes of maturation and development of the central nervous system and other parts of the developing foetus. This can make the difference between normal and abnormal brain development and may be used for early diagnosis of neurological disorders that become manifest in perinatal and postnatal periods. In the past, the registration of foetal movements and fetal heart rate auscultation (diagnostic procedure in which the physician listens to sounds within the body to detect certain defects or conditions using a stethoscope) were the only methods of the follow-up of fetal wellbeing. In the last few decades, the development of new ultrasound techniques has allowed direct visualisation of the fetus in utero. At the demonstration of the machine, the Business Manager, Fourth Dimention Technologies Limited, a division of First Foundation Group, Fidelis Mordey, said: “This ultrasound is Mirror 5. It showcases the capability to capture 3D/4D volumetric data from the target anatomy. With Volume probe, it does not only enhance the 3D/4D capability,

By Oyeyemi GbengaMustapha

but also delivers outstanding 2D imaging quality. Thus, it brings you more confidence in Obstetrical studies. “Focusing on advanced technology in 4D and general imaging capabilities, we believe the ultrasound system has the potential to improve patient management, and wholly enhance the users’ confidence level.” According to him, the 4D ultrasound has been introduced in medical practice and complements 2D and 3D examination by obtaining images in real time. “The 4D ultrasound allows visualisation of embryonic movements two weeks earlier than 2D ultrasound. In comparison with 2D ultrasound, 4D ultrasound offers real benefits for fetus’s assessment prenatal condition. The most benefits of 4D ultrasound could be real time assessment of fetal face, grimacing, breathing movements, swallowing, mouthing, isolated eyeblinking and reveals the direction of the limbs.” He continued: “Fetal behaviour is defined as any fetal action observed by the mother or fetus diagnosed by objective methods, such as cardiotocography (CTG) or ultrasound. Analysis of the dynamics of the fetal behaviour with morphological studies has lead to the conclusion that fetal

Be more dedicated, nurses urged


URSES and midwives have been charged to be more dedicated to their duties. Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Public Health Dr Yewande Adeshina said every profession, including nursing, is important in health care. She spoke at the nurses’ conference of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), with the theme: Nursing - Moving to the next level with best practices. The government, she said could not meet all the nurses demands, adding that every profession has one need or another which it wants the state to address. “Not all human organs need the care of nurses, some need other professionals, such as doctors, pharmacists and laboratory scientists for treatment and they make demands too,” she added. Dr Adeshina said issues relating to remuneration and workers’ welfare would be resolved by meeting with the government. She said some nurses worked with private facilities, thereby making extra income unlike other workers. However, nurses, she said were important because nobody could take their place in the sector. The guest lecturer, Deputy Dean Babcock University, Prof Joseph Aina, urged nurses to utilise the systemic problem solving skills that they have. He said their lack of knowledge to plan nursing care affects their job. Nurses, he said should play an important role in health teaching and maintenance. He enjoined them to be

By Wale Adepoju

united, saying ,“Some nurses are fond of hating their younger colleagues.” Head of LASUTH Nurses, Mrs Modupe Shode, said nurses need continuing nursing education to achieve best practices. “We take quality as the best because we are the first contact to the patients. When we see patients we do a quick assessment and initiate care immediately. “Nurses don’t need to wait for the doctor, so that they don’t lose any patient. If a patient needs sunctioning, we will clear the airways and start giving him oxygen. We will take the vital signs. Even if there are no beds, we can do that in the car because we don’t want people to die,” she added. Mrs Shode said attitudinal changes cut across, adding that nurses have changed. “At LASUTH, we have said it is a disciplinary offence if a nurse is rude and we have not recorded any case yet,” she added. Nurses, she said should shift some of their tasks that do not require professional skills as there can never be adequate nursing because nurses can’t control the population, which keeps increasing by the day. “We need to shift some of our tasks that are not technical such as assisting a patient to go and have a bathroom bath, assisting a patient to urinate and hold a tray for someone to eat. This will allow nurses to concentrate on core nursing duties, such as given injection and medication, dressing of wound and taking vital signs, among others when they are with the patients,” Mrs Shode added.

•Dr Akinola

behaviour patterns are directly reflecting development and maturation of the central nervous system. The assessment of fetal behaviour by 4D ultrasound could allow distinction between normal and abnormal fetal behaviour patterns which might make possible the early recognition of fetal brain impairment. “In the last few decades, the development of new ultrasound techniques has allowed direct visualisation of the fetus in utero. In a relatively short period of time 4D ultrasound stimulated multicentric studies on fetal and even embryonic behaviour with more convincing imaging than conventional 2D ultrasound. A large spectrum of neurological problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, epilepsy, autism among others could be resolved in part, from prenatal neurodevelopment problems.” He said: “It is well known that fetal movement occurs far earlier than a mother can register it. Understanding the relation-

ship between fetal behavior and brain developmental processes in different periods of gestation makes it possible to distinguish between normal and abnormal central nervous system (CNS) development and early diagnosis of various structural and functional abnormalities.” An Associate Professor, Radiology, Dr Racheal Akinola who represented the Head of Department, Radiology Department, LASUTH, said the 4D ultrasound machine is useful for obstetric care, and would boost the management of expectant mothers registered with the tertiary hospital and also referral cases. “It is most useful in 22 to 26 weeks of gestation. It has a volume rendered image, meaning, all the body parts are fully shown. This 4D is good and an improvement on 2D and 3D. The 2D will show two angles while the 4D will show round the structure. Meaning, 2D will show the bones, up and down. But with 4D, there is volume render. The advantage to a patient includes seeing the whole body, as if one is looking at a mirror. “Also, one can use it for vascular structure. Apart from that, it has the option of 2D or 4D. It can easily pick up congenital cases. Talking of obstetrics, that is what it is about. Congenital abnormalities are better found within that range of 22 to 26 weeks. Definitely, the patients would be better for it. Once diagnosis is made, we then can commence on treatment. The machine, I can say, will improve medical care in obstetrics.” Mordey said his group has the vision of changing the landscape of medical diagnosis in the country and is ready to, “release the machine to as many organisations as possible on workable memorandum of understanding (MOU).”

Bleeding gums as health indicator

LEEDING gums can often be first noticed during tooth brushing. Bleeding gums are most often a sign of gum disease, which in itself can be a pointer to other health problems. This usually happen during vigorous tooth brushing techniques; whilst brushing the teeth or the dentures (artificial teeth) that do not fit correctly. Where gum bleeding is too frequent it may signify more serious conditions such as periodontitis -inflammation of the supporting tissues of the tooth. A few dental conditions can cause bleeding gums chiefly: Gingivitis – Inflammation of the gums. The gum is medically referred to as gingival. Periodontitis – Inflammation of the periodontium. Periodontium being a supporting structure of the tooth. The two conditions significantly make the gums more likely to bleed. Gingivitis develops as a result of plague accumulation around the neck of the tooth for long periods. Plaque is the debris and bacteria which adhere to the tooth. It is best removed using appropriate tooth brushing technique and use of dental floss for the debris within the teeth. Plaque removal also reduces the incidence of dental caries or cavities (holes) in the teeth. You could have gingivitis if your gums are puffy and swollen or if the gums are sore. When the gums bleed and results in gingivitis and not

Dr Samuel Awosolu 08108155239 (SMS Only); email-

treated, it advances to Periodontal disease. This is when the gums, jawbone and supporting tissues become involved. In the process the tooth having lost the support becomes loose or even fall off on its own. When denture wearers have ill-fitting dentures, either too small or too tight the gums may bleed. In this case once the denture is replaced the symptoms would resolve. Vitamin deficiencies may lead to bleeding gums. Two vitamins are notable vitamin C and vitamin K. Consumption of food rich in vitamin C and vitamin K will forestall this. There are foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits and juices, vegetables such as Brocolli, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, pepper. Vitamin C rich food needs to be consumed regularly due to the fact that as a water soluble vitamin, it is not stored in the body as opposed to other vitamin classes such as A, D, E and K (known as Fat soluble vitamin as they can be stored in the body fat). •To be continued next week

‘Patients should be part of their treatment’


EDICAL diagnostic professionals, such as physicians, pathologists and medical laboratory scientists, are clamouring for a more inclusive treatment to enable patients have a say in how their health is managed. At the inaugural seminar of the Initiative for Medical Diagnostic Awareness (IMDA) in Lagos, they agreed that patients must know their health status and be involved in their treatment. Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor of Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina, said accurate diagnosis is necessary for effective treatment. According to her, Lagos State doesn't compromise Diagnosis because short turnaround is necessary to prevent deaths. Adeshina, represented by the Director, Pathology Service, Lagos State, Dr Wale Ajayi, said many patients are not diagnosed in Nigeria even while receiving treatment. She said a total medical focus patient environment should be embraced to address the problem. The Chairman, IMDA Board of Trustees (BoT), Dr Kolawole Oyedeji said it was important to sensitise the people to be more concerned about their health because it is their right to ensure their health is managed appropriately. "IMDA will encourage the public to be more inquisitive about their health with emphasis and interest in wanting to know the source, cause and ail-

•From left: Oyedeji; Dr Soyebi and Chairman, Health Facility Monitoring Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA), Mr Tayo Bello at the event. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS By Wale Adepoju

ments. "A patient should be bold to ask why he is being asked to do a chest x-ray when he only has cough or headache," he said. Oyedeji said the group is trying to stamp out fatanalism, which means somebody is trying to say he knows what is best for someone. He said IMDA is bringing the physicians, patients and public to evolve good health. "This initiative is envisioned to be a model for harmonisation

among medical diagnostic professionals and the public which will eventually result in boosting public trust and confidence in the professionals," he added. He cautioned against of selfmedication, adding many people have died from taking drugs not prescribed by doctors because they wanted to be their own doctor. Advocacy, he said, would ensure nobody dies because of negligence or ignorance arising from misdiagnosis. Guest lecturer, Consultant radiologist, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr

Kofo Soyebi identified fear, lack of fund and ignorance, and cultural and social beliefs as reasons people don't have necessary diagnosis. Mrs Soyebo, who spoke on the "essence of awareness in diagnostic practice," said awareness will eliminate quackery and prevent wrong diagnosis because patients can ask questions. Mrs Soyebo urged health care workers to sustain the patients by ensuring they get value for their money, adding: "They will in turn help them remain relevant in the industry."






•A prototype licence

‘It will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a motorist to obtain a driver’s licence in Lagos.’ This statement by an applicant best captures the experience of many. Why is this so? ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE and JUDE ISIGUZO examine the ‘long and windy’ driver’s licence process.


E was sweating profusely as he rushed into another shed in the expansive OjoduBerger, Lagos premises of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), last Wednesday. It was about noon, and it was James Odunlami's third day on the premises for the renewal of his driver’s licence. Despite getting to FRSC’s office at 8 a.m., his name was number 136. It was obvious he might spend the day at the place, but he was determined to get at least the “temporary card” and be free from the threats of the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) officials who prowl the road, arresting hapless motorists who find it difficult obtaining genuine driver’s licence. Odunlami said: "This is my third day here and I am still not sure I would get my picture taken today. We have been shuttling between the venues where the capturing machines are and it has been the same experience. I really don’t know why capturing one’s data has to take eternity, but that has been our lot here. It is, indeed, easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for anyone to obtain driver’s licence, especially in Lagos. Another motorist, Damian Badmus, a marketing executive, said despite getting into the FRSC through the

Need a driver’s licence? Get set for the pains back door (euphemism for bribing his way), which ensured that he got his form, filled it, and submitted it the same day, he was shocked that he was asked to report in June, next year to take his picture. He was given a stamped form, which he was told, would serve as his “temporary licence” for driving. Another motorist, who simply identified himself as Bamidele, said he has renewed his temporary card twice since he was first issued one, on June 3. A temporary card's lifespan is three months. "When I went back in September, I was told my driver's licence is not ready and was asked to come back about a month, the card was renewed for me by merely stamping the form and extending the deadline and when I went back last week, it was the same old story and the card was merely restamped with the deadline extended,"

Bamidele said. Mr Joe Akan spent four days at the FRSC office before he was connected to a tout by one of the officials to assist him process his licence. He said: "Because the officials do not want to be seen collecting money to process the licence for applicants, they hire touts to do it for them. When you go there, they will be the ones to direct you to their touts the moment you show readiness to get your application processed. People are really suffering and the government should intervene." Nnaemeka Okoro said he had been processing the licence since January. He is yet to be invited for the data capture. "I filled my form online, paid the recommended fee through a bank. I concluded my examination since March, but have not gone for data capture, which was scheduled for March

I really don’t know why capturing one’s data has to take eternity, but that has been our lot here. It is indeed easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for anyone to obtain driver's licence, especially in Lagos

3 and repeatedly postponed. “Every time I want to visit the FRSC office for data capture I will ask for permission from my office. It is really affecting my job. “There is always the problem of system collapse, which no one seems able to resolve." Another applicant, Joy Olusegun, said fresh applicants experience more delays. "As a new applicant, I have done all l needed to do, but have yet to go for data capture. It is frustrating," she said. The biometric driver’s licence is not novel. It was designed in line with best global practices to reflect Nigeria’s identification with global trends. What is, perhaps, worrisome is that FRSC, the nation’s only road traffic administration and safety organisation seems to be finding the production of a licence difficult. The Nation’s investigation revealed that an applicant needs a day to begin the process of obtaining a licence. The applicant goes to the FRSC website to access the form, fill it and make payment of either N6, 350, for renewal or N6,500 for a new application. That is where the applicant’s nightmare starts. Accessing the website is a war. "I battled with the website for


over three weeks before I eventually succeeded, filled it and paid to the bank to obtain a new licence two months ago," Mr. Anthony Oni said. These are just few of the nightmares motorists in Lagos have been encountering since the idea of a driver’s licence, with new features, among which is biometric capturing of each holder, was conceived by the FRSC. For those who cannot go through such stress (and majority of the motorists fall into this category), the only option is to visit any of the 10 FRSC offices opened for the purpose to “purchase” these forms. At the offices, motorists would purchase two forms, one for the FRSC and the other belonging to the Lagos State government. Rather than collect the mandatory fees, prospective customers are made to pay between N12,000 (renewal) and N18,000 (fresh licence) to touts. The payment excludes the essential part of the exercise - data capturing and applicant’s picture. Insiders said motorists lucky to access the site, download and fill the •Continued on page 56





FRSC urges discipline among motorists

HE Ota Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Sunday Omafu, has harped on road discipline as a way of promoting safety on the road. He made the call at the “Ember Months” campaign with the theme: "Attitude, the change we need on our roads," organised by his command at Sango Motor Park, Ogun State. Observing that December is characterised by high human and vehicular traffic and “mad rush”, Omafu said the results are usually felt in the gridlocks and loss of lives and properties, which he attributed to human errors by the drivers. He warned drivers against abandoning damaged vehicles on the road without using the “Caution sign,”saying this had contributed to many accidents in the past. He said it was illegal to leave damaged vehicles on the road. The Chairman, Ado-Odo Ota Local Government, Comrade Rotimi


By Ayeni Olalekan

Rahman, in his speech advised motorists to be disciplined behind the wheel and adhere to traffic regulations. He urged them to abstain from actions such as over speeding, rough driving, dangerous overtaking, road rage, transfer of aggression, over confidence, impatience, use of phones while driving and driving under the influence of alcohol etc, that could cause accidents on the road. Rahman also ordered all alcohols and other beverages traders to vacate the parks before the council would descend on them. He said officials of the council would soon come to demolish all illegal kiosks in the parks. “Parks,” he said, “are meant for parking of vehicles." The Zonal Commander, Lagos and Ogun, Mr Kabiru Ademola Lawal, warned drivers against reckless driving and urged them to obey traffic

rules and regulations to keep the roads safe, particularly in the festive period. He advised motorists to be more careful and patient, adding that impatience is one of the factors causing road accidents. He warned drivers to regularly undergo medical checkups to know their health status and shun drunk driving, overloading, over-speeding and non maintenance of vehicles. The Chairman, Ogun State Chapter of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr Adewale Ojomo and the Vice Chairman National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), in the state, Alhaji Kaso Salawudeen, thanked the FRSC for the campaign and advised that such enlightenments be held more frequently. At the event were the Area Traffic Officer, Sango Police Command, ASP Ibiok Monday; the Divisional Coordinator of Special Marshals for Ota Chief Samuel Ajayi; the Ogun State FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Adegoke Adetunji; FRSC Zonal Matron Mrs Appolonia Ngozi, Mrs Shobayo Omobolanle from Ota General Hospital and representatives of transport unions.

Lagos unveils Enforcement Institute to train LASTMA, others


HE Lagos State Government has unveiled an enforcement

institute to train officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the Neighbourhood Watch (NW) and the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI). The institute is part of a bouquet of reforms initiated by the government to improve service delivery by the agencies. Governor Babatunde Fashola, who broke the news at a ceremony at the Indoor Section of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, said the institute when fully on stream, would supervise the regular training and retraining of all officers of the agencies. Fashola, who was accompanied by his Special Assistant on Transport Education Dr. Mariam Masha, said the institute was borne out of the realisation that nothing is more

Workers kick against privatisation of Korean Rail

N a manner that suggests true confraternity and solidarity with the railway workers in another clime, the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR) has protested against the planned privatisation of the Korean Railway. The protest of the NUR was contained in a letter signed by its President-General, Comrade Raphael B. Okoro, and addressed to the Ambassador of the Korean Embassy in Nigeria. A copy of the letter, which was made available to The Nation, reads: "In total solidarity with our compatriots in the employ of Korean Railway, we, of the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR), do hereby declare our total support and cooperation with the Korean Railway Workers' Union as they match against privatisation of the Korean Railway. "The voice of the people, which is the voice of God, must be heard in matters that concern them. The workers of Korean Railway should be given eminent recognition in the schemes of things that concern their welfare at workplace. Any policy by the Korean Government that is not in agreement with the yearnings of the people must not arise if truly the Government cares about the fate of its citizenry." The protest, which is being coordinated by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), is planned to hold in Korea and all its embassies worldwide through its national affili•Continued from page 55

form still have to pay N3,000 for processing. An FRSC official, who would not want to be mentioned, said these charges were essentially for processing. The source said the money would be shared between the FRSC and VIS officials to process the driver's licence. Investigation further revealed that applicants, who pay directly to the bank could have his application pending for about 10 months to get captured and be issued the temporary licence. But the applicant, who pays cash at any of the FRSC offices, get his or her form processed within 48 hours and the temporary licence issued in a jiffy. For fresh applicants, they are required by law to go through an approved driving school, preferably the Lagos State Driver's Institute (LASDRI) to acquire a learner's permit and obtain a driver's certificate before obtaining the licence. This process is not complied with if the applicant is ready to pay. Fresh and old applicants are required to go for biometrics before

ates on Tuesday, December 10. Comrade Raphael Okoro emphasised that privatisation has been anti-worker, vicious, and cruel to the people wherefrom the government gets its mandate of governance. "We will not hesitate to move to the

next legitimate level of mobilising Railway workers in Nigeria and all over the world against the planned privatisation of Korean Railway which brings no good to our compatriots in Korea", Okoro added. He advised the Korean Government

to act in an exemplary manner that conforms to the standards and tripartite process of the International Labour Organisation to which Korea is a signatory. "Privatisation is a critical issue that concerns the workers who are inalienable stakeholders,” Okoro said.

• From left: Environmental and Safety Officer, Advanced Engineering Consultant Mrs. Adenike Oginni; Dr. Mike Dibor of Hope Worldwide Nigeria, Deputy Director, Safeguard, LAMATA, Prof. Olukayode Taiwo; Project Manager CCECC, Mr. Hua Junjia; Logistics Officer CCECC, Mr. Segun Bolade; and Traffic Management Officer, Advanced Engineering Consultant Mrs. Mosunmola Odumosun at a seminar on HIV/AIDS workshop for workers on Ikorodu BRT Extension in Lagos .... on Monday.

Stories by Adeyinka Aderibigbe

important in enforcing the law, than educating those who enforce it. He said the institute is part of the reform proposed for the management of all security and traffic management agencies, disclosing that he has also approved the conversion of all the LASTMA officials to full public workers. He said the government would no longer condone indiscipline and extortion by LASTMA men, adding that any officer caught would be dismissed and prosecuted. Also speaking at the event attended by former Governor Lateef Jakande, Masha explained that the proposed institutionalisation and standardisation in the training of all the law enforcement officers concerned with traffic management, environmental sanitation and neighbourhood security, would begin with a mandatory Career Evaluation Programme (CEP) for all in-service officers. She said: “It is expected that adequately trained officers will enhance the goals of law enforcement as well as provide for improved community/officer relations. "The career evaluation training programme, which began with LASTMA and KAI was intended to determine suitability of each personnel for the assigned job, achieve appropriate re-orientation and professionalism of the officers and equip officers with the requisite skills for their assigned tasks.” Masha said since one cannot teach an old dog new tricks the government got creative and worked with them on learning how to forget a few old tricks and learn new ones. We applied traditional and non-traditional but acceptable educational processes which were deliberately designed to touch the hearts and awaken the minds of our officers. "Our focus is on self-improvement, stress management, developing mental toughness and resilience. Though these are still work in progress, we have been able to ignite cultural change and combat cynicism between officers and their agencies and the community," Masha explained. She said the state government was rebuilding and refurnishing all LASTMA offices to ensure they work in more conducive environment.

Need a driver’s licence? Get set for the pains obtaining the licence. Adeyinka Johnson said he decided to go to Ogun State for the document because of the delay in Lagos. "I should have processed my licence in Lagos since I work here, but because of the difficulty, I had to go to Ogun State and in less than three weeks l collected my driver's licence," Johnson said. Motorists condemned the indiscriminate arrest and fine by VIO and other traffic officials, especially in Lagos State, who are exploiting the situation to apprehend motorists and fine them between N20,000 and N35,000 for being in possession of "fake driver's licence." Some motorists, who spoke to The Nation, said it was shocking that even licences obtained from FRSC offices were being tagged "fake." A motorist, Kola Oladele, said he obtained his driver’s licence in Osun last year, but was booked for being in possession of a fake driver’s licence by the Lagos State VIS officers. He said: "I was shocked when one VIS official fined me N20, 000 for being in possession of a licence that I

got from my state, even when it has not expired. I don’t know the features they were looking for which made them to book the licence as fake because it was processed at the FRSC office at Osogbo, the Osun State capital." Segun Babawale said his car was impounded for almost two weeks until he got the new temporary driver’s licence, adding that he did not know that the licence is fake. He said: “When I got to the FRSC office, my licence was faulted because my details could not be accessed on the commission’s site.” A senior officer of the VIS, at its Ojodu-Berger office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said many of the motorists do not know that their licences are fake, adding that most of them got their licence by proxy from either VIS or FRSC officials, and imagined they were original. He urged intending applicants to desist from patronising touts. But Mrs Olabisi Sonusi, a public education officer in the Lagos Sector Command of the FRSC, debunked the

allegations against FRSC men. Sonusi, who admitted that the data capturing machines malfunctioned some months ago, said the machines had been repaired. "Now, I can categorically tell you that the delays being experienced by Lagosians on driver's licence are not being caused by the FRSC. Prospective applicants might have to trace the delay elsewhere.” Shedding more insight into the process, Sonusi said: "The FRSC does not give out driver's licence. We merely collate data and capture the photographs of applicants. After we finished producing the licences, we deliver them to the VIS from where applicants collect them. If anyone hasn’t collected his card, let them go to the VIS office." She said stacks of these cards were lying uncollected at the VIS offices, a development which she recalled prompted Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola to direct the VIS to begin to send SMS messages to card owners inviting them for collection. Mr Ogochukwu Avwulike told The Nation that VIS’ involvement in the issue of driver's licence makes the

whole exercise unwieldy. Mr Alike, who wondered what a vehicle inspection unit has to do with a driver’s licence, said it was time the process is reviewed for the benefit of motorists. "If you get to the VIS office, you would see mountains of these cards just stacked carelessly in one office and when an applicant comes to collect, you see them sweating to ransack the piles manually, looking for the driver’s card. A situation where a megacity state like Lagos could still be sorting out such thing out manually leaves much to be desired and leaves a sore taste of why the agency is involved in licence issuance in the first place,"Avwulike said. Avwulike, who said he had gone to the FRSC office behind the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, to process his licence recalled: " I saw people come in and give one of the officials N3,000 to get captured. I had to join the bandwagon in order to get captured. "If FRSC knows it cannot cope with this new system, it should discontinue it," he said.














Dangote Cement, Nestle, GTB, NB push NSE’s return to 41.37%


HE Nigerian stock market started this week on a bullish note as substantial gains by the four most capitalised companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) pushed the average year-to-date return to a high of 41.37 per cent. The All Share Index, the main index that tracks all the quoted equities on the NSE, rallied by 2.22 per cent to close at highest index point of 39,695.34 points as against its opening index of 38,831.59 points. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities rose by N276 billion yesterday from N12.427 trillion to N12.703 trillion. The market situation yesterday was largely skewed by the gains by the four of Dangote Cement, Nestle Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank and Nigerian Breweries, the four largest companies, by market capitalisation, on the NSE. The bullish start yesterday set a new trend for market

•Index hits highest point By Taofik Salako

situation, which had fluctuated towards the downside in recent past. While there were more losers than gainers, the gains by highly capitalised stocks rallied the market to a positive close. Dangote Cement, NSE’s most capitalised stock, topped the 18stock gainers’ list with a gain of N20 to close at N220. Nestle Nigeria, the third most capitalised company, chalked up N6 to close at N1,126. Guaranty Trust Bank, the fourth most capitalised stock, added 40 kobo to close at N27.10. Nigerian Breweries, the second most capitalised stock, rose by 20 kobo to close at N161.20 while Ashaka Cement gathered 51 kobo to close at N20.51 per share.

Turnover was below average with exchange of 265.12 million shares worth N2.86 billion in 3,974 deals. Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc was the most active stock with a turnover of 57.95 million shares worth N234.34 million in 351 deals. Unity Bank followed with a turnover of 36.65 million shares valued at N19.117 million in 106 deals. Guaranty Trust Bank ranked third with a turnover of 26.42 million shares valued at N713.56 million in 250 deals. Banking subsector accounted for the largest turnover with a total of 124.66 million shares valued at N1.51 billion in 1,234 deals. Meanwhile, several highly capitalised stocks also recorded considerable losses. Guinness Nigeria led the 29-stock losers’ list with a loss of N8 to close at N247. Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria lost N4.20 to close at N107. Cadbury Nigeria dropped by N3 to close at N63. Unilever Nigeria declined by N2.87 to close at N54.61. PZ Cussons Nigeria slipped by 97 kobo to N35.63 while Zenith Bank lost 64 kobo to close at N21.21 respectively.





‘Why JTB centralised tax identification number’


HE National Project Manager for Tax Payers Identification Number (TIN), Mr. Oduba Oduba has said the Joint Tax Board (JTB) centralized TIN to ensure that tax payers use one number in paying their taxes anywhere in the country. Speaking during a media briefing in Lagos, he said whether the tax payer is doing business in Nigeria or is a resident, once he has is issued the number which is being anchored by JTB , the same number will be used in any part of the country. Oduba said that this practice was designed to make life easier for both tax payers and tax authorities. He said taxable entity refers to individuals and corporate organisations adding that in the previous system, every number


By Collins Nweze and Christopher Eboh

can only be used within a state. That means that a company with multiple locations like banks with branches all over the country would require multiple numbers per state and have to keep track of each identification number. He said the purpose of the project is to uniquely identify tax payer adding that at present, the body has captured database of about 500,000 corporate organisations representing most of the active businesses in the country. However, he said the scheme has not witnessed active participation from individuals. “However, we are putting strategy in place to encour-

Banks target 20% credit growth

ANKS’ credit to the economy is expected to rise by 20 per cent within the year, Renaissance Capital (RenCap), an investment and research firm has said. In a report obtained by The Nation, it said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is in no hurry to ease monetary policy. Instead, the regulator’s primary concern is to achieve lower inflation and forex stability. “Our read of this is that the monetary policy rate (MPR) is unlikely to be reduced by much, while the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is unlikely to be reduced at all,” it said. It said that 15 to 20 per cent loan growth is consensus guidance for the year, with very few banks anticipating power projects funding. RenCap said that Nigerian banks excite it most within the Europe,

age that group and scale up the reception and compliance. But for the corporate bodies and enterprises, it has been quite encouraging,” he said. He however, regretted that some individuals are not willing to register willingly. “We are working on attaching social services to the TIN system such as driver’s license, International Passport among others would soon require TIN registration,” he said. He said his firm is working on creating more awareness for the TIN system in 2014 and is discussing directly with the tax payers. “Instead of waiting for the people, we will create centres at various spots and markets to capture individuals in groups and especially for


•CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

credit growth slowing to high single digits and margins expected to be stable on flat interest rates big-four South African banks could deliver 10 to 15 per cent Earning Per Share (EPS) growth in 2013.

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

UARANTEE Trust Bank Plc has donated a building to the Passport Office of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Ikoyi, Lagos. The GTbank’s Managing Director, Segun Agbaje, said the building which will serve as a waiting lounge for prospective passport seekers, is part of its contributions to the society. He said the bank will continue in its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) drive to support the society where it conducts its businesses. While commissioning the building, Minister of Interior, Moro Abba, said the building was in response to government’s plan to get more private investment into the public sectors of the economy. He said all hands must be on deck in the maintenance of the building, adding that its construction was an

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Offered ($) 350m 350m

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Quotation Price N8250.00 N1000.00


OBB Rate Call Rate

Current Market 5495.33 N552.20

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS) Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m



Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012




200.00 3.35 1.10 2.43 0.69 0.72 0.50 2.21 20.00 0.95

220.00 3.51 1.15 2.54 0.72 0.75 0.52 2.28 20.51 0.97

10.00 4.78 4.55 4.53 4.35 4.17 4.00 3.17 2.55 2.11

GAINERS AS AT 16-12-13 2013-12-13


LOSERS AS AT 16-12-13 2013-12-13




2.10 57.48 3.79 0.65 66.00 0.90 4.10 2.53 111.20 1.13


C/PRICE 1.92 54.61 3.61 0.62 63.00 0.86 3.92 2.42 107.00 1.09


Year Start Offer

Current Before

Current After

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8

Date 2-7-12 27-6-12






147.6000 239.4810

149.7100 244.0123

150.7100 245.6422

-2.11 -2.57

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


















July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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

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


CUV Start %

%CHANGE -8.57 -4.99 -4.75 -4.62 -4.55 -4.44 -4.39 -4.35 -3.78 -3.54

Amount Demanded ($) 150m 138m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

acceptance of the fact that government cannot do it alone. He said such gestures from the private sector will enable the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to meet the target of issuance of passport within 24 hours of it being demanded. He said government has mandated the NIS to achieve a 24hour passport and other travel documents issuance by 2014. According to the minister, rebranding process of the Immigration Service is ongoing as touts will not be allowed to operate, as it is no longer business as usual. The Comptroller General of the Immigration Service, David Parradang, said the agency will continue to give qualitative service to Nigerians. He said the agency will always do their best to Nigerians, as extortion will not be encouraged.



duce your TIN to allow your child goes to school and benefit from many things among which is free education. “Without TIN your child will not be accepted. We are identifying and collaborating with more agencies to help raise the awareness level and acceptance. This will make many people understand the project,” he said. He said there are ongoing discussions with other agencies to integrate the TIN into their operations. “For instance, the new Driver’s License has a space for the TIN. We are also collaborating with the National Identity Management Centre (NIMC) to integrate the processes and make it more smart, fast, efficient and attractive,” he said.

GTBank donates building to Passport office

Middle East and Africa (EMEA) banks context in 2013. According to the firm, its growth expectations for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 6.7 per cent, saying the Nigeria market should benefit from accelerating top-down trends. It also said the West to East African banks are also viable performers within the year, with the Kenyan elections a potential headwind. RenCap said Equity Bank remains its pick of the bunch on a relative basis. “Within the liquid space, this could be Russian banks’ year. Although we are more conservative with our outlook for the sector at the start of 2013 then we were throughout 2012, market appetite has begun to rise for risk assets,” it said. For South Africa, it said that with GDP growth near three per cent,


companies with large number of employees. We are working on the schedule for that and in 2014 more of that will happen,” he said. He said that for corporate bodies, it will soon be an offense to award contracts to an organisation without TIN. “In the regulation, we stipulate the penalty. It will be about N250, 000 and N5 million. Social services will also be attached to compliance with TIN. These are some of the things we will bring to the table to encourage acceptance,” he said. Oduba said the TIN regulation will make it a prerequisite for the use of social services. For example, parents will be required to have a TIN to take advantage of free education for their children. Even if you are selling pepper, you will need to pro-


19-09-13 11.432.09 35,891.90

23-09-13 11.494.75 36,088.64

% Change -




Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833




NEWS Court orders exhumation of four robbery suspects


From Osagie Otabor, Benin

COURT sitting in Benin City, Edo State, has ordered that four persons killed by the police on November 24, be exhumed. The suspects including one identified as Samuel Imaikop were killed in a shootout on the Ahor axis of the Benin-Oluku bypass and their bodies paraded by the police. Magistrate F.E.N. Igbinosa ordered that an autopsy be carried out on them. Counsel to the Imaikop family, B.A. Iluobe, told the court that summons were served on the police. Police prosecutor Inspector Ada Johnbull, however, pleaded that the case be adjourned to allow the police peruse the summons and respond. The magistrate ordered that the full medical reports of the autopsy be made available when it resumes sitting on December 24 and asked the police to make the bodies available for the autopsy. Police Commissioner Foluso Adebanjo earlier claimed that Imaikop and other deceased were not farmers but robbers. He played a video of one of the robbery suspects talking to reporters after the shootout. In the video, the suspect, who was also shot, said he hailed from Kebbi State and was working on the farm when his friends invited him to come to the road and get money. The suspect, who gave his name as Sanda, said they carved wood as gun and that it was his first time of participating in a robbery.

Police spokesman dies in road accident


From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

ELTA State Police Command spokesman Lucky Uyabeme has died in an auto crash. He died at the weekend at Ogwashi-Uku in Aniocha South Local Government on his way from Kwale to Asaba, the Delta State capital. An acting spokesman Charles Muka, in a statement, said the police officer was driving. The two other occupants were injured. Muka, who identified the injured as Ozobume Innocent and Mrs. Philomena Atuya, said they were responding to treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba. He said the accident occurred about 3pm when the Highlander Toyota Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), which the late police officer was driving, somersaulted several times, throwing out the occupants and bursting into flames. The statement said the remains of the late Uyabeme had been deposited at the Federal Medical Centre morgue.

•The couple –Mr. and Mrs Ohiozokhai Tokini Unuigbe (middle) with their parents –Mrs Tonye Unuigbe (left); Mr Adeyemi Dare; Mr Sam Unuigbe and Mrs Abiola Dare at their wedding in the weekend PHOTO: ISAAC AYODELE

Dawn ‘impeachment’ drama in Rivers


HERE was a mild drama yesterday morning in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over a plot to impeach Governor Rotimi Amaechi. Supporters of the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, gathered at 5:30 am at the Marine Base Junction, near the House of Assembly. They were confronted by the governor’s loyalists. Their early morning mobilisation was to enable the six anti-Amaechi lawmakers to sit at 6am in the chambers to begin impeachment proceedings against Amaechi. The Wike supporters

•APC warns against move by anti-Amaechi lawmakers to sit at PDP secretariat From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

and Amaechi loyalists, who mobilised to the Marine Base Junction, were mostly from Okrika, the hometown of Dame Patience, wife of President Goodluck Jonathan and the ex-leader of the Niger Delta Vigilance Movement, Ateke Tom. Initially, Amaechi’s supporters were always gathering around the Workers’ Square, near the main gate of the state secretariat, while the youth backing Wike would assemble in front of the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre, with the

barricaded House of Assembly in the middle. It became difficult for Wike’s supporters to access the main gate of the Assembly, thereby changing strategy, by moving to Marine Base Junction, but they were surprisingly confronted by thousands of Amaechi’s loyalists. It was learnt in Port Harcourt last night that the self-acclaimed Speaker Evans Bipi, who represents Ogu/Bolo Constituency and the five other lawmakers would sit at 6am today. Investigation also showed that attempts

were being made to induce the 25 pro-Amaechi lawmakers with millions. The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State yesterday warned the anti-Amaechi lawmakers against their plan to sit at the state secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to remove Amaechi. The main opposition party, through the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Public Affairs, to the Interim State Chairman, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, described the information on the planned sitting at the PDP’s secretariat as credible.

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

hard to provide infrastructure for the benefit of the people. He said: “The money does not belong to the board members. It belongs to the people, yet they were quarrelling. If the money, which belongs to the people, is being spent the way it should, there will be no reason people should quarrel.” Other members of the new board include Mr. Dan Abia (Managing Director); Itotenaan Ogiri (ED, Finance and Administration), Tuoyo Omatsulu (ED Projects) from Akwa Ibom and Rivers states; Ball Oyarede (Bayelsa); Ephraim Etete (Rivers); Etim Inyang Jnr. (Akwa Ibom); Adah Andeshi (Cross River); Tom Amioku (Delta); Samuel Nwogu (Abia); Uchegbu Chidiebere Kyrian (Imo); Suleiman Sa’d (Northcentral); Abdumalik Mahmud (Northeast); Enikuomehin Olorungbonju (Ondo); and Mark Ward (Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS).

Jonathan to NDDC: complete ongoing projects


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday urged the new board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to complete the ongoing projects before awarding new contracts. He gave the advice when inaugurating the new board, led by Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, at the Presidential Villa. Noting that there were many uncompleted projects in the area, President Jonathan said the value of the completed projects do not reflect the huge money pumped into the commission. He said: “For the incoming board, you have a lot of challenges. I admonish you that there are many issues about the NDDC. The Niger Delta people feel that the NDDC is not doing what it is supposed to do. There are many ongoing projects. A body like NDDC should not just go into a voyage of contracts procurement. Ongoing


projects must be completed to enable the people benefit, before new ones are awarded. “There are many ongoing projects and we believe you don’t even have enough manpower to manage them. You have a lot of responsibilities and for those of you from the Niger Delta, who are even there, you know that the history of intervening agencies is legion. “From three per cent to one intervention or the other, if you aggregate the total amount of money the Federal Government has spent on this agency, it is enormous. I don’t believe on ground we have something to show clearly.” The President went on: “People are inquisitive now, the society is becoming more open and of course, the freedom of press laws and so on.” Jonathan said the former board was dissolved because it was quarrelling over money instead of working

Man gets two years for oil theft

EDERAL High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has sentenced a middle-aged man to two years imprisonment for bunkering. Suleiman Abdul was found guilty on a two-count charge of conspiracy and dealing in petroleum products, brought against him by

From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He was reportedly arrested on the Eleme/Obigbo axis in 2008 when conveying 33,000 litre truck load of substance later confirmed to be crude oil to an undisclosed destination.

The prosecuting counsel, Ahmed Arugha, said the offence Abdul committed was contrary to Section 1(17)(b), Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2007. Justice Uche Agomoh said: “I have decided to be lenient with the convict because he is a first offender and a young man.”





Re-open Maiduguri Airport, Shettima urges NAMA

ORNO State Governor Kashim Shettima has urged the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to re-open the Maiduguri International Airport. The governor directed the Secretary to the State Government to visit Arik Airline to discuss resumption of flight operations to Maiduguri from Lagos and Abuja. Shettima told NAMA’s Managing Director Mazi Nnamdi Udoh that he was there to appeal for the reopening of the Maiduguri Airport, which was closed two weeks ago. The governor noted the airport is very critical to Borno people as one of its major links to rest of Nigeria and the world. He noted that the government, in collaboration with security agencies, has taken measures to ensure enhanced security of the airport and its facilities as well as increased surveillance of roads to secure the lives of both land and air passengers.

Shettima said the government was ready to support NAMA to ensure successful flight operations. He noted that being a transit airspace, the airport is critical to international travellers departing from other parts of Nigeria. Udoh said the visit was a testimony to Shettima’s concern and commitment to the progress of Borno State. He said NAMA will begin the repairs of some of its facilities at the airport, indicating that the airport would be opened when the repairs are completed. The NAMA MD, however, called for security assurance because of the strategic nature of the airport. The airport was closed on December 2, following attacks by Boko Haram insurgents on Army and Airforce bases, located metres away from the airport. Shettima also met with officials of the Nigeria Customs in Lagos over the clearance of 400 containers of agricultural equipment imported by the state.

Promote solidarity among Muslims, says Oloyede


From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

ORMER Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin Prof Ishaq Oloyede has called on the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to promote solidarity and address collective interest of Muslims in the country. Oloyede alleged that the council was drifting towards becoming another section of Muslim organisation rather than focus on integrating various groups in the religion. The scholar spoke at the 90th anniversary of the Ansar-uddeen Society of Nigeria, held at the weekend in Abuja. He lectured on “An appraisal of a century of Islamic societies in Nigeria.” Oloyede said: “The NSCIA, headed by Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, ought to be the leading Islamic body in the country but unfortunately, it has not lived up to that. “It is a platform created by Muslims in Nigeria for interacting with others and catering for interest of others. It is made up of all segments of Muslims but the council almost became another segment of Muslims.”

•From left: Deputy Director, Laboratory Service, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mrs. Abiodun Falana, NAFDAC Director- General Dr. Paul B. Orhii and Director, Laboratory Service, Stella Denloye, at the agency’s Annual Merit Award in Lagos. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

Court adjourns trial of ex-Finbank MD ‘sine die’


USTICE Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Monday adjourned sine die (indefinitely), the trial of a former Managing Director of Finbank Plc, Okey Nwosu and three former directors of the bank. Nwosu, Dayo Famoroti, Danjuma Ocholi and Agnes Ebubedike were charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly stealing N10.9 billion belonging to the


By Bisi Onanuga

bank. In the ruling delivered yesterday, Justice Okunnu adjourned the matter indefinitely sequel to three judgments delivered on November 21 by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division. The Court of Appeal struck out the theft charges preferred against Nwosu, Famoroti and Ebubedike by the Commission.

The court held that the High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the charges. According to the upper court, a state high court cannot entertain matters arising from capital market transactions. The appellate court held that matters that are capital market-based case can only be handled by the Federal High Court. Ocholi’s counsel Lanre

Ogunlesi (SAN) urged the court to dismiss the charge against his client in view of the Appeal Court’s judgment. EFCC’s counsel Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), however, informed the court that the prosecution has appealed “the three judgments of the Appeal court at the Supreme Court”. Jacobs, subsequently, asked the court to adjourn the matter indefinitely in the interest of justice.

Kwara Governor Ahmed swears in three commissioners

WARA State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed yesterday swore-in three commissioners. They are Musa Abdullahi (Energy), Demola Banu (Finance) and Kamaldeen Ajibade (Attorney-General). Ahmed, last month, sacked all the commissioners, special advisers, senior special assistants and special assistants. The governor said: “Leadership must be devoid of partisanship and be beneficial to the majority of the people. “Politicians must develop leadership that inspires hope and

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

provides clear focus and champions the cause of the majority rather than the few. “Such leadership, when attained through the exercise of popular will, must be inclusive, populist and beneficial. “My administration will continue to promote inclusiveness by creating opportunities for everyone to thrive. “The commissioners were reappointed based on their records of accomplishments, dedication and loyalty to the people.”

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They are very good for arousal, give hard erections and aid performance at the highest level. Patients with high blood pressure favour them as well and have not made any complaints. Alternatively, you can use a penis pump to get an erection. If you prefer this option, then ask for Jack Pump or Bull Fighter Pump – Uche I cum quickly and cannot satisfy women. My wife is also not interested in sex and I don’t know if it is because of me or she needs help – Akpan Akpan a delay cream will help you. You can also use a penis sleeve to lower your excitement and last longer. So for the delay cream, use the Love Stuff All Night Long Delay Ointment. If you want to use a penis sleeve instead, get the Bigger and Better Enhancer or the Invisi Rider Sleeve. Both sleeves are open ended so if you are trying for a baby, they will not interfere with pregnancy. I believe when your performance improves, your wife’s sexual interest will improve too. But to help her out, she can start taking the Pink Elevate libido booster for women along with the Spot on G Spot arousal gel – Uche That Liquid Sex lubricant you talked about changed my love life. I enjoy sex more now and I don’t have pain. Please I want your best realistic vibrator and something to help my husband perform. Thank you – Cynthia There is a new and realistic vibrator called the 8.5 Inch Emperor. It is incredible. For your husband, get him Rhino 5 supplement. It will give him performance energy for multiple rounds, prevent premature ejaculation and enlarge the penis – Uche That’s it for today. Zee Virtual Media closes for the year on the 21st of December 2013 to resume on the 8th of January 2014. Adults in need of these treatments/ novelties can call 08171912551 or 08051924159 or any other number here. They can also order them online at We deliver to you wherever you are in Nigeria. For enquiries, email us at - Uche Edochie, MD, Zee Virtual Media.




CITYBEATS LINE: 08078425391

Police demolish 500 ‘illegal’ structures


ESIDENTS of Badagry wailed uncontrollably yesterday as over 200 policemen from the Lagos State Police Command demolished over 500 buildings erected on a land meant for police estate. The armed policemen stormed the 950-plot land (65 hectares) around 10am with about seven bulldozers and began demolition immediately. Residents watched helplessly as structures worth billions of naira were destroyed. The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar,

By Oziegbe Okoeki

had ordered the command to take possession of the land which the police acquired about seven years ago with the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) from the Lagos State Government in 2008. Men, women and children wept openly as their properties went down in seconds with bulldozers at work. Some of them were allowed to park their belongings before the exercise. The operation was led by the Area Commander, Area 'K,' Assistant Commissioner of

Police (ACP) Osu Ekpo. Officers of the Rapid Respond Squad (RRS), Taskforce and policemen from Area 'K' took part in the operation on the land located at Atinporome, Mowo Phase II, Badagry. A police source said an eviction notice was issued to the occupants to vacate in 2011, while another one was issued three weeks ago. Taskforce Chairman Bayo Sulaiman said the residents encroached on the land as the police has a genuine title document of the land including a C of O signed by Governor Babatunde Fashola in 2008.

According to him, land grabbers, popularly known as Omo Onile sold the land illegally to unsuspecting public, adding that the action was taken because the police wanted to claim the land to build an estate for its officers A victim, Waidi Yakubu, who said he built his house nine years ago, claimed he bought his land from a genuine source, but without a C of O. He appealed to the state government for help. Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Ngozi Braide could not be reached for comments .

Robbers kill 39 policemen in 12 months


HIRTY-nine policemen were killed by armed robbers in various parts of Lagos State this year, it was learnt yesterday. The policemen were felled by bandits' bullets in 54 robbery operations across the state. The Nation learnt that within the period, 322 cases of murder were recorded; 1,130 vehicles stolen and 149 robbers killed. Of the 1,130 vehicles, 557 were snatched, 568 were removed from where they were parked and five were driven away by drivers. The statistics, according to the state police command, also show that 472 robbers were arrested, while 390 arms, 16,034 ammunition and 919 vehicles

By Jude Isiguzo

were recovered within the period. The Police foiled 390 robbery operations. Commissioner of Police Umar Manko said the command had put in place strategies to ensure a secured environment, including

more police patrol, intensive vehicular and border patrol, purposeful strategic raids on criminals' hideouts, intensive patrol of all waterways and strategic deployment of gun boats and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) at key locations.


Pollution: LASEPA warns Chinese firm


HE Lagos State Government served yesterday a one-month notice to a Chinese firm, Hongxing Steel Company, over environmental pollution in the Amuwo-Odofin Industrial Area. The General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Mr Rasheed Shabi read the riot act

By Adeyinka Aderibigbe

when he visited the company. He said: "We have been inundated with reports that your operations are heavily polluting the environment. We have seen some infractions. I give you till the end of January 2014 to put corrective measures in place, otherwise, I will come and seal you off by February."

He ordered the company to clear the drainage within its premises, treat its water, arrest the smoke coming from its furnace and the flushing of the area to shield its workers from toxic scrap residue. An official of the company, Mr David Oloto, assured that the company would urgently address the areas identified by the agency.

Shell assists old people SHELL Nigeria Exploration and Productivity Company (SNEPCO), a subsidiary of Shell Petroleum has renovated a part of the Old People's Home, Yaba, Lagos. The company said the project was aimed at lifting the wellbeing of the old occupants of the home. At the organisation's end-ofyear party held within the premises, the firm's Managing Director, Chike Onebekwe, said the company donated a 30KVA generator to the home last year. The renovated six-room block was handed over to managers of the home. Onebekwe said: "We identify

with children and senior citizens as part of our social investments portfolio which cuts across health, education and social services. Recently, SNEPCO identified with children with special needs at Modupe Cole Memorial Childcare, Lagos by expanding and equipping its physiotherapy unit. Also, we were there last year for the end-ofyear party." The Director, Social Welfare Department, Office of Youth and Social Development in Lagos State, Musbau Abdulahi, commended the organisation and urged other corporate organisations to emulate its CSR gesture.

Jakande praises Fashola as community celebrates FORMER Lagos State Governor, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande heaped praises on Governor Babatunde Fashola on Saturday, describing him as an exemplary leader who is committed to grassroots development. He was the Father of the Day at the 3rd Community Day Celebration of the Ilupeju Est Community Development Association (IECDA) held at the Secretariat of Odi-Olowo Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area, Ilupeju, Lagos. Jakande said: "I must comment the IECDA under the able and dynamic leadership of Apostle Babatunde Odele (Pawpaw) for ensuring the development of the area. Much regards and appreciation go to our able governor (Fashola) for his focus on ru-

ral development and the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the citizens of the state, especially for giving street light to our community and Ilupeju at large. He is our amiable Omoluabi Eko, an unequalled governor in the present governance of Nigeria. I wish the dynamic governor more resounding successes." Jakande urged the association not to rest on its oars at sustaining the culture of environmental cleanliness in the area, while he enjoined residents to remain loyal friends of a sane environment. Awards were presented to outstanding members. The gesture, Odele explained, was to encourage them and others to remain committed to uplifting their community.



Harvard evacuated over bomb scare

ARVARD University in the United States state of Massachusetts evacuated its campus amid an "unconfirmed report" of explosives at four of its buildings. The university's Twitter feed said there were no reports of an explosion and no indication that any bombs had been placed on campus. Harvard campus police and local police were on the scene. Final exams, which were under way at the elite college, have been cancelled in the affected buildings. Harvard said in a statement: "The Harvard University Police Department this morning received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed in four buildings on campus: the Science Center, Thayer, Sever and Emerson Halls." The campus was being cleared "out of an abundance of caution", added Monday's statement. "There's a lot of helicopters about," Anna Fifield, a Harvard fellow, told the BBC. She also said all gates into Harvard Yard had been closed following the threat, and "frustrated" students were requesting entrance to cordoned off areas. It is the latest security threat to a US school in recent months. In November, another Ivy League institution, Yale University in Connecticut, was locked down for nearly six hours following a report of

an armed man, which was later found to be a hoax. In February, a gunman was reported on the campus of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That alarm, too, later proved false. Amid the ongoing threat of mass shootings at US schools, such alerts are an almost daily occurrence, though most turn out to be nothing. A BBC investigation found that, just in the month between 9 November and 9 December, US schools or college campuses were placed on "lockdown" on at least 130 occasions.

Syria: French ‘pessimism’ over Geneva II talks


RENCH Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said he has little hope for planned peace talks over the Syrian conflict. Mr Fabius said France was working on making the talks scheduled for next month in Switzerland a success, but that there was "a great deal of doubt". The moderate anti-government groups which France has been working with were "in serious difficulty", he said. The US, UN and Russia have been struggling for months to get the talks, known as Geneva II, off the ground. The talks will aim to ensure the delivery of humanitarian

aid, end the fighting and outline a political transition for Syria. The Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad has said it will attend in principle, but will accept no preconditions and refuses to negotiate with "terrorists", its term for almost all its political and military opponents. The opposition has said any political solution to the crisis must include the removal of Mr Assad. It remains unclear who will take part in the conference in the Swiss town of Montreaux on 22 January, with reports emerging last week that representatives of more than 30

countries wanted to attend. Speaking at the World Policy Conference business meeting in Monaco, Mr Fabius said he was "sadly quite pessimistic" about the prospects for peace. My fellow European ministers and I are working on the success of [Geneva II], but we can have a great deal of doubt on that. If sadly it isn't successful, that would mean this martyred country will continue to suffer as will its neighbours," said Mr Fabius. Man carries a child through rubble in Duma, Damascus (3 Dec 2013) More than 100,000 people have died in the conflict and 2.3 million have been

forced to flee He said that while President Assad "has a lot of faults, he is not an idiot" and that France "can't see why he would hand over all his powers". "As for the opposition that we support, it is in great difficulty," he added. France was one of the first countries to give its backing to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main military force opposed to Mr Assad, and to the political opposition umbrella movement the Syrian National Coalition (SNC). But the SNC has been plagued by internal division over which groups should represent it.

EU halts work on Ukraine trade deal


•Ukrainians protesting against President Yanukovych refusal to sign the trade deal...last weekend.

HE European Union has suspended work on an association agreement with Ukraine after failing to get a "clear commitment" from President Viktor Yanukovych to sign it. Mr Yanukovych - apparently under pressure from Russia backed out of signing the trade deal in November. But Ukraine and the EU had said they would continue negotiating. Some 200,000 people turned out in Kiev on Sunday to protest against Mr Yanukovych's failure to sign. The announcement by Stefan Fuele that the EU was suspending talks with Ukraine over a wide-ranging political and free trade agreement will undoubtedly stoke the already high tensions in Kiev.

President Viktor Yanukovych has tried to mollify the crowds camping out in the capital's central Independence Square by assuring them that his government was serious about signing the treaty with the EU - just not right now. But EU officials, it seems, have called Mr Yanukovych's bluff, saying they will recommence talks when the Ukrainians show sufficient commitment. This means that the government has no way of satisfying one of the opposition's key demands - that the deal be signed immediately. At the moment, tens of thousands of pro-Yanukovych supporters from eastern Ukraine are in Kiev; some are attending the second day of pro-government demonstrations, but many are simply milling about the

capital. At the moment, all is calm. But the potential for clashes is ever present. News agency estimates of the size of the crowd at Independence Square ranged from 150,000 to 300,000. This is the latest in a series of demonstrations over the past few weeks by the opposition who see Ukraine's future as part of the EU rather than aligned with Russia. Sunday's protests are taking place near a much smaller progovernment rally, raising fears of possible clashes between the two groups, the BBC's David Stern reports from Kiev. The series of protests, the largest since Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution, is designed to push Mr Yanukovych to dismiss his government and call fresh elec



NEWS Jonathan under pressure to reply Obasanjo’s letter Continued from page 4

and during the 2015 general elections.” The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) faction led by Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang described the letter as part of the growth process of the nation and an integral part of democracy. In a statement in Abuja from the media office of the Forum, signed by Kassim Yakubu, the Jang-led NGF noted that they were committed to the success of democratic rule in Nigeria and that democracy remains the most viable form of government for the development of Nigeria.

“A look at the progress made in the states within a little over a decade of democratic rule cannot compare to the many decades of other forms of governments of the past”, adding that “the success of democratic rule is made possible by the participatory nature of the system of government which he says is presently working for Nigeria.” As our democracy grows, it is our belief that more and more quality candidates will continue to emerge and this will translate to better governance on behalf of the people.” Calling on Nigerians to continue to participate in the demo-

cratic process as there is no other form of government that can guarantee the level of choice and participation that comes with democracy, Jang stressed that Nigerians should see the recent surge in political activities as integral to any democratic society. “There will always be both positive and negative issues thrown out there just as we are experiencing now with those heating up the polity unnecessarily. Nigerians should however remain steadfast in their confidence in democracy and see all these as part of the growth process as a nation,” the statement added.

by the Constitution, forwarded to the NJC their nominations for the post of Chief Judge of their states and in all the cases, NJC under your able leadership stood its ground and advised the governors to forward the names of most senior judges in their states High Court for the appointment. The petition traced the history of the leadership of the Court of Appeal. It listed its five substantive presidents as: Justices Dan Ibekwe, Mamman Nasir, Mustapha Akanbi, Umaru Abdullahi and Isa Ayo Salami. Justice Dalhatu Adamu served in acting capacity for 15 and now Justice Bulkachuwa is acting in same capacity for more than a year. The petitioner went on: “As his lordship is aware, when the Court of Appeal was established in 1976, late Justice Ibekwe and Justice Nasir who were Supreme Court Justices then, volunteered to go to the Court of Appeal in order to put it in a proper and solid setting; since the work of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court are similar, the two eminent jurists were brought from the Supreme Court to set up the newly established Court of Appeal. Apart from them I do not think there was any other Justice that has gone to Supreme Court and later returned to the Court of Appeal. “Justice Nasir, being junior to Justice Ibekwe, served under him for two years and after his demise, Justice Nasir became the PCA. That tradition was not broken as Justice Akanbi, being the most senior, succeeded Justice Nasir. Justice Akanbi was succeeded by Justice Abdullahi, who was also succeeded by Justice Salami. I could still recall Justice Salami saying he had earlier rejected elevation to the Supreme Court, perhaps because

of his ambition to be PCA. “If the reports are anything to go by, NJC under your watch, is being portrayed to represent what it abhors. “If the NJC will insist on appointing the most senior Judges in four different states as Chief Judges, then why is the same NJC now trying to do otherwise in the case of President of Court of Appeal? “And even by seniority the Justice that is being touted to be brought from the Supreme Court is far much more junior than the most senior justice of the Court of Appeal before his elevation to the Supreme Court. “My lord from the records available, this Justice in question, was appointed to the Court of Appeal after the most senior Justice had spent eleven years there. By providence, he was elevated to the Supreme Court, and now rumoured to be coming back to the Court of Appeal in breach of his seniority in that court. “That will certainly create disquiet among Justices of the court. This is a clear case of circumventing the seniority tradition and I don’t think history will be favourable to his lordship if his lordship is to allow this to happen under his watch.” The petition recalled that late Justice Sadi Mato of Kano State High Court spoke of how the late Justice Bello, the former CJN rejected being appointed the CJN thrice in order not to breach the seniority tradition. “According to late Justice Mato, the late Head of State, Gen. Murtala Muhammed, Presidents Shagari and Babangida all offered Justice Bello the position of the CJN at different times, but in all the cases he turned the offer down on the ground that he cannot be CJN while his seniors were on the bench.”

Succession crisis hits Appeal Court Continued from page 4

Court had not adhered strictly to seniority list, the CJN would not have reached the pinnacle of her career. “Some of the judges also queried why a Supreme Court Justice would head the Court of Appeal when there are capable hands to do the job. “They alleged that once a PCA is appointed from the Supreme Court, it will foreclose the prospect of a judge of the appellate court rising to the top. Their fears border on politics creeping into the Bench which may not augur well for the system.” Section 238 of the 1999 Constitution provides guidelines on the appointment of the PCA. The section says: “The appointment of a person to the office of President of the Court of Appeal shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate. “A person shall not be qualified to hold the office of a Justice of the Court of Appeal unless he is qualified to practise as a legal practitioner in Nigeria as has been so qualified for a period of not less than 12 years. “If the office of President of the Court of Appeal is vacant, or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office, or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the President shall appoint the most senior Justice of the Court of Appeal to perform those functions. “Except on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, an appointment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section shall cease to have effect after the expiration of three months from the date of such appointment, and the President shall not re-appoint a person whose appointment has lapsed.” In a December 1, 2013 petition to the CJN, Justice Maryam Alooma Mukhtar, a lawyer, Sunusi Musa, urged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to respect seniority on the bench. The petition reads in part: “Some people are mulling the idea of bringing someone from the Supreme Court to head the Court of Appeal. I am of the humble opinion that doing so may not speak well for the system best known for its conservatism in following an established custom of succession, which has for over the years been on seniority and which her lordship have battled even of recent to uphold, when some governors wanted to breach the tradition. “Her lordship may recall that the NJC recently had a cause to reject the nomination for the position of the Chief Judge of Rivers, Adamawa, Kwara and Osun States respectively, based on breach of seniority tradition. “The governors, by virtue of the powers conferred on them

ASUU to announce decision today


TRIKING universities teachers will today announce their decision on whether to end the almost six months old strike. They stated this last night

after a marathon National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the Federal University of Technology, Minna.

2015: INEC to spend N92.9b Continued from page 4

On the review of the Electoral Constituencies and polling units, Jega hoped that Nigerians would support INEC’s efforts to successfully complete the exercise. TO him, “the prospects of

having remarkable much better elections in 2015 are very bright”. “But we habour no illusion that we have accounted for all issues that could pose challenges for the elections. In fact, there are still a number of key challenges,” Jega said.

Court stops Bipi from parading himself as Rivers Speaker


PORT HARCOURT High Court has ordered a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly Hon. Evans Bipi from parading himself as the speaker pending the determination of a suit brought against him. Bipi is the leaders of the sixmember anti-Amaechi lawmakers. He is the self-styled

speaker. Justice C. N Wali of an Ahoada High Court gave in his ruling on a motion exparte brought by Speaker Otelemanba Dan Amachree, his Deputy Leyii Kwanne and others. The judge adjourned the motion on notice for hearing till January 6, 2014









“Yes, there is indeed some “wolf”. But Obasanjo himself was its author and finisher: Goodluck Jonathan, after all, was Obasanjo’s political creation” VOL. 8




N the age of television and instant mass communication, we ought perhaps to revise Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quip and insist that every hero becomes a bore not merely at last but very soon, maybe after only two or three television interviews. To do so, however, would be to reckon without the phenomenon that is Nelson Mandela. If one week is a long time in politics as a British statesman once remarked, the six months that have passed since Mandela was released from prison and has been the focus of media attention constitute nothing less than an eternity in the murky world of international politics. And yet, his stature has continued to grow, and his admirers to multiply. Everywhere he speaks, his message gains in urgency. He has been winning friends for the African National Congress and the liberation struggle of which he is the foremost symbol. After scores of television appearances, innumerable newspaper interviews and speeches, he is still displaying an intriguing knack for saying the right thing in the right place at the right time in the right way. At 72, Mandela maintains a schedule that would have fazed many a man half his age. But rarely has he shown the irritability that usually flows from weariness that not even a person of his singular energies and willpower can conceal. To admirers and opponents alike, he has shown uncommon civility and a graciousness that is all the more remarkable for being so totally natural. In America, the land of the anti-hero, where the news interview is an inquisition by another name, it was widely expected that he would be cut down to human size at last. He had set out on a14-nation, six-week trip only four days after undergoing surgery. The calculation in some quarters was that by the time he reached the United States, signs of exhaustion would be so manifest in his conduct, his temperament would have become brittle, and he would not be able to stand up to the tough questioning for which the American news media are reputed. Mandela’s well-known favourable disposition towards some of the bêtes noires of the American Establishment – Cuba’s president Fidel Castro, Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and PLO leader Yasser Arafat – was sure to render him vulnerable to the sniping of the jingoistic right-wing press and the powerful Jewish interests, of which the United States policy-making is hostage. But in America, Mandela was at his brilliant and most engaging best. More than one million people in New York lined his route to honour him in a ticker-tape parade. The city’s first African American mayor, David Dinkins, gave him the keys of the Big Apple. At the United Nations, accredited representatives of all nations of the world rose in a prolonged ovation even before he began to speak. He told America that that its enemies were not necessarily the enemies of the ANC; he praised Castro and Gaddafi and Arafat for their contributions to the liberation struggle in South Africa. He spelled out without ha-


CASTRATE him and let him ‘GO AND SIN NO MORE’



The Mandela files (2): Mandela in America

•The late Mandela (left) with former US President George HW Bush

tred or bitterness what apartheid means in human terms, insisted on the imperative of the armed struggle, and declared that nothing had happened in his country to warrant the lifting of sanctions. In Washington, DC, he drew rapturous applause at various points in his address before the United States Congress, the first by a black foreign leader who holds no executive authority. In television and newspaper interviews and speeches across the United States, he reiterated his position on various issues calmly and with the grave, measured dignity that is his hallmark. Predictably, a few rumbles were heard here and there. The Jewish lobby was aghast that Mandela did not denounce Yasser Arafat as a

terrorist chieftain and the PLO as a terrorist organisation. Under pressure from the large Cuban exile community, Miami scaled down the reception that had been planned for Mandela. The New York Times in an editorial hailed him as an authentic hero, a manifestation of man’s unconquerable spirit, but remarked that if the United States were to employ Mandela’s standards and judge individuals and organisations by their attitudes toward it and not on the basis of other people’s prejudices, it would never have imposed economic sanctions against the South Africa. A.M. Rosenthal, the rabidly pro-Jewish columnist for the paper, wrote approvingly of Mandela but deplored as “amoral” his standards in choosing friends. So did other Times columnist Flora Lewis, whose liberal credentials are unimpeachable on all matters except those that have any bearing on Israel, however tangentially. All of them conveniently forget that the United States is only a recent convert to the view that economic sanctions can force Pretoria to reconsider its iniquitous policies’ Was it not the U.S. that invented the opportunistic and amoral policy of “constructive engagement”? Was it not former Secretary of State, George Schultz, who declared that the U.S. could not impose economic sanctions against South Africa because American women would by that measure be deprived of a source of diamonds? Had the U.S. not always stood in the way of UN draft resolutions condemning the barbarities of apartheid?



ONGRATULATIONS to Chief Bode George, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) bigwig and jailed former Chairman, Board of Directors of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), who has apparently succeeded in shedding the stigma of prison following a Supreme Court verdict quashing his 2009 conviction and 30 months imprisonment by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja. It must be joy unspeakable for him, considering the snide remarks he most likely had to cope with on account of his prison history, especially in the dirty game of politics. Now he can do a swagger in public without restraint or embarrassment. He can proudly reject the tag, “ex-convict”. With him on the soul train are five former members of the board, Aminu Dabo, an architect, Captain Oluwasegun Abidoye, Alhaji Abdulahi Aminu Tafida, Alhaji Zanna Maidaribe and Sule Aliyu, an engineer, who were also discharged and acquitted. George and four others were arraigned in 2008 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 163-count charge of conspiracy, disobedience to lawful order, abuse of office and alleged illegal award of contracts worth N84 billion while he was NPA chairman between 2001 and 2003. During the trial, the EFCC reduced the charge to 63 counts, and the judge found the defendants guilty on 47counts. Specifically, they were found guilty of ex-

Redeeming Bode George ceeding the limit for award of contracts, splitting contracts in order to bring them within the limit, and inflating contracts. In other words, they were sanctioned for official corruption, that monstrosity which many observers have identified as the bane of the country. It is noteworthy that as prison inmates, George and his colleagues enjoyed the V.I.P. section, were excused from wearing prison uniforms, and had access to meals prepared by their families, which smacked of corruption. Even more remarkable, and reflective of corruption of another kind, was the lavish celebration that greeted his 2011 release from Kirikiri Prison, Lagos, which was nauseating to the public. George, 68, claimed that his trial and imprisonment were consequences of a conspiracy by his enemies. With his clearance by the Supreme Court, it is predictable that the flamboyant retired naval officer would arrange a church thanksgiving service and throw a party, all to make a statement. It is interesting that they took their battle for redemption as far as the Supreme Court, suggesting that they were convinced about the supposed injustice of their con-


Mandela knows all this but is too gracious, too civil, to dwell on them. He had his own message to put across and was not going to be dragged into sterile controversy. *Second installment of a three-part retrospective on Mandela. The article was first published in The African Guardian (September 23, 1990). * Twenty-three years later, well before Mandela’s lifeless body had turned cold, the right-wing media in the United States resumed its campaign of framing Mandela according to its soulless measure of goodness and greatness. Yes, Mandela preached love and forgiveness and may even have practised same. But, you see, he was a Kha.mew.nist (read Communist). A Kha.mew.nist, you understand? He was the leader of a terrorist organisation that murdered thousands of innocent people in Africa and elsewhere, many of them women and children. You doubt it? Recently declassified material in the British archives, they said triumphantly, shows irrefutably that Mandela was not merely leader of an organisation of which the South African Communist Party was an ally, he was, horror of horrors, an actual, card-carrying, dues-paying member of that party. Such labelling is a familiar weapon of the American Right, reserved especially for outstanding black men whose complaisance could not be taken for granted – Paul Robeson, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, and Martin Luther King, Jr., to name just a few. Mandela had denied his alleged Communist affiliation again and again. But does it matter whether he was a Communist or not? If it is indeed proven that he was once an active, card-carrying, dues-paying member of the SACP, would that take anything away from his stature as one of the greatest men of our age and any age? Apartheid, the pernicious ideology that undergirded the machinery of government in South Africa, was justly condemned by the United Nations as a crime against humanity. To some of the loudest elements of the American Right, however, Communism is a far greater evil apartheid. Better a crime against humanity – especially black humanity — than a doctrine that challenges the foundations of market capitalism. •For comments, send SMS to 08111813080

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above viction and sentencing. Well, they could afford the services of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), Kanu Agabi and Joseph Daudu, and they obviously couldn’t live with the shameful stain, given their social standing. Just a thought: What if the apex court had affirmed the correctness of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, which had endorsed the initial High Court ruling? What a horrible thought! It may well be that by overturning their conviction and imprisonment, the Supreme Court, perhaps inadvertently, not only saved them from deadly depression but also prevented their descent into suicidal psychosis. It is even possible that the latest ruling will energise them beyond their years. However, there is ironically something to be sad about. Central to the exculpatory judgement were the arguments that the prosecution failed to establish the guilt of the appellants and that contract splitting was not unlawful at the time of the alleged offence. In the words of the court: “Contract splitting, which formed the basis of the offences charged, was unknown to law at the material time. The Public Procurement Act, which made contract splitting an offence punishable with term of imprisonment, was enacted into law by the National Assembly in 2007, long after the appellants had ceased to be members of the NPA.” George and others were probably ahead of society’s consciousness of the infinite possibilities of contract award.

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The Nation Dec 17, 2013  
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