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VOL. 7, NO. 1983 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2011


Subsidy battle in Lagos Labour, govt forces clash at Town Hall Meeting I

T was a battle of intellect yesterday in Lagos. The issue – the government’s controversial plan to remove fuel subsidy. On one side were government officials, including Finance Minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Petroleum Minister Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and others. They explained why the subsidy, which the government says has cost about N1.3 trillion this year, should go. On the other side were activists, unionists and some dignitaries. But the Federal Government got support from Edo

WHO SAID WHAT I would say let the Federal Government move forward on the road it has chosen, but we have a right to insist that every naira be accounted for and not put in private pockets. – Oshiomhole By Adebisi Onanuga, Staff Reporter

State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, a former Labour chief. The governor endorsed the removal of subsidy but canvassed the prosecution of those responsible for the failure of the refineries. They all spoke at the Town

If we borrow to subsidise today, it is our children that are subsidising us. Let’s take a difficult decision today and make tomorrow better by supporting the removal of subsidy. – Sanusi

Hall meeting organised by the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) to review the debate on the combustible issue. The theme: “Removal of Petroleum subsidy: In whose interest.” NPAN President and Thisday chairman Mr. Nduka Obaigbena moderated the

meeting. The activists said the petrol pump price being contemplated by the government is a reflection of the inefficiency of the government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). They said President Goodluck Jonathan should fish out the cabal that has

What we are fighting for is governance in its real term. We would fight to re-invent our society ... government should build more refineries. – Esele

taken over the petroleum sector and all those who took money from the government but failed to carry out Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries. Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Peter Esele; Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Vice President Issa Aremu; Constitutional law-

yer Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), rights activist Femi Falana; and Silverbird chair Ben Murray-Bruce spoke at the event. The activists refused to be swayed by Mrs OkonjoIweala’s claims that the government intends to put in Continued on page 2

Presidency budgets N1.2b for State House clinic

P •Dr Jonathan

RESIDENCY workers are sure of good healthcare next year – going by the budget for the State House Medical Centre (SHMC). In the budget, N1,240,213,993 is voted for the centre, which is open to

PDP: Bayelsa primary final •Activists fight for Sylva From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday foreclosed a reversal of its controversial governorship primary in Bayelsa State. But the international community is being urged to intervene in the dispute by activists who insist that Governor Timipre Sylva was elbowed out of the race. The party’s National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja endorsed the nomination of Mr. Seriake Dickson as the PDP candidate in February’s general election. The party’s top organ also endorsed the governorship primaries in Kogi, Adamawa and Sokoto. The meeting could not start on schedule because President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, House of Repre-

From Nduka Chiejina, Abuja

only those who work and live in the Villa, including the first and second families. Domestic animals will also have access to good health facilities. The improvement of facili-

ties, such as the “delivery room, dog training pitch, theatre, slaughter slab etc at the State House Veterinary Clinic, comprising vet laboratory at N4,499,262; provision of materials for the mounted section horse stable/accessories at

N5,550,400, will amount to N10,049,662. Details of the budget show that the “provision of water treatment plant and ancillary works for SHMC, including supply and installation of package water treatment plant to cater for 1,000

people”, will cost N 26,889, 041. The procurement of State House Veterinary Clinic equipment (x-rays machine, accessories and setting up of radiology secContinued on page 2

•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun cutting the tape to inaugurate the state’s Security Trust Fund and Joint Military/ Police Task Force in Abeokuta … yesterday. Watching are (from left): Group Managing Director, First Bank Plc, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, Deputy Governor Segun Adesegun, chairman of the Fund, Col. Kayode Are and Managing Director, First City Monument Bank Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun. Story on page 9

Continued on page 2




NEWS PDP: Bayelsa primary final Continued from page 1

•Holy Rosary Catholic Parish choir singing during a Christmas Carol and concert at the residence of Senate President David Mark in Abuja ... on Wednesday PHOTO: NAN

sentatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, governors and other party chieftains were locked in a meeting, which lasted two hours. The meeting, according to sources, discussed Sylva’s fate. Attempts to make the party go back on the issue failed. Reading the communiqué at the end of the 57th NEC meeting yesterday, Acting National Publicity Secretary Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, maintained that the party followed its rules and the guidelines in the governorship primaries so far conducted. He said: “The meeting reviewed the state of the Party

Govt budgets N1.2b for State House clinic Continued from page 1

tion) will cost N20,800,500. Plans are afoot to spend N7,457,719 on spare parts for the SHMC. The Presidency plans to buy the following hospital equipment for the SHMC: •Two dialog+ haemodialysis machine with option ABPM (automatic blood pressure measurement and OCM (adimea) at N7,000,000 = N14,000,000; •Two diapact CRRT, acute dialysis machine at N7,500,000 = N15,000,000; •One Modula 1 water reverse osmosis system (for up to 10 dialysis machines with pre treatment at N11,850,000; •Two comfort therapy, dialysis chair at N1,170,000 = N2,340,000; •Two bed side table for dialysis chair at N195,000 = N390,000; •Three APC UPS (3kv) at N350,000 = N1,050,000;

•Transportation, installation and handling charges for dialog+ haemodialysis machine = N300,000 and transportation, installation and handling charges for Modula 1 = 455,000. All these will amount to N43,460,000. With regards to the central sterilising building for the SHMC, which the budget says “is construction of a building structure covering about 4052m consisting of a number of rooms for sterilisation, storage of associated machines and equipment, N34,478,295 is being proposed to be spent. The completion of the SHMC extension, which includes the dental department; furnishing and installation of equipment, N300,341,085 is budgetted in the new year. Two blocks of six two-bedroom flats are to cost

N300,341,085. There are plans for an MRI building and mortuary conversion, which includes the “construction of a building complex for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) consisting of: MRI room, offices, conveniences, medical records, common room, covering a space of 3702m, N54,759,600 has being proposed. The reconstruction of the rear perimeter fence and provision of new guest house accommodation for the SHMC, which consists of the “extension of the SHMC fence wall to include the area acquired from the military; construction of gate house, reclamation of the area by sand and stone filling, all will cost N38,412,916. Besides, the rehabilitation of infrastructure consisting of the repair and renovation of network of estate roads,

drainage and parking lots covering about 1,800m long and 7,2002m are to cost N203,878,658. Landscaping, drainage and access roads at SHMC service quarters will cost N50,705,050. For landscaping at the veterinary unit N34,571,624 is voted. The improvement of the “Villa water supply (additional storage tanks and provision of higher capacity treatment plant) and procurement of water treatment chemicals have N15,361,852 vote. Some items in the budget were repeated but with different price tags attached. These include the “completion of SHMC extension works, completing the extension works of the dental department; furnishing and installation of equipment”. This is estimated to cost N60,844,000.

Two blocks of six twobedroom flats for the SHMC are valued at N73,154,869. The provision of MRI building and mortuary conversion: construction of a building complex for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) consisting of: MRI room, offices, conveniences, medical records and common room, covering a space of 3702m are to cost N115,238,749. Also repeated are the “reconstruction of rear perimeter fence and provision of new guest house accommodation for SHMC: extension of SHMC fence wall to include area acquired from the military; construction of gate house, reclamation of the area by sand and stone filling - N19,206,458. Also to be provided for the SHMC is a covered car port at the State House Veterinary Clinic at N7,682,583.

since the last meeting held on the 28th of July 2011, especially preparations for primaries in the five states ordered by various tribunals. The states are: Kogi, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Sokoto and Cross River. So far, the party has successfully held primaries in Kogi, Bayelsa, Adamawa and Sokoto states. “Indeed, the gubernatorial elections have been held in Kogi State, with the PDP emerging victorious. Preparations are in top gear for the gubernatorial primaries in Cross River State, with the sale of forms commencing on the 2nd of January 2012.” “NEC commended the National Working Committee for a thorough handling of the primaries in the affected states and urged all Party members to accept the outcome of the exercise, in the spirit of party loyalty, unity and cohesion.” He added: “On the forthcoming congresses to elect party officials at all levels, NEC commended the enthusiasm shown by Party members nationwide, especially the smooth conclusion of the update of ward registers. NEC expressed its determination to see to the successful conclusion of the transition exercise. NEC also agreed on proposals for consultations on zoning of party offices in order to consolidate our broad based national support and carry each constituent part of the nation along. A decision on what office goes to what zone shall be communicated to members in due course.” “NEC also dismissed speculations in some circles that plans are underway Continued on page 7

Labour, govt forces clash over subsidy at NPAN Town Hall Meeting Continued from page 1

place infrastructure that will change the lives of the people with the money to be realised from subsidy removal. Esele pointed out that the cabal that has been holding the petroleum sector to ransom has been having its way because of collaboration by government officials. The TUC president, who insisted that the government must reduce its stake in the refineries, also said if the sector must be deregulated, the government must first put in place the fundamentals, such as employment, good roads, housing and improved electricity supply, among others. Aremu said Nigerians do not trust the government because of the way the fuel subsidy was handled in the past. He disagreed that the money to be realised will be spent to the benefit of the masses, pointing out that experience had shown that removal of subsidy had always led to increase in prices of food stuff, transportation, housing and other goods and services. “What we are fighting for is governance in its real term. We would fight to re-invent our society,” he said, adding that the government should build more refineries to accommodate the daily fuel consumption in the country. Agbakoba urged government itself to make sacrifice by cutting cost in some areas

Okonjo-Iweala, Sanusi, Alison-Madueke: subsidy should go


HE government mounted a strong defence of its plan to remove fuel subsidy yesterday defended its officials deployed facts and figures to back their case. It was all at the Town Hall meeting organised by the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) in Lagos. Finance Minister Dr Ngozi OkonjoIweala said between January and November, the government borrowed N850 billion to make up this year’s N1.3 trillion fuel subsidy. She said the government is exploring ways to close wastage in the system, and promised that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will henceforth prosecute anyone found diverting petroleum products. She urged Nigerians to support fuel subsidy removal and give the government a chance to make a change. Mrs Okonjo- Iweala said deregulation will open up the market, thereby as against removal of subsidy, adding that the cash to be saved on subsidy could be generated internally. To Agbakoba, the government has not really provided enough information to convince Nigerians that subsidy removal is necessary. He said government should discuss exhaustively with the various strata of the society, if subsidy must be removed. Falana berated the Federal Government for giving TAM contracts to those he described as “political contractors”, instead of the compa-

By Emeka Ugwuanyi and Collins Nweze

creating jobs. She said the policy will reduce smuggling of products to neighbouring countries and reduce fraud. The government has issued licences to 20 marketers to build refineries, but they have failed to do so because the market is not attractive. She said between 2006-2011, the government spent N3.7 trillion on subsidy, stressing that as at October, this year alone, N1.3 trillion had been spent and it is estimated that by the end of this year, N1.43 trillion will have been spent. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said the money spent on subsidy could go into funding capital projects and reducing deficit. She explained that although N852 billion was borrowed this year to fund budget deficit about N1.1 trillion is expected to be borrowed next year, noting that constant borrowing is not healthy for the economy.

nies that installed the refineries. In his view, there is the need for the government to identify the cabal in the petroleum sector and deal with them “decisively”. They are responsible for the inefficiency in the sector, he said. Falana counselled the government to listen to alternate suggestions by maintaining existing refineries and building new ones to produce more petroleum products for local consumption as against subsidy removal which, he said, would bring untold

Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said the government was subsidising consumption and not production. The implication is that the country is exporting jobs and importing unemployment, he stressed. With fuel importation and subsidy, government creates jobs for other countries and improves their economies. He said fuel subsidy benefits the rich and not the poor, adding that between January and November, the foreign exchange (forex) sold to oil marketers was $8 billion and within the same period $8.2 billion was paid to the marketers as subsidy. The revenue from the oil sector within the period was just $200,000 higher. The CBN governor said considering the population of the country, it is untrue that Nigerians consume 35 million litres of petrol daily.

hardship or the people. Murray-Bruce was applauded when he preceded his speech by singing the late Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s song about lack of water, housing, electricity, roads and inadequate food. The showbiz promoter said it is regrettable that the Nigerian populace do not trust those in government because government officials do not practise what they preach. “We have been subsidising the rich while we do nothing to subsidise the poor,” he

Continued on page 4

said. He asked government to give hope to the people, adding that “they should give us good roads, education, housing, water, efficient transport system. Then, we can sit down to discuss removal of fuel subsidy”. Oshiomhole urged President Jonathan to wield the big stick and prosecute those who contributed to the failure of the refineries. He said the President needs to build trust in the people of his commitment to reforms, stressing that

“when a government begins to dwindle, it lacks the trust of the people”. To him, leadership is the ability to manage the carrot and the stick, hence President Jonathan should urgently arraign those responsible for mismanaging the nation’s refineries. Oshiomhole urged Nigerians to give the President the benefit of the doubt. The Governor, who threw his weight behind the fuel subsidy removal, hoped that the proceeds will be utilised to impact positively on the masses. He said: “Nigerians have to accept and at least commend this government, that for the first time in five years, fuel price has not been increased. It is on record that the last President that increased the prices of petroleum products was the President before Yar’Adua. Besides the price of petrol, which other price has remained as it was five years ago? So, we can’t argue that every other thing increases, except the price of petrol. “The situation we are in is fundamentally different. I would rather keep quiet than say what I do not believe in. I would say let the Federal Government move forward on the road it has chosen, but we have a right to insist that every naira be accounted for and not put in private pockets.”

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






•Former President, Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Alhaji Isa Funtua (left), Mrs Alison-Madueke, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and Mallam Sanusi Lamido ...yesterday.

•Falana (left), Mr Murray-Bruce, Aremu and Agbakoba (SAN).

•Executive Secretary, Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Reginald Stanley (left), Otedola, Alhaji Dangote and Chief Osoba.

•Veteran journalist Mallam Mohammed Haruna (left), Publisher, BusinessDay newspapers Mr Frank Aigbogun, CEO, Channels Television Mr. John Momoh and Editor-in-Chief of Tell Magazine Mr Nosa Igiebor


• Mr Amuka-Pemu (left), Mr Ekpu and Maryam Lamido Sanusi

•Group Managing Director, NNPC Austen Oniwon


Okonjo-Iweala, Sanusi, Alison-Madueke: subsidy should go Continued from page 2

He noted that what the government calls subsidy is just paying for the inefficiency of the ports authority, demurrage as well as the corruption of some marketers. He said most of the products claimed to have been imported found their way to neighbouring countries through unscrupulous marketers. He explained that he was compelled to publish the names of bank debtors because most of them were in the oil industry. He said he established that some marketers collected letters of credit, got paid their subsidies, yet failed to repay the loans they collected from banks. “What I believed is that most of the products they claimed to have imported didn’t come into the country,” he stressed. He said regulation of fuel

price in Middle East countries such as Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, among others, “works because all the surrounding countries regulate their prices and there is no need for diversion”. He said as long as the countries that surround Nigeria sell petrol at N140 per litre, and marketers gain N80 from every litre sold, they would always bribe their way to the borders and sell in those countries at higher prices. To buttress that corruption exists on the subsidy, the CBN boss said it is unimaginable that 15 vessels of products would land at the port the same day, considering the differences in the import allocations to the marketers. “Yet, there is such a record.” To confirm that fuel subsidy is for the rich and that the cost of running the government is high, Sanusi said he could not

remember when last he went to a filling station to buy fuel. He said there are hiccups in economies of countries, citing the Eurozone crisis. He said if the price of oil crashes, the value of naira falls to N200 to a dollar, inflation rises to 18 percent; what will the government do? He said as a country, “we should be prepared for the future”, adding that “if we borrow to subsidise today, it is our children that are subsidising us”. “Let’s take a difficult decision today and make tomorrow better by supporting the removal of subsidy,” he urged. Sanusi expressed the need for the country to have stability in the economy, saying, if the oil price crashes again by 30 per cent, it will be difficult for the government to pay workers’ salaries and that is when the country will experience hardship.

He said the major contributory factor to the financial crisis in the banking sector was their exposure to capital market and oil and gas. Sanusi said that Nigeria is the only country where the government pays demurrage. He described the oil sector as the place an idiot can make money. He said some government officials cannot say the actual price of fuel in the market because they do not buy, stressing that the price of fuel in Kano is N65 but outside the town, it costs about N100 per litre. Sanusi said though petrol is sold at N65 per litre, in neighbouring countries – Cameroon – it sells at N140, so an importer can easily import fuel and transfer it to that country for more profit. Minister of Petroleum Resources Alison -Madueke

said the Federal Government is desirious of discontinuing the subsidy on petroleum products because it is a huge financial burden on the government. According to her, subsidy benefits the wealthy more and hurts the economy and development. She said: “The total projected subsidy reinvestible fund per annum is N1.134 trillion based on average crude oil price of US90 per barrel. Out of this,N478.49billion,accrues to the Federal Government, N41.03billion to state governments, N203.23billion to local governments, N9.86 billion to the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) and N31.37billion as transfers to derivation and ecology, development of natural resources and stabilization funds.” She said the discontinuation of subsidy will save additional

resources for investment in programmes targeted at mitigating poverty and spurring economic growth. She said a robust programme structure has been developed to ensure adequate oversight, accountability and implementation of the various projects targeted to reduce the impact of subsidy removal. “The entire project will be overseen by a Board to be constituted by Mr. President. Consulting firms with international reputation will be appointed to provide technical assistance to the Board in financial and project management. Relevant MDAs will set up Project Implementation Units to drive the implementation. An independent body will be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation and will report directly to the Board,” she said.



NEWS Two die in Abuja-Kaduna road crash TWO persons were burnt to death in an auto crash at Dikko junction in Niger on Abuja-Kaduna dual carriage way, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. NAN learnt that the accident involving a Peugeot J5 bus loaded with oranges and a broken down trailer occurred at about 3 a.m. It was also learnt that the driver of the bus and a passenger were burnt to death due to poor emergency response efforts, as only a few security guards of a nearby market were available to put off the fire. Officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) were seen at about 8 a.m. removing the corpses to the Suleja General Hospital and the wreckage of the vehicles. The police were also on hand to control traffic, which had build up due to the partial blockage of the highway as a result of the accident. The FRSC Sector Command in Niger, Mr Tuma Dalok, confirmed the accident and said that the corpses had been deposited at the mogue and efforts were being made to contact their families. He advised drivers against night journeys and dangerous driving, adding that the victims of accidents at night found it difficult to get immediate help. Dalok urged motorists to exercise great caution at all times by ensuring that their vehicle tyres, lighting systems, brakes and other important accessories were in order before embarking on a journey.

Senate summons Shell MD, others over 30,000 barrels oil spill T HE Senate yesterday summoned the Managing Director of Shell

Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) over a major oil spill at its Bonga deepwater facility. Also invited over the massive spill are the leadership of National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESRA) and the Chairman of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA). Senate Committee Chairman on Environment and Ecology, Senator Bukola Saraki, announced this at a news conference in Abuja. Saraki said the action became necessary to allow Shell and both agencies to explain measures to contain the spill. He said he was briefed about a major oil spill on the 200,000 barrel-per-day capacity Bonga deepwater facility, approximately 120 kilometres. The Senator said the spill released over 30,000 barrels of oil off the Nigerian coast. Saraki said the last time Nigeria had such a high level of spillage was from a Mobil Producing facility in 1997. He noted that the good thing is that from the information available to the committee there was no loss of life.

Environmentalists urge independent verification


HE Federal Government should order an independent verification of the volume of oil spill in Bonga field, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN) has demanded. In a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN described the incident as unfortunate, maintaining that the new spill which may be grossly undervalued, adds to the piling list of Shell’s environmental atrocities in the Niger Delta. “We are perplexed that even as we are yet to see the Federal Government and Shell commence the much-talked-about clean-up of Ogoniland as recommended in the recently released United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)assessment of that part of the Niger Delta, the company is going ahead to pollute the coastal and other parts of the region with reckless impunity, “said ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey. “Is it not ironical that the many oil fields including this floating station and field are From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

“We commend all those out there on the field giving their best to ensure the containment of this spill; we commend your efforts so far.” Saraki said the Senate committee expects NOSDRA to

By Wale Ajetunmobi

named after fish and animal species probably as the only way to maintain memories of them as oil operations wipe them out? In this case, Bonga, a fish species is now threatened by Shell’s massive leak. We are not satisfied with NOSDRA’s claim that it is working hard with Shell to contain the spill. The people must know the true statistics which must then be followed through with a thorough cleanup of the environment. Being aware of the spill isn’t good enough. Is NOSDRA on the spot? What is the spread of the spill? What is the response?” He added: “It is disturbing that NOSDRA officials who should be on ground to verify the amounts of oil spewed into the environment may be actually relying on figures peddled by a company/industry that is not known to be truthful when it comes to revealing actual volumes of spills as well as taking responsibility for spills it caused.”

carry out an independent assessment of the spill. “We have heard from Shell what actions it has taken, such as providing helicopters and vessels deployed to the site. “To the best of our knowledge, NOSDRA lacks the necessary equipment, such as boats, vessels to navigate the typical terrain where most of

these spills took place, helicopters to fly over the affected areas, bums, barriers and most importantly, information command and control centre like other parts of the world to monitor and control these spills and have to now rely almost exclusively on the grace and benevolence of the oil companies, in this case

Police arrest journalist’s wife, uncle in Benue


Housing scheme for House staff THE Speaker of the House of Representatives , Aminu Tambuwal, has promised to ensure that Assembly workers get a housing scheme. The Speaker spoke at the end-of-year party for staff. He said: “I will touch base with what my younger brother requested us to do in collaboration with the management staff of the House in ensuring that all of you as much as possible before you finish service will have a roof over your heads that you can call your personal home.” “We are going to continue to engage the management staff and I give you my word starting from 2012 to ensure that we execute the housing scheme for the staff of the House of Representatives.” “We are indeed very proud of the staff that we have in the House of Representatives not only because of your hard work, but also because of what you stand for, your level of integrity. I have not had any cause to receive any complaint against any worker of the House of Representatives from any quarter for any rude behaviour. Whatever the House of Representatives has achieved in the past could not have been possible without the commitment that you have put in over the years.”

Shell, to provide them logistics, equipment and information command and control centre.” Shell, he said, “must immediately take necessary steps to halt this oil spill.” According to him, “there is little moment in reminding Shell of its responsibility to contain the oil spill from getting to the shoreline and to inform all local communities, especially fishermen in that region and to be prepared to pay for any damage the spill might have or will cause to Nigerians living within the area of impact or on their livelihood.” He assured Nigerians that members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology are closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds. He said: “We will make sure that we do all within our powers to ensure that international practices that guide all oil companies in this type of situation are also followed here in Nigeria , despite the clear handicap of the supervising agency. “The committee urges all Nigerians to be vigilant and provide it with useful information as it tracks this incident so that collectively we can lessen the burden of containment and ensure a speedy remedy.”

•Deputy Governor of Osun State, Titilayo Laoye-Tomori presenting a book on Pa John Adeyemi Ayorinde in Ibadan... yesterday.. With her are the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Isaac Adewole (left) and the author, Mr. Steve Ayorinde. PHOTO: NAN

Court refuses Atuche’s bid to stop suit


LAGOS State High Court, Ikeja, yesterday dismissed a preliminary objection by a former Managing Director of Bank PHB Plc, Mr Francis Atuche. The former bank chief urged the court to quash the N4.2billion theft charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). But the court ruled that he must face trial. Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo held that the fact that Atuche is facing trial in other courts did not amount to double jeopardy or abuse of court process. The cases, he said, are not based on the same set of facts even though the alleged offences were committed at the same period. Atuche was charged separately with two former directors of Bank PHB, Mr Lekan

By Joseph Jibueze

Kasali and Mr Fumi Ademosun before Justice Onigbanjo. They are facing three counts each of conspiracy and stealing over N11.4 billion from the bank. Atuche is also facing a N25.7billion theft charge with his wife, Elizabeth and former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, Mr Ugo Anyanwu before Justice Lateefah Okunnu. According to the judge, the cases “cannot be said to amount to abuse of court process since they do not arise from the same set of transactions.” He said Atuche’s rights cannot be said to have been prejudiced, adding that the information (charge) is competent. Justice Onigbanjo said Atuche’s application is misconceived.

“The application fails in it’s entirety and I refuse it.” The judge also dismissed Ademosun’s bid to have the charge against him quashed, saying the application also “fails in its entirety.” In the Notice of Preliminary Objection moved by Atuche’s counsel, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN) and Mr Deji Sasegbon (SAN), he asked the court to discharge him. Ademosun, in a separate motion moved by his counsel, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN) also prayed the court to to discharge him. Atuche sought an order dismissing all the charges. He said a fresh charge can not be initiated in any court during the pendency of a similar charge in another court. The defendant urged the court to make an order that the EFCC cannot subject him

to double jeopardy by trying him on the same set of facts in different courts on the basis of a general criminal law. He said subjecting him to trial in the Lagos High Court on allegations similar to the one he is facing at the Federal High Court, Lagos, was tantamount to abuse of court process. Atuche sought an order striking out his name from the charge. Idigbe said the transactions on which the charges in the two courts were based were interlinked. But EFCC’s counsel Dele Adesina (SAN) and Mr Kemi Pinhero (SAN) opposed the applications. Adesina said the EFCC has got a fiat from the AttorneyGeneral of Lagos State. After dismissing the applications, Justice Onigbanjo adjourned till February 21 and 22 and March 1 for trial.

HE Benue State Police Command has raided the house of a Makurdi journalist, Mr Henry Ibya, taking away his wife, child and 60-year old uncle over a story on Governor Gabriel Suswam’s wife. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that an item, entitled “How Governor Suswam’s wife duped Benue of N100 million” was published in Wednesday’s edition of the Western Premier newspaper. The story chronicled how the governor’s wife allegedly misappropriated N100 million meant for the celebration of an occasion, tagged: “Celebrating the Benue woman”. NAN learnt that the publication angered the government which ordered the arrest of the journalist. Family sources told NAN that Ibya’s house was raided at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday while he was away. They said the police came in two vehicles and whisked away his family. A cross-section of journalists in Makurdi expressed dismay at the arrest of their colleague’s wife, saying it was wrong to visit the sins of a person on another. They said that the action was capable of severing the relationship between the police and the media in the state. The police, however, denied detaining the journalist’s wife, child and elderly uncle. They explained that the woman was invited for questioning but was never put in the cell. Mr Anthony Njoku, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (CID), told journalists that the police only invited the woman for questioning and never detained her. Njoku said the woman had been released with the child and uncle.



NEWS Lagos seeks special status

Court frees man detained 13 years without trial


By Joseph Jibueze

A LAGOS State High Court, Ikeja, yesterday freed a 33year-old man, Sule Sanni, who was detained for 13 years and two weeks without trial. Justice Olabisi Akinlade ordered his unconditional release from the Maximum Security Prisons, Kirikiri, where he has been held since his arrest on December 8, 1998. A group, the Prisoners’ Rights Advocacy Initiative, led by Mr Ahmed AdetolaKazeem filed the action on his behalf against the Lagos Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye and the Police Commissioner of Lagos State, Mr Yakubu Alkali. The court awarded Sanni N1million damages. This is coming less than a week after Justice Habib Abiru of the same court freed a 43-year old man, Mamman Keita, 10 years after he was arrested for manslaughter and detained without trial. AdetolaKazeem also handled the case. Justice Akinlade said the arrest and continued remand of Sanni without arraignment is unlawful and unconstitutional.

Lamorde assures international community ECONOMIC and Financial Crimes Commission chair Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde yesterday assured the international community of a new dawn in the agency. According to a statement by EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, Lamorde spoke while receiving the Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria , Mr. Bert Ronhaar. He said the EFCC under his administration would not betray the confidence reposed in it. Lamorde said:”It is a new dawn at EFCC. Things are going to be done differently in this era, I can assure you. Your coming, for me, marks a renewal of cordial and lasting relations. Whatever issues we had in the past should be disregarded; formal and good relations should be restored. “We have resolved to cleanse the Commission and turn it around. The confidence you have reposed in the Commission will not be betrayed.” Ronhaar said the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is ready to seek the assistance of the EFCC in the investigation of some fraud and organized crime cases. The envoy, who was accompanied by Mr. Peter Jacobs, the Police Attaché at the Dutch Embassy recalled the excellent relationships that had existed between The Netherlands Police and the EFCC.

•Orelope-Adefulire, (second right) icutting the tape to open the BOI Lagos Headquarters in Marina...yesterday. Watching are the Assistant General Manager, Operations, Mr. Joseph Babatunde , (right) representative of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Mr. Toye Durowaye, (left) and Mr. Akuns Abila, representing the Minister of State for Finance .

Court sacks Andy Uba, Ekwunife

‘Privatisation contributes to unemployment’

•ACN’s appeal upheld in House of Reps dispute


HE senator representing Anambra South, Dr. Andy Uba, has been sacked. The Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu yesterday nullified the election of Andy Uba, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Also nullified yesterday was the election of Mrs Uche Ekwunife of the House of Representatives who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The court upheld the ap-

From Chris Oji, Enugu

peal of Dozie Nwankwo of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and ordered that a fresh election be conducted in the constituency. Mrs Ekwunife represents Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka Federal Constituency of Anambra State. In a judgment read by the chairman of the five-man panel, Justice Helen Ogunmumiju, the court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of

return issued to Uba. It ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election within 90 days. The court agreed with the petitioner, Mr Chuma Nzeribe of APGA, that the elections were marked by gross irregularities and massive rigging. Nzeribe approached the appellate court after losing at the tribunal. The lower tribunal had ruled that the petition challenging Uba’s election lacked in merit. Nzeribe prayed the Court of Appeal to nullify the elec-

•Dr. Uba tion on the grounds that it was not properly conducted. He claimed that Uba was not qualified to contest, adding that the PDP fielded multiple candidates. Reasons for the nullification of the election, the court said, would be given at a later date. Supporters of Uba and Mrs Ekwunife, who stormed the court, wore long faces.

SGF to furnish offices of presidential aides with N300m T HE Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) plans to spend N200 million for the “provision of furniture and other office equipment for aides to the President” next year. There are also plans to buy computers and other accessories for special advisers to the President and the general office of the SGF’s use for N100,000,000. Another project is the “provision and strengthening of security systems in critical ministries, departments and agencies in Abuja for N1billion.” Other new projects to be embarked upon next year by the Pius Anyim-led OSGF are the procurement of utility vehicles “six Toyota Hilux for observation and monitoring of primary and general elections, maintenance unit and departments; six Coaster buses; four Toyota Hiace for cabinet meetings and or distribution and despatching of council minutes, all at N150,000,000. The OSGF plans to instal “comprehensive security sys-

From Nduka Chiejina Assistant Editor, Abuja

tem for the federal secretariat complex, phase 1, and Shehu Shagari office complex for a N650,000,000. The “landscaping of the open areas in Shehu Shagari office complex will cost N65,000,000. Equipment, airconditionings and office furniture for the complex is to cost N250,000,000. For socio-economic programmes with local and international organisations and production of the compendium of Nigeria trade and economic bilateral relations with other countries, the SGF is proposing to spend N50,000,000. The “establishment of a data base through the carrying out of various socio-economic studies and surveys: socio-economic programmes with organisations (local and international) - socio-economic study of government public private partnership policy (PPP) - survey of Ni-

geria economic investments in Europe and Asian countries - critical review of government programme on poverty alleviation, small/medium scale development., etc.” the SGF wants to spend N50,000,000. With regards to on-going projects captured in both 2011 and 2012 budgets, the SGF proposes to procure “archival equipment and automation of the archival filling system - enhancement of the operations and services of the cabinet secretariat:equipping end/distribution room for cabinet secretariat - purchase of two heavy duty work centre and accessories for production room - 100 pieces of metal boxes for despatching of council memos and decisions” at a cost of N300,000,000. The purchase of computers and furniture for the Ecological Fund Office will cost N15,000,000. For the OSGF library books, which include “furnishing and equipping of eco-

HE Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, yesterday urged the Federal Government to accord the state a special status to enable it shoulder its enormous responsibilities. Speaking at the inauguration of the Bank of Industry (BOI) building in Marina, Lagos, Mrs Orelope-Adefulire urged the Federal Government to consider the state’s population and responsibilities in according it the special status. “I enjoin the Federal Government to look into our request of giving Lagos State a special status as the nation’s former capital. “The responsibilities of creating good infrastructure like roads, water, among others, must be shared and jointly taken care of,” Mrs OrelopeAdefulire said. She said the state government would soon establish power projects at Ikeja, Somolu and Matori, to empower businesses. The Deputy Governor said the state government would create jobs and empower the unemployed in small businesses. Mrs Orelope-Adefulire commended the BOI for its committment in promoting businesses in the last 10 years.

nomic library- purchase of books for the Economic Adviser’s Office (EAO’s) librarypurchase of furniture, books/ publications for SGF political library- procurement of computers, laptops, printers, photocopiers, scanners for SGF specialized political libraryprocurement of computers, laptops, printers, photocopiers, scanners for SGF political library” will all cost the country N150,000,000 in the new year. Upgrading of electrical components at Shehu Shagari complex will cost N60,000,000, while the upgrading of electrical components at the federal secretariat complex (FSC) phase 1 will cost N100,000,000. The “reconfiguration of the basement at Shehu Shagari complex” will cost N300,000,000 while the “rehabilitation of federal secretariat complex, phase1” will gulp N200,000,000. For the “OSGF process automation for e-government implementation and coordination and establishment of data base” the SGF wants N200,000,000 to execute the programme in 2012.


HE National Chairman of the Progressive Action Congress (PAC), Chief Charles Nwodo, yesterday said the privatisation of Federal Government firms was a major contributor to mass unemployment. Nwodo spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. Reacting to the recommendation by the National Assembly on the removal of the Director-General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Nwodu said most of the privatised public firms had been rendered moribund by their new owners. He called on the government to reclaim the moribund companies and give them out to better managers as well as punish people who sold them without due process. “It is unfortunate that such actions had created mass unemployment in this country and have set Nigeria as a nation backward by losing the economic dynamics of development. “We state that the people involved should be investigated and tried because it is an economic sabotage. The privatised firms that are moribund today should be reclaimed and reauctioned to those who can appropriate them in order to make our economy viable and create an army of employment opportunity.” Also speaking on the BPE issue, Mallam Danjuma Mohammed, National Chairman of the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), urged the government to spell out the duties of the body.



NEWS Appeal Court upholds Yobe senator’s election From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos


•House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha (right), greeting Rev. Father Joe Egbale (left) at the inauguration of an Information Technology (IT) centre at Mother Mary Colman Memorial Secondary School, Ogbor Nguru, Imo State…yesterday. With them are: Rev. Father Theo Nwalo and Rev. Sister Uche Anyanwu.

Ige’s killers must be punished, says Tinubu A S Nigeria marks the 10 th anniversary of the murder of former Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Chief Bola Ige, today, former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu urged the Federal Government not to rerst until the killers are brought to justice. Tinubu, who analysed the circumstances of Ige’s death, noted that it was futile to silence him. According to him, though Ige has been silenced, physically, his ideas and ideals would continue to endure. “Whoever thought killing Uncle Bola would bring an end to his ideas and ideals must have realised how fatally flawed they were,” Tinubu said. “But the federal authorities must not rest until they find and punish those behind that dastardly murder; no matter how high ranking they are in the

By Olamilekan Andu

society.” The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader said it is a shame Ige’s killers are still on the loose 10 years after the heinous crime, adding that this has cast a slur on Nigeria’s criminal justice system. He said: “The political system operated by the ruling government has failed to unmask the killers of the former attorneygeneral of the federation. For a country like Nigeria that mouths the rule of law not to be able to resolve Ige’s murder is regrettable. “Rather than take his death seriously and bring the killers to justice, the government is allowing them to walk the land freely and even contest elections.” Tinubu insisted that the search for Ige’s killers must

continue because other good nations spend decades to unravel similar high profile murders. On political developments 10 years after the assassination of the foremost politician, the ACN National Leader said: “Ige may have fallen by cowardly assassins’ bullets, but his progressive political ideas have proved the reigning ideas 10 years after his death.” He examined developments in the Southwest to buttress his claim, saying those who thought killing Ige would arrest progressives’ triumph in the region’s politics and progressive appeal nationwide had been proved wrong. Tinubu said: “When they struck our inimitable Uncle Bola exactly 10 years ago, they thought they had killed

his political persuasion with him. But after stealing the vote back in 2003 and even killing and maiming more of our people to maintain their steal in 2007 in Olusegun Obasanjo’s do-ordie electoral storming, the castles they built in the air have tragically unravelled,” he said. “Now, it is Uncle Bola that has the last laugh; for those evil forces of reaction, who thought they could thrive only after Ige had been cowardly but physically eliminated, have themselves been banished to political Siberia.” He noted that the former minister’s death was “tragic, not for Ige himself - even if he suffered physical elimination and those he left behind were traumatized but tragic for our country, which needed his erudition and winning ideas”. Then former governor urged the Nigerian political elite to contest on the basis of ideas and not on murderous thoughts.

HE Court of Appeal, sitting in Jos, the Plateau State capital, has upheld the election of Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). The lawmaker is representing Yobe North in the National Assembly. It threw out the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Alhaji Hassan Ayos Husseini, challenging the election of the senator. Delivering judgment, Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi said: “The notice of appeal filed by the appellant on August 22 is hereby struck out.” The National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Lawan winner of the National Assembly election in the April 9 poll. Husseini challenged the result of the election, petitioning the election tribunal. He alleged that the election of Lawan was marred by malpractices. The PDP candidate urged INEC to declare the senator’s election invalid and organise a fresh poll. The appeal, according to the court, was against the judgment of the National and State House of Assembly Tribunal in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital. The tribunal delivered its verdict on August 2 through Justices Pat Onajite Kuebola, Edu Eze and Muntari Yusha’u. Dissatisfied by the tribunal judgment, the petitioner proceeded to Jos to file his appeal on August 22.

Globacom awards N750m scholarship


LOBACOM has launched a new tariff package targeted at Nigerian youths. It enhances subscribers’ access to voice and data services at low rates as well as offering scholarships to students. Globacom said the package, G-BAM Hi5ive, allows subscribers to call five special numbers at five kobo per second and enjoy free access to the popular social networking site, Facebook. Globacom’s Group Chief Operating Officer Mohammed Jameel said subscribers on the package also get free airtime and free night calls.

He noted that a major aspect of the programme, the G-BAM Scholar, empowers the student community in Nigeria by offering $5million (about N750million) scholarship for 1,000 students. Jameel said 250 students would be awarded $5,000 scholarship every quarter “to help aspiring students to fulfil their academic ambitions, pursue their dreams and passion, and take care of meritorious students and young people”. According to him, the GBAM Hi5ive is a youthcentred package designed with the lifestyle of Nigerian youths in mind.

INEC recruits 11,000 for Adamawa poll


HE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has recruited 11,000 ad hoc workers to conduct the Adamawa State governorship election on January 14, next year. The INEC State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Malam Kassim Gaidam, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yola, the state capital, yesterday, that non-sensitive election materials were already in place.

Bayelsa governorship primary final, says PDP NEC •Continued from page 2 to dissolve some State Executive Committees before the expiration of their tenure. NEC affirms its commitment to provision of the party constitution on tenure of officials and urged officials concerned to disregard such rumours.” “NEC was briefed on progress of the PDP Constitution Review Committee, led by the National Legal Adviser. The committee is still working but has made substantial progress in fashioning a new constitution, which shall be in tune with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act. The review Committee shall present a comprehensive report in due course.” Alkali said NEC received from Sambo a report on the planned removal of fuel subsidy, which it endorsed, urging Nigerians to embrace the plan to avoid the collapse of the economy. Speaking during the NEC meeting, President Jonathan maintained that the proposed fuel subsidy removal is not intended to inflict pains on Nigerians but to avoid a serious crisis.

Sylva: Activists urge UK, US to intervene HE international comm-unity is to intervene in the political logjam in Bayelsa State. This followed a petition by five civil society groups, under the aegis of Coalition for Credible Elections in Bayelsa State, sent to the embassies of six countries considered to have “cordial relationships” with Nigeria. The petition dated December 13, 2011 was sent to the ambassadors or the high commissioners, of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden and Switzerland. Titled “An urgent call for international intervention in Bayelsa State”, the petition was signed by representatives of The Polaris Network, Ijaw Media Network, Niger Delta Democratic Initiative, Save Bayelsa Group and the Bayelsa Restoration Agenda. In it, the civil society groups highlighted what they called the “political tumult in Bayelsa State with its negative impact on the political development of the country, the possibility of descent into anarchy in the state, possible reversal of the political and social


He said: “Now, the issue is deregulation and people will like to ask why the PDP government is inflicting pains on Nigerians. But, there is no way myself and the gover-

gains made in the state and the total implication for peace process in the Niger Delta”. They called on the international community to prevail on President Goodluck Jonathan to allow Governor Timipre Sylva contest the election in February. They claimed the political imbroglio in the state has “defied all local attempts” to resolve it. The groups said: “We ask that these governments should prevail on the Federal Government and President Goodluck Jonathan to obey electoral laws and respect democratic principles to enable Governor Timipre Sylva contest the election. “The impact of this intervention by the international community will prevent a breakdown of law and order that will heat up the polity anddisrupt the peace that took the collective efforts of leaders in the Niger Delta to build in the last two years. “We request that the international community should act timely to prevent a slide into anarchy,” the group stated.

nors - because we have discussed it over and over and we have agreed that it is the only way is to resolve the problems and relieve the pains on our people. Other-

wise this country will enter into serious crises.” “We are not taking the decision because we want to see Nigerians suffer, but we want to see a situation where more

Nigerians will be able to get jobs; the economic activities to be stimulated, so that people will have opportunity to survive with or without government.” The President went on: “On the budget, most of us know that our target is to refocus the economy because we believe that we cannot continue to depend on oil. If the experts are saying that the reserve of oil that we need will last for 35 years or about, then, we have to diversify, especially in the area of agriculture and manufacturing so that our children will not check out of the country.” On elections, he said: “There are also matters before the Tribunals which are plus and minus: we are winning some and losing some. There is the one of PDP versus PDP; like the one in Bayelsa State, even in my own senatorial district. I don’t even know how to interpret the judgment. The signals we are getting from Katsina State looks quite promising. By God’s grace, PDP will continue to have significant majority in both national and state assem-

blies.” Acting National Chairman Abubakar Kawu Baraje noted that the party is suffering from indiscipline and antiparty activities. He urged the NEC to re-constitute the National Disciplinary Committee. He also pointed out that there is gross abuse of the waiver being granted by the party. Many former national chairmen, members of the Board of Trustees and other members of NEC and state chairman attended the meeting. Among those present were Rivers Governor Rotimi Amaechi, Bayelsa’s Timipre Sylva, Kaduna Governor Patrick Yakowa, Katsina Governor Ibrahim Shema, Plateau Governor Jonah Jang, Sokoto Governor Aliyu Wamako, Niger Governor Babangida Aliyu, and Jigawa Governor Sule Lamido. Others include former Deputy National Chairman, Bode George, former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, former chairman Dr. Ahmadu Ali, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, another exclaimer Solomon Lar.



NEWS 20 million Nigerians to be tested for HIV From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

THE National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has said it aims to counsel and screen 20 million Nigerians for HIV next year. This, it said, would prevent the spread of the disease and facilitate early detection and management of the virus. NACA Director-General Prof. John Idoko spoke with reporters yesterday in Abuja. Idoko said: “Next year presents bigger challenges for the national response. We plan to provide HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) for 10 to 20 million Nigerians. “It is our plan to increase Prevention of Mother-to-Child (PMTCT) service coverage to 50 per cent. The number of people on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) is expected to increase from 400,000 to 600,000. “I urge you not to relent in your journalistic duties, since festivities such as this are periods of high prevalence of risky behaviours, which could lead to contracting HIV. “We are all enjoined to continue to preach the message of prevention to keep people, especially our youths, from getting infected.”

Normalcy would return to Lekki-Epe road, Lagos assures residents T HE Lagos State Government has assured Lekki-Epe residents that the traffic gridlock around the Admiralty Toll Plaza would soon fizzle out. In a statement yesterday, the Commissioner for Information and Stategy, Mr. Aderemi Ibirogba, said: “We are aware that many individuals and corporate organisations are responding to the challenges by embracing the e-tag and swift pass, including bulk subscription to make payment easy and reduce time wastage in the cause of having to pay cash or collect change. “We, however, appeal to other motorists to key into the e-tag arrangement to ensure smooth operations and avoid unnecessary delay at the toll collection point. “We also urge motorists

By Ayodeji Olaosun that wish to avoid the Admiralty Plaza to use the alternative routes. As a responsive government, the first decision on the issue of tolling was to abide by international best practise by ensuring that alternative routes are created and people have choices. “In view of this, road users on the Eti-Osa–LekkiEpe Expressway that do not wish to pass through the Admiralty Circle Plaza (TPL 1), located at Kilometre 3 on the Expressway have the choice of passing through the Ligali Ayorinde or Oba Oniru Road, enroute Market Road, First Roundabout, which can serve as an entry road into Ikoyi, or

Victoria Island. “The second alternative route is for those living in Agungi, Osapa, Second Roundabout, Jakande and others, and those coming from Eleko-Epe axis. These set of road users have the option of avoiding the tolling plaza by making a detour at the Second Roundabout. “The link road passes through Remi OlowudeKayode Road, also linking the Oniru-Market, to connect Exxon Mobil Office in Maroko, for those going to Ikoyi, Obalende and Lagos Island, and Ligali Ayorinde for those going to Victoria Island. “Apart from these alternative routes, there are also slip/access roads linking the various com-

munities and business concerns to the expressway. “Such roads are in places like QMB Builders Market, Insurance PGB, Elizade Motors, immediately after the Second Roundabout, and in places like Osapa-Agungi axis. “Similarly, work is ongoing on the third alternative route, which will run on both sides of Chevron. As the Chief Security Officer (CSO) in the state, Governor Babatunde Fashola remains committed to the protection of lives and property and would not sit and watch the citizenry get molested, or killed in any unjust manner. “To this end, he appealed to the police authorities and secured the

Time for sober reflection, says Lagos Speaker By Oziegbe Okoeki


Artisans get N250m loans in Ondo From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

THE Ondo State Government yesterday gave out loans worth N250 million to artisans. The beneficiaries were carpenters, hairdressers, barbers, vulcanizers, tailors, quarry workers, painters, block makers and palm wine tappers, among others. Governor Olusegun Mimiko handing out the cheques,said he would organise a training workshop for members of the various artisan associations and pledged to send those who perform well abroad for more training. He said the loan was to complement and fulfill his electioneering campaign. Mimiko said any government that wants development must not neglect artisans because they play major roles in the economy. He said: “It is painful that many of the things our leaders need to focus on are handled with levity. Artisans are key to the nation’s development. “Apart from agriculture, there is no other sector that tackles unemployment more than artisans. “A government that empowers artisans is already eradicating poverty in the society.”

release of all those detained during the last Saturday’s protest and called for further investigation into Police handling of the protest, through an Executive Order reference number EO/BRF/008 of 2011 to the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, and the Commissioner of Police. “The panel has also reiterated its readiness to welcome written submissions from well-meaning Nigerians to help its investigation.” The probe is to find out if anyone was killed during the protest; the witnesses to the alleged killing(s); if the victim was killed by the Police or any other person and the identity of the victim; the identity of the doctor who certified the victim dead; whether the victim has been buried; where he/she was buried; the identity of the person who issued the permit for burial; the location of the body if the victim has not been buried; and what authority any person has to keep the corpse.

•From left:Vice-President Namadi Sambo; President Goodluck Jonathan; Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Abubakar Baraje; and Senate President David Mark; at the 57th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the PDP in Abuja...yesterday


BPE probe report: EFCC urged to prosecute offenders

HE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has praised the report of the Senate on the activities of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) since 1999 till date. It urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute those accused of corrupt practices in the BPE. In a statement yesterday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said: “We welcome the BPE report and laud the Senate for its strong political will to conclude the investigation, adopt and publish the report. “Now, it is time for the EFCC and Senate to work together to ensure that those suspected to be involved in corruption in the BPE are brought to justice and all proceeds of corruption are recovered and

By Ayodeji Olaosun returned to the treasury. “The BPE report clearly shows a serious breach of anti-corruption legislation and Nigeria’s international obligations, including under the United Nations (UN) Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, both of which the country has ratified. “The government of President Goodluck Jonathan must back the full and effective implementation of the report. This will show that the government is willing and able to fight the impunity of perpetrators of corruption. “We also urge the Senate and House of Repre-

sentatives to conclude all investigations into allegations of corruption; publicly release the reports of concluded investigations; and send those reports to the relevant anti corruption bodies for necessary action. “We believe that a genuine and fair implementation of all anti-corruption laws and standards will ensure that Nigeria’s natural resources are utilised to achieve the full realisation of the social and economic rights of Nigerians.” The recommendations of the Senate Committee on Privatisation, which were adopted by the Senate include: the removal of BPE Director-General Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa for “gross incompetence and the illegal

and fraudulent sale of the Federal Government’s residual shares in Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited”; the indictment of former heads of the bureau, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Dr. Julius Bala and Mrs. Irene Nkechi Chigbue, for seeking approval for some sales directly from the President, instead of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) as stipulated in the Public Enterprises Act, 1999. The Senate urged the Federal Government to implement the July, 2011, Inter-Ministerial Technical Audit Report on the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, which recommended the completion and inauguration of the plant by the Federal Government. It also said the BPE should stop paying staff retirement benefits and its other bills with privatisation proceeds.

AGOS State House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji has said the present state of the nation calls for sober reflection. He spoke at the annual Speaker’s Media Meeting with House correspondents at his Ikeja GRA Lodge. Ikuforiji said: “No one can say the nation is in a state he or she wants it to be. The nation is not enjoying the deserved peace. “I want a nation where I can wake up by 2am, call my driver and go to Abuja by road without nursing any fear; a nation where I can drive to the Airport in the middle of the night without the fear of being attack on the road. “We only can continue to pray that God should direct our leaders aright, because a situation where the largest percentage of the country’s budget goes to security shows that there is serious need for us to pray for Nigeria.” Urging journalists to be exact when reporting events, he said: “I have no doubt that without a vibrant media, the nation can’t move forward. But when a media practitioner fails to report an issue the way it is, it means you are going against the interest of the nation and the people. “After the media, I believe the next thing we need is a strong and virile legislature. After then, you can talk of either the executive or the judiciary.” Ikuforiji said when a virile media and legislature are in place, other things would fall into place.




Fayemi presents N99b budget •’Capital expenditure is prioriKITI State Governor KayFrom Sulaiman ty’ Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti ode Fayemi yesterday


presented a N99 billion budget proposal for next year to the House of Assembly. The ultra-modern House of Assembly Complex was also inaugurated yesterday. The budget, christened “Budget of Delivery,” provided N53.3 billion (54 per cent) to capital expenditure and N45.6 billion (46 per cent) to recurrent expenditure. IInfrastructure gets N25.7 billion; Education, N19 billion; Health, N8.5 billion; Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) & Poverty Reduction, N6.3 billion; Agriculture and Rural Development, N2.5 billion; and Information & Social Development, N2.2 billion. The Environmental and Administrative sectors get N3 billion. Fayemi said priority was given to capital expenditure to facilitate more development. He said the 2012 budget would be fully implemented to improve the lot of the people, adding that N1 billion was earmarked for the care of the elderly, under the Social Security Scheme. The governor said: “Poverty would be reduced and development accelerated when economic and social policies,

institutions and political arrangements are mutually supportive. “This policy thrust recognises that development depends crucially on the interconnection among economic growth, social policy and accountable governance. “To this end, the philosophy guiding this budget formulation combines strategies for economic growth and private sector development with active social policy and programmes to eradicate poverty in Ekiti State. “In particular, our strategy over the medium to long term seeks to promote a number of redistributive policies to tackle the multiple dimensions of poverty, including social safety nests for the vulnerable segments of our population; affirmative action policies for women, youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities and other segments. “For this to happen, we are convinced that we need a capable state and an efficient private sector.” Speaker Adewale Omirin

•Dr. Fayemi cutting the tape to open the House of Assembly Complex...yesterday. With him are Deputy Governor Mrs. Funmi Olayinka; Omirin (left); Secretary to the State Government Ganiyu Owolabi (right) and former House Speaker Tunji Odeyemi.

‘This policy thrust recognises that development depends crucially on the interconnection among economic growth, social policy and accountable governance’ said the bill would be scrutinised before passage and its implementation would be monitored.

•Fayemi (right) presenting the 2012 Budget to Omirin...yesterday.

Security not cheap, says Amosun •Ogun gets security board •Vans for police


•Ajimobi (middle) flagging off the construction of the Mokola fly-over...yesterday. With him are Oyero (left); Akintunde (second left); Kuye (second right); and Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Chief Akin Olajide. PHOTO: FEMI ILESANMI

Ajimobi flags off N2.13b fly-over in Ibadan YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday flagged off the construction of a fly-over at Mokola Roundabout in Ibadan, the state capital. The fly-over, which will cost N2.13 billion, is being handled by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and is expected to be completed in 12 months. Ajimobi said his administration is committed to making life better for the people. He said although the MokolaSango-Dugbe Road belongs to the Federal Government, the fly-over would reduce traffic congestion and accidents at the intersection. Ajimobi said: “This is a testimony to the fact that we desire a good life for the people. This particular fly-over was conceived as part of


the overall vision and mission of this administration to restore, reposition and transform the state and its citizens’ transportation to higher efficiency and effectiveness. “The completion of the bridge is expected to translate to less stressful journeys for residents and visitors to Ibadan. This project is historically late and it takes a determined and focused administration like ours to recognise its need and be committed to executing it.” Describing the Mokola-SangoDugbe Road as critical to transportation in Ibadan, he said it is one of the earliest roads in the country. Ajimobi expressed confidence in the contractor to complete the project on time. He urged the contractor to consider working round the clock, in-

cluding at night, to reduce the inconveniences the work might cause road users. Commissioner for Works and Transport Yunus Akintunde described the project as a product of long-term and careful planning, design and consultations. He said the fly-over would be a reinforced concrete structure comprising abutments, piers, beams and deck, with a width of 10.55 metres made of drives and walkways with handrails. The Olubadan of Ibadanland, represented by the Otun Olubadan, Chief Omowale Kuye, described the project as a leap towards development. The President of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief Bayo Oyero, lauded Ajimobi’s vision for the state.

GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun yesterday inaugurated the Board of Trustees of the State Security Trust Fund (STF). The STF board is headed by a former Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS) and former Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Kayode Are (rtd). The members are Managing Director, WEMPCO Group, Ibafo, Mr. Robert Tung; Managing Director, VeeVee Industries, Ota, Mr. Rajan Vaswani; Managing Director, Glaxo Smithkline Plc, Agbara, Mr. Chidi Okoro; Lagos lawyer Bisi Adegbuyi; representatives of the Police, Army and SSS; the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security; and representatives of banks operating in the state. Amosun said security is paramount in governance, but does not come cheaply. He urged corporate organisations, individuals and communities to support the STF to make Ogun safe. With the approval of President Goodluck Jonathan, Amosun said his administration has established a Joint Military/Police Task Force (JMPTF) and Quick Response Squad (QRS) to rid the state of criminals. He said owing to its large landmass and proximity to Lagos and neighbouring countries, Ogun is vulnerable to security challenges and policing it effectively requires technol-

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

ogy and more security posts. Amosun said: “Ogun used to be one of the safest states in Nigeria, but a few weeks back, there were instances of criminal breaches of security in a few of our major towns. “Nonetheless, we have been able to control the situation. What we are doing today is to reinforce other measures and continue to take steps to ensure that criminals do not find Ogun State comfortable.” The governor handed over patrol vehicles to the JMPTF and QRS, adding that the government has committed over N3 billion to the procurement of security equipment. He said it has procured 60 patrol vans, communication gadgets and ordered 10 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) to strengthen security. The event witnessed a mild display of force by the Army and Police. Col. Are assured donors that their contributions to the Trust Fund would be judiciously utilised and accounted for. The event was attended by the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Michael Gbadebo; the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona; the Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Michael Sonarinwo; Deputy Governor Segun Adesegun, House of Assembly Speaker Suraj Adekumbi; and the leadership of the Army, Police and SSS in the state.



NEWS Christmas traffic control begins From Chris Oji, Enugu


HE Southeast Zonal Office of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has flagged-off its 2011 special road traffic control exercise,tagged: “Operation Eagle Eye”. According to the agency, the event, which is carried out in collaboration with other security agencies, such as the police, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), civil defence corps, is aimed at restoring sanity on the roads as well as reducing drivers’ excesses. At the ceremony yesterday on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Road, NEMA’s Director-General Mohammed Sani Sidi said the exercise was initiated to reduce road carnages, especially during the Yuletide. The NEMA boss, who was represented by the Southeast zonal coordinator, Dr. Bandele Abdulahi Onimode, implored motorists to always maintain a controllable speed limit on the highway.

Policemen take over Ebonyi Assembly Complex


GGRIEVED youths stormed the Ebonyi State House of Assembly to protest the impeachment of the former Speaker, Ikechukwu Nwankwo. They were, however, dispersed by policemen who came in company of the Commissioner of Police, Adeola Adeniyi. Reacting to the allegation

•Youths condemn impeachment From Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki

that the House did not form a two-third majority, Speaker Chukwuma Nwazunku said the House met all the constitutional provision that led to the impeachment of his predecessor.

He debunked the claim that hoodlums broke into the office of the former Speaker to take away the mace before the impeachment. But a socio-cultural group, Izzi Nnodo Youth Forum (INYF) ,yesterday condemned the impeachment. It alleged that a youth leader led some hoodlums into the

Assembly complex and made away with the mace. In a communiqué by 15 members of the group at the end of its emergency meeting, it alleged that the impeachment was not carried out by a two-third majority of the members as recommended by law. The group’s spokesperson, Moris Mbam, described the exercise as a desecration of the land.

Council workers threaten strike


OCAL government workers in Imo State have threatened to go on strike, if their two months salaries and allowances arrears are not paid. In a communiqué in Owerri, the state capital, officials of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) warned that the strike will be total and indefinite. It added that it will only be called off when all their grievances are met. The communiqué, which was signed by the union secretary , Ike Abugu, said de-

From Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri

spite the government’s directive that a minimum wage of N20,000 be paid to workers, they are yet to enjoy the new wage. According to the communiqué, there has been continuous tampering of statutory allocation by the state. It said the union is aware that what is released to local governments is not what is received at the federal level. The meeting was attended by chairmen and secretaries of the 27 local governments.

Imo Election tribunal adjourns till Jan 5 From Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri


EARING in the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State challenging the verdict of the governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the election of Governor Rochas Okorocha began yesterday. The PDP had approached the Appeal Court sitting in Enugu to challenge the declaration of Okorocha by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as winner of the April 16 governorship election. Okorocha, of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), had unseated former Governor Ikedi Ohakim at the election that was conducted in April and May. Supporters of both parties had trooped to the court premises before the five-member panel adjourned the case till January 5. APGA supporters, who brought placards to the court, kicked against the membership of one of the judges. But the Legal Officer of the PDP, Cyprian Akolisa, described the resentment of APGA’s supporters to the composition of the appeal tribunal as shocking. He wondered why anybody could discredit a high-ranking judicial officer.

Funeral prayer for man


THREE-DAY Fidau for the late Fehintola Tiamiyu Oyetunji of Daodu Compound, Idi Ose, Kisi in Oyo State holds today by 10am. Pa Oyetunji is the father of Fehintola Azeez, Chief Press Secretary of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi. The late Oyetunji, a businessman, died on December 21. He was 72 . Pa Oyetunji is survived by eight children.

•Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor Nsima Ekere flanked by the governor’s wife, Mrs Ekaette Akpabio (left) and his wife,Ese, at the ninth Ukana Christmas Carol Night, at Methodist Church, Ukana, Essien Udim.

Ojukwu’s wife, brother, son absent at funeral talks


IFE of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Bianca, his elder brother, Dr. Joseph Ojukwu and his second son, Chukwuemeka, were absent yesterday at Nnewi, Anambra State, during a meeting for the funeral of the warlord . The meeting, which was scheduled to take place at the palace of the traditional ruler of Nnewi, Igwe Kenneth Orizu III, ended at 11.30am, following the family’s absence. On Monday, the meeting was deadlocked as a result of the absence of Ojukwu’s wife (Bianca) and others. But the palace secretary, Joseph Ikeotuonye, on Mon day, said though they were not officially invited, the community was sending an official invitation to the family for another meeting yesterday. However, when the meeting started, there was no sign that Mrs. Ojukwu, Ojukwu’s elder brother and

APGA gets14-man committee From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja


HE National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Grand Alliance National (APGA) has inaugurated a 14-man committee for the burial of Biafran leader Odumegwu Ojukwu. The deceased was until his death the party’s National Leader. In a statement yesterday in Abuja, APGA National Director of Publicity Ifeanacho Oguejiofor said the committee would liaise with Ojukwu’s family and the National Burial Committee. Members include: Alfred Nwosu (Chairman); Ifeanyi Mbaeri (Secretary); Jolly Benjamin Ngbor; Chinyere Okeke; Ibrahim Garuba Carefore; Tondo Joseph; Ferguson Okpara and Morgan Anyalechi. Others are Chairmen of the party in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. The committee will meet on January 3 in Enugu.” From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

Emeka would attend. The first son, Sylvester, former Aviation Minster Mbazuluike Amechi, Ojukwu’s uncle, Prof O.C Ofomata and a former commissioner in the old Eastern region, Prof. Ukwu I Ukwu

attended the meeting. When the meeting ended yesterday, some felt disappointed that Ojukwu’s wife, son and brother could ignore the community in such a manner. A source said there was no way the funeral of Ikemba could take place without the participation of the

•The late Ojukwu

Nnewi community. He said the community was writing a letter to Anambra State Governor Peter Obi on the behaviour of the widow and others. He denied that there was a problem concerning the funeral of the former warlord, adding that the community was working with the government.

Explosion rocks Anambra monarch’s palace


HERE was an explosion yesterday at the palace of the monarch of Uke in Idemili North Local Government of Anambra State. Igwe Nwabufo Ezeude and two of his house maids were injured in the midnight explosion. Though no one could ascertain the cause of the explosion, residents suspected a bomb blast. Others also claimed that it might be a cooking gas

•Monarch, maids hospitalised From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

cylinder. Police spokesman Emeka Chukwuemeka confirmed the incident. The palace has since been cordoned off. Adjoining streets and family compounds were littered with debris and shattered glasses, windows and door

frames. A worker at the office of the Palace Secretary said the Ogidi Divisional Police Officer as well as the bomb disposal squad had visited the place. The officers, he said, have taken samples of some of the debris and shrapnel. An eye witness, who gave his name as Ikenna, said the explosion occurred at about 12.30am.

He, however, doubted whether it was a gas cylinder because no one was cooking in the kitchen at the time. Ikenna said rescuers rushed into the palace when they heard the monarch and his maids shouting. According to him, they rushed them to a private hospital at Nkpor. He refused to give the name of the hospital.





Kwara abandons N13b bonds From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin


HE Kwara State Gov ernment has jettisoned the remaining N13billion of the N30billion bonds it intended to raise from the capital market. The Bukola Saraki administration had approached the capital market to raise N30billion bond for infrastructural projects. The government was able to access N17billion in the processing of bonds’ document, Commissioner for Planning and Economic Development, Tunde Adeoti, told reporters yesterday in Ilorin, the state capital. He spoke at the breakdown of the 2012 budget proposal. Adeoti said: “We entered into agreement for the N30billion bond towards the end of the last administration. In the processing of the documents, we are only able to access about N17billion out of N30billio. The procedure and formalities for accepting the bond was dragging till the end o f the administration. “Eventually, we got a better deal from a financial bank on which basis we had to jettison the balance of the bond. That has been taken care of in our projection for external loan. We are taking a loan from a commercial bank.” The commissioner said the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) per month has hit N800million. He said: “Before now, we had just below N500million monthly Internally Generated Revenue. We have a drive to raise it to N1billion. At the moment, we generate N800million and, with our projection, we hope to surpass that in the 2012 fiscal year.”

Nigeria to load 1.93m bpd in Feb.

’90% Nigerians live on less than N $2 per day’ G

OVERNOR of Cen tral Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has said 90 per cent of Nigerians live on less than $2 per day. Sanusi, who was the Guest speaker at the 5th Annual Hijrah lecture of the Lagos State’s House of Assembly, on the theme ‘Societal Reformation: The role of Muslims’, said despite being a major oil producing nation, poverty, lack and deprivation reign supreme. “We are an oil producing country, how come 90 per cent of our people are living on less than two dollars a day, how come 70 per cent of our people are living on less than one dollar a day, how come we have so many women dying in


-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -10.5% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $33.01b FOREX CFA EUR £ $ ¥ SDR RIYAL


0.2958 206.9 242.1 156 1.9179 238 40.472

By Oziegbe Okoeki

child birth, how come we have so many children that are out of school, how come life expectancy is down to 55 or 54. What has happened to us? We need to ask what have we done”?, Sanusi said. He admonished Muslims to speak up about immorality and corruption in the society, urging that they speak the truth always even if they will not be loved for doing so. He condemned the attitude of the average Nigerian of wanting to take more than his fair share in everything, saying this is the very genesis of

corruption, which practically every Nigerian is guilty of. Sanusi also called on the leaders especially those in government to remember that Allah will ask all about that which He has placed in their care. He said: “Each of you is a shepherd, each of you have been given something to take care of and each of you will be asked about that you have been given responsibility for. Every man is a shepherd and will be asked about the people in his house”. He said that responsibility is not only about leaders but even about every position we find ourselves in

the society. Sanusi admonished Muslims to read, understand and live the Quaran as injunctions that is meant to guide their daily actions in every sphere of life. “We all need to ask ourselves what examples we lead, what values we base our lives on, what principle we preach and we need to always remember that this has been the one message of Allah all through time”, Sanusi said. While welcoming the guest earlier, Chief Host of the event, Speaker of the Lagos Assembly said, the nation is going through a very difficult period, “a period of instability which we have not had for a very long time”, and prayed for a period of peace and progress.

IGERIA will load around 1.93 million barrels per day of crude oil in February, trade sources said yesterday, meaning exports will be below the 2011 average even if the Bonga Oilfield returns to production promptly after a spill this week. Traders according to Reuters News said it is unclear whether the Bongo grade willload the five cargoes or 161,000 barrels per day it is scheduled to load in January. It is due to load around 172,000 barrels per day in February. The Amenam grade will load three tankers in February, traders said. Angolan and Nigerian tankers for February loading have been selling rapidly, traders said, due to a burst of activity ahead of the European Christmas holidays as well as high Asian demand in the first quarter. A spot tanker was heard to have traded at dated plus $3.35 a barrel for February loading. One trader said that Exxon has sold its 3-4 tanker to Cepsa, although the level was unclear. Meanwhile, Nigerian benchmark crude oil differentials jumped yesterday as traders bet that the closure of the Bonga deepwater facility will disrupt schedules loadings for early 2012.

‘Fed Govt committed to port reforms’ By Oluwakemi Dauda

T • Managing Director, Garden Restaurant/Guest House at Lugbe, in Abuja, Mr Bryce Amamong (right), listening as FIRS Enforcement Team goes through his company’s sales book during the exercise in Abuja...yesterday

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound

The summary is that the story of the power sector has not changed as far as the end-users are concerned. Most enterprises still rely on diesel and petrol to power their businesses and the cost of this is simply unbearable. -Chief Femi Deru, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)


Shell discovers source of oil leak

HE Shell Nigeria Ex ploration and Produc tion Company Limited (SNEPCo) said it has found the source of oil leak from its Bonga asset offshore Nigeria. Shell’s Corporate Media Relations Manager, Tony Okonedo in a statement said: “Our analysis indicates that the leak from our Bonga offshore facility remains offshore and is thinning and breaking up, based on a combination of satellite pictures, photos from aerial surveillance, infra-red cameras and

• Spill ‘worst in decade’ By Emeka Ugwuanyi

direct observations from vessels. “Following investigation by a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), we can also confirm that a leak did indeed occur in a flexible export line linking the Floating Production Storage and Offtake Vessel (FPSO) to the tanker. We isolated this line two days ago, and the facility remains shut down.” Shell’s country chair in Ni-

geria, Mutiu Sunmonu, said: “Since Tuesday, when we became aware of this regrettable leak at our Bonga offshore facility, substantial progress has been made in mitigating the consequences.” But a government official told The Irish Examiner that spill is likely to be the worst from Shell in a decade as slicks from the spill approached the southern shoreline. The slick from field has affected 115 miles (185 kms) of

ocean near Nigeria’s coast, said Peter Idabor, who leads the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency. The officials expect the slick to reach beaches within hours, affecting birds, fish and other wildlife in the area. The company published photographs of the spill, showing a telltale rainbow sheen in the ocean, but said it believes that about 50 per cent of the leaked oil has already evaporated. The source of the leak has been plugged and experts from Britain were coming to help with the cleanup, Idabor said.

Budget 2011: Senate insists on March 31st timeline


HE Senate yesterday said that it stood by its resolution to extend the lifespan of 2011 budget to 31st 2012. It said that the clarification became necessary following misleading report that it has barred President Goodluck Jonathan from drawing from the 2011 Budget beyond December 31. The upper chamber said

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Asst. Editor

that its resolution, which concurred with the resolution of the House of Representatives effectively empowered Jonathan to implement the 2011 budget up to March 31st, 2012. Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang was quoted to have said that the

2011 budget would expire on December 31st. Enang was reported to have said that the process of empowering Jonathan to draw from the budget up to March 31, 2012 has not been completed. But Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said that what Enang was reported to

have said was not the true position of the issue. He noted that the fact of the matter is that the executive wanted the extension of the 2011fiscal year to March 31st and the National Assembly did accordingly. Abaribe said the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed to allow President Jonathan to extend the budget to March 31, 2012.

HE Federal Govern ment yesterday reiter ated its commitment to reforming the nation’s sea ports by making them attractive for business through removal all impediments to cargo clearance. The Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala made this known in Lagos while on an assessment tour of the Apapa port. Okonjo-Iweala and the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, were at the Lagos port to assess the progress so far made in evacuating of overtime containers to Ikorodu Lighter Terminal by the Ports Monitoring Committee (PMC). In his remark, the minister of transport said President Goodluck Jonathan has directed that the ports be opened 24 hours a day to meet the 48 hour cargo clearance target by the Federal Government. Senator Umar said the Federal Government is set to create jobs for Nigerians through the maritime sector. The ministers’ delegation was also at the APM Terminals, Apapa, which handles about 75 per cent of containers coming into the country. The Federal Government delegation was also at the scanning site of Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited in Apapa port to assess the scanning machines and how they aid cargo clearance.




SON to regulate standards in govt agencies I

N a bid to ensure govern ment agencies comply with standards, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has set up mechanism to regulate standards in all government agencies. Director General, SON, Joseph Odumodu, stated this during state directors’ visit to the organisation in Abuja. He noted that it was not only in the private sector that standard is enforced, stressing that the whole idea behind SON is to standardise the nation. Odumodu said there is a lot of indiscipline in the system, adding that without standard there cannot be a stable economy. He vowed to rid every sector of the economy of substandard products by 2012. “SON would ensure that the various government agencies achieve greater ca-

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

pacity utilisation and standardisation in all its ramifications. SON will make its mandate relevant across the globe such that its decisions would tally with international best practice. “What we are trying to do now is to make sure that SON is effective in all the states of the federation. The other point we are emphasising is global relevance, we need to be accredited and link up with all the international standard bodies, whatever decision we take in Nigeria will stand anywhere in the world. “Our business is facilitative not punitive, we don’t want to go to any institu-

tion and say to them that we are closing them down. We want to work with institutions and ensure that their products are competitive. My desire is Nigeria gets quality for the product or service rendered. “However SON discovered adulteration of fuel during supply chain, though SON is determined to uncover the point at which the fuel was adulterated. “We are looking at the whole supply chain from the time the products arrive the tank farms to when they are transported to the depots and to the filling stations. What we have discovered is that sometimes the products come okay and it is adulterated along the line.

Fed Govt orders BoI’s recapitalisation


HE Federal Govern ment has ordered the recapitalisation of Bank of Industry (BoI) and directed that its equity be opened up to attract investors. This is to ensure adequate funding for the nation’s industrial sector. President Goodluck Jonathan, who gave this directive at the inauguration of the BoI building in Abuja, said that there is an urgent need to open up the bank’s equity to enable it link up with institutional investors who would buy into its programmes with a view to increasing the institution’s capital base. Jonathan said he has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Lamido Sanusi, and Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to meet with Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga, to come up with modalities, which would enable Federal Government increase the capital base of Bank of Industry. He said the move to recapitalise the bank was not only to improve its capacity to fund the country’s industrial sector,

From Nduka Chiejina, Asst. Editor and Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

but to also align its operations with international best practices. “If our vision and hope that Nigeria will play big globally by 2020 will be realised, we need the bank that will be so dedicated to funding industrial sector, especially agriculture,” he said. The President said the Federal Government on its part will continue to give the BoI all the supports it needs to play a pivotal role in the industrialisation of Nigeria. “We shall ensure that the bank’s corporate governance practices, operational policies and procedures are in line with international best practices to enable it attain the top radius needed to mobilise the much needed financial and technical resources we need to fasttrack the transformation of our industrial sector. “In this regard, we shall accelerate the recapitalisation of BoI and open up its equity to development, focus on foreign institutional investors who will maintain bank development mandate. This has become imperative since

due to other competing priority, particularly in social services that lack the capacity to generate income, the government alone cannot meet the financial investment requirement of the bank,” he said. Evenly Oputu, Managing Director BoI noted that in the last 10 years of its operations the institution has approved 1,435 loans and investment totaling N165.74billion with considerable development impact on the Nigerian economy. She said: “It is gratifying to note that in the last 10 years BoI despite our challenging environment, recorded appreciable strides in pursuit of its mandate and its evolution into a strong, dynamic and flexible development finance institution (DFI) that proactively responds to the needs of entrepreneurs in Nigeria.” Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Trade and Investment said his ministry, along with all its agencies would not leave any stone unturned in facilitating the transformation of Nigeria and the industrial sector as part of efforts to diversify the Nigerian economy.

How to transform maritime, by nical capacity to control all HE Director General of the Nigerian Maritime NIMASA DG of its coastal trade.


Administration and safety Agency ( NIMASA), Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, has identified cooperation and synergy amongst the various government agencies and critical stakeholders operating in the maritime sector as the fastest way of transforming the fortunes of the Nigerian Maritime Industry. Akpobolokemi, who spoke when council members of the Nigeria Chamber of Shipping,( NCS) visited him in Lagos, said operators in the Nigerian maritime sector must work together to achieve the common objective of moving the sector forward. He observed that “ being the maritime sector’s regulatory body does not mean that NIMASA has monopoly of knowledge. We need to collaborate with other agencies and stakeholders in the industry in

order to move the maritime industry forward.” In a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Public Relations, Hajia Lami Tumaka, Akpobolokemi, said there seems to be no synergy among the various government agencies and stakeholders in the system. He told the body led by its Vice President, Andy Isichei, that if the opportunities in the maritime sector are properly harnessed, it is capable of financing the entire budget of the country. He said all hands must be on deck to reposition the economy. He admitted that there are critical challenges in the implementation of the Cabotage Act, which makes it mandatory that there would still be some foreign presence in the inland and coastal trading activities that currently, Nigeria lacks the tech-

He said there has to be some form of foreign participation in the nation’s coastal trade until such a time that Nigerians acquire the required technical capacity to be active players. However, the NIMASA boss said an executive order would be required to implement the cabotage law. He said: “The laws on ground notwithstanding, we need full presidential backing in order to effectively implement cabotage. The full implementation of cabotage can effectively generate employment and create wealth, while reducing the crime rate in our society.” He therefore proposed an all inclusive summit of all the players in the maritime sector and the oil exploration companies to deliberate and collectively agree on the implementation of the Cabotage regime to the benefit of the country.





15 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2011

Vol 3 No. 155

In bricks and mortal, they are made in Nigeria. But in name, they are global brands. In this piece, WALE ALABI unravels the reasons behind the quest for international franchising that is fast becoming the vogue in Nigeria’s hotel and hospitality sector.

Franchise: Nigerian hotels go global W

ITH a plethora of hotels in the nooks and crannies of Africa, the Protea Hotels Group with roots in South Africa, unarguably, remains the largest hotel brand in the continent. Founded in 1937, the Sheraton Hotels today boasts of over 400 hotels in 70 countries including Nigeria. In 1919, Conrad Hiltons made its debut as an hotelier in Cisco, Texas. Hilton was on his way to buying a bank, but purchased The Mobley, a local hotel, instead. Precisely, in 1925, the first Hilton Hotel opened shop in Dallas, Texas. Elevators, laundry shoots, air shafts and other non-customer facilities were built along the west side of the building, so no guest rooms faced the western sun. The setting sun can be brutal in summer time Dallas, especially before air-conditioning was invented. But what do these three hotel brands have in common? Nigeria. The three premium hotel brands are making waves in Nigeria. From Abuja to Lagos: Port Harcourt to Asaba, businessmen are dying to invest in them just as tourists struggle to lodge. In Lagos alone, there are about six Protea Hotels. Just as we have Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja on the mainland and Sheraton Point Four in Lekki on the island. But then, what informed the clamour for international hotel brands by investors and patrons in Nigeria in recent times? A cursory flashback into the history of hotel and hospitality branding in Nigeria would perhaps offer a ready answer. Nigeria’s oldest hotel, the Lagos Airport Hotels, Ikeja, was established as Ann’s Inn in 1942 by a Briton, Sir Joseph Harold, until it was bought over from him by the Odua Group of Companies during the government of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the then Western Region. Since then, the Lagos Airport Hotel has gone through a series of transformation, including a recent rebranding pact with a foreign partner to make it more competitive in the market. In 1960, at the dawn of Independence, the Federal Government established the Federal Palace Hotel now owned by the Ibru family. Also, the government built the Festac Hotel in 1977 in commemoration of the black Africa Arts festival. It was recently ceded to the Golden Tullip Hotel Group, an international brand. The acquisition of these hotel brands by reputable or global brands has its roots in brand and branding. And this is because the hotel and hospitality business

•Protea Hotel

has a lot to do with experience. And that’s why a tourist, who once patronised a Sheraton in China will definitely find it more convenient to sleep in a Sheraton Hotel in Lagos. Giving reasons for this consumer behaviour, the mercuric British entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, in his book, Business Stripped Bare, said: “Brands, remember, are about meanings. Every brand means something, and nobody can ever really control all the meanings a brand acquires. Brands are ideas. They are tangles of association. They are dreams. Whatever your brand stands for, you have to deliver on the promise. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and deliver everything you promise.” This brand experience underscores the reason most Nigerian hoteliers now partner renowned global brands in branding their hotels. In marketing parlance, this term is described as franchising. And so what is in a name? A lot. A marketable name will attract positive affectation from prospects. According to Al Ries and Jack Trout in the book, Positioning, “Choosing a name is like driving a racing car. To win, you have to take chances. A good name is the best insurance for long term success.” Besides, a good name, the quality of

offerings, management and staff play salient role in the hospitality business. In defining hotel business, Ken Ojerinde, a former managing director of Lagos Airport Hotel, said: “An hotel is an enterprise that offers food, drinks and accommodation to people, who desire such services and have the ability to pay for them. The person, who runs such an outfit, is a hotelier and what he does is hotel management. If you have to take care of people, to take care of their comfort and make them feel like they are home away from home, then you must be a warm-hearted, openminded person, who is always willing to put people’s needs above your convenience. You must be patient enough, willing to help and make the client comfortable even at great personal risk. You need much strength and perseverance because there are difficult guests you must of necessity be able to manage. An hotelier’s job has a high content of public relations. Food and wine, drinks and accommodation, are things that have different standards and are served under different conditions.” In Nigeria today, aside from oil and gas, the hospitality and tourism sector is a veritable goldmine. Besides, the hospitality and tourism sector if well-developed and

‘The acquisition of these hotel brands by reputable or global brands has its roots in brand and branding. And this is because the hotel and hospitality business has a lot to do with experience. And that’s why a tourist, who once patronised a Sheraton in China will definitely find it more convenient to sleep in a Sheraton Hotel in Lagos’

managed is a potential vehicle for rebranding a nation. According to Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC): “Tourism is a veritable tool for rebranding a nation. It is also a multi-billion dollar spinning sector if well harnessed by stakeholders in the country. That’s why countries where tourism is appreciated and well developed, all the stakeholders and even the countries are better for it. And this is one of the reasons that informed our campaign that, ‘Oil exhaustible, tourism sustainable.’ By the time the country’s tourism is well developed, Nigeria can make more money from tourism than what it is currently making from oil.” In his assessment of the hospitality sector, Mr Ini Akpabio, a foremost hotelier and Managing Director, Nanet Hotels Group said: “Hotel industry is one of the world’s most excellent industry. The industry is very important to livelihood. It’s part of life. And our management places emphasis on quality. On people that would deliver innovation. People that are motivated by change and dynamism in the way things are done. So, that’s our peculiar strategy in managing our hotels. We embrace total quality management in our hotels.” Indeed, hospitality and tourism play very important role in destination branding. Countries, such as France, Island of Malta, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Gambia and South Africa, have been leveraging on this to draw investments into their countries. As a tourism destination point, a country will not only attract foreign investments, it will develop beyond the expectation of its citizenry. But, for a country to be recognised and acclaimed as a tourist haven, security must be tackled seriously by those in the government. Hotels will not only boost the tourism industry, they are also going to help in the sustenance of the aviation industry.




I thought it was joke, says winner of $10,000 in Etisalat promo


TISALAT has presented a winner of the 9ja free credit promo with the prize of $10,000 in Kano. Binyamin Zubairu, a staff member of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria was the second subscriber to be presented with his gift at a ceremony attended by the senior management team of Etisalat in Kano. When he received a call from the Etisalat Nigeria office in Kano, informing him that he had won $10,000 in the ongoing 9ja Free Credit Promo, the Zaria-born Zubairu thought it was a big joke. Not even a follow-up call from the Kano branch of FirstBank could convince him. Speaking shortly after receiving his $10,000 cheque from the Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria, Mr Steven Evans, Zubairu disclosed that it took the untiring efforts of Etisalat staff to convince him that he had won the money. “I feel so happy winning this. It is unbelievable. At first I thought it was another 419 game. What really surprised me was how the Etisalat Nigeria officials were persistent in

finding me and ensured that I didn’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. One would have thought that I would be the one chasing them but that wasn’t the case. This is proof that Etisalat really cares about its customers”. He said. “When I got the call, I was on my way to Kano from Zaria for a training seminar at the Industrial Training Fund, Kano. So, on arrival in Kano, I told my colleagues that several people had been calling me with the news that I had won $10,000 from Etisalat. Some of them told me that this was nothing but 419 and I agreed with them, since that was my initial thought. I later got another call from FirstBank with the same message and I told them that I had received a similar call earlier, but was convinced it was 419. The bank official then went ahead to explain that it was not 419, but a reward from the Etisalat 9ja Free Credit promo. “ After the call from FirstBank, Zubairu said he decided to go to the Etisalat Kano office to confirm. But he never went. It took the determined efforts of the Etisalat Ni-

geria staff that looked for him at ITF, Kano to convince him that it was true. Having received the reward money, the 21 year-old says he plans to use it to develop a plot of land he bought earlier in Zaria. Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Wael Ammar, expressed satisfaction with the positive impact the promo has had on Etisalat subscribers like Zubairu. He said the company decided to extend the promotion in response to the feedback from customers who were delighted at the promo offering, as well as its commitment to constantly meet the needs of its customers. He disclosed that between June and November this year, Etisalat Nigeria gave out over N3.5 billion airtime to more than 6.5 million subscribers in the promotion. According to him, the promo is open to both new and existing Etisalat customers on Easy Starter, 0809Uchoose, Handset bundle packages, Easy Cliq, enuff yarn+, Talkzone, SME Prepaid, eliteworld (prepaid and postpaid) and Classic Postpaid.

Climax fetes consumers in Enugu, Port Harcourt


OPULAR rendezvous across the country were the beehive of activities on Saturday as Climax herbal energy drink stormed Casablanca Bar, Antoinette’s Garden, Lesukaa and Zero Zone Nite Club all in Port Harcourt and Afro Lounge, in Enugu, among others for a night of fun. Consumers described Climax drink produced by Nigerian Breweries Plc as a unique non-alcoholic power drink with characteristics that stimulate the mind and boost stamina. This was contained in the consumers’ verdict sequel to a three-day sampling conducted by Nigerian Breweries Plc to induce purchase trials, as well as encourage consumer switch from other energy drinks in the market. The Chief Executive of Casablanca Rendezvous in PortHarcourt, Emeka Ugho, said Climax is his preferred energy drink because of its unique formulations that aid stimulation of the mind and body.

According to Emeka, ‘’I’ve suddenly dropped other energy drinks in the market for Climax due to its unique herbal formulations with almost nil side effects each time I take it for full concentration and stamina.’’ He added: ‘’I understand that Climax is formulated with Ginseng, which stimulates your mind and increases your stamina and some other herbal contents that differentiate it from other similar products in the market.’’ Also, Mr Macnelson, manager of Zero Zone Nite Club in the Garden city, said the herbal power drink is unique in many ways, adding: ‘’It’s the only energy drink you take and still enjoy a sound sleep.’’ Mcnelson, who said he’s a Climax consumer, commended Nigerian Breweries for introducing the product into the market. He said: ‘’The advent of Climax in the saturated energy drink market in Nigeria would promote competition with the consumer emerging the biggest beneficiary.”

NBC, others’ promo ends


IGERIAN Bottling Company (NBC), Food Concepts and Beat 99.9 FM Christmas promo tagged ‘Share More’, which kicked off on December 17 will end today. According to the organisers, it is designed to deliver more value to participants. Consumers will get more value for their purchases at Chicken Republic with a special pot meal offering for the family, which comprises assorted meals and CocaCola 50cl PET at a discounted rate. For each of this pot meal purchased, the three partners NBC, Food Concept and Beat FM will

donate N100, which will be then added and donated to the SOS Children’s Village. Besides the meal, consumers will also have the opportunity to give used clothes and toys to the village in January 2012. The Communications Manager for NBC, Yomi Onakoya, said the promo is a partnership between organisations with a shared value to give back to their society. She explained that NBC and Food Concepts have a long standing relationship as Chicken Republic are exclusive retailers of NBC’s product brand Coca-Cola.

NIMN commends Fed Govt on arrest of cyber criminals


•From left: Executive Commissioner, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Mr Okechukwu Itanyi; Director, Consumer Affairs, Mary Uduma; Director, Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs, Etisalat Nigeria, Ibrahim Dikko, and Director, Regulatory Compliances, Mr Damian Udeh, during the Etisalat’s Customers’ end-of-theYear Ball, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Noah’s Ark adopts Lagos school


O touch the lives of the people in its area of operation, Noah’s Ark, a Lagos-based advertising agency, has adopted Community High School, Wasimi, in Maryland, Lagos. The firm has also donated food items and reading lamps to 36 most brilliant pupils in the two schools. Speaking during the donation, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Lanre Adisa, said his firm decided to adopt the school because it believed so much in human development. Adisa, who was accompanied to the school by some senior executives of the firm, said: ”As a responsible organisation, we are convinced that the future of our dear country depends on quality education and proper upbringing of children, who are the future of our dear nation. In particular, we decided to come to Community High School, Wasimi, Maryland,

because of the need to complement the effort of the government to give public school a face-lift.” Adisa, who addressed the pupils in the senior section of the school,with its Acting Principal, Mrs Augustina Okerekwu, urged the pupils to plan for a fruitful future through their commitment

‘As a responsible organisation, we are convinced that the future of our dear country depends on quality education and proper upbringing of children, who are the future of our dear nation’

to studies and good morals. He said: “Pupils who look up to a successful future must strive to have a clear cut vision that would drive their heart desires. As children, there is no better time to plan a fruitful future than now. Therefore, every one of you should start dreaming of becoming future leaders and captain of industry from now on. You should, therefore, have it at the back of your mind that this cannot be achieved if you take your studies with levity.” He said at the junior school that his firm would not limit its assistance to the school to the donation but will intervene in other areas through which it could add values to the lives of the pupils. Responding on behalf of the schools, Mrs. Okerekwu and Mrs Adenike Oresanya, the principal of the junior school, commended the hand of fellowship extended by the company and urged other private organisations to emulate the gesture.

N appreciation of the govern ment’s crackdown on cybercriminals, the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) has commended the Federal Government for arresting cyber criminals in the country. In a statement the institute noted the bold action of the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation at the Federal High Courtmagainst to deal with the previously ‘untouchable’ cybercriminal suspects. The institute praised President

Goodluck Jonathan for showing that the government means business. “Unusual things are happening to uncommon crooks, in an unprecedented way. This is transformation in practice,” it said. According to the statement, the institute was attacked in September 2010 by a gang of cybercriminals who specialises in identity theft. The gang cloned the institute’s website, hacked into its bank accounts, and unleashed a smear campaign on its leadership. But it survived and is waxing stronger, the statement added .

More winners emerge in Ecobank salary promo


COBANK has announced winners in the third draw of its Salary Domiciliation Promo. The star prize winner, Anzah Elisha Yakubu, is from Ecobank Kaduna. He won a brand new Kia Soul. When he was called on the phone, he was surprised. According to the Head, Assets and Liabilities Products, Ecobank Nigeria, Nike Kolawole, the Pan-African banking network is the one bank that is committed to the African dream. She said: “We integrate, support the economic growth of Africa. We started in West Africa then spread to the east and now we are in 33 countries and still counting.” She said the three-month Salary

Account Promo is to enable workers to win from a multiple of instant gifts, as they open their Salary Account with the bank. Listing the benefits of the promo, Kolawole said the workers who embrace the promo by opening their accounts with the bank would automatically be eligible and could access the bank’s assets loan, which includes salary loans, car loans and mortgage loans. She added that the bank would expand its product portfolio, which includes current accounts, savings accounts, cards, regional remmittances, consumer finance, loans and advances, investment banking and assets management, regional and international trade.









Whodunnit? • It is sad that 10 years after, Ige’s killers are still walking the streets free


XACTLY 10 years ago today, precisely on December 23, 2001, Chief Bola Ige, Nigeria’s former attorney-general and minister of justice in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, was murdered in cold blood in his house in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. How time flies! Yet, today, we are still asking the same question we asked when he was killed: whodunnit? Pretty sad! About a week to the time the former minister was murdered, he was assaulted at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade. The case was swept under the carpet and the perpetrators were neither investigated nor prosecuted until he was attacked and killed by suspected assassins a few days later.

‘Nothing could be more disconcerting than for relatives of murder victims to see their cases muddled up in court, apparently to cover up the tracks of those involved and shield them from prosecution. Justice Atinuke Ige, Chief Ige’s wife collapsed and died when she saw the shenanigans that trailed the trial of her husband’s killing. If this could happen to the country’s number one law officer, then the country is doomed’

Expectedly, a series of activities have been lined up to commemorate Ige’s remembrance. The programme started on December 18 with a church service at Saint Anne’s Anglican Church, Ibadan; a lecture in his honour was held at MUSON Center, Lagos on December 20; command performance of the ‘Kaduna Boy’ on the 21st and evening of poetry, drama and arts at Esa-Oke, Osun State, his hometown as well as candle light procession in Ibadan and Osogbo. These would be rounded off today with church service at Esa-Oke. We appreciate this elaborate programme of events to mark the 10th year remembrance of this great man. But beyond this is the vexed question of who killed him, a riddle that has remained unsolved till today, in spite of the usual assurances by the security agencies when the incident occurred, that they would apprehend the killers and bring them to book. That was a refrain we have been used to ever since the killing by parcel bomb of the founding executive editor of Newswatch magazine, Dele Giwa, on October 19, 1986. There have been many cases of high-profile murders since then, none of them satisfactorily resolved. Recall the killing of Pa Alfred Rewane, Harry Marshall, Chief A.K. Dikkibo, Barnabas Igwe and his wife, Kudrat Abiola, wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, and Funsho Williams, to mention a few. We wonder why the police closed the case file on Ige’s murder. This is unusual

and it further fuels speculations that the killing was political. There are many examples of cases that took decades to unravel in the developed countries, including murder, rape and other crimes that had hitherto been classified as unsolved. We are however happy with the resolve of Oyo and Osun state governments to reopen the case. A situation where so many murder cases remain unsolved and the files closed is not good for democracy; it has the tendency of encouraging anarchy because more murderers would be emboldened that they can always get away with their crime. And when the people see that there are no results from the investigations and prosecution of the cases, they take the laws into their hands. Nothing could be more disconcerting than for relatives of murder victims to see their cases muddled up in court, apparently to cover up the tracks of those involved and shield them from prosecution. Justice Atinuke Ige, Chief Ige’s wife collapsed and died when she saw the shenanigans that trailed the trial of her husband’s killing. If this could happen to the country’s number one law officer, then the country is doomed. Since the Federal Government has proved incapable of finding Ige’s killers, the governors of Oyo and Osun states have decided to reopen an inquest into this treacherous episode. We hope this time it yields the killers.

Alfred Opubor (1936 to 2011) • He was an African pioneer in communications studies, a scholar’s scholar


O his numerous students who drank from his fount of deep knowledge in mass communication as a field of human behavioral study, he was an outstanding scholar and a gentleman. Though the novelty of this field of study may have held many in thrall in the early 1970s and 1980s, he exhibited such excellence and fluid intellectual qualities that students and colleagues alike, were proud of. Alfred Opubor, reputed to be the first African to have earned a doctoral degree in Mass Communication, passed on December 3, 2011, aged 75 years. He died at the University Teaching Hospital, Cotonou, in neighbouring Benin Republic where he had lived in the past two and half decades. He graduated from the Michigan State University, USA in 1969 with a PhD degree in Mass Communication with specialisation in communications theories, message systems and their application for development. He thought at the University of Lagos, rising to be head of department of Mass Communication as well as earning professorship. Opubor’s erudition and pioneer status must have won him a place in the United Nations’ system where he worked in various capacities and on numerous projects for nearly two decades until his demise. He served as researcher, policy adviser, communications specialist and consultant to the UN, especially in West Africa, East and Central Africa and parts of Asia. He made immense contributions to the formulation of communications policies in various UN programmes and projects.

For instance, between 2008 and 2009, Professor Opubor, under the auspices of the UN, designed the institutional communication strategy for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The report was titled,” From a community of states to a community of people.” Opubor also made huge impact in formulating and implementing UN health and population communication strategies. Between 1990 to 1998, he was senior technical adviser in information, education and communications for reproductive health in the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), working first in Cote d’Ivoire and joining the Country Support Team (CST) in Harare, Zimbabwe, with activities covering over 20 countries in the East and Central Africa. In 2009, Opubor undertook a mission on behalf of UNESCO to prepare studies on the integration of communication for development in Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania within the context of the UN system’s “Delivering as one” reform. The communication for development expertise in Opubor manifested also in the development and growth of the Montreal, Canada-based UNESCO Institute of Statistics. He provided capacity development for members of the UN communication group and was appointed member of the expert group on media data and of the Institute. He undertook missions for this purpose in 2009 to India, France and Costa-Rica. For eight years up till his death, he was the secretary-general of the West Africa News Media and Development Centre (WANAD) Cotonou. He was also vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the

Panos Institute (W.A) and a member of the Africa Board of Inter-Press Service (IPS), the Rome-based international news agency with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is instructive that Professor Opubor, a first rate mind and an international scholar lived the last decades of his life in neighbouring Benin Republic. Those who knew him say he was distraught by the dearth of basic infrastructure at home and the poor working and human conditions in his home country, Nigeria. His relocation to Cotonou and his eventual demise there represent a subtle protest from a very urbane and civilized mind. There are so many other Opubors living abroad and dying there daily, unsung. The demise of yet another Nigerian member of the intellectual elite abroad is a strident call on governments at all levels to continue to improve the situation at home and make it conducive for all.

‘It is instructive that Professor Opubor, a first rate mind and an international scholar lived the last decades of his life in neighbouring Benin Republic ... The demise of yet another Nigerian member of the intellectual elite abroad is a strident call on governments at all levels to continue to improve the situation at home and make it conducive for all’

Egypt’s Military Masters


IVE days of violent clashes between Egyptian soldiers and protesters have produced appalling images of cruelty and abuse — including a video showing soldiers stripping the abaya off a woman on the ground to reveal her blue bra as one raises a boot to stomp on her. In February, the army enhanced its standing by refusing to fire on demonstrators when President Hosni Mubarak was ousted. Now it is inspiring rage and threatening Egypt’s transition to democracy. On Tuesday, in an extraordinary display, thousands of women gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo to express outrage over the army’s treatment of women and to protest against continued military rule. The generals who form the ruling military council are proving that they will do whatever it takes — including killing protesters and detaining thousands — to protect their authority and control of lucrative chunks of the economy. They have repeatedly shown that they are determined to hold on to power even after a new Parliament — still in the process of being elected — is seated next year. On Monday, Gen. Adel Emara of the ruling council denied that soldiers were responsible for any violence and claimed the protesters were engaged in a plot “to destroy the state.” Blaming protesters is unconvincing in the face of shocking images of the military’s conduct. If the military rulers were interested in justice, they would have started an independent investigation into all acts of violence, whether military or civilian. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke forcefully this week against the street attacks on women, noting, correctly, that “this systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonors the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform and is not worthy of a great people.” The Obama administration needs to keep pressing the generals to move expeditiously to civilian rule. If the army continues to attack the Egyptian people, the administration will have no choice but to reduce its $2 billion in annual aid — two-thirds of it going to Egypt’s military — to show that it will not enable such behavior. The army mishandled Egypt’s transition from the start, including refusing financial help from the International Monetary Fund for its deteriorating economy. But the Islamist parties that won big in the early rounds of parliamentary voting and the liberals that have done poorly in the voting also made mistakes. There are huge challenges ahead, including writing a constitution and coping with a looming and serious economic crisis exacerbated by the political turmoil. But the most pressing issue is ensuring that power moves from the army to elected civilian leaders. – New York Times TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu

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•Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina •Group Political Editor Bolade Omonijo •Group Business Editor Ayodele Aminu •Abuja Bureau Chief Yomi Odunuga •Sport Editor Ade Ojeikere •Editorial Page Editor Sanya Oni

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IR: One must distinguish between propaganda/slogan and reality. In many fundamental ways, President Goodluck Jonathan is not transforming but destroying Nigeria. He destabilized the country when he tactically scuttled the rotational presidency agreement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). And for whatever reason(s), the judiciary ruled in his favour, saying the Nigerian constitution which makes every Nigerian eligible supersedes the private arrangement. The implication is that Jonathan’s action is not illegal. But is it moral to cheat on an agreement that is not immoral? His action thus amounts to betrayal, which was the sin committed by Judas Iscariot against the Lord, Jesus Christ. The effect of that original sin is still haunting Nigeria in the activities of Boko Haram, rav-


Jonathan destroying, not transforming Nigeria aging human lives and draining the treasury of our land. The Boko Haram is now difficult to interpret because of the political injustice committed against the region of its existence. But bombings in Muslim and Christian festival periods clearly indicate that the phenomenon has assumed a purely political visage. Boko Haram surpasses a simple Islamic sect even though it still targets relaxation venues occasionally. It kills indiscriminately. Rather than implementing the

recommendations of the Electoral Reform Committee chaired by Justice Muhammed Uwais, Jonathan decided to use Prof. Attahiru Jega as a smoke screen to be perpetrating electoral fraud in Nigeria. So, what transformation are they talking about? Jega knows that he is not in full control of the so-called Independent National Electoral Commission, since his “collaborators” are handpicked by the same authorities that employed him. Notwithstanding the national outcry, Jonathan insisted on ap-

pointing Dr. Mrs. Ngozi OkonjoIweala of the World Bank as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, so she can help him force fuel subsidy removal down the throats of Nigerians. He ignored the lamentations of the former Finance Minister, Olusegun Aganga, that many ministries are not making the expected remittances to the national treasury. Of course fuel subsidy removal will provide easy money to offset the debts emanating from financial recklessness, such as the money

Re: Ikenne indigenes call for monarch’s removal


IR: We refer to your December 7 edition page 8 on the above subject and feel compelled to respond as follows: First and foremost, there was no tension of any sort in Ikenne town on Tuesday December 6.The pocket of people whom your reporter referred to as protesters were mercenaries who were paid to carry out the ill-fated protest. Many of the mercenaries are jobless who were employed for the protest. Secondly, those referred to as chiefs in your publication are selfappointed chiefs because there are no traditional chiefs in Ikenne as at now because of the protracted 27 year interregnum in the Alakenne of Ikenne stool. The ruling of the Sagamu High Court in Suit No. M/ 49/2010: David O. Solesi & ors vs Ikenne Local Government and ors on September 23, 2010 confirms this averment. It is also utterly false to assert that the appointment of Oba Adeyinka Onakade as Alakenne of Ikenne is the choice of the Awolowo dynasty. The appointment was based on due process involving (a) the nomination of seven candidates from the Obara ruling house; (b) the selection of Oba Onakade who scored nine votes to one vote scored by Prince Ademolu Odeneye who installed himself as Olu Moko in 2004 without government approval, and, (c) the approval of the selection by the Ogun State

Executive Council on May 25. Oba Adeyinka Onakade was installed on May 28, and given his staff of Office and instrument of appointment by the Ogun State government. Incidentally, three cases have been filed by the sponsors of the protest to challenge the validity of the appointment. Defence has been

filed in all the cases but up till now, nothing has been done by the protest sponsors to prosecute the cases expeditiously. The protest sponsors should be advised to give peace a chance in Ikenne and listen to spiritual counseling: afterall, the leaders of this uninformed clique are church leaders in their various

denominations. In conclusion, your paper is urged to carry out detailed investigation of the issues in a matter before such matter is published so that the readers will be informed accurately. • Messrs Akinwunmi Awoyomi and Sunday Awobajo Ikenne, Remo, Ogun State.

spent on extravagant presidential campaigns. The National Assembly led by David Mark is of course fully with him in his resolve to throw Nigeria into crises that may be worse than the civil war. Indubitably, Jonathan has a lopsided idea of transformation. He is not talking about moral transformation. Transformation for him means provision of infrastructure, as obvious in his explanation on why fuel subsidy removal is unavoidable. But, what is infrastructure without moral conscience? Nigeria had vibrant water works and a thriving rail transportation system. Were they not destroyed by selfish interests and lack of consideration for fellow human beings? Jonathan cannot transform Nigeria morally and infrastructurally, because those who put him in power do so to protect their selfish interests, not so as to build Nigeria. Make no mistake about it; they are birds of the same feather flocking together. What must ordinary Nigerians do about economic injustice? Protest and revolutionize – make a total turn around of the political system, since there is no drastic sign of repentance on the rulers’ part? • Pius Oyeniran Abioje, Ph. D, University of Ilorin.

Niger State and the quest for airport city IR: The trip to the 2011 World Infrastructure Summit which ended penultimate Friday in Paris, France was an eye-opener of sorts for the delegation from Nigeria. Although Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and his Rivers State counterpart, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi received awards for engendering fundamental shift in the economies of their states, participants from Nigeria discovered that the country was deficient in the industrialization strategies it adopted in the past to create long term sustainable change in the economy. Nigeria, for instance, learnt that several countries that have made economic progress did so through robust Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), for the simple reason that investments in infrastructure usually require huge financial resources which are beyond the capacity of states’ budgets. In other words, the


delegation from Nigeria learnt that governments have no business running businesses. Niger and Rivers States however presented impressive proposals that will leap frog the states’ economies and put them on the path of development. While Gov Amaechi spoke on his plan to regenerate the state capital through the Greater Port Harcourt City initiative, the Niger State’s helmsman briefed investors on plans to build an airport city in Minna, the state capital. Aliyu’s vision stems from the realisation that airports are shaping businesses and urban development in this century as much as seaports did in the 18th century, railways did in the 19th century and highways in the 20th cen-tury. The airport when built, will be the first of its kind in Nigeria in terms of its layout, infra-structure and economy. It will be centred around the existing airport on the outskirts

of Minna and will be a well planned city that will become a benchmark in urban planning. Investors from TAV Airports were particularly stimulated by the favourable conditions that already exist. Investors were glad to know the state has vast water resources that support three hydroelectric power stations; Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba and the fact that an estimated 80% of the land area of the state is suitable for agriculture and the range of crops species that can be produced is wide given the soil texture and climatic con-ditions. Airport Cities, Dr Aliyu explained, are a recent phenomenon, where the expansion of the airport triggers the expansion of the surrounding business areas linked by new, fast and efficient transport links. Whereas airports were originally built to perform one function, they are now cities in them-selves with significant retail provision acting as employment centres and generators

of significant wealth. As the airports have expanded and the nature of their business evolved, their peripheries have developed to include major manufacturing and business centres. Together with the development and expansion of the airport, the wealth of good arable land around the airport allows agri-business to be developed in tandem. The route of the new fast rail link required between the airport and Abuja will also allow for additional stations linking new commercial and business districts with the airport. There is no doubt that the Minna Airport City project being actualised through the cooperation of MaevisCortis Capital will take Niger State and Nigeria to the next level. • Danladi Ndayebo, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Minna, Niger State.




Reality Bites I

Ebele Baba and his 40-something cripples (2) (Economics according to a textbook Czarina)

Olatunji Ololade

T wouldn’t be fair to say that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has a patriot’s heart and the soul of the Nigerian ruling class. Whatever that translates to, this is not to trash Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala but rather to appreciate the flightiness of genius within the footholds of power. If she was a market woman of the sidewalk, would she so ‘pragmatically’ support President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s removal of fuel subsidy? What if she was a poor, peasant mother, daughter, wife and breadwinner struggling to make ends meet under the weight of crushing ends, would she so earnestly propagate the gospel of eternal impoverishment of the breadlines? Funny what ‘practical’ choices she gets to make simply because she occupies the privileged side of the divide. Funny what realism she gets to perpetuate simply because she is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. But she was supposed to be different; she was supposed to waft as that proverbial gust of clean, fresh breeze that would rid our power plinth of its persistent stink…gradually. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was supposed to be that unsullied force of hope that would imbue Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s presidency with that much elusive humanity it still lacks. The alumni of Harvard and M.I.T (U.S.A) was supposed to appreciate in stature and candour until she becomes one of Nigeria’s near perfect choices for leadership. Her current charge as Nigeria’s finance minister is to represent all factions of the socio-economic di-


vide but whatever decision she’s making now even as you read, Okonjo-Iweala isn’t coasting along Nigeria’s stormy clime, she is cruising outside it. None of her predecessors have distinguished themselves; they have been forgettable. But OkonjoIweala is currently Nigeria’s best hope in President Jonathan’s cabinet. She is an undeniably compelling and supremely intellectual character, the subject of constant speculation and a fabulous headliner. Her very presence in the job makes it crucial once more no doubt yet it is a cliché to agree with the conventional wisdom that by accepting to serve with the incumbent presidency, she has successfully neutered herself, a theory bolstered by her funny economics on her first few months on the job. But by accepting the job, Okonjo-Iweala has also attained immense power, which cuts both ways: if she becomes dissatisfied with her role or the administration’s policies, she could implode like a time-bomb within the presidency. Pity she will never realize this fact; Okonjo-Iweala betrays no such awareness or grit. In fact, as the incumbent administration fumbles on, it is becoming clearer that the former World Bank senior executive is unaware of the magnitude of her office and the true responsibilities before her. Okonjo-Iweala is doing exactly what she is expected to do by her former employers – she is aggressively remodeling the Nigerian

HIS particular yuletide season graciously provides me with the platform to widely reflect on the inevitable reason for the season and its universal importance to our people. My itinerant and upwardly mobile kit and kins are winding up activities at their various callings and vocations for the year, preparatory to an exciting home coming so as to savour the totality of the joy that comes with the season. Little wonder it’s been postulated that “whether we sojourn in the east or in the west, home is still the best”. The extent of its effect is that our people can take a break from the fortunes of their various empires to join in consummating this season of divine endorsement. The biblical account of appreciating the unique birth of our lord and master Jesus Christ will always and undoubtedly remain a food for thought to everyone who desires the privilege of being identified with Jesus Christ. Making Him our role model will facilitate the fulfillment of great destines which we have been entrusted with, but are currently latent because we are groping in darkness occasioned by so great a cloud of diversionary witnesses. True to their nature, our people are known to have adequately made use of the season to institute various development programmes in their localities and sojourning abodes. Launchings, community buildings and other development milestones will be aggressively pursued as our people make the best of the season and exchange banters and pleasantries with long lost affectionate ones. The desire to always share in the joy of our people as we commemorate this yearly re-union of unspeakable joy, has spurred us on to see today’s success as stepping-stones for greater difference. The desire to spiritually locate our bearing freed us from the sorry state of the past where we wallowed in precarious situation and leaving the center unable to hold. The state was at the precipice of plugging into the biblical Jeroboam’s nature of bestiality known for its reception of idol worshiping and the abominable act of consulting and fraternizing with the devil. The glaring reality of today’s gubernatorial stewardship which I am privileged to be piloting is that the extraction of official loyalty and allegiance is done before the omnipresent and omniscience God, which our biblically inspired Abia boldly and proudly worships. This is the death knell that extinguished every vestige and semblance of untoward activities aimed at hallowing the forces of darkness, epitomized by an acclaimed but banished dynasty of evil. Consequently, the state has been clinically restructured, for the institution and celebration of clannish sense of belonging, which is already producing the expected result of banishing bickering and animosity amongst our people. We are building on that to deliver a state that is holistically developed. As I recall the distracting challenges of the past, it gladdens my heart to acknowledge the ever presence of God’s divine enablement which turned our challenges to stepping stones for today’s success. As we usher in our throngs of holiday makers to the ecstatic feeling of inhaling filtered air occasioned by the life enhancing presence of lush green trees, I will humbly wish to confirm our annual programme of facilitating our people’s safe journey home, through the provision of free transport designated to take off from states with heavier presence of our people like Lagos, Abuja and some selected northern states.

economy to suit the global money lender’s “third world” ridiculous economic therapy. Her job is not to make everyone happy but to revivify the Nigerian economy and stabilize it, she would probably tell anyone. True, but she would be judged by her ability to formulate policy, negotiate deals and manage the country’s corrupt bureaucracy. To this end, OkonjoIweala would need more than her impressive history and savvy as a global economic strategist, which has so far revealed her need for more than a few lessons in Nigerian economics. Perhaps, if like Lula of Brazil, she had come into Nigerians lives from a paradigm of shared tragedies and values, she could probably sound off as more humane and in tune with the country’s most gruesome realities however far-removed she is from them. Bet not a few Nigerians thought she only had to report in office, wave her magic wand and thus stimulate a landmark turnaround of the Nigerian economy. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala possesses no magic wand. No matter her level of genius or intimidating stature she flaunts, Nigeria’s incumbent finance minister is simply another farceur in the country’s annals of administrative misadventures. The finance minister’s economics brazenly perpetuates an unjustifiable god-complex in the face of dehumanizing realities. She attempts to overcome this by throwing lots of smart mathematics at her irrationality, in desperation to make her fantasy seem more scientific and realistic. She is probably guided by her favourite World Bank/IMF originated economic models – which

proves to be her undoing. The problem is, Okonjo-Iweala’s economics creates an illusion of precision where none exists; consequently, unquestionable belief in her touted panaceas could lead to all manner of mischief and economic failures. More worrisome is the fact that she has got the presidency and her fans locked onto an economic theory that inherently makes them tone deaf to arguments of the other side, even when those arguments may be quite valid. Okonjo-Iweala and company in effect, have become soldiers for doubtful causes which are hardly predicated on careful observation and empirical findings. “We will focus on those sectors that affect the common man. That is why government is focusing on the development of power…Whatever government is going to do with the economy would be geared towards pro-jobs growth,” she stressed adding that the country’s total debt stock stands at $39.7 billion (about 20 percent of GDP), out of which $34 billion or about 17.5 percent of GDP is accounted for by domestic debts. This translates to about N5.2 trillion and $5.3 billion in external debts. Consequently, the government would be paying closer attention to the country’s debt profile, with a view to reducing borrowing from local sources. And in pursuit of this objective, Okonjo-Iweala interestingly favours accumulation of more foreign debt. This much is reflective in her recent facilitation of a $550 million loan from her former employer, the World Bank. That Okonjo-Iweala was instrumental to the country’s freedom from the Paris Club debt in 2006

As we commemorate the season By T. A. Orji Our pledge is strongly anchored on a vow to faithfully make a huge difference and leave legacies that will stand the taste of time. This blue print was badly challenged by the menace of security and its plaguing dimension of kidnapping investors and infrastructural partners. The application of God’s divine initiative earned us the much-expected victory over that audacious wickedness. Abia is now peaceful and the combinations of crime cracking law enforcement agents are humbling other pockets of resistances. Penultimate week, our divine administration, proactively donated more patrol jeeps to all the security formations in the state to enforce our people’s freedom of movement and association. As our people bask in the euphoria of briefly exploring the joy of home coming before the expiration of the holidays, their movement around town will practically confirm our sincerity and genuine sense of direction. I believe it will gladden their hearts to discover that we are not paying lip service to the all important housing sector. The elitist Amokwe housing estate located at Adelabu Street Umuahia is now a reality. In the same vein, we are not reneging on the actualization of Isieke Housing Estate. The breath taking and imposing workers secretariat of four floors in two places will be commissioned in a matter of 2-3 months. This is closely followed with state of the art international conference center situated at the new Umuahia Capital Layout. Abia is receiving a virile structural identity, necessary for the sustenance of development; and our loyalty and dedication in attaining these tasks are non- negotiable. As one stands on one of the floors of the new secretariat building for an aerial view of the new Umuahia, one praises God for the beauty it exhibits, with many roads well-constructed and beautiful buildings germinating on daily basis. Today, we are celebrating so many flagships hitherto not provided, but which will without doubt impact on the overall well being of the people in the long run. This is why I will always brandish our icing on the health care delivery sector – Abia state specialist hospital and diagnostic center. With the capacity to diagnose and treat all manner of complicated diseases, including liver, kidney, eye and other allied cases. It summarized our zonal drive of locating over 210 functional health centers in all the nooks and crannies of Abia State. If our claim is not tenable, I believe Millennium Development Goals, which partnered with us in that regard will prove us wrong. I strongly desire to be remembered as having bequeathed the good people of Abia State with a befitting Government House and Governors Lodge, capable of conforming to the wonders of today’s 21st century World. That desire is practically receiving a huge bite, as the foundation stone for the above mentioned great

isn’t contestable; what is contestable however is that Nigeria payment of a whopping $12.6 billion to realize an $18 billion debt writeoff. Today, Okonjo-Iweala’s brilliant economics recommends that Nigeria could incur more foreign debt – as long as it is owed the World Bank, it seems. This becomes food for thought at the backdrop of the World Bank’s immense profiteering from the global economic crisis. For instance, it reportedly recorded annualized growth of its IDA portfolio by 25% in 2009. This was at the expense of poor, mismanaged economies in the developing countries. Okonjo-Iweala also worries that the manufacturing sector is priced out of the money market as interest rates accelerate towards the 25 per cent mark. She claims to be so troubled by the cash crunch in factories that she has promised to force down interest rates even as Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), emphatically stated that only a magician could attain such feat. Okonjo-Iweala is no doubt a magician. She believes that the government can flood the system with liquidity and still maintain single digit inflation and interest rates. Her promise of low interest rate under current circumstances translates as a desperate bid to conjure the economic miracle of controlling interest rate, inflation rate and exchange rate simultaneously. She also believes that the N1.2 trillion currently paid as subsidy, if removed will be successfully used to improve infrastructure, provide healthcare, etc. Her bearing is indeed that of the politician in Nikita Khrushchev’s parable of the politician. Maybe she is simply naïve… • To be continued…

vision will be carried out in a matter of days. The construction of the new market parks are ongoing in Umuahia and Ukwa west Local Government Areas As a follow up to the remarks I made on the health care delivery sector, I believe some of our mummies and daddies will share with their holiday making sons and daughters, the good news of how our team of expatriate medical doctors came on a rescue mission to intervene in their various health situations. Mechanical Systems Limited is partnering with the good intentions of government for the evacuation of electricity from Ohiya 132/33 KVA power station to the affected feeder/sub-stations (Afara feeder, Ubakala feeder, Nkwoegwu feeder, Ntigha feeder and Obowo feeder/substations). This will significantly improve power supply in the state and make our peoples’ stay a memorable one. Our development partners in road construction have been mobilized back to site. This is in practical demonstration of making our word our bond. Coduc Nigeria Limited is therefore shouldering the responsibility of fixing Ohanku and the 8.4kilometre Obohia road from Ngwa road junction to Ugwunagbo Local Government headquarters. In the same vein, New Idea Construction Company Limited has been commissioned to reconstruct the federal Ohafia-Arochukwu road and dualise the Ajata Umuahia section of the federal Bende-Umuahia road. NunyaIsuikwuato road will be commissioned before long, just like the in-passable Ozu-Abam-Arochukwu road has been awarded for re-construction. Aba, the Enyimba City and the Achilles feet of every administration has become our greatest strength as massive road construction and rehabilitation is on-going, including a great attack on the erosion and sanitation challenges of the city. Curses have turned into praises. The first Abia State Economic Summit is already yielding returns as I confirm the reality of a private refinery for which a land has already been provided for at Owaza in Ukwa West Local Government Area. A team of government functionaries visited our investment partners in Dubai to fast-track the modalities. As earlier on somewhere, sometime acknowledged, I am constantly reminded by the deep meaning in my name that I must raise the stakes and having anchored my faith and re-dedicated our dear state to God, I am confident that I will not betray the confidence which my people re-posed on me, through their monumental mandate. My prayer as I conclude this note of love is that they would choose to step into their circle of blessing this Christmas and as they delight themselves in the Lord, that He may fill every part of their life with the fullness of His presence. Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2012. •Orji is governor of Abia State.



EDITORIAL/OPINION ‘Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame Is lust in action; and till action, lust Is perjur’d, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame, Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust; Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight.’ ————William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) English poet/playwright.


HERE is no doubt that this yuletide period presents Nigerians with an economically precarious situation. The hope of a better New Year looks dim with the news filtering out from official quarters. More destabilising of these news items is the irresponsive resolve of President Goodluck Jonathan to remove fuel subsidy on petrol. Without hesitation, the removal of the so called ‘fuel subsidy’ that unfortunately have been supported by mostly selfcentred governors of states across the federation will inflict more hardship on the people. In a country with enormous potentials but due to leadership greed, could not guarantee stable power supply thereby compelling homes and corporate outfits to generate their own power through generators, this tyrannical policy of government will only inflict more pains on the people. Under this situation, what is expected of government is for it to demonstrate empathy for the citizens that will bear the brunt of its ill-thought-out and inimical policy on subsidy removal. The government can do this by maintaining a low profile in its fiscal and economic initiatives so that the people will not feel alienated. With the contents of the coming 2012 budget now in public domain, the insensitivity of government to the plight of Nigerians has been further amplified. It is unbelievable to imagine that the first and second citizens of Nigeria would enjoy food and general catering services worth the total sum of N992.57 million for just the 2012 fiscal year. This amount is just N7 million short of N1 billion in a country where an average Nigerian live on less than $1 per day. The odious amount is meant for the purchase of foodstuff, kitchen utensils/ equipment and payment for catering services for the two foremost families in the land. This act has exposed the lie in President Jonathan’s deceitful call for fiscal discipline


HE Nigerian fledgling gay colony can claim this year for its own. Surely several other great things happened to us like the emergence of the shoeless Bayelsan boy as a president of Nigeria, but the anti-gay bill recently passed by the Senate is an occurrence of epochal proportion as historians will reveal to us someday. Who ever thought that the day would come when the ‘sordid’ affair of two men messing around with each other would take over the plenary of the Senate in Nigeria not to talk of passing a bill concerning it? Most of us never thought we would see that day when ndi ru ru aru (abominable people) would show their faces in public not to talk of storming the precincts of the Senate to demand for their ‘right’ to be perverts and to wallow in their objectionable behaviour . An act that we only imagined or at best, which happened in backroom closets has now become an object of national discourse and highpowered diplomacy. It is outrageous enough that two grown men or women choose to slush around; now they want to do it in our face, now they seek legitimacy, two men (women) want to be ‘wedded’ as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’. They even want to be joined in ‘holy’ matrimony by ordained men of God. Homosexuality has always been with man. Right from the biblical times, through the ages, queer men have been with us; men who would rather sleep with other men or animals or children. And the society never spared them nor allowed them any accommodation; in fact, history tells us that society have always reviled them, banished them, stoned them, executed them… the holy book, the Bible is replete with unspeakable variants of sexual pervasion, sodomy, male prostitution but just as Lucifer lives, his inglorious machinations will continue to assail us till the end of time. But as the Bible says again, we must watch and pray lest we go to sleep and wake up in the laps of the evil one. Be not perturbed, the good book tells us when we witness these unspeakable evils and “desecrating obscenity”for they too will pass. But we are mere mortals, we are

Outrageous Presidential victuals


and plans to cut down on cost of running government while presenting the 2012 budget to a joint sitting of the national assembly last week. Curiously, out of the N18.34 billion budgeted for the State House in the appropriation bill, N477million is to be used for catering materials to be supplied to the president’s office. Another N293 million will be used to provide refreshment and meals for the President’s home and office. Further breakdown shows that N45.4 million will be spent on the purchase of canteen and kitchen equipment for the president’s house-

hold, even when there was a previous budget that was implemented for this last year. The question to ask is whether the sophisticated ones bought this year have so quickly become obsolete? The cost of foodstuff, catering and materials for the office of Vice-President Nemadi Sambo has been put at N104 million. For that same office, cooking gas and cooking fuel will consume a colossal sum of N6.2 million. The breakdown of food spending of the Vice-President include: refreshment and meals for Sambo’s office and home is N20.8million; N45.4 million is allocated for the purchase of kitchen and household equipment at the state house headquarters. The budget proposal also makes provision for 16.64 million as rent payable on the official residence of the Vice President. Does it mean that a country as big as this country does not have an official abode good enough for its Vice-President to live in while in office? It has since been noted that this seems to be the first time money will be allocated as rent for an official residence of either the President or his deputy. President Jonathan should tell Nigerians why this is so. More over, the squandering of the nation’s patrimony could also be seen in part of the overhead expenditures for Sambo’s office that allocates N230.133 million on the acquisi-


SMS O8055001684

This Santa is (not) gay o! ‘We worry when literate and highly educated people make strong arguments that homosexuality and lesbianism are natural sexual preferences; two adults could choose to live in debasement if they wish; that there are worse sexual preferences than being homosexual and that those frowning at homos are behind the times and insensitive’ bound to be weary and be agitated and wilt in the face of dark principalities and powers. We, the simple-minded, will worry when people condemn lawmakers (the Senate) for outlawing destructive and abominable behaviours. We are bound to worry when the Prime Minister of a socalled civilized world make it a duty to globalise pervasion and present it as human rights. But this PM has never spoken about the rights of the wretched African person whose resources are looted and salted away in British banks. Being a defender of human rights, what about the right to restitution for the African slave taken by force in chains, manacled and shipped to Europe like cattle to work in the white man’s plantation? We worry when literate and highly educated people make strong arguments that homosexuality and lesbianism are innate sexual instincts; two adults could choose to live in debasement if they wish; that

there are worse sexual preferences and that those frowning at homos are insensitive and behind the times. There is trouble when most of us are made to speak from both sides of the mouth on this issue as you can see from the title of this piece above. Suddenly, most people cannot call a spade by its name anymore. In this matter, we seem not to know the difference between black and white anymore. Yes, we are in trouble when clergy men like bishops are confessing to being gays and are joining man and man in holy matrimony. We cannot help but be broken when we see respectable elderly men, former military officers, bearing diapers as a result of the devastation done to their anal cavity, and the ravage of strange diseases resulting from strange sexual practices. We cry when we see young men and women lured into this evil with promises of riches, positions, promotions and juicy jobs. The soul is bound to be troubled when we assail our very humanity and assault our very being. Homosexuality negates humanity and repudiates womanhood. Is there a more beautiful creation of God? He made woman’s body as the ultimate artwork and for the most consummate of pleasures. No other form of creation is more sublime, more profound and more complex like womanhood. The mystery and mystique of femininity can be likened to a shallow pond where men bath which could in turn, be deeper than any sea. Our maker made her especially for special purposes. What about motherhood? Igbo say

tion, upgrading and furnishing of his official guest house. This is scandalous! Of course, Nigerians do not have to look far before seeing why stable power supply might remain a mirage in the country despite the noise about power reforms by the president. Their two foremost leaders and even the insensitive governors supporting fuel subsidy removals do not feel the pangs of darkness that PHCN daily inflicts on them. This is because electricity is being provided for them at tax payers’ expense. For instance, in the 2012 budget, the President is to spend N54.33 million on fuel for his own generating sets and N15.216 million for their maintenance while the Vice President will also spend N20.80 million to fuel his generating set and N10.40 million for maintenance of the generating sets. The sad thing about the entire scenario is that reasonable men both within and outside the shores of this country will be laughing at the leadership proclivity for graft in the country in the name of running its public affairs. This outlandish budget for presidential victuals is a mockery of agricultural/ food decency. It is sad that while the President Jonathan led administration is poised to remove ‘fuel subsidy,’ the government is wittingly subsidising food and material corruption even within the presidential precincts through over-inflated budget of presidential victuals. The implication of this is that the president has no moral locus to be fighting corruption in the country when his own havens are riddled with corrupt practices. This president is getting more alienated from the people of the land. He gives so much deference to the food himself and other elite friends would eat in the corridors of power. Yet, the roads are bad, hospitals are illequipped, the educational system is in shambles while the teeming masses are crying loudly for official attention. Could someone tell Jonathan to lend suffering Nigerians his ears? Nigerians are tired of Nigeria under Jonathan where hard work is rewarded with disdain while corrupt people get accolades and national honours. Jonathan must stop this wasteful spending while millions of our people are starving and living on less than $1 per day. nne bun nu, that mother is the salt of the earth. Yoruba say there is no deity like the mother. You don’t get mothers by a man fooling around with another man or a woman monkeying around with another. Worst of all, we are doomed when in discussing this matter of homosexuality, we say leave God out of it; leave religion out of it. They say it is a matter of individual preferences and rights. They make it seem impolitic to talk about God; they make it seem un-cool and utterly stupid to mention God in a purely ‘modernistic’ and ‘intellectual’ matter. They have made God heretical! They deny God. Yes the world has gone baalistic and we have become lost in ourselves. We have become so very comfortable and secure in our wealth, in our powers, in our religiosity, in our intellect and in our carnality that everything we like and enjoy is good. We glory in the physical and the flesh. We take pride in sin and we relish immorality. Surely, even many who claim to be Christians will accuse me of sermonizing and preaching and I say so be it. May that day be cursed that my son will bring home another man as his fiancé. I don’t know about you but may that day not come that I will repudiate immeasurable essence of womanhood. Finally, in the spirit of the season, and as our Lord thought us, we must not tire to pray for the sick, the afflicted; those held in bondage by evil that they may be loosed in spite of themselves. This is wishing my readers the best of the season and a great year ahead. LAST MUG: Bishop Oyedepo and the witch girl: the buzz this week on the internet (youtube) is about the man of God, the Founder and General Overseer of the ministry, Living Faith Church Worldwide, popularly known as Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo. He was caught on video apparently exorcising a young girl of ‘witchcraft’. He exhibited so much anger and undue violence never experienced in all the miracles Christ did during His ministry on earth. He could have damaged the eardrums of the hapless girl who obviously needed prayers and counsel. Maybe our dear Bishop needs a break.






NATION SPORT NFF names technical director Wednesday


HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will name a technical director as well as a new coach for the country’s women’s team Wednesday, officials have said. The NFF technical committee have recommended the candidates for the two top posts and the executive committee are to meet a day to the NFF AGM in Kaduna to ratify the technical committee's decisions. Former Ethiopia and Namibia coach Tom Saintfiet is front runner for the technical director post, which onetime Lars Lagerback’s assistant Roland Andersson has also applied for. The Super Falcons, Olympic team and the Flying Eagles are without coaches. Falcons coach Eucharia Uche’s contract was not renewed, while Austin Eguavoen quit after he failed to qualify the country’s team to next year’s Olympics in London. The contract of John Obuh as Flying Eagles coach has also run out.

3SC'll get quality coach –Dapo Lam Adesina By Akeem Lawal


YO STATE Commissioner for Sports, Dapo Lam Adesina has noted that the state will secure the services of one of the best coaches in the country for the vacant managerial position at former Nigerian and African champions, 3SC. Coaches like Festus Allen, Alphonsus Dike, Monday Odigie and Okey Emordi have all been linked to fill the post which became vacant after the state government sacked the club's board and Fatai Amoo led coaching crew. However, Amoo was directed to re-apply, but refused since he wasn’t ready to accept a pay-cut. In a chat with NationSport, Lam Adesina admitted that the coaches were contacted but the eventual candidate will be made known soon. We still have so many options that we can select from. There is Dike (Alphonsus), Allen (Festus), Emordi (Okey), even Monday Odigie is in frame. I know any one of them will be good if employed. We are still on it, there is no cause for alarm, everything is under control. But all that I can assure you is that 3SC deserves the best and we will surely get the best coach for the team”, he assured.


Keshi wants friendly for local Eagles S UPER Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi has said he plans an international friendly for his team of players from the Nigeria Premier League next month. "I need to test their assimilation of what we have taught them and need to play at least a top friendly next month. I am not sure who or where the game would be decided but I am shopping for one," Keshi disclosed. Keshi has admitted he has a lot of technical work to do with the homebased players currently training in Abuja under his supervision. The former Eagles skipper also noted that there was need to motivate the players with regards to finances. "I have a lot of technical work to do with the boys. But am encouraged by the courage shown so far by the players," he said. "They are no doubt talented but they need a lot of motivation and I will see what I can do to ensure they get the right

motivation because this is very important, but I must say I am enjoying the moment and the challenge the boys are putting forward." The home-based Eagles began a training camp Monday in Abuja with 30 players invited by Keshi. Players in Abuja training camp: Chigozie Agbim, Azubuike Egwueke, Sunday Mba, Chibuzor Okonkwo, Julius Ubido, Bathlomew Ibenegbu, Okemute Odah, Fortune Chukwudi, Juwon Oshaniwa, Kola Anubi Gbenga Arokoyo, Fade Adebayo, Uche Ugwechi, Victor Michael, Osita Uchendu, Paul Godwin, Moses Ocheje, Izu Azuka, Sunday Emmanuel, Ibrahim Ajani, James Okwuosa, Uzoenyi Ejike, Morah Stephen, Rabiu Ali, Godfrey Obaobona, Tunde Aremu, Mustapha Ibrahim.


NOC signs partnership with First Bank


HE Nigeria Olympic Committee(NOC) has signed an agreement with First Bank with yhe aim of rekinding preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games at the NOC building situated at the National stadium Surulere on Thursday. This is sequel to the fact that the International Olympic Marketing Programme(TOP) has been providing vital financial and logistic support to the International Olympic Committee, which has helped to revolutionize the global Olympic Movement. In a speech delivered by the President of NOC, Sanni Ndanusa, at the ceremony, he stated that the NOC was proud to be associated with First Bank just as he opined that the agreement between the duo was a landmark which should aid the NOC body in its drive to reposition the Committee for better service delivery to sports and the Olympic Movement. Meanwhile, the management of First bank, has said its involvement as official Banker to the NOC represents the Bank's endorsement of the values of respect, friendship and excellence espoused by the Olympic Movement. According to the Head Marketing and Corporate Communications of First Bank,Folake Ani-Mumuney, First Bank share a rich pedigree of being organisations that have been promoting excellence, social responsibility and respect for globally acclaimed ethical principles for over 100 years of existence. Ani-Mumuney said the Olympic symbol of five inter laced rings which represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world, is one of

By Stella Bamawo the most profound emblems in the world.


Eagles ban ear -rings N

IGERIA coach Stephen Keshi has warned the country’s players against wearing ear-rings as he moved to impose a new and purposeful identity on the team. “If we were Indians, I would understand, because it’s part of their culture but wearing ear rings by men is totally alien to Nigerian culture and no player is permitted to wear them here,” warned the Eagles’ coach, who succeeded Samson Siasia after Nigeria failed to qualify for the Nations Cup for the first time in 25 years. Skipper Joseph Yobo, Osaze Odemwingie, Victor Anichebe, Chibuzor Okonkwo, Peter Utaka, Brown Ideye, Dele Adeleye and Obafemi Martins will therefore have to do without their expensive jewelleries when next they are under Keshi’s charge. This week Keshi began a training camp in Abuja for 30 players from the country’s domestic league. The former international skipper therefore harped on discipline and warned

against playing to the gallery as “the national camp is no breeding ground for players who want to show off”. “We’re in for serious business, because we want to return our to wining ways and any player who is not ready would be shown the exit door,” he warned. “I will not quarrel with any player but anyone who flouts camp rules should pack his bag and leave the camp before I react negatively.” Keshi promised that home-based players will no longer be used as training materials but rather given a decent chance to fight for places in his team with their counterparts from overseas. He therefore challenged the players to prove that they are better than the foreign pros and he would stick with them in the qualifiers for the 2013 Nations Cup and 2014 World Cup.

“At the age of 20, I was already captaining the national team and I did it for 14 years, any of you here can do it and do it very well, just put your mind to it and with God we will reach the Promised Land,” he urged. Heartland defender Chibuzor Okonkwo told team officials he was Nigeria’s best fullback, but Keshi insisted he must prove that on the pitch. “If you prove to me that you are the best then you make my team, otherwise you leave the team,” the coach maintained. “But I believe that you are all good players here that was why you were invited out of thousands of other players who wished to be here. “We have to prove to Nigerians that our league is still strong enough and it must start from you as the ambassadors of the league.”


Iroha was part of the backroom staff of the victorious U-17 world champions under late coach Yemi Tella in 2007. He was also a member of the technical team of the Dream Team V who failed to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have apparently thrown open the Flying Eagles top position on the expiration of John Obuh's contract. Obuh led the junior Eagles to African Youth Championship glory in 2011 in South Africa, but crashed out in the quarterfinals to France at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Colombia.


amazing experience. The opportunity provided by MTN for these young boys is also very amazing. The quality of players that are discovered in this Football Scholar Academy has been outstanding. The boys played well and among them, we have discovered about ten or more, who we think will do well in the United States, both academically and in football,” he said. May, who recently completed his second season with the University of Connecticut men's soccer coaching staff as the Director of Soccer Operations, further advised that such initiative should be encouraged among young secondary school students in Nigeria and spread all over Africa in order to open more scholarship opportunities for youths to be educated while still fulfilling their dreams of becoming soccer players. Corroborating May on the benefit of the project, Chairman of Ikorodu Local Government, Mr Jide Banjoko, also said the project is a laudable one and should be encouraged among Nigerian youths.


UPER Eagles’ assistant coach, Dan “the Bull” Amokachi, took full charge of the team on Thursday, following the departure same day, of Head Coach Stephen Keshi for Accra , Ghana, for the Glo-CAF awards, where he is due for a legend award category. In the morning training session which lasted for about two hours, thirty minutes, Amokachi assisted by Sylvanus Okpala, Coach Valere and keepers’s trainer Ike Shorunmu, took the players on shooting, ball possession and match time tensions and reaction to which the 30 players in camp responded well. Uche Kalu and Markson Ojobo, are the latest to join camp. Keshi had told officials of the team on Wednesday night that whenever he was not around, Amokachi takes charge and warned against distorting camp order in his absence. The ‘Big

We won’t work’till papers are signed –Garba


EW Golden Eaglets chief coach, Manu Garba says he is waiting for Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to make his appointment official before commencing camping of prospective national Under-17 players. Garba said this in an interview with brilafm, stating that he and his crew will start work as soon as the deal is officially sealed. He said: ‘’We cannot start the job officially without signing the contract papers. ‘’We are waiting for the federation. As soon as we sign our contract papers

By Olusoji Olukayode then we begin our programme. The coach, however, revealed that he has already began the search for the young players that can fit into the cadet team but added that the team will eventually be picked from those recommended to the technical crew and those they identify on their own. ‘’I have been going round to scout for talents on my own. As soon as we sign our contract papers we’ll call for the national players. From those who are selected and those recommended to us we’ll get the main team that will

American coaches laud MTN over Football Scholar MERICAN university football coaches have showered encomiums on MTN Nigeria over the quality of talents discovered and nurtured in the Soccer Academy of the just-concluded MTN Football Scholar Project. The four American football coaches; Ryan McGonigle, Andrew Brinkman, Mike Battistle and Kelvin May, who were in Nigeria over the weekend, were obviously thrilled by the quality of talent discovered by the initiative, when they visited the astro turf pitch of the National Stadium to scout for young soccer players who will be enjoying the opportunity to study in some American Universities under a scholarship scheme. Ten student athletes have already been identified by the foreign coaches as outstanding among the candidates that played at the finals of the project. Their names will subsequently be announced and contacted by the organisers. According to one of the foreign coaches, Kelvin May of the University of Connecticut, USA, “it has been an

•Big Boss due back Friday


Iroha applies for Flying Eagles’ job •Ugbade keeps mum

ORMER assistant coach of Nigeria Olympic team Dream Team V, Ben Iroha has applied to lead the country’s Under-20 team, the Flying Eagles. A top official informed that the former international left back dropped a late application before heading to the United States of America for the Christmas holidays with his family. "Iroha submitted an application for the vacant Flying Eagles’ position. His application is late but that would be for the technical committee to decide," the official said.

Amokachi takes charge 30 Eagles sweat in out in Keshi’s absence •As police stop ‘unknown star’

go into camp,’’ he said. Meanwhile, one of the team’s assistant coaches, Nduka Ugbade has refused commenting on the technical crew’s contractual arrangement with the football house, stating that as a professional he ought not bring the matter before the public. He remarked: ‘’The bottom line is that I am not going to want to discuss things like this until such a time when the thing comes out. I’m a complete professional. A professional man does not discuss issues like this. I must maintain integrity. As a professional man, issues like this, you don’t discuss it.’’

Boss’ as Keshi is called in his playing days, will be glad to know that the system he had put in place ran smoothly in his absence to the delight of Amokachi and other assistants. Meanwhile, Keshi is due back from Ghana this Friday to continue the drilling of the players and preparation for the January 7 friendly against a yet to be named opposition and the February 29, Nations cup qualifier against the Wasps of Rwanda.


Delta splashes N25m on Okagbare, others


HE Chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission, Amaju Pinnick has explained the rationale behind the government's release of the N25m training grant to Blessing Okagbare and other selected Delta State athletes to begin preparations for the London 2012 Olympics Games. Speaking in a telephone chat from Asaba, Pinnick said that the release of the training grants to Delta State athletes who are based in foreign climes was not just for the Olympics only but also to enable the beneficiaries to get into top shape ahead of next year's National Sports Festival holding in Lagos. He added that the such money, was also meant to get the athletes in the best shape when competing at global sports meets. The Sports Commission boss said that in line with the Human Capital Development policy of the Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan-led administration, the country has gained immensely from the investment of Delta State in Sports as her athletes often form the bulk of the nation’s contingent at international competitions. It would be recalled that at the justconcluded 2011 All African Games in Mozambique, athletes of Delta State extraction who are on scholarship abroad won six out of the ten gold medals picked in athletics. Meanwhile, Pinnick has berated the National Sports Commission over the amended rule by the National Council of Sports which has excluded foreignbased athletes from participating at the next National Sports Festival in Lagos. “Restricting eligibility to only Nigeria - based athletes will deprive Delta State of making use of the athletes, whom the government has invested in hugely. There is no way an athlete can become great if he stays in Nigeria because the facilities are just not enough to groom world class athletes. “If we are truly serious about developing our athletes, there is no way that they would not be taken abroad to experience new ways of doing things, which is what we are doing in Delta State. We are trying to develop these athletes and it is so wrong for us to be denied the right to use our athletes in the country”, he added.


NLY Two of the 32 players invited to the camp of the Super Eagles were still being expected in the Super Eagles camp as at Thursday, according to Team Coordinator, Emmanuel Atta. The 30 players were in full flight in Thursday morning’s training, conducted amid tight security at the training pitch of the Abuja National Stadium. The players were, however, relaxed and had a good session with the technical crew, even as indication emerged that an unknown and uninvited player who claimed to have come all the way from Akwa Ibom, was prevented from joining the team in training by a team of policemen led by ACP Gideon Akinsola. The unknown star, had walked up to Team Psychologist, Robinson Okosun, requesting to be allowed to be part of Thursday training, he was directed to Team Coordinator, Emmanuel Atta who told him in clear terms that he would not be allowed unless he proves his worth in warmup. He subsequently went on several laps round the unused training pitch, while security men kept a close watch. When queried about his age and former club, he said he does not want to be rushed but later said he was unattached, 25 years old, but was born in 1986 and gave his name as Udoh Henshaw Entry. When told that he was actually supposed to be 35 by his birth date, he

said that was what his mother told him. He was later to make a phone call and came back to tell officials, he has now been told by his mother that he was born in 1988, instead of 1986. At that juncture it was obvious that the ‘unknown star’, was of unsound mind and Akinsola promptly asked his men to whisk him away from the training arena to the relief of team officials.

Eagles squares up against FRSC


HE first test match for home-based Super Eagles will hold this Friday at the training pitch of the National Stadium in Abuja against National Division One side, Federal Road Safety Commission. Assistant Coach, Dan Amokachi and Team Coordinator, Emmanuel Atta, said the game will kick off at 8am and it’s one in a series of games designed to test the readiness of the team for the challenges ahead. Amokachi, expressed happiness at the response of the players to training, noting that in the past four days, it has been from about 30 per cent performance in training to almost 90 per cent, but warned that there was still more work to be done. No indication has yet emerged about when the first set of players will be decamped but all the players in camp have been putting in their best to ensure that they don’t fall foul of camp rules and regulations.

Rivers State to host first WAPSGA Games

•LOC members inaugurated


IVERS state has been selected to host the maiden edition of the West African Public Service Games, WAPSGA, coming up in 2012. Among the six Pilot Nations of Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Gambia, the baton fell on the Nigeria to lead the games and Rivers state, currently and steadily getting into the sporting map of Africa, happens to be the Torch carrier for the games. A five-man ECOWAS delegation led by Dr. Sintiki Ugbe who happens to be the Main Organising Committee Chairman, stormed Port Harcourt on Thursday afternoon for the inauguration of the Local Organising Committee where about fifteen persons were inaugurated to champion the cause of the Games. NationSport spoke with Dr. Ugbe on the Games which she said is aimed at regional integration and the promotion of economic values, alongside living in peace and harmony. "This Games is aimed at regional integration and our stake holders are the civil service players, therefore its very important for us to create a forum for them, not only for intellectual exposure but also a

From Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt forum that will enable social interaction, cultural ideas, economic development - to energise them to understand and know the region more. "We also want to have a very healthy Public Service within the region and that is why the West African Public service games is our project and we are here to make it work", said Ugbe. The Games that are to be competed for are: football, tennis, table tennis, basketball, handball, Tug of war, athletics. There will also feature a novelty football match. Other members of the Ecowas delegation are Mr. Sunny Ugoh, Mr. Kennedy Barisisa, Mr. Sylvester Ikueyamoye and Mr. Elias Gorah of National Sports Commission. The inaugurated LOC members are: Engr. Paulinus Nwankwoala as the Chairman, Representative of Head of Service as vice chairman, Tina Dimpka as secretary. others are Mangibo B. V. (JP), J. J. Kio, D.H. Harry (JP), T. Georgewill, Edwin Amadi, James Nmehielle, Beatrice Fred, Dan-Jumbo Comfort, Dr. V. Nwachukwu, OsaroEpie M. Mube, Representatives of the SSG and Police.


Amaechi hosts Team Rivers today •Dolphins also to receive red carpet treatment


•L-R: Mrs Henretta Mba, Business Development Manager FBN Iganmu Lagos, Engr. Sanni Ndanusa, NOC President and Mrs Folake Ani Mumurey, Head Marketing and Corporate Communication First Bank plc. after the signing the partnership deal at NOC Headquarters, Surelere, Lagos. PHOTO: John Ebhota

HE what seems like decades of waiting by the Team Rivers contingent to the 17th National Sports Festival, Garden City Games 2011 which was hosted by Rivers state in July this year, the governor of Rivers state, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi would be hosting them this afternoon by 4.00pm at the Rivers state government house in Port Harcourt. The Team Rivers contingent had led the other states of the federation during the national events sweeping over two hundred and seventy medals to make the host state proud winners

From Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt of the fiesta after boasting to 'host and win'. Having waited and almost lost hope for the year, several athletes became excited at the news of the awards, especially now that its just two days to Christmas. NationSport gathered also from the chief sports helmsman of the state, Fred Igwe that while it is also necessary to host the 2011 Nigeria Premier league winners, Dolphins,

the state deemed it necessary to follow the sequence of events. "We are going to host Dolphins but it will have to come after this because we thought about it and see it nice and reasonable to host them in the order they came. These athletes won in July, Dolphins later, so its going to be in the same order but soon", he said. Meanwhile, excitement already in the air all over the Rivers State Sports Council for the news of the awards and just as some of them say, they just can't wait to know what the governor has in stock for them.




Chime fetes deaf and dumb

Man in NDLEA net over cocaine smuggling

Enugu 28




Hawkers banned in Owerri Imo


Page 25


Commissioner explains transformation



HE continued dedicati-on of Akwa Ibom State to God by Governor Godswill Akpabio, and his constant prayer meetings for the state has accounted for the rapid growth and transform-ation. The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah made this known while declaring open the 124th Annual Conference of Qua Iboe Church Nigeria in Uyo recently. Mr. Umanah reminded the delegates at the conference that the

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

N100m micro-credit scheme instituted by Governor Akpabio for Church Associations through the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has greatly enhanced the growth of the church, through human empowerment and wealth creation. The commissioner further stated that, in addition to the revolving credit facility, Governor Akpabio has continued to invest handsomely in the construction and re-

construction of so many church denominations across the state, during the Governor’s routine worship service in the churches. Acknowledging Governor Akpabio as a friendly and God-fearing man, Mr. Umanah said: “Akwa Ibom, as a predominantly Christian state, is occupied by people known for virtues such as peace, friendly and God-fearing. Represented by a Deputy Director of Information in the Ministry, Mrs. Grace Akpan, the commissioner congratulated the delegates at the occasion.

He expressed delight that the 124th Conference of the Qua Iboe Church is holding in Uyo, the state capital, even as he emphasised that, the assemblage of God’s servants would bring in its wake manifold blessings to the people and government of Akwa Ibom State . The Information Commissioner congratulated the delegates on their well-thought- out theme: “ Known by their Fruits,” and implored all Christians to •Continued on Page 27


HEY never expected that their lives would be touched in a more wonderful way. They seemingly had resigned to fate as there were no helps coming from anywhere. However, the unexpected happened in a manner the people living with various disabilities in Bayelsa State would not forget in a hurry. It was a day, they imagined, that God visited them through the management of MTN and the Bayelsa State Governor’s wife Mrs. Alayingi Sylva. It was a day thousands of mobility aids and appliances were distributed to many of the disabled from the nook and cranny of the state. In their hundreds, they trooped out to the Peace Park, venue of the event that drew dignitaries from far and near. The launch was the third phase of the MTN Foundation Disability Support Project, where mobility aids and other appliances were donated to people living with disabilities in the state. Speaking at the event which drew women from all walks of life, the wife of the State Governor, Mrs. Sylva, challenged corporate organisations doing business in the state to partner with government in the task of making life more meaningful for people living with disabilities. Mrs Sylva, who noted that the duty of making life more enjoyable and productive for the lessprivileged people cannot be left for government alone, said wellmeaning citizens and corporate organisations must see it as their duty to give succour to this special class of people. She lamented that majority of the more than 26 million Nigerians living with one form of physical disability or the other, have no access to support facilities that will enable them to conduct their day-to-day activities. Explaining the importance of the event, Mrs. Sylva noted that without support facilities, the physically challenged persons would continue to depend on family members and friends without the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives using their strengths and talent. She added

•One of the physically challenged being helped to her new wheel chair

Respite for the physically challenged 450 benefit from MTN disability support project Governor’s wife challenges corporate bodies From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

that it was for this reason that she was praising MTN for the initiative. While she commended MTN for

the good gesture in providing mobility aids and other appliances for the physically challenged, Mrs. Sylva however called on the mobile telecommunications company to also partner with her NGO, Centre for Gender Values and

Culture in the area of cancer eradication. To the beneficiaries, she challenged them to put the mobility aids and appliances into good use and be less dependent on other people, even as she urged them to

also strive to become more productive to themselves and the state at large. In her welcome address, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Persons Living with Disabilities, Miss Ziriki Timiepiri commended MTN for the initiative, adding that such •Continued on Page 26




•Some of the mobility aids and appliances

Respite for the physically challenged •Continued from page 25 gestures go a long way in giving people living with disabilities a sense of belonging. She said the present administration has a caring heart which was what informed the Governor’s decision to create the office of the Senior Special Assistant on People Living with Disabilities to coordinate the activities of the physically-challenged persons in the state and also to articulate their needs for government’s attention. She said the beneficiaries were painstakingly selected to ensure that those who actually need the mobility aids and appliances were those who got them. Also speaking at the occasion, the Portfolio Manager of MTN Foundation, Foyinsola Oyebola said the guiding principle behind the MTN Foundation’s Disability Support Project was the company’s belief that empowering the physically-challenged will not only give them a sense of belong-


HE leadership of Umiaghwa Kingdom in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State has been advised to desist from making inflammatory statements that are capable of breaching the existing peace between it and Orhuarivie community of Abraka Kingdoms. The President-General of Umiaghwa Kingdom Mr. Nath Anho described the Oruarivie

ing but will also enable them to engage in meaningful incomegenerating activities, thus contributing to the socio-economic development of the country. Oyebola, who noted that the company has distributed over 10,000 mobility aids and appliances since 2009, said the first phase of the disability support project covered 11 states; the second phase covered 12 states while the third phase which was being launched in Bayelsa State was to cover the

remaining 13 states of the country. Noting that her company was committed to making a positive impact in the society, Oyebola said MTN has invested in the training of personnel to maintain the appliances so that they will continue to be of use to the beneficiaries for a long time to come. The Bayelsa State Field Officer of Independent Living Programme for People Living with Disabilities, Miss Ifiemi Emberu, in her remarks praised MTN for the initiative and

Majority of the more than 26 million Nigerians living with one form of physical disability or the other, have no access to support facilities that will enable them to conduct their day-to-day activities…Without support facilities, the physically challenged persons would continue to depend on family members and friends without the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives using their strengths and talent

urged the beneficiaries to utilise the aids to improve themselves. Miss Emberu, who lauded the state government for its logistic support in the course of the preliminary work leading to the distribution of the mobility aids and appliances, said Bayelsa, where the third phase of the MTN Foundation disability support project was being launched, was the 24th state they were visiting. Highlight of the occasion was the distribution of the mobility aids and appliances to the physically-challenged by the wife of the governor, assisted by the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Iyorozitei Seibarugu, wife of the Speaker, Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mrs. Martha Binabo, wife of the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Augusta Ekeuwei and the Head of Service of the state, Mrs Gloria Izonfuo. The mobility aids and appliances distributed included wheelchairs, tricycles, Braille machines, Braille wristwatches, armpit and elbow crutches, collapsible walking

‘Let’s sustain the existing peace’ From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri

kingship throne as impostor and not recognised by the Delta State government prior to the death of His Royal Majesty (HRM) Adakaji 1, Ovie of Umiaghwa Kingdom.

He said: “If you go round some parts of the North and South of the country, you will see that some of the traditional rulers are retired Army Generals and if you observe you will not see any monarch that is doing well as the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom because of his status as

•Representative of the counsel to the Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria (ADS), Mr Lateef Kareem flanked by the secretary ADS Lagos Branch, Alhaji Iskeel Yusuf (right) and former Vice-Chairman, ADS Lagos Branch, Alhaji Surajudeen Awe rejoicing over their success on the society’s land case at the High Court, Ikeja

retired Army General. Gone are those days where illiterates and hungry persons are made traditional rulers.” Condemning the statement, the President-General of Oruarivie of Abraka Kingdom Mr. David Emaniru said Oruarivie governed Abraka till 1892 when His Royal Highness Eghwofobe from Urhuogo Ruling House signed a protectorate and trade agreements with the British Administrator, Captain Galloway on behalf of Abraka people. In an attempt to have independence in 1894, Umiaghwa people also signed a protectorate agreement with the British Administrator as Oria people and not Abraka people. Emaniru said in pursuit of independence, the Umiaghwa people wrote a petition to the District Officer in Warri on June 4, 1946 on

•Mrs Sylva sticks, guide canes and hearing aids, while a total of 450 persons benefited from the gesture. The items were donated by MTN, working in conjunction with the state government and the Independent Living Programme for People Living with Disabilities. Items being presented to the disabled. the constitution of Abraka Native Authority. In the petition, they stated that there were two sections in Abraka and so were demanding equal treatment with Oruarivie (Abraka people). He said, “Oruarivie Abraka people are the descendants of Avwaeke, a Benin Prince while Umiaghwa is a maternal relation from Oria Quarters of Ubiaja (Ishan) and Umiaghwa people. If we are going by the records so far available, it should be seen as impostors but not the Oruarivie Kingdom as claimed by the Umiaghwa President-General Mr. Nath Anho.” Emaniru said it is an aberration and an insult on the traditional rulers in Delta State to be referred by Mr Anho as illiterates and hungry people except those retired Army Generals. He described the statement as an inflammatory one that could raise dust among the traditional institutions.where illiterates and hungry persons are made traditional rulers




Preparing a people’s budget in Ekiti


ECENTLY, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State presented the state’s budget proposal to the state House of Assembly. One good aspect of this presentation is that the ordinary people of the state made one impute or the other towards the planning of what has been dubbed the people’s budget. It is tagged so because the people were given the opportunity to bare their minds on what they want to in their various communities. They also were given the chance to tell government to say these are what we want in our communities. This is in fulfilment of its promise to provide good governance which is the first leg of its eight-point agenda otherwise known as the Roadmap to Ekiti Recovery. It should be noted that marked the first time in the history of the state the people would be consulted before the budget is prepared to incorporate the projects they want from the government. The Fayemi-led administration aims to use the first point in its development and transformation agenda to enhance participatory governance and accountability, motivating citizens with ideas for better productivity and creating intellectual bank for policy formulation and implementation. The administration believes that the pri-

From Odunayo Ogunmola

mary thrusts of the governance framework are efficiency in service delivery, participatory governance, accountability and transparency at all levels of government. It was in the light of these that the Government of Ekiti State organised village square and town hall meetings in all the 16 local government areas in which each of the 149 communities were given an opportunity to present three of their most urgent needs. The governor, in his wisdom, felt that sitting down in his office in Ado-Ekiti and deciding for the people the projects they want the 2012 budget to take care of was not the best as he would need to feel the pulse of the people before presenting the Appropriation Bill to the House of Assembly later in the year. To execute key projects in every nook and cranny of the state would require going back to the people to ask them what they want from the 2012 budget in order to fulfill their wishes. This approach is quite different from those of past administrations when projects that might not be needed by them are forced down their throats. This practice has given rise to abandoned and underutilised projects in many parts of

There is no community in Ekiti State that will not be positively touched by the 2012 budget. What our people requested are similar: water, road, electricity, markets, hospitals, schools for our children…The new dawn we have promised is here. This one is a budget of delivery. You will see what we are doing, you will feel what we are doing and you will touch what we are doing


MO State governor Rochas Okorocha has reiterated the determination of his administration to partner with individuals and groups dedicated to the alleviation of the sufferings of the less-privileged. He made this assertion when a humanitarian group, Obioma Relief Organisation, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Owerri. Governor Okorocha stated that the state government, in its desire to address the plight of the poor and the disadvantaged in the society, has established an agency known as the Imo Foundation which would also liaise

the country but Ekiti State is now raising the bar in carrying the people along in the formulation and execution of budget. The tour which took the governor to the headquarters of the local government areas saw each of the towns and villages coming out to present their requests in the 2012 budget through their representatives. Fayemi undertook the meet-the-people tour with all members of his cabinet who were expected to take notes on the requests for projects that concern their Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for necessary action. The tour also afforded the local government caretaker committee chairmen to render account of their stewardship to the people of their council areas and inaugurated some projects. The interface of Governor Fayemi with the people of the Ekiti State was revealing as it afforded the governor the opportunity to speak on the various projects being executed by his administration to make life easier for them. It also gave the governor an insight into the various problems confronting the people at the grassroots in the areas of bad roads, dilapidating and underutilised health facilities, ecological challenges, lack of electricity, potable water, among others. Apparently surprised by the humility demonstrated by the governor in asking for their inputs into next year’s budget as it concerns projects implementation, the people at the grassroots used the forum to lay their cards on the table for attention. Their demands included provision of access roads, rehabilitation of bad roads, markets, transformers, hospitals, channelisation of waterways, establishment of tertiary educational institutions, rehabilitation and resuscitation of dams and provision of agricultural farm settlements.

•Fayemi The people also want the government to provide employment opportunities for the teeming youths, police posts, resuscitation of ailing and collapsed industries, upgrade of some basic health centres to general hospitals, construction of more befitting palaces for traditional rulers, extension of microcredit loans to local traders and farmers, among others. One of the key demands of the people in the budget tour was the creation of more local government areas to bring government and development closer to them as many of the council areas are ripe to be divided into two or more administrative units. To Fayemi, the tour was an eye opener as it has afforded him an opportunity to know more about the problems being faced by the people at the grassroots and the need to tackle same through the instrumentality of the 2012 Budget. The governor has since directed the appro•Continued on Page 39

Imo, groups to fight poverty From Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri

with all such groups. He added that the state government is also sensitive to the plight of the rural poor, hence it has launched its free education programme and would float a door-to-door free healthcare services to every Imo citizen. Governor Okorocha thanked the Obioma Foundation for deeming it fit to care for the lessprivileged in Imo State and prom-

ised to assist them in areas of logistics and transportation. Mr. Kenneth J. Williams, chair-

man, Obioma Relief Organisation of Canada, said that the idea of establishing a humanitarian or-

The organisation with its Nigerian headquarters at Amaraku in Isiala Mbano Local Government has assisted 38 rural women in the form of soft loans in three communities of Nsu and Amaraku and Obowo. We promise to extend our services to other communities in the state

ganisation was hatched during his meeting with Rev. Fr. Anthony Onyenagada in Ontario Canada in 2004. He said that the organisation with its Nigerian headquarters at Amaraku in Isiala Mbano Local Government has assisted 38 rural women in the form of soft loans in three communities of Nsu and Amaraku and Obowo. We promise to extend our services to other communities in the state as we target to empower over 50 rural women.

Comissioner explains transformation •Continued from page 25 bear the fruits of the Spirit as recorded in Galatians Chapter five verses 22- 23 which include love, joy, peace, long suffering, meekness, faith and temperance. He solicited fervent intercessory prayers from the church as pathfinder of the society, for the government and constituted authorities, to enable God to provide them with wisdom, will and grace to lead the people aright. Highlights of the week-long Qua Iboe Church Nigeria’s Annual Conference included the presentation of a keynote address on “Known by their Fruits,” by Hon. Justice (Elder) Ita G. Mbaba, a Judge of the Appeal Court, who was represented by a former Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof. Elder Trenchard Ibia, introduction of the 124th Annual Conference by Rev. O.S Nkoko and Annual Conference sermon by Rev. S.J. Okerafor.

•From left: Founder, Glorious Islamic Centre (GIC), Engr. Akin Laguda; Prof Lateef Salako and Justice Ibrahim Olorunnimbe during the first year anniversary and Award of GIC at Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos



Chime hosts Xtmas party for deaf and dumb E

Apprenticeship scheme resettles 54 youths F

•Governor Orji

IFTY Four youths in Abia State have been resettled to begin their businesses under the Basic National Open Apprenticeship Scheme of the National Directorate of Employment [NDE] after their training. The Director-General of NDE, Abubakar Mohammed in a message said the number was among the over 1724 youths to be empowered under the scheme nationwide. The beneficiaries acquired skills in one of the14 available trades under the scheme and the scheme is aimed at ensuring that the youths are properly trained to avoid them engaging themselves in vices. Those trained include auto mechanics, electrical installation, fashion designing, hairdressing and GSM repairs, and were trained between six months to two years to make them proficient in their various trades.

Ebonyi gets N40m waste disposal equipment


HE Ebonyi government has provided waste disposal equipment worth N40 million to help in effective waste management in the state. , the Commissioner for Environment,Mr Paul Okorie disclosed this in Abakaliki, during a special Christmas and New Year sanitation exercise. “The equipment comprises two garbage trucks and 32 garbage bins, among others, which would be stationed at strategic locations in Abakaliki and other towns in the state for effective waste disposal. “We have taken delivery of 50 per cent of the equipment while the remaining ones will be delivered before the end of the year,” he said. Okorie noted that the government would soon fully acquire the land designated as the state’s permanent dump site, saying that the delay was due to bureaucratic factors. “We have yet to totally pay compensation to owners of the lands which have several economic trees, which are of utmost importance to the owners,’’ he said. He noted that the sanitation exercise was conducted to keep the state clean ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations. “We do not want to herald Jesus Christ’s coming with dirt, as most people would be

Ebonyi in various locations by month end, which is the normal time for the exercise,’’ he said. Mr Felix Ota, the Special Adviser to the state governor on Project Monitoring, praised the people of the state for complying with the exercise, in spite of its short notice. “The compliance level was high, as it shows that the people were imbibing the attitudinal change tenet of the state government on environmental cleanliness,” he said. More than 100 people were, however, prosecuted by the state sanitation court for committing various offences during the period. The court presided over by Mr Ben Ukwa, convicted the offenders of acts which included loitering, indulgence in recreational activities and traveling, among others. They were sentenced to various jail terms ranging from two to six months with option of fines also ranging from N2,000 to N10,000. Miss Oluchi Onyegbule, one of those convicted, told newsmen that she was travelling during the period because she was not aware that the exercise was brought forward to Saturday.

From Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia

• Senior Special Assistant to the President on Aviation, Capt. Usman Shehu Iyal (left) and Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku during the arrival of President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. PHOTO: ISAAC AYODELE

AbdulKareem has donated a 500 KVA transformer to residents of Adedosu community in the council . Speaking during its presentation, Hon AbdulKareem said the gesture was in fulfillment of part of his electoral promises. AbdulKareem promised to continue to serve with the same steadfastness as done during the last dispensation. He said that providing the transformer would not only help restore electricity in the community but would also improve the economic activities of the people as many entrepreneurship businesses are electric power dependent. Receiving the transformer on behalf of the Adedosu community, one of the landlords, Alhaji Kolajo, said the community has made a formal request to

RONTIER Oil Limited, an indigenous oil firm and operator of Uquo marginal fields, has inaugurated a water project for the Ebana community in Eket, Akwa Ibom. The mini-water scheme has a 10,000-litre storage capacity with a treatment plant. Speaking at the handing-over ceremony on Tuesday in Eket, Mr Wole Adefila, the General Manager of the company,urged the community to take care of the project as it


By Tajudeen Adebanjo

the local Government on a need for new transformer as the present one servicing Ifelodun, Kajola, Power line, Onafuwa, among others, have become overloaded. This, he said, has led to erratic power supply in those areas. He thanked the chairman for his effort to ensure the electrification of the whole council and pledged the continued support of the entire community to the administration. The council chair said he would not relent in his effort to procure transformers for every needing community which would ensure quality power supply which is fundamental to economic growth and poverty reduction.

Alhaji Abdul Kareem presenting the transformer and its documents to one of the community leaders Alhaji Nurudeen while the council manager. Mrs Adeola Sanya, Vice Chairman Alhaji Sulaiman Oduesu and other community leaders look on


Akwa Ibom belonged to them. He thanked the community for its patience with the firm which had a drilling operation without finding oil in commercial quantities. “I wish to commend your patience with us, as we made so many promises about five years ago. It has been a long wait, but it is worth it and we remain committed to our pledge to community development in our operational area. “Our approach to development is different because it is driven by the participation of the beneficiaries so that they have a stake in the project of their choice. “Our emphasis is on human capacity development and we have so far trained more than 300 youths in skills acquisition schemes and the income they generate rubs off on their families,” Adefila stated. In his remarks, Mr Justine Okwuofu, the Programmes Co-ordinator of Pro Natura International, Nigeria, the implementing Community Development NGO, said the organisation involved the beneficiaries from conception stage to the implementation. “Our approach to development is to empower the beneficiaries with the capacity to drive the development process, and this is what has materialised in this water project,” he said.

Land owners decry eviction by govt


HE Odofin family of Ikola Agbenaje, owners of large expanse of land lying at Ikola Agbenaje via Ipaja, Lagos has cried out to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police over ‘the unlawful activities of officials of Lagos State Government in drafting men of the police command as security cover to enable them pull down their houses at Ikola via Ipaja in Agbado/Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area.’ In a letter to the state Commissioner of Police, which was also made available to The Nation, the family’s solicitors, Olusegun Mohammed Kumogun and Co. stated that ‘the kernel of our clients complaint is that the official of Lagos State Government are taking illegal actions to demolish our clients’ house in spite of a pending court action instituted by our clients against the state government.’ They stated that despite the fact the case is still pending at the court, before Honourable Justice Ipaye of Lagos High court, they were surprised when on Thursday 1st December, 2011 the officials of the state government drafted about 50 armed policemen to the land with bulldozers with a view to demolishing their houses on the land subject matter of the pending case. They also stated that it was the quick intervention of the Divisional Crime Officer of Alagbado Police Station that saved the situation from degenerating to violence and blood bath when the DPO demanded from the

By Michael Orodare

state officials to provide an order from either the court or from the state government permitting them to demolish the houses, but the officials could not provide any order. The solicitors further stated that “the claim by the Lagos State Government in their statement of Defence in the pending suit before the High Court that our clients’ land was acquired by Lagos State Government in 1980 has been defeated by sections16(1) and 21 Limitation Law of Lagos State CAP L67. ‘The cumulative effect of these sections is that our clients’ land claimed to be acquired in 1980 has been allowed to remain fallow for more than 20 years. From 1980 to 2011 (31years) when the land had been acquired and abandoned by Lagos State Government. Section 16(1) cited thereof allowed the state government to acquire land and use it within 20 years and since they have failed to use our clients’ land within 20 years, Section 21 of Limitation law of Lagos Stated cited hereof has extinguished the right of Lagos State Government over the land.” They however appealed to the state Commissioner of Police to take necessary actions to forestall break down of law and order ‘by calling on the Lagos State Government to be law abiding and not allow themselves to be used to cause chaos and bloodletting in Lagos State.’


ESIDENTS of Lagos Island Federal Constituency have praised a member of the House of Representatives Hon Yakubu Balogun for providing free transportation for pupils and students of the constituency.The lawmaker has donated school buses to the pupils and students in his constituency recently . An opinion leader, Mr Tunde Ajiga, explained how the gesture has relieved the people of the financial burden. He said: “He has been spending time attending to people’s need and building bridges for peaceful and symbiotic existence as you can see the people are very happy hearing the name Yakubu Balogun. Another person who praised the effort of Hon. Yakubu Balogun, during the grand finale of Hon Yakubu Balogun Soccer Tournament at the Lagos Campus Square, said: “We just need to encourage him by being appreciative, so that others can copy the gesture for the overall well-being of the people. He is wonderful”.

Protest over illegal arrest


HEAD of the Christmas and New Year festivities, residents of Enugu have cried over a wave of indiscriminate arrest of citizens by the police in the city. Some of the residents who spoke to journalists in Enugu, described the police action as unlawful and a violation of their rights to free movement. The police, however, defended its action, saying it was a routine security measure to rid the state of criminals during the yuletide.

By Joseph Eshanokpe

and low per capita. Olagoke, who likened failed policies to fake drugs that kills or dehumanises, said: “the government that clamours for ethical rebirth or rebranding must avoid the problem of stigma.” He called for the overhauling of the country’s transformation, saying that Nigeria needs ‘’a leadership class that will set the vision for it; a vision anchored by knowledge, vision, discipline and moderation with the conviction and firm belief in an all-round development, patriotism, national pride and pursuit of excellence with a workable strategic plan. Comparing Nigeria with Norway, the guest lecturer, said the latter’s model of democracy is founded on accountability, transparency, and deep thinking. The Director-General of the institute, Prof Jacob Etinagbedia,congratulated the inductees for passing the camel eye’s screening of the body. He urged them to be good ambassadors of the institute. He also said: “Let me remind you that being a member of his institute, a lot is expected from you; you must commit yourselves seriously to research and continuous studies. Some of you are no longer reading; erroneously believing that this is the time to acquire wealth.To acquire more wealth, you must be knowledgeable. The wealth will come. Continue to acquire knowledge for your improvement and stop relying on your certificate alone.

Church holds programme


Rep praised over performance • Regulatory Manager, Procter and Gamble Nigeria, Mrs Busola Opanubi, General Secretary Paediatric Association of Nigeria, Dr. Ekanem Ekure and Sana Shah, Brand Manager Safeguard at the formal launch of safeguard antibacterial soap launch in Lagos

• Chime

Administrators challenged on leadership

Oil firm inaugurates water project in Eket

Council chief presents transformer HE Chairman,Agege Local to community Government Area,Hon Jubreel


NUGU State Governor Sullivan Chime has hosted a Christmas party for students of the Enugu State School for the Deaf and Dumb. A statement from the Government House, Enugu, quoted Chime as saying that it would be an annual event to give the students a sense of Master Igwe Nwoga, in a sign language expressed gratitude to the governor for hosting belonging. He promised to transform the school to a higher them. Igwe said that Chime was the first governor standard and to improve the well-being of the of the state to visit the school and also organise students. The governor said the transformation would a Christmas party for them. He appealed to the governor to fulfill his help to make teaching and learning enjoyable promises, adding that the memory of his visit in the school. He promised to provide the necessary would endure in the minds of the students. The students presented special welcome songs facilities and infrastructure for the effective to the governor in sign language. functioning of the school. “We will construct a standard football pitch and renovate the hostels of the school. We will also build a perimeter fence round the school, equip your laboratories and ensure that modern DON has urged administrators and learning equipment is provided. researchers to assist the government in “This will help to improve the well being of nation building. the students because there is always an ability Head of the Department of Mechanical in disability,’’ Chime said. Engineering, Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Prof S. In a vote of thanks, the head boy of the school, A.Olagoke, said administrators are so vital to building a virile nation that their role can’t be overlooked. He spoke at the fifth induction of Fellows and members of the institute of Administrators and Chief Emmanuel Eshiet, the Village Head Researchers of Nigeria (IARN) at the University of Ebana, praised FOL and Pro Natura for of Lagos, Akoka. selecting his community among many others He said administrators must find out why clamouring for the project. Nigeria still suffers from such problems as poor He assured the companies that the attitude to work and lack of maintenance of community would safeguard and maintain infrastructure culture; execution of peoplethe project to ensure its longevity. oriented policies, functional education and “We are grateful that we were given the religious systems, corruption, indiscipline, low opportunity to make contributions and we export and high import. are glad that in making our counterpart Listing the functions of administrators as contributions, we went beyond what was managers of men and materials, he tasked them expected of us,” Eshiet said. on the acute supply of power, mono economy



The Director General whose speech was read by the Abia State Coordinator of NDE, Mrs. Edna Ofordile, restated the resolve of the directorate to pursue its policies and programmes with greater vigor to meet the transformation agenda of the present administration. Mohammed noted that the training of the youths will help them to face the challenges of global advancement in skills needed to move the country forward in their own little way. He noted that the implementation of the programme had very strong grass root impact and was made more effective and efficient through a network of collaborative agencies. The DG explained that unlike the conventional apprenticeship scheme, “it comprised of technical, practical and entrepreneurial training and urged the beneficiaries to display best practices in their fields as there are being settled”. He praised the contributions of the master trainers to the success of the programme and promised more incentives to boost their morale. Some of the beneficiaries Mr. Joshua Anah who trained in generator maintenance and Mrs. Mary Uche a fashion designer, thanked the organisers for making them self reliant. Equipment distributed during the ceremony include sewing machines, deep freezer, dryer and electrical equipment.


• The Company Manager of Edmark, Mr. Benjamen Gboye (second from right), Pastor Joseph Ayodele Oluwafemi of Appreciation Church of Christ Ibadan, (far left )Diamond Manager in Edmark Prince Solomon Essien and his wife Princess Christy Essien inaugurating the Edmark Office at Chief Bamiji Ojo Street, Ikolaba Estate, new bodija, Ibadan.

‘Sustain hard work ’


ONE-time science teacher of Marist Comprehensive Academy Uturu in Abia State and a Port Harcourtbased medical laboratory scientist, Mr. Aloy Okezie, has urged members of Old Students Association of the school to sustain the quality that stands every product of the academy out. Making this call in this year OSAMCA’s Annual Lecture and Dinner/Award Night held in Port Harcourt, Aloy disclosed that every OSAMCA member always stands tall in any academic crowd, distinguished as an achiever yet humble and unassuming. Describing an OSAMCA alumnus as a thorough scholar, morally and intellectually equipped to conquer and rule the world, Mr. Okezie revealed that while other school products are in search of identity, OSAMCA products are naturally head and shoulder above their peers in the country. According to Okezie in his paper entitled: “ The OSAMCA Aluminus and Development Paradigms:Need for a sustained identity ,” he stated that there is need for every member to sustain the good name of the school which is anchored on

hard work, discipline, industry,cross fertilisation of ideas between members.

HE Foursquare Gospel Church, City of Refuge, has begun its nine-day Christmas and New Year programme, ending Sunday, January 1. The programme is holding at the church premises, 13, Adeteju Adeyeye Street, Anthony Village, Lagos. The programme spokesman, Brother Benjamin Unuaghan, said the theme: “Behold His Glory” means the beauty, glamour, majestic expression of the person of the Most High. Other features of the programme include prayer time, show us your time, proclaim his glory, evangelistic walk/xtmas party, Carol/Christmas service, family fellowship among others. Messages at the programme will be delivered by ministers of God within and outside the country.

•Dr. Wilsan Badejo(left) receiving the plaque of Honour from Executive Chairman Ikeja Local Government Council. Hon Wole Odunlami during the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Ikeja Local Chapter merit award in Lagos





‘Forever married, forever one’ Mayokun Jigiola, daughter of Kayode Soremekun, a professor of International Relations and Dean of Political Science, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, married Mokolade Oluwaseun, her bossom friend from primary school in Lagos last Saturday. The event attracted academics, traditional rulers and businessmen. OSAS ROBERT and TOLULOPE OGUNKANMI report.


HEY were childhood friends. They even attended the same primary school where their friendship began when they were in Primary Three. If a soothsayer had predicted that they would,one day become husband and wife, their parents, who probably did not know themselves then, would have discarded the prediction with a wave of the hand. But, fate had joined them together. So, when Mayokun Jigiola, the daughter of Kayode Soremekun, a professor of International Relations and Dean of Political Science, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State married Mokolade Oluwaseun, last Saturday in Lagos, fate was at work. Today, the bride is a doctoral student of Mathematics at the Bentley University, Boston, United States the groom is an electrical engineer with General Electronics, Ikoyi, Lagos Academics, business tycoons and traditional rulers formed the A guests at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Multi-Purpose Hall A, where the reception took place. The ceremony started with the exchange of marital vows. Rev Bolaji Owasanoye, one of the officiating ministers, in his sermon entitled: Forever Married, Forever One, drew his lessons from Hosea 2:19-23. He warned the couple that marriage is for life, adding that any attempt to divorce will be destructive and deforming. The minister cautioned the groom to beware of beauty as it fades quickly. He charged the duo to judge each other with love, tenderness and care, emphasising that it is only true love that never fades. “And that is what you both need to keep you,” he said. He added: “This marriage is an example of service which Christ has given to us. Rather than looking at a greener grass outside, whatever you are ready to do for the one outside, do it for the one inside. Invest in each other by creating time for yourselves. Invest in compliment, apology, money and above all, the word of God.” He advised the couple’s parents to give them space and never to interfere unduly in their affairs. “This is a brand new home and not an extension of the old one. Let them be and pray that God will help them correct their errors. Try as much as possible to solve your

•The couple Mayokun and Mokolade

problems before sunset, because pride will keep you apart. Always remember three words, please, sorry and thank you – they will go a long way in prolonging your marriage,” he said. The couple, their families and friends later moved to UNILAG Multi-purpose Hall for the reception party. The hall was tastefully decorated and lit. The different African fabrics and western outfits, worn by guests, added to the glamour of the ceremony. Guests, trooped into the hall till the end of the reception. Colours of the day were silver and wine. Women at the event radiated beauty with their expertly-styled headgears and matching accessories. The men were also resplendent in flowing Agbada and caps. In attendance were the the Obanoro of Igbokun land, Oba Fadeyi Olaseyinde; Chairman of the occasion, Prof Oyebanjo Oyeyinka and his wife; Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Prof Aize Obayan and her deputy, Prof Charles Ogbulopo. There were also Prof Ayo Olukotun of Lead City University, Ibadan, to grace the occasion. The Dean of Students Affairs, UNILAG, Prof Olukayode Amund, and Deputy Managing Director of This Day, Mr Kayode Komolafe were also there. Prof Oyeyinka implored the couple to show tolerance and patience in dealing with each other. He said: “As you go through this day, remember that today is just a ceremony. What is important is the life you live after. As you go through this journey, remember it requires patience with each other. Also re-

member that anger resides in the bosom of a fool and that marriage is partnership.” The bride’s mother, Dr Rebecca Soremekun, a don, said she feels fulfilled seeing her eldest daughter married:“Words cannot express my joy and like I was sharing with someone who was with us when we picked the baby from the hospital after delivery many years ago, I told the guy, ‘do you remember that, that child we picked three days after delivery.’ She is the one we are giving away now. It’s a great joy,” she said. The bride’s father, Prof Soremekun, expressed immense joy. He advised the couple to be tolerant of each other. Soremekun said:“The contention is that if you have an adult living in your house and she is not married, it is an issue that becomes a prayer point. So, I’m happy that she’s not a prayer point in that regard. She is marrying at the right time. I implore them to learn to tolerate each other because what we are just having here is mere ceremony. The marriage will start after today. The mystery of marriage is that the daughter of a stranger ultimately becomes your best friend and your confidant. So I pray for them to get it right and make good in life.” The groom’s mother, Mrs Bisi Fadeyibi, who is the Deputy Registrar, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), said she is happy that God made the day possible. She offered words of prayers for the young couple, saying that God, who kept her and her husband for many years, will also keep Jigiola and Mokolade. As for the groom’s father, Mr Bode

Fadeyibi, the Chief Technologist, OAU, it was hard to pin him down as he was moving up and down to welcome guests as they thronged into the hall. The groom also lent his voice. He said: “We have known each other right from when we were in primary three. And we have remained friends since then. I actually noticed her when we were in primary three. She was light in complexion and had long hair. We stayed as friends all through, though we lost contact for about six years. Then, we met again in our first year at the university when we resumed for registration and we kept contact with each other all through the time,” he said. The bride corroborated her husband. She said: “We have been good friends for a number of years. I have known him pretty well all my life from primary school and then we became good friends again at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). Then, we have kept the friendship until last year when he asked me to marry him. I didn’t believe it because I have always seen him as a friend and nothing more. So, I advise those that are still searching, just look for your best friend because it’s just like I’m married to my best friend and there is nothing strange about it,” she said. To spice the excitement in the air was ‘The Groove’ band on standby. They thrilled all with lively collection of songs that left many stretching their necks to catch a glimpse of the couple as they danced with youthful vigour into their new life. •More pictures on page 30



SOCIETY •Continued from page 29

•Groom’s father, Mr Fadeyibi and bride’s mother Mrs Soremekun

•Bride’s father, Prof Soremekun and groom’s mother Mrs Fadeyibi

•Pastor and Mrs Tokunbo Philomena Oshokoya

•Mr and Mrs Eddie Angelina Ojei

•Pastor and Mrs Andrew Morgridge

•Mrs Temitayo Sowemimo and Mrs Beatrice Fakunmoju




•From left:Pastor Olaniyi Aniya; Pastor-in-Charge, Jesus Partners, Femi Adefowokan and General Overseer, Voice of Revival Ministries, Prophet Wale Akande, during Jesus Partners 5th Anniversary Celebration at Excellence Hotel, Ogba, Lagos.

•General Overseer, Mercy of God Tabernacle, Bishop Bank Jefferson, his wife Pat and Resident Pastor of the Church, Pastor Wale Olaoluwa during his 50 th Birthday of Bishop Jefferson. PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL




•Oba Abolarin and his Olori, Solape

•Justice Ayola (left) and Dr Adesina

•Justice Babalakin

•Gov Fayemi

A monarch as a social ‘engineer’ The Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, Aroyinkeye I , on December 8 celebrated his Fifth coronation anniversary, with a lecture by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina and launch of his foundation: Orangun Abolarin Aroyinkeye Foundation (OAAF). SEYI ODEWALE was there.


RAFFIC was heavy on the snaky and undulating road leading to the sleepy town of Oke-Ila in Ifedayo Local Government Area of Osun State. Ila’s neighbours looked in wonder as the vehicles made their way to the venue of the celebration of the Fifth coronation anniversary of the Orangun of Oke Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, Aroyinkeye I. It was celebrated with a lecture by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, and launch of the Orangun Abolarin Aroyinkeye Foundation (OAAF). Dokzy, as he is fondly called, Oba Abolarin’s knack for friends and nurturing the relationship was responsible for the array of dignitaries that ‘invaded,’ as it were, Oke-Ila. Although the organisers wanted a low-keyed event, it turned out to be otherwise. The exotic cars parked on the street where the neat and modest town hall is situated, was proof that what would transpire in the hall will be a reference point for some time to come. It was a discourse on the transformation agenda of the government as it affects Agriculture.

As early as 9am, dignitaries and guests had started coming into the hall for an event slated for 11am. There were indications that some had arrived the night before and lodged in neighbouring towns not too far from Oke-Ila. Most of them were his classmates both in the secondary school and the university. Adesina is his old school mate, close friend and confidant. There were others like his teachers, mentors and those he shared the same political ideology with. And most importantly, his colleague kings from both Osun and Ondo states. Leading the pack of personalities to the event was the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi. There were also in attendance, a former justice of the Supreme Court and eminent jurist, Justice Bola Babalakin (rtd) and another eminent jurist, former Supreme Court justice and ex-chair of Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Emmanuel Ayoola (rtd), who chaired the occasion. There were royal fathers such as the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Adesimbo Kiladejo; the Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal; representatives

AWARD •From left: Publisher of ThisDay, Mr Nduka Obaigbena, receiving an award from Prof John Amoda and President, Government College Ugheli Old Boys Association (GCUOBA) Lagos Branch, Mr Alfred Okoigun (right) during the GCUOBA ‘79 Class set First Annual dinner/ Honours Award at Forks and Fingers Dinners Club Ikeja, Lagos.

•From left: Senator Arise; Dr Babalakin (SAN) and Mr Layonu (SAN)

of the Osun State Chairman, Traditional Rulers’ Council, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade and other prominent kings in Osun State. In his welcome address, the monarch reflected on his past five years on the throne and said he has been uplifted and sustained by the knowledge that his friends’ thoughts and prayers were with him. “I have been overwhelmed by the encouragement and support I have received from my people and family, spread far and wide throughout Nigeria and every continent in the world. My friends have been wonderful as I have always known them to be. I have also enjoyed the support and encouragement of more experienced leaders who have been on the throne long before me,” he noted. The fifth anniversary according to him reflected his strong belief in the ability of intelligent human beings to resolve conflicting interests through exchange and dialogue. “I hope the creativity and imagination of all of us gathered here will spiral into a movement and further strengthened the process of addressing these challenges in a more resolute and purposeful manner for the betterment of the rural people of Nigeria,” he said. The establishment of the foundation, according to the monarch, was borne out of a wider consultation with well meaning Nigerians, “to have a common platform to mobilise, leverage resources and drive the process of sustainable transformation of our rural areas and dwellers.” Adesina while delivering his lecture entitled: Reviving the rural economy through agricultural transformation in Nigeria, alleged that the neglect of the agricultural sector suffered over the years was because of attention focused on the oil sector. “The neglect of the agricultural sector as Nigeria became dependent on oil has been disastrous for the country,” he said, adding that the nation has lost massively revenue that could have accrued from oil palm, cocoa, coffee and groundnut productions. Dr Fayemi noted the sterling qualities of the monarch, which have always endeared

•Prof Oyeweso


him to all. The king, he said, represents generational change. “The kabiyesi has taken charge of his reign with traditional modernity. He has also carried it with panache, grace, confidence and love for his people in the last five years. He poured encomiums on the king, describing him as a man who wishes well for his people. Other dignitaries at the event were Osun State Commissioner for Physical Development and son of the late Chief Bola Ige, Mr Muyiwa Ige; his counterpart in Sports and Youth Development, Mr Steve Kola-Balogun; Chairman, Bi-Courtney Construction, Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN); Senator Ayo Arise; Vice-Chancellor, Adekunle Ajasin University, Prof Femi Mimiko; Prof Siyan Oyeweso; publisher, Ovation magazine, Basorun Dele Momodu; Mr Biodun Layonu (SAN) and Mr Femi Onadele, among others.


•From left: Hon Tunde Agbabiaka; Hon Tola Olabanjo, Deputy Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly and Mr Sogo Osikoya during the funeral of the Late Mama Celina Aiyeyemi Ajisebutu.






The new Hujaaj under Hajj Mabrur Ventures Limited has held a reception to mark this year’s successful pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO was at the Dawah Centre, Ijeshatedo, Lagos where the event took place.

Tales from Hajj


T was a day many looked forward to. Previous events had been memorable. Many who have not visited the holy land in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gathered to learn from the returned pilgrims how the experiences were like. Even those who have been there for a long time want to know new things about the city. They never get disappointed by the array of wonderful stories narrated by the new hujaaj (Pilgrims). Last Sunday, a get-together organised by Hajj Mabrur Ventures Limited (HMVL) was not different. The guests comprised family members, friends and well-wishers of the newly returned pilgrims were not let down. Various interesting stories on how the pilgrimage went were narrated. The refurbished Dawah Centre at Ijeshatedo on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, was lively from the commencement of the reception till the end. Some narrations drew out uncontrollable laughter from the guests. Some called for sober reflection and others nearly made the guests wept but at the end of the event, there was cheerful news for all to take home. Aside these, it was also a show of culture and fashion. While the guests looked radiant in African dresses, the celebrators shone in Arabian clothes. The high point of the event that also featured recitation of the Quran, admonition, keynote addresses was the presentation of certificates. HMVL Director of Operations Dr AbdulWasiu Gabadeen, congratulated the pilgrims for a successful journey. Dr Gabadeen hailed them for their bravery during the rigorous exercise. The University of Abuja don urged the pilgrims to be role models in the society and avoid actions capable of destroying the rewards accrued from the holy exercise. While sharing his experience, the Rector of Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) Dr AbdulAzeez Lawal, described the pilgrimage as a “wonderful experience.” Lawal noted that there was a wide difference between the mode of operation of HMVL and that of the state Pilgrims’ Board. “I was able to perform the various acts of worship with ease. I really gained a lot in terms of experiencing true brotherhood, acquiring more knowledge of the religion and how to perform various worships in accordance to the holy Quran,” he said.

The LASPOTECH boss hailed the management of Hajj Mabrur for an excellent co-ordination and management of the pilgrims’. This agency, he said, “exposed us to the fact that all human beings are equal irrespective of who you are and there is also improvement in the level of our faith. No matter who you are, you will be encouraged to ensure that you attend to your five daily prayers.” Lawal urged the Nigerian government to emulate its Saudi Arabian counterpart in the efficient and effective use of available resources. “I was in Saudi Arabia 10 years ago but when I got there this year, I saw remarkable developments indicating that they used the resources they have effectively and efficiently. You also find out that people are eager to accept the authority of the government. You hardly find a soldier moving around with gun because people obey the authority,” he said. Another pilgrim, Alhaji AbdulKareem Akinsanya, described the holy land as a paradise on earth. Alhaji Akinsanya, a Port Harcourt-based Accountant with the Nigeria Bottling Company wished he could go for the exercise on a yearly. “I wish I could be going there every year. I wish I was born there. I shouldn’t have been born in Nigeria. I should have been born in Makkah or Medina. Spiritually, it’s a very good place,” he said. “Nigeria has a lot to learn from that country. There was no day that the electricity went off for a second. If you see their police, they were polite with the pilgrims. They do not use guns or baton. If they see something that they want you to do, they will just say Hajji. By the time you don’t see gun or baton, as a responsible person, you will respect yourself. My brother, I can’t describe many positive things over there except you go there yourself,” he added. “I really enjoyed the place. You cannot compare it to Nigeria. In fact, Nigeria is a write-off. When you are in Saudi, you will not feel like coming back at all,” said Alhaja Fasilat Adenike Suliamon, a trader. “There is light 24 hours. The environment is very neat; well-organised. You don’t just here noise anywhere. When we heard the time we will be coming back, not all of us were happy because we knew what we were coming to meet in Nigeria. And truly, on getting to our airport, everybody was lamenting, our precious place is not even as large as where the Saudi government keeps their fowls,” Alhaja Sulaimon noted.

•Sheikh Shafi’i (left) presenting a certificate to Alhaji Akinsanya

•Dr Gabadeen (left) and Chairman, Vanguard Academy Alhaji Daud Arogundade

•From left: HMVL Acting Managing Director Dr Sulaimon Abdulhameed; Dr Lawal and Alhaji Abdulhameed Solate

She praised Hajj Mabrur for a job well-done, saying: “We must give the management credit for our success in holy land.” Chairman HMVL Sheikh Dhikrullah Shafi’I, thanked Allah for a successful exercise. Sheikh Shafi’I commended the Saudi govern-

ment for various developmental projects put in place to cater for the over three million pilgrims. The cleric hailed the governors of Lagos, Ogun and Osun states for handling the leadership of the pilgrims’ board to competent hands unlike previous appointments.

The Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) has rewarded some of their members for its contributions, to the association and the health sector. WALE ADEPOJU writes

Doctors drop stethoscope to party T

HEY were temporarily relieved from their usual ward rounds and prescription writing as they gathered under the auspices of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) to attend their yearly dinner and awards’ night. As medical doctors, one would have expected that their duty would prevent them from such a gathering, but barring all odds, they still converged on Friday, December 9 for their yearly dinner/award night. They were not alone. They were joined by stakeholders in the health sector, friends and other professionals to unwind and reward those whose contributions to the sector have been tremendous. The banquet hall of the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos was the venue of the event and guests (mainly of the medical family and their relatives) had taken their seats long before the show began at 7:00pm. That they were in a celebration mood was not in doubt. They were happy for the tremendous achievements recorded, especially in the health sector, in the outgoing year. The atmosphere, just as it was reassuring, was equally pleasing. Its ambience gave guests the opportunity to engage in friendly conversations. Of note was their

dressing, which set the tone for the evening. Among the guests were Caucasians who mixed freely with their Nigerian counterparts. They exchanged pleasantries with everyone around; an indication that the evening was going to be warm and memorable. The arrival of Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris and National President, AGPMPN, Dr Anthony Omolola, electrified the event, as they were given a rousing welcome. The Chairman of the occasion, Dr Richardson Ajayi, spoke glowingly about the association and its achievement over the years. Ajayi, who is the Managing Director of the Bridge Clinic, said more private practices are needed in health care to support public institutions. One of the awardees was the Managing Director of Pathcare, a diagnostic centre, Dr Pamela Ajayi, expressed gratitude to the organisers for the honour. She noted that the reward for hard work is more work. A pharmaceutical company, Phamatex, also got an award for excellence for its innovative and quality products. It was received by its Chief Executive Officer, Prince Christopher Nebe.

•Dr Richard Ajayi (left), receiving an award from Dr Adenike Olaniba, National President of HCPAN

•Dr Pamela Ajayi receiving the award from Dr Oladosu




•The celebrator Mrs Christiana Olusola Odesanya (centre) being assisted by Chief Alaba Lawason; wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun; Senator Oluremi Tinubu and wife of Lagos State Governor Mrs Abimbola Fashola

•From left: Chief Doja Adewolu, Osile of Oke-Ona, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso and Governor Ibikunle Amosun

•Chief Olusegun Osoba and his wife Derin

•From left: Ogun State Deputy Chief of Staff Alhaji Salisu Shuaib; Hon Jolaoso and Commissioner for Information Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu

•Wives of Oba Tejuoso

•Speaker Ogun State House of Assembly Hon Surajudeen Adekumbi

•Special Adviser to Governor on Commerce and Industry Mr Femi Ogunsola (left) and General •Princess Iyabo Odulate and her husband, Alhaji Fassy Yusuf Manager, Ogun State Television, Alhaji Ayinde Soaga




OlawaleCole in NIM’s saddle T

HEY are professionals; managers trained by their institute in the best tradition. For over 50 years, the institute has churned out tested hands as managers at various levels. Little wonder their presence at the Lagoon Restaurant, Victoria Island, Lagos was remarkable. They came to honour Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, who was installed as the 18th president and chairman of council of their institute. To secure vantage position in the prestigious restaurant, some had arrived as early as 9.30am, gaily dressed, for an event slated for 11am. Everything about the hall accentuated the event of the day as it wore the institute’s colours of red, blue and white, with half of it being filled by the past fellows of the institute. With Jide Benson as the master of ceremonies, the event took off at the exact time with Sir Peter Edeghon, a past president of the institute saying the opening prayer. The immediate past president, Dr Sally Adukwu-Bolujoko, in line with the tradition of the institute, led the NIM Code of Conduct. The former Health Secretary, Interim National Government (ING), Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, who chaired the occasion, expressed his delight being part of the event. He described the new chairman as someone who merited the honour and one gifted with an innate impulse to serve as a leader. “He is one of those quiet Nigerians who inspire people with his life. He doesn’t motivate by speech, but by action. Michael is a Hebrew word which means: God’s gift; he’s truly a gift from God to NIM. Mike, may God bless your plaques. You have done it before in other constituencies and I know you will do it again,” he said. To the out-gone president, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi said: “She is a beauty to behold. She has worked so hard and I in particular, have seen her bold moves and have felt the impact. Madam, you have done well. May your legacies endure,” he praised. Dr Adukwu-Bolujoko in her valedictory speech celebrated past presidents, recounting them as the core of the NIM values and those who pulled the association together. The Enugu State-born lady described her successor as worthy. “Dr OlawaleCole is my brother and friend, who served not only as an active supporter, but a true confidante in these two hectic years,” she said. After listing of the achievements and challenges of the institute during her tenure, she concluded by encouraging the institute to retain her position as the

The Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) on Thursday, December 8, 2001 installed Dr Michael Olawale-Cole as its 18th president and Chairman, at the Lagoon Restaurant, Victoria Island. NNEKA NWANERI was there.

•Mrs Olawale-Cole

•Dr Olawale-Cole and Dr Adukwu-Bolujoko

•From right: Chief Folarin Williams; Azugbere and Uwaga

•Deacon Onosode (left) and Mr Omolayole

•Aimiuwu presenting the book

•Ajanlekoko (right) and Anthony

leader in the professional management industry. The long citation of the new president was read while he remained standing; guests couldn’t help but nod intermittentlyinagreementwithwhatwasreadabout him. After this, Dr Olawale-Cole’s predecessor rose to decorate him. She removed the staff of office and just before she decorated him, she whispered several prayerful words into his ears as he dabbed the tears that almost dropped from his eyes with his handkerchief. She also presented him a handover note, as she planted a kiss on the lips of Cole’s wife, Bolanle, who stood beside him all along. Performing his first role as president,

Olawale-Coledecoratedhisnewdeputypresident and national treasurer. In his acceptance speech, he honoured the past presidents as the conscience of the institute.“ThesearepeopleIwillsayIamproudto be part of. Sally is a darling and I have learnt a lot from her. It is a great privilege for me to stand before you to pledge my effort to bring the institute to greater heights and to the level of success,” he said. Heencouragedhisteamtohavearenewed definition of success as he charged the institute to set a new pace. “I pledge on my honour to lead in the next two years with the Rotary Club motto of service without self, with integrity and transparency so that the toil of our fathers will not

be in vain,” he pledged. The special guest of honour, Dr Michael Omolayode, who is a the third president of the institute said the prayers of St Francis of Assisi, for the new president, inspiring him of his inability to fail An information and-educational book in commemoration of the NIM’s 50th anniversary was unveiled. It was anchored by Chief Lugard Aimiuwo. Guests included former president of the institute, Deacon Gamaliel Onosode; Otunba Femi Deru of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry; former Managing Director of Belleview Airlines, Mr Ggbenga


Olowo and Ogun State Commissioner for Home and Affairs, Bimbola Ashiru. the Rotary family was well represented by Prof and Prof (Mrs) Alaba Akinsheke; past President, Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAN), Bashorun Jaye K Randle and wife; the Director-General of the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Amuda Yusuff; Oba of Odi-Olowo, Mushin, Oba Fatai Aileru; President, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Mr Segun Ajanlekoko; Oba of Onigbongbo, Oba Nurudeen Yusuff; Commissioner for Housing, Lagos State, Mr Bosun Jeje, among others.



•Former Miss Titilayo Janet and Mr Oretola Emmanuel during their wedding at Ekpoma, Edo State

•Former Miss Esele Osara after her wedding with Adebambo Ologunde at the Annuciation Catholic Church, Irrua, Edo State.





Police nab 10 suspected cult members


OME members of two opposing cult groups that clashed a fortnight ago during which an attempt was made to burn the police station in Mile 12, Lagos, are currently cooling their heels in the cell of the State Special Anti-Robby Squad (SARS), at the police headquarters Ikeja. Those arrested claimed to be members of the Buccaneer cult group while most of those at large are of the Eiye Confraternity. The State Commissioner of Police Mr. Yakubu Alkali has already declared a manhunt for the suspects who are at large, even as he promised that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them. The suspects, it was gathered, damaged and looted a lot of shops in the area and also set some ablaze as innocent motorists and passersby who were caught in the cross-fire were also attacked and injured in the incident. They are currently being interrogated by detectives to ascertain their levels of involvement in the clash and the hideout of their other members who are still at large. Police sources at Ketu Police Station disclosed that when the crises started, the cult members attempted to set a police station around Mile 12 ablaze but were stopped by a combined team of anti-riot policemen from the police headquarters in Ikeja and anti-robbery detectives from Ketu Police Station.

Stories by Jude Isiguzo

Locally-made guns, cutlasses, cartridges, charms, and other dangerous weapons were recovered by the police. Those arrested are Adewale Adeboye, Agunbiade Lateeef, Ekun Ganiu, Ayebusiwa Tosin, Joseph Olumuyiwa, Seun Balogun, Ibrahim Ahmed, Badejo Niyi, Korede Kazeem, and Yusuf Olatunji. They, however, denied allegation of involvement in the mayhem, noting that it was all a set up. Narrating his ordeal, Ayebusiwa said: “On that Friday, I was relaxing in my shop and all of a sudden, I saw some boys fully armed and they came to me asking me about somebody. I told them that I do not know anything about the person. I then asked them who they were and they said they are Eiye guys and they started cursing and insisting that I must produce the guy. “Before I could say anything, they had swooped on me and started attacking me. They scattered my house and my shop. So, that was how the trouble started. It was Eiye that started it and I called my elder brother to inform the police about the troubles the Eiye boys were making. Members of my Buccaneers cult heard that I was being attacked. That was how they came to rescue me; it was in the process that

they were arrested by the police.” Another member of the group, Ekun Ganiyu 27, a graduate of Accountancy of the Igbenedion University Okada said they are Innocent. “I am a Bukanner and all of us are. When we heard that Tosin was being attacked by the Eiye boys, we came to his aid, but he has been surrounded by the Eiye boys. The police came and rounded us up saying that we are causing trouble whereas it is a set up by the Eiye and the police,” Ekun said. Another member of the Buccaneer, Ibrahim Ahmed called on the Commissioner of Police to investigate the case thoroughly as no member of the other group is yet to be arrested, adding that there was no way two people will fight and only one person would be arrested. He said: “We are being alleged to have clashed with Eiye boys but none of them is in the police custody. We were set up and the Commissioner of Police should temper justice with mercy. We are not armed robbers and the guns the police found are not ours. It was the Eiye boys that brought the guns. We are not thieves, neither are we armed robbers as being alleged. So, we call on the Commissioner of Police to investigate this case thoroughly.” Another alleged member who simply identified himself as Tosin denied that he was the

•Alkali person that started the clash “ I am not the one that caused this fight. In short I am a victim here because it was the Eiye boys that came to my house to attack me. They scattered my house and beat me up. As a law-abiding citizen, I called the police. If we knew that the police were coming, there is no how we would have carried gun and wait for them to arrest us with guns. So, we are not thieves or armed robbers as being alleged.We are innocent in this matter,” he said.

‘Nigeria loses foreign investment to insecurity’



NIGERIAN businessman based in Houston, United States of America (USA), has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps in resolving the problem of terrorism, as it is greatly af-

fecting the country investment wise. Speaking with Newsextra in Lagos recently, Mr. Chukwudi Owo, who hails from Abia State and who is also the chief executive officer (CEO) of ResourceField Incorporated, a policy management consultancy company, explained that the country is losing hug amount of foreign investment on a daily bases as a result of the activities of Boko Haram sect that has made the country unsafe for any form of investment. He said, “What I see In Nigeria is very scary and my heart bleeds. Wicked people are wrecking this country in every facet. From the lowest to the highest level of government, you will see wicked people sending many into poverty and creating the enabling environment for today’s and tomorrow’s violence to thrive. “The Boko Haram issue did not start today and looking back into the 80’s, we had the Matacinne crisis in Maiduguri but that issue was not properly handled and investigated. The government would have found out what causes religion-induced crisis. But the issue was swept under the carpet

and it has resurfaced today and they are called Boko Haram-people who despise western education. So, we see them escalating violence through bombings and wasting valuable lives and investments. “When you look strictly at Boko Haram, you will see what is called the Almajiri. These are people taken away from the formal education system and this should not be as any government is to ensure that its citizens acquire basic primary and secondary education. Also due to poverty, unemployment and their socialisation process, these youths have grown up to hate western education, turning themselves against the country, the effect is that lives are been wasted while foreign investors now see Nigeria as a high risk country to invest their cash. “The truth is that investors do not discriminate. They go to where their investment will grow and there are competitions to get investors. These are investors that can create jobs for our teeming youths. Sadly, the crisis in the country is taking its toll on businesses as our company

was about to out sign a business funding investment in the real sector to the tune of1.2billion US dollars to build houses in Abuja and Lagos. Sadly, the Independence Day bombing last year scared the investors away. Several other such investments have been lost to insecurity and this does not augur well for the country,” he said. Owo explained that government needs to stop paying lip services to the security problems in the country if it really wants to attract foreign investment of any kind. “They must first recognise it and then begin to consciously solve the problem. There is nothing wrong in having a central security unit which can coordinate all the intelligence of security agencies. There is need for the country to have leaders with fire in their bellies, leaders who are desperate to cause change in the lives of the people. It is sad that we are just complacent with what we have and we are not desperate for change. This country needs change desperately and we need leaders who can deliver and change people’s lives for the best,” Owo said.

Man in NDLEA net over cocaine smuggling


HAVE made a costly mistake in my life. I know I was facing financial constraints but with this arrest, I do not know where to begin.” This was the confessional statement of Mr Henry Ebere Edward who left Nigeria for Spain to seek for a better and more comfortable life in 1996 after being jobless for years. Edward, a 41-year-old bachelor and also the first child of his parents, reportedly had everything working in his favour while growing up as a child, and his family really looked up to him as one who would better the economic fortunes of his family. Just a month after he arrived in Spain, he got a job in a construction company. He quickly settled down well in the European nation and things started taking shape for the fair-skinned man. The seeming affluence of the Anambra- born man soon ran down with the economic meltdown that is currently affecting every country. Like many others who failed to plan for the rainy day, so was the case of Edward. It

By Titilayo Banjoko

was not long that everything took a drastic turn for the worst. Edward’s new dilemma was how to return to Nigeria after spending 15 years in Europe with nothing to show for it. There were no savings, no car and was unmarried. Joblessness became unbearable for him. While seeking a way to return to Nigeria to start a new life, Edward reportedly associated himself with a drug cartel in Madrid, and was promised some help provided he joins them. He also got a promise that once he agrees to do the bidding of the cabal; he would be assisted to set up a small business in that country. He was then recruited in Spain to come to Nigeria and smuggle cocaine. His return ticket and all he needed was provided for and all contacts were made available for him. His primary concern was how to earn the sum of 4,000 Euros which is equivalent to N8m by smuggling drugs to Spain.

They promised to pay me 4,000 Euros for me to smuggle the drugs in. They also promised to set me up with any kind of business I wanted to venture into…My greatest regret now is that I never got married. My 15 years in Spain has brought me so much pain and shame because there is nothing to show for my stay there

All arrangements appeared water-tight as he arrived in Nigeria safely. Members of the cartel took him to a hotel in Lagos where he was given wraps of cocaine to swallow. After several minutes, Henry ingested 65 wraps of cocaine and took a taxi to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos. After collecting his boarding pass like other passengers on an Emirate flight to Spain, the screening hurdles of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was too tough for him to scale through. According to NDLEA Airport Commander, Hamza Umar, Henry tested positive to drug ingestion and was placed under observation. Days after, Henry began to excrete the drugs he had ingested. The total number of wraps containing the powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine he excreted was 65 and the weight 1.450kg. Speaking on his involvement in the drug cartel, Edward, who claims his situation is irredeemable, said that poverty made him to venture into the illicit trade. “I have made a costly mistake in my life. I know I was facing financial constraints but with this arrest, I do not know where to begin. They promised to pay me 4,000 Euros for me to smuggle the drugs in. They also promised to set me up with any kind of business I wanted to venture into. “My greatest regret now is that I never got married. My 15 years in Spain has brought me so much pain and shame because there is nothing to show for my stay there. But I just could

•Edward not come home without something to show to my people, especially my parents,” Edward lamented. Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Mr Ahmadu Giade, called on members of the public to turn away from drug trafficking and live an upright life. “Good name is better than silver. My appeal is for people to appreciate the value of not having a criminal record in their lives. It is gainful to be upright and be a man or woman of integrity,” Giade said. Upon conclusion of investigation, Edward has being charged to court, and he is expected to face prosecution.




Experts advise govt on fuel subsidy removal From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

•Prof. Ajienka


HE Federal Government and other stakeholders have been urged to build more refineries to augment the services of the existing four refineries that cannot supply the required refined petroleum products. This will put to an end the country’s over dependence on imported of fuel. Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Prof. Joseph Ajienka, gave the advice in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital in a chat with Newsextra. He noted that there are two refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna. Ajienka also stated that there was the need for the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which could not be passed by the immediate past National •Continued from page 27 priate authorities to ensure that all the relevant MDAs begin action on the requests tendered by the various communities for the purpose of factoring them into the 2012 budget. One of the highpoints of the statewide tour was the flag-off of 13 major road projects spanning 187.87 kilometers by the governor which are expected to gulp N11.4b. The road projects to be executed in Ado-Ekiti are the dualisation of Old Garage-Ojumose Road, (0.8km awarded at N866,872,873.13); dualisation of Atikankan-Post Office- First Baptist Church Road, (0.9km awarded at N891,822,525.30); Ojumose-Basiri Police Headquarters , Iyin Road, (4.9km, awarded at N1,488,054, 374.92); Fajuyi University Teach-

Assembly and which was returned to the executive to be re-presented. The bill, he said, would sanitise the oil industry. On the planned removal of fuel subsidy, a former President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Mr. Bobo Brown said that it is a trap being set for President Goodluck Jonathan to fall into, and which will hasten his removal. A member of the Board of Treasure Energy Resources, Dr. Joe Ellah, has also urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the oil sector with a view to constructing more refineries, even as he stressed that large refineries could not be built and run without a sustainable supply of crude oil. Ellah called for the scrapping of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), which was accused of involvement in award of contracts to marketers, while insisting that crude oil must be refined locally and that Offshore Processing Scheme (OPS) of crude oil should be revisited. They spoke at a Roundtable on Petroleum Subsidy organised by the Emerald Institute of Energy Economics, Policy and Strategic Studies of the University of Port Harcourt. The event was attended by eminent personalities including Prof. Ben Naanen the Director of the institute. Prof Ajienka said: “Queues are building up. We may buy fuel (petrol) at N140 per litre. Nigeria does

not have refining capacity. We must consider short, medium and longterm solutions, most important of which are building of more refineries and passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill. “Refined petroleum products should be readily available throughout Nigeria. We should not be depending on importation of fuel.” Ajienka, a Petroleum Engineer, also expressed displeasure over the nonpassage of the PIB, which had been in the National Assembly for over two years, a situation he described as a shame, even as he said that petroleum must be taken as a strategic national resource. The former NIPR president further stated that President Jonathan had been held hostage by certain forces. He wondered why Nigeria, the biggest producer of crude oil in Africa and 6th in the world, would not be able to refine required petroleum products locally. Brown said: “Local content is local

contempt for all of us. There is nothing local behind it. If local content is working, all the multi-national oil companies would have moved their corporate headquarters to the Niger Delta. “Quite unfortunately, President Jonathan is falling for the fuel subsidy removal, which is to lure him to fall into a trap in order to blackmail and isolate him from his immediate constituency, paint him as a failure and eventually impeach him. “Excess crude oil funds should have been utilised in building more refineries in the Niger Delta, thereby engaging the youth and empowering the people. “The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is a monster monopoly. Nigeria is so indebted because the cost of governance is outrageous, with the leaders living ostentatiously. Government is privatised in Nigeria.” He also noted that there was the need for President Jonathan admin-

Excess crude oil funds should have been utilised in building more refineries in the Niger Delta, thereby engaging the youth and empowering the people…The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is a monster monopoly. Nigeria is so indebted because the cost of governance is outrageous, with the leaders living ostentatiously

istration to gain the confidence of Nigerians and for the stakeholders to participate in governance and policy formulation and implementation processes. Naanen, the Director of the Emerald Institute, earlier in his welcome address, stated that the removal of the “so-called” subsidy was becoming controversial, with debate on whether the fuel was being subsidised or not. He disclosed that the institute decided to contribute to the debate. While also speaking, an Assistant Director of Emerald Institute, Dr. Eme Ekekwe, declared that corruption and fall in exchange rates and not fuel were being subsidised by the Federal Government. Ekekwe added that the Federal Government must not remove fuel subsidy now, until the corruption in the system had been addressed and more refineries built. He further said that President Jonathan administration should begin its planned transformation agenda which he said is being delayed. On his part, Nnwobunwene Scf a scholar at UNIPORT urged the President to remove the subsidy and face the consequences. He said that when drastic measures were applied, the people would be forced to think and Nigerians would display their creativity. Nigerians, especially the masses, are already groaning. The Federal Government should consider the suffering Nigerians by not going ahead with the planned removal of fuel subsidy.

Preparing a people’s budget in Ekiti ing Hospital Road (1.65km, awarded at N447,544,063.50); and Ijigbo- Baptist College – Ilawe Road, (3.62km, awarded at N788,038,599.60). Others are Igede-Awo-Ido Road (24km, awarded at N995,662,458.00); Ikere-Igbaraodo Road, (19km, awarded at N494,815,781.25); Ikogosi-Ipole-Iloro-Efon Alaaye Road (24km, awarded at N877,218,981.91); Ijan- Ise Road (17km, awarded at N702,037,054.62) and Ijero-Ipoti-Ayetoro Road (17km, awarded at N888,258,892.50). The rest are Ilawe-Igbara Odo – Ibuji Road (17km, awarded at N894,698,043.75); Ikole-Ijesa-IsuIluomoba Road (23km, awarded at

N1,139,155,368.75) and Oye-IkunOtun Road (43km , awarded at N1,002,883,612.50). The bulk of the money for the road projects would be from the N20b bonds being sourced from the Capital Market and the money allocated for the urban renewal project in the state budget. The dividend of Fayemi’s outreach to the people at the grassroots is that there is no community that will not get at least one project implemented through the 2012 budget which is unprecedented in the history of the state. “There is no community in Ekiti State that will not be positively touched by the 2012 budget. What

our people requested are similar: water, road, electricity, markets, hospitals, schools for our children. “The new dawn we have promised is here. This one is a budget of delivery. You will see what we are doing, you will feel what we are doing and you will touch what we are doing. “We cannot sit down in Ado-Ekiti and determine what happens in our communities. We are determined to ensure that every community has a feel of government in Ekiti State. “We will ensure that every community has, at least, one key project in the 2012 budget, be it road, water, or health centre. Something will come to each community as far as

this budget is concerned,” Fermi said at the end of the tour in AdoEkiti. With the conclusion of his interaction with the people on what they need in the 2012 budget, the hope of the governed has been raised that the transformation they have been craving for is already here. By the time the Appropriation Bill is presented, scrutinised and passed into law, the locals at the grassroots will be satisfied that their wishes are reflected in the budget and that they have participated in the business of governance. •Ogunmola, who is Special Assistant (Media) to the Governor wrote from Ado-Ekiti

Police arrest six over alleged invasion of shipping company


OLICE operatives in Lagos have arrested six members of a local vigilance group for forcefully taking over a shipping company. The police have stepped up a manhunt on other members of the vigilance group who are on the run. Over 30 men armed with gun, machetes and other dangerous weapons had recently over run the premises of Clarion Shipping West Africa, Navy Town, Old Ojo Road, Alakija. The armed men were believed to have been invited by a Director in the shipping company who was having a misunderstanding with the management. He was alleged to have demanded to be paid some money he allegedly loaned the company. A senior management of the company (names withheld) told Newsextra that the Director actually loaned the company at the inception but that the management had already refunded 80 percent of the money and was

By Jude Isiguzo

about paying the 20 percent before he invited the security outfit to forcefully take over the premises. A senior police officer who confirmed the arrest said several live ammunition, machetes, cat skulls and assorted charms were recovered from the suspects. The police officer said the suspects named a Director of the company who allegedly invited them to take over the company. When contacted for comment, the state police spokesman, Mr. Samuel Jinadu said the police would not fold their arms and watch hoodlums reign in the state. He said the Commissioner of police (CP), Mr. Yakubu Alkali has detailed some policemen to remain in the premises to avoid further violence. Jinadu said investigation into the matter is ongoing, adding that those found wanting would be charged to court.

•Sheikh Ali Muhammad Al-Shorafa (left) receiving award of Islamic Excellence from the Director, Centre for Research on Islamic Education, Ustadh Sulayman Latif in United Arab Emirate



The reception was a renewal of the people’s pact with the entire state to give them a respite from the ugly past…Senator Anyanwu assured that the All Progressives Grand Alliance-led government would take the people to the Promised Land

Imo bans hawking in cities


HE Imo State government has placed a total ban on the sell of sachet water and all forms of hawking of wares in all the major cities. The ban, which comes into effect from January, 2012, according to Governor Okorocha, is part of government’s measures to restore the state to its prime position as the cleanest state in the country as well as to stem the tempo of violent crimes. Governor Okorocha, who announced this at a reception organised in his honour by the people of Imo East Senatorial zone, decried the unbecoming attitude of some royal fathers who, according to him, have not only enmeshed themselves in partisan politics but also are currently aiding criminal activities. He vowed to dethrone such erring monarchs, just as he promised to remain committed to his rescue mission agenda by eliminating poverty, anger, frustration and illiteracy among the people. While commending the zone for its massive support for him during the governorship election, Governor Okorocha reiterated his determination to accord all sections of the state a sense of belonging in the scheme of things, even as he pledged to replicate the famous Alaba International Market Lagos in the state, provide new general hospitals and 400 brand new schools in 2012. The Owerri zonal council of traditional rulers, through its chairman, Eze Chidume Okoro had, in an address, praised Governor Okorocha for his people-oriented programmes such as free and compulsory education, massive and

•Governor Rochas Okorocha being congratulated by the chairman of Imo Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Samuel Ohiri during the reception in his honour by Owerri Senatorial District From Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri

unprecedented road construction, and resuscitation of abandoned projects. The zone conferred on him a chieftaincy title of Owelle Ndi Owerri. Similarly, the nine transition committee chairmen, speaking

through the Ikeduru Council chief prince Luiz Oparaocha, said that the ceremony was meant to celebrate total freedom and liberation from the shackles of darkness and perdition. Noting that the Owerri Capital City had begun to regain its onceenviable status as the neatest in the country, the council helmsmen disclosed that the similarity in atti-

tude and disposition between the governor and the average Owerri man informed the decision of the zone to jettison the imposed zoning formula in favour of the governor that represents the general interest to all Imo citizens. Also speaking, the Senator representing the zone, Senator Chris N.D Anyanwu noted that the reception was a renewal of the peo-


HE Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Lagos State Area Unit, will hold the 92nd edition of the annual Islamic Vacation Course (IVC) from tomorrow December 24 to January 1. This year’s camping programme, with the theme, ‘Time to Reflect,’ will be remarkable because male delegates would have a first-hand feel of the society’s Human Capital Development Centre (HCDC), venue of the camp in Naforija, Eredo Local Council Development Area, Epe. Female delegates will be camped at Homat Comprehensive College, Igbogbo, Ikorodu while The Future Leaders (TFL) will use Abu Hasbunallah Private School, behind new PHCN office, off Sholawon Street, Igbogbo, Ikorodu. The decision to use the HCDC, which is under construction, according to the Amir (President) Alhaji Qasim Badrudeen was born out of the need to divert the fund that would have been used to secure venues for accelerated development of the site. “Year in year out, the society faces serious challenges in securing venues for the IVC and usually spends hundreds of thousands of naira to secure such,” Badrudeen said. The MSSN leader said the HCDC, when completed, will serve as training centre aside from hosting the annual camping programmes of the society.

•From left: Representative of Governor Babatunde Fashola, Alhaji Hakeem Kosoko; Dr Bashiru Umar and Alhaji Badrudeen at the conference

MSSN takes camp to Epe By Amidu Arije

MSSN Public Relations Officer Sulaimon Alamutu told The Nation that the executive council of the society have already visited the centre to ensure all facilities are in order for the comfort of delegates. Alamutu said the theme of the IVC, ‘Time to Reflect,’ was chosen to draw the attention on Nigerians,

especially Muslim youths on the need to reflect about the state of the nation, with a view to fashioning out ways of contributing their quota to the progress of the country. “It is sad to note that Nigerian youths today have parted ways with the Almighty Allah in their daily lives, a situation that has resulted in degeneration of societal values and escalation of crimes.

“In essence, the vacation course aims to address the need for our youth to retrace their steps back to the creator,” he said.

ple’s pact with the entire state to give them a respite from the ugly past. Senator Anyanwu assured that the All Progressives Grand Alliance-led government would take the people to the Promised Land and urged all to stand behind Governor Okorocha in his quest to deliver dividends of democracy to the people.

It is sad to note that Nigerian youths today have parted ways with the Almighty Allah in their daily lives, a situation that has resulted in degeneration of societal values and escalation of crimes To achieve this, Badrudeen said, life-changing lectures, workshops, vocational training, sports, fiqh sessions and a host of other programmes have been designed for delegates.

RETRACTION Our attention has been drawn to a publication on Page 37 of Wednesday, March 14, 2011 edition of this paper, which seemed to portray Chief Chidi Ochudo in a bad light. The publication is hereby retracted and we regret the embarrassment and inconveniencies this might have caused Chief Ochudo - Editor






•Representative of the Chairman of the occasion, Amb. Lawal Mohammad (left) with Special Adviser to the President on New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD), Amb. Tunji Olagunju at the validation meeting of the National African Peer Review Mechanism in •Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola and his wife Sherifat cuting the End-of-year cake at a party organised for children at the Council on Abuja…yesterday Government House, Osogbo...yesterday

•Ekiti State Governor’s wife Mrs Bisi Fayemi(left); Special Adviser to the Governor on Planning and Millennium Development Goals, Mrs. Bunmi Dipo-Salami; General Manager, Nigerian Television Authority, Ado-Ekiti, Princess Sade Bankole and his Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Ado-Ekiti, counterpart, Mr. Dare Olorunfemi, when the governor’s wife hosted journalists to lunch as part of 2011 End of the Year festivities.

•Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda endorsing a copy of the 2012 Budget before presenting it to House Speaker Alhaji Yahaya Miya in Bauchi ...on Wednesday

•Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo (right) handing over keys of patrol vehicles donated to Gombe Police command by the state government to Inspector General of Police Hafiz Ringim

•Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (left) receiving the Governor of the Year Award from the National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Mohammed Garba, at the NUJ end-of-the-year dinner in Abuja...on Wednesday. With them are Mimiko’s wife, Kemi and Secretary to the Governorment of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim

•Anambra State Governor’s wife Mrs Margaret Obi (middle)cutting cake with children at the Christmas Party at the Government House in Awka...on Wednesday

•Pupils of Christ the King Catholic Church, Ilasamaja, Lagos singing at a Christmas carol...yesterday PHOTOS: NAN and ABIODUN WILLIAM







• Akinderu-Fatai

• Elendu-Ukeje

• Ojo

• Mohammed

• Mrs Okoya-Thomas

With the 2012 budget laid before the House of Representatives, the leadership has insisted that the capital budget component must be fully implemented. The House hopes to use its committees for effective oversight to achieve the feat. In this piece, VICTOR OLUWASEGUN and DELE ANOFI present the views of committees’ chairmen on how they hope to make Ministries, Departments and Agencies live up to expectation. They also speak on issues responsible for the failure of most committees in the past.

Reps Committees’ chairmen promise productive parliament

Zakari Mohammed- (Media and Public Affairs)


HOROUGHNESS in our oversight function is a tool we intend to use to achieve our legislative agenda. When funds are appropriated, they should follow up to see if those funds are judiciously applied; that is what brings about development. The authority to appropriate funds for the running of the country lies with the National Assembly. We give the authority for spending. If they bring in a budget here and we agreed on certain amount for certain sectors, we are constitutionally empowered to find out whether the money is well applied. In some cases, if the money cannot meet the realities on ground, that is when you find out that extra budgetary provisions are made. The 7th assembly will make sure that they follow closely the activities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies to make sure that the budget is not abused but implemented in conformity with agreed terms so that the Nigerian people will be the best for it. What Nigerians should expect is that capital expenditure supersedes the recurrent expenditure in our budgets. The situation that makes recurrent get about 75 per cent of the budget will be reversed. We believe it should be the other way round, that emphasis should be placed on capital budget where you have road networks, infrastructure development. The recurrent expenditure are normal routine spending, so we have to reverse the trend and that is exactly what we stand for in the 7th Assembly.

Moruf Akinderu-Fatai (Legislative Compliance) It is our intention to make sure that directives are followed to the letter. We are going to ensure that contrary to what obtained in the

past; resolutions of the House are complied with. This will give the House in particular and the Parliament as a whole its deserved respect. “On the issue of committees approaching MDAs for assistance, yes, it does happen but we have to discourage it because one of our most important duties is to carry out oversight functions. And when you oversight people, you are supposed to come with clean hands. Where there’s confusion is a situation whereby the Ministry or the organization you are to oversight calls the committee members stating that this is what they want to do and expects the committee’s commitment and support. In a situation like that, who pays for such? So, the confusion begins by the time such an establishment is invited by the House to defend allegations or its budget. It is my belief and the resolution of this 7th Assembly to avoid such pitfalls because we all know the repercussions if we are actually out to serve our people. Remember that we are not unaware that the people are accusing us of being where we are today because we failed to do our job conscientiously. Along the line, we would get to a point where we should be able to do our job as expected, that mean keeping the integrity of this House without compromise, anything other than that is as good as shortchanging the people of Nigeria.

Nigeria is at a level where we are looking at diversification of our oil-based economy. The challenges before this committee right now are quite many. We have the issues al-Qeada vis-à-vis what it has to do with Boko Haram and the National Security, we are looking at the issue of piracy, we’re looking at strengthening and entrenching our relationship with the United States with regards to trade, good governance and so on and so forth. And of course we are looking at strengthening Nigeria so that it retains its position as the leader of Africa. We also want to increase our visibility in places like AU and the UN. Basically, this committee has drawn up an agenda that we intend to go through one after the other. On House members asking MDAs for assistance, she said: “It is going to be very difficult for you to carry out effective oversight over an MDA or head of parastatal that has supported you. As they say, he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Now, in our legislative agenda, it’s very clear that our oversight will not only be inspections, it will be oversight on policies and appropriation. There’s also a template for what we are doing on oversight as well. So, whether or not members go to see their MDAs, we will be compelled by the rules of the 7th Assembly to deliver on our oversight.

Nnenna Elendu Ukeje (Foreign Affairs)

Jumoke Okoya-Thomas (Bureau of Public Procurement-Due Process)

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs, fortunately for us, came at the beginning of a new foreign policy thrust - the African-oriented policy to citizens-based policy under Ojo Madueke to a policy that has an economic base.

“There is no denying the sensitivity of the House Committee on Bureau of Public Procurement. We all know that this is all about due process. Our priority is to ensure that Nigerians

get maximum benefit from government procurement initiatives through the elimination of waste and fraud. We are quite aware of our duties and we know we will be stepping on toes. We won’t mind that as we have resolved to do the right thing for the greater majority of Nigerians. It is not going to be business as usual because as mandated by the leadership of the House, we are going to do our work diligently. “The issue of members approaching MDAs for one form of help or the other can happen. But I have never heard of it. That is not to say we cannot provide measures against such occurrence. This committee, being a very sensitive body, has its own budgetary allocation because our job is enormous. Thus, we have option of partnering with the World Bank and other agencies if the need arises; so we have no need to go cap-in-hand begging for financial support from MDAs we are over-sighting. If we have to do that, then we would have compromised the essence of being saddled with national responsibility. How do we then beat our chest and say we have done the best for the people of this country? That would be compromising our integrity.

Fort Dike (Inter/Intra-Party relationships) We are being guided by the fact that democracy should also be about internal processes in the parties, that is how candidates emerge. So as political parties clamour for free and fair election, it is logical that they have to democratize their internal democratic processes so that there won’t be imposition of candidates. As part of the democratic institutions, they ought to democratize their own processes of bringing out candidates to pave

way for the broader process to improve on. Most importantly, we seem to have forgotten the ideals of democracy in this country in relation to parties. We don’t have independent candidature in this country which means that every elected person from the president down to local government councillor must emerge on a platform of a party. The implication is that the basis of choice by the electorate is a comparison of what each party promises to do for the electorate which is the party’s manifesto. As such, we will work towards making political parties accountable to their manifestoes in such a way that the manifestoes would become more important to parties and the candidates than what we are seeing now. The committee will work very assiduously to bring about these ideal democratic processes in Nigeria.

Oyetunde Ojo (Communications) Communication is in our society. Everybody needs communication nowadays in a modern age to avoid doing anything with complications. There have been a lot of issues in terms of telephone subscribers and the major operators. When you talk about MTN, Glo, Etisalat, Airtel, you even talk about the watchdog itself which is the NCC. Finally you talk about the Ministry of Communications Technology which is the overall in charge of all the operators. We’ve seen one or two areas which we hope to address. If you look at the NCC Act, the NCC Act was done in 2003. 2003 till date is a long time. That needs to be reviewed and a lot of things need to be put in place. There will be some certain review which we are going to bring to the House to look at so that it will benefit all Nigerians. On Reps asking MDAs for hand•Continued on page 46



POLITICS Reps Committees’ chairmen promise productive parliament

Six months after it lost the governorship of Nasarawa State to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is probing what went wrong. The party has promised to quickly engage a new gear with a view to regaining control of the state. Correspondent JOHNNY DANJUMA reports.

PDP unfolds plans to displace CPC in Nasarawa

T •Abegunde

• Alebiosu

•Continued from page 45p

outs in whatever form, Ojo said based on the stance of the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, no one would indulge in such. “Before anyone would compromise the House on oversight, it is necessary to observe the leadership style of the Speaker. He has told us what the agenda of the House is. And if our leader doesn’t do that, I don’t think any chairman of a committee will dare to indulge in such.

Bush Alebiosu (Treaties and Agreements) “Our goal is to make a positive impact on Nigerians and the only way to do that through our committee is to carry out our mandate with dignity and sincerity of purpose. We know that treaties and agreements between Nigeria and other countries are very significant as we strive to develop and grow socio-economically and advance our democracy in our attempts to strengthen our political institutions. We would want to make a difference by ensuring that Nigerians are not short-changed in these treaties and agreements. “The question of committees soliciting for financial assistance from the MDAs where they are to perform oversight functions is strange to me. I have not witnessed one and I have not seen any case reported. The leadership of a body often times reflects the activities of its subordinates. With the kind of leadership we have in the current House of Representatives, that scenario is not likely to occur because integrity and respect for the institution are key guiding principles. There may be such perception in the public domain, but it‘s part of challenges confronting parliaments all over the world. The British parliament, American even the Chinese parliaments have had issues in recent past, but those are some of the realities of legislature. This House will not tilt towards such demeaning level.

Ifedayo Abegunde (Disaster and Emergency Preparedness) NEMA is an organization that responds to emergency and disaster. The end of it is that efficiency of NEMA will be based on how prepared the parastatal is when there is a disaster or emergency situation. NEMA is national and there are organizations that are supposed to be

• Dike

on ground functioning very well which is why we have SEMA at the state level and LEMA at the local level. These other arms of emergency as opposed to the central organisation have not been functioning well and the reason is that probably the states has not thought about it wisely so what we are talking about is that we want to walk very closely with the DG to make sure that all those that are supposed to have apparatus on ground according to the Act that brought NEMA into existence should be there. This way, when issues start, those people in the state and local government would be well prepared,. They should have materials in their storage so that everything doesn’t have to come from Abuja. Those are the areas we are looking into: to be sure of effectiveness of LEMA and SEMA and also we are intending to do our oversight function in such a way that it will affect the entire stakeholders that we are supposed to do over sight upon.” While responding to the allegation that committees are made ineffective by their chairmen going to the MDAs to ask for support, he said: “In this 7th Assembly, we have a legislative agenda and we have said it that no chairman or member of committee should ever go to a minister or DG’s office waiting to sit down, no, it is insulting. We are the one over sighting them. It happened before and now our Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal has made it very clear to us that if you go there and you are disgraced and we hear about it in the House, we will exert disciplinary action. If you have to over sight a particular agency or parastatal and you start begging or sitting in the office as if you are a little boy, it is wrong because we are higher in protocol than them.

HE failure of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State to clinch the governorship seat which it lost to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the last April elections jolted leaders of the former ruling party. Its leaders are now re-organising towards becoming a potent opposition force and winning future polls. The party has now sent out a wake-up call to members. Its first strategy is a tour of the 13 Local Government Areas of the state by the PDP leadership, ostensibly to say thank you to supporters who helped fight the electoral battle. Leaders of the party who spoke with The Nation hoped to take advantage of the grumbling within the ruling CPC. Governor Tanko al-Makura is confronted with managing discontent within his party over the recent selection of executive council members. Some party members and loyalists have expressed worries on alleged neglect because they have been “sidelined” by the administration. The inability of the CPC government to put in place a cabinet early left as possible, thus leaving decision making in the hands of one man for almost 180 days and that created a vacuum that became a weapon in the hands of one man, the governors. During the tour of the local councils by the PDP that ended last week, its Chairman, Yunana Iliya, acknowledged the defeat of his party especially the gubernatorial seat of the state, but expressed optimism that supporters of the party would not get weary. Having also known that there were enemies within which they were unable to identify earlier, Iliya pledged that such members would be weeded out during the coming elections at the congresses from the ward to the state level between January and Feb-

• Al-M akura

ruary next year. The Chairman who said the party is aware of attempts by the CPC to plant weeds among the plants by placing its members among them to disorganize and destabilize the party, Iliya said that is one of the reasons the tour took place as they decided to sensitize the people. He said those who played anti party in the last elections are going to be weeded out. “That is the more reason we have to go round to sensitize our people of what happened. Those who worked for the interest of CPC are known in their respective units, wards and even their respective local government areas, so you cannot be a member of the CPC and at the same time be a member of the PDP. We are already aware and we are taking measures against that”, he said. Pledging that the coming congresses in the state will take care of some of

the lapses that gave the party away during the last elections, Iliya said that the tour would enable it know the level of preparedness of its people saying that out of the 13 councils in the state, only two have PDP representation. The appears to have flagged off preparations for council polls even when the date has not been fixed, its attention has also been on the Appeal Court in Makurdi where it is still challenging the declaration of Tanko Umaru Almakura as winner of the last governorship elections. Iliya also adduced reasons why he remained hopeful that Governor Doma will return. He said the minority Judgment at the Gubernatorial Election tribunal in Lafia gave victory to the party and with the level of evidence at the party’s disposal; they believed that the appeal court will upturn the tribunal’s verdict. On the performance of the CPC government since May, Iliya said he wouldn’t want to talk about it because he may be accused of sour grapes, being an opposition leader. He accused the CPC of concentrating attention on Lafia, the state Capital. “If one road that we constructed even in my zone is brought down to Lafia and cut into measures of what is happening in Lafia, it will cover the entire Lafia,” adding the only reason that the Al-Makura administration is grading the Lafia road now is because of the case at the tribunal court. The next political battle in the state may be over local councils. Both parties want to demonstrate their supremacy. While CPC is relying on the performance of the 18 commissioners just sworn-in, and 13 Special Advisers yet to be appointed to take its gospel to all nooks and crannies of the state, the PDP is doing all it could to consolidate at the grassroots. The test of PDP commitment to building a strong party will come in January next year when congress will be held at the ward and local government levels.

• Chairman, People’s Redemption Party (PRP), and Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa, with the Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Affairs, Sen. Ben Obi, at the sensitisation workshop for political stakeholders in Abuja.



AGRO-BUSINESS ‘Lagos piggery can generate $2b yearly’


• Ogun State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Chief Olu Odeyemi (left) and Olubori at the workshop.

Ogun to boost rice production


HE Ogun State government will soon go into rice production as party of measures to boost its revenue, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ayo Olubori has said. Speaking at a workshop for farmers on loan management in Abeokuta, the state capital, O l u b o r i h a ile d t h e F e d e r a l Government’s move to stop rice importation. The move, he said, is in the interest of the country, which spends more than N100 billion on the importation of the commodity during festive periods. He said the government has identified fertile areas, which can be used for rice production, adding that efforts will be made to introduce farmers to improved agricultural practices. The government, he said, is determined to promote agricul-

Stories by Daniel Essiet, Agric Correspondent

ture. To alleviate poverty, agriculture can bring about foods sufficiency, he added. According to him, rice is a major food commodity, but it is ironic that it is largely imported. The implications, he noted, are the neglect of local rice farming, huge foreign exchange spending, lack of food sufficiency and external dependence on imported food. On the N1 billion Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, Olubori said his ministry has received 496 applications from different farmers and farmers’ groups made up of 5,069 individual farmers. He said, 146 farmers groups involving 1,747 farmers had been inspected.

So far, he said three batches of approvals had been released with the loan volume of over one hundred million. He said the beneficiaries will soon receive their cheques. The team leader for the training, Lord Banjou Deola-Tayo, said the government is making the loans available to promote commercial farming. He said the farmers need to be trained to run their farms as viable businesses, which necessitated applying the principles of management to farming. He said the farmers will be taught simple financial management to enable them to execute them to their businesses. Farming, he noted, is like any commercial enterprise and when run efficiently can prove a successful business venture.

‘Adulterated fertiliser killing industry’


CONSULTANT with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Prof Lateef Sanni, has said adulterated fertiliser is killing the industry. Speaking with The Nation, Sanni said farmers cannot achieve bumper harvest because adulterated fertiliser is not adding to soil nutrient reserves. According to him, poorly prepared fertiliser unleashes negative impact, which must be eliminated to achieve truly sustainable production of quality food. Promoting balanced fertilisation for optimum nutrient use, he said, is a way to encourage farmers to adopt good agricultural practices capable of boosting food production. Sanni said the involvement of investors in the industry will improve fertiliser production and consumption. Their involvement, he noted, will facilitate the growth of the industry, which is dependent for its optimisation on the fertiliser industry. He said enhancing public-private co-operation shows great potential for increasing both yields and balanced fertiliser use.

• Prof Sanni-Lateef-Oladimeji

Sanni said restoring, maintaining and increasing soil productivity are essential for sustainable food production. He said the challenge ahead for policy makers is to find solutions that meet the combined need to protect low-income consumers from higher food prices, to maintain incentives for increasing productivity, and to shield farmers

from excessive volatility of agricultural commodity prices. Meanwhile, the International Fertiliser Industry Association (IFA) said the fertiliser markets for the main nutrients – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) – have fully recovered from the downturn in 2008/09. In its medium-term Fertiliser Outlook 2011-2015, the association said this improved environment, provides a strong basis for long-term investment in additional capacity to respond to rising demand in the agricultural sector. The industry is pursuing its steady programme of long-term investment in new production sites to respond to an anticipated 11 per cent growth in total demand between 2010/11 and 2015/ 16, as forecast by the association. It maintained that agricultural markets worldwide remain tight, with low inventories and sustained high prices. Strong crop prices are boosting fertiliser demand for all nutrients. World fertiliser demand has fully recovered from the downturn and current demand is the highest to date, surpassing the levels reached in 2007/08.

HE piggery industry in Lagos can generate $2 billion income yearly. The Lagos State Commissioner of Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, has disclosed this in Lagos while addressing the Federal Government/ World Bank Commercial Agriculture Development Project Team on supervision to the state. The Commissioner said Lagos has enormous advantage in the production of pigs and vegetables and solicited inclusion of the two value chains under the commercial agriculture development project. He said the state has a total of 205,696 pigs, out of which 43 per cent are reared in Almosho and Ikorodu Local Government areas. He urged the World Bank to assist the state in establishing a major piggery belt. He said leveraging on the huge potential in piggery value chain will increase pig production by 20 per cent, increase sales by 30 per cent as well as employment generation by 30 per cent in the next five years. According to him, agriculture and animal husbandry are large employers and important in the economy. He said the state is implementing a five-year strategic food security plan to ensure availability of food at affordable prices all year round. This include rejuvenation of coconut belt with a target of producing 1,00,000 seedlings to be disturbed among over 200 coconut farmers. On vegetable production, Lawal

said the potential is enormous and the CADP support will result in availability of vegetables all year round. He said the state needs World Bank support to improve irrigation facilities, reduce spoilage and glut as a result of provision of storage and preservation facilities and to increase the total number of farmers involved in vegetable production by 20 per cent. He said the state is building new abattoirs to improve slaughter volumes. The World Bank’s CADP Task Team Leader, Mr Lucas Akapa, praised the Lagos State Government for the implementation of assisted Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP). He commended the state government for the level of implementation of the projects, saying it placed it ahead of other beneficiary states in the country. The Word Bank official said the visit was informed by the need to look at the strong point of the government’s implementation of the projects and also to have a direct interaction with the farmers to make the necessary recommendations. He said the essence of the project was to strengthen agriculture by improving food production and address food security. Permanent Secretary Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olajide Basorun, reiterated the government’s commitment to the implementation of the project.

RTEAN tasks Fed Govt on agric development


HE Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has urged the Federal Government to channel more resources to the development of agriculture to address the country’s unemployment problems. The General Secretary of the association, Alhaji Danlami Navom, made the call in Abuja. Navom also urged the government to make move to utilise the nation’s vast land resources for agricultural production. He said: “If the government gives priority attention to the development of the agricultural sector, Nigeria will excel in its development agenda.” He described agriculture as a reliable means of wealth creation. He said the deployment of resources in agricultural sector would help reduce unemploy-

ment. He said: “The only way to address the problem of unemployment in the country is through agriculture. “If we can go back to the actual business of agriculture, employment opportunities could be generated for a lot of the unemployed. “With the availability of land and machinery, the work will be made easier and agricultural production would be increased. “This would further reduce the importation of farm produce, such as rice, among others, into the country.” The RTEAN boss attributed the rising wave of crime in the country to youth unemployment and said, if the youth were gainfully engaged, the rate of crime would be reduced.

Ebonyi partners Florida investors


HE Ebonyi State government is set to collaborate with investors from Florida, United States to revive its hatchery firm and its agricultural and mineral resources. The state Governor Martin Elechi disclosed this in Abakaliki on arrival from a two-week economic trip to the US. Elechi said the state’s economic team negotiated with the Florida State’s Chambers of Commerce to tap and harness the rich agricultural and mineral resources in Ebonyi State. “We discussed with professors, businessmen and other stakeholders on ways of reviving our moribund hatchery and managing our poultry farm. “They will inaugurate scientific laboratories across the state to check incidences of animal diseases such as Avain Flu and others. “The collaboration will also see the investors and technicians revamping vegetable cropping in the state to make the citizens generally enhance their dietary knowledge.” Elechi also said the Mayor of St. Augustine, USA’s oldest city, expressed his readiness to collaborate with the state in developing its cities to improve its aesthetics.

“The collaboration will help in reviving our hotel management abilities, especially the on-going state international hotel project. “Tourist attractions in the state, such as the Edda Caves in Afikpo South Local Government Area, among others, will be revived to enhance tourism in the state,” he added. The governor noted that the team also discussed cement production due to the vast limestone deposits in the state. “Studies were carried out on the possibility of inaugurating power plants in the state to ensure the smooth operation of the cement factory to be inaugurated by the government. “The investors are expected in the state within one month to conduct feasibility studies and other requirements needed for the smooth take-off of the project.” Elechi noted that though the trip was exploratory, the team would embark on further visits to build on its gains to achieve the overall objectives. “We could not discuss with most of the people we intended to meet due to visa hitches as they had left Florida for other purposes by the time we eventually arrived,” he said.








e-mail: 08033349992 sms only


• Shoppers at the new city mall, Ikeja, Lagos.

Forty-eight hours to Christmas, shoppers are looking for the best bargain as they hit the malls and markets. Top on their lists are food items, reports JANICE NKOLI IFEME. Why not Bible verse greeting cards? Page 50

Shopping for ‘Xmas •STORY ON PAGE 50

Mall turns shoppers’ Mecca Page 51




Shopping for ‘Xmas M

ANY families are preparing in earnest for the Christmas. The birth of Jesus Christ, the essence of Christmas, is celebrated world wide every December 25. For many, it is a must celebration. There will be wining and dining, and, of course, shopping. Many began their Christmas shopping as early as September. In the United States, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving (a national holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, heralds Christmas shopping. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26), marks the beginning of the Christmas Shopping season. It is a day off for some companies and many schools. It is popularly known as Black Friday because the heavy shopping that day helps put retailers’ books back into black. It has been considered by retailers to be the start of the Christmas shopping season since as early as the 1930s. In Nigeria, Christmas is always celebrated with pomp and pageantry. Some companies even close for a few days to enable the workers to reunite and celebrate with their families. Many travel to their villages to celebrate with kinsmen. For some children, Christmas is a time to wear new clothes and receive a lot of presents. Most parents always aspire to shop for their children and the entire family, extended family and friends during the period. For many, while it may not be needful to buy new clothes, shopping for food items is a necessity. As a result, their prices usually escalate, especially the few days before Christmas. However, prices of food items remain relatively stable. You may find them cheaper at major food stuff markets, such as Mile 12, Sabo, Ikorodu and Daleko markets. A bag of good quality rice is N7, 000, N4, 000, N8, 000 and N8, 800 depending on the brand. Beans increased from N500 per paint tin to N650 while a paint tin of garri costs between N250 and N300. One kg of orobo chicken costs N720, medium N680, turkey blanket N800, turkey wingsN850, a gallon of palm oil is N1, 300 and a gallon of groundnut oil -N1, 600. A 20 litre gallon is N9, 400, 10 litre-N4, 800 while the soya bean brand is N9, 600 for a 20 litre gallon, N, 950 for a 10 litre gallon and N1, 980

• Packaged fresh meat

for a four litre gallon. At major grocery stores, you can get different quantities of chicken gizzard at N478.80, N438.90, N422.10; chicken backN215. 85, N1059.99; pork-N397.79, N2137.19, N5199.46; turkey-N6160.97, N5611.53; beef liver-N673.03, N836.59; full chickenN1732.44, N2903.77 and prawns-N2279.19. Some shoppers, who spoke to The Nation Shopping in one of the executive retail outlets, commented on the fact that these malls still maintain the use of coins. Mrs Nike Salaudeen, a banker, said: “I actually prefer buying frozen food here because I believe they are more hygienic. Also, I won’t need to spend time bargaining in the market. Here,

with the price tags on them, you can trust that they are moderate. I only wonder why they always include all this Kobo in the prices. We no longer spend coins in Nigeria.” On hearing her, another shopper caught in: “Madam, you are wondering exactly what I am wondering. Do not mind them. It is just a way of trying to tell us that their prices are cheaper. They can never give you any thing at a round figure. What is the difference between N99.99 and N100? It makes no sense”, he said. Mr Jude Okafor, a Marine Engineer, was excited at the prospect of celebrating another Christmas with his family. He said: “I have been away at work travelling to different

parts of the world by sea. For a long time I have not been with my family. This Christmas for me, is exceptional, as I have a whole month off work so I intend to spend it with my family. That’s why I have come to shop with them. I want to make sure that they have everything that will make them happy this season. A rice dealer at Daleko Market, Mushin, Lagos, Alhaja Risikat Ibrahim, said: “This is the highest season of sales for us and I am enjoying every bit of it. This is a time when people book for as much as five to 10 bags in advance. It is good to behold another Christmas”.

Why not Bible verse greeting cards? Short Christmas Bible verses are good writings that could be used on greeting cards for this season, writes TONIA ‘DIYAN.


HERE are different greeting cards to buy. No matter what type you are looking for, you will find it in thousands of designs. You will find most of them at gifts stores. How do you tell somebody you care? Buy a card and let it do the telling for you. Christmas greeting cards are illustrated, usually featuring a message of the season. As Christmas is just around the corner, many people are busy giving out gifts and decorating homes. When it comes to gifts and well wishes, greeting cards play a significant role. You can write a Christmas Bible verse on it. To make gifts meaningful, choose small Bible verses from the scripture. Christmas Bible quotes on cards certainly add spirituality to the gifts and uplift the recipient’s soul. For instance: “We have seen His star in the East, and have come to worship Him.”- Matthew 2:2; ‘’Every good and perfect gift is from above.’’ - James 1:17; ‘’And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.’’ - Luke 1:14 ‘’When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.’’ Matthew 2:10 ‘’The gift of God is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’’ - Romans 6:23 ‘’Behold... I bring you good tidings of great joy.’’ - Luke 2:10; ‘’Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel (which means, God with us).’’ - Matthew 1:23; “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord.” - Luke 2:11; ‘’When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this

thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” - Isaiah 9:6 ‘’For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’’ - John 3:16; “She shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.” - Matthew 1:21; “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.” - Matthew 2:2; “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” - Luke 2:12. Any of the above mentioned Bible verses could be used on gifts and greeting cards to make them more meaningful. All these verses put light on the meaning of Christmas and the purpose of Jesus Christ coming into the world. There are many other Christmas sayings from the Holy Bible that are appropriate to be written on greeting cards. The best Christmas cards for family and friends have one big quality - they are customised. Every household should send out about 28 cards, as this is a trend that emphasises a personal message for friends and relatives, some people might be so busy that they may have not seen each other in decades. Many people send cards to both close friends and distant acquaintances. Many businesses, particularly smaller local businesses, also send them to the people on their customer lists, to develop goodwill, retain brand awareness and reinforce social networks. These cards are almost always tasteful, and

• Christmas greeting cards.

do not attempt to sell a product, limiting themselves to mentioning the name of the business. Content of the cards ranges from truly Christian symbols, such as Nativity scenes and the Star of Bethlehem to purely secular references, sometimes humorous, to seasonal weather or common Christmas time activities like shopping and partying. Many organisations produce special Christmas cards as a fundraiser, a good example is the UNICEF Christmas card programme.

Christmas cards are designed in many different themes and styles from the very elegant to the whimsical. Special cards with dazzling images and tissue paper inserts tend to cost a bit more, but are quite stunning. There are other types, such as threefolded Christmas picture cards, Circle Christmas Cards, funny Christmas cards, Standard Greeting Cards, Photo Greeting Cards, electronic greeting cards and fun popup designs, Christmas cards that play music when opened, among others.




Mall turns shoppers’ Mecca

Shopping Right with

Shoppers have been flooding the Ikeja City Mall near the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, which opened last week. The mall, acclaimed as a world-class retail and leisure centre, is expected to reduce the traffic between the Mainland and the Island. JANICE NKOLI IFEME reports.

How about a Buy Nothing Christmas?



INCE its commissioning last week, shoppers have been trouping into the new Ikeja City mall. Residents of Ikeja and other parts of the Lagos Mainland expressed joy that the mall’s opening few days to Christmas was timely. It is a replica of The Palms Mall, Lekki, Lagos. The $100million mall was put together by Actis, a private equity that also developed The Palms, in partnership with Paragon Holdings and RMB Investments and Advisory with the support of the Lagos State Government. Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, accompanied by his deputy, Mrs Joke Orelope-Adefulire was on hand to inaugurate the project. The Governor said the presence of the mall would reduce the traffic between the Mainland and the Island. Also, it would complement the teeming markets on the Lagos Mainland while providing employment for many, improving lives and contributing to the economic growth of the state, he said, adding: “any new mall is a new destination for transport providers”. The mall comprises 27, 000 square metres and 23,000 square meters of lettable area. It accommodates 94 stores with Shoprite as the anchor store occupying 4,400 square metres. Other stores already in operation are KFC, Mr Price, Twice as Nice, Nike, Aldo, Lifemate, Pier Cardin, Diva, Complete Interiors and Time Keepers. The design of the mall incorporates informal meeting places, a food hall and a five screen Silverbird cinema. Bounded by access roads on three sides, the five-hectare site is ideally positioned for convenient parking and shopping. The Head, Actis West Africa, Ms Ngozi

Edozien, said: “Ikeja City Mall seals Actis’s reputation as the West African investor of choice: our local team in Lagos has unrivalled access to investment opportunities in real estate, financial services, industrial and consumer businesses and a network that reaches across the region.” Actis Real Estate Director, Michael Chu’di Ejekam, said: “Actis is proud to unveil Ikeja City Mall. This is a project that demonstrates Actis’s proven track record of delivering quality real estate for Nigeria. “We believe that it’s real estate development can have a profoundly positive impact in subSaharan Africa. Ikeja. City Mall opens up a space for Nigerians to work and relax and follows in the footsteps of Actis’s successful development of The Palms. We believe that Nigeria and Ghana alone have the potential for at least 20 more similar scale malls. “It believes that Ikeja City Mall heralds the next step in West Africa’s retail and leisure revolution. There are 3.9 million potential customers living and working within an eight kilometre radius of the site and 900 permanent jobs have been created. It played the lead role in the conception and realisation of the Ikeja City Mall project and is the majority (60 per cent) shareholder in Gruppo, the company established to own and manage the mall, while Paragon Holdings and RMBIA each hold 20 per cent.. Speaking about the project, Mr Afolabi Toyo, Executive Director of Paragon Holdings said: “Ikeja City Mall represents the successful cooperation of a local land owner, such as Paragon, with deep understanding of the local marketplace with an international firm investor, such as Actis, with its track record and financial capability.”

• Shoppers at the mall.

• Shoppers inside the mall.


HIS is the last Friday before Christmas, so may I say Merry Christmas to you, dear reader. It is a season of joy. So, spread the joy and make it a worthwhile experience. Though giving gifts is not all what Christmas is about, it is a very special part of our tradition. Christmas is a time of sharing, giving and celebration, all of which is powered by tremendous shopping. It’s wonderful to give those special gifts that you’ve put some time and thought into. I wish you a wonderful Christmas shopping season and may all your gifts be well received! JANICE NKOLI IFEME You may feel that you do not have a reason to be happy but I tell you that you do. You are alive, so please keep hope alive and be joyful in this arrangement. We want to be seduced. Over the years, I have realised that many peo- That is what the best stores do. However, while the shops are sure to be busy, ple attach a lot of passion to Christmas. It is a time when families unite, eat, drink, make not everyone will be shopping. Some do not merry and celebrate. The greatest of shopping even see the need for it.” I usually just give out money if I can’t find is done during this season. Many tend to flaunt their wealth in the bid to celebrate. There is anything for them”, someone had pointed out. just an incomprehensible merriment in the air So what is the much ado about shopping? Actually, a number of people I spoke to do for almost every one. What are they actually celebrating? A friend of mine was quick to in- not see the need for gifts. For such people, every terject: “Aren’t you happy when a baby is born, thing is cash. The thought of how much more the savbuying a card is even iour of the world?” Another chipped in: “I ‘The fact that most Christmas out of the question. think God just created that shoppers wait until the last Some say it is a western tradition. A man mood for Christmas alone and trust me, it’s worth it. minute is evident by the made me laugh when Once in a year, there is need crowd who flock to malls in I asked him if he buys card or flowers for his to wind down a bit.” final days before wife. His reply was: “Even the weather beck- the for? I do not ons on it” another noted. Christmas. For many malls, “What value it and my wife It reminds me of people who usually would ask: the stage is set for great does not believe in it. “Are you traveling for De- shopping; the atmosphere is So, I buy her clothes and stuff. Or just give cember?” What they actually mean is” Are you even more inviting with her money.” For some, they do traveling for Christmas? Christmas just 48 hours Have you noticed that most away. Even though you are not mind a gift but would prefer money. preparation is geared towards this day? All those shopping at the last minute, Their reason is the want to travel must be on it does not mean that you will economic crunch. A man out rightly said: their by today or “If you want to give exceed your budget’ tommorro. me anything, it The fact that most Christshould better be mas shoppers wait until the last minute is evident by the crowd who flock money. What I need is money because even if you give me a gift, I will not go and sell it to to malls in the final days before Christmas. For many malls, the stage is set for great get money, so I would rather have the money.” But another said: “But someone can give you shopping; the atmosphere is even more inviting with Christmas just 48 hours away. Even a very expensive gift but may not give you as though you are shopping at the last minute, it much if he were to give you cash.” A man I met in one of the malls got me thinkdoes not mean that you will exceed your budget. Just set an approximate limit as to how ing. He said: “What is this hullabaloo about Christmas shopping? Even after Christmas, much you will spend and stick to it. Since you do not have much time to waste, people will still shop. So why are they making just make a list of all the persons you want to a fuss about it as if heaven would fall? Must buy a gift for, along with the gifts that they everyone shop because of Christmas?” I reminded him that he was also at a mall. would most probably like.. It is better to first go to the large stores, His reply: “Yes, I have to shop. I have to buy a which offer everything, right from shoes to few things for myself, my family and colclothing, under a single roof. You will be able leagues”. “So you are also shopping”, I said. to take care of several presents at the same He replied: “yes, I came to shop because it is time. If you love shopping, then you will appre- necessary. All I am saying is that people pay so ciate the art that goes with it: the perfect envi- much attention to this Christmas shopping ronment, music and lighting, tempting treats when they know that the shops will not close positioned in just the right place to catch your down after Christmas. Any way, I don’t blame eye. Shops are not just rooms full of stuff you them. They have to get everything before might like to buy. They are a form of enter- Christmas. May be one has no choice but to tainment. But they are also traps. Every thing join the Christmas rush”. It actually makes sense but I just wonder. Is it about the modern store is designed to entice, to persuade you to reach for your purse. Of possible to have a buy nothing Christmas? A course it is not the stores being entirely men- Christmas where people will not make it a dacious, we are usually willing participants point to spend? What do you think?

Write to us, express your views, observations and experiences. Let’s have your comments about shopping. Your comments, questions and answers will be published first Friday of every month. With your full name and occupation, send e-mail to: SMS - 08033349992









Shareholders approve Ecobank, Oceanic Bank’s merger

HAREHOLDERS of Ecobank Nigeria Plc and Oceanic Bank International, two subsidiaries of the pan-African bank-holding company-Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) Plc, yesterday approved the merger of the two subsidiaries, paving the way for the take-off of the emergent successor early in 2012. With the approval, Oceanic Bank would subsume under Ecobank Nigeria, a merger that would pivot the bank above the mid tier into the top league with wider branches and larger customer base. Speaking at the court-ordered meeting in Lagos yesterday, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Jibril Aku, said the integration of Oceanic Bank into Ecobank Nigeria would create a much stronger financial entity that would be able to compete effectively. He said the emergent Ecobank Nigeria would combine Oceanic Bank’s strengths in the retail, commercial, public and microfinance sectors with Ecobank Nigeria’s corporate banking expertise and the Ecobank Group’s pan-African footprint. Aku said the enlarged Ecobank Nigeria would rank as one of the top five banking groups in Nigeria. He pointed out that the enlarged Ecobank Nigeria would offer customers a bouquet of sophisticated banking products and services and provide them with access to cross-

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

border transactions across Ecobank’s network of 32 African countries. Aku, stated that the economies of scale resulting from the merger, together with Ecobank’s strong technology platform, would improve the combined banks’ operational efficiency, while access to the Ecobank Group’s substantial balance sheet would enhance its ability to finance transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors, and to negotiate trade lines on improved terms with foreign counterparties. ETI had bought the controlling equity stake in Oceanic Bank during the recent mergers and acquisitions. Meanwhile, the Nigerian stock market sustained its bullish rally yesterday with most stocks closing on the upside. The All Share Index (ASI) rose by 0.90 per cent to close at 20,604.48 points as against its opening index of 20,420.23 points. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities added N58.25 billion from N6.456 trillion to N6.514 trillion. Guinness Nigeria topped the gainers’ list with a gain of N10 to close at N240. Nigerian Breweries gained N5 to close at N105. UAC of Nigeria added 90 kobo to close at N30. Oando rose by 67 kobo

to close at N21.77, while Cadbury Nigeria gained 48 kobo to close at N11 per share. On the downside, Seven-Up Bottling Company led the losers with a loss of N2.57 to close at N48.92.. Conoil dropped by 158 kobo to close at N30.06. CAP lost 78 kobo to close at N14.85. Forte Oil dropped by 67 kobo to close at N12.87, while Ashaka Cement lost 62 kobo to close at N11.88 per share. Total turnover moved up to 479.03 million shares valued at N2.46 billion in 3,659 deals compared with 341.5 million shares worth N1.34 billion exchanged in 3,031 deals in previous trading session. Fidelity Bank was the most actively traded stock with 138.491 million shares valued at N199.618 million in 124 deals. Banking subsector was the most active with a turnover of 310.19 million shares valued at N1.30 billion in 2,161 deals. ICT sector recorded a turnover of 107.5 million shares valued at N432.1 million in eight deals. The turnover in the ICT sector was driven by a cross deal of 80.48 million shares worth N418.51 million struck on ETranzact International Plc. The cross deal represented 1.9 per cent of the equity stake of E-Tranzact, indicating a positioning by a new investor.





Mobile money: CBN threatens operators with licence withdrawal T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has accused telecom munications companies of sending wrong signals to the public concerning the operations of Mobile Payment Scheme Operators. It threatened to withdraw their licences if they fail to comply. The apex bank accused the telcos of carrying out public media advertisement on behalf of Mobile Payments Scheme Operators thereby sending wrong signals to the public as well as causing disaffection among operators.

By Collins Nweze

CBN Director, Banking and Payments System Department, Gaius Emokpae, said in a statement, that such practice is totally unacceptable, adding that the regulator will take extreme measures including withdrawal of licences. He explained that the bank is not unmindful of the critical roles of the telcos, hence the explicit assignment of responsibilities to them in the Regulatory Framework for Mobile Payments Services as infrastructure providers.

“It has come to the attention of the Management of the Central Bank of Nigeria that Mobile Network Operators and telecommunication companies have been carrying out public media advertisement on behalf of Mobile Payments Scheme Operators thereby sending wrong signals to the public as well as causing affection among Scheme Operators,” he said. The CBN director, said such responsibilities should be based on criteria which are transparent and generally applicable to all Scheme Operators without discriminatory practices against any scheme operator.

nadian High Commission in Nigeria is partnering with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) to attract foreign direct investment into the country. Both entities recently held an interactive forum between Nigerian and Canadian businesses on how to get young entrepreneurs and professionals involved in the project. The Director-General of the NESG, Mr Frank Nweke, noted that the forum will provide opportunities for networking between participants from various industry sector. He said the body is also committed to reviewing incentives for investment into the economy and would also show participants how to identify viable business opportunities in the country.



HE Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has advised member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to institute framework for criminal asset recovery. Giving the advise at a three day regional workshop on criminal asset recovery in Praia, Cape Verde, the GIABA’S DirectorGeneral, said there are inadequate legal and institutional frameworks in West African countries to ensure that proceeds of crimes are forfeited, seized and recovered. He said it became necessary for countries like Nigeria, among others in the region to have a framework for criminal asset recovery in place

By Akinola Ajibade

to check the ugly incident. Represented by GIABA’s Director of Programmes and Projects, Dr. Buno Nduka, Abdullahi, said in a release yesterday, that it was high time countries in Sub region checked money laundering activities to foster growth. His words: “The absence of the necessary legal and institutional frameworks and mechanisms that facilitate the detection, prevention and deterrence of economic and financial crime often allow criminals to hide the proceeds of their crimes either in the country where the criminal activity was committed or abroad – thus, assisting criminals to conceal, disguise the source, ownership, control and movement of crimes thereby low-


countries with basic financial services, with several more being planned by financial institutions and mobile network operators.

ering the chances of detection.” He said criminals and criminal organisations are attracted to countries where they could enjoy the proceeds of their crimes and evade the legal consequences of such crimes. Speaking further, Dr. Shehu noted that the task of criminal asset recovery seeks to ultimately protect national economies and the financial and banking systems of ECOWAS member States against the scourges of crime. He added that the measure is also aimed at combating the financing of terrorism through “harmonised and concerted adoption of appropriate measures, while creating a platform for a dynamic and broad-based economy.



Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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


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


Offered ($) Demanded ($)



•CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

ECOWAS tasked on criminal assets recovery

Nigeria, Canada trade hits $2b HE Canadian Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Jean Gauthier, has said the volume of bi-lateral trade between Nigeria and Canada is worth over $2 billion per year. He said in a statement that Nigeria has become Canada’s first commercial partner in Africa. Gauthier said the growing political and economic stability in Nigeria has helped in turning the country into an investment haven in Africa. “The revived interest in making more investment and entering into more business partnership with Nigeria and Nigerians is also further propelled on the fact that there have been no defaults in agreements earlier made”, he added. Therefore, to sustain the trade volume, the Ca-

He said such responsibilities should be based on criteria which are transparent and generally applicable to all Scheme Operators without discriminatory practices against any scheme operator. Guidelines for the mobile money according to the CBN require that a telco firms work in partnership with a bank and mobile money operator to attain seamless e-payment operations in the country. At present, more than one hundred mobile money programmes provide consumers in developing

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80



Sold ($)

Rate (N)







250m 400m

313.5m 443m

250m 400m

150.8 150.7

03-8-11 01-8-11


Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %




















Bureau de Change 152.0000








7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2011 “ 14-04-2011




100.00 4.66 2.05 1.29 0.87 2.18 10.52 4.50 0.90 230.00 2.98 2.50 0.77


105.00 4.89 2.15 1.35 0.91 2.28 11.00 4.70 0.94 240.00 3.10 2.60 0.80

BANK (S/N) (S/N)

Parallel Market




31.64 51.49 15.63 12.50 13.54 5.47 2.90 1.45 1.97 4.72 4.28 0.54 0.83


30.06 48.92 14.85 11.88 12.87 5.20 2.76 1.38 1.88 4.51 4.10 0.52 0.80



5.00 0.23 0.10 0.06 0.04 0.10 0.48 0.20 0.04 10.00 0.12 0.10 0.03

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


Feb. ’11

July ’11

Aug ’11





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 9.4%


Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 118.85 98.43 0.76 1.04 0.88 1,642.73 8.24 1.39 1.87 7,351.90 193.00

9.08 1.00 118.69 97.65 0.73 1.04 0.87 1,635.25 7.84 1.33 1.80 7,149.37 191.08



1.58 2.57 0.78 0.62 0.67 0.27 0.14 0.07 0.09 0.21 0.18 0.02 0.03

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


(S/N) GAINERS AS AT 22-12-11


NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 24 Aug, 2011 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 26, Aug, 2011 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%





04 July, 2011

07, Aug, 2011












Ex-banker wins Sokoto ANPP governorship primary


RETIRED banker, Alhaji Yusah’u Muhamad Ahmed, yesterday won the Sokoto State All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) governorship primary ahead of next year’s election. He polled 469 votes to beat his fellow contestant, Alhaji Dahiru Yusuf Yabo, who got three votes. Ahmed is believed to be the anointed candidate of former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa. His emergence is expected to give Governor Aliyu Wamakko a run for his money. In the primary conducted at the Old Airport Road, Sokoto, 62 undecided votes were recorded. It was conducted through the open ballot system under tight security. Hajiya Mohammed, who headed the seven-man Congress and Primary Election Committee praised the delegates for exhibiting a high sense of discipline. She said: “My work was really made easier and I must commend the two aspir-

From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

ants and the delegates for this spirit of sportsmanship.” Ahmed said he has accepted the challenge to be the ANPP candidate in the March 10, 2012 governorship poll. “The task of wresting power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is, however, not easy. But we can successfully accomplish this with the support of the entire people of the state.” Yabo, a former Water Resources Commissioner in the Bafarawa administration, said he accepted the results in good faith. He said: “I have accepted the result of the election as God gives and takes leadership.” A 27-member state executive has been elected to run the affairs of the party. Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma and Alhaji Attahiru Mohammed were elected Chairman and Secretary.

DPP accuses PDP of buying voters’ cards


S voters in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State prepare for a rerun in Dogo Agogo Ward, following an appeal tribunal’s verdict, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been accused of buying voters’ cards to rig the election. The candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) for the Jos North/ Bassa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, accused the PDP in a statement yesterday in Jos, the state capital. The Appeal Court, sitting in Jos, had faulted the National Assembly election for Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency and ordered a rerun in Dogo Agogo Ward to determine the real winner. The court invalidated the Certificate of Return issued to Peter Akuja by the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). In the statement by the Head of Media, Kwande Campaign Organisation, Abubakar Ateeku Yusuf, the politician said: “We have reliably gathered that some politicians …from the ruling party PDP, have set aside some funds to be used in exchange for voters’ cards from the affected ward. “This action, aimed towards rigging the proposed election, is in contrast with the provision of the Electoral Act.” “We are dismayed by

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

this action and we are calling on INEC to swing into action and stop these enemies of democracy. “We believe in the rule of law. That is why we rushed to the tribunal to reclaim our mandate, which we won. Now that the Appeal Court has ordered for a rerun, we are very much obliged to do so. Therefore, the INEC should investigate the matter and take appropriate action against those found wanting, as far as the issue is concerned.” The date for rerun, which has not been fixed by the INEC, will determine who won the April 26 election in the constituency.




NEWS Gunmen abduct five-year old in Edo

Why we hurriedly passed NDDC budget, by lawmaker


The House of Representatives has said it passed the 2011 budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to sustain the peace in the region. The House passed the NDDC N261 billion budget last Tuesday. It blamed the Executive for the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) but commended itself for passing 10 bills within six months of its inauguration. At a briefing yesterday , Chairman, Committee on Rules and Business, Albert Sam-Tsokwa said lawmakers were compelled to attend to the budget because of the negative effects its non-consideration might have on the economy. He said: “There is no way we will talk about 2012 budget without the 2011 budget. “It is to tell the Niger Delta people that we have no interest in keeping the bill, having satisfied ourselves that all the funds are appropriately placed. “Would it have made any sense to delay the budget for the ex-militants to go back to the creeks? ” The Chairman also said the

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

Executive should be blamed for the delay in the passage of the PIB. He said the bill was sponsored by the Executive in the last Assembly but the current House decided to re-introduce it when it became apparent that the Executive was not ready to re present it. “This is an Executive bill presented in the last Assembly and the delay in passing it was caused by a series of amendments introduced by the Executive. “Nigerians are interested in the bill being passed but up to this moment, the Executive has not re-introduced the bill. “It was based on this that the House decided to let Nigerians know that we are committed to the bill that we re-introduced it. “It has passed through the first reading but the Executive said it is bringing another version and this is why we are holding on to what we have to see what version it said is bringing. “When that is done we will now take the first reading of the Executive’s version then

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harmonise the two and then work on it at committee level. “If the Executive had not indicated it is going to re-introduce it, we would have gone further than where we are today.” On the number of bills passed by the House, Tsokwa posited that the lawmakers have done well considering the time frame. “It is not the quantum of bills passed but the quality of bills passed that matters to Nigerians. “What we achieved was monumental and in tune with the resolve of the House to be pro-people. “Viewed against other parliaments around the world, there is no doubt that we have done well. “Within six months, 127 bills passed the first reading, 78 of these are awaiting second reading, 33 have been referred to standing commit-

From Osagie Otabor, Benin


•Speaker Aminu Tambuwal

tees. “Eight bills are also awaiting consideration in the Committee of the Whole but it is important to note that the House has passed 10 bills with one withdrawn. “One hundred and thirty seven motions were reviewed on various subjects with 35 passed as Resolutions. “Ninety two motions were referred to Standing and AdHoc committees six were negative, three differed and one withdrawn,” he said.

Church holds retreat


HE 2011 edition of The Last Plane of Salvation Assembly Retreat begins today at the church headquarters in Ijoko, Ogun State. The theme is “See the salvation of the Lord”. The retreat, starting today, will feature drama, film show, musical concert, seminar and teaching session from Rev. Adetunji Adebiyi and other anointed men of God. Adebiyi said: “Put your trust in God not in any man, Jesus is the best connection you can ever have, just believe in His name and you will see the works of God in your life .”

Miss Niger Delta holds today


HE 11th edition of the Miss Niger Delta Beauty Pageant will hold today at the GloryLand Cultural Centre, Yenagoa by 7pm. The contestants from Niger Delta States are competing for the coveted crown of Miss Niger Delta Beauty Pageant. According to the organisers, Prince A. Sodin, the pageant is not about fun fare but one with a purpose that has added value to life as well as promote youth development,

socio-cultural integration, tourism, capacity building and the rich cultural heritage of the Niger Delta. “The pageant is sending the right signals home and abroad that Niger Delta is not all about kidnapping, militancy or youth restiveness as widely propagated but the region is a peace loving place, full of abundant human and natural resources and investment and tourism potentials ,” he added.

Amaechi seeks monarchs’support


IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has said the support and cooperation of traditional rulers and their subjects is critical in addressing the security challenges in the state. Amaechi spoke at the opening of the 85th Quarterly General Meeting of the Council of Traditional Rulers in Port Harcourt. Represented by Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru, the

governor reiterated his administration’s resolve to rid the state of criminals, assuring that even Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government would soon be brought under control. He urged them to encourage their subjects to utilise the toll-free emergency line, 112, provided by the government to provide information to security agencies.

Fire razes Keffi market From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia


OODS worth billions of naira as well as 1,700 shops were yesterday destroyed in an early morning fire at Keffi Market in Nasarawa State. The fire reportedly started by midnight on Wednesday. An eyewitness said the inferno raged for hours before sympathisers and fire fighters put it out. The delay was said to have been compounded by lack of an access road to the market. The witness said the fire spread so fast because it started from the textile materials’ section. Though it was difficult to determine the cause of the fire, the chairman of the traders’ association , Mohammadu Mato, attributed it to high voltage from the power supply by Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Mato said goods worth N4.5billion were destroyed in the inferno. He blamed the incident on congestion and lack of access road into the market. The chairman urged the state to relocate the market to a safer area.

FIVE-YEAR-old boy, identified as Ekenechi Uwaya, has been abducted by unknown gunmen in Edo State. The boy was said to be playing with eight other kids at his father’s house in Obe, Ikpoba Okha Local Government when the masked gunmen entered the house and took him away. The abductors are yet to contact the family. His father, Julius Uwaya, said he is a sales man with CFAO John Holt in Aba, Abia State. He said he went out with his wife only to be called that his son had been kidnapped by armed gunmen. The father said: “I was told the men came with guns and they asked my younger brother to lie down. They were eight children playing there. “They said the men went straight to my son and took him away in their car. I have not heard from him since.” He said the matter had been reported at New Etete Police Station and that the police assured him they would do all they can to release the boy. Police Spokesman Peter Ogboi could not be reached for comments.

CDHR warns Fed Govt of revolution over subsidy •Calls for reversal of agenda


HE Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) yesterday picked holes in the reasons advanced for the planned withdrawal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government. It specifically called for a conference to sensitise Nigerians on the consequence of a deregulated downstream oil sector. In a statement by its President, Sunny Enenuvwedia and Secretary, Michael M. Ahiakwo, the CDHR warned that the policy might draw Nigerians out to confront the cabal ripping off the country. The statement reads: “We are embittered about the blood draining neo-liberal thinking of our present government, which policy is presently manifesting in the proposed removal of fuel subsidy. We bring to the fore hence we reiterate the increasing suffering of the poor people, the denied and exploited citizens of this great oil-rich country! “It is however out intention to use this medium to inform and warn Nigerians at home and in diaspora of the possible commencement of real struggle for total freedom for Nigerians. The battle will ensure that Nigerians no longer remain a mere allocation under the dictates of a few neocolonial powers. We the citizens of Nigeria are fed up with remaining under the governance and dictates of neo-liberal policies and forces of IMF and World Bank since our independence in October 1960. These neo-liberal policies are led by a few countries and present Nigeria government dance to the dictates at the expense of welfare of Nigerians. “On October 4, 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan forwarded to the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) the 2012-2015 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, and the 2012 Fiscal Strategy Paper. Among other issues, the documents propose to phase out what government claims as its subsidy on fuel beginning in 2012. According to the President, this will make available about N1.2 trillion, some of which will be available for use in creating ‘safety net for poor’ who will be adversely affected by the removal of subsidy, and also go into the establishment of what President calls ‘Critical Infrastructure’. The CDHR notes with disappointment that this 18th time the Nigeria rulling class has increased petroleum product in the last 30 years, giving similar excuses and promises on each occasion.

“The current sabotage at removing fuel subsidy is not the first time our ruling class has tinkered with the price of petrol. On October 1, 1978, the Military Government of General Olusegun Obasanjo increased the price from 8.4kobo to 15.37kobo. It was again increased on the 20th of April, 1982 to 20kobo, and again to 39.5kobo on March 31st 1986. On April 10, 1988, it was increased to 42kobo per litre. On January 1st 1989, nine months latter, another increase was announced where private cars will be charged 60kobo while commercial cars will keep paying 42kobo. The non-justifiability of this price regime led to the announcement of a uniform price of 60kobo per litre on December 19, 1989. On March 6, 1991, 13th month after, the price was again increased from 60kobo to 70kobo. On the 8th of November 1993, the price was increased to N5:00 but on November 22, 1993, it was reduced two days later to N3:25. On October 2nd, 1994, it was again increased to N15:00 but reduced two days later to N11:00. On December 20, 1998, it was increased to N25:00 and reduced to N20:00 on January 6th, 1999, a month later. On June 1st 2000, it was increased to N30:00 and again reduced to N25:00 one week later. Five days later, on June 13, 2000, the price was further reduced to N22:00 per litre. On January 1st 2002, it was increased from N22:00 to N26:00 per litre. Yet, it was increased again to N40:00 a litre on June 23, 2003, and again N70:00, a litre in June 2009. It was later reduced to N65:00 per litre. Through this past experience, we are sure this new proposed increment will add to multifaceted suffering of Nigerian citizens. “This day, the 22nd December 2001, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights makes the final appeal to the Federal Government, We call for immediate reversal of government’s agenda on fuel price increase. “The CDHR shall no longer sit down and watch Nigerians being treated as second-class citizens in their own country where the abject poverty of the masses is in sharp contrast to the superfluity of the ruling class. “The CDHR is ready to collaborate with all forces in Nigeria to combat the inherent nature of capitalism exhibited by our leadership. Together we must unite to take upon ourselves of the society or any policy, which until now has served to oppress us. Without this, it is impossible to resolve the oppressor/oppressed divide in Nigeria.”



NEWS Police arrest 10 robbery suspects in Katsina HE Katsina State Po-


lice Command has arrested 10 robbery suspects, who were believed to have been terrorising the state for sometime. Police Commissioner Ibrahim Mohammed said the efforts of men of the command have paid off with the arrest of the youthful suspects. He spoke in Katsina when he paraded the suspects before reporters. According to him, three of the suspects - Saidu Sale, Gajere Alhaji and Ahmadu Isah - specialised in mounting road blocks on the ZariaDanja highway with guns, machetes and other weapons

From Isah Idris, Katsina

to rob vehicle occupants of their cash and other valuables. Mohammed said some of the other suspects stole vehicles by drugging their drivers when they picked them on the road. The police chief said members of the four-man gang are: Abdullahi Ibrahim and Lawali Aminu, from Zamfara State; as well as Ja’afaru Aminu and Ike from Kuje, Abuja. He noted that the suspects are between 26 to 45 years, saying they had confessed to stealing five vehicles and 38 motorcycles.

Benue proposes N105.5b budget From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi •Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) (second right) with Commissioner for Rural Development, Pastor Cornellius Ojelade (right); Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), Mrs Oluranti Adebule and another guest at this year’s Community Day celebration organised by the ministry at Police College, Ikeja, Lagos...yesterday PHOTO:OMOSEHIN MOSES

Boko Haram, JTF clash in Borno, Yobe •Explosions rock Damaturu•Residents remain indoors HERE was an exchange of gun fire yesterday between members of the Boko Haram sect and of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. A similar gun battle occurred on Wednesday night in Damatur, the Yobe State capital, between the sect and JTF. The gun duel began at 6pm at a settlement called Gudamari in the capital city and lasted for about an hour. This was followed by an explosion, causing panic among residents. The explosion also affected


From Joseph Abiodun, Maiduguri and Duku Joel, Damaturu

the Borno State Housing Estate at Abbaganaru, forcing the residents to remain indoors for hours. Many residents with relations outside the areas called them to remain where they were for safety. The number of casualties could not be ascertained. Efforts to contact JTF spokesman, Lt.-Col. Hassan Mohammed, were unsuccessful. Three explosions occurred on Wednesday night in Damaturu, the Yobe State

capital. They forced the residents to flee indoors for safety. The explosions reportedly occurred in Pompomari and Waziri Ibrahim Estate, behind the Federal High Court. The police were said to have engaged members of the Boko Haram sect in a gun battle in the affected areas. The number of casualties and the damage to property could not be ascertained yesterday. It was learnt that the Boko Haram sect was behind the explosion. The incident is coming three days after a bomb exploded in Pompomari

area of the town. Sounds of gunshots filled the air yesterday. A resident of Sabon Pagi told The Nation on phone informed that “gunshots around Pompomari area were like music”. Another resident said people ran into their homes for fear of being caught in the crossfire. Mallam Aji Manu, a resident of Buhari Estate, said the houses in the estate shook due to the heavy explosion. The police could not be reached for their reaction, as all their lines were switched off.

Police, monarchs meet over insecurity in Kogi


HE Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 8 Command, Uzo Amakulor, has met with Kogi State traditional rulers to resolve frequent armed robbery in the state. At the meeting were monarchs from the Central Senatorial District. About 30 armed robbers on Wednesday invaded three banks in Okene Local Government Area. The robbery would have lasted longer but for the intervention of men of the Nigeria Police Force, who

From Mohammed Bashir, Lokoja

engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel. An unconfirmed report said 10 persons died in the attack. But an eyewitness said three persons were seen lying dead on the road. Amakulor said the meeting became necessary folowing the increasing insecurity. He said the meeting identified some loopholes, which robbers cash in on, promising that the police and the monarchs would rise up to the occasion. The police chief noted that

Pfizer: Trojan victims urge Jonathan to intervene From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


ICTIMS of the Trovan clinical trials carried out in Kano in 1996 by the world’s largest drug maker, Pfizer, have urged President Goodluck Jonathan to issue a White Paper on the report of the Dr. Abdussalam Nasidi Committee. The appeal for a presidential intervention in the lingering face-off between Pfizer and victims of the drug test is coming ahead of today’s meeting between Kano State Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso and representatives of the American pharmaceutical company. In a statement yesterday in Kano, the Chairman of the Kano Trovan Victims Association (KTVA) Alhaji Mustapha Garba Maisikeli said the appeal became necessary following Pfizer’s alleged sluggish moves over the full implementation of the out-of-court settlement between the company and the state government. Recalling the scenario that led to the eventual out-of-court deal, Maisikeli said in 2001, former Minister of Health Prof. Alphonsus Nwosu announced the government’s plan to issue a White Paper after studying the report of the Dr Nasidi-led panel.

the situation was embarrassing to the state and the nation, adding that the monarchs have volunteered to work with their subjects for peace to return to their domains. Amakulor said vigilance

groups would be restructured for more effective performance, adding that some people were sabotaging their efforts to curb crime. He assured the residents that the police would flush out criminals from the state.


ENUE State Governor Gabriel Suswam yesterday presented a proposed budget of N105.5billion for the 2012 fiscal year to the House of Assembly for consideration. Of the amount, N59.5billion is expected to come from the Federation Account, while N15billion would come through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). The governor said the state would raise addition revenue of N13.3billion from other sources. Suswam said next year’s spending would reflect his administration’s priorities and commitment to responsibilities. He said there is need for serious trade-offs to ensure adequate funding of flagship projects in key sectors of the state. “It is, therefore, being proposed that it is not every Ministry, Department or Agency (MDA) that will have provisions for capital projects for the 2012 budget year,” he said. The governor noted that the structure of proposed revenue estimates for next year indicates that statutory allocation would account for about 45 per cent of the total revenue; the Value Added Tax (VAT) would contribute only 12 per cent; while other receipt and IGR would account for 29 and 14 per cent of the revenue.

‘72% of Kwara primary school classrooms without seats’ From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin


BOUT 72per cent of primary school classrooms in Kwara State are without proper seating arrangement, the 2010 Annual School and Annual Education Sector Performance Report of the state’s Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development has shown. The report, which was presented yesterday in Ilorin, the state capital, at a stakeholders’ forum, showed that “only one in three primary schools has potable water supply, and one in seven junior secondary schools has a functional toilet. The situation in junior and senior secondary schools is not so different, the report said. “Records obtained from the 2010/2011 schools’ census showed that the percentage of classrooms that need major repairs in primary, junior secondary schools and senior secondary schools are 25.9, per cent, 8.6per cent and 10.0per cent.”



NEWS Striking health workers urge Fed Govt to rescind decision HE ongoing three-day strike by Federal Government health workers is taking its toll on patients in most hospitals across the country. In most of the hospitals visited yesterday, kinsmen were seen running errands for the loved ones on hospital beds. The workers, especially those at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) said they would not go back to work unless the Federal Government rescind its decision to stop workers from being promoted from Consolidated Health Structure (CONHESS) 9 to 11 which they said was in accordance with the scheme of service to skip CONHESS 10. They also demanded the


LAMATA offers free bus service on Christmas, New Year Day

By Wale Adepoju

reinstatement of officers denoted from (CONHESS) 13 to 12. According to the Chairman, Forum of Federal Health Institution Nurses and Midwives (FFHINM), Mr Olugbena Ajala, “we appeal to the government to accede to workers demands in the interest of the patients so that we can go back to work. Ajala informed that the skipping of CONHESS 10 which was still under review by the Presidential Committee on Industrial Peace and Harmony in the Health Sector had been implemented by Ministry of Health through the office of Chief medical directors and medical directors.

By Yinka Aderibigbe

•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola

PERATORS of the Mile 12 to CMS Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and the IkotunIgando-Iyana-Ipaja-Maryland Bus Franchise Scheme (BFS), both regulated by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), will provide free


bus services to commuters in Lagos on Christmas and New Year’s day. The two operators will be joined by LAGBUS to offer free bus services on the two days. The free bus service, which was first implemented by the present administration in 2008 has ensured such services during festive periods to enable Lagosians move around to meet religious and social obligations. About 190 buses in the BRT scheme would be deployed to cover Mile 12 – CMS, CMS – Lekki/Ajah, Jibowu – Oyingbo – Mile 2, Oyingbo – Fadeyi, and Mile 12 –

Oshodi routes during Christmas and New Year days. On its part, the BFS operator would deploy 50 buses to cover Ikotun – Ikeja – Maryland, Iyana Ipaja – Maryland, Ikotun – Iyana Ipaja, Igando – Iyana Ipaja, Igando – Ikeja, and Igando – Maryland routes. Speaking on the free bus service, the Managing Director of LAMATA, Dr. Dayo Mobereola said studies by the Authority had shown that commuters usually go through a harrowing experience during festive periods because of fewer commercial buses on the roads. ”This prompted the

Fashola administration to come up with the idea of providing free bus services in order to ensure that each festive season, the commuters have memorable experience,” Dr. Mobereola said. He said the free bus service was to safeguard against accidents usually associated with festive seasons as a result of drunk driving and recklessness due to fewer vehicles on the roads and called for caution. He commended commuters for the patronage of the BRT and BFS throughout the year and assured that LAMATA would ensure that the operators improved their services in the coming year.

Police arraign man over theft of N7m SUN State police command has arraigned a 42-year-old man, Femi Johnson over alleged theft of N7million belonging to a cooperative society in Osogbo, the Osun State capital. The police prosecutor, Ismaila Akinlade, told the court that the accused who is the chairman of Joint Heir 22 Cooperative Investment Credit Union (CICU) in Osogbo fraudulently obtained N7 million from the union. According to the charge sheet, Johnson was accused of stealing the money between 2000 and 2009 but the accused pleaded not guilty. The prosecutor told the court that the accused person has committed offences contrary to and punishable under Section 3 and 390(9) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences as well as the Criminal Code Cap 30 Vol. II, Law of Osun State. Counsel to the accused, Mrs. Nnena Ngwu, sought bail for his client, pursuant to Section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. He assured that his client would produce reliable sureties, if granted bail.


Osinbajo wins award By Yinka Aderibigbe


ORMER Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Prof Yemi Osinbajo has been honoured with a Law and Justice Award by the Nigerian Lawyers’ Association (NLA) in New York, United States of America. The honour was bestowed upon Osinbajo, at the Crowne Plaza in New York City, in recognition of his “exceptional and remarkable service in the academic and public sectors and dedication to advocacy for and implementing far reaching judicial reforms in Lagos State”. According to the NLA, Osinbajo was chosen because of the exemplary leadership he displayed while he was Attorney- General of Lagos State, which saw to the establishment of a Directorate for Citizens Rights.




65 dead from Baghdad blast


RAQI officials have said a car bomb exploded near a cafe in western Baghdad, killing five people and pushing the day’s death toll for a series of blasts to 65. The explosion yesterday evening followed a string of at least 14 other blasts that went off in the morning across the city. It devastated nearby shops and damaged cars. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. A wave of at least 14 bombings ripped across Baghdad Thursday morning, killing at least 60 people in the worst violence in Iraq for months. The apparently coordinated attacks struck days after the last American forces left the country and in the midst of a major government crisis between Shiite and Sunni politicians that has sent sectarian tensions soaring. The bombings may be linked more to the U.S. withdrawal than the political cri-

sis, but all together, the developments heighten fears of a new round of Shiite-Sunni sectarian bloodshed like the one a few years back that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the bombings bore all the hallmarks of al-Qaida’s Sunni insurgents. Most appeared to hit Shiite neighborhoods, although some Sunni areas were also targeted. In all, 11 neighborhoods were hit by either car bombs, roadside blasts or sticky bombs attached to cars. There was at least one suicide bombing and the blasts went off over several hours. Coordinated campaigns such as this generally take weeks to plan, and could have been timed to coincide with the end of the American military presence in Iraq, possibly to undercut U.S. claims that they are leaving behind a stable and safe Iraq. Al-Qaida has long sought to sow chaos and provoke the type of Shiite militant counterattacks that

defined Iraq’s insurgency. The deadliest attack was in the Karrada neighborhood, where a suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden vehicle blew himself up outside the office of a government agency fighting corruption. Two police officers at the scene said the bomber was driving an ambulance and told guards that he needed to get to a nearby hospital. After the guards let him through, he drove to the building where he blew himself up, the officers said. Sirens wailed as ambulances rushed to the scene and a large plume of smoke rose over the area. The blast left a crater about five yards (meters) wide in front of the five-story building, which was singed and blackened. “I was sleeping in my bed when the explosion happened, said 12-year-old Hussain Abbas, who was standing nearby in his pajamas. “I jumped from my bed and rushed to my mom’s lap. I told her I did not to go to school today. I’m terrified.”

North Korea ushers in Kim Jong Un era

•The late Kim Jong Il


ORTH Korea proclaimed the beginning of the Kim Jong Un era yesterday, describing the son of deceased leader Kim Jong Il as the “successor” of the nation’s revolutionary undertakings “and leader of its people.” An editorial in North Korea’s official newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Kim Jong Un should move forward on

a path of self-reliance, while continuing the teachings of Kim Jong Il, whose death was announced this week. The paper urged the nation to rally behind the young leader and faithfully uphold his leadership. Kim Jong Il’s death after 17 years in power has sparked regional and Western concerns about the future of a country with a large army, a history of deep animosity toward its southern neighbor and broad nuclear ambitions. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak told political leaders the ongoing transition in North Korea holds potential for increased flexibility in Seoul’s relations with Pyongyang. Mr. Lee spoke as South Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator arrived in Beijing for what South Korean media described as an emergency meet-

ing focusing on regional stability. Ahead of the meeting, South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae said the envoys would discuss how to proceed on the North Korean nuclear issue. “They (South Korean nuclear envoy Lim Sung-nam and Chinese nuclear envoy Wu Dawei) are planning to hold the South Korea-China chief delegates’ meeting discussing the six-party talks. In the discussion they are going to share their views on the situation of the Korean peninsula after North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Il’s death. They will also discuss future measures about the North Korean nuclear issue.” Six-party nuclear negotiations aimed at bringing an end to the North’s nuclear program involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

Opposition boycotts poll as ruling party wins in Gabon


ABONESE President Ali Bongo’s ruling party has won a landslide victory in a parliamentary election largely boycotted by the opposition. Official results from Saturday’s vote, released late Wednesday, show Bongo’s Gabonese Democratic Party and its allies secured 114 of 120 seats in parliament, an increase from their 98 seats in the outgoing assembly. Opposition candidates took the remaining six seats. Authorities say the election turnout was 34 percent. Gabonese Interior Minister Jean Francois Ndongou says the result was credible, an assessment shared by African Union observers. Most opposition parties boycotted the election to protest the government’s refusal to wait for the launch of a biometric voter registration system to prevent fraud. Representatives of parties involved in the boycott called the results of the vote illegit-

imate. President Bongo’s party campaigned on his efforts to diversify the oil-exporting nation’s economy and attract foreign investment ahead of Gabon’s co-hosting of the 2012 African Cup of Nations football tournament. Neighboring Equatorial Guinea is the other host. The parliamentary vote was the first in Gabon since Bongo won a 2009 presidential election, succeeding his father Omar Bongo who died that year after ruling for four decades. 6,200 killed in Syria revolt More than 6,200 people including hundreds of children have died in Syria’s crackdown on an anti-government revolt, a human rights group said yesterday. Syria is facing increasingly fierce international condemnation for its handling of months of demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, partly inspired by the “Arab Spring” uprisings that have

swept across North Africa and the Middle East. Syria said it is fighting foreign-backed “terrorists” and announced that more than 2,000 of its security forces have been killed in the unrest. The British-based Avaaz rights group said it had collected evidence of more than 6,237 deaths of civilians and security forces, 617 of them under torture. At least 400 of the dead were children, it added. The figures were about 1,000 higher that the latest U.N. estimates, which have also been climbing sharply in recent months. “No once can now turn a blind eye to the horror-show in Syria … One in every 300 Syrians has either been killed or imprisoned,” said Avaaz executive director Ricken Patel in a statement. “The world faces a choice: It stands by while brutal civil war rips through the country or it steps up the pressure to force Assad out,” he added.





Tomorrow in THE NATION


VOL. 7 NO.1983

‘If the government is serious about tackling the security challenges and winning the confidence of the people, it should stop, forthwith, the exaggerated attention it is paying on itself’ YOMI ODUNUGA



UST before the Federal Government does what its pastime of imposing punitive economic and political policies on the people, let it be recorded for posterity that not all Nigerians are guilty of opportunistic collaboration with the successive evil reign of our political operators. We can here restate that a good number of opinion leaders and opinion moulders, organised labour and professional bodies, civil society organisations etc have spoken forcefully against the removal of any “fuel subsidy” which people like us have proven to be official deception. The greatest supporters of the removal of subsidy apart from those in government include beneficiaries that have become instant billionaires, as a result of importation of refined fuel, the so called economic and financial gurus who out of their perverted economic choices have retarded the growth and development of our national economy. Despite the clear and unambiguous consequences of the removal of subsidy, the spiral effects of the policy on escalating cost of public transportation as well as its effects on prices of raw foodstuff since the farmers will certainly pass on to the poor the additional costs of transporting harvested farm produce to the market, this government is about to cross the Rubicon in its regular pursuit of anti-people’s policy. It is amazing that the Federal Government has continued to lie to the public that there is not alternative to the removal of subsidy on petroleum. It has painfully refused to respond to the following credible alternatives namely: usage of virtually idle refineries in neighbouring countries including Senegal, Ghana, Angola, Venezuela, and the oil producing countries in the Middle East. Utilising the over one trillion naira the government claimed it had to spend on subsidy to quickly build medium scale refineries with the latest technology. Take an immediate concrete and transparent step to do a genuine Turn Around Maintenance of the four refineries. The constant promise by the Federal Government that the fund generated from fuel subsidy will be available to build infrastructure and promote better social services remains a hogwash and deception. If the Federal Government wants to be taken seriously, then it has to inform the public what it has done with its annual budgetary provisions. That the government will be massively investing in road transportation is another instance of poor and perverted logic. Modernised standard gauge railway transportation is the ideal to move large population from one place to another. But the Federal Government in the 21st Century is still trying to revive the obsolete slow moving train which has also



Just before dawn

• Dr. Jonathan

been funded with huge costs with no positive result. The fact that in spite of the popular rejection of the proposed subsidy removal, President Goodluck Jonathan and his lieutenants are said to be wooing different organised bodies and the media explains the desperation to punish Nigerians for the official ineptitude and lack of capacity for creative thinking. We can now assert that since government exists to serve the general well-being of citizens, the current political operators must respect the popular wish of the people by making use of other credible alternatives available to it. There are now more than 10 million graduates who are jobless. Power supply remains epileptic in spite of regular huge foreign and local currencies that have been spent on it. Chapter II Section 16 of the Fundamental Objectives and Directive of State Policy in the 1999 Constitution deals with the Economic Objectives. In particular, Section 16 (2) states as follows: (2)The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring: (a) The promotion of a planned and balanced eco-



nomic development; (b)That the material resources of the nation are harnessed and distributed as best as possible to serve the common good; (c) That the economic system is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individuals or of a group; and (d)That suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum living wage, old age care and pensions, unemployment and sick benefits and welfare of the disabled are provided for all citizens. The insistence on removing the so called subsidy therefore, is an unfortunate reminder that governance in Nigeria is not about the public interest. Even if a proposed particular policy is desirable, its desirability must conform with public approval and endorsement. That is why popular opinion is an integral part of making government relevant to people’s needs and aspiration. However, let it be said quite clearly that if in spite of the loud and clear rejection of the attempt to remove the “subsidy”, this government goes ahead to act in contravention of the popular will, then it should not blame anyone or groups for constitutional and legitimate resistance that various groups and organisations have planned for. The Federal Government that is having difficulty to pay N18,000 minimum wage cannot be considered as acting in the best interest of the people. Discerning Nigerians have no illusion that the Federal Government is acting to comply with the dictates and prescriptions of Breton Wood institutions under the mentorship of the West as led by the United States . The chances are that President Jonathan is trying very hard to please these institutions without minding the unpleasant repercussion that their usual policies will have on the Nigerian people. There is no western country that does not subsidise one thing or the other in order to improve the well-being of their people. Nigeria does not in fact need the dictates of the World Bank to survive. A country like Nigeria that has



HE proposed budgetary allocation to security in Fiscal 2012 is close to a trillion naira. The federal government needs it. If brain power is in short supply to devise tactics and strategies against the worsening security nightmare in the country, and security agencies themselves are neither organised well enough nor motivated to fight crime, then the soft option of throwing money at the problem could come in handy. We are clearly confronting a security problem of gargantuan proportion. There is the intransigent Boko Haram Islamist sect, which has made parts of the North a hotbed of violent agitations. The government has not found an answer to the sect’s destabilising operations. It has not been established why some members of the elite are conniving at Boko Haram’ extremist actions, whether out of fear or out of conviction, but there is hardly anyone brave enough in the affected areas to openly condemn the sect’s fanaticism. But by far the worst security problem the country is facing today is armed robbery. Highways, homes and street corners are now almost completely unsafe anywhere in the country. Many bank branches in recent months actually shut their doors to business for a few days or even weeks due to robbery attacks. Robbers sometimes hit as many as two to three

Before security meltdown banks in a row unchallenged, and bank doors and strongrooms are blasted open with dynamites and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The police have no answer, and their failure is now reflected in, and celebrated with, excuses that the police are outgunned and outmanoeuvred. What if states, as envisaged by the constitution, had shunned contributing to the equipping and funding of the Police Force? After all, the police are the exclusive responsibility of the federal government according to the provisions of the constitution. Bomb blasts, bank and highway robberies, and other crimes such as kidnapping, ethnic unrest and religious conflagrations have made Nigeria very unsafe for both its people and foreign investors. The situation is so bad, and is threatening to become worse, that we clearly need fresh thinking, fresh initiatives and fresh dynamism. The root cause of the problem is socio-economic inequality. Apart from groups like Boko Haram, which appear to be propelled by religious motives in some aspects of their operations, other factors like poverty, alienation and injustice are predisposing the country to a maddening gyre

earned over $300 billion in the last 13 years is not a poor country that should be in want but for the highest level of graft, chicanery and other forms of corruption that have ruined the country. A credible columnist recently surmised that the Arab Spring cannot happen in Nigeria because most of us are not Nigerians but of our different ethnic blocks. That may be so to some extent. But we must also not forget that in the 60s, the Agbekoya campaign was irrepressible and dreadful so much that the Federal Government contemplated a full military campaign against them after the 1966 Commonwealth Conference and the departure of Arch-Bishop Macario from Nigeria. It took the intervention of the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who visited the group in their fortress to wind down their campaign. The fact that in spite of the huge petrol dollars the Federal Government has earned in the last 13 years, yet there is practical evidence of misery and poverty across the land. There is no doubt that the percentage of angry and hungry people in our land has risen sharply. Those who imagine that they can punish them further with their booby trap economic policy on the so called subsidy had better do a rethink. I don’t want to remind Nigerians of the 2002 prognosis from an intelligence platform in the USA which indicated a possible collapse and breakdown of Nigeria in 2015 or thereabout. But it is also true that some significant tell-tale signs of such possibility are already visible to keen observers. How can Nigerians explain the story of the Boko Haram to the extent that the Federal Government panicked and shifted the observance of its independence anniversary from the Eagle Square this year? The Federal Government can pretend that it is in control when the reality is that with one central government, 36 state governments and 774 local governments, there is no governance properly so-called in our land. Most Nigerians must fend for themselves by sinking boreholes to fetch water and purchase generators. What are most governments doing for Nigerians now? Let it be said that the IMF Chief Executive Officer commendation to the President is just a mockery of our independent existence as a people. The IMF did not vote for Jonathan nor will the institution be of any help to him as he is about to contemptuously punish Nigerians over the so called subsidy. Are Nigerians ready to democratically and legitimately take back their country from the current political operators who have no regard for them? • Opadokun is the Coordinator, Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms (CODER).

•Segun Gbadegesin returns next year

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above of social turbulence. Turbulence unchecked often leads to political instability, and instability unchecked could lead to disintegration. It is urgent we accord the problem of insecurity the seriousness it deserves. Money alone cannot arrest the problem; we need fresh ideas and the political will to make drastic changes to match the challenges of the times. Insecurity will not solve itself, as the government wishfully hopes, nor will it respond to highhanded measures simply because they are tough. It is in fact a problem likely to be worsened by the kind of economic panaceas – such as fuel subsidy removal – being proposed by the government. It is not certain that the new economic plan will put more money in the hands of the people, not to talk of putting the jobless to work. And as for the palliatives the plan is proposing, they are for now either dishonest and misleading or far too optimistic and largely conjectural. Curbing insecurity requires holistic approach. So far, the government has given it only sketchy attention. Government officials and their families cannot say they are unaffected by robbery attacks. But even if they are safe, surely they read the news or watch news channels, and can appreciate the horrible extent and impact of the situation. The problem has obviously reached intolerable level. Except the government acts now, we may be heading for a meltdown.

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The Nation December 23, 2011  

The Nation December 23, 2011