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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Jonathan, Mark, Tambuwal, Tinubu urge hope at ‘Xmas

Five sailors kidnapped NEWS Page 4


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•Kukah: politicians servicing lifestyle with state funds

•Italian ship attacked

VOL. 7, NO. 2351 TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012



•A view of Manger Square and the Chruch of the Nativity as people gather for Christmas eve celebrations in the biblical West Bank city of Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ...yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

Massive ’Xmas Day security nationwide



HUGE security blanket has been thrown over the country - to ensure a hitch-free Christmas - it was observed yesterday. From the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja to the commercial city of Lagos and other major cities where insurgents have been killing people, security is water-tight.

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja, Kolade Adeyemi, Kano and Duku Joel, Damaturu

A major aspect of the security move is the ban on fire crackers, which did not seem enforceable last night, with many being lit in cities. On Christmas Day last year, a church was attacked during service at Madala, Niger State.

Many died. In Abuja, soldiers were drafted to streets, following intelligence reports of a likely terror attack on the city. But official and business activities went ahead peacefully in the FCT. Besides street patrols by the police, soldiers were deployed in strategic parts of

the city, including major entry points from the Kaduna axis; the Lokoja-Gwagwalada axis; Lafia-Keffi axis; Olusegun Obasanjo Way ; Shehu Shagari Way and Nnamdi Azikiwe Way. Public institutions, such as the Federal Secretariat, and major hotels including Transcorp Hilton and others

were protected by soldiers. For about eight hours, the soldiers were screening vehicles and passers-by. Also, some suspected bases of terror groups in Asokoro, Apo , and Garki districts were combed by security officials. A source, who spoke in Continued on page 2

EFCC grills Babalakin Businessman at agency for five hours after leaving LUTH


HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arrested the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin, shortly after he was discharged from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). But Babalakin’s aides said he

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

visited the Ikoyi, Lagos office of the EFCC on his own. The EFCC granted Babalakin bail because of his “fragile state of health”. According to sources, the operatives arrested Babalakin at about 9am, shortly after what

was described as a “premature discharge” from LUTH. It was gathered that upon his arrest, Babalakin was taken to the Ikoyi Annex Office of the EFCC in Lagos for interrogation. For about five hours, the antigraft commission grilled the businessman.

A source said: “After a fourweek surveillance, Babalakin was arrested on Monday within the premises of LUTH by some operatives of the EFCC. “I think the pressure was much on the management of LUTH and it had no choice than Continued on page 2




NEWS EFCC grills Babalakin Continued from page 1

•Members of the Brazilian carnival band Vai Vai Samba on arrival for the Calabar festival...yesterday. Story on page 50

Massive ’Xmas Day security nationwide Continued from page 1

confidence, said: “The screening and combing were preemptive measures to check any attempt by terror-related groups to attack the FCT. “It is part of the terror alert by the Federal Government to protect lives and property during the Yuletide. “The same security beef-up would be put in place in churches and mosques between now and the New Year. We want to ensure a peaceful festive period.” All military and police formations have also been fortified to ward off aggression by terrorists. The source added: “There will be 24 hours sentry surveillance in all police and military formations. Our plan is to beat terrorists to their game and antics. “I think so far, we are all set for a hitch-free festive season. We plead with Nigerians to provide useful information anytime they notice strange movements.” Lagos Police Commissioner


Umar Manko assured Lagosians of a hitch-free festival, saying security has been strengthened to protect lives and property. He spoke at the Lagos House, Marina, after a Security Council meeting. Manko said like the recently concluded National Sports Festival, Eko 2012, the Christmas and New Year seasons would be peaceful. He said: “Our officers and men who ensured safety and peace during the National Sports Festival are still on ground. They are at alert and we would ensure that the festivities coming up this period are hitch-free.” The police would maintain the same level of security that ensured a peaceful sports festival in the state. “We are going to maintain the same level of security, not only for the Christmas, but beyond it to the New Year. We assure Lagosians that adequate security measures have been put in place. So, they should feel free to go about their activities during the pe-

riod.” With the Police Commissioner at the briefing were: Commander, 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Ikeja Cantonment, Brig.-Gen. Pat Akem; Commanding Officer, NNS Beecroft, Apapa; Navy Commodore Martins Njoku; Commander 435 Base Services Group, Nigeria Air Force, Wing Commander Gbolahan Oremosun and the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Security, Major Tunde Panox (rtd). The police in Kano have stepped up security ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebration with huge security barricade at places of worship, markets, banks and government institutions. Kano police spokesman Magaji Majiya said: “In view of the forthcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations, the Kano State Police Command wishes to reiterate its commitment towards providing adequate security of life and property in the State and, therefore, remind the public to remain law abiding citizens

The statement advised that places of worship should be well-barricaded, where possible. Vehicles should be parked away, “at least not less than 200 meters and no persons will be allowed to go in with bags, parcels, container or any other object into the worship places and they must be subjected to thorough search by Security Committee before allowed into the worship place. “Abandoned vehicles, parcel or objects around the place of worship or any other place should be reported immediately to the nearest police station. “The public should give maximum cooperation to security committee in various places of worship while performing their duties. We appeal to all road users to respect traffic rules and regulations and exhibit good sense of discipline by avoiding dangerous driving, unsecured loading etc. “The law prohibiting the use of “knock-out” or any fire work is still in force. Any body found selling or using same will be arrested and prosecut-

to ‘prematurely’ discharge Babalakin to pave the way for the arrest of the businessman. “The operatives were polite before whisking Babalakin away from the hospital. What the EFCC intended to achieve was to bring Babalakin to justice and prove to all Nigerians that no one is above the law.” It was also gathered that the EFCC pre-emptively acted to prevent Babalakin from going to the Court of Appeal to stop his arrest by the anti-graft agency. The source added: “Last Friday, a Federal High Court in Lagos threw away Babalakin’s application to prevent his arrest. As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he is determined to go on appeal by exploring the law. “Instead of bidding time with the court process, the EFCC moved in swiftly.” But another source accused EFCC of arresting Babalakin on his hospital bed. The source said: “They invaded his ward and hauled him into a LUTH van and took him to their Lagos office for interrogation. “I think their plan was to take him to Abuja for detention, but they discovered that his health could deteriorate and may result into death. “If they claimed that Babalakin was discharged, why did they take him to EFCC office in LUTH vehicle?” The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “We arrested Babalakin after he was discharged by LUTH. We made sure that he was discharged by the hospital before he was picked up. “He was brought in a vehicle provided by the hospital to our Ikoyi office. But based on his fragile condition, the antigraft agency will grant him administrative bail.” Responding to a question, Uwujaren said: “We did not arrest him on hospital bed, contrary to insinuations by Babalakin’s aides. We are a

law-abiding organization; we cannot and we did not violate the sanctity of a hospital environment.” But a source denied that the businessman was arrested. According to the source, Babalakin went to the Lagos office of the EFCC on his own volition after his discharge from hospital. “He was even waiting for the EFCC officials at their office. This is contrary to what the EFCC people are telling the public,” he said. For about four weeks, Babalakin and the EFCC had been engaged in a hide and seek over the trial of the former and four others. Babalakin and four others were charged to court with alleged laundering of N3.4billion through Mauritius for ex-Governor James Ibori to buy a Challenger aircraft. The others are: Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Limited, BiCourtney Limited and Remix Nigeria Limited They are also to face 27count charge in the High Court of Lagos State , Ikeja Division, bordering also on the siphoning of $11.3million abroad for Ibori through Erin Aviation Account in Mauritius . But when the suspects were to be arraigned about four weeks ago, Babalakin was said to be ill and on admission in LUTH. From the hospital bed, the businessman returned to a Federal High Court seeking an order to stop the police, the State Security Service (SSS) and other security agencies from effecting his arrest or detention. But Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos last Friday dismissed his application. The judge asked Babalakin, who was still in the hospital, LUTH, last Friday, to face trial. It was believed that the judgment emboldened the EFCC to arrest Babalakin after his “unceremonious discharge by LUTH.”

Continued on page 63

Jonathan, Mark, Tambuwal to Nigerians: be hopeful

HE government has the capacity to effect positive change in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday. He urged Nigerians to continue to seek peace, promising his unwavering commitment to achieving the objectives of his administration’s agenda for the country. Dr. Jonathan said security challenges notwithstanding, the government remains focused on the primary objectives of achieving significant improvement in of the economy. The President spoke in a Christmas message to the nation. Senate President David Mark and House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal enjoined Nigerians to renew their faith in their country and work towards building a nation of their dreams. Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu said leaders should take stock of their activities and thereafter dedicate themselves to governing the country better. The president also expressed his appreciation to Nigerians for keeping faith with his administration. He said: “As we celebrate

Tinubu: govt failing people


CTION Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday said Nigerians who have survived the outgoing year and are blessed to witness this season of goodwill have done so, more through dint of handwork, perseverance and courage than through the support of government. Tinubu, in his Christmas message, released in Lagos, said the Federal Government has disappointed many Nigerians, with its failure to deliver on many of its promises, particularly that of transforming their lives. “This current administration, rather than translating its touted transformation agenda into impactful performance, has hastened the transformation of most Nigerians into poverty, into a world of unemployment and insecurity,” he said. Tinubu urged Nigerians not to lose hope and to continue in the spirit of Christmas to make the sacrifices necessary to make Nigeria better. He enjoined Christians to continue in steadfast prayers for Nigeria, noting that From Vincent Ikuomola and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

Christmas, the ultimate significance of which is the fulfillment of God’s promise of a Saviour for mankind, I urge you all to continue to trust in our unwavering commitment

every good leader needs the support and prayers of the followers to succeed. “ “Our faith will never let us down.We must trust in God and pray for a better country. When we pray, God will give Nigeria leaders that are capable, compassionate and committed.” Tinubu also urged leaders to step back and take stock and thereafter, commit themselves to governing this country better.” The situation our country is in today is both sad and unacceptable. We are a people without a leader, a country with no trustworthy men at the helm of affairs and a nation lost at sea. Our leaders must commit to a better country, not tomorrow, but beginning now, today because time is not on our side and the continued patience of the people may no longer be guaranteed.” Tinubu prayed the joy and peace of Christmas for all believers and for a better country. Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Bishop Hassan Kukah, urged Nigerians to work towards building a united nation, devoid of religious, ethnic and political sentiments. He made the appeal in his Christmas and New Year message in Sokoto, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He said Nigeria would continue to remain

to fully achieving the objectives of our agenda for national transformation for the benefit of all Nigerians. “No one should doubt that we have the political will and determination to deliver on our promise of positive changes in the living conditions of our peo-

one entity, and stressed the need for all and sundry to work towards the promotion of peace and unity. Bishop Kukah praised the Federal Government for resuscitating the rail haulage from Lagos to Kano, adding that the gesture would fast-track the socio-economic and political growth of the country. He commended the National Assembly for the early passage of the 2013 budget, adding that ‘’it is a good omen for the nation’s nascent democracy”. The bishop, however, called on President Goodluck Jonathan, governors and local government chairmen to “rethink the issues of the massive and unacceptable hemorrhage of the state funds to service lifestyles. “This has become clearly unacceptable and untenable with the principles of good governance in the country,” the cleric said. He also called on the Federal Government to evolve concrete measures at addressing the insecurity situation in the country. Rev. Kukah called on the government to adequately equip the security agencies to enable them deal with the security challenges.

ple in the shortest possible time. “ While we continue to deal with the regrettable distractions posed by threats to peace and security in parts of the country, the Federal Government remains very focused on the primary objective of achieving significant improvements in prior-

ity areas such as public infrastructure, power supply, transportation, roads, health, education, job creation, agriculture and industrialisation as quickly as possible. “ It is my hope and expectation that more of the efforts, actions and measures we are al-


ready undertaking in these areas will successfully come to fruition next year and make the results of the diligent project planning and execution being done under this administration more apparent to all Nigerians. “We will continue to count on your support and cooperation, as well as your prayers for Continued on page 63

ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678





NEWS Jonathan visits Azazi’s family

Be proud of Christianity, Dickson tells Christians



RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday paid a condolence visit to the family of the late former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Azazi, at their Ikoyi, Lagos, home. Azazi, Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa, their aides and two pilots were killed in a Navy chopper, which crashed in the creeks of Bayelsa on December 15. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the President and his entourage were received by the late Azazi’s wife, children, grand children and other relations. Addressing them on behalf of the President, the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe, expressed the nation’s condolences and eulogised the departed general as a patriot and diligent officer. “Azazi was a great man, a diligent officer and patriot. “The President had already organised a special Federal Executive Council (FEC) session in his honour where var-

•President Goodluck Jonathan (right) condoling with Mrs. Alero Azazi and family members of the late Retired Gen. Andrew Azazi during a condolence visit to the family in Lagos...yesterday.

ious council members spoke glowingly about him. “They all had good words for him because he gave his best for the country. “He rose by merit to become a four-star general, and because the President had confidence in him, he was made the NSA. “He was a good community man. He chaired the flood committee of his home state, the most affected state. “He has played his role in his family, community and country, even internationally. “We should take solace in the fact that he lived a good life. He has laid a good foundation for the family,” he said. Oghiadomhe added: “Painful as it may be, this is not a moment of continued grief. “God will grant him eternal rest and fill the vacuum he left. “The president has asked me to express his deepest sympathy to your family.” NAN reports that the Chaplain of Aso Villa Chapel, Rev. Obioma Onwuzurumba, prayed for the repose of Azazi’s soul

and respite for his family. The President also signed a condolence register before leaving the residence. On his entourage were Ministers of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, her Petroleum counterpart, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke and the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada. Also on the entourage were the Special Adviser to the President on Research and Documentation, Mr. Oronto Douglas and other presidential aides. Former Governor Donald Duke of Cross River State and former Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) boss, Timi Alaibe, were also at the deceased’s home. Azazi served the Nigerian Military as Head, Directorate of Military Intelligence, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Defence Staff and as the NSA. Azazi and Yakowa were killed in the helicopter crash when they were returning from the burial of Douglas’ father in Bayelsa State.

Senate queries NOSDRA, Mobil over oil spills


HE Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology yesterday queried the National Oil Spill Detection and Regulatory Agency (NOSDRA), Ministry of Environment and Mobil Oil Company over two oil spills in Ibeno and Idoho, Akwa Ibom State. The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Bukola Saraki, said it was worrisome that within the last one month, there have been reports of two oil spills within close proximity of the Mobil Producing Nigeria operations with no official report made to the committee. Saraki, in a statement in

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

Abuja, decried the frequency of oil spills and the lackadaisical attitude of NOSDRA, Ministry of Environment and Mobil Nigeria by not providing information to the committee to assist it in carrying out its oversight function. He said it has become a matter of urgency to pass the NOSDRA Amendment Bill to encourage the parties take extra care in reducing oil spills in Nigeria. The statement reads: “Senator Saraki, while announcing the resolution of the Senate Committee on Environment

and Ecology, said NOSDRA should furnish it with information on the aforementioned spill areas including but not limited to the following: “The initial report on the incidents and responses made so far to clean-up and contain the spill. “Preliminary findings as to the cause of the spills and the volume. “Preliminary findings as to the responsible party. “Preliminary findings as to the action of the responsible party to re-mediate the environment. “Preliminary findings as to

Navy in manhunt for pirates

P •Senator Saraki

action plan to caution the impact on the areas affected. “Preliminary findings as to the impact on the livelihood of the communities so impacted.”

2015: Yar’Adua group not involved in secret plot, say Aliero, others


HE associates of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua yesterday said they are not involved in any secret plot against President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 elections. They also claim they are not being pressurised by North’s leaders for any political cause in 2015. They denied holding any secret meeting with the former presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change(CPC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. The group made the clarifications in a statement in Abuja by a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory , Senator Adamu Aliero. Aliero claimed to have issued the statement on behalf of a former National Security Adviser, Gen. Sarki Mukhtar; ex-Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Sayyed Abba Ruma; and a former Chief Economic Adviser, Alhaji Yakubu Tanimu.

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

The statement reads: “In the last three years, those of us referred to in the story have not held any meeting over any national issue, let alone talk of 2015. Instead, we have been going about our activities with utmost decorum. “We did not meet in Abuja, Katsina or Kaduna as insinuated in the report. We have no reason to conspire or plot against President Goodluck Jonathan who was Vice-President to the late President Yar’Adua. “Since Yar’Adua’s death, we have done our best to support the administration of President Jonathan and our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which went ahead to win a rerun in Kebbi State. “None of us has lived in trenches; we have no basis to go back to political trenches. We are not guerilla or subterranean politi-

‘We do not have any agenda outside that of the PDP. We have not held any secret meeting with the former presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), ex-Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari on 2015’ cians. “We are not involved in political conspiracy or insurgency. To confer this derogatory status on us is to assume that we are at war with the state or President Jonathan. We have no cause to engage in any political conspiracy. “As for 2015, we remain committed to PDP and we will support whoever emerges as the

presidential candidate of the party. If the PDP gives President Jonathan or any party member its mandate in 2015, we will work for the success of the party.” On the allegation that they are being encouraged by eminent North’s leaders to regain power for the geopolitical zone in 2015, they said it is not true. They added: “The allusion to driving Northern agenda in 2015 by the Yar’Adua Group was merely designed to whip up sentiments and create a crisis of confidence between some of us and the President. “We are not being pressurised, as alleged, by eminent North’s leaders, to group together for any political cause. The statement said: “We do not have any agenda outside that of the PDP. We have not held any secret meeting with the former presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), ex-Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari on 2015.”

OLICE in Bayelsa State have confirmed the abduction of four expatriate oil workers off the coast of the state on Sunday. Spokesman, Mr. Fidelis Odonna, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa yesterday that the police had received information about the abduction of the expatriates. He said the identities and nationality of the oil workers had not been ascertained, adding that no group had claimed responsibility for the abduction and that no demand for ransom had been made. “We have received report on the abduction of the four expatriate oil workers off the coast of the state in the early hours of Sunday. “As we speak, details of the incident are still sketchy. However, the command has commenced investigation as we have sent out a team to get to the root of the matter,’’ he said. The Navy said yesterday it was hunting for pirates who kidnapped four crew from the ship. The ship, named by the Navy as the MV Asso Ventuno, was boarded on Sunday, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). There were no injuries to other crew members and the pirates released the ship, which continued to a safe port, IMB said. A spokesman for the Navy confirmed the incident: “Five vessels have been deployed for patrol duties off Brass Area. “The Nigerian Navy, in collaboration with other agencies, has intensified search and rescue efforts of the four kidnapped crew members of MV Asso Ventuno.”

OVERNOR Seriake Dickson has advised Christians in Bayelsa State to be proud of Christianity as they celebrate this year’s Christmas. He said Christianity is a religion that ensures salvation. Governor Dickson, who spoke at the Christmas Carol Service organised by the government at the Glory Land Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, urged Christians to reflect on the significance of the Yuletide and rededicate themselves to the service of humanity and God. He underscored the importance of the season, pointing out that the element of salvation associated with the birth of Jesus Christ distinguishes Christianity as a unique religion. While urging them to show confidence in the infinite possibilities of God and apply their fundamental beliefs in all they do, Governor Dickson said: “Our Lord came, born of a virgin, laid His life as a sacrifice for our salvation and by His death we are safe. This is the unique Christian message.” He read the third lesson at the carol service and cautioned people in leadership positions to endeavour to live the ways of God, saying: “There is a period of rendering account either here on earth or in the hereafter. “If you are put in authority over your fellow human beings, you’ve got to be careful about your decisions, thoughts and actions because our religion tells us that all of us, both great and small, are made in the image and likeness of God the Father. So, it is important that we bear this in mind and serve God by serving man.” According to the Governor, though the state witnessed tragedies this year, his administration deemed it necessary to express gratitude to God through the carol service. In his exhortation, Reverend (Dr.) Umah Ukpai noted that Jesus Christ came to the world to enable His believers not only to make heaven but also live a life of distinction on earth. The first and second lessons were read by Speaker of the House of Assembly Kombowei Benson and Governor’s wife Dr. (Mrs.) Rachael Dickson.

Jonathan okays two perm secs


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has approved the appointment of Dr. Jamila Shu’ara and Dr. Clement Illoh as permanent secretaries in the Federal Civil Service. This is contained in a statement yesterday in Abuja, signed by Mr. Tope Ajakaiye, the Director, Press and Public Relations in the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation. The statement quoted Alhaji Isa Sali, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, as saying that the appointment of Shu’ara followed the retirement of the permanent secretary, representing the SouthSouth zone on November 23. It also quoted Sali as saying that the appointment of Illoh followed the retirement of the permanent secretary, representing Delta, which would take effect from January 15.






For The Nation, it’s been a year of In the last 12 months, The Nation has broken stories, provided fresh insights into general stories and shown leadership in the business of news gathering and dissemination


T was not just about good prose. Of course, good prose makes for good reading. But facts were the oil with which The Nation dazzled its readers in the outgoing year. With prose, sometimes blended with poetry and facts, usually exclusive to the medium, this newspaper has been able to use “truth in defence of freedom”. Aesthetics, fantastic layouts and nice blend of pictures also stood the paper out in the outgoing year. It all started in January. President Goodluck Jonathan gave Nigerians a curious new year gift: increment of pump price of petrol to N120. It was a stock to Nigerians. Queues surfaced at filling stations. Black markets began to spring up. Labour leaders started talking tough. The Federal Government said there was no going back. And the battleline was drawn. For about five days, the country was shut down. From the South to

the North, it was total collapse of the economy. Of course, Lagos took the lead with the Gani Fawehinmi Park hosting hundreds of Lagosians, celebrities, human rights activists and so on – venting their anger against the government. The Nation followed it all through. But not like others. It made extra efforts to be different. From its page one to the other several pages daily devoted to the debacle, it was vintage The Nation. Its front pages for the days of rage almost went tabloid with one-word headlines. One day, our photographer caught soldiers keeping watch at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota sleeping. They used their boots as pillows. Our knack for exclusives saw us breaking stories throughout the year. We also provided new leads to general stories. We broke stories on Boko Haram suspects in detention. On January 25, we reported that there was going to be a shakeup in the police, with a prediction

that Jonathan was out to sack Hafiz Ringim as the Inspector-General of Police and that he was going to replace him with an Assistant Inspector-General of Police. The following day, Jonathan dropped Ringim and Dikko Abubakar, an AIG, was appointed as our report the day earlier indicated. Another good example of a knack for breaking stories is “Sokoto gives SSS clues on sect’s leaders”. We were also there to give fresh leads on the Halliburton scandal. The burial of the late Biafran warlord, Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, was another opportunity for the paper to show its class. Throughout the funeral days, the paper did special reports on various aspects of the Ojukwu story. The Dana Air plane crash was for this newspaper more than one event. It was an event with several angles to it. It was one story we never quite left. And we got acco-

lades for it. Among several stories on the Dana crash, we told that of 35-yearold Ikechukwu Ochonogor, who until he died in the crash, was an employee of FEDEX Courier Services. His father, Mr. Ochonogor, 67, paced up and down without speaking when The Nation visited the family home in Akesan-Igando, on the outskirts of Lagos. He only acknowledged greetings from guests. At a point, the sexagenarian, who was blessed with six children (four men and two women) shouted: “Oh, my life is gone...” Ikechukwu was said to be his favourite child. His wife of about five years, Tolulope, was extremely sad. Their two-year-old child, Binichukwu, is still young to understand what fate has befallen him. The deceased’s mother, simply called ‘Nma’, 67, sat with her siblings but would not attend to media inquiry.

We went after many others and let the readers into their world of pains. On May 21, the newspaper, as it is wont to do, took the Federal Government to task, with a three-page investigative story on Federal projects. Entitled: Federal Government projects: signed, sealed, but undelivered, the report x-rayed projects awarded between 2010 and 2011, it found out many of them were either abandoned or would not be completed on schedule. A part of the report reads:”One of the contracts approved by the Federal Government on September 22, 2010 was the supply of 60, 000 units of 240 litres Plastic British Waste Bins to Messrs. Pentagon Group of Companies. The conract sum was N927,600,000. The bins were meant for the streets of Abuja. But about two years after, the bins are nowhere to be found. “The Head of Department, Solid Waste Management, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Mr.




breaking stories, giving insights Ahmed Rufai Hamis, told The Nation that the contract was stopped when it emerged that the contractor could not execute it. “On April 4, last year, FEC awarded a contract for the provision of engineering infrastructure to Maitama Extension District, Abuja, to Messrs Magrovetech (Nig) Ltd for N23, 650 billion. The due date for completion is May 2014. “For now, only clearing of the site has begun. “Another contract, not likely to be concluded as at when due, is the National Library and Cultural Centre. The government, on March 17, 2010, approved the augmentation of the contract for the construction of the National Library Headquarters Building Complex in Abuja to Messrs. Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) Limited at N17,005 billion. The amount was reviewed from the initial sum of N8, 415 billion. The project due for completion in 21 months. It has been over 24 months since the variation was done. “Workers at the sight referred the reporter to the Ministry of Education, where The Nation was told to write officially to request for information. “At the site of the design and con-

struction of the Nigeria Cultural Centre and Millennium Tower Projects being handled by Messrs. Salini (Nigeria) Limited, building engineers asked the reporter to get information from the FCT ministry. The project awarded for N18.998billion has no specified time for its completion. “The Nation found out in Port Harcourt that the Land Reclamation/Shoreline Protection at AmadiAma in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State, awarded by the FEC on December 15, 2010, seems non-existent. “The Nation’s reporter moved round Amadi-Ama community in a taxi owned by an indigene of the area, without any trace of the project. “On the FEC’s contract for consultancy services and work on the establishment of the Centre for Skills Development and Training, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with PTDF as Implementing Agency, the site could also not be located. “Officials of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing/Urban Development at the Federal Secretariat, Port Harcourt could not locate the site of the project.

“Government officials contacted on the location of the centre could not provide information on the exact location.” On July 3, this newspaper discovered that the army uniform Jonathan wore at an event was that of a field marshal, a rank no Nigerian military officer has ever attained. We ran a front page story, which reads: “He has said he is neither a General nor a Pharaoh. But yesterday, he looked every inch a Field Marshal, a rank no living or dead Nigerian leader has ever attained. “The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, at the inauguration of a production line for arms and ammunition by the Army, frowned like a soldier as he took the salute. Not that he did not smile intermittently, but his countenance, for most of the time he gracefully wore his Field Marshal rank, was soldierly. He shook hands and smiled excitedly when a sharp, brisk salute would have been just okay. But Dr. Jonathan looked good in his customised army camouflage/combat uniform. “The President feels at home anywhere he goes. When in the Southeast,

he becomes an Igbo man decking the traditional dress with a red cap. “The last time he visited Ibadan, Oyo State, he adorned buba and sokoto, with the abeti aja cap to complement it. When in the North, the babariga sits pretty on him as though he were one of them. “He has felt at ease in Tiv attires, just like Idoma clothes have seen in him a perfect frame. “On Saturday, when he was in Benin to campaign for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he became a Bini man, with red beads dangling on his neck. “He has also been momentarily Navy and Air Force officer. But his outing yesterday caused more than a stir in some circles. The President wearing a Field Marshal rank—perhaps the first to do so in recent times— sure takes the icing.” The murder of the late Cynthia Osokogu was another opportunity for this newspaper to show that it understands what it means to exhaust a story. We did it so well that the father of the deceased singled out the paper for praise for its professionalism in handling the matter.

This newspaper showed leadership in the coverage of the United States November elections, which President Barack Obama won. Its reports have been hailed as second to none. With a reporter from the medium going from one rally or vote canvassing event to the other in places such as Milwaukee, Janesville, Chicago, Washington and so on, the newspaper was able to feed the readers back home what no other medium gave the Nigerian audience. The helicopter crash which killed former Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser (NSA) Owoye Azazi and for others also gave this newspaper yet another chance to show its leaderships in news gathering. We were the first to see the Azazis, felt their pulse and let the world know their pains. We got his children to relive their last moments with him. No other medium but The Nation also met the parents of the copilot of the ill-fated helicopter at IyanaIpaja, a Lagos suburb. The Sowoles let us into their home and we let the world into the home of these parents whose 32-year old son was consumed by a crash no one is sure of its cause. We were also in Fadan Wagoma, the town which lost the late Yakowa.



NEWS TO NIGERIANS AT XMAS Uduaghan urges peace GOVERNOR Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has urged Nigerians to embrace peace, love and tolerance as Christians all over the world celebrate Christmas. The Governor, who gave the advice in his goodwill message to mark this year’s Christmas, said: “This is the only way the country and indeed the world can be a better place to live.” He went on: “I, therefore, call on Christians to emulate Jesus Christ in words and deeds by imbibing love, tolerance, sacrifice, generosity and peaceful co-existence, which Christ stood for.” Uduaghan enjoined Christians in Delta State to remember the essence of the birth of Jesus Christ, noting that despite that He is the son of God, he remains an example of humility and self denial. “Let us promote peace, love and unity, while exhibiting the spirit of tolerance in the accomplishment of our vision of building a new Delta State,” he added. The Governor assured the indigenes that he was committed to the pursuit of policies and programmes that had bearing on their lives, saying next year would usher in more progress and prosperity.

Ajimobi: imbibe Christ’s virtues GOVERNOR Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has urged indigenes, particularly Christians, to imbibe the spirit of love, humility, peace and selfless service, which the birth of Jesus Christ has brought to the world. He spoke at the 2012 Christmas Carol Service and Nine Lessons held at the Remembrance Arcade, Government House, Ibadan. The governor stressed the need for Christians to be benevolent by giving to those in need and by forgiving those who offended them. “Let us forgive those who offended us. For those of you who I might have offended knowingly or unknowingly, particularly those of you who have had their kiosks on the streets where you are not supposed to trade removed, I pray for forgiveness,” he said. Governor Ajimobi enjoined leaders to seek wisdom and courage to do what is right for the progress, unity and development of the country. He hailed the spiritual leaders in the state for their continued prayers, which he said have contributed to the success of his administration. The governor noted that the state had been enjoying peace since the inception of his administration, adding that despite that there were three political parties in government, there was peaceful co-existence between the executive and legislature. In his sermon, the Archbishop of Ibadan Diocese of Anglican Communion, Rev. Segun Okubadejo, urged leaders and political office holders to seek the wisdom of God in directing the affairs of the people.


Time for sober reflection, says Ekweremadu

EPUTY Senate President Ike Ekweremadu yesterday urged Nigerians to see Christmas as a time for sober reflection, adding that they should return to the path of love and forgiveness laid down by Jesus Christ. He said this in a Christmas message to Nigerians. Ekweremadu noted that the underdevelopment and insecurity in the country were manifestations of a departure

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

from the life of love, forgiveness and self-sacrifice exemplified by Jesus Christ. He described such untoward situation as not only a mockery of the essence of the coming of Christ, but also a disservice to the labours of the country’s founding fathers. Senator Ekweremadu said

the nation’s diversity was no excuse for the destruction of life and property and the high rate of crime. Said he: “We should not lose sight of the fact that our founding fathers considered our diversities, but saw in them strength and opportunity to build a virile, stable, and prosperous nation by in-

sisting that though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand. “We owe it to this season of Christmas and the memories of our forefathers to retrace our steps and rebuild the bulwarks of love, patriotism, and integrity preached by our religions and espoused in word and action by our founding fathers.” The Deputy Senate President wished Christians and all Nigerians a Merry Christmas.

Fayemi urges Nigerians to shun violence E

KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has urged Nigerians to shun violence and embrace peace. According to him, this is the essence of all religions, including Christianity and Islam. The governor’s advice was contained in a Christmas message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode and made available to reporters in Ado-Ekiti. Noting that Jesus Christ lived up to his appellation as the Prince of Peace, Fayemi enjoined Nigerians, irrespective of religious beliefs, to accept peace, which he said the country needs most at present. He advised Christians to live with their neighbours in peace, love and tolerance. The governor noted that God used the birth of Jesus

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

Christ not only to pass the message of peace and love to the world, but to make peaceful relations among mankind an essential component. He said being alive to witness another Christmas is a privilege judging by the prevailing circumstances in the nation in particular and the world at large. This, he added, calls for celebration. He urged Christians to celebrate in moderation and devote more time to appreciating God for His mercies. Governor Fayemi enjoined Ekiti State indigenes to pray for the success of his adminis-

tration in the implementation of its eight-point agenda, which is geared to take the state to greater heights. He charged the people to learn the lessons of humility from Christmas, which God passed by making the King of kings and Saviour of the world to be born in a humble placethe manger. Said he: “God has used Christmas to teach us the lesson of humility and that He has the power to do all things. “For the King of kings and Lord of lords to be born in a manger, a place of abode for livestock, is a great mystery and a lesson in humility. “The birth of Jesus Christ has

•Dr. Fayemi

made the salvation and redemption of man to be possible and this is the greatest gift of God to mankind. “God is in control of the affairs of Ekiti. This state is heading for the Promised Land judging by all indices of development and we crave the prayers of our people to ensure the completion of this onerous task.”

Amosun greets Christians


GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun has congratulated the Christian community in Nigeria on the celebration of Christmas. He said despite the challenges “confronting us as a nation, adherents of all faiths have cause to celebrate because we are alive and determined to overcome the challenges.” In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs. Funmi Wakama, Senator Amosun said the birth of Jesus Christ signified the love of God for mankind, triumph of good over evil and the victory of light over darkness. He urged Christians to use the opportunity of the season to reflect on the reasons for the birth of Christ and keep hope alive. The governor said: “Notwithstanding the difficult circumstances of the birth of Jesus Christ, his life remains today a perfect example for the world.” He hailed the religious harmony in Ogun State and enjoined the faithful all over the country to emulate the indigenes. “Religion should be a source of strength and not a cause for disunity because no faith condones violence or preaches hatred,” Amosun said. The governor enjoined the indigenes to use the Yuletide to pray for the state so that there would be development and peace would continue to reign. While wishing Christians a happy celebration, he urged them to be guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ as contained in the Holy Bible.

Oshiomhole: follow Christ


•From left: Wife of Oyo State Governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi; Governor Ajimobi; Deputy Governor Moses Adeyemo; and Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Akin Olajide, at the Christmas Carol held at the Government House in Ibadan... yesterday.

Aregbesola urges reflections on essence of Christmas


OVERNOR Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has appealed to Christians to reflect on the essence of Christmas. He urged them to remember the humility associated with the birth of Jesus Christ. Governor Aregbesola restated his earlier position that the country’s security, political and economic challenges can only be surmounted in an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence. The governor, in a statement issued by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, to commemorate the

birth of Jesus Christ, said Christians must love all, including non-Christians, for a better society. Governor Aregbesola admonished Christians and other Nigerians to live in peace and harmony, saying his commitment to the ideals that promote peace, prosperity, and the total well-being of the populace through good governance remains unwavering. He enjoined religious leaders to pray for Nigerian leaders and called on the government at all levels to deliver their campaign promises and put smiles on the faces of the people.

“We must imbibe the spirit of humility and love for one another, which are exemplified in the birth and teachings of Jesus Christ. I also want to use the occasion of the birth of Christ to urged leaders at all levels of governance to know that leadership is a trust. The position you hold is justifiable only if it contributes to the welfare of the people,” the governor said. Aregbesola called for a renewal of faith in democracy among Nigerians, saying there is no alternative to freedom. He said there is a challenge for Nigeria to advance

the cause of justice, democracy, rule of law, freedom and respect for human dignity through efforts to demolish structures of oppression and injustice. Said he: “We need to be admonished to remember that God’s design is a world that is free of hatred, recrimination and injustice. If we are God’s people, we owe Him and ourselves a duty to honour His injunctions, chief among which is the sanctity of life, respect for others and tolerance. “The acute overlay of acrimony, tension and now sectarian violence calls for us to invoke the will and mercy of God on our country.”

OVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has urged the Christian faithful to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ by doing good to all. In his Christmas message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Peter Okhiria, Governor Oshiomhole said: “The faithful should use the Christmas season to show love and do good to all men, as the progenitor of the faith did over 2000 years ago. “As we celebrate with family and friends, we should not forget the teaching of Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:39 to love our neighbours as ourselves. “The message in this teaching should not be lost as it would heal our nation of her woes if imbibed by all. “As a state, this is an opportunity for us to sober-reflect on our journey thus far. It is an opportunity for us to ask at the individual level the salient question: ‘what impact have I made towards the growth of our state.’ “As we celebrate, we should not forget the less-privileged in the society by extending a hand of love to them. “I salute the Christian community for their continued peaceful co-existence with people of other religions and for their continued prayers and support. “I wish all faithful a Merry Christmas.”





NEWS TO NIGERIANS AT ’XMAS Northern governors felicitate with Christians From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

•From left: Mr. Wale Abiodun; Mrs. Olufunmilayo Balogun; Mr. Olatunde Agoro; Mr. Fariudeen Akodu; Mrs. Nike Animashaun; Dr. Abiola Awonuoja; Dr. Segun Oshinyimika; Dr. Francis Williams; Mrs. Adebola Afun and others at the swearing-in of newly appointed permanent secretaries at the State House, Alausa, Lagos...yesterday.

Nigerians urged to emulate Christ From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

THE lawmaker representing Yewa South/Ipokia Federal Constituency, Mr. Abiodun Akinlade, yesterday urged Nigerians to tolerate the adherents of other faith and pray for peace and stability in the country. In a statement, Akinlade, who is the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science and Technology, said: “The nation requires peace and stability to develop and attain its full potentials. Nigerians need to be tolerant and love one another, irrespective of religious and ethnic differences. “Jesus, the central message of the season, grew up to become a leader with a servant’s heart. He taught us to love God and love our neighbours as ourselves. We need to embrace the spirit of love, unity and oneness as we obey divine and national laws in order to achieve progress and development. “Nigeria would overcome its challenges through ceaseless prayers, re-dedication, oneness, sincerity of purpose and selflessness.” He prayed for good health and wisdom for the nation’s leaders.

Ekiti gets eight perm secs EKITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has approved the appointment of eight permanent secretaries in the civil service. They are Mr. Dele Agbede; Mr. M. Owoseni; Mrs. Funke Falodun; Mr. Sesan Alabi and Dr. J. Adeyemo The rest are Mr. Kola Ajumobi; Mr. E. Abegunde and Dr. (Mrs.) O. Olomojobi. The date of their swearing-in would be announced.

Be tolerant, Fashola urges Nigerians


AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola has urged Nigerians to be tolerant and live in peace. He said it is the only way the nation can progress. In his Christmas message, Fashola urged Nigerians to support their leaders in developing the country. Identifying security as one of Nigeria’s challenges, he urged the people to be safety and security-conscious during the Yuiletide by not drinking and driving, as well as reporting suspicious activities to security

agencies. Fashola said: “This year has been a challenging one, particularly in the area of security. I urge you, as you celebrate this season of sharing, giving and receiving, to be vigilant and stay safe. Be safety and security conscious. Do not drink and drive. Be alert and report all suspicious activities around you to security agencies, using the 767 and 112 tollfree numbers.” Thanking God for sparing our lives to celebrate this year’s Christmas despite the chal-

lenges experienced during the year, the governor said there was no better way to celebrate Christ’s birth than to show love and be our brother’s keeper. He said: “This is the message of Christmas and the lesson from Christ’s birth. We owe God a lot of gratitude and wholesome reverence for bestowing on us the honour and privilege of being alive to celebrate this year’s Christmas.” Praising Lagosians for coexisting in peace, regardless of ethnic and religious differ-

ences, Fashola said: “I urge you to continue in this vein, for it is only by living in peace, respecting each other’s rights and being our brothers’ keepers that we are truly celebrating the essence of Christmas. “I wish all Lagosians a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in advance. Let us resolve to support, respect and cooperate with those it has pleased God to place in authority over us, so that we can continue to make progress as a people.”

FCT ministers urge Nigerians to pray for unity


INISTER of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Bala Mohammed and the Minister of State Chief Olajumoke Akinjide have congratulated Christians on the Christmas celebration. Mohammed urged them to pray for the nation’s peace and unity. In his Christmas message, the urged Christians to reflect on the life of Jesus Christ and imbibe his teachings, which he said are premised on selflessness, sacrifice, patience, modesty and spirituality. Mohammed said the celebration calls for sober reflec-

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

tion and spiritual rejuvenation, adding that Jesus lived his life for the salvation of mankind. He said: “As you pray for the nation, I urge you to also pray for its leadership, for God to continue to guide, protect and give President Goodluck Jonathan the strength and wisdom to steer the affairs of the country, so that he will judiciously implement his Transformation Agenda.” Mohammed urged residents to be their brothers’ keeper and assured them of security.

He said security is everybody’s business and urged residents to report any suspicious movement to law enforcement agents. Ms Akinjide said: “The Christmas period is a season of peace, goodwill and hope. It offers us a unique opportunity to express and share Christ’s message of love, peace, unity and reconciliation. “Residents of the FCT should use the festive period for increased spiritual devotion and live in peace with the adherents of other faiths. By so doing, we will be emulating Jesus Christ in words and

‘I started stealing when I couldn’t travel out’


27-year-old man, Amode Adewale, was yesterday remanded in prison custody for allegedly stealing a Mazda 626 salon car, valued at N850,000, and N30,000. Adewale allegedly committed the offence at Christ Avenue, Araromi Jimoh Aliu area of Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital. The stolen items belong to Mr. Adebayo Adekunle. Adewale’s counsel urged the court to grant him bail on liberal terms, but prosecution counsel Ewuola Ebenezer op-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

posed it. Magistrate Bayode Owoeye said although “the Nigerian Prison system is not reformative”, he had no option than to remand the accused in prison custody. He said Adewale was granted bail last Thursday when he was arraigned for another offence, adding that “one of the conditions for granting bail was the possibility that the accused would not commit another offence”. The case was adjourned till

January 28. Adewale said he started stealing because he was defrauded while trying to go to Malaysia. He said he was a marketer of petroleum products until his plans to travel out collapsed. Adewale said: “I was a petroleum marketer, but they defrauded me when I was trying to travel to Malaysia. I am from Erin-Osun. I went to learn printing in Osogbo, where my father stays, but the business is not doing well.”

deeds and imbibing the core lessons of love, tolerance, sacrifice and generosity, which Christ stood for.” She assured residents that the administration would continue to pursue policies and programmes that would impact positively on their lives. Ms Akinjide said: “The administration is making considerable progress in the transformation of the FCT. It will continue to create job opportunities for the people to achieve inclusive growth.” She wished residents a blissful Christmas and a rewarding New Year.

Makurdi wears new look From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi


AKURDI, the capital of the Benue State, is wearing a new look for the Christmas and New Year celebration. Every roundabout in the city has been decorated to reflect the festive mood. They so colourful, with banners ieverywhere. Major streets have been decorated with Christmas lights and many roads have been rehabilitated. Armed policemen, men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) have been deployed in strategic places to maintain order.

THE Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has urged Christians to pray for peace and unity in Nigeria. In their Christmas message, the Chairman of the forum, Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu urged Christians to pray for an end to the nation’s security challenges. He said: “There is no better time to preach and internalise Jesus Christ’s mission on earth than at this period of increasing intolerance in the country. “It is unfortunate that Nigeria has lost many innocent lives and property to intolerance and this does not augur well for the country.” Aliyu urged aggrieved persons to dialogue with the federal government. He urged Christians to go about their religious obligation without fear of molestation, adding that the government has put measures in place to ensure their safety.

Osun ACN calls for peace From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

THE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Osun State has urged residents to remain united. It wished them a merry Christmas and a New Year filled with love, peace and progress. In a statement by its Director of Publicity, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, ACN congratulated the people on the state’s outstanding performance at the capital market on December 12, where its bond issue was over subscribed by more than 100 per cent. It said the success at the capital market should be seen as “a special Christmas gift” from the Nigerian business community to the people of Osun State in appreciation of the development achieved by the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration in the last two years. ACN said: “We celebrate Christmas in remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ, who brought salvation to all people. “It is, therefore, imperative that we always keep in mind the great teaching of Christ, which says we should love our neighbour as your self. “If the people of Osun extend love to one another, the state will become a wonderful example for others.” The party urged residents to support the Aregbesola administration in the New Year to make the state the hub of economic activities in the Southwest.



NEWS TO NIGERIANS AT ’XMAS ‘This is a time for reflection’ From Nwanosike Onu, Awka


IFE of the Anambra State Governor Mrs. Margaret Obi has urged Nigerians to turn away from evil. She said Christmas is a time for sober reflection and not a period to engage in all sorts of vices. In her Christmas message, Mrs. Obi said: “While this season should be one of celebration because it is about the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ and our salvation, as we make merry, we should also pause and ponder on the ugly incidents and developments that have characterised the human condition lately. “Let us use this opportunity of uniting with relations, friends and well wishers to also collectively and individually reflect on the current challenges confronting us and pray for our dear state. “Let us ask the Almighty Father to touch us, so that we can turn away from our evil ways. It is heartwarming that, thus far, our government has continued to be responsible and responsive, turning around all facets of our lives simultaneously under the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS).”

381 NSCDC officers trained in Osun


HREE hundred and eighty one officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Osun State Command, have been trained in the use of arms. They were trained by men of the Engineering Construction Regiment, Nigerian Army, Ede. The training began on December 2 at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp in Osun. At their Passing-Out Parade, Governor Rauf Aregbesola said some of the graduates would be incorporated into the state security outfit, Swift Action Squad (SAS), and would be provided with accommodation and reasonable allowance. The governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Security, Mr. Adekunle Amos, urged them to partner

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

the government in ensuring security. NSCDC Commandant-General Dr. Ade Abolurin said national security is crucial for development. Abolurin, who was represented by the Ondo State NSCDC Commandant, Alhaji Waheed Popoola, said: “As a paramilitary organisation, men of the corps were commissioned to combat threats and any form of attack or disaster against Nigeria. “It is no longer news that the country has been facing a lot of security challenges and in a bid to combat these challenges, the Federal Government decided to reposition the NSCDC by training its officers and men on the right use of ammunition.


ACN felicitates with Ajimobi

HE Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Oyo State, Chief Akin Oke, has felicitated with Governor Abiola Ajimobi and Christians on the Christmas Day celebration. He described 2012 as the “year of peace in Oyo State”. Speaking through the party’s Publicity Secretary, Mr. Dauda Kolawole, Oke hailed the governor for en-

suring a chaos-free 2012. He said: “In less than two years, the Ajimobi administration has touched the life of every resident through its projects. By the time these projects are completed, Oyo would have regained its pace-setter status. “The governor’s purposeful leadership and administrative qualities are high-

ly commendable. This is the first time in the history of Oyo State that we are celebrating various festivals in a year without chaos. This is a wonderful year.” Oke prayed for God’s protection and guidance on the governor and residents. He urged Nigerians to reflect on the lessons of Christmas, which he said are humility and obedience to

God’s will, and prayed for good tidings in the New Year. Oke said: “The coming year will undoubtedly witness greater joy and happiness and everybody will enjoy the dividends of democracy promised by Ajimobi.” He thanked the people that attended the 40th day prayer of the late Alhaji Lam Adesina.

Orji, Akume advocate peace


BIA State Governor Theodore Orji has urged Nigerians to pray for peace and development. In a statement by his media aide, Mr. Ugo Emezue, Orji said: “Governments across the three tiers needed prayers to navigate the difficult ship of the state. Prayers can change our situation in Nigeria. I am optimistic that the country will soon become the envy of other nations. “Nigerians should support the federal, state and local governments to succeed. In Abia, we will ensure the security of residents. We urge our people to support the government in ensuring security, peace and progress.” Senate Minority Leader

Chief George Akume (Benue Zone B) has urged the people of Benue State to hope for a brighter future. The former governor said peace is vital to development and urged the people to be tolerant and

co-exist in peace. Akume said: “In this season of goodwill, I urge you to remain calm and devoted to the cause of peace, development and progress. The remembrance of the birth of Christ is instructive. Just as

the birth of Jesus brought hope to mankind, I urge the good people of Benue State to remain hopeful that our state will join the league of states enjoying good governance and other dividends of democracy.”

Lanlehin: 2013’ll be better


ESPITE the challenges facing Nigeria, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin (Oyo South District) has urged Nigerians to expect a better 2013. In his Christmas message, Lanlehin said: “The outgoing year is one most Nigerians would need to put behind them in view of certain unpleasant happenings, most of which resulted in the unfortunate loss of many precious lives and valuable resources.

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

“However, every Yuletide and new year comes with joy and hope. In this regard, we felicitate with our Christian brethren and other citizens of the world. We urge them not to despair, but remain steadfast in their prayers. “The New Year (2013) promises a good turn around in our individual and collective lives as a people bound together by a common destiny of greatness and prosperity.

We must promote the spirit of brotherliness, regardless of religious, ethnic or political differences.” The senator wished Governor Abiola Ajimobi; his deputy, Chief Moses Adeyemo; House of Assembly Speaker Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu; the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Odulana; the state Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Akin Oke; members and supporters of the party a merry Christmas.




08033054340, 08034699757 E-mail:-

Assembly invites LMDGP chief HE House of Assembly has invited the Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State Metropolitan Development and Governance Project (LMDGP), Dayo Oguntunde, over his alleged refusal to appear before its Finance Committee. The House adopted this resolution when the committee’s Chairman Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, lodged a complaint against him at plenary. Hon. Tejuosho said: "The committee has made an attempt to invite the management of LMDGP to appear before it on the budget review for the year, but the agency has refused to honour our invitation despite several calls and letters." The Chairman, House Committee on Works, Hon Rotimi Olowo, also noted that the agency refused to appear before his Committee. The House resolved that the agency’s management should appear before it on Thursday to explain why it did not honour the


committee’s invitation. Meanwhile, a bill for the registration of land titles and consolidation of existing law has passed the second reading. It has been referred to the Land Committee for further deliberation. The bill when passed is expected to help make the sale of land in the state stress-free. Analysing the importance of the bill, the Chairman, Committee on Lands and Housing, Hon. Bayo Osinowo, said the bill would compel all land owners to register and regularise their land titles to avoid unnecessary reallocation. The bill is also expected to checkmate the excesses of land speculators, popularly known as Omo Onile, and give confidence to Lagosians involved in land transactions. Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, said the bill would analyse all the laws of the state pertaining to land; Hon Saka Fafunmi said it would give a sense of belonging to all and consequently reduce petitions on land.

Council celebrates ’Xmas with pupils


UNDREDS of primary school pupils and their teachers yesterday thronged the African Church Primary School, Idiagbon in IfakoIjaiye, a Lagos suburb, to participate in the end-of-year party organised by the council chairman Apostle Oloruntoba Oke. The pupils who came from the 10 primary schools in the area were joined by children of principal officials of the council. Declaring the party open, Oke said the council organised it in order to give the children a feel of the Yuletide. He said: "Through this gathering, we intend to encourage you to imbibe the spirit of love, sharing and a sense of belonging expected of future leaders." Oke said the council places "high premium" on youth development, which includes the provision of

By Yinka Aderibigbe

qualitative education at the primary ladder. He restated his administration's commitment to the general well-being of pupils and their teachers and the provision of more educational and recreational facilities in all public primary schools in order to make them centres of academic excellence. Among schools present at the event were; Coker Memorial Primary School, Ogundimu Primary School, Ayanleye Primary School, Karaole Primary School and African Church Primary School. Others are; Iju Station Primary School, Holy Trinity Primary School, Fred Williams Primary School, African Church Primary School II, and Bishop Oluwole Primary School. Also in attendance traditional chiefs, members of the executive and chieftains of the party

•Cross section of the congregation during the annual retreat of the Deeper Life Bible Church at the camp ground, LagosIbadan Expressway. (Inset) Pastor Williams F. Kumuyi

LASTMA officials beat bus driver to death

54-year-old commercial bus driver, Isaac Popoola, was yesterday allegedly beaten to death by officials of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA). Popoola died when his head was reportedly smashed against the bus by the LASTMA officials during a struggle for the control of the steering. The bus assistant, Aremu Salau, said the incident occurred at Brown Bus Stop in Oshodi, at about 6.30am. He said they were approaching Oshodi from Isheri when a LASTMA patrol van pulled up in front of their bus, forcing Popoola to stop. Salau said the LASTMA officials asked Popoola to alight but he refused, demanding to know his offence. The officials rejected all entreaties by the passen-


•Authority hands over man to police By Adebisi Onanuga and Segun Balogun

gers, who were forced to alight and looked for another bus. After the passengers left, Salau said, the LASTMA officials struggled with Popoola for bus' steering, adding that they started hitting him on the head with their belt which has a metallic buckle. Salau reportedly ran into the nearby Mosafejo Police Station and returned to meet his driver's lifeless body on the floor. The LASTMA officials had run away. However, a crowd that had gathered apprehended one of them, who claimed that they were sent by their commandant.

Popoola's body was taken to Area F Police Headquarters, Ikeja, in his bus with Lagos registration number XL166SMK. "He is very gentle, humble. I don't know why the LASTMA man killed my husband. Now I'm a widow," said Dupe, the driver's widow. She said she received the news of her husband's death "on phone" while preparing to go to her shop. Her son, Ibukun, told The Nation the family is responsible for the autopsy and morgue fees. "The police asked us to take away his corpse. They refused to accept it. Now, we have paid N20,000 out of the N50,000 charged by the

Lagos State University Teaching Hospital," he said. In a statement yesterday, LASTMA's General Manager, Babatunde Edu said his men acted contrary to the agency's operational guidelines. He named two of them as Adesanya Olatunde and Ogunrinde Oludele. Edu said Adesanya has been identified by the Provost Marshall and handed over to the police, adding that Oludele, who was not supposed to be on duty at the time of the incident, is still at large. While commiserating with the bereaved, he pledged the agency's cooperation with the police in their investigation. He urged the public not to hesitate to report any overzealous official to the agency.

SURE-P rehabilitates Lagos-Kano railway


ITH the rescucitation of the Lagos-Kano train service, the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SUREP) has delivered its first major infrastructural dividend to Nigerians under its mandate. SURE-P committed about N1 billion to the project under which are passenger and haulage rail transportation. The 1,126 kilometre rail line was rehabilitated by Costain West Africa and China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC). Dr Christopher Kolade, SURE-P Chairman, represented by Chike Okogwu, said that his committee's intervention in railways stemmed from the attendant benefits to Nigerians and the economy.

Kolade said the commissioning of regular train services between Lagos and Kano has vindicated President Goodluck Jonathan's establishment of SURE-P, promising that the fruits of the programme's intervention in critical sectors of the economy would become visible to Nigerians in the years ahead. Earlier, the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, said the commissioning was part of the Federal Government's 25-year strategic vision for the Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC). Umar said government's commitment to the rehabilitation of the existing western narrow gauge followed its strategic importance in the nation's economic development. According to him, the

•From left: Sijuwade, Mobereola holding the flag and the Commissioner for Transportation Comrade Kayode Opeifa and NRC officials at the event

government has also invested in the rehabilitation of the eastern railway line, Zaria to Kaura Namoda rail line, rehabilitation and completion of the existing 254-kilometre Ajaokuta to Warri standard gauge. Umar said the government awarded the contract to conduct feasibility studies for the identification of new viable rail lines, which

would be implemented through public private partnership (PPP). NRC Managing Director, Adeseyi Sijuwade, praised the government and SUREP for breaking the "longstanding jinx" on the railways. The revamping of rail lines, he said, would make NRC to regain its role in the nation's development.

Governor Babatunde Fashola, represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Dayo Mobereola, praised NRC for resuscitating the interstate train services. Fashola said Lagos remained committed to the effective use of water, rail and road to boost the state's

economy and enhance employment opportunities. The event was attended by Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Nigeria Union of Journalists, National Association of Road Transport Owners, National Union of Road Transport Workers, petroleum and cement industry stakeholders and Railway Workers Union.





Medview Airlines flies 30,000 passengers By kelvin Osa-Okunbor


ED-VIEW Airline has carried more than 30, 000 passengers between November and December 2012. Briefing newsmen at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal -2 in Lagos yesterday, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Munir Bankole, said the airline carried about 12, 846 passengers in November when it commenced operations and more than 20, 110 18, 000 in December. He attributed the increase in patronage to the Christmas season. He also said the airline has taken delivery of another B737-800 aircraft as part of its expansion strategy. He said the additional aircraft would help the airline operate to other routes besides Lagos-Abuja and Lagos-Port Harcourt. He said the airline would start the Lagos-Owerri and Lagos-Yola route next year, adding that it would take the delivery of its fourth aircraft before the end of March, 2013. ‘The stage has been set and we are ready to fill the gap created by the death of so many domestic carriers. Our service will be unequalled. We have put in a lot of things in place to ensure passengers have a nice experience on board our aircraft,” he said. Meanwhile, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) has been picked to provide total ground handling services for the airline. By this agreement, SAHCOL would provide ramp and passenger handling services of the airline’s operations within Nigeria.

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 MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion

RATES Inflation -11.7% 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 $43.5b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472

The NSE is engaging marginal oil field operators and other indigenous oil and gas firms to use the capital market to source founds. The capital market provides patent capital that is well suited to capitalise these opportunities and assist a new generation of oil and gas value creators to achieve their potentials. - Mr Oscar Onyema, CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)

Discos, telcos, others may list on NSE • Targets $1tr for NSE, says Oteh D ISTRIBUTION compa nies created from the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) may be listed on the stock exchange within five years, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arumna Oteh, has said. Ms. Oteh, who spoke in an interview in Abuja, said the Nigerian Capital Market is targeting a $1 trillion market value by 2016. The government approved bids this year by companies, including Siemens AG (SIE), Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEP) and Transnational Corporation (TRANSCORP) to buy stakes in utilities to curb power cuts which are a daily occurrence. Requiring the companies to list shares would make the exchange more representative of the country’s economy, Ms. Oteh said The unbundling of PHCN resulted in the creation of 18 successor firms , including 11 electricity distribution companies- Abuja, Benin, Eko, Enugu,

By Simeon Ebulu with agency report

Ibadan, Ikeja, Jos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Yola, Kaduna and six generation companiesGeregu, Kainji, Shiroro, Ughelli, Sapele, Afam and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). Ms. Oteh, said only about 17 per cent of Nigeria’s economy is reflected on the market, adding that the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has attempted to encourage listings and bring bigger trading volumes by introducing short selling, market making and securities lending this year. She said the bourse has a current value of $54.6 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. She said: “Within a five year period, these companies will be expected to list,” citing discussions with the Bureau of Public Enterprises, which is responsible for the privatisation process. She explained that

the development is intended to correct earlier flaws that kept telecom firms from being listed on the NSE. “We cannot make the mistake that we made with telecoms, which were granted cellular licenses in 2001 and weren’t required to list their shares,” she said. None of the main four telecommunications companiesGlobacom, Airtel, Etisalat and MTN Group Limited. (MTN), are listed on the Nigerian exchange. Ms. Oteh however said the listing was optional, adding, “we are not looking to have listing made compulsory for them now,” The SEC’s boss, expressed her desire to have Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), which is Nigeria’s biggest private oil company, represented on the market, saying it makes “good business sense” for it to be on the bourse. She argued that a little divestment by the oil firms in favour of their host communities could elicit support for the firms, and in the process stem

vandalisation of oil pipelines. “They need to invest and invest aggressively, so I don’t even agree that there’s sufficient cash flow that they need financing. But more importantly, people can have empathy for these companies. We’ve had vandalisation of pipelines, we’ve had base stations being blown up. If people in those neighborhoods had even one or two shares in these companies, they would protect these base stations or pipelines like hawks,” she stated. She said SEC will probably approve rules for Islamic-compliant Sukuk bonds in the first quarter of next year, with a number of Nigerian states, including Osun waiting to issue debt. She explained that while states have been selling conventional bonds to finance projects such as infrastructure development, roughly half of Nigeria’s 160 million population who are Muslim are unable to participate. “For me it’s a financial inclusion issue, you have a very high population of Muslims in

Nigeria and it will just ensure we comply with some of their religious requirements,” she said. She said Lagos State, issued N80 billion ($509 million) bond in November at a coupon price of 14.5 percent. Rivers state, in the oil-producing south, may sell a 100 billionnaira bond next year to fund its budget deficit, Standard & Poor’s said . Ms. Oteh said three trading groups either have or are about receiving SEC approval to start retail bonds trading next year, to give the general public access to fixed income securities now dominated by institutional buyers. These are the Lagos bourse, the Financial Market Dealers Association, which groups banks, and the National Association of Security Dealers. “What we want is that most trading, including over-thecounter, is within our purview,” she said. “We’re very excited because it certainly brings more transparency to the market, it brings more depth,” she stated.

Americans miss $200b on stocks


• From left: Managing Director, Med View Airline Alhaji Munir Bankole, Head of Operations Captain Wole Oke and General Manager Mr David Babatunde at a press briefing during the arrrival of their new aircraft at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE Ikeja ...yesterday.

Customs generates N189b at Tin Can Port


HE Tin Can Island Port Command of the Ni geria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday said it generated N189 billion between January and November 2012. The Area Controller, Mr Tunji Aremu, disclosed this in a statement released in Lagos. He said the amount represented an increase of N13 billion over the amount re-

corded in the corresponding period of 2011. “Despite the challenges of modernisation and simplification of our operations, we have been able to generate N189 billion between January and November into government coffers,’’ he said. Aremu said the command targeted N22 billion monthly revenue which translated to N264 for the

entire year, adding that with commitment and dedication to duty, the Command has already achieved 72 per cent of its revenue target for the year.. “The Command has already achieved 72 per cent of its annual target and it has equally achieved, as at November ending, 79 per cent of 11 months target of N242 billion,’’ the Controller said.

Aremu said the Command recorded various seizures in the review period, as part of efforts to stem smuggling in all its ramifications. “We have so far seized 18 vehicles, 91 containers of various offending imports which comprise falsely and under-declared items, such as vehicles, used tyres, new fridges and washing machines.”

PIB will be passed into law, says Ndoma-Egba


GAINST the back ground of northern leaders stance against the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba yesterday assured that it would be passed into law. He told reporters at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat in Calabar yesterday, that the bill holds the key to the envisaged re-

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

forms in the petroleum sector. He said the National Assembly with a membership of 469, is a medley of different interest groups, each fighting to protect its own interest, but with a bill like PIB seeking to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),

intense lobbying will be exploited to see it through for the good of all. He said:“For me, I’m not surprised that the North is agitated, but they have not said they are against reforms in the petroleum industry. This bill is very relevant to the oil sector. At the appropriate time, we shall go into negotiations and horse-trading and arrive at a compromise for the Bill to

be passed into law,” he said. Ndoma-Egba maintained that the advantages of the bill far outweighs its disadvantages, hence Nigerians should see the need to have a bill that would make investors come in to set up refineries, encourage competition in the sector which in the main would selfregulate the price of petroleum products and create jobs for the unemployed.

MERICANS have missed out on almost $200 billion of stock gains as they drained money from the market in the past four years, haunted by the financial crisis. Assets in equity mutual, exchange-traded and closed-end funds increased about 85 per cent to $5.6 trillion since the bull market began in March 2009, trailing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s 94 per cent advance, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Morningstar Inc. The proportion of retirement funds in stocks fell about 0.5 percentage point, compared with an average rise of 8.2 percentage points in rallies since 1990. Assets in equity mutual, exchange-traded and closed-end funds increased about 85 per cent to $5.6 trillion since the bull market began in March 2009, trailing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s 94 per cent advance. The retreat showed that even the biggest gain since 1998 failed to heal investor confidence after the financial collapse that wiped out $11 trillion in U.S. equity value was followed by record price swings in equities, a market breakdown that briefly erased $862 billion in share value and the slowest recovery from a recession since World War II. Individuals are withdrawing money as political leaders struggle to avert budget cuts that threaten to throw the economy into a new slump. “Our biggest liability in the stock market has been the total destruction to confidence,” James Paulsen, the Chief Investment Strategist at Minneapolisbased Wells Capital Management, which oversees about $325 billion, said in a telephone interview. “There’s just so much evidence of this recovery broadening.”



AVIATION High traffic at Lagos Airport for Xmas

•From left: Editor, Nigerian Aviation News On-Line, Lateef Lawal; Towulade of Akinale Town, Ogun State, Oba Femi Ogunleye; General Manager, Public Affairs, Nigerian Airspace Agency (NAMA), Mr Supo Atobatele and Deputy Editor, Daily Independent, Mr Rotimi Durojaiye, during a retreat for Aviation Correspondents in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.



Review BASA to favour local airlines, govt told

PRESSURE group, the Aviation Roundtable (ART), has called on the Federal Government to review the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) routes flown by foreign carriers. The call followed Nigerian carriers’ seeming inability to operate on their reciprocal intercontinental routes. According to the group, Nigerian carriers could make more money on intercontinental routes, by stepping up their operations to earn more revenue for the government, as opposed to the paltry sum paid by the foreign carriers as royalties. Since the death of the national carrier, Nigeria Airways in 2003, foreign carriers have dominated routes hitherto flown by the airline, under the reciprocity clause guiding the BASA. On the Lagos-London route, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways run flights between Lagos and Abuja to London, to the detriment of Nigerian lone carrier, Arik Air, which operates on the route. The defunct Bellview and the rested Air Nigeria, hitherto operated on the routewithout the required capacity. ART said the government can earn more revenue by encouraging more airlines to increase capacity on intercontinental routes. Unless this is done, the government will continue to lose more revenue, as it has experienced in the last 20 years. In an interview, ART President


Stories by Kelvin Osa-Okunbor Aviation Correspondent

and Secretary, Captain Dele Ore and Mr Sam Akerele, said until the government reviews the conditions attached to the BASA to the advantage of indigenous airlines, the foriegn carriers would continue to dominate the business. Ore said: “Sadly, only about 15 of BASA are being serviced, while others are virtually of little benefits, except for commercial income of $20 per seat carried by foreign airlines on routes not plied by Nigerian airlines. “For over two decades, this trend has continued leading to capital flight, underdevelopment of the aviation sector, youth unemployment and the death of many domestic operators. “The Federal Government must ensure a review of bilateral air services agreement, aircraft types, routes, meals on board, frequency of flight per week, double entry as well as designation into Nigeria.” The experts noted that the dearth of core aviation professionals remains a big issue in the industry, adding that if not tackled, it could arrest the sector’s growth. Ore added: “There is no doubt that there is serious shortage of core aviation personnel now in the aviation sector. “What we have are ageing local manpower, such as pilots, li-

censed aircraft engineers, licensed avionics enginerrs, skilled ancillary services. “Since the liquidation of the former national carrier, Nigeria Airways, many of the trained and experienced staff have either died or retired, leaving a few that are threatened out of existence by the influx of their foreign counterparts. “In fact, the domination of foreigners in the aviation sector is a present danger to Nigeria as it is believed that few Nigerians are employed by airlines, especially the private and charter operations.” The ART called for the establishment of aviation training facilities, such as flying schools, aviation training organisations, as one way of addressing ageing manpower and dwindling technical skills. “The aviation training school in Nigeria, in Zaria, should be upgraded in every way to enable it to regain its pride of place as Africa's number one training centre. “The influx of expatriate pilots and engineers has become so worrisome that expatriate quota has become a big issue in the aviation industry. “Its effect in airline economics can better be imagined. Apart from the huge costs to domestic airlines, it inevitably leads to capital flight because of dearth of Nigerian professionals,” Ore added.

‘Reduce NCAA’s powers’

HE Federal Government has been advised to remove economic regulation of airlines from the functions of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). The Chief Executive Officer, Scope Cewntre Limited, a security company, Mr Adebayo Babatunde, said his suggestion would give room for eficiency. The Authority, the security expert said, should concentrate on safety to avoid of interest He said if this is adhered to by the authorities, it will give room for efficiency. He said: “Economic oversight of the airlines is part of the statutory functions of NCAA. I think it should be reviewed. In other climes, the civil aviation

authorities have the sole mandate of overseeing safety and security. They have that mandate to focus on issues relating to safety and security of the aviation industry. That does not allow for any economic compromise. “A situation where the safety agency is also the economic organ, leaves much to be desired. So, going forward in the New Year, we expect a policy shift that will lead to an Act that will devolve the economic function away from the NCAA. “In South Africa, its Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for safety and security oversight, but there is an economic management committee that is set up under the civil aviation law that oversights

economic and services rendered. The same thing applies in United Kingdom where another body oversees all economic issues.” He also called for the procurement of state-of-the-art security gadgets by the Ministry of Aviation for monitoring of the airports in 2013, adding that as the threat levels change, security apparatus and training should also change to combat crimes within the airports. Babatunde called for proper background checks of those employed into the security departments of aviation firms by the appropriate agencies, warning that if this was not done, it could spell doom for the industry.

AS Christmas is celebrate today, there has been an upsurge in passenger traffic at the Lagos airport. People are travelling out in large numbers to celebrate Christmas in their home towns. Other passengers were also seen arriving from other aparts of the country. At the new General Aviation Terminal (GAT), Lagos, passengers were seen on long queues trying to buy their tickets while others were on their way to board the plane to their various destinations. The situation was not different at the International wing of the airport as the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA). One of the passengers at MMA2, Mr Michael Onocha, who was travelling on Aero Contractors airlines to Benin, said he was going to visit his family in Asaba so that he could spend the Christmas holidays with them. Onocha further said he had to fly to Benin because it was the shortest destination he could fly to before taking a bus to connect to Asaba where his family lives. He said: “I'm travelling to Benin. Actually, I am going to visit my family in Asaba, but I have to take Benin because that is the shortest possible place I can fly to, then I will take a bus to connect to Asaba.” Onocha, however, noted that he was not impress by the passengers traffic as there were no adequate airlines to carter for the growing need of the flying publics. According to him, “It is not impressive, it shows that the country is not even improving at all. the leaders are not really doing anything to improve the situation, we should have up to five domestic airlines flying and I want to believe that they can do this by reviewing the policies on aviation.”

Expert preaches safety FORMER spokesman of Nigeria Airways Limited, Mr Chris Aligbe, has canvassed the implementation of communication navigation satellite surveillance and air traffic management to improve air safety in Nigeria. Aligbe, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Belujane Konzult, also urged the relevant government agencies to do more in providing the needed air navigation facilities, affirming that a sustainable infrastructure upgrade as government allocates more funds for critical safety projects. Aligbe canvassed the setting up of an aircraft maintenance facility, which he said is long overdue, affirming that the facilitators of such a project need to be sure of good patronage to sustain the project. He said: "A maintenance facility in Nigeria is long overdue. The government should facilitate the establishment of such a project, and ensure that the airlines have enough aircraft their fleet to ensure it is profitable. “If there are not enough aircraft to sustain the maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, it could be a failure. Above all, there must be competence in fleet and aircraft type to make it work. ‘’One sure way of achieving this is the entrenchment of standardisation of fleet and line management to boost the competence of such a facility.” He said without standardisation of aircraft type, the industry could have problems, as major aircraft repairs’ facilities are driven by the development of competences in aircraft types. He added: “Most of the airlines in Nigeria do not have commonality of aircraft type to drive maintenance and repair overhaul facilities.”

Chanchangi Airlines returns CHANCHANGI Airlines has resumed operations, operating flights on the Lagos and Abuja route, with its Boeing 737 300 planes. Stakeholders are, however, worried that the carrier is operating with less than two aircraft, contrary to economic regulation. Under the rules, an airline wmust have over two aircraft before it could embark on schedule operations. The airline had stopped operations a few months ago when it could not facilitate the maintenance of the aircraft in the fleet of the airline, due to paucity of funds. A source said the carrier was expecting three other aircraft in the next couple of months to add to the aircraft in operation. He further said the airline was expecting another Boeing 747 for hajj operations. According to him, Chanchangi is acquiring these aircraft through its agreement with Inland Bank. The source also said other airlines were returning to operations, including Associated Aviation and that IRS was coming in with more aircraft. He further said IRS did not get any aircraft from its Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Turkish Air and the Federal Government’s 30 aircraft buffer to aid ailingserious airlines.

BA stocks gifts for Christmas WITH about 30,000 people flying with British Airways on Christmas Day, the airline is stocking extra gifts for its busiest shopping month on board. This includes the launch of an exclusive charity donation card, created by Turner Prize nominated artist Tracey Emin. It seems that last minute Christmas shopping is not just resigned to the high street – research found that nearly a third (32 per cent) of people would consider buying their Christmas gifts on board flights. While a further 17 per cent of those travelling will forget to pack a present accidentally leaving it at home, with the hard-done by brotherin-law being the person we are most likely to forget! Peter O’Shea, British Airways on-board retail executive said: “December is our busiest month for on board shopping. Customers like to choose from our carefully selected gifts and benefit from a wide range of travel exclusives and tax-free purchases. Many also like the convenience of buying on board, as it means less to carry in their luggage.” In time for the festive season, British Airways is launching a charity donation card. Designed by Tracey Emin, the monoprint entitled ‘Feeling Safe’ features a pair of Doves entwined on a branch, with a third bird watching over them. It is available on board flights and online at from Monday, December 3. Retailing at just £5, all money goes towards Flying Start – the airline’s charity partnership with Comic Relief.














What Christ says

•As Christians celebrate Jesus’ birth, Nigerians should emulate his life and words


HE gospels tell the story of a little child born in a manger in an air laden with prophesies. He was born in today’s Middle East in what is called Bethlehem, took shelter in Africa under the shadow of a persecuting King, grew up outside the spotlight of men and governments, took a baptismal vow and became a prophet, bishop, chief shepherd, a mighty God, rode on a colt in the subdued glamour of his day, challenged authorities, both temporal and spiritual, became an authority spiritual over temporal, proselitised love but had little love for hypocrites. He lived both loved and reviled, and died on the Cross of Calvary only to defy the law of nature with a resurrection. While on earth, he had defied nature with his miracles: the deaf heard, the blind saw, the lame walked. With that fit, he became King to his followers worldwide. His name inspires worship on all continents of the world, and in all generations since he passed away from this earth. His name, Jesus Christ, is the wellspring of hope and peace to many in the world, and this faith known as Christianity has triumphed the malice of kings, the age of despots, the inquiry of agnostics and atheists, the gauntlets of wars, the materialism of the selfindulgent. As author E.E. kellet wrote, though he has gone to heaven, he is a “man of amazing impressiveness, force and charm… he still goes about doing good.” It is that good that he personifies that

we commend to fellow Nigerians today. He was a man of principle who would not yield to the principle of the majority or the permissiveness of the hour. His famous line was “let your yea be yea and your nay nay.” This contrasts with the temper of today’s Nigeria, where we compromise principle at will. Whether in the high realm of policy, or in the grind of business or the casual atmosphere of family, we have lived a life of easy virtue as a nation. The past year was one of great peril to those who succeed and sweet adventure to those who preyed on them. We saw the hate spread in many areas. It was a year where those who held on to one system of beliefs would not live with those who held on to another. Christ called peace to all and that was why he proclaimed: “Peace I live with you, the peace I give unto you, not as the world gives give I unto you.” The flame of hate razed down both churches and mosques, silenced innocents to death in markets and roadsides, threatened business and shattered rustic peace, burned schools and sanctified bloodshed. There was also corruption, where a few who had connection turned the resources that belonged to all into private equity and were exposed. As the year ends, we are not sure who will suffer the consequences of their deeds because it is not clear whether those in authority want to dance out of the ritual of investigation into the brutal truths of punishment. Those who stoked ethnic bias, who

pursued people from place to place creating the curious paradox of refugees within our country, should understand that this season is for them. They will have to contend with the words of Christ who urged all to love their neighbours. “Love,” according to his most exponent apostle Paul, “works no ill against his neighbour. Therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” As many eat, drink, laugh and hug in the course of the day, we recall that Christ has a recipe in his life for a better and prosperous Nigeria. And it is in that spirit that we wish all a merry Christmas.

‘His name, Jesus Christ, is the wellspring of hope and peace to many in the world, and this faith known as Christianity has triumphed the malice of kings, the age of despots, the inquiry of agnostics and atheists, the gauntlets of wars, the materialism of the selfindulgent... It is that good that he personifies that we commend to fellow Nigerians today. He was a man of principle who would not yield to the principle of the majority or the permissiveness of the hour. His famous line was “let your yea be yea and your nay nay”

Ijeododo explosion •That was another case of private greed causing public alarm and pain


ANY residents of Ijeododo area of Lagos must have been looking forward to a hitch-free end of the year celebrations until last week Monday when, once again, suspected pipeline vandals shattered their hope. They had to flee the village in the night, following a pipeline explosion and its resultant inferno, a thing they also experienced only last year. The good news is that no life was reported lost to the incident, but as usual, the explosion underscored the fact that little has changed in terms of our response to such calamities and even government’s approach to protecting the pipelines, in spite of their economic importance to the nation. The incident has naturally heightened

‘With pipeline explosion becoming a recurring decimal, the impression one gets is that of a helpless government. Although it is yet to be officially confirmed that the explosion was caused by vandals, the fact that there were many empty jerry cans at the site points in that direction; that is their trademark. Obviously, the vandals must have been operating at that place for some time before the bubble burst. So, the question is: what is the security arrangement like to protect the facility?’

apprehension that it would worsen fuel scarcity, especially in the south-western part of the country, which at the best of times has been epileptic since the beginning of the year. Even the people of Ijeododo have started having nightmares of what life in the sleepy village would be like in the absence of electricity supply, which surely would be affected by the explosion. Electricity, they claim, is the only thing that makes life meaningful to them because there are no other amenities. They said it took about six months before electricity supply was restored to the area when they experienced a similar explosion last year, and that was after parting with some money. They expect a longer period of darkness in view of the intensity of the inferno this time, which they describe as more severe than the previous one. With pipeline explosion becoming a recurring decimal, the impression one gets is that of a helpless government. Although it is yet to be officially confirmed that the explosion was caused by vandals, the fact that there were many empty jerry cans at the site points in that direction; that is their trademark. Obviously, the vandals must have been operating at that place for some time before the bubble burst. So, the question is: what is the security arrangement like to protect the facility? Given the economic importance of the pipelines, the government should pay more attention to securing them. The pipeline in question transports about 11 million litres of petrol from the Atlas Cove. Yet, it was not easily accessible from the Ijeododo end when the fire occurred. Ni-

geria must be one of the countries that people do not lose sleep over wastage, a word that has lost value in its political lexicon, as there is so much wastage even in governments across board. Nigerians appear to have lost hope that corruption and stealing can ever become history in their country because the quantum of petroleum products stolen daily across the country is enough to make people mad with outrage in more civilised countries. The government complains about the billions lost to pipeline vandals annually but it does not seem serious to stem the tide; there is no holistic approach to tackle the problem. The issue is definitely beyond the ken of militants that the government has given more than N5billion contracts to protect the pipelines. Apart from this, the arrangement is a vote of no confidence on the navy and other security agencies that should normally protect such public facilities. The luck we had this time was that lives were not lost; unlike the Jesse fire incident of 1998 when more than a thousand people perished, and others that had also claimed many lives. If lives had been lost in Ijeododo, we would have seen all sorts of graveside orations from those who should have prevented the incident in the first place. We believe that the government has the resources to tackle pipeline vandalism; what it requires is the presence of mind and will to do it holistically. It should not be seen to be surrendering to vandals, otherwise, we would always return to square one in terms of fuel supply nationwide.

The true story of the first Christmas


OPE Benedict offers a pragmatic approach to the Nativity On Christmas, Christians across the world gather to hear of the most famous tax return filing in the history of mankind. As St Luke describes it at the start of the Nativity story: “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.” This is the somewhat unsentimental rendering of the Christmas scene set out by Benedict XVI, the Pope, in his new book Jesus of Nazareth. In a slim but readable volume, the Holy Father turns his mind to fact-checking the traditional Christmas story. The book is not an attack on traditions which are either inaccurate in the inception or which have grown fanciful in the retelling. It is more a tacit admission from the Vatican that Christmas is bigger than Jesus. The Holy Father discusses, but does not demand, corrections from the crib scene. Some proposed alterations would thin out the crowd around the crib. The Pope notes “there is no reference to animals” in the Gospel. So the oxen and asses should best move on. The birth of Jesus probably happened in a cave, rather than a rustic wooden stable. What of the three kings of orient led to the birth scene by a star? The Pope suggests the confluence of Saturn and Jupiter “could well have pointed astronomers from the Babylonian-Persian region toward the land of the Jews” – an admirable lack of dogma. He also suggests the adoration of the magi could be “an invention of Matthew’s based on a theological idea”. Since it has no bearing upon “any essential aspect of our faith”, the Pope says it does not matter whether it happened or not. The Epiphany is therefore a matter of personal taste. Some changes would be subtler. According to Benedict, St Joseph should still be seen as history’s most understanding husband, but he might not have been that humble. The carpenter seems to have owned a second home. He adds that people “had to present themselves where they owned property. Accordingly, we may assume that Joseph . . . had property in Bethlehem, so that he had to go there for tax registration.” Joseph should therefore be better dressed when portrayed. What of the shepherds? The Pope says there is no reason to doubt their presence at the Nativity, nor that they were drawn to the stable by angels. But what message should we draw from them? Does their presence mean we should lead a simple life? Well, no, says the Pope. He writes: “It seems to me that we should not read too much into this. Jesus was born outside the city in an area surrounded by grazing grounds where shepherds would pasture their flocks.” The army of heaven apparently did not go very far to find witnesses to the birth. The book also notes that the angels present at the scene were not literally “singing” their messages. But their words conveyed “all the glory of the great joy that they proclaim”. That sounds like a big improvement: would-be characters in a Broadway musical have now been officially upgraded to the vanguard of the Almighty. Benedict has been criticised for being doctrinaire, but even he grasps it is not wise to pick a fight over “the meaning of Christmas”. This time of year is often marked by disputes about commercialisation or distortion of the message. Many people worry about the lack of religion in the English-speaking world, in particular. But this is not the time to air those grievances and share those concerns. Indeed, it may be the worst possible time. The winter solstice is a moment when families eat together, argue, share presents, bicker, celebrate and annoy one another – and they have done so for ages. There really is only one thing that needs to be said at this time of year: a very Merry Christmas. Doctrinal divisions can wait until the new year. – Financial Times

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IR: Kaduna descended into mourning following the sudden demise of Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa in a helicopter crash that also killed five others at Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. In line with the constitution, his deputy Alhaji Ramalan Yero emerged as chief executive of the state. For the new governor to succeed in uniting the people for peace, stability and development of the state, he must overcome series of challenges. First is the security challenge. Why is this task proving increasingly difficult in the state? Because for many years now Kaduna State has become scene of deadly sectarian violence, segregated into Muslim North and Christian South. As chief security officer of the state, the responsibility is on him to unite and secure the life of every citizen regardless of his tribe, creed or political affiliation. It is on this note one could begin to image how committed His Excellency would be in keeping the diverse people of the state united behind him in peace and for love of one another. This may be deemed delusory but it is realistic if he applies wisdom and expertise in dealing with the knotty difficulties of governing the state. So it is important that he realise on time, the need to bridge the gap between the two major religions in the state by introducing policies on genuine reconciliation. Besides, demonstrating fairness, equity and equanimity while discharging his duties will do much to keep the state united. Likewise, it will prove


Challenges before Governor Yero prudent if he takes every decision with circumspection, so as to douse all chances of providing his antagonists with spurious points that may be used in labeling him as being more devoted to one religion than the other. In trying to cope with this challenge, he should remain impartial and at the same time play a mediatory role in bringing bloody

the syndrome of impunity? Many believe insecurity persist as perpetrators of crime go unpunished. He should support measures to combat impunity. Because the saying is people desist from committing crime only if the crime is punished with stiff penalty. So to keep the peace, culprits must be brought to book. One other key issue that has the

Stop discrimination against women

IR: Discriminatory practices against women takes various forms and all these have tendency to affect the economic prowess and social status of the woman in the community. According to a learned author, the society and its legal system in developing countries such as Nigeria condones domestic violence to a certain extent. Women are seen as properties, which are expected to be in total submission to their husbands. One cannot but agree with the writer in view of certain statutory provisions in our customary legal systems which tend to support domestic violence and discriminatory practices against women. The provision of Section 55 of the


confrontation between these warring faiths to an end. Because taking either side will have a wider implication of backfiring on unity and peace in the state. So I advice him to take a leaf from the book of his predecessor i.e not to be one sided governor; he should be governor for all. Secondly, it is important he prioritise on his agenda. How to end

Penal code which allows a man to beat his married wife under native law and custom “in so far as it does not amount to grievous hurt” is a classical example. It provides that “Nothing is an offence which does not amount to the infliction of grievous hurt upon any person and which is done by a husband for the purpose of correcting his wife, such husband and wife being subject to any native law or custom in which such correction is recognized as lawful.” Thus as long as the grievous hurt on a woman falls short of the acts defined in the section 241 of the penal code, a husband may correct his wife by beating her. It is submitted that this provision runs con-

trary to the right to dignity of human person constitutionally guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To subject a married wife to battery and assault in the guise of correcting her is barbarous and unreasonable. Discriminatory practices manifest itself in the employment sector and this affects the socio economic profile of women in no small measure. Notorious in this area of discrimination is the Nigeria Police Force. For instance, Section 122 of the Police Act stipulates that policewomen recruited to the general duties branch of the force may, in order to relieve male officer from those duties” be em-

Who will save Nigerians from internet fraudsters?


IR: There is no denying the fact that our security agencies have become overwhelmed by the magnitude of criminal activities that daily challenge their competence. In fact the impunity of criminals underline the inadequacy or near absence of security intelligence system. Ironically 80% of the Police have never used a computer yet they are expected to chase after high tech cyber criminals.

tendency of posing challenge to the governor is the choice of deputy and his cabinet members especially if he dares to defy his godfathers. But in order to foster good working relationship with all his cabinet members, the governor should have free a hand to pick the people he feels he can work with. Lastly ,as he promised, let him build from the legacies of late Yakowa as abandoning those projects may prove too costly to the state treasury. It will be a headway for the state if he strives to bring the projects to completion. He could start with the Zaria water project of which we have heard so much but seen little action by his predecessors. • Umar Rayyan Tudun Wada Kaduna.

The internet crime is being carried out by young people in the most brazen manner as they are secure in the knowledge that nobody is coming after them. I recall when a group of fraudsters opened a fake Nigerian Customs website, they recruited thousands of Nigerians online and gave them appointment letters after collecting huge amounts from them. I recently encountered the Ya-

hoo criminals: I was looking for a car to buy and decided to check the internet. I found sites like: Tradestable, Car finder and Nigerian Customs market office Many of the car advertisers claim to be Customs officers based at the Seme border or in Kebbi. They ask you to pay some amount to bring the vehicle for you to see, so that if you like it , you can then pay.

As soon as you deposit the logistics money in their account the extortion starts. The syndicate I encountered are using the following: GT Bank Account NO: 0116270510 Account NAME (witheld) The bank officials can check teller NO: 015651636 of 4/12/ 2012 paid into the account from their VI branch • Michael Azara Lagos

ployed in clerical, telephone and office orderly duties. Also, woman police officer who is desirous of marrying must first apply in writing to the Commissioner of Police of the State Command in which she is serving requesting permission to marry and giving the name, address and occupation of the person she intends to marry. Permission will be granted if the person is of good character and the woman police officer has served the force for a period of not less than three years.” Upon marriage, a woman police officer shall not be granted any special privilege by reason of the fact that she is married, and shall be subject to posting and transfer as if she were unmarried.” It is submitted that section 122 of the Police Act has tendency to relegate women police to the background by not exposing them to challenges where they can be professionally fulfilled. This may account probably for non-production of a woman police as Inspector General. It is further submitted that section 124 and 125 out-rightly affect the reproductive rights of women and their choice of partner. The fact that a male police officer does not need to undergo any procedure nor he is required to obtain any permission prior to marriage shows that the law is gender biased. • Barrister O . A Abiodun Ikorodu, Lagos State






Obasanjo is not irrelevant. Everyone knows you can never see anything good in him. One time you will age and retire, and younger people will write about your own agony. +2348098829997. Ogbeni wasn’t comfy. He deliberately invited Sege to Olakunle taunt him with Cicero’s greatness. But you’re right:, 08054504169 (Sms only, please) Abimbola Dictum sapient sat est (a word is good for the wise). – Leke Ikumapayi, +2348184972087. Your piece, ‘Sege’s agony’ is good bordering on excellence. But you should have left out paragraghs 20 and 21. Ponder this and you would get the gist. +2348055749747. Ngozi! (December 11) Feedback I thought the Nigerian youth had no place in the present In ‘Ngozi’ (December 11) and ‘Sege’s agony’ lived or still live in. Nigerian political dispensation (December 18,) Ripples commented on two Nigerian Ripples has had his say. Now, it is the readers’ until I read your piece on the late citizens, one young, the other old; one female, the day. Savour fireworks from the Readers’ Mrs. Ngozi Agbo. Please keep it other male; one here but gone with a flash like the Parliament and you savour the joy of up. – Prince Illo, Abuja, comet, the other here ‘forever’ – and how, in Christmas. Merry Christmas readers and a most +2348054566282. Ripples’ view, both have impacted the society they wonderful New Year. Thank you. Reading your column, ‘Ngozi!’ wet my tear of Uncle Bola Ige. Gen. Obasanjo conspired against the different breed – no permanent friends or foes? Maybe ducts again, six months after the death of the Campus Life indomitable Awo’s presidential ambition in 1979. Bola Ige Obasanjo will still laugh last. He is genius at capturing people. Lady. She was the second woman whose demise melted my was rigged out of existence in 2001, under his presidency. He is on repeat performance. – Dr. Bisi Olawunmi. heart, like a crystal of shea butter in a furnace. Aunty Ngozi Obasanjo’s chicanery also rigged out the the Alliance for Ripples: ‘You politicians’ – who, me? A politician? Some affected lives in the 37 years she lived. In fact, she was a Democracy (AD) progressive governments in the South laugh! Anyway, I concur: politicians cook up phony and unholy mother and father to me! But you wrote that the award was West, except the no-nonsense Bola Tinubu of Lagos. The deals. That’s why the media must be alert to warn. But does held on November 24. It was actually held on November 30. ACN governors must therefore be focused and implement that make the commentator a politician? – Wale Ajetunmobi, +2348035832227. their much touted regional integration without any delay. Some, if not all the time, I see you people as callous and Ripples: The mix-up in date is regretted. Thank you. The ailing industries in the South West should be revived. wicked. You referred to a three-time president as irrelevant? To die completely is to be forgotten. He who dies and is They should stop chasing shadows, and avoid being Haba! Do you wish for such an opportunity? Then retrace not forgotten lives forever – Samuel Butler. Thanks so much distracted. – Ayodele Fagbohun, +2348169482226. your steps. Your comments are not ‘Omoluabi’ [Yoruba for for remembering an icon like Mrs Ngozi Agbo. She added so Read your sardonic piece, ‘Sege’s agony’ and it struck me well-bred] - +2347033045653. much value to me and my articles, during my days at Obafemi that you are the one in concealed agony at the surreal Stop abusing an elderly man. You should know that whether Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, despite the fact that she had spectacle of Gen. Obasanjo unveiling the statue of his friend, people like it or not, Obasanjo is a human being and a great never seen me before. Though the messenger is dead, her Chief Bola Ige, callously murdered under his watch as Yoruba man. Maybe if you had the opportunities God had message lives on. May her gentle soul rest in peace. Long president. To imagine that an ACN putative political given him, you probably would have been a worst person live the young Emmanuel Agbo [Ngozi’s son], Long live Mr. ideologue, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, was the host is the than him. – Segun, Orile-Iganmu, Lagos, +2348083556806. Agbo Agbo [her husband] and long live our country. – Seyi ultimate in political morbid humour. So, many improbable Your article, ‘Sege’s agony’, is a timely warning to all ACN Babaeko, +2348030858606. people seem to be dancing on Ige’s grave! And with Ige’s governors, particularly the Ogbeni governor of the State of Believe you me, when I saw the headline of today’s Ripples, son as witness, it doesn’t get more weird! – Dr. Bisi Osun. He should watch his back, as Obj is capable of anything I thought it was referring to our ubiquitous ‘Aunty Ngoo’ Olawunmi, +2348033647571 to ‘capture’ the South West back for PDP. A word is enough for whose performance has made the economy very attractive to Ripples: This is a completely different ‘doctoral the wise!!! – Chief Apelogun, Ilesa, Osun State, +2348188810889. kidnappers! For the Ngozi that rippled today, I can only say dissertation’ of the event. But are you sure your ideological and may God grant her loved ones the fortitude to bear leaning is not playing a trick on you? Aunty Ngozi affected lives in the 37 RIP the irreparable loss (Amen) – Kayode A, Abeokuta, Does your warning against Aregbesola “getting too +2348073821313. years she lived. In fact, she was a comfy with this man” not suggestive of your discomfort at Thank you for your beautiful write-up on my wife, Ngozi. this apparent rapprochement? You politicians are a God bless you. Agbo Agbo - +2348033778406. mother and father to me!

EGE’S agony (December 18) In ‘Sege’s agony’, no mercy for Baba. – Ichie Emma Ezeh, Enugu +2348061149491 Re: ‘Sege’s agony’ - very informative and educative piece. Constantly being in the news is the tonic that keeps the “Ebora Owu” going! Chief James Ajibola Ige will forever be my hero for his humility, accessibility, simplicity and his principle of operating from a position of relative obscurity. Ogbeni Aregbesola is a man with sound intellect, sharp memory and organisational competence and I do not think he will fall so easy to the avuncular wisdom of Uncle Sege as did his seniors because his political associates have learnt from the benefit of hindsight, insight and foresight to deal with ‘Baba’ from a securely comfortable distance, a stand that pays off handsomely in the long run! Compliments of Yuletide to you. – Kayode A, Abeokuta, 2348073821313. It is another embarrassment, affront, trauma and insult to Yoruba integrity that Gen. Obasanjo unveiled the statue

epublican ipples

Ngozi! and Sege’s agony: a tale of two citizens


F education is the locomotive of the modern society, higher education is the oil that propels and sustains that engine. Higher educational institutions produce the teachers that teach our kids at the lower levels of the educational ladder, the engineers that build our roads, the doctors and nurses that treat the sick, the architects that design our houses, the agricultural extension workers that teach us new ways to nourish and improve our crops, and so on. So a boost in tertiary education is sure to trigger multiplier effects in all facets of our lives. Nations of the West and the so-called Asian Tigers were able to get to their present developmental stages because of their investment in mid-level, hands-on vocational and technical education. If history is any guide; that is the path we should tread in Nigeria as well. But how much attention is tertiary education receiving in our states, especially in northern states that struggle against a historical disadvantage in western education? I have read many persuasive articles about the spectacular transformation of Yobe State University from the educational backwater to the fastest growing university in the north and one of the best equipped and best funded in the country. This fact piqued my curiosity about how other institutions of higher learning are faring in the state. I am concerned because we have a tendency in Nigeria to give disproportionate attention to universities in our higher education policies. The elitism that such policies produce is responsible for the decline in enrolment in polytechnics, colleges of education, schools of health technology, schools of agriculture, etc. But we need these institutions not just to produce middle-level, hands-on technical manpower for our industries and civil service, but to take the pressure away from our already overpopulated universities. I was pleasantly relieved to discover that Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State is acutely aware of this, and has devoted the same amount of attention to other institutions of higher learning in the state that he has devoted to raising Yobe State University to its current enviable status. There is probably no better evidence for this than the fact that Yobe State has gone on record as one of the first states in the country to approve and implement the new salary

‘It’s heartening that a state governor is bucking a general Nigerian trend: he is not paying exclusive attention to universities at the expense of other institutions of higher learning. That is reassuring’

Tertiary education in Yobe By Ahmad Isa scale for lecturers of the State College of Education and State Polytechnic called CONPCASS. This policy seeks to bridge the parity of esteem between university lecturers and their counterparts in polytechnics and colleges of education that has been the source of so much resentment and friction for years. If we claim to equally value other institutions of higher learning as we value universities, there is no better way to show that than to incentivize working in these other institutions. I am enormously impressed that Governor Gaidam has recognized this. The wild acclaim that his approval and implementation of the CONPCASS has provoked among the academic staff of state’s polytechnic and college of education is well-deserved. It isn’t just in the welfare of staff of the state polytechnic and college of education that Governor Gaidam has demonstrated even-handedness in his higher education policies; he has shown commitment to the physical and intellectual uplift of all of the state’s tertiary educational institutions. For instance, through his policies, the Mai Idris Alooma Polytechnic, the state’s only polytechnic located in the governor’s hometown of Gaidam, has been accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), a feat many older polytechnics are still struggling to achieve. Many of the school’s lecturers have also been sent to Malaysian and UK universities to acquire advanced degrees in their fields. In his commitment to diversify higher education in the state, Governor Gaidam also upgraded the erstwhile School of Midwifery to a full-fledged college of nursing and midwifery, which he renamed the “Dr. Shehu Sule College of Nursing and Midwifery.” The upgrade is not just in name, it is also in substance and scope. Many Yobe indigenes, who cannot or did not wish, for various reasons, to find admission in university medical schools turn to this school, which has become a rich source of much-needed mid-level medical personnel for the state. The Yobe State College of Agriculture in Gujba has also received focused attention from the Gaidam administration in recent time. For instance, the government not long ago constructed and equipped a veterinary clinic for the school to help facilitate cutting-edge agricultural research. The Chemistry and Biology laboratories of the school have also been fur-

nished and equipped to enviable standards. So are the school’s metal and wood workshops. Similarly, machinery shades have been erected in the school, and the quarters where the school’s academic and non-academic staff lives have been tastefully renovated. Realizing that the comfort of students is central to the success of education, especially one as critical as agricultural education, the governor also constructed a well-conceived male hostel and equipped it with first-class bedding materials. These and many other enviable strides that the college has recorded in the past few years have resulted in its getting accreditation for its programmes in Forestry Technology, Animal Health and Production, Agricultural Technology, and Fisheries Technology by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). In the light of the renewed confidence that the school has gathered consequent upon its improved infrastructure and the intellectual preparedness of its students and staff—which are attested to by its NBTE accreditation—it has applied to the Board to start HND programmes in six agriculture-related courses to commence next academic session. For a state that is defined by its heavy reliance on agriculture for daily sustenance, the attention the government has given to this college is worthy of praise. Of course, more needs to be done in the coming years to improve the standing of the school. My research shows that other tertiary institutions in the state such asthe Umar Suleiman College of Education in Gashua, the School of Health Technology in Nuguru, the College of Administration and Basic Studies in Potiskum, and the Atiku Abubakar College of Legal and Islamic Studies in Nguru have received and continue to receive varying degrees of attention from the state government—with some more room for improvement. In addition to improving the standards of its own tertiary educational institutions, the Yobe State government also sponsors indigenes of the state for a special one-year remedial studies program at the University of Maiduguri. The intent of the program is to groom the state’s ill-prepared indigenes for admission into universities in the country. The program has helped young Yobe State indigenes with a potential for success in university education but who do not have stellar “O” level qualification to get into universities. It’s heartening that a state governor is bucking a general Nigerian trend: he is not paying exclusive attention to universities at the expense of other institutions of higher learning. That is reassuring. As the governor has said, education is the currency of today’s economy. With his commitment to continue to improve the sector and give the state’s children the best education possible, Yobe seems certain to rise and become the pride not just of its people but of all Nigerians as well. • Isa writes from Gashu’a Yobe State





S we continue to dry the last drops of tears in our eyes following the death of Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser Gen. Owoye Azazi and three others including the crew of a Nigerian Navy helicopter in a crash somewhere in the creeks in Bayelsa State penultimate Saturday, let us begin to ponder over how our rulers (as against leaders) abuse the resources and facilities of State put at their disposal. Too often, we’ve seen and heard of cases of top public officers, especially politicians, top level civil servants and military officers extending the privileges of their office to their spouses, children, relations and friends and even aides to the detriment and at the expense of the State. This malaise did not begin with this present crop of rulers but dates back to as long as one could remember and it’s about time we begin to take stock of the toll this abuse of office is taking on our resources and collective security and decide on what to do to either encourage or stop it. The Navy helicopter that crashed was for the umpteenth time conveying guests that attended the burial ceremony that weekend in Bayelsa State of the father of an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Oronto Douglas to Port Harcourt airport in nearby Rivers State, for their return flight back to base. While the earlier batches made it safely to the airport in the same ‘copter Yakowa, Azazi and the others weren’t lucky, they all perished; a big loss not only to their respective families but also the whole nation and particularly to the military. There is no debating the fact that Oronto Douglas by virtue of the position he holds in Jonathan’s government is not entitled to assume the privileges he did by flying guests that came to commiserate with him on his father’s death and attend the burial (a private affair) in a military aircraft. We’ll come to that later, let’s look at similar instances in the past. Recall the Abacha years when one of his sons, Ibrahim died in one of two HS 125 presidential jets then in the presidential fleet? Ibrahim, his girl friend, a couple of friends and I am sure some secret service agents were reportedly celebrating Ibrahim’s birthday in the air, in the presidential jet when it crashed somewhere around Kano. While the nation grieved and sympathized with the Abachas


HE major responsibility of the legislature in most democracies is to make laws for the good governance of the society. Accordingly, those elected into the legislature are usually immersed in law making process to justify their mandate. However, some legislators with vision and progressive ideas veer into other populist activities that have the potentials and capabilities to touch the lives of their people. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, representing Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency in the House, is one of the notable visionary legislators of the times. Ihedioha, who made his debut in the National Assembly in 2003 after leaving an indelible landmark as aide to several national flag officers including former (late) Senate President, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar has, apart from his legislative functions carved out a niche for himself as one with unassailable penchant for grassroots empowerment, wealth creation for citizens and attracting development projects to his area and beyond. Conscious of the economic predicament of the vulnerable especially women and youths in the country and Imo State in particular, worsened by rising rate of unemployment and the resultant societal ills such as kidnapping and armed robbery, the Deputy Speaker has commenced in

‘The pilot programme according to the Deputy Speaker has been packaged to accommodate all relevant stakeholders and interest groups with assurances that arrangements have been put in place for starting up and sustaining successful trainees in entrepreneurship’

Beyond that chopper crash and the other bereaved families, the fact that could not be raised then, for obvious reasons, was that Ibrahim Abacha and his friends had no business flying that aircraft let alone partying inside it in the air. That aircraft that cost Nigerian tax payers millions of dollars to acquire and meant to serve the interest of State was deployed on a frivolous assignment that had nothing to do with the interest of Nigeria, except as we often do here, we equate the personal interests of our leaders to that of the country. With all the monies his father had acquired over the years (the source notwithstanding) and his own vast business empire, Ibrahim could have hired a private jet for his birthday celebration and spared the nation the loss of millions of dollars in the crashed presidential jet. This is not without sympathy for the lives lost. I am sure the HS 125 series had been phased out of the presidential fleet and replaced with newer aircraft types, even when it still remains one of the best executive jets flying around the globe. In Nigeria once an aircraft crashes and lives are lost, that aircraft type is no longer good and must be banned from our air space even if it is in service in other countries with better aviation facilities as well as better understanding of aircraft and aviation in general. And this is a nation that cannot even manufacture the tiniest and simplest part of an aircraft. Recall the Nigeria Airways F27 crash at Emene in Enugu in 1983 killing, I think all on board, including a Senator and almost his entire family? In hysteria, Nigeria sold off the entire Fokker fleet in Nigeria Airways and I think Libya was a beneficiary. President Ibrahim Babangida was reportedly flown in

one of those aircraft during a State visit to Libya years later. Meanwhile the Fokker series on which Nigeria Airways had built expertise up to D-check level was replaced by a more modern aircraft, Airbus A310-200 series on which we had none or few Nigerian engineers rated. No surprise then the A310s didn’t last for long in the airline’s fleet. Nigeria Airways, of course you know is dead, liquidated by Obasanjo and his Aviation Minister, Kema Chikwe. The same fate befell the BAC 1-11 series in our commercial aviation fleet here and since that aircraft type was phased out of our air space following a fatal crash, commercial aviation in Nigeria has been flying from one crisis into another. Sorry for the digression and back to the issue at hand; abuse of office by our rulers. I don’t know how you would classify this? I recall that the Nigerian Navy used to have a frigate named NNS Aradu as the nation’s flagship. I don’t know what has happened to Aradu now. It was reputed to be one of the best battleships of its era and used to carry three British made Lynx Helicopters. As a Defence Correspondent then, I, like my other colleagues was very proud of this and we were looking forward to not too distant a future when our Navy will acquire its own fleet of submarines. We are still waiting. But unfortunately before our eyes (pardon the cliche) Aradu started deteriorating and one after the other the helicopters were crashing, not during combat missions or military exercises, mind you, but during frivolous assignments. I remember one crashed in Calabar when Babangida was there on a state visit. Pray why did we have to deploy this chopper there just because the president was visiting? Except we are told

why, that deployment was uncalled for and a misuse or abuse of office, being the Commander-In-Chief notwithstanding. Of course, another millions of dollars down the drain. There are instances as this in the past and not limited to aviation alone. Quite often we hear or even witness wives of State governors and even the President’s wife and their children driving around in long convoys of official vehicles as if they are officials of State. In the process some have been involved in accidents that even claimed the lives of innocent people. These are people that before their husbands or fathers got elected or appointed into public office could hardly afford more than a car let alone a fleet of luxury vehicles. Before Oronto Douglas became an aide to President Jonathan could he afford to fly his friends or even think of flying them to attend a private ceremony he was holding? If he was not in office would he do that even if he has all the millions in this world? Who is Oronto Douglas to be flying his guests in military aircraft? What is this country turning into? One thinks State resources and facilities are meant to be deployed to State use/events. Is Oronto Douglas now part of the State or his father’s burial a State event? I am not trying to make a scapegoat out of our friend Oronto Douglas, don’t forget he was in the trenches with others during the fight for this democracy, I am only trying to draw attention to the rot going on in high places under Jonathan’s watch, which though didn’t start with him, but must not be allowed to continue. In probing the cause of the Navy helicopter crash, the political fall out of the unfortunate incident should also be looked into, may be by a judicial commission of enquiry which should among other things look at the entire gamut of how our rulers deploy State resources to check not only abuse of office, but also of power. The technical report of the investigation carried out should also be made public and not treated as secret because a military aircraft was involved; aviation is universal. May be its about time we are also told of what caused the presidential jet crash involving Ibrahim Abacha earlier mentioned and who authorized him to fly and party in ‘our aircraft’. Enough of these cover ups. Did I hear you mention the FOI Act?

A lawmaker’s passion for citizens’ empowerment By Chibuike Onyeukwu phases, the implementation of a comprehensive Youths/Women Empowerment Programme through skill acquisition training. The programmes which cut across the 27 local councils of the state have in no small way brought succour and relief to the numerous beneficiaries drawn from all walks of life including the physically challenged, road transport unions, religious bodies, media, farmers, market women, tricycle operators, political parties, Civil Society Organisations, e.t.c in the three senatorial zones of Imo State. Working in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Ihedioha flagged-off the empowerment programme which commenced on Tuesday, November 27 with hundreds of participants. According to him, the programme is geared towards providing an antidote to the embarrassing tide of unemployment and help to attain economic self-reliance for the beneficiaries. In many respects the training programme has been designed to ensure a high success level. For instance, it boasts of wellequipped workshops with tools and funds with highly experienced trainers who would take the participants through the programme for enhanced results. Hon. Ihedioha disclosed that a total of 20,000 Imo indigenes are targeted to be empowered through various training schemes in order to stimulate the economy, reduce poverty, unemployment and indeed crimes and other social vices. This large number of prospective beneficiaries is indeed instructive of the broad scope, high impact pedestal and inimitable success level of the exercise. The pilot programme according to the Deputy Speaker has been packaged to accommodate all relevant stakeholders and interest groups with assurances that arrange-

ments have been put in place for starting up and sustaining successful trainees in entrepreneurship. It would be recalled that the Deputy Speaker recently facilitated an empowerment programme on Agro-Training Programme for 700 women and youths drawn from all over Imo State on improvement of root crops production and micro agricultural enterprise in collaboration with the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia State. The programme which held at Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri was indeed a huge success as participants were diligently trained on how to improve on root crop production and diversification for more productive use. Just two months after the programme, the state has started witnessing the benefits in the areas of food production and the concomitant effect of crime reduction, among others. During the grand finale of the agrotraining programme, the Deputy Speaker promised to build three cassava processing plants in the three senatorial zones of Imo State to provide the needed mechanism for sustainability. It is necessary to mention here that Hon. Ihedioha’s humility, compassion, loyalty and meticulous nature have so endeared him to his colleagues in the House of Representatives and indeed made way for him to record the kind of unprecedented achievements since being elected to the hallowed Green Chambers. Drawing on this goodwill, he has continued to facilitate several development projects and programmes to his constituency and Imo State in general. For Instance, he facilitated the on-going dualization of the important Owerri – Elele road put at a cost of N23billion. Construction of the jetty/ mini-wharf at Imo River along OwerriAba road in Ngor Okpala LGA is attributed to him. This project is 95 per cent completed and which when commis-

sioned will open up the water ways transportation between the entire regions, create over 500 jobs which will tremendously stimulate the economic activities of the state and the country in general. Other projects facilitated by the Deputy Speaker include construction of several water schemes, primary health care centres, equipping of hospitals, building of school blocks, skill acquisition centres, ICT centres, among others. The 133kva/ 33mva electricity power substation sited at Ibeku, Aboh Mbaise LGA with over six injection stations is another project facilitated by him. This project which is 90 per cent completed, will boost electricity supply in Imo State and in indeed enhance the economic activities of all sectors in the state. It is noteworthy that in the past, he had self-financed the reconstruction of 14 schools in his constituency. Just recently, he facilitated the construction of IsinwekeOnicha Uboma-Imo River Boundary road in Ihitte Uboma LGA of Imo State. The construction which is being done by NDDC at the sum of N5.7billion has over four bridges and six culverts. These efforts by Chief Ihedioha, a Knight of the Anglican Communion has greatly impacted Imo State immensely. He is one leader that is regularly in touch with the people. Apart from regular visits home to feel the pulse of his constituents, he set aside since 2003 a special day, known as Annual Accountability/Constituency Briefing Day, every December to account for his stewardship and also take their feelers back to Abuja for further intervention. The passion and zeal which Ihedioha has applied in working for the development of Imo State since he was elected to the House has changed the face of representative democracy in the entire country. • Onyeukwu is media aide to the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives.

Keshi: Osaze’s outburst doesn’t

bother me

Pg. 24

Enyeama, Ejide fit for AFCON —Shorunmu Pg. 41



Tuesday, December 25, 2012



• Pardew

not going to


•Coach Pardew says Keshi knows why

• Ameobi





Eagles will miss Martins, says Babangida

Green confident of Eagles ahead of AFCON Jonathan backs Big Boss to succeed •Regrets Osaze’s outburst

Enyeama, Ejide fit for AFCON —Shorunmu

From Andrew Abah, Abuja

•Says the best will be in goal in South Africa From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja

From Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt


•Martins •Jonathan

West Brom: Odemwingie happy to remain with us

Chukwu, Nwosu, Akanni

Keshi: Osaze’s outburst doesn’t

counsel Keshi

bother me

Ambrose will be late to camp

• I can still play for Nigeria says Baggies star



Mikel relishes Boxing Day return



Amokachi recommends Nsofor to Besiktas Eneyama could return to Lille

•Nsofor • Mikel

Faro camp: Keshi calls up Okonkwo





Page 25

Residents decry rock blasting - Page 26

Abuja aglow at Christmas ‘TB, HIV pose new challenges’ - Page 27


Grief and search for unity - Page 40

BUJA has fallen under the spell of the season. Highways, avenues and streets of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are wearing a new look. Lights are twinkling. Bold, colourful decorations have transformed the seat of federal power. Flowers planted on the lawns across the city are covered with Christmas lights while pillars of major bridges especially in Julius Berger Roundabout are wrapped with big wallpapers and embellishments. It is an awesome and pleasant decoration, which looks absolutely beautiful, extending from Wuse Zone 5, 6 and 7 up to Wuse market and the Central Business District (CBD). A survey of major parts of the metropolis at night showed an overwhelmingly beautiful city. Sadly, the fear of Boko Haram has become the beginning of security consciousness in the city. This may sound funny but

From Bukola Amusan, Olugbenga Adanikin and Esther John

observations have revealed that security operatives are now in every major street, route and public building in the city. Police vehicles queue at almost five meter interval as traffic gridlock appears to have faded off, a brilliant and proactive idea, capable of mitigating any form of attack in the period. The Boko Haram group activities have been a problem to individuals most especially the Christians, their incessant killings

have created fear in the mind of every individual. From the look of things, there is tendency for a peaceful Yuletide Speaking with management of James Events Services, the beautification exercise is to add touch of splendour to the city in preparation for Christmas. One of the officials, Sunday Adejo, said though the company began operation two years ago, it has the needed experience to do the job. “We got this contract from a reputable source (name withheld) to decorate the streets. It’s just what we do to make ends meet,” he said. The street has changed from

Highways, avenues and streets of the FCT are wearing a new look. Lights are twinkling. Bold, colourful decorations have transformed the seat of federal power

what it used to be. Although the street was neat and tidy, after the excellent decoration exercise, it became absolutely awesome, attracting passersby? Truly, Christmas is a season different from other festive celebrations. Whether you are a Muslim or Christian, it doesn’t matter. Consciously or otherwise, you just have to hook unto the ambience because of its uniqueness. To make the Xmas celebration a memorable and wonderful season, President Good luck Jonathan and his wife Dame Patience hosted the 2012 Christmas carol service at the State House; it was an exciting gathering with wonderful presentation clouded with marvellous and soul-lifting songs by the Villa’s Chapel Choir among other groups. As the New Year unfolds, residents are hopeful of a better FCT with social infrastructural services adequately put in place.




Apo traders seek release of land documents


PO Traders Association has appealed to the FCT Minister Senator Bala Mohammed to prevail on the Director of Land in the FCTA, Alhaji Mainasara B. G. to urgently release the file containing their land allocation titles approved

From Bukola Amusan

about four months ago. General Chairman of the association, Chimezie Ifeh, in a letter addressed to the FCT Minister, explained that the association has been without a

Since the demolition of August 2006, we have been moving from one place to the other, relocating from one undeveloped plot to another •Senator Mohammed


HE Secretary Inter-faith Advisory Committee against Corruption and General Overseer of the Dominion International Ministry, Bishop John Praise has called on Federal Government to ensure that Christian leaders are part of the proposed dialogue with Boko Haram Praise also warned against holding the meeting outside the country. Briefing newsmen in Abuja when the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) honoured him with the most outstanding peace award, the clergy man expressed sadness that despite government’s genuine peace efforts the sect is still killing innocent souls. He also advised government that the dialogue process should not be made secret to avoid doubt. He said: “If you are a Christian and you are in Sokoto you should

permanent place to do their business after the plot duly allocated to them at Apo District in 2002 was demolished in 2006 by the then FCT Administration. “Nevertheless, since the demolition of August 2006, we have been moving from one place to the other, relocating from one undeveloped plot to the other,” he said. He said that due to their predicaments, the association made a passionate appeal through the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo Abuja Branch, to the FCT Minister in April 2011 for re-allocation of another plot which he ‘graciously’ did. “The minister in his genuine humanitarian and dynamic commitment to job creation,

graciously approved 25 hectares of land as we requested in our application of April 14, 2011,” he said. He said that the approval file, “Provision of permanent place/site for Apo Auto Spare Parts Dealers and Mechanics in Apo District No: FCDA/URP/EST/13833/1”, has been on the table of the FCT Director of Lands, Alhaji Mainasara B.G. without the issuance of Right of Occupancy to the association. Chimezie, who expressed worry and confusion over the whole situation, appealed to the FCT Minister to wade into the matter to enable them get the Right of Occupancy so that they can begin development and business activities in the place.

‘Christians should play role in Boko Haram dialogue’ From Gbenga Omokhunu

be comfortable and happy there. But this one that we are suspicious of one another, killing fellow human beings and singing disintegration songs is not good enough. ”Our politicians have a lot to do. Most of the Boko Haram men, we were told, started as political thugs and now nobody can control them again. I think we really need to think and know where we are going. We must preserve the unity of this nation. ”Some people have said that there is a dialogue going on in Saudi Arabia but government has denied it. And you all are aware that General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) has come out to refuse getting involved in any

dialogue. There is so much confusion you do not know who is telling the truth. ”Let us assume that there is dialogue going on, good and fine but must it be outside the country? Why can’t it be within Nigeria? When late President

Umaru Musa Yar’Adua wanted to solve the problem of Niger Delta, he did not take the dialogue outside the country. ”It was done in this country and government asked them to handover their arms and they did. So, if government is

Most of the Boko Haram men, we were told, started as political thugs and now nobody can control them again. I think we really need to think and know where we are going. We must preserve the unity of this nation

dialoguing with anybody, we must know the person. Christians should be part of the proposed dialogue with Boko Haram’’. “I dedicate this award to the peaceful coexistence of Nigerians. And I believe that we are bound to live together. And we should not destroy what we have laboured to build for years. Other countries are building and developing and we are destroying our own in Nigeria. ”The Dubai that everybody is now rushing to today, that is where Islam came from why are they not fighting there? In Dubai you can find almost all nationalities in the world. I believe that we have a lot to learn and guide in Nigeria. We must admire this country.”


ESIDENTS of Goshen Estate in Sabon Lugbe, a suburb of the Federal Capital City, have petitioned the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) as well as the police over rock blasting being carried out within the estate. Over 35 buildings at various levels of completion have been affected by the blast being carried out by a quarry company. A real estate developer, Mr. Ernest Etuk, on whose property, Parliamentary Hills Estate, the blast was being carried, told Abuja Review that the petition became necessary as all entreaties to the quarry company were unsuccessful. According to Etuk, who said that the quarry company claimed to have approval from the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, rock blasting in a residential area is a threat to lives and property. He said: “This is a residential area, we have over 20 estates in this area but within this particular estate is a living rock. The problem began when a quarry company began blasting in December 2011. “We approached the company s that we can reach an agreement on how and when the blasting can be carried out since they claimed to have a four-year license to mine in that area. “We could not reach any compromise and we have to continue with our own development of the estate. But to our surprise and that of the residents, the company came around last week when it was thought nobody would be around. “The effect of the blast is devastating. As we speak, both completed and uncompleted

•Rock blasting here disturbs residents

From Dele Anofi

Residents decry rock blasting

building numbering about 35 was badly affected. The impact is such that the foundations of the structures were badly affected and if we continue construction, the effect in years to come would certainly be heavy”.

While pleading with relevant authorities to intervene and prevail on the quarry company, Etuk regretted that the FCDA has not responded to the cries of the residents over the blasts. “We even wrote to the Anti-bomb Squad of the Nigeria Police over the

matter because of the explosives in passion of the quarry company but there was no response from them as well. “As it is now, our appeal is to relevant authorities to intervene because it is wrong for mining license to be granted in an officially

approved residential area. “As a result of the arrogance displayed by the quarry company, we have lost over N100m due to the significant damages done to our property. We are Nigerians too and should not be treated as if we don’t exist”.




Hospital gets new equipment


HE Primus Super Specialty Hospital, an Indian facility in the Federal Capital Territory, has inaugurated new medical equipment to provide better services for its patients and reduce the rush for foreign medical treatment by Nigerians. Speaking during the event in Abuja, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mahesh Sachdev, expressed

From Bukola Amusan

happiness with the team of workers at the hospital being the first super specialty hospital ever to operate in Nigeria. According to him, the hospital has maintained its standard by opening new facilities, bringing in new technology for the treatment of

The most important facility would be kidney replacement and this will have enormous impact in reducing the number of renal cases and will also enable Nigerians to seek medical treatment in Nigeria instead of going to India or elsewhere

Nigerian patients. “I believe the most important facility would be kidney replacement and this will have enormous impact in reducing the number of renal cases and will also enable Nigerians to seek medical treatment in Nigeria instead of going to India or elsewhere,” he said While praising the efforts of the staff, the high commissioner noted that there was always stress in pioneering anything especially in services sector where interference by the public is quite intense. “You have this engagement in a vital sector such as health where the lives of the people are involved. As a pioneer in the sector, you have to be prepared and I believe you have been well baptised,” he said. Dr. Kiran Kumar, a consultant physician who also spoke during the opening said the hospital is ready to render services to Nigerians.


HE Rotary Club family in the Federal Capital Territory has called on families to support government in its to ensure total eradication of polio. Raja Sabo, former president, Rotary International, said this in Abuja during the joint family of Rotary clubs’ celebration organised under the auspices of all Rotary clubs in Abuja. Sabo, who led a team of Rotary Indian medical experts to the event, disclosed that the doctors carried out corrective surgeries on polio victims in the country in commemoration of the Rotary Family Week. He reiterated the resolve of Rotary International to partner with countries where polio is endemic to finally eradicate the epidemic. District Governor of Rotary in Nigeria, Felix Obadan, said Rotary International has dedicated

FCT Rotary dedicates December to polio eradication From Bukola Amusan

December as ‘Family week’ because the family is the nucleus of every society and the best avenue to drive home the efforts to remove polio from the surface of the earth. He urged parents to immunise their children against diseases to enable them realise their life’s ambition. Chuka Oboli, President Rotary Club of Abuja Metro, urged parents to ensure children’s sound health and proper upbringing.

‘TB, HIV pose new challenges’


UBERCULOSIS and HIV infections are rising in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), posing new challenges in the city. This came to the fore when the Global Fund team led reporters on an assessment visit to some of the projects funded by the organisation in the city, which was a requisite for approving further grants. For Tuberculosis patients in the city, it is becoming very difficult to access the facilities as there are very few clinics for TB treatment in the city just like in every state of the federation. This has badly affected the Direct Observed Treatment (DOT) short course, which is a treatment programme where the TB patients have to report every day to the clinics to take their drugs in the presence of medical staff. The DOT short course, which is given to a patient for six months, was supposed to assist in the tackling of the new challenges of multi-drug resistance tuberculosis in the country apart from treating the non-complicated tuberculosis. Due to the transportation and other logistic factors which prevent TB patients from taking their drugs in line with the DOT rule, the break in drug administration by some patients have directly fuelled multi-drug resistance tuberculosis in the country. In order to assist some of the patients overcome their hardship, some of the clinics have found a way around it by giving drugs to cover the patients for one week. This means that these patients will only need to visit the clinics every week to get replenishment for the drugs and be examined by the medical team. Despite the challenges, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the FCT Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Uduak Uwakonfon disclosed that all the TB facilities in the city have been able to treat 7,403 TB patients in the city in the past four years. According to her, 1,540 TB cases have been treated in the city in the first, second and third quarters of this year, 2034 patients treated in 2011. Also 1,894 TB patients were treated in 2010 while 1,935patients were treated in the year 2009. Apart from few TB clinics in the city, she lamented that some of the challenges the various TB clinics are facing in the city included lack of laboratory facilities in some of the existing clinics. The supervisor at the TB/DOT Clinic inside the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, FCT, Dr. George Ewu disclosed to the inspection team that about 50 per cent of the TB patients that come to the

From Augustine Ehikioya

hospital have tested positive to HIV. One patient receiving treatment at the clinic, Ernest Daniel said: “If you see me two months ago before starting the treatment, you will think that I was about to die. I cough out sputum that fill a big bucket daily. After taking the drugs, things changed for me. I thank God for the treatment. I now sleep like a baby in the night.” “I pay about N500 to come to this place from my house in Zuba. So what they do to assist me is to give me drugs for one week and sometimes one month. But the normal thing is to be examined by a doctor every week,” he added. Another patient who has completed his treatment at another TB clinic in the city, Mr. Oluko Poli said: “I used to cough a lot and sweat too much in the night. I also experienced itching on my face before the treatment. But when I took the drugs everyday for six months, I became okay. No more symptoms and I was also tested the third time and the final result was negative.” But the efforts to eradicate and check the spread of HIV among sex workers in the city are also hanging in the balance. While some government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) want the sex workers to remain in one place in order to be educated on the need to change some sex behavioural practices, which will assist in stopping HIV spread in the city, some security personnel have continued to thwart the efforts. They have continued to exploit the situation to make financial gains. They collect at least N2,500 monthly per head from the prostitutes located in some parts of the city apart from the N5,000 any unlucky prostitute pays to bail herself when arrested during any raid. A sex worker in one of the brothels in the city, Linda Johnson said: “I got into this business because I don’t have anybody to help me financially. I know this place through my friend. I charge between N500 and N1,000 for one round an N5000 for lodging.” On the racketeering by the members of the security agency, she said: “Each of us here pay N2,500 monthly to them and N5,000 to bail ourselves if arrested.” An official of a government agency, who does not want his name in print, said: “This is really sad. While one agency of the government is working to check spread of HIV, another is doing the opposite. We need to have these sex workers in one place in order to reach them and change their behavioural patterns.”

•A test in time helps

While one agency of the government is working to check spread of HIV, another is doing the opposite. We need to have these sex workers in one place in order to reach them and change their behavioural patterns Speaking on the ‘Community Response to HIV, TB and Support to OVC’ in Abuja, the President of Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) , Prof. Oladipupo Ladipo said: “Adolescents and youth within the age bracket 15–24 years have HIV zero prevalence level of 4.1% (HSS2010) equivalent to the national average of 4.1%.” “This poses a great concern because of their reproductive health potentials and vulnerability to risky behaviours. Hence, the Peer Education and FLHE models piloted by ARFH have remained veritable means of reaching adolescents and youths with HIV and reproductive health information.” He went on: “The HIV epidemic has facilitated the re-emergence of pulmonary tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections. Global assessment report on TB, ranked Nigeria 10th among the 22 countries with high TB burden (WHO Global TB Report 2011).”

To ensure increased coverage and check the spread of the two diseases, Global Fund and Nigeria last week signed another $335 million grant agreement to fight Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. At the signing ceremony, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim noted that past Global Fund grants have greatly impacted on various communities in the country. He urged the recipient agencies and NGOs to use the funds judiciously as he charged Global Fund to ensure that future grants approvals to Nigeria are based on accountability of previous fund releases. While stressing that the Federal Government will continue to facilitate eradication of the diseases in Nigeria, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said the new grant of $335 million is broken down into $266 million for HIV and $69 million for Tuberculosis. Also speaking after signing the

grant agreement, the Head of Grant Management Division of Global Fund, Mr. Mark Eldon-Edington said that the new grant will help to expand prevention and treatment of HIV and tuberculosis in Africa’s most populous country. The grant agreements, he said, are a critical part of the $3 billion, in 169 grants, that the Global Fund has committed in 2012. He said: “For Nigeria, today’s grant agreements address a tremendous need: Nigeria has the second highest number of people living with HIV in the world and only 30 per cent of people requiring HIV treatment are receiving antiretroviral therapy. “The HIV grants signed today will target “most-at-risk populations” such as female sex workers, men who have sex with men and injecting drug users; orphans and vulnerable children, including those infected with HIV; and HIV positive mothers who have recently given birth to children and are breast-feeding them.” “The tuberculosis grants will seek to increase awareness of TB and TB/ HIV co-infection, help provide increased access to effective treatment services and (DOTS) and expand treatment of MDR-TB by strengthening and expanding services.” He stated. It can only be hoped that these series of grants would actually be used for what they are meant for in order to eradicate TB in Nigeria and stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country.





GROUP has said that there is need for Nigerians to embrace decent parking and general traffic management in the country especially at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Head, Media and Publicity, Mr.Andrew Ojonim, said the Automaten Technik Baumann (ATB) Germany which is one of the world best producers of electronic parking machines currently operating in various parts of the world, is set to enlighten Nigerians on proper parking habit. Ojonim, at a press briefing in Abuja, said the ATB Company is a newly introduced company and also approved by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). The company is led by Dr. Suleman Adejoh who is charged

‘We need better parking facilities’ From Gbenga Omokhunu and Yvonne Dike

with the responsibility of promoting and enhancing the growth of decent packing and general traffic management in the Federal Capital City (FCC). Ojonim added that this electronic parking machine is also available other parts of the world such as, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Germany, London, United States of America, Russia and India among others. He, however, requested the cooperation of the media in educating members of the public on the need for decent parking habit in some selected areas in the FCC.

Motorists, he said ,will be in a position to enjoy free flow of traffic for a small fee in their everyday movement. He said: “I will like to use this opportunity to request for the cooperation of the various security operatives specifically in the FCT in the implementation of this noble idea that is aimed at traffic management in the city as the benefits of this venture is out there for every citizen to enjoy’’. According to him, some areas have been marked with ’no parking’ signs and are regarded as enforcement areas only. Therefore, vehicles are not allowed to park in those designated areas or

streets as parking there attracts huge and disciplinary penalties. “We are currently enjoying a very good working relationship with the Transport Secretariat of the FCTA”, he added. He expressed sincere gratitude to the Minister of the FCT, Alhaji Bala Mohammed for seeing ATB fit for the project and for graciously granting them the special consideration. The areas of coverage are: “Ibrahim Babangida Way[including linear streets off Gana Street], Herbert Macaulay[outside central area], Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Way, Faskari Crescent, Dunukofia

Crescent, Portharcourt Crescent, Lagos Crescent, Aminu Kano Crescent, Constitution Avenue[LHS Ahmadu Bello Way coming from Apo], Independence Avenue, Hadeja Crescent, Maitama Crescent, Toro Street, Ibadan Street, Oyo Street, Akure Street, Ekwere Street, Ogbomoso Street, Emeka Anyaoku Street, Ayangba Street, Bendel Street, Mohammed Buhari Way, J.S.Tarka Street, Peace Drive, Freetown, Moshood Abiola/ Nnamdi Azikiwe Way, Blantyre Street, Bria Street, Kinda Street, Thaba Tseka Street, Beria Street, Cairo Street, Kampala Street and Capital Street respectively.”

demned the situation where security agencies arrest only the women involved in prostitution and let the men go. But the security agencies who are supposed to curb prostitution, instead request for bribes and let the girls continue. They only raid known Indian hemp markets like the PW market or a location close to phase 3 primary school. They also raid locations where a type of drug popularly known as

skunk, which is believed to be stronger, expensive and more effective than the marijuana, is supplied to Kubwa drug users at phase 4 before the Navy quarters. It is, therefore, not surprising that prostitution business in Kubwa seems to be thriving and shockingly, more teenagers are increasingly getting involved. Grace, a freelance writer, contributes this piece from Kubwa, Abuja

Red-light districts thrive in Kubwa K UBWA, a popular community in the Federal Capital Territory, sprang up as early as the seat of power moved from Lagos to Abuja. Unlike some of the highbrow areas in Abuja such as Maitama, Wuse, Garki and Asokoro, Kubwa safely accommodates both the middle class and low income earners and has become a home for people of diverse cultures. A first timer might think that in Kubwa residents lock up their gates early and go to bed. But a walk around the red-light zones, especially, Woman Boku, will convey a different message. The first time-visitor will soon realise that some parts of the community never sleep. In the red-light districts, sex workers adopt different methods to attract customers . Despite the fact that some of them get arrested by the police, the women of easy virtues are all over the place plying their illicit trade. Today, the environment surrounding Kubwa village market has become a sex-haven, with hook shops littering the place. The Woman Boku community, which is the most popular of them all has the highest concentration of such ladies. Woman Boku literally means women are plenty. The high concentration of ladies in this place might be a justification of its name. The high patronage of brothels and the confidence the ladies display is quite unbelievable. From 7.30pm, the atmosphere is usually electrified with hustling ladies of different sizes and shapes in their flambouyant and skimpy


HE Director General of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr. Ngeri Benebo, has said the agency is committed to ridding the Federal Capital Territory FCT of dirt. She stated that the agency is intensifying its compliance monitoring campaign to further implement its anti-littering programme to rid the territory of filth and waste. Benebo spoke at the kick-off of the exercise in Kuje. While addressing traditional rulers, landlords including shop owners and residents, she said there was need to enlighten the public on proper waste disposal. She said: “We cannot live in a dirty environment and hope to be healthy so it is important to take proper hygiene very serious because good hygiene is life. That’s why we are using every available

By Grace Ovia

attires swarming around guest houses, bars, clubs and streets for clients. They can be very persuasive, calling out to men in seductive tones, sometimes shaking their buttocks as if dancing to the beat of an invisible drum. Girls line up the street in front of Wazobia Club waiting for customers who either take them home for the night or to a corner where they satisfy themselves and she moves unto the next customer. At the De White, a bar close to the Wazobia Club, the girls unlike in other places, do not stand outside but in their quarters behind the bar where customers who patronise them simply walk in and have their desires met. For residents, wallking past the street of “Woman Boku “ is a great challenge. To distinguish themselves from the hawkers, women wear covering dresses. As for man, it is best one walks by quickly without staring at the women to avoid harrassment. The Three-Three Guest Inn at pipeline is another haven for the commercial sex workers. Here girls come out boldly under the glaring light of security bulbs calling for customers whom they take back to their rooms in the brothel. If you thought the ladies are all singles; you are in for a shocker. Some of them are married with husbands and children in Abuja and other places.

• You sample Kubwa from here

The price paid for sex varies depending on the location of the hotel. The FCT minister in June 2010 gave a deadline of 24 hours to all sex workers to vacate the FCT. Quite recently, more of such threats have been made when the chairperson, House Committee on Human Rights, Beni Lar, reportedly called for the law to prosecute both men and women involved in prostitution. Lar con-

Agency committed to sanitation From Olugbenga Adanikin and Esther John

resource through this campaign to monitor and ensure the entire territory is made clean.” The compliance monitoring exercise is coming on the heels of

an earlier two weeks sensitisation exercise which took place in Bwari and Kuje Area Councils to create awareness and raise consciousness of the residents on appropriate method of hygiene. The campaign is expected to be replicated in other area councils and states across the country.

We cannot live in a dirty environment and hope to be healthy so it is important to take proper hygiene very seriously because good hygiene is life

According to her, the initiative was in line with the enforcement of National Environmental (sanitation and waste) Regulations of 2011. The DG who was represented by Deputy Director, Environmental Education Awareness, Mrs. Florence Oti,said it became imperative to follow up appraisal to ascertain the level of compliance in the two area councils. “The chiefs and council officials should also join NESREA monitor residents to ensure compliance with proper waste disposal methods and stop littering”, she said. The DG enjoined residents to cultivate habit of cleanliness and desist from habitual littering. The area councils were encouraged to make proper uses of clean-

ing implements earlier donated to by NESREA, to assist their cleaning exercise. She tasked landlords in the local councils to make provision of toilets a priority “We have to complement each other because we cannot do it alone. This is the time to encourage Nigerians to be more conscious about their environment”, she added. Meanwhile, NESREA is collaborating with the Bwari and Kuje Area Councils to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for residents. The agency had penultimate week donated wheel barrows, cutlasses, hand gloves, shovels and rakes as part of efforts to ensure the successful implementation of the exercise.



above all, the rank of SAN is unashamedly a privi‘ Inherently, lege. Like all privileges, it is open to abuse. The argument here is

that there should be no state-supported privileges of this sort in a Republic. In response to those who say that the rank is a professional custom borrowed from England, the point here is that England is a Monarchy while Nigeria is a Republic See page 34


Should a sitting high court judge take a fresh oath of office if he transfers his services to another state? The National JudiciaL Council (NJC) believes he should, but lawyers say he should not. Who is right between them since there is no precedent on the matter? JOHN UNACHUKWU reports.

Should Oyewole take fresh oath of office L

AWYERS have expressed divergent views on the position of the National Judicial Council (NJC) that Justice Olubunmi Oyewole can only transfer his services from Lagos State to Osun State after taking a fresh oath of office. The Osun State government had sought the transfer of Justice Oyewole, an indigene of the state, from Lagos State. Consequently, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayo Phillips, sent the request to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Miriam Mukhtar, for necessary action. Last week, the CJN took the issue to the NJC which she chairs. The NJC decided that Justice Oyewole can only transfer his services to his state of origin only if he is prepared to take a fresh oath of office. Most lawyers are of the view that the NJC acted ultra- vires its powers, others contend that the transfer of state judges rests primarily with the Chief Judge of the states involved in the transfer and not the NJC. Some blame Justice Philips for writing the CJN in the first place. However, others believe that only a judicial pronouncement will judiciously lay the matter to rest. This position of the NJC invariably means that Justice Oyewole will not only lose seniority at the Bench but he will also lose the benefits of his 11 years meritorious service in Lagos State Judiciary. Reacting to the development, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) said:“The NJC cannot ask a judge to take a fresh oath as the issue of seniority rests


squarely on the state Judicial Service Commission. A judge can only take the oath of office once, except such a judge is elevated to an appellate court.” Former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Edo State and Chairman, NBA Constitution Review and Law Reform Committee, Charles Edosomwan (SAN), said: “I have always stated publicly that the whole concept of the NJC - a federal executive body – making judges for states in our virulently diverse country is a constitutional anomaly “It doesn’t only engender unnecessary strictures between a federal recommending body, the NJC and the states judicial appointing authorities that is, the governors and Houses of Assembly (when approving CJs). The whole concept is federally incongruous to the ludicrous extent that its practice sets up the recommending central body overwhelmingly over the appointing state authorities. I’m sure that we all can remember Enugu State under Governor Chimaroke Nnamani concerning Agbo now (JCA), Oyo State under Governor Kolapo Ishola, Rivers State under Peter Odili concerning Denton-West now (JCA) and not long ago in Kwara State under Bukola Saraki. “ Would it be lawful for a court to deploy ultra vires or unorthodox measures to guard its jurisdiction? What was the NJC’s business with repetitive oaths for transferring judges or with the seniority of judges? Are these part of its recommendation and functions in judicial appointments? “If we say governors shouldn’t politick with

Inside: Supreme Court declares Lagos as owner ... P.32

judicial appointments, it should go without saying that the NJC shouldn’t police its recommendations with such aggression that is likely to yield unsettling political incidents of judicial appointments. What then would one call this unorthodoxy by the NJC? Why shouldn’t the NJC’s business be constitutionally limited to federal judicial staffing? After all, isn’t ours a federal system, indeed? He added: “At this time of Constitution review, it is sorely hoped that true federal reforms would take NJC out of states’ judicial staffing.” Former President of the West African Bar Association (WABA) Mr Femi Falana (SAN) said: “The NJC has no power over transfer of judges as the issue belongs to the state. All the state need do is to inform the NJC. I challenge the NJC to point to any law to that effect. “I also wish to remind the NJC that there is no precedent for this decision. For example, Justice Ligali Ayorinde did not take any fresh oath when he transferred his service from Plateau to Lagos State and never lost his seniority. Justice Sikiru Adagun, who later became the CJ, did not take afresh oath when he transferred his service from Borno to Lagos State. No judge can take the oath of office twice for the same office.” Ismaila said: “Ordinarily, such decision by NJC is not normal and it lacks precedence. You can’t be made to lose seniority as a judge simply because you want to seek transfer from one state to another. Once a judge, you are always a judge. When Justice Constance Momoh trans-

ferred her service from Plateau to Edo State, nobody asked her to take fresh oath of office, nor was she made to lose seniority. And there are similar unlimited examples. “But NJC should know that its jurisdiction has a limit under federalism. The jurisdiction of the CJN, for instance, covers the Supreme Court, unlike a chief justice of the federation that has power over all the courts at the federal and in the federating units which are the states. “The states’ judiciary service commission (SJSC) are the equivalents of the NJC in the states and they are responsible for all the judicial officers in their respective states as well as determining their seniority. NJC should even have known better that one does not need to take oath more than once on the same cadre.” Chief Awa Kalu (SAN) said: “Can we all pause and ponder whether a person styled “Judge of the High Court of X State” can sit in Y State without being sworn in as such. How is a transfer of judicial service effected within the framework of the extant Constitution? Is it not preferable to cite recent example regarding lateral transfer of such service rather than transfers that occurred during the military regime? We must take account of the Unitary bearings of present constitutional practice which makes “Abuja”loom very large Funke Aekoya (SAN) said: “The easiest way to get an interpretation of supposedly conflicting statutes is to test it in the court of law . However I do not see a conflict. If Justice •Continued on page 30

NBA pledges to protect human rights..... P.35




Should Oyewole take fresh oath of office? • Continued from page 29

Oyewole transfers his service to Osun State, he does not need to swear a new judicial oath, as he is not being appointed to the position, just transferring his judicial service from one state to another. If however he becomes the CJ of the State, he would need to swear a new judicial oath before taking up the post. The position of the CJ is by appointment, and should not be by promotion this is one of the reasons we have square pegs in round holes Ibukunolu Alao Babajide said: “There are other issues that require resolution and they are, the status and role of NJC and I agree with Chidi Odinkalu on his position on this. “The flawed interpretation of the word “any” in S. 290 of the Constitution and the sensible balance in maintaining standards in the federal and state judiciaries.During my time I had to be a lawyer with minimum of 20 post call years to smell a Judgeship in Ogun state whereas a class mate was already an assistant High Court Judge at 9 years post call. The overweening and over preening NJC should limit itself to its remit which is recommending to the appointing authorities. This is the root cause of the confusion here now. The NJC has recommended a CJ for Osun State. The appointing authority in Osun State, the Governor and the Osun House of Assembly reject the appointee! “Can they? Should they?One can argue that had the NJC consulted appropriately with the appointing authority all these could have been avoided. Lest I forget, the Chief Judge of Lagos State is the cause of the Justice Oyewole transfer debacle. She has no business writing to the NJC over the transfer of service by a High Court Judge of a state to another state. All she should do is after the transfer inform the state JSC to inform the NJC that such a Judge is no longer in her jurisdiction and the receiving state should also through its JSC inform the NJC that it has received another new Judge in its service. “Why such a simple process is difficult is because during the military interregnum all institutions of state subordinated themselves to the fiat of the Governor. I was once told that when Gen. Oladipo Diya (rtd) was Governor of Ogun State when he summoned the then state CJ, the CJ

• Sagay (SAN)

• Edosomwan (SAN)

• Adekoya (SAN)

• Falana (SAN)

told those near him, “Oga npe mi!”, meaning the Boss summons me. “It is not too late to re-orientate ourselves and assert our independence and do what the law requires of us. “The rule of judicial interpretation suggests that unless there is complete inconsistency the interpretation that is compliant should be adopted. My respectable view is that “any” in S.290 if interpreted in a way that will allow the Oaths Law/Act compliant will have to be the first judicial oath and not redundant replications of oath that has been taken. The law does not encourage inanities and waste. Retaking an oath already taken is a waste of time and a redundant act. “In conclusion, the interpretation of the NJC, an executive branch quango is not definitive. It will be overridden by a definitive interpretation of a Magistrate’s Court that belongs to the arm of government constitutionally imbued with power to interpret the law” Chairman Nationalm Hman Rights Commission (NHRC) Prof. Chidi Odinkalu said: “ I entirely agree it’s time to test these things. It brings us

back to the psychology of judicial process and decision making here, especially in a not-completely-demilitarized society in which many judges would run away from adjudicating firmly in a case against the NJC. I suspect I’m conversant and mostly agree with your take on this that this kind of pussilanimity should have no place in the judicial process. “There’re three things I find worrisome in this entire conversation. One is the absence of a collaborative, responsibility-sharing disposition among the institutions, especially the NJC. If the agencies were prepared to co-operate with no sense of racing to one-upmanship, this entire thing shouldn’t be this problematic at all. The underlying principles should be to protect the independence of the judiciary and ensure full interplay of the instrumentalities of checks and balances in process of appointments. The NJC is no trump. It has also been mightily compromised by its recent history and lacks the moral authority with which to overwhelm politicians. Indeed, in this case, the moral authority would seem to lie with the politicians. That is a dreadful role re-

versal that should worry all interested in the rule of law here. The Role of the NJC cannot be to direct appointing authorities, it is to overwhelm them with such transparent good sense that the politicians comply or risk being run out of court. They have lost that here, the NJC. “The Second is what appears to be a presumption of impunity and arbitrariness in favour of the NJC - a sense among many of our colleagues and indeed senior judicial figures that they don’t have to rigorously and rationally justify their conduct and decision with reference to law and rationality and that whatever the NJC says is itself lawful , because it is law. The only people who claim to create “law” in this manner are armed bandits and putschists or coup plotters. The NJC is neither. “The third, more controversially, is what is clearly the effort to reduce the important office of a Chief Judge to no more than the stool of the Olubadan (Ibadan is home to me!) available for capture only to the last man or woman standing and with a retinue of wannabes all identified by numerals dictating their claim or turn

to the judicial throne. This diminishes judicial performance and reduces the important business of the Bench to beneath the grubbiness of the political parties or to the emptiness of the perennial races to the deanship among never-do-well academics in our un-productive universities. Can’t we do better? Odinkalu said: “The methods of legal reasoning are well-established; you establish lawfulness of a line of conduct or decision based on legal provisions, precedent, evidence of custom, or some other rational existing policy directive or framework. “Ample material has been cited in support of the views said to be canvassed by Itse Sagay, SAN & Femi Falana, SAN. Please can anyone provide or has anyone provided or does anyone know any legal bases for the course alleged to be proposed by the NJC? If so, can the person share it or them with us, we’re all learning”. Maryam Uwais said: “ My own understanding of it is that the position taken by the NJC appears to be based on S.290 of the Constitution, which provides under its Subsection 1 thus,’ A person appointed to any judicial office shall not begin to perform the functions of that office until he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed under this Constitution and has subsequently taken and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance and the Judicial Oath prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution.’ So it seems to be a matter of interpretation.”

‘The Chief Judge of Lagos State is the cause of the Justice Oyewole transfer debacle. She has no business writing to the NJC over the transfer of service by a High Court Judge of a state to another state. All she should do is after the transfer inform the state JSC to inform the NJC that such a Judge is no longer in her jurisdiction and the receiving state should also through its JSC inform the NJC that it has received another new Judge in its service’

Lawyers condemn parties’ deregistration


LAGOS lawyer, Mr Chijioke Emeka and civil society activist, Festus Okoye, has condemned the deregistration of some political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). In separate interviews with The Nation, he said though the amended Electoral Act 2010 empowers INEC to deregister political parties that failed to meet specified conditions after general elections, that provision offends the constitution, which allows for freedom of association and does not in any way provide for the deregistration of political parties. They said to allow INEC to enjoy such powers would render the efforts of our past heroes like Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who fought relentlessly for INEC to enlarge the Political space a nullity. Emeka said: “ I don’t think the 28 deregistered political parties have had any impact on the political expression of Nigerian before the purported deregistration. It follows that their deregistration would unlikely have any impact at all on political expression. They had merely existed on paper making no positive impact on the political space. They either had no alternative ideas to governance or failed to push them to the public. They are guilty of silence, ungolden silence! They either had no

By John Austin Unachukwu

form of public presence or at best had a government patronage seeking or attention seeking “presidential candidates”, who retires from public view after a below tolerance showing. Let’s get it right, there is nothing criminal with not winning legislative elections, but what effort are they making to do so? What contributions are they making to public debate? How are they molding public opinion to check governance? I hear they collect subventions from INEC and that is the only thing that matters to them. Nigerians are not missing these political parties. Carry out a vox populi and you will see that people care less if they are deregistered. They have no impact at all. On the legality of the deregistration, Emeka said: “ I don’t think INEC stands on a good legal position to deregister the parties. It is true that section 78 (7) of the Electoral Act empowers INEC to deregister political parties when they fail to win any election into the National Assembly or State House of Assembly, but the constitutionality of the provision is doubtful. Neither Section 222 of the Constitution or any other provision contemplates that a political part must win elections to be so-called. The Constitution respects the existence of political parties not as elec-

tion- winning parties but basically as political groups for incubating and stimulating political ideas. There is Section 40 of the Constitution on fundamental right to freedom of association, which notably mentions recognition of political parties by INEC. “I recall the battle staged by the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and some other Nigerian to have more political parties registered in the first place. It took the Supreme Court to deregulate the emergence of political parties in INEC v Balarabe Musa & Others decided on January 24, 2003. I dare say that if INEC should have the power to deregister political parties merely for not winning elections, then the labours of our heroes past shall have been in vain. The Electoral Act would have taken back the gains of yesteryears. That decision was based on the Constitution and not the Electoral Act and I believe the issue of deregistration of a political party should be taken cautiously. It is a constitutional issue. The National Assembly made up of a dominant party cannot legislate for deregistration of their potential challengers. The law should allow them to exist. The political space should remain open, despite the below par showing in the public space. The rise of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the Southwest with good presence in Anambra Central (with a Senator, House of Representatives and State

Assembly members) and the grounding of Labour Party in Ondo State are evidence that a docile political party can rise. On his advice to INEC, Emeka said: “I suggest that INEC should not deregister the political parties. INEC should rescind the deregistration order and ignore the unproductive political parties. They should be allowed to exist. INEC should rather take measures to ensure that public funds are not used to sustain their existence and that their existence does not hamper the political process. The issues should not be about deregistration which I believe is a violation of the right to freedom of association. The issues should be, should INEC give money to political parties for elections? If yes, which political parties should qualify for the subventions? Should every political party be on the Ballot paper? How can we reduce the confusion of having lengthy party names and logos on the Ballot Paper when only a few are known to the voter? These are the real issues”. Festus Okoye said: “On this question of deregistration of political parties by the INEC, there are two issues involved the first issue involved are that under section 236 upwards of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the law makers have set out the conditions which a political party must meet

before such a political party is registered. And if a political party has not met any of those conditions for registration, you cannot register such a political party. “But under the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, the law makers have also promulgated a law saying that if a political party does not win a specified number of seats in a general election, that such a political party could also be deregistered. The issue here is, between the Electoral Act as amended and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which one takes precedent? And my answer is that the constitution takes precedent because it is the fundamental law of the country. “The other issue co-terminus with it is that some of the political parties have also gone to court and secured injunction against their deregistration, this matter is still pending in court and no party is expected to take steps that would undermine the judgment of the court. “Well, I would want to state that the conditions for the registration of political parties under our laws are too loose to the extent that anybody can register a political party at anytime and for this, the deregistration of political as at today is a non issue because they can go back tomorrow and apply to be registered again, so it is indeed a non issue.”




Lawyers get disciplinary committees, appoints prosecutors


HE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has constituted disci plinary committees in its effort to sanitise legal practice In his speech on the occasion, the NBA President, Okey Wali (SAN) said: “The maintenance of Professional Standards is the hallmark of the Legal Profession. It is part of the regulatory role the NBA plays in regulating the professional ethics of lawyers in Nigeria. “This is why over the years the NBA has continually restructured its regulatory process to protect the highest standards of our noble profession. Let me succinctly give you an insight of our efforts and where we are coming from. “The NBA used to have a singular disciplinary committee chaired by Chief Bandele Aiku SAN, a man of sterling quality and integrity. The committee was vested with the responsibility to investigate complaints of unethical behavior of our members. Over time, the process became slow and it became evident that a single committee could not handle the deluge of petitions that came into the NBA on a daily basis. “When Olisa Agbakoba SAN, came into office, it was imperative that more disciplinary committees needed to be created to meet the yearning for expeditious dispensation of petitions. He created the Regional Committees with two panels in Lagos, One in the SouthSouth, one in the South east and one in the North. He created five committees in total. This however improved the process.

By John Austin Unachukwu

“Building on this, the Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, administration created the State Disciplinary Committees to improve on the previous administration system. This new system became unwieldy and failed to achieve our set objective in respect of disciplinary matters. “Today, after a careful comparative analysis and statistical comparisons, this administration has decided to revert to the Zonal disciplinary process with some additional committees with the singular aim of improving the disciplinary process by ensuring expeditious handling of petitions. I therefore inaugurate the following nine committees: •Abuja Disciplinary Committee •Lagos Disciplinary Panel A •Lagos Disciplinary Panel B •Northcentral Disciplinary Committee •Northeast Zonal Disciplinary Committee •Northwest Zonal Disciplinary Committee •Southeast Zonal Disciplinary Committee •Southsouth Zonal Disciplinary Committee •Southwest Zonal Disciplinary Committee Names of the Zonal Committee members are as follows: ABUJA •Awa Kalu, SAN, -Chairman •P.O. Okolo Esq. -Member •Okey Ajunwa Esq. -Member

•Muyiwa Akinboro Esq. -Member •Stella Peters(Ms) -Secretary LAGOS PANEL A •Rowland Otaru, SAN, Chairman •Nurudeen Ogbara, Esq, Member •Hon. Adetunji Orisalade, Member •Tola Rotimi(Ms), Member •Dave Adetumobi, Secretary LAGOS PANEL B •Babajide Koku, SAN, Chairman •Chief Chuks Ikoku, Member •Mrs. Muri Okunola, Member •Tayo. O. Fayemiwo,Esq, Member •S.B Onu, Secretary NORTHCENTRAL ZONE •Mike Mamman Osuman, SAN, Chairman •I.A Nomishan, Member •Omar Musa, Member •E. A Haruna, Member •Debo Adeyemo, Secretary NORTHEAST ZONE •N.A. Dammo, Chairman •M.A Galaya, Member •Bode Makinde, Member •Esther Tata(Ms), Member •Haruna Mohammed, Secretary NORTHWEST ZONE •Aliyu Umar, SAN, Chairman •S.H Garun-Gabas , Member •Sani Nassarawa , Member •Shuaibu Sule, Member •Tajudeen Oladoja, Member •L.S Wali Esq, Secretary

SOUTHEAST ZONE 1. Nnamdi Ibegbu SAN, Chairman •Emeka Nwagwu, Member •C.C Elele, Member •M.E Ezeh, Member •Esther Ajaero(Ms), Secretary SOUTHSOUTH ZONE •Omoruyi Omonuwa, SAN, Chairman •Joe Agi, SAN, Member •Wilcox Abereton, Member •Francis Ekanem, Member •Ben Oji, Secretary SOUTHWEST PANEL

•Nathaniel O. Oke, SAN, Chairman •Chief C.J Aremu SAN, Member •Wale Omotosho, Member •Kemi Osisanya(Ms), Secretary The terms of reference, which are uniform include, 1. To investigate complaints of unethical behavior by Legal Practitioners. 2. To make findings of a prima facie case or otherwise. 3. To dispense with petitions expeditiously 4. And to do such other things the committee may deem necessary and incidental in the discharge of their duties.

NBA raises prosecutors


HE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) last week named new prosecutors to prosecute erring lawyers before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee. Speaking on the occasion, the NBA President, Okey Wali (SAN) said: “Pursuant to Order 5 Rule (1) and Order 6 of Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) Rules 2006, the Nigerian Bar Association is a party before the LPDC in the presentation of cases against legal practitioners. “To this end, the NBA is required to appoint legal practitioners to present cases before the said LPDC, where the Association is of the opinion that a prima-facie case is shown against a legal practitioner.” After receiving the mandate of the National Executive Committee meeting in Asaba, Delta State on

By John Austin Unachukwu

November 29, 2012, we have constituted a group of NBA prosecutors. “They are: J.S Okutepa, SAN; Lawrence Oko Jaja, Abdul Ibrahim, Chinwe Aguma, Williams Abdul, T.T Hundu, Joshua E. Usman, and Afam Osigwe. The mandate of these prosecutors is to diligently prosecute the cases against lawyers against whom prima-facie cases of professional misconduct has been made. “I implore members of these committees to treat petitions with every sense of urgency. Join me to rid our profession of lawyers who engage in unethical practice in providing legal services to their clients.”

• NBA President Okey Wali (SAN) (middle) with members of the committee after the inauguration.

Godson Okoye’s father for burial January 12

CLO expresses worry over Chime’s absence IVIL Liberties Organisation machinery of the state has from Enugu entire (CLO) has expressed worry been totally paralysed, the state


over the continued absence from office by Enugu State Governor, Mr Sullivan Chime, who has been away since September 19, 2012. The group, in a statement by its Executive Director, Ibuchukwu Ezike, said although the governor only asked for two weeks leave in his letter to the Speaker, State House of Assembly, Hon Eugene Odo, he has spent more than three months. CLO alleged that Chime had in the said letter, asked that his deputy, Mr Sunday Onyebuchi, act in his absence to enable state functions as enshrined in the 1999 constitution proceed but the State House of Assembly has refused to appoint Onyebuchi in that capacity. “Of the issues worrying the CLO, is the non-presentation of the 2013 budget proposals before the

By Precious Igbonwelundu

state assembly whereas other states have started doing so. This is not in the interest of the citizens of Enugu state. Last week, we learnt that the speaker had announced to the House that the budget would be presented to it (House) but till the time of this release, the budget has not been presented. “CLO strongly frowns at the lukewarm attitude and conspiracy of the state assembly which ought to have appointed the Deputy Governor to act as the governor as required by law so he could begin to do the functions of the governor of the state as has rightly been done by the Taraba State House of Assembly in the case of Gov Danbaba Suntai. “It is shocking that while the

assembly has remained indifferent. CLO totally condemns the action of Enugu state House of Assembly and urges it to rise above personal interests and cronyism and do the right thing without delay,” the group said. In another development, CLO has joined voices with its Anambra State chapter to condemn the State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, for his refusal to conduct local government elections in the state since his assumption of office in 2006. Demanding an immediate conduct of the states local government polls, Ibuchukwu said Obi’s action amounts to a disobedience of the law. The group also faulted the use of vigilante groups in the state, expressing fears such actions may snowball into small arms proliferation and violence especially as elections draw close.

• Late Hon Okoye


ON. John Okechukwu Okoye will be buried in his Eziagu Village, Aguluezechukwu , Aguata Local Government Area, Anambra State on January 12, 2013. The Late J.O.Okoye was born 1935, to Mr. Ezeokoli (Okoye)

Igwemma Okeke and Mrs. Ukanwa Caroline Okoye (nee Oranyem) both from Eziagu village of Aguluezechukwu. Though his father’s genuine effort could not shelter him from the effects of poverty, he nevertheless, taught him how to face life with the principles of forthrightness, boldness, courage, discipline and hard work. . He persevered against all odds to complete standard six at a neighboring town that had accreditation for Standard Five and Six, then. He got admission into Bishop Shonahan College Orlu and Okongwu Grammar

School Nnewi. But due to his inability to afford the school fees, he could not enroll. He was bitter about this but nothing could be done as his parents could not afford to pay the school fees neither could he through his efforts. And there was also no one to help him. This foreclosed his ambition of advancing his education. This situation made him to chart a new course in life through business ventures. He had many children who he cherishes and loves among whom are lawyers, philosopher, accountant, business administrators and students among whom is Godson Okoye.




Supreme Court declares Lagos as owner of Eko Court By Adebisi Onanuga

• Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloma Mukhtar (CJN)


FTER a protracted legal bat tle that lasted 17 years, the Supreme Court of Nigeria finally declared the Lagos State government as the owner of Plot 177 Victoria Island, now known as Eko Court Towers, Victoria Island and No.25 Cooper Road Ikoyi Lagos. The apex court dismissed the appeal filed by the estate of the Late Chief J. O. Adeyemi–Bero against the Lagos State government over the ownership of the properties. In a unanimous decision, the apex court agreed with the submission of the Lagos State Government represented by the Solicitor General of the State Lawal Pedro (SAN) that the properties were validly returned to Lagos State Government

by Decree 21 of 1996 and the Court of Appeal’s judgment which set aside the judgment of the High Court cannot be faulted. Pedro (SAN) explained in a statement that the appellant, the late Chief Adeyemi-Bero, a retired Permanent Secretary in the State Civil Service had filed an appeal at the Supreme Court asking that the properties known as Plot 177 Victoria Island, Lagos and No.25, Cooper Road Ikoyi, Lagos be reverted to him as owner. The properties were forfeited to the Lagos State Government by virtue of the Determination of Interests in State Land No.1, Order LSLN No.9 of 1976 made pursuant to section 1 of the Determination of Certain Interests in Land Edict No.3 of 1976 and Public Officers and Other Persons (Forfeiture of Assets) Order 1976 made pursuant to Investigation of Assets (Public Officers and Other Persons) Decree 1968 respectively. According to him, the Federal Military Government of General Ibrahim Babangida in 1993, promulgated the Forfeiture of Assets (Release of Certain Forfeited Properties etc.) Decree No. 54 of 1993 in which the name of Mr. J.O. Adeyemi-Bero was listed and the properties in dispute were returned to him. He said the state government, however, refused to release the properties and the Appellant filed a suit No. M/415/95 against the State

Government. On June 11, 1996, the Appellant obtained judgment at the High Court for the release of the properties to him. Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government, he said, had petitioned the Federal Military Government on the release of the properties to the Appellant. “Therefore, subsequent to the delivery of the judgment, the Federal Military Government of General Sanni Abacha on July 3, 1996 promulgated the Forfeiture of Assets (Release of Certain Forfeited Properties etc.) Amendment Decree No. 21 of 1996 deleting the name of Mr Bero and the properties in dispute from the schedule to the Decree. “The Decree, which amended Decree No.54 of 1993, has a retrospective commencement date of June 6, 1995”, he said. Pedro said the state government, thereafter, commenced a fresh action in suit No. M/249/97 to have the judgment granted to Mr Adeyemi-Bero in suit No. M/415/95 set aside. According to him, the High Court refused, but that on appeal, the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of the High Court and thereby returned the properties to the state government. Dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, Mr. Adeyemi-Bero through his counsel Prof. A. B. Kasumu (SAN) appealed to the Supreme Court in SC. 179/05. Pedro (SAN) said the Supreme Court laid to rest the ownership dispute over the properties in favour of Lagos State Government.

Diamond Bank sued for N75.5m


N75.5 million suit has been filed before a Lagos High Court against Diamond Bank Plc over alleged breach of contract by one of its customers. In its motion on notice, the customer, Angel's Eye Nigeria Limited, prayed the court to declare that the alleged failure of the bank to honour a restructured loan agreement it had with it constitute a breach of contract. The company prayed the court to grant N25 million damages for alleged breach of contract allegedly caused by the bank. It asked for a N50 million compensation for injury allegedly caused by the bank to the dignity, character and business reputation of the company. The company, therefore, prayed the court to declare that the bank's alleged refusal to honour the cheques it issued to its business associates, had injured its dignity, character and business reputations. In addition, Angel's Eye Nigeria Limited requested for N500,000 as the cost of the suit. The company, in the suit, asked the court to determine whether the defendant's failure to honour the restructured loan agreement dated October 22, 2010 it had with it amounts to breach of contract. It also asked the court to determine whether the bank's alleged refusal to honour the cheques issued by it (Angel Eye) to its business associates resulted in injury to its business reputation. In its 29-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion dated December 22, 2011 and signed by its solicitor, A. A. Akande, it averred that it applied and was granted a credit facility of N1 million from the bank to finance its textile business which was granted. The company stated that it commenced repayment of the credit facility by payment of proceeds of daily sales into its account. The company claimed to have continued with the repayment of the structured loan until the company suffered a fire disaster, which destroyed all its imported suits and

By Adebisi Onanuga

clothing materials, and which hampered its efforts of repaying its credit facility from daily sales. The company claimed to have made this development known to the bank. The company stated that in order to fulfil its obligations and repayment of the outstanding credit facility, which had risen to N1,098,924, it entered into a duly signed agreement of converting the sum to a term loan payable under one year at the rate of N93,923, and which was agreement signed on October 22, 2010. It stated that it was however surprised when the bank converted the sum of N1,275,000, a proceed of the land sold deposited into its bank account to enable it pay the monthly due of November as well as paying some of its business partners, contrary to the new agreement it had with institution. According to the company, several letters were written to the bank, but it continued to dishonoured cheques drawn to its customers, which made it to petitioned the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, which ordered the refund of the money. Diamond Bank Plc, in ts defence, stated that it took all its actions "in accordance with the terms of the offer letter and that it was the act of the claimant that vitiated the contract." It argued that whatever damages the company might have suffered was as a result of its "inability to comply with the terms of the restructured offer letter." It agreed that though, it restructured the earlier loan granted to the company, the company failed to fulfill its financial obligations in accordance with the terms of the restructured offer letter. In line with the CBN directives, the bank claimed that it forwarded letters dated July, 26, August, 10, November 10 and December 13, 2011 to show why it took its decision, but that it was still expecting a further directive from the apex bank on the matter.

CLO faults arrest of activists

T •From left: Prof Paul Idornijie, his wife Roseline and Prof Dakas Clement Dakas (SAN), at the Christmas Carol and Director-General’s award night of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

Magistrate court coming for Alimosho


HE Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State , Mr Ade Ipaye, has said a magistrate court would be established in the area. Ipaye spoke at the maiden annual Law Week Summit organised by Alimosho Lawyer's Forum at the Samkoll Garden, Ikotun, Lagos . The summit entitled: Lagos State Traffic Law 2012-Practicability and enforceability brought together lawyers, academia, community heads, and law enforcement agents According to her, the establishment of a magistrate court in Alimosho area is a decision of the state government to bring justice closer to the residents in the area. Ipaye, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Accredited International Mediator, Mrs. Sedoten Ogunsanya said that the need for a magistrate court in Alimosho have been an issue of concern to the state government and “we are working hard at getting it done”. Ogunsanya advised motorists in Lagos state to comply with the

By Adebisi Onanuga and Adeola Ogunlade

new traffic law which was enacted in the interest of the security of lives and properties in the state. "We have had increasing cases of death and injury orchestrated by motorcyclists who do not understand traffic signs, thus exposing their passengers to untimely death", she said. In his goodwill message, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko, restated the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force in the enforcement of the new traffic law in Lagos . He said that the Lagos State Police Command is resolve and determined to enforce the new law without any form of intimidation. Also speaking the guest lecturer from the University of Lagos , at the event, Dr. Adeola Sanni lauded the new traffic law which he said “is a timely intervention to help address the growing challenges of pre-existing traffic laws which was outmoded and obsolete.

Sanni said that the new law is in the good interest of the Lagosian worthy of commendation but should be open to constant engagement of the people for the practicability of the enforcement. In her welcome address, the Chairman of Alimosho Lawyer Forum, Barrister Derin Kappo who lauded the proposed establishment of the Magistrate Court in Alimosho said that justice will now be closer to the people as matters will be swiftly disposed of as justice delayed is justice denied. "The government will restore the confidence of the people in the existence of justice for all and reduce the tendency to resort to self help and jungle justice wt the establishment of High court in the area" she said. Kappo added that the present of both Magistrate and High courts in Alimosho will create employment opportunities and boost the economic activities with the resultant increase in revenue for government in form of taxes.

HE Civil Liberty Organisa tion (CLO) has decried the arrest and detention of leaders and members of a coalition organisation, the Joint Action Front (JAF), by the police in Lagos, for conducts likely to constitute breach of public peace. It would be recalled that the police on Decenber 19, five activists as well as some leaders of the motorcyclist association, popularly called ‘okada riders’, who took to the street to register their displeasure over the new Lagos Traffic Laws that banned their operations in 475 roads of the state. Among those arrested were national Chairman, JAF, and lecturer, Obafemi Awolowo University, (O.A.U.), Ile-Ife, Dr. Dipo Fashina, Secretary, JAF, Comrade Abiodun Aremu, as well as Hassan Taiwo (Soweto), Usman Oloyede and Segun Oladunmi. In a statement by the Executive Director, CLO, Mr. Ibuchukwu Ezike, the group said it was shocked and worried by the rising tide of intolerance exhibited by some overzealous security operatives who would stop at nothing to criminalise human rights defenders. Ibuchukwu said the group was no longer happy with the ugly trend of human rights abuses in the country, as activists were marked out for destruction for performing their civic responsibilities to the society. He called on the federal government to disparage the demand for state police by governors, noting that it will serve as a tool for oppression against persons with contrary views. “CLO uses this present case to ap-

By Precious Igbonwelundu

peal to the National Assembly (NASS) to reason with honest Nigerians who have repeatedly asked the NASS not to allow some governors’ demand for state police. “If some of the governors could rely on the Federal Police Force to undermine human rights and repress the opposition including individuals they disagree with, we can then imagine the outcome of state police command, recruited, paid and maintained by state governments. “We condemn the actions of the DCP Tunde Sobulo-led police squad that arrested and incarcerated the human rights activists and pro-democrats and demand unbiased probe into the violation and sanction of those found to be culpable. “This is the second time in 2012 that the police would terrorise human rights activists and pro-democrats lawfully protesting the crimes of Nigerian government against humanity, the first being during the Popular January Uprising against senseless and fraudulent increment in the pump prices of petroleum products. “We urge the National Assembly, Ministry of Justice, Inspector General of Police (who claimed at resumption of office that his force would obey the rule law and respect for human rights), National Human Rights Commission and the Police Service Commission to rise up to the challenge and ensure that uncalled for clamp down on unsuspecting citizens by over-zealous, corrupt law enforcement agents and politicians are stopped,” he said.




NBA sets up Governing Council for Young Lawyers Forum By John Austin Unachukwu

• Tunde Daudu


IGERIAN Bar Association President Okey Wali (SAN) has inaugurated the Governing Council of the Young Lawyers’ Forum. In his speech on the occasion in Abuja, Wali (SAN) said: “The Nigerian Bar Association is the umbrella Professional Association of over 80,000 lawyers called to the Bar in Nigeria. It has a grund norm, which is the Constitution defines its scope, objects and institutions. Part of its governance and operational structures include the Young Lawyers Forum. “The underlying objective of the Young Lawyers Forum is to articulate the welfare of young lawyers and address the issues concerning their welfare and professional development. “Over the last 10 years, a crowd of qualified law graduates have been called to the Nigerian Bar with statistics putting on average, between 3,000-4,000 lawyers


as being admitted to the Nigerian Bar every year. New universities keep springing up, seeking for the accreditation for their law degree programmes from the Council of Legal Education. “The foregoing shows that the number of young lawyers keeps increasing every year, without commensurate efforts to meet the challenges these young lawyers face in terms of welfare and professional career growth. It is to address these issues bothering on the welfare of young lawyers, which have been impeding their professional growth, that led to the establishment of Nigerian Bar Association Young Lawyers Forum (NBA-YLF). These challenges range from undermining perceptions, economic decline to increasing competitive environment, and limited opportunities for the latent potentials of a young lawyer to thrive. These and more affect the chances of a progressive career growth of a young lawyer. “It is to begin to address these challenges of young lawyers in earnest that this administration decided to constitute the Governing Council of the Young Lawyers Forum. The members of the Governing Council of the Young Lawyers Forum are as follows: •Mr. Tunde Daudu, Chairman; •Nnamdi George Ikpeze,Vice Chairman; •Victoria Banke O l a g b e g i - O l o b a (Mrs.),Treasurer; •M.K. Habila; •Kopkan Bariyima Sylvester,

•Kingsley Osigbemhe Imobekhai; •Omolola Aderolu; •Okhaigbe Clement Eddy; •Yemi A.P. Adetoyinbo; •Barbara Omosun (Ms.); •Mr.Oluwasegun Isaac Aderibigbe; •Amarachi Phoebe Okoronkwo (Ms.) and •Okey Leo Ohagba, secretary “Your Terms of Reference, apart from your general mandate of articulating issues concerning young lawyers welfare and promoting the professional interest of young lawyers, are set out in the Young Lawyers Forum bye laws.” He added: “He vision of this administration is human capital building, through continuous Professional Development. We intend to achieve this by placing heavy premium on the interest of young lawyers and the need to train them for you are the future of the NBA. I have already directed the NBA Capacity Building Committee under the chairmanship of Mrs. Funke Adekoya, SAN and the institute of Continuing Legal Education of the NBA to work towards achieving that with young lawyers. “Apart from the measures mentioned above, this administration will set out mentoring and career development plans for young lawyers. With regard to conference registration fees for our various fee paying events, we will ensure that young lawyers are given reasonable discounts to encourage them, and there will be none fee paying seminars for youth corps members to introduce them to the profession.

54 Lagos mediators get international certification

IFTY-FOUR Mediators of the Lagos State Citizens’ Media tion Centre have graduated and obtained the internationally recognised mediators' certificates. They were awarded the certificates after a six-week intensive Mediation Skills Certification Training Programme sponsored by the Justice For All (J4A) programme of the United Kingdom Department for International Development. The graduation held at the Lagos State Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC) in Lagos. Speaking at the ceremony, the Lagos State Attorney -General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, charged the graduants to expand the scope of their knowledge by reading wide so as to be wisely guided in the course of mediating, urging them to always be objective and considerate. Ipaye also said the skills acquired would be useful in Directorates of the Ministry as mediation is being employed to resolve civil and criminal cases as well as the various public petitions received by the Ministry. The commissioner underscored the important role of the mediation centre in expanding access to justice, especially for the poor say-

Stories by Adebisi Onanuga

ing that it would diffuse tension in the society and relieve congestion in the formal courts. Ipaye disclosed that in 2012 alone, the CMC had mediated over 18,000 cases, most of which were resolved. He observed that the plea bargaining and victim compensation envisaged by the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State could not be put to use without mediation skills. The Attorney-General said his Ministry had taken responsibility, not just for defending and advising government, but more importantly for aiding citizens and furthering the cause of justice in society. This he said explained the various programmes of the Ministry to offer free legal advice, representation in court and mediation services to the general public. The Chairman Lagos MultiDoor Court House (LMDC) Governing Council, Justice Opeyemi Oke, in her goodwill message, said the objective of the training was to improve the effectiveness of mediation and with emphasis

on enhancing its ability to deliver high quality mediation services that meet the needs of users. She added that the training was also aimed at ensuring that mediation services were affordable yet qualitative. She also promised that the Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse would ensure continued support for the CMC through structured follow up and mentoring. The National Programme Manager, J4A Dr. Bob Arnot, in his remarks advised the graduands to put the skills acquired into use so that users of CMC would see an improvement in justice service delivery. He remarked that with their new acquired skill, the expectatiopn is that there would be an increase in the number of people using the CMC but more importantly, an increase in the number of disputes that were successfully mediated. The Mediation Skills Certificate Training a programme DFID established to strengthen the capacity of the justice sector and to deliver legal assistance and mediation services to citizens, especially those from poor and vulnerable groups.

CJ unveils statue of Lady Justice


HE Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, has unveiled a statue of Lady Justice, also called Justitia in the High Court, Ikeja premises. The gold statue, was erected on a black and ash base, behind the fence of the court overlooking ArchBishop Vining Road, Ikeja. At the back of the base of the statue is an inscription which states,: “UBI JUS UBI REME DIUM. Justitia is garbed in a Greco-Roman toga or tunica, in the tradition of classical goddesses, philosophers

and prophets. Lady Justice has the attributes of several goddesses who embodied right rule for Greeks and Romans in the olden days, and her image is a common sight on courthouses and legal institutions world wide. Lady justice is often depicted wearing a blindfold. This is done in order to indicate that justice is (or should be) meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of the identity, power, or weakness of the individuals brought before the bar.

Due to the fact that blindfolds were worn by the blind, some assume Lady Justice herself is blind. This belief is likely what led to the phrase, "Justice is blind". Justice is most often depicted with a set of weighing scales typically suspended from her left hand, upon which she measures the strengths of a case's support and opposition. She is also often seen carrying a double edged sword in her right hand which divides with the power of reason and justice in either direction simultaneously.


with gabriel AMALU

Morsy, neither moth nor butterfly


OLITICAL power apparently tastes like a honeyed alcohol or a sweetened intoxicant. And when there is substance abuse as in most third world countries, the result is ruination. But for the eternal vigilance of Egyptians, President Mohammed Morsy’s careless overdose of that dangerous drug would have turned to an addiction. Nonetheless, Morsy and his Muslim brotherhood despite warning signals from their countrymen appears hell bent on taking that historical country through the ignominious road of the disgraced former President, Hosni Mubarak. By his request to be allowed to exercise autocratic powers for a period, the President was asking for a medical clearance for a pre-arranged insanity in other not to be culpable for a planned murder. Otherwise how do you describe the insane plea by President Morsy, to be temporary allowed the absolute powers of a dictator, to enable him ram down the throats of his opposing country men, an obnoxious constitution. But for the sheer intoxication of power, how could Morsy, even contemplate a fresh dictatorship in Egypt so soon. The Egyptian President chose to forget that few months ago his country men and women fought gallantly to overthrow an entrenched dictatorship, at a huge cost to the country. During that struggle, hundreds of lives were lost, while the economy of the country was brought to its knees. The Muslim brotherhood that shepherded Morsy to political power spent many decades underground, while Mubarak rode his country like a mule, as a dictator. It was the political opening from the recent Arab spring that gifted the brotherhood an opportunity to win the first democratic election, in Egypt. But all that seem for Morsy and his henchmen a distant past. Having tasted power, he now believes that the only way he can fully be in-charge is by abusing the same process that gave him a chance in the first place. Easily sold into this new addition, he fails to realise that he could also ruin the entire gains he and his country men recently made from the revolution. Unfortunately, Morsy like his semi-democratic contemporaries across the African continent, is angling to suppress free speech and abolish secularism; which will slowly but inevitably plunge his country into a fratricidal warfare all in the name of a misbegotten religiosity. Unless Morsy comes to grip with common sense, his country will end up as the next Iran or Iraq. One under the overbearing death embrace of self serving religious extremists, and the other the carcass of a country serially rapped by a criminal gang that for decades masqueraded as patriots under the leadership of Saddam Hussein. But for the effect of this intoxicating alcoholic drug, Morsy should have known that the Egyptians who fought hard to chase out the Mubarak dictatorship would not easily acquiesce to a Morsy dictatorship. Foolishly he believes that because he could secure a simple majority at a referendum, he can surreptitiously sneak in provisions that will drag the country down to better forgotten past. He has failed to put the strong Egyptian military in the equation, neither has he taken into account, the fact that former President Murbarak surely still have many of his men in power, after decades of controlling the country. He also forgets that religious extremism will ultimately ruin the economy and inevitably turn even his current supporters against him. President Morsy should be persuaded by friends of Egypt to turn back from this highway to infamy, in the interest of his country and the continent. His proposal to his country men to embrace dialogue instead of protest to counter his attempted dictatorship is like asking a man handcuffed to context in a game of handball. To show his sinister game plan, Morsy outlawed any judicial review of his conducts, on the pretext that it will be temporal. As things already are, President Morsy has lost the trust of a sizeable chunk of his countrymen, and with the death of some of the protesters in the past days he already has blood in his hands, out of share stupid indulgence. The unfolding consequences of the foolish indulgence of President Morsy should serve as a lesson for our democratic enterprise in Nigeria. Here and there we have many pretenders to our democratic enterprise. One of such pretenders is the House of Representatives committee on capital market. Instead of being ashamed by the misconduct of their chairman Mr. Hembe, they have threatened to hold the Securities and Exchange Commission to ransom, by denying them a budgetary allocation in 2013, because of their disagreement with the Director General, Arunma Oteh. That committee and others that have been acting beyond their constitutional powers must be told in clear and unmistakable terms, that they are acting dictatorially. They must realise that their prerogatives as legislators do not extend to taking over the executive powers of the President, or acting in a manner to undermine same. Unfortunately, President Jonathan, on his part, is also acting dictatorial in his treatment of Justice Salami of the Court of Appeal. Despite the clear provisions of the constitution and the fundamental doctrine of separation of powers that is the hall mark of our presidential system of government, the President connives in the Salami saga to undermine the powers of the judiciary. As these custodians of the constitutional provisions undermine same, there is a chance that the entire edifice may be threatened, as we are seeing in Egypt. As President Morsy battle the forces that are fighting to wean him from his new dangerous attraction, those temporary overseeing our affairs in Nigeria must pick the right lessons. They cannot hide under the constitution to exercise dictatorial powers. Like Morsy, they need to be reminded that constitutionalism and dictatorship are disparate forces.




Lawyering for a cause: the imperative of justiciability of socio-economic rights in Nigeria Being text of a paper presented by Chairman, Governing Council, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, at a lecture organised by a group Friends of Mr Femi Falana (SAN) at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, to celebrate Falana’s elevation as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)


HE coincidence of a public lecture on International Human Rights Day in honour of one of the most vocal and consistent advocates of his generation in Nigeria is happy and pleasurable one. The organisers, Friends of Femi Falana (TripleF), had framed as the subject for this event the topic “The Imperative of Justiceability of socio-economic rights in Nigeria: Reflections on the contributions of Femi Falana, SAN”. The explicit reason for the occasion, I am reminded, is the elevation of Mr. Falana, to the rank of Silk, otherwise better known as Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). It is possible, in approaching this brief as framed to end up with the intellectual equivalent of fast food, a product that may fill the stomach or excite the audience without nourishing the body or enhancing the mind. This is very much an audience of advocates for social justice and better governance in Nigeria not a meeting of lawyers. A focus on the entrails of the many path-breaking cases conducted by the learned Senior Advocate would need more than the time we have for this event. Yet, it is impossible to understand how Mr. Falana has made the distinguished professional rank of SAN without acknowledging these cases. I will provide only the general contours. Gladly, we have the man here to reprise the full tale. I must confess that I was somewhat troubled that the organizers explicitly gave as the reason for this event the elevation of Mr. Falana to the rank of Silk. As a lawyer, Mr. Falana has – rightly or wrongly been identified with the cause of the outsider, the have-nots, and the down-trodden in Nigeria. His dockets have had more than their fair share of clients who could not afford his fees nor win popularity contests as well as causes that had relatively remote odds in the courts but for the skill and relentlessness that he brought to articulating them. He has represented prisoners on death row as well as organized trade unions and their leaders; student leaders persecuted for being youthful and idealistic as well as politicians and sundry chancers temporarily at odds with ruling orthodoxy. For staking out this position and batting on behalf of such persons, Mr. Falana has had to make personal sacrifice, sometimes hazardous or inconvenient for himself, his family and those closest to him. This track record may be a delight to many of the participants present here today. At our Bar, however, it could easily read like an ideological rap sheet of a different kind. Mr. Falana’s inclinations and instincts suggest that he is comfortably and unashamedly on the ideological “left”. In his 2011 Inaugural Lecture at the Law Faculty of the University of Lagos, professor of international law, Akin Oyebode - like Mr. Falana, another famous son of Ekiti State - reminds us that this tribe has had to live with and surmount “the prejudice against lawyers” of the ideological left “who, some believed, knew nothing else other than Marxism-Leninism or guerilla warfare.” 1 The heavily bearded Femi Falana may be a distant memory, but the Femi Falana of deep ideological convictions is still very much around. The Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee, which decides on who gets or is refused the rank of SAN is not and has never been accused of being a hotbed of leftist ideology. This is why it is surprising that the ideological friends and wouldbe legatees of Mr. Falana in Triple-F have chosen to make their decision to confer the privilege of SAN on him cause for this particular celebration. This event is not to be confused as the forum for an arbitration between the rank of SAN and its dis-contents. It is impossible not to acknowledge before continuing, however, the controversies that have recently trailed both the rank and its selection processes. To be sure, there are some

good arguments in support of the rank. Its existence is supported by law; as a quality mark in the legal profession, it should set a high bar of attainment for younger professionals; and it is supposed to be awarded only after a rigorous process of selection. Moreover, the customs of the profession, it is argued, support it because the rank is transposed from the customs of the legal profession in England and Wales from whence we borrowed our legal traditions and with whom we continue to share some wistful affinity. There remain, however, substantial instrumental, practical, and inherent arguments against the rank. On the instrumental point, it must be acknowledged that for a profession that mostly prides itself in its commitment to capitalism, the rank of Silk is anti-competitive because it enlists the instrumentalities and institutions of the state in skewing the market in legal services. Competition – the equivalent in political economy of non-discrimination – after-all, is a foundational precept of capitalism. By design or effect, the rank as presently administered in Nigeria enables its holders to command the highest fees in the market for legal services. No other profession besides the legal profession relies on official state institutions to determine its mechanisms of professional excellence or allocate the commercial benefits of such preferment. In South Africa, where the similar rank of Senior Counsel (SC) was in existence as an honour granted at the behest of the President, the Gauteng High Court in South Africa earlier this year struck this down as outside the powers of the South African President to grant honours. 2 As a practical point, the process of conferment has increasingly come under scrutiny as open to both abuse and capture to the point of doing some reputational damage to the rank as a brand. Against this background, it has, indeed, been suggested that the conferment of the rank on people like Mr. Falana co-opts the brand of Mr. Falana to shore up the credibility of the rank of SAN rather than the other way round. Inherently, above all, the rank of SAN is unashamedly a privilege. Like all privileges, it is open to abuse. The argument here is that there should be no state-supported privileges of this sort in a Republic. In response to those who say that the rank is a professional custom borrowed from England, the point here is that England is a Monarchy while Nigeria is a Republic. Monarchies are founded on privilege; Republics are founded on the radical principle of civic equality. You do not celebrate privilege in a Republic. I feel troubled, therefore, that the Nigerian Left represented here in Triple-F chooses to celebrate privilege on International Human Rights Day. For, howsoever it is looked at, making this the effective reason for this event would be a celebration of hubris at best or, even worse, a confession of lack of ideological conviction. Since most of us would not wish to be privy to or responsible for either of these, I have had to find an explicit personal rationale for accepting to be here today and, in so doing, have chosen to re-frame my original brief to read: “Lawyering for a Cause: The Femi Falana Story and the Imperative of Justiceability of Socio-Economic Rights in Nigeria.” I want to be clear: I did not come here on Human Rights Day because the Nigerian State has conferred on our comrade and colleague a license to make more money from his considerable professional skill and talent. There is nothing wrong with that and it is surely not a crime but many – and I am one of them - will wonder whether that is cause for public celebration rather than private partying. I am and we are here because, in spite of Mr. Falana’s considerable talents, professional attainment and comforts, he continues to

• Prof Odinkalu

espouse and work for a vision of a better country and more inclusive society founded on equality of all persons and to make considerable personal sacrifice in pursuit of this conviction. This is a cause much bigger than any professional rank or bank balance and in whose pursuit Mr. Falana’s contributions are well worth celebrating. As a citizen and Advocate, Mr Falana has built and earned his professional reputation on the side of the excluded, the underprivileged and the have-nots. In many cases, he has been the equaliser, giving the hope of a fighting chance to the clueless; and audacity to many who would have had less than a snowball’s chance in hell but for the deployment of Mr. Falana’s considerable acumen. He has not always won the arguments in the courts but his presence has afforded reassurance to the Davids; unsettled the Goliaths; re-balanced the scales and re-defined the meaning of winning and losing. Beyond our shores, Mr. Falana has been a rare, radical and welcome voice at our Bar for articulate pan-African humanism represented in his consistent advocacy for regional integration that ensures effective factor mobility, affirms the dignity and value of African labour, and guarantees for every Africa the legitimate pursuit of livelihoods and transactional life across the post-colonial borders of our continent. This commitment led to his role in the founding of the West African Bar Association (WABA) and to his successful advocacy for the expansion of the jurisdiction and access rules of the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS. It is no accident that the Supplementary Protocol expanding the human rights jurisdiction of the ECOWAS Court of Justice in 2005/6 was adopted under Mr. Falana’s watch as the President of WABA. These, surely, are the reasons why the choice of this day for this acknowledgement and celebration is both timely and proper. The United Nations General As-

sembly instituted International Human Rights Day in 1950 to commemorate the adoption in December 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In commemoration of this day, the United Nations identifies annually a unifying theme around which activities are organized. With a focus on inclusion and participation in 2012, International Human Rights Day honours and affirms the work of all persons around the world working to end discrimination in any shape or form. Mr. Falana is thus the exemplar of the kinds of people whose work deserves on this day to be acknowledged and celebrated. He is, however, not alone. On this day, we acknowledge and celebrate also, all persons who work for or are committed to the causes of equality, inclusion and nondiscrimination. I am sure I have the permission of the learned Senior Advocate and all of us here to acknowledge here that, in the great strides that he has attained, Mr. Falana has had the privilege of standing and striding on the shoulders of some truly towering mentors and partners. I will be remiss in my task here today if I fail to acknowledge, as I set out, some of these towering figures now of blessed memory. Foremost among them, I would suggest, is the man in whose offices in Ebutte Metta, Lagos, the professional story of Mr. Falana began, Mr. Alao Aka-Bashorun, beloved as arguably the greatest President yet of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). I would also acknowledge here the late Justice Akinola Aguda (Femi’s Father-in-Law, Funmi’s father); Gani Fawehinmi, SAN; Kanmi Ishola-Osobu, Bencher (the Peoples’ Lawyer); Michael Imoudu; Fela Anikulapo-Kuti; Chima Ubani; Beko Ransome-Kuti, among others. As we celebrate Mr. Falana on this day, we must acknowledge the foundations that these and other fallen heroes have laid in the cause of a more inclusive country. In recognition of their sacrifices, can I please request all of us to rise for a moment of silence in their collective memories. My substantive argument in this lecture is rather brief. It is this: the idea that Chapter II of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution is outside the ambit of judicial enforcement is the result of mis-placed ideology not law. To the extent that any description can be found for it, it is bad policy, incomprehensible logic, lousy politics, and, at best, outdated law. It is, I argue, also ahistorical. The rest of this paper seeks to demonstrate why and how this is so with the support of comparative and international jurisprudence as well as our constitutional archaeology. This paper will seek to demonstrate the asserted non-justiciability of chapter II of the 1999 Constitution runs contrary to the text, context and evolution of the both Nigeria’s Constitution and international obligations. It addresses the main objections to justiciability of these rights – legal, ideological, fiscal and policy - and will seek to challenge the legal profession and the judiciary to provide leadership in making the Nigerian people the centerpiece of the project of both institution-building and socio-economic development.

• From left: F.C. Akabogu, former Legal Adviser NBA, Victor Nwaugo and Secretary Eastern Bar Forum (EBF), O.O. Igwenyi, at the valedictary for Chief Charles E. Obegolu at the Enugu State High Court.




NBA pledges to protect human rights By John Austin Unachukwu

• Wali (SAN)


HE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has assured the three tiers of government and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) of its commitment to the protection and promotion of the fundamental rights of every Nigerian. He stated this at Rockview Hotel, Abuja, during the International Human Rights Day’s celebration by the NBA. The United Nations Organisation has designated December 10 as the International Human Rights Day. Various human rights groups organised different programmes to commemorate that day. Consequently, the NBA organised a roundtable to mark it. The event was attended by lawyers from different parts of the country. Wali (SAN) said: “The Nigeria Bar Association assures the three tiers of government, and Civil Society Organisations of its willingness to collaborate on the implementation of any activity aimed at achieving protection of Human Right, promotion of Rule of Law, and sustainable reforms in the Administration of Justice in Nigeria “The NBA welcomes the commitment of the administration to the promotion and protection of the rights of all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic group, gender, economic status or any other attribute. President Jonathan’s commitment in this regards has been demonstrated by the signing of the National Human Right Commission Act and Freedom of Information Act. Both legislation will enhance further respect for the rights of Nigerians. “Given the eminence of Nigeria in regional and international affairs, given our desire for a permanent seat on the United Nation Security Council, the NBA believes that Nigeria’s human right record must at all times be seen to be a model for all necessary.

“The NBA therefore urges the Federal government to direct an immediate review of Nigeria’s compliance with regional and international human right treaties. The NBA is specifically concerned that Nigeria is yet to ratify the ECOWAS protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. This was the basis of Nigeria’s intervention in Cote d’ Ivore, Guinea, Niger Republic, and Togo. In addition, since Nigeria went through the Universal Periodic Review process in the United Nations Human Right Council, the NBA is not aware of any intervention by the government of Nigeria to take forward several of the commitments Nigeria made to the body. On the NBA’s projection for the future, Wali (SAN) said: “The Nigerian Bar Association will be proactive and assertive in the protection and defence of the rights of the Nigerian people as enshrined in Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the various International Covenants and Protocols. All the Human Rights Committees in the various branches will be energised and made more active through the NBA Human Right Institute and NBA National Human Right Committee. We will confront cases of human rights violations headlong and cooperate with the government when it makes efforts at protecting and defending the rights of the Nigerians”

ahead and ensure dissemination and enforcement of human rights, so that was the main theme of my paper. These same issues of awareness and enforcement still bedevil us till date.

• Iriele

The international President of Global Association of Female Attorneys ‘GAFA’ Mrs. Chinelo Iriele, said: “I feel very happy because human rights issues are issues that are of utmost priority to us in GAFA both as individuals and the country at large I feel very happy that the NBA as an institution celebrated this day, this has never been done before. “I commend and NBA president, Okey Wali (SAN) for making this to happen and that is why I decided that, I must be here today, By the time we all recognise and begin to respect the human rights of everybody in this country, everything will be ok.”

• Ndifon

Speaking on the main theme at the roundtable, the guest speaker, Prof. Cyril Ndifon, said: “Basically it is to address the question of awareness and enforcement oh human rights in the country. “When the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was passed by the United Nations (UN) on this same day in 1948, these two items were firmly established and encouraged, that people should go

• Okoye

Festus Okoye said: “For me, there are two challenges in this respect, the first challenge relates to the issue of extra – judicial executions and torture that Nigeria has been going through. “The second challenge relate to the issue of discrimination, the problem of non inclusion especially in

relation to persons with disability, especially these whole issues about settle and indigeneship in the country. So, these two issues are in the fire front of the issues bothering us as a country today. “I think that it is important for us as a people and as a nation to begin to deal with some of these issues. On the issue of extra-judicial killings, we are having a lot of challenges with the issue of militancy, insurgency. There are so many insurgents, so many militants have been killed and they have killed so may Nigerians. mindlessly and destroyed property worth several millions of naira. However, there are two issues involved here, one, while these people are violating the rights of innocent parties, the Nigerian nation cannot also involve in violating their own rights. Our constitution is based on the rule of law and due process. “If somebody is accused of having committed a criminal offence, our law demands that the person should be arrested, the person should be detained and be given his or her day in court. Therefore, a situation where agencies of government that are not even constitutionally or legally permitted to arrest, arrest and keep persons for more than one year without handing those persons over to the police is illegal. To keep persons for more than one year without giving such persons their due process in court is a gross violation of their fundamental rights. “The type of offence those people committed is immaterial because even those who were accused of committing culpable homicide punishable by death are given their rights in court. We cannot pretend as a people and as a nation that we are waiting for a particular law to be passed before we can give people their due process and rights. Our laws are not retroactive and to that particular extent every person or persons arrested for having committed and criminal offence should be taken to court. “On the issue of indigenes and non indigenes, I think that as a nation, we must be sincere with ourselves. If our Nigerian citizenship is being undermined on account of this whole issue of settlers and indigenes, we should be sincere enough to address it and address it properly. “We can insist that if a particular person has lived in a place continuously for 15 years, such a person should enjoy the rights of citizenship. We cannot use the whole issue of indigenship and citizenship for political purposes. This wholes issue of indigenship and settles is at the heart of the problems and challenges that we are having as a people and as a nation and that is what has really undermined the issue of national unity, I believe that we must confront it as we celebrate this international human rights day”.

• Shekarau

Country Vice-President, FIDA, Mrs. Hauwa Shekarau, said: “For us it is a very very important day particularly because of the them of this years’ Human Rights day which says “participation and inclusion. And you know, in Nigeria, women have not been fully involved in the happenings in this country. “I am talking about political participation, I am talking about decision making and all that. So, it is very very important and very key that women who constitute about 50 percent of the population of this country have the opportunity to participate fully at the decision making process and also in politics and if that is not done, it then means that about 50 percent of this country is alienated, and excluded in the decision making and governance process, that means we are not getting it right”.

• Erhabor


hairman of NBA Human Rights committee, Osas Erhabor, said: “Well, the NBA president has given us a marching order, and we have heard from our colleagues; so, it is not going to be business as usual. We are going to reconstitute the human rights committees of our branches. Because of their spread, they are in a better position to handle local human right violations, we will partner with the branches, we will work them, we are planning to have a get together with the secretaries of the branch human rights committees, to empower them and get them to hit the ground running.”

National Assembly asked to probe Abuja demolition


GROUP, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has called on the National Assembly, to investigate the demolition of 500 housing units in Minanuel Estate, Abuja. It urged the assembly to compensate the affected victims. In a petition sent to the chambers of the National Assembly and signed by President, Campaign for Democracy and Women Arise, Joe OkeiOdumakin as well as Chairman, HEDA Resources Centre, Olanrewaju Suraju, CSNAC said it was worrisome an investment of over N10 billion involving about 500 families would be destroyed and the victims subjected to untold hardship just to satisfy the land acquisition of lawmakers. Citing a newspaper publication where the developer said Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Smart Adeyemi, had

By Precious Igbonwelundu

accused them of trespassing lawmakers’ land, a few days to the demolition, as well as the non-issuance of notices prior to the action, CSNAC described the Federal Government’s action as contemptuous. The letter states in part: “We refer to the recent demolition of 500 housing units in Minanuel Estate, located along Airport Road, Abuja developed by Minanuel Investments Ltd. “It is reported that development of the estate started as far back as 2005 and had reached 80 per cent completion. The estate at the point of demolition was valued at N10billion. “The developers of the estate claim that all the necessary allocation documents, approvals and permits had been gotten prior to development. They also claim that prior to the demo-

lition, the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed had issued no notices of a pending demolition. “If these allegations are proven true, we are appalled that a minister in a democracy who is supposed to have the utmost respect for the rule of law and due process would act in such a contemptuous manner in breach of the fundamental rights of the citizens of the state.” According to the group, the right to housing is codified as a human right in Article 4, 16 and 24, of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Article 25(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, all of which Nigeria is a signatory. “Access to safe and secure housing is one of the most basic human rights. It is essential to human survival with

dignity. The human right to adequate housing is the right of every woman, man, youth and child to acquire and sustain a secure home and community in which to leave in peace and dignity. “Governments all over the world take the housing needs of their citizens seriously and put in place adequate measures to provide for it. It is evident that the Nigerian government has not been able to meet this challenge with its ever growing population. “In the recently held presidential retreat on housing, it was reported that the country is currently having 17 million housing deficit. This single unguided action of an executive and government agencies does not reflect a government that is concerned about how to close this deficit or one that champions the cause of democratic

values of due process and rule of law. “It is even more worrisome if an investment of over N10 billion and involving over 500 families would be destroyed and the victims subjected to untold hardships to satisfy the land acquisition of lawmakers, elected to represent the peoples’ interest as inferred from the comments made by Senator Adeyemi and the further comments by the minister that the land has been reallocated,” CSNAC said. Calling on the National Assembly to protect the rights of the citizens of Nigeria in general and the subscribers to the Minanuel Housing estate in particular for which they were elected to do, the group urged the assembly to conduct a thorough investigation to this issue with a view to adequately compensate the victims of this arbitrariness




Nigeria’s quest for environment governance • Continued from last week


N 2007, and following series of criti cisms, the FEPA Act was repealed by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act, 2007 (NESREA). The objectives of NESREA were similar to that of FEPA and included a broad set of responsibilities.26 Significantly, beyond guiding federal agencies in assessing the impacts of their actions and coordinating anti-pollution research activities, NESREA has also been responsible for the development and enforcement of national standards,27 and for the development of national programmes in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Environment. On paper, environmental protection and regulation in Nigeria have no doubt received considerable attention. The government has consistently declared its commitment to the pursuit of people-centred sustainable development and an environmentally sound resources management. Regrettably, the laws, regulations and commitment have failed to resonate to effective environmental protection. The rich rhetoric of environmental sustainability have produced nothing but frustration to the advocates of environmental protection. Formulated solutions and strategies have continued to flounder on the shifting and entangled web of a polarized system. Environmental commitments have increasingly whiplash back and forth between the different tier regulators who choose what to enforce or not to enforce, while critical issues are responded to in ways that are incoherent so much that they lose ascendancy in the list of national priorities. What the current system has so far achieved can be said to be disorder, incoherence and disappointment. Permit me to note the position of some of those who should know. In the 2012 Environmental Performance Index28 which assessed 132 countries globally on 22 performance indicators in 10 policy categories ranging from environmental burden of disease to water and air pollution, forestry, biodiversity, fisheries, agriculture and climate change among others, Nigeria was ranked 130th on environmental burden of disease, 26th on agriculture, 81 st on biodiversity and 41 st on climate change. Overall, with a score of 40.1 per cent, Nigeria was ranked 119th. Nigeria was also ranked 19th out of 21 sub-Saharan African countries. Very recently, there was an assessment of oil pollution in Ogoniland by the United Nations Development Programme (UNEP).29 The assessment report revealed extensive widespread and severely impacting degradation of swampland surface water, mangroves, intertidal creeks, wetlands, outdoor air and drinking water arising from oil spills and oil contamination. The report noted that oil spills continue to occur with alarming regularity despite the fact that the oil industry is no longer active in Ogoniland. Communities are drinking water from wells that are contaminated with benzene, a known carcinogen, at levels over 900 times above the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline. 30 Yet in another report of the WHO and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Program, Nigeria was ranked 3rd on the list of countries with largest population without access to improved drinking water and where about 20 per cent of the country’s population practiced open defecation. The report noted that unlike some countries in sub-Saharan African such as Malawi,

By Olanrewaju Fagbohun

Burkina Faso, Ghana, Namibia and Gambia who have already met the target of the Millennium Development Goals in this regard, several other countries of sub-Sahara Africa (including Nigeria) are not on track to meet it.31 In the face of the above facts and prevailing realities, it cannot be denied that Nigeria’s efforts at ensuring sound environmental governance have led neither to effective environmental transformation nor to a better quality of life to her citizens. While it can be argued that the number of instruments that have been churned out have contributed to slowing down environmental degradation, a stronger argument can be made premised on the above facts that they have not led to an improvement in the overall situation. A number of great works have been produced in relation to Nigeria’s environmental challenges. Several of these scholarly contributors have tried to underscore the raison d’etre for the dysfunction in Nigeria’s environmental governance. Among the many reasons that have been given are corruption within regulatory agencies; preference for social affiliations than merit in appointment of officials; irrational support for organs/parastatals of the state; irresponsible exercise of discretion by public functionaries, irrelevant controversies and unending face-offs (conflict and unhealthy competition) between regulatory agencies; lax enforcement; reluctance in the use of criminal sanctions; unrealistic nature of some laws; and absence of procedural and implementation mechanisms.32 Reference have also been made to other reasons such as lack of financial resources, lack of technical and administrative resources, lack of political will, overlaps and inconsistencies in laws, non-involvement of non-governmental organizations and civil society groups, poverty, and problems of access to justice. A host of valuable suggestions have also been proffered to meet the above referred challenges. Among others, the following have been suggested: more rigorous and innovative use of enforcement, greater degree of public participation, domestication of all relevant and requisite international treaties, adoption of integrated strategies, restructuring of implementing institutions, closing the gap between policymaking and law-making, the need for more environmental co-operation, improving the environmental education system, improving access to environmental information, effectively monitor environmental impact assessment of both public and private projects, reduce rampant consumerism, develop more epistemic communities, make the laws more coherent and cohesive, improve access to environmental justice by removing current judicial hurdles, curb corruption, and regularly update Nigeria’s environmental laws to ensure that they are attuned with reality.33 Laudable and comprehensive as the above

extensive “shopping list” would appear to be, the attitude of policy and law makers have always been that government cannot implement everything at once. Consequently, they advocate for incremental gains and prioritization of solutions. Mr. Director – General, there is a need to appreciate that the above proferred suggestions are complementary solutions and are not just options or alternatives in respect of which choices are to be made. They are also not solutions to be kept on the shelf for implementation only ‘when able’. They all must work together if we are to achieve the desired transformation. Consequently, what is required for effectiveness is for Nigeria to build a system of governance that creates a public space for fostering the above solutions in a self-reliant manner. Governance should be envisioned in terms of all stakeholders and joint actors being motivated to act right. The advantage of the above approach is that rather than rummaging through the several complementary solutions on what to implement from time to time, the emphasis of law would be more on identifying the underlying factors that are not allowing them to self implement. Anchored on environmental pragmatism,34 we shall now turn to the fundamentals that will engender self-reliance and self-responsibility. Patchwork of Environmental Governance Therapies (i) Unequal Inheritance in Federalism One of the thorniest issues affecting environmental regulation in Nigeria relates to the regulatory issues associated with the federal system of government and its three tiers of government. There is often considerable tension between the various spheres of government, while the potential for regulatory overlap between the various jurisdictional requirements is immense.35 In defining the lawmaking boarder between the different tiers, environmentalists sometime argue in favour of a stronger federal government overriding state autonomy, while at other times the support is for the authority of states to impose more environmentally protective requirements. Some of the federalism engendered legal issues can be outlined as follows: a) Deep disagreements over what equity and fairness should prevail in the management and use of natural resources; b) Divergent values of states at different levels of development within the Federation which makes it difficult to agree on burden sharing; c) Challenges of reconciling states bearing burdens and costs of developmental transactions without corresponding benefits; d) Challenges of ensuring the effectiveness of cooperation at the different tiers of government; e) Challenges of developing mechanisms and strategies to promote compliance and

‘Against the background of the trans-boarder nature of environmental pollution that has necessitated multiple levels of regulation, the pertinent question to ask at this stage is, who has the authority to regulate the environment, and who has the right to enforce regulations or impose standards on polluters’

•From left: Director-General (DG), Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) Prof Epiphany Azingie (SAN), his wife, Valerie and Prof Peter Akper (SAN), at the Christmas Carol and DG’s award night of the institute at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

• Prof Fagbohun

enforcement of environmental laws across the board; and f) Challenges of addressing the tension between the different tiers in situation where economic development imposes risk on ecological protection. In Nigeria, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (the 1999 Constitution) regulates how responsibilities are shared between the Federal Government, the constituent States and Local Governments. The Federal Government has exclusive jurisdiction on all matters listed in the Exclusive Legislative List,36 and has concurrent jurisdiction with the States on all matters listed in the Concurrent Legislative List.37 With respect to matters on the Exclusive Legislative List, any State enactment that purports to touch either directly or by implication on a matter contained in this List shall to that extent be void. Concerning matters on the Concurrent Legislative List on the other hand, both the Federal and State governments can legislate in respect thereof. In the event of inconsistency in a law made by the State and that validly made by the National Assembly, the earlier shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.38 The supremacy clause of the Nigerian Constitution further provides39 that the Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Against the background of the transboarder nature of environmental pollution that has necessitated multiple levels of regulation, the pertinent question to ask at this stage is, who has the authority to regulate the environment, and who has the right to enforce regulations or impose standards on polluters? Aside of the constitutional imperative contained in section 20 of the 1999 Constitution, there is no express provision or specific reference in the Constitution as to the power of the Federal government or any lower level of government to make laws with respect to the environment. Some commentators have stated that since the word ‘environment’ is not mentioned in both the Exclusive and Concurrent Lists, environmental protection should be treated as a residual matter and consequently falls within the purview of the state’s competence to legislate. Granted that environmental issues affect States and Local governments more, it is easy to understand the above assertion and/or • To be continued next week •Fagbohun is Professor of Environmental Law and Head of Department, Akinola Aguda School of Postgraduate Studies, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Lagos.

•From left: Laura Ani, Institute Secretary, James Bathnna and Ogechi Ezekwre, at the event




Whether a state is littoral or not in Nigeria is a question of fact

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA On Tuesday, July 10, 2012 Suit No: SC.250/2009

eventually 2008. As a consequence of the judgment, the plaintiff became a land locked state with no seaward boundary, estuarine sector or maritime boundary to entitle her DAHIRU MUSDAPHER....... Justice of the Supreme Court to 76 oil wells located offshore. The GovMAHMUD MOHAMMED....... Justice of the Supreme Court ernment of the Federation cannot disobey JOHN AFOLABI FABIYI....... Justice of the Supreme Court the judgment of the International Court of OLUFUNLOLA OYELOLA ADEKEYE....... Justice of the Supreme Court Justice. The 1st defendant contends that oil SULEIMAN GALADIMA....... Justice of the Supreme Court wells that lie offshore and the derivations BODE RHODES-VIVOUR....... Justice of the Supreme Court therefrom are only available to littoral states NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA....... Justice of the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This explains why the RMAFC Inter-Agency meetBETWEEN ing could not list the plaintiff in Exhibit I ATTORNEY-GENERAL, CROSS RIVER STATE ...APPELLANTS with the other littoral states. The 1st defendant urged this court to hold that the plaintiff AND lacks reasonable cause of action. The 1st de1. ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION fendant referred to the judgments of this 2, ATTORNEY-GENERAL, AKWA IBOM STATE ...RESPONDENTS court in: A-G Federation v. A-G Abia State & ors (No.2) (2002) 6 NWLR (Pt.764) Pg.543. TATE on the ground that Nigeria had boundary determined by the 1st defendant A-G Cross River State v. A-G Federation & ceded the Bakassi Peninsular to the Re in 2006 as the recognized boundary between anor (2005) 15 NWLR (Pt.947) Pg.71 public of Cameroon. The plaintiff shall the 2nd defendant and plaintiff and to share The 2nd defendant submitted that the oncontend at the trial that as at the time the all derivation revenue from the area in acshore/offshore Dichotomy Abolition Act Commission made this claim even though cordance with the agreed boundary between was made solely for the benefit of Nigeria’s there was handing over of Bakassi to the parties. The sum total of the plaintiffs littoral states and does not admit of nonCameroon, the two countries that is, Nigeria claim is that she has been wrongfully and littoral states. Cross River State used to be a and Cameroon had set up a mixed commisunlawfully excluded from its entitlement to littoral State up to 2008 when the ICJ judgsion that was to work out details of the areas 13% derivation in relation to the sharing of ment was fully implemented with the cedaffected by the judgment of the ICJ and this revenue from the Federation Account as a ing of Cross River estuary and the physical exercise is still on going.” littoral state based on the 76 oil wells attribhandover of the entirety of Bakassi PeninParagraph 19 uted to it as a result of the agreement besula by Nigeria to Cameroon. The complete ‘The plaintiff shall contend at the trial of tween the parties. Such agreements are based implementation of the ICJ judgment in 2008 this case that Cross River lies between Akwa on the amicable settlement of her boundary frustrated the performance of Exhibit C and Ibom State and Cameroon. The 76 oil wells with Akwa Ibom State reliance on Exhibits made the contract envisaged between the were attributed to the plaintiff long after the A and F. parties to the agreement of no application. judgment of the International Court of Jusb. Agreement based on Exhibit C; between In the case of A-G Rivers State v. A-G Akwa tice. They have always been located in the Cross River and Akwa Ibom States which Ibom State (2011). 8 NWLR (Pt.1248) Pg.31, same place contiguous to the territory of the ceded the attribution of the derivation revparties remain littoral states, share maritime plaintiff,” enues in respect of the 76 oil wells to Cross boundaries and thereby qualifying for deriParagraph 24 River State. vation revenues pursuant to onshore/off“it is the plaintiffs averment that in the This court should not permit the 2nd deshore Dichotomy Abolition Act. letter referred to above, it was clearly stated fendant to resile from the said agreement It is right and proper to remember at this that the delineation of the maritime boundExhibit C. Exhibit C was prepared by Presistage that the central issue in this dispute is ary between Cross River and Akwa Ibom dent Olusegun Obasanjo on 31st October 2006 76 oil wells located offshore the coast of NiStates in 2005 was as a result of the expected and distributed to the Governors of Akwa geria. The plaintiff, Cross River State claims retention of the Western part of Bakassi by Ibom, Cross River and Rivers States, Ministhe 76 oil wells for the purpose of the payNigeria - meaning that the maritime porter of Finance, Chairman Revenue Mobiliment of 13% derivation Revenue pursuant tions of Bakassi is still part of Gross River zation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, to Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of State.” Director General Nigeria Boundary Comthe Federal Republic of Nigeria. The 76 oil In the claim of the plaintiff, she claimed mission and the Accountant-General of the wells were attributed to Akwa Ibom State, jointly and severally against the defendants Federation. The document is captioned the 2nd defendant following the 2008 littoas follows “Meeting on Implementation of the Onral states maritime boundaries delineation 1. A declaration that the defendants are shore/Offshore Dichotomy Abrogation Law by the National Boundaries Commission. estopped from raising the issue of boundas it relates to the Maritime Boundaries beThis map was adopted and acted upon by ary adjustment as between the plaintiff and tween Cross River/Akwa Ibom/River States the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Comthe 2nd defendant having regard to the convis-a-vis the Judgment of the Supreme Court mission Inter-Agency meeting held in Kano clusive and binding agreement/resolution of June 24, 2005.” The plaintiff is tenaciously in August 2008. The RMAFC forwarded to reached between the plaintiff and 2nd declaiming that it is a littoral state as it has the Accountant-General of the Federation fendant under the supervision of the 1st deaccess to the sea through Calabar without the 2009 Revised 13% Derivation Indices fendant since 2006 and upon which the parpassing through any other State. which excluded the plaintiff from the list of ties had acted since the 2nd defendant has The 1st defendant contends that until the littoral States. The plaintiff challenged her received and continued to recieve allocation judgment of the International Court of Jusremoval from the list of beneficiaries of 13% from the 14 oil wells in Cross River which tice in 2002, the plaintiff was an oil producderivation revenue. The determination of were attributed to it as a result of the agreeing state and was enjoying the benefits dewhether a state is a littoral State within the ment between the parties. rivable from such status. After the judgment Federal Republic of Nigeria is a question of of the International Court of Justice, Nigeria 2. A declaration that the plaintiff is entifact and moreover there is statutory preconnegotiated with Cameroon with the hope tled to a share of the 13% derivation revdition for the payment of the offshore derienue from the seventy-six oil wells located that she could retain Bakassi in Nigeria. vation revenue to states. within the 200 meter water depth Isobaths While the negotiation was in progress, the Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution of contiguous to its territory as contained in plaintiff sought reliefs from this court which the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates were refused and deferred until the deterSections 1 and 2 of the Allocation of Derivathat tion Act 2004. mination of the negotiation. Both Bakassi “The Federation shall maintain a special This court is urged to make an order manand the estuary of Cross River State were account to be called ‘the Federation Account’ handed over to Cameroon between 2006 and dating the defendants to treat the maritime into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry or department of government charged with responsibility for foreign affairs and the residents of the Federal capital territory, Abuja.” Section 162(2) The President upon the receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of states, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population •Cross section of lawyers at the valedictary organised for Chief Charles E. Obegolu, at Enugu State High density.” Court. BEFORE THEIR LORDSHIPS


Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen percent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.” On the 16th of February 2004, the National Assembly enacted into law an Act known as Revenue Allocation (Abolition of Dichotomy in the Application of the Principle of Derivation) Act 2004. Section 1(1) reads “As from the commencement of this Act two hundred metre water depth Isobath contiguous to a State of a federation shall be deemed to be a part of that state for the purposes of computing the Revenue accruing to the Federation from the State pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 or any other enactment.” It is obvious that the purpose of this Act is to introduce a more readily ascertainable basis of apportionment of the income derived from the natural resources in a State. It is a devise intended for the purpose of computing the revenue which accrues to the Federation Account from the littoral States. A-G Adamawa state v. A-G Federation (2005) 18 NWLR (Pt.958) Pg.581. By virtue of the onshore/offshore Dichotomy Abolition Act 2004, a State of the Federation can claim natural resources located within two hundred meters water depth Isobath contiguous to that State. If a State does not lie contiguous to the two hundred meters water depth Isobath, she cannot claim derivation entitlement to the natural resources that lie within that territory. In other words, though the Federal Government of Nigeria has constitutional and exclusive jurisdiction over offshore natural resources, by virtue of Section 1(1) of the Offshore/Onshore Dichotomy Abolition Act 2004, littoral States do have some interests (derivation) in offshore natural resources located within 200 meters water depth Isobath contiguous to a state, these shall be deemed to be a part of that State for the purpose of computing the revenue accruing to the Federation Account from the state pursuant to the provisions of Section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution. When the judgment of this court was delivered in the case of A-G Federation v. A-G Abia State (2002) 6 NWLR (Pt.764) Pg. 543, there were eight littoral States in Nigeria - Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and their southern or seaward boundaries are the seaward limit of their internal waters or their low water mark. This shall be used for the purpose of calculating the amount of revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from that State pursuant to Section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution. This court paid particular attention to the peculiar situation of Cross River State with an archipelago of Islands. The seaward limit shall be that of inland waters in the state. A littoral State in the Nigerian context or globally must be contiguous or abut the sea. It must have direct access to the sea through its own territory. A littoral State shall be entitled to the attribution of offshore oil well/field within 200 meter water depth Isobaths. The oil field/well must lie offshore but within the State’s maritime territory up to the 200 meters Isobaths and in some peculiar case as it were in the case of Cross River State. Cross River State, the plaintiff had all these attributes and was entitled to and paid the derivation revenue up to 2008. The situation in that state was changed irredeemably by the International Court of Justice judgment which found in favour of Cameroon in 2002. The implementation and final execution of the judgment was between 2006-2008. Prior to the final execution of the judgment in August 2008, the plaintiff had everything in her favour and enjoyed all the benefits of a littoral state as follows 1. It was contiguous to the sea and had a 200 meter water depth isobath within its territory. 2. It enjoyed maritime territory boundary amicably settled with Akwa Ibom State. 3. It had 76 oil wells off shore within its maritime territory. • Continued next week



With ekpoita / 08077706130




1.Cook in Oven (4) 4.Fruit (4) 8. Writing Fluid (3) 9. Through (3) 10. Remit (4) 11. Breakwater (4) 12. Cushion (3) 14. Vase (3) 16. Beverage (3) 18. Policeman (3) 20. Exhibition (5) 22. Wrath (3) 23. Resort (3) 25. Knob on Root (4) 26. Remain (4)

1.Revel (4) 2.Benevolent (4) 3.Final (3) 5.Eager (4) 6. Bind (3) 7. Obtain as reward (4) 11. Metal Vessel (3) 12. Group of Lions (5) 13. You in Plural (2) 15. Perform (2) 16. City (4) 17. Dry (4) 18. Price (4) 19. Make Supplication (4) 20. Dispose (3) 21. Mineral (3)

MINI-SUDOKU Fill in the missing numbers in the grid to ensure that every row, column and 2 by 3 box contains the numbers 1 - 6.

HUMOUR Catching Lions An American zoologist told 2 Ibo men to catch lions for him at price of $20,000 per lion. The Ibo men went into the forest to catch lions, after a fruitless search they fell asleep from exhaustion. A short while later one of them heard the roar of a lion and woke up, he saw 150 lions surrounding them, instead of him to find an escape route, he woke his friend up and said; “EMEKA! EMEKA!! WAKE UP, WE DON HAMMER!!”

A Welcome Father Mother: Son I’m sorry I slept with someone that is not your dad 23 years ago. And that person is your real father. Son: Mum, what rubbish! How am I to deal with this?! You should be hanged. Mother: I am sorry he was my first love and I could not marry him... because we are of different religion. He is on the phone at the moment and wants to speak with his son for the first time ever. Son: No I am speaking to no one. Bob is the only father i know and so will that be. Mother: Please don’t be so upset. Just talk to him. Son: Ok, I will give him a piece of my mind! Phone: Morning Son, I am Aliko Dangote. Iam your real father. Son: Dad! Dad!! Dad!!! Thank God! Ohhhhhhhhhhhh Thank God!!!!!! Love u so much Dad!!!!! I’ve been looking for you for so long.

Pep Talk

Reflections The Seed A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. “The young executives were Shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.” One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - he so wanted the seed to grow. A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful — in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have rgrown” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!His name is Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed.”How could he be the new CEO?” the others said. Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer.

WORDS & ORIGIN ”Caesarean section” A Caesarean section, also spelled Caesarian or Cesarean and often without the upper case C, is the surgical delivery of a child. It is a term with an interesting etymology and lots of associated folklore. üÿThe term comes from the name of Julius Caesar, who according to legend was delivered by this method. From R. Jonas’s 1540 translation of Roesslin’s Byrth of Mankynde: They that are borne after this fashion be called cesares, for because they be cut out of theyr mothers belly, whervpon also the noble Romane cesar the .j. of that name in Rome toke his name. Although this is where the term Caesarean comes from, this legend about Julius’s birth is almost certainly false. While surgical deliveries were known in ancient Rome, they invariably resulted in the death of the mother and Julius’s mother, Aurelia, lived well into her son’s adulthood. It is possible that one of Julius’ ancestors was delivered in this fashion and bequeathed the name to the family. Although Pliny reports that the name comes from caesaries, or hair, as the future dictator of Rome was born with a full head of hair. The term Caesarian section dates to 1615, first appearing in Helkiah Crooke’s A Description of the Body of Man.

MISSING LETTERS All the words in the grid have lost their first letters. You are to fill them to ensure that an 11-letter word with the meaning “Rite of Marriage” is formed.

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose-a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. - Mary Shelley




•Minority Leader House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila (middle); Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Hon Uche Ekwunife (right) and a member, Tobias Chukwuemeka during the public hearing on a Bill to amend National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency at the National Assembly

•From left: Members, House of Representatives, Zaphania Jisalo; Suarau Toyin and Shehu Garba during the committee meeting with chairmen of Area councils in Abuja at the National Assembly

•From left: Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on FCT Area Councils, Khamisu Mailantarki; Chairman of the Committee, Ibrahim Ebbo; members of the Committee, •From left: Members, House of Representatives, Kareem Tajudeen; Kameel Akinlabi Hon Abdulrasaq Zaki and Hon Mahmud Lawan Maina during the committee meeting with Chair- and Onao Mohammed after the executive session of the House at National Assembly Abuja PHOTOS: ABAYOMI FAYESE men of Area councils in Abuja at the National Assembly

•Chairman of the occasion, Mr Olumide Biyi (left) Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, Solomon Adeola and Onisaga of Isaga, HRM Oba Olusoji Tella at the launch of the Community Palace.

•Bauchi State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Salisu Ibrahim Halilu, who represented the Governor of the state, declaring the exhibition on the late Tafawa Balewa open in Bauchi. He is assisted by the National Commission for Museum and Monument, Director-General, Mallam Yusuf Abdallah Usman and the representative of the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Nura Adamu Jumba

From left: Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, Olajumoke Akinjide; Chairman, National Population Commission, Festus Odimegwu and Minister of Finance & Cordinator, National Economic Management Team, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the Federal Executive Council meeting held at the Presidential Villa

From left: Country Manager, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Emmanuel Onyeje; VicePresident, Corporate Relations, Middle East and Africa Nokia, Jussi Hinkkanen and Minister of Communication and Technology, Omobolaji Johnson during the Nigeria Vision 20: PHOTOS: AKIN OLADOKUN 2020 innovation forum held in Abuja.





EATH rattled the foundations of the seat of power, altering every other programme in the past week, including the much awaited thanksgiving service of the First Lady. Dame Patience Jonathan, after months of grave health challenges and not a small dose of speculation, said she had cause to thank God for giving her another chance. The service was not not to be as Governor Patrick Yakowa, Gen. Andrew Azazi and four others perished in Bayelsa State after attending a burial ceremonies of the father of a key member of the Jonathan administration. That is what even makes the matter of more concern to the presidency. Besides, the incident happened in the president’s own state. Like a shadow cast, the incident came upon the presidency which is just bouncing back to life after the president lost his younger brother to cardiac arrest. Hence, the last Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the year 2012 was devoted to paying tributes to the departed and so it was a solemn gathering. Before finally announcing the adjournment of the council till January 9, 2013 the president gave the ministers opportunity to pay tributes to the dead which was done admist tears. The ministers took turn to eulogise Yakpwa and Azazi. Before finally rounding off the solemn special FEC meeting, Jonathan described Yakowa as a different politician whose politics transcended religion and ethnicity. Yakowa, the president further said, was a gentleman who believed in the unity of this country. President Jonathan had earlier in the week called on Nigerians to rise above individual differences and promote values that bind the country together. In his opinion, the country is more important than personal, religious and ethnic differences. The President while also launching the 2013 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration held at the Banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, urged men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces to continue to champion the cause of unity and national cohesion; adding that the Armed Forces remembrance, afford the nation the opportunity to celebrate the gallantry of the men of the armed forces living and those who had paid the supreme sacrifice during the second world war, the civil war and various peace keeping missions The president also urged Nigerians to refuse to be divided by those who impose ethnic and religious meaning on every national issue.

Grief and search for unity From the Villa By Vincent Ikuomola The president who also leads the Federal Government delegation to the burial of Yakowa also warned both in private and public service unguided utterances that are capable of dividing the country. His words: “The utterances and words of elders and leaders are just like a wind. It starts and settles somewhere in the ocean and from there moves to shore. It gathers momentum and becomes wind. Where that wind will lead to, the level of destruction that wind will cause, sometimes you don’t even know.”

•Abuja bridge decorated for the season

“Sometimes a wind will start somewhere, move to the ocean, gather momentum and become a cyclone ad where destruction may come up, the level of destruction you may not know. Some of the excesses of our young men today are a reflection of the kinds of words we the leaders and elders use in public and private places,” he added. The president noted that all great nations of the world had at one time or the other experienced a fractured history but they often put it behind them and forge ahead.” Sometimes if you read

about this history you cannot even believe it. When I visited the holocaust museum in Israel I asked whether Germans do go there, they said yes German do visit it. But at a particular time people must come and say let us re-build our nation. Underscoring the importance of national unity to the development of the nation, the president also hosted leadership of his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the party controlled states on how to ensure a coordinated approach to issues as a party. The meeting according to the words of Governor Gabriel Suswam bothers much on how the party would move in unity for the generality of the party. President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday met with national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the party controlled state governors in a closed door meeting. The meeting was said to have discussed issues of bonding together and also chart a way forward.It was also learnt that the parley discussed the just passed budget.

Besides, he said, “I think it very important that the president meet us because we can understand and appreciate the issues better so that this country will have better leadership. And then we can have better ways of governing the country. So, he called and solicited our support moving forward. “It is all about bonding together. We understand that sometimes there are at times statements that are not coordinated in the states and at the centre, and meanwhile we are running the same government. “ Majority of us are in the same party. All that we discussed here among the president, the governors and the party is about how we can bound the party together. “If we have that bonding together, all the seeming misunderstanding, some of them are artificial anyway will be resolved. And that will create a better room and enabling environment for all of us at all levels to provide better leadership for this country, which is what I think is very important for this country at this point in time.”

•Vice President Namadi Sambo (right), Minister of National Planning Dr. Shamsudeen Usman (middle) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, during the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting held at the State House Abuja. PHOTO AKIN OLADOKUN

Tuesday, December 25, 2012




Zambia release provisional list Mensah fit for Nations Cup ‘Ethiopia out to prove point’



•Jonathan Mensah





The decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register some parties has generated controversy. In this report, AUGUSTINE AVWODE examines the powers behind other mushroom parties and how far they can hold on.

Can mushroom parties escape INEC’s axe? T

HE Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has wielded the big stick again. It de-registered three more political parties at the weekend. It was the third time the commission would apply the sledge hammer. The action brought the total number of political parties delisted to 38, since the exercise began. According to a statement by INEC Secretary Abdullahi Kaugama, the electoral umpire’s decision to deregister the parties was based on the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). Political parties delisted, according to the statement were African Renaissance Party (ARP); National Democratic Party (NDP) and the National Transformation Party (NTP). The statement gave reasons for INEC’s de-registration of the ARP and NDP, which it said, was based on their inability to meet the requirements of Section 223(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution(as amended). The section deals with the composition of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of political parties. INEC also alleged that the parties have “no verifiable headquarters office contrary to Section 222(f) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)” and have “not won a seat in the National and State Assemblies.” On the NTP, the commission said it was deregistered because the composition of its national executive committee (NEC) has failed to meet the requirements of Section 223(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) in addition to its inability to win a seat in the National and state assemblies. The commission has refused to bulge even in the face of severe criticisms and threats of legal actions against it by the affected parties. As at the last general election in April 2011, there were 63 political parties in the country. Out of the lot, only six have governors in various states of the federation today. These are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP), the Congress for Positive Change (CPC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Labour Party (LP). These have come to be known as the big players. But few parties have managed to cling on to life by virtue of the powers behind them, and, of course, satisfying the all important provision of winning at least one elective seat at the federal or state level of either legislative or executive posts. Prominent among these concert of medium parties are the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), Accord, Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) and Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN). While they have not been able to win the governorship position in any state, these parties managed to remain a force to be reckoned with in some states across the country where they are quite visible. The DPP for instance has trans-

• Ladoja

formed itself over the few years to be the leading opposition party in Delta State. It actually snatched one senatorial slot from the PDP in the 2011 general election. The PDP in Delta State had ruled with little or no opposition to it until the coming of the DPP to the state. It used to be a thing of pride among stalwarts of the PDP in the state to announce with glee, that the only opposition to the party in the state is the party itself. DPP’s highest electoral success remains its winning of the Delta Senatorial District election, which has been described in some quarters as “the minority of minorities”. But in addition, it also won a sizeable number of the Delta State House of Assembly seats. In Oyo State, the Accord cannot lay claim to the governorship seat or winning any senatorial seat but in the state House of Assembly, it has a reasonable presence that can only be disregarded at one’s political peril.

Circumstantial birth These parties came into being as a result of the prevailing circumstances in some of the big parties as at the time they emerged. For the record, most of the parties under discussion are splinter groups from the PDP. And they are often led by an individual who feels strong enough politically to call the bluff of his former party or his inability to stomach much of what was going on in it. In Ogun State for example, the irreconcilable differences that engulfed the PDP led to the emergence of the PPN led by then out-

• Jega

going governor Gbenga Daniel. But his aides and top members of the PPN denied then that Daniel was leaving the PDP. But former governorship aspirant of the PDP in Ogun State, Mr. Gboyega Nasir Isiaka who lost to Gen. Tunji Olurin through a court judgment, blamed the “raw power” being used by some members of the PDP in the state then for the mass defection to the PPN. He later contested that election on the platform of the PPN. The defection of Isiaka and other influential members of the PDP into PPN immediately boosted the party ’s profile in the state while depleting the chances of the PDP. For the record, all the candidates of the Gbenga Daniel faction running for House of Representatives and House of Assembly seats, who were excluded by the court from running on the ticket of the PDP, were allowed to run on the platform of the PPN. But PPN has only managed a distant third in the hierarchy of parties in the state. In the last local government election in the state, the ruling ACN won 19 chairmanship seats out of the 20 in the state; 217 councillorship seats, while the PDP and the PPN won eight and one councillorship seats respectively. In Kwara State, the late Dr. Olusola Saraki led his loyalists to dump the PDP. They embraced the ACPN. It was learnt then that the strong man of Kwara politics decided to use ACPN to reach out to all the existing political parties in Kwara to forge a coalition, with sufficient strength to dislodge PDP in the state. The resolve by the senior

• Ogboru

Saraki to enthrone Senator Gbemisola as the next governor of Kwara in the governorship election was the reason he dumped the PDP. The Kwara political icon said he was never a card-carrying member of PDP but had since 2003 remained the major pillar behind the party in the state. But the ACPN could not dislodge the PDP in the state. And, soon after the election, a reconciliation meeting between the PDP and ACPN took place. In Oyo State former governor Rasheed Ladoja also dumped the PDP for the Accord. He latter explained that: “a party that does not believe in people will fail. Since 2007, I have been advising the PDP to try and reconcile with the people of the southwest. They have refused to do that. Instead, they believe that force , which they used in 2007 elections, will see them through again . We have seen the effects of their inaction. Since that time, they have lost Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, and Osun. So, PDP will be swept off in Oyo state and I am not bothered because I know my party will win because the people of Oyo state are ready for us. They have tested me and they have found me worthy and they are going to vote for me again”. Unfortunately for Ladoja, the people of Oyo State preferred Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the ACN to be their governor. But the Accord did relatively well in the state House of Assembly.

For how long will INEC’s hammer dangle? All the medium parties are per-

‘It is increasingly becoming a tough task financing political parties these days. But the greatest problem to these parties is the possibility of the personality behind them “moving on to another platform”. In the event of such a development, it will be a matter of time before INEC’s hammer falls’

sonality driven. In Delta State, the personality of Great Ogboru looms large. He is loved by the people and his association with the party has been the sustaining influence of the party in the state. It is indeed doubtful if DPP has any other visible image across the country apart from what it is doing in Delta State. It is a fact that the former governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, who flew the party’s flag as its presidential candidate in 2007 has since returned to the ANPP from where he came. In fact, but for the Delta State chapter of the party, it probably would have been deregistered along with others. Accord is tied to Senator Ladoja. And he is the personality that has been giving it some life. Apart form Ladoja, it is hard to associate the Accord with any other renowned politician in the country. The PPN is also closely connected to Daniel. In fact, there is hardly any other state in the country, apart from Ogun, where PPN is visible. Herein lie the problems of these parties. With the removal of party subventions by the federal government, funding becomes a problem. It is increasingly becoming a tough task financing political parties these days. But the greatest problem to these parties is the possibility of the personality behind them “moving on to another platform”. In the event of such a development, it will be a matter of time before INEC’s hammer falls. In Oyo State, Ladoja is courted by seriously by his former party - the PDP. It has never hidden the desire to see that Ladoja returns to the party with his supporters. In fact, to a section of the PDP, Ladoja’s defection to Accord was responsible in part, for its defeat in the state. In a bid to ensuring that the party wins him back to its fold, several meetings have been held to reconcile all aggrieved factions. Most intriguing, political watchers in the state say, was the visit of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to Ladoja’s Bodija residence in Ibadan not long ago. Obasanjo allegedly told newsmen that , “Ladoja belongs here. As you can see, he is on his way back to the party. As you c see, it is condition that makes the crayfish bend and we are making efforts to straighten the crayfish. I am sure that the PDP in the state and the entire South-West will bounce back and reclaim power.” That should be enough warning to those who want Accord to continue to exist as an independent party. In Delta, there is an alleged plan to by Ogboru to defect to the ACN. If that happens, it will be the end of DPP. And should the PDP succeed in effecting a lasting reconciliation in Ogun State, Daniel and his supporters will be back and PPN would vanish from the political horizon. In Kwara, with the reconciliation of the ACPN and PDP, and even now that Baba Oloye has passed to the great beyond, the chances of the continued existence of ACPN are slim. Should this happen to these parties, the axe man may be nearer than anticipated. At the end of the day, may be only 10 parties will be available to face the electorate in 2015.



POLITICS Senator Anne Okonkwo, who represented Anambra Central District between 2007 and 2011, recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). He spoke with OLUKOREDE YISHAU on the agitation for the Presidency by Igbo and fight against corruption in the country.

‘We must fight corruption as US fights terrorism’ W

HAT is your position on the quest for an ‘Igbo President’ in 2015? The ambition for a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2015 is not just bones without flesh. It is not a slogan for grand popularity, neither is it a baby song to help us go to sleep and quit disturbing. Far from that,it is a political, social and economic reality that the culture of Nigeria as a political entity supports since 1914. It has become a necessity that fairness and equity made imperative. It has gone beyond the usual sentiments, intrigues and politics that lack honesty and faithfulness. If Nigerians still believe and accept that – in brotherhood we stand, then the best centenary affection we can dramatize to cement that resolve is to persuasively buy into the Igbo Presidency Agenda. To me, the wisdom of fair national preservation should convince politicians, businessmen, technocrats, school children, market women etc to reflect and dance this tune for once. We will accommodate every alliance to realize this, we will respect every commitment we make in this regard. We assure Nigerians, they will get the best deal they have ever seen. Let us build trust by sacrifice and let our genuine sacrifice as a nation determine our true prosperity. But the problem of unity among Igbo has always been a serious one. How can this be solved? I am aware of the popular perception that Igbo are not united or not capable of speaking with one voice. I am also aware that politics is not only about speaking with one voice. It is more about speaking with several voices about the same issue. If there is any issue the many voices of over 50 million Igbo in Nigeria and the Diaspora have been consistent and united about, it is the sacred agitation for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. We should not malign this century old desire with day old excuses that Igbo are not united or can not speak with one voice. What is practical and clearly evident from this misinterpreted scenario is the Igbo man’s exemplary passion for national unity above ethnic exclusivity. That is why we have about 70 per cent of our population spread comfortably in every nook and cranny of our dear country. They are there investing their lives earnings, speaking the language of their hosts, assimilating their cultures and always remain their No1 development agents sometimes against aggravated attacks and selective mistreatment. That is the open score card of our faith in national unity. And the test is for our fellow compatriots to accede to us this much sought after concession. We have adopted a multi level, multi partisan approach to the vital negotiations and engagements necessary. Committee 21 (C21) which I happen to be the President of is one of the revving engines amongst many others advancing this timely frontier. Every day we read about corruption in high places. Are you not worried? Very regrettably, there appear to be no new language to describe corruption in Nigeria. There is nothing new I will tell you that you have not seen or heard. Our grave picture of arrested development at a graying adult age is sadly the harvest of our corruption tragedy. The havoc of what I call our Acquired Corruption Tragedy Syndrome (ACTS) is worse to our national life than AIDS is to our physical body. This is because while AIDS

• Okonkwo

can be evaded through fear and discipline, corruption is lethally invasive with value killing propensity and impunity. Our easy accommodation to the pills of corruption and quick adjustment to its devastation, is a development taboo that we must vomit to make progress. So don’t ask me whether the Government is trying or not in the fight against corruption. Assuming the government have not done much as is very obvious, should we the people surrender? We must devise the courage to put our fingers in our throat and vomit this scourge in our system without hesitation. By that cleansing, we will serve the government a yellow card, and consequent red card if they still fail to act. For example, the attack on corruption should be fought with the same intensity Americans fights terrorism internally and globally. The same momentum Muslims fight for their faith. No compromise, no half measures unless we have resigned to be buried as living carcasses in the decay. When governments and institutions that should fight corruption energetically make excuses as atonement for not performing, then darkness will assume superiority over light in our affairs. It is that sad. Do you think that the Igbo are truly marginalised? While overseas, I read what Governor Rochas Okorocha said about Igbo marginalization at an Ndigbo forum in Lagos recently. He admirably articulated the issue properly and proffered the way forward. And by the way, he is an able member of the C21 group. I concur with him that the soft cries or loud moans of marginalization without more, will not take us far as a race. In Nigeria as in other nations, people are constantly marginalized by race, culture, economic, religious and even gender. In reality, equality is a precept, because you will always have the rich and the poor, the good and the bad, the tall and the short. What is significant is how many triumph do you make out of your perceived or real weaknesses. The Igbo have had economic marginalization after the civil war. But they became giants of trade and commerce. Today we are being marginalized politically especially at the highest level of leadership in this country. Have we given up, no. Should we continue to cry without doing the necessary, no. Can we do something about it,

capital yes. We must re-enact that can do spirit of triumph to once again overcome, and I am certain, we will. Are you comfortable with the deregistration of parties by INEC? We have all lost count of the number of political parties that are supposed to engage us, educate us and canvass for our votes for acceptance. But we also know that most of these parties have long converted their certificates into title documents for personal ego and sundry trading. INEC feels it’s their duty to do something about them which they have done. Some of those affected have loudly said no; that INEC cannot do that legally. That is the beauty of democracy. We are eager to see them square up with INEC at the courts of Justice and I believe at the end of the day, our institution of democracy will be the better for it. What I may candidly suggest is that, it would have been more expeditious if this kind of matter can go straight to the Supreme Court so that it can be decided once and for all. That way, it will have less strain in the pockets of the litigants and save INEC, too, from operational pressures. But like I said, it promises to be an interesting and enriching combat. Is the on-going constitutional amendment likely to give us the desired result? The constitutional amendment being undertaken presently should cut a radical picture of thoroughness based on core principles of justice, equity and fairness. If we make the mistake of playing to the gallery with our usual sentiments and politics, the essence will be lost and the cynicism of the people that it is a staged jamboree will be validated. The issue of the cost of governance and the size of government should be taken care of down the three tiers of government. All impediments to the enthronement of merit and performance should be expunged. True federalism may not come in one fell swoop, but clear progress in that direction should be made. The Judiciary should be mandated to establish special courts for corruption and economic crimes to end the gimmick of purchased injunctions and procured endless adjournments. Then of course, the big one, two more states from the South East. I understand that there are more than forty two wishes for additional states nationwide, but two of them are overriding necessity, the South East extra states demand. Let us heal that open sore to our national conscience.

Ajimobi emerges Ibadan ACN leader From Bisi Oladele and Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 11 local government areas of Ibadan land yesterday adopted Governor Abiola Ajimobi as the new leader of the party. The elevation came on the heels of the death of former leader, Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, last month. The party also adopted the governor as its governorship candidate in the 2015 election. The state deputy chairman of the party, Alhaji Isiaka Alimi, stated this yesterday while reading a communique at a meeting held at the party’s Southwest Secretariat, Alakia, Ibadan. Alimi said that members of the party in the 11 local government areas in Ibadan, after series of meetings, passed a vote of confidence on Ajimobi because of his good peformance in the last one and half years in office. He said Governor Ajimobi will now continue the work of mobilisation and organisation left behind by the departed leader, Alhaji Lam Adesina. The communique was signed by 11 members representing different zones and council areas in the city. They are Alhaji Isiaq Akeem, Alhaji Ganny Alade, Dr Busari Adebisi, Hon. Oyeniran Oyeniyi, Hon. Awoleye Dada, Hon. Mojeed Olaoya, Alhaji Najeem Abbass, Chief Laoye Sam, Chief Ayo Eniade, Mrs Matel Williams and Chief Jamiu Adewale. The communique read in part: “ Further, and in consonance with the tradition of our progressive predecessors and in consonance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we hereby unanimously adopt Senator Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi as the sole candidate of our party in the (11) Local Government consisting Ibadanland in the gubernatorial race for 2015 general election in Oyo State. “ We equally pass a vote of confidence on our national leaders, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande (National Chairman) and the entire National Executive of the Action Congress of Nigeria”. Alimi appealed to the other five political zones in Oyo State to emulate them. In his response, the Chairman, Transition Committee, Ibadan South East Local Government, Alhaji Najeem Abbass, said that the agreement was reached after series of meeting with the representatives from the 11 local government areas in Ibadan, adding that it is not too early to endorse the governor as their candidate given his achievements in the past one year in the state.

ACN’s day of joy in Anambra • Ngige renders account to constituents


EMBERS of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Anambra State were in Jubilation mood yesterday, when the former Governor of Anambra State, Senator Chris Ngige, doled out cash worth over N20 million and eight vehicles to them at an impressive ceremony in Akwa, the state capital. Besides, a new ACN office was commissioned at Amawbia to serve as the Awka South Local Government Area secretariat by the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Inter-Party Affairs, Senator Ben Obi. Ngige, represents Anambra Senatorial Central Zone in the senate. Obi is a former vice presidential candidate of the party. Distributing the vehicles to the party members, Ngige said that it was the first batch of such donation, adding that in the second phase slated for March next year, eight vehicles would be given to members. The six Toyota Camry cars went to Chief Charles Amilo, Chris Udenze, ECJ Nwosu, Kingsley Ezenwenyi and vice chairman of ACN in the South Senatorial Zone. However, there was another beneficiary who was not mentioned by Ngige. He told party members that the person refused to rig election against him during the last senatorial election involving him and former Minister of Information, Prof Dora Akunyili. The ACN senator also gave out N10 million to the state secretariat of the party and N1.050 million to all the 21 local government chapters. He also gave N5 million to groups and churches, including the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Holy Family Catholic Church AwkaEtiti, Pontifical Church in Benin, Edo State, Christ Anglican Church, Abakpa, Nike Enugu State, and Saint Mary’s Anglican Church, Ogbunike. The former governor also gave money and other items to the orphanage homes, widows and youths. Ngige commissioned six classroom blocks, which he built for the Federal Government College, Nise. The Special Adviser on Inter-Party Relations, Senator Obi told the party faithful that he is still a chieftain of ACN, despite serving under President Goodluck Jonathan. He thanked Ngige for his kind gestures. He said: “ The truth is that since democracy began in 1999, the best governor that gave dividends of democracy to the people was Ngige. He changed the face of democracy in Nigeria and that is why I always supporting him. “Ngige is the true representative of the people. His contributions in the senate are awesome. We should look at the pedigree of people before we vote for them. We have a true leader in Dr. Chris Ngige”.

• From left: Senator Ben Obi, Senator Chris Ngige and Sir Goddy Ezeemo during the inauguration of ACN’s office in Awka South.





Malaria still common in Nigeria, says survey T HE Romans drained the swamps, cleared the bushes and even used quinine to stop malaria - a disease caused by the anopheles mosquito. With those strategies they were able to keep malaria at bay. But despite the strategies employed by Nigeria, malaria is still prevalent here, according to malaria expert Prof Akintunde Sowunmi. He spoke in Lagos at the official launch and dissemination of the 2010 Nigeria Indicator Survey Report in the Southwest zone. It was organised by the National Malaria Control Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health. Sowunmi said the prevention strategies are okay and should be retained and implemented holistically, adding that malaria prevention has improved but stressed there was not statistic yet on it. The country, he said, was on the right track to prevent, if not totally eradicate the disease responsible for the highest number of infant death in sub-Saharan Af-

Stories by Wale Adepoju

rica. He urged the people to kill mosquitoes before they kill them, saying the disease was responsible for anaemia in children. The principal investigator for NMCP said people need to have more knowledge on malaria prevention, saying education is important to prevention. “Acute malaria infection should be treated within 24 hours of noticing the symptoms. People should prevent malaria given the available resources,” he added. He said the disease is not an obstacle that could not be surmounted. On drugs, he said artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) remains the drug of choice for the treatment of the disease. Other preventions, he said, are improved environmental sanitation, use of bed nets and participation in the use of intermittent prevention therapy (IPT) in pregnancy. Sowunmi said malaria is a killer disease, which must be controlled and possibly eliminated.

‘Health sector key to development’


HE health sector has been de scribed as the most critical socio-economic sector for development. According to the Director-General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Mr Umar Bindir, the country needs to scientifically look at its bio-resources to ensure development. Bindir spoke at a workshop organised by NOTAP for journalists on science technology reporting. The theme was Promoting technology acquisition for sustainable development in Nigeria: the role of the media. He said the country needs to look at the mineral resources that are useful for the manufacturing of drugs. “Also, we need to look at the tra-

ditional medicine we have perfected and formalise them,” he added. He said there should be strategic plans with key intentions to formalise these discoveries into standard products that we don’t only use in the country but also showcase to other countries. He said the Federal Government should look at a research institution such as Nigeria Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), and the biotechnology sector and some universities and polytechnics and filter all the outputs that are sitting out at the table and see how to take the outputs to the next level. This, he said, can effect a change if it can be done immediately, saying the sector is a very vibrant and promising one.

• A diagram showing the lung

‘Lung infections to increase’


O fewer than 25 per cent of admissions in teaching hospitals stem from respiratory tract infection (RTI), Consultant Chest Physician, at the Department of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr Cyril Chukwu, has said. According to him, the disease is common because of the polluted air that people inhale. He said the air being taken in is loaded with micro-organisms which float in the atmosphere. “This air we breathe in is impure and often referred to in medical language as unsterile,” he added. Chukwu said those microorganisms get trapped once in a while in the lungs and cause diseases. “But it is not easy and straightforward as we said it because the human body has a mechanism which defends it against external attacks such as microorganisms. So, a healthy person will not get RTI often because the body’s defense is able to clear the microorganisms,” he added. On vulnerability, he said, the elderly and the young are more at risk. “In the extremes of age, a very young person or an elderly person usually doesn’t have the natural defence against the disease. This is because the defence of the young has not developed


properly while that of the elderly has started waning. Preventing it, he said, is always difficult because a lot depends on controlling the environment to allow for clean and fresh air. “It is for the Federal Government and the people to ensure that they provide a clean environment which will minimise the disease. “The government should ensure that buildings are built to specifications and should not cluster to make room for ventilation. They should have wide windows and trees can be planted to further provide clean oxygen, he added. On high fences in Lagos, he said, it is caused by security challenges, adding that houses should not be surrounded by walls, otherwise the disease will find a breeding ground.

He urged Nigeria to adopt the Singapore experience by having a good ecology system and wellplanned residence devoid of fence. Then the chances of people coming down with chest infections are very slim, he added. He identified industralisation as another cause of pollution. “When a country has industries it is usually very difficult to achieve 100 per cent clean air as there would be many cars and machinery emitting fumes into the atmosphere. What can be done is for the government to regulate where people site the industries. Ideally, industries are sited in industrial estates away from residential areas to minimise pollution. But today a lot of such industrial estates are now within residential areas due to development,” he added. On the treatment, Chukwu said the country has the expertise to treat the disease, but stressed that some countries may have better capacity comparably to perform the same task. RTI, he said, doesn’t lead to other diseases but may lead to some complications, adding that a disease such as cancer may first present as lung infection. “In this situation, the disease is more difficult to treat as misdiagnosis may allow the disease to recur. This is what make doctors suspect that it is not a straightforward pneumonia,” he added. Diagnosing the infection, he said, is more difficult in the elderly because the symptoms are not identical with the usual type found in younger people.

Anti-stigmatisation Bill ’ll fight HIV/AIDS’


•Assistant Category Manager, Skin Care, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Dexter Adeola (middle) presenting some products to Hannah Ikechukwu, during the company’s Christmas outreach donation of home care and baby products to mothers. With them is Deputy Chief Medical Director, Ifako Ijaye General Hospital, Lagos, Dr Adebayo Bamisebi.

Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Educa tion as a Vaccine (EVA), has warned that the continued delay in the passage of the AntiStigmatisation Bill before the National Assembly is hampering HIV/AIDS prevention. Its Executive Director, Fadekemi Akinfaderin-Agarau said less important bills have been given speedy passage by the lawmakers. She spoke during the Africa and Middle East STARS Impact Award for journalists in Abuja. She urged the National Assembly to pass the bill, saying it would

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

ensure the fight against HIV/AIDS among children between six and 13 years. She said: “Our first challenge is that the National Assembly has not passed the anti-stigmatization bill. The bill has stayed for too long in the National Assembly. It was introduced around 2003 or 2004. “Less important bills have been given speedy passage in the National Assembly. Why is there delay in the passage of the anti-stigmatization bill? It is one of the greatest challenges in our work against spread of HIV/AIDS.”




Four banks to manage N24b Cabotage Fund T

HE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will start the disbursement of over N24 billion (about $160 million) from the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF) to approved shipping operators early next year, The Nation has learnt. The Fund, which is aimed at promoting ship building under the Cabotage Act, is from the compulsory two to three per cent deduction on contracts by firms and organisations in the industry. The agency had screened qualified applicants, a source said. To avoid the mistakes of the past, sources said four banks— Diamond Bank, Sterling Bank, Fidelity Bank and Skye Bank — have been appointed to handle the disbursement to ensure that beneficiaries pay back the loan.

Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

It was learnt that selection of qualified applicants was still open to firms that were yet to apply. Besides, there is room for more banks to be invited to participate in the programme, the source said. The source, however, noted that some companies did not contribute the mandatory three per cent contract sum to the Fund. “Majority of those that are clamouring for the quick disbursement of the fund are those violating the law by not paying the appropriate amount they are expected to pay; yet, they think NIMASA will close its eyes and give the money to them, or be allowed to access the loan,” he said.

New CEMA Bill ready for assent PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan will soon sign into law, the new Nigeria Customs Excise and Management Act (CEMA) Bill, The Nation has learnt. The Bill, which is now being considered by the Senate to promote port operations, the nation’s economy and boost trade facilitation at the ports, Senate sources said, would be forwarded to President Jonathan by early January and that the President has assured that it would be signed into law for effective port operation. The source allays the fear being entertained by some members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), that they will face stringent penalty if the bill is signed into law by the President. MAN and Customs, the source said, are expected to work together for the betterment of the country. The bill, the source said, is critical to the development of the nation’s maritime industry and urged stakeholders to put the nation’s interest over their personal and parochial interests so that the nation’s seaports could compete favourably with ports of neighbouring countries.

Shippers’ Council gets new scribe


The loan, the source added, would only be given to those that have contributed to it by paying the necessary fees as required by law.

THE Federal Government has appointed Hassan Bello as Acting Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC). His appointment followed the expiration of the second tenure of Capt. Adamu Audu Biu. The appointment of Bello, who was the Director, Legal Services, was conveyed to the Council by the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar. The letter, which was signed by the Acting Director, Human Resources, Management, E.T. Umoh, for the Minister, directed that the affairs of the Council should be handed over to the most senior Director in the Council in an acting capacity, “until Mr President approves the substantive Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer” for the Council. Bello, who joined the Council in 1998 as a Deputy Director/Head, Legal Services, had worked with the Ministry of Justice, Sokoto State, and later to Sokoto Investment Company Limited, where he became Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer. Bello is a graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria where he earned a Bachelor of Law (LLB) and Masters of Law ( LLM), among others.

Institute signs MoU with eight firms AN Ogun Maritime State-based schookl Polaris Institute has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with eight shipping firms to enable its cadets to get practical knowledge on-board their vessels. Chief Executive Officer of the Iperu Remo-based institute Captain Banjo Daniel Akintunde said: “Our cadets who graduated in June 2012 are on board various ships undergoing practical experience. “Also, all the graduating and trainees who would graduate by the end of this year have been absorbed by various shipping companies to commence practical work experience by January 2 and February 2, 2013. “We are glad to inform everyone that Polaris Maritime Institute, Iperu has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with at least eight shipping and maritime companies who have agreed to grant our cadets practical experience on board their various ship.” •Some of the seized bags of rice


Customs smashes a smuggling ring


HE Customs has smashed a smuggling ring on the Agbara-Badagry Waterway, impounding 7,269 bags of rice. Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’, Comptroller Dan Ugo, said the seizure was made by a team led by two officers, Kirawa Abdullahi and Zarka Audu. The team was said to have been tipped off and it swung into action catching up with smugglers at Agbara. Ugo said: “What you see here is in furtherance to the wake-up call by the Comptroller-General of

Customs, Dr. Abdullahi Dikko Inde, on zero tolerance for importation of rice through the land borders. “The unit will continue to collaborate with the Rice Importers Association of Nigeria and other critical stakeholders in ensuring that the unpatriotic attitudes of these “businessmen” are nipped in the bud.” Dikko, Ugo said, had directed officers and men of the service to work hard during the yuletide to stop smugglers. Also, the unit intercepted a truckload of 155 bags of parboiled rice and 95 kegs of 25 li-

ters of vegetable oil on the ShakiIgbokpe road in Oyo State. The controller said the seizure followed harmonisation of intelligence gathering by three teams in the unit. Ugo lauded the Customs management for providing the logistics and tools which aided the seizure. He also praised his officers for their dedication to duty. Investigation by The Nation, revealed that the upsurge in smuggling on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway made the Western Marines Command to place its officers and men on alert.

Customs generates N247.3b revenue THE Nigeria Customs Service, Apapa Area 1 Command has generated N247.3 billion revenue between January and November, this year. The Public Relations Officer of the command, Mr Emmanuel Ekpa, said the command generated N26.3 billion last month. Ekpa said that the impressive result in November could be as a result of stabilisation of socio-economic and political situation in the North which brought improvement to imports and exports. He, however, said that the command was still N1 billion short of its monthly target of N27 billion, even though improvement had been recorded. Ekpa said that the total revenue for January was N15.4 billion, February N21.3 billion, March N21.2 billion, while April was N19.8 billion. According to him, May revenue was N23.8 billion, the highest revenue of N36.8 billion was generated in June, while that of July was N19.5 billion. Ekpa said that revenue generated in August was N23.4 billion, September N19.7 billion, while the revenue in October was N20.2 billion.

Agents, importers seek officer’s removal at Tin Can


O fewer than 200 clearing agents and importers at the Tin Can Port in Apapa, Lagos have protested to the Comptroller-General of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi, to redeploy a female officer for allegedly frustrating their business. They made the call when Abdullahi toured Customs formations in Lagos last week. The importers and clearing agents led by some of their chapter executives, who carried placards, shouted at the top of their voices

• Abdullahi urges Customns to prepare for destination inspection while demanding for the removal of the female senior officer. Addressing the protesters, the Customs boss assured them that the allegations against the officer have been brought to his table and that he would look into the matter. “If you ask me to remove her now, who do you want to fill up the vacancy? There are channels through which you can forward

your complaints, but be rest assured that I am going to look into this matter,” Dikko promised. In another development, Abdullahi has urged officers and men of the service to prepare for the taking over of destination inspection next year, from service providers. Dikko gave the order during his tour of some Customs formations in Lagos.

The Customs boss urged officers to be thorough in screening goods for clearance. “We should gain our independence peacefully and we must succeed with this commitment,” he said. Dikko promised to increase remuneration of officers to make them more comfortable and diligent in their duties. He warned officers against grati-

fication, saying this would affect the yearly revenue target of the service. He said what is due to the Federal Government in terms of revenue must be collected. “No good thing comes out of corruption,” he said. Dikko said officers should convince importers that the service had come of age and could not be influenced by corruption. The operators of the destination inspection scheme are to hand over to Customs by the end of this year.





Customers decry PHCN’s ‘crazy’ bills The billing system of the electricity distribution companies of the unbundled Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has gone arwy and customers are complaining, writes EMEKA UGWUANYI.

•Minister of State for Power Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim Kuchieme

USTOMERS of the electricity distribution companies unbundled from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are angry over what they described as unreasonable bills from the utility provider. The customers, particularly those who don’t use prepaid meters, are paying through their noses even when the expected uninterrupted power supply promised by the government remains a dream. Following complaints from the customers, our correspondent visited some undertakings and business units of the distribution companies in Lagos to ascertain the cause of the recent exorbitant bills. It was discovered that customers affected in the high billing include those in Residential One and Two (R1&2) category of MYTO 11 (Multi-Year-Tariff-Order), who according to the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, are not only expected to pay low tariff, but also be protected from undue high tariff in order to enable them have access to power supply. At the undertaking and business unit levels, half of the customers acc osted came with complaints of high billings. Some of the bills were as high as N30,000 for households of two and three bedroom flats, who don’t even use air-conditioners in their houses. Some of the customers said the high billing started from September. For instance, Ajibola Akande who lives within the network of Festac Business Unit said in September he was billed N14,000, in October, over N18,000 and in November, ove N27,000. Also a customer under the Shomolu Buisness Unit, Mr. Julius Ogbonna said he got N14,000 in October and N29,000 in November. He said when he complained, he was asked to go and pay first so they (PHCN) would find a way of resolving future bills. The implication of this outrageous billing is that it might make customers lose confidence and trust in the power sector reform and promises


of the government in making power affordable by low income earners, he added. Some of the officials of the Buisness Units who spoke in confidence to The Nation, said the marketers create a lot of problems for them by not reading the meters. They noted that even if customers have faulty meters or their meters are inaccessible, they (marketers) should endeavour and properly determine the consumption level of a customer before estimating his bill. “When we see customers mill around here, we don’t feel good because what we preach and expect to attain is commendable service delivery and customer satisfaction but we are working on resolving this issue of crazy billing but you know this cannot be achieved overnight,” they said. At the Quarterly Power Summit in Lagos organised by the Power Ministry, the Chief Executive Officer, Benin Electricity Distribution Company Effiong Umoren also highlighted on the issue of tariff. He said that it is very imperative to get the issue tariff right in order to get the privatisation and reform aspirations right. In his paper entitled: Market performance under the implementation of MYTO 11, prospects and challenges: Operator’s perspectives,’ he noted that the tariff structure needs to be slightly adjusted. He said: “Unless we are banking on periodical government bailout, the tariff structure is one single component in the power equation that decides the survival or otherwise of the electricity supply chain, we must get it right.” He identified major features of MYTO 11 as increase in energy and fixed charges across the various tariff class, abolished payment for meters and connection fees by customers, abolished meter maintenance fees effective from December 2011, disallowed payment of statutory charges for maximum demand (MD) customers: inspection and survey fees, testing fees, metering and commissioning fees, reduced tariff classes from 19 to 14, merger of all the low energy users in each class: R, C, D, and A and collapse

Total, DOCAG boost R&D in UNICAL HE quest for good quality research and development in the Nigerian universities has received a boost, as Total Upstream Nigeria Limited and the Deep Offshore Community Affairs Group (DOCAG) inaugurated an e-library at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Cross Rivers State. The group canvassed quality research and development in the tertiary institutions in other to foster human capital development in the country. Chairman, DOCAG, Joseph


Adeyemi represented by his Vice-Chairman, Nyako Attah, handed over the facility to the school in Calabar, and said the facility would make significant impact on the quality of learning and consequently enhance the quality of graduates produced from universities. He urged the UNICAL community, students and staff to make the best use of the facility for meaningful research •Continued on page 16

of all charges in each category into only two components: Fixed charge and Energy charge and removal of KVA component from MD bills. He also noted the major benefits of MYTO 11, which he said discourages fraudulent classification of customers from R3 to R2 by under declaration of load demand and reduction in energy theft. He said that due to free meters, customers stealing energy are now coming out for free meters and regularisation of supply status. On challenges of MYTO 11, he

identified among others, the unrealistically high fixed charge of N139,466 for a wide segment of D2 customers: small scale industrial customer, saw millers, aluminium and steel product makers, confectionary manufacturers adding that on high fixed charge of N25,018 on R3, “we have some instances where fixed charge is up to three times the energy charge; particularly on “seasonal and weekend” residential houses. He said that kva as a component of a tariff encourages more efficient

machinery, thus improving system voltage profile noting that its abolition in MYTO II will increase ‘power factor indiscipline’ putting avoidable burden on terminal equipments. Power factor efficiency requires additional investment on the part of customer. There is no more incentives for this investment, he added. To discourage energy theft or illegal connection, the stakeholders said the tariff structure should be properly addressed and has to start from elimination of crazy billing.

•From left: Ex-partner, Akintola Williams Deloitte, Babatunde Oremade; Talent/Enterprise Risk Services Partner, West & Central Africa, Deloitte, Tony Olukoju, and Chief Executive Officer, Adeniyi Obe, at the firm’s end of the year party.

Lagos okays test for sand mining, dredging sites L AGOS government has made geochemical test for sand sites compulsory for opera-

tors. Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Taofiq Tijani, stated this at a meeting with managers and miners in Lagos. He said the geochemical/geophysical analysis is to help determine the mineral content of the sand samples, including filling, sharp and plastering sands obtained at different strategic locations. The move, he said, had become imperative to ascertain the ‘real content value’ of the sand samples. He said: “At a meeting, we had with the governor, we brought up the issue of mineral content of sand samples and why it has become necessary to carry out a test on sand samples to determine their true worth. Realising the relevance of the issue, the governor gave approval and instructed that we put up a modality for getting this done. This, in fact, informed our meeting today with all of you who are managers and operators of these sites. “One thing we want all of you to know is that most of the sands be-

By Bidemi Bakare

ing stockpiled could be more than what you think they are. Some of these sands could be silica sands which is useful for the manufacture of glass. Besides, some which are used for plastering may be better being used for concreting and vice- versa. So, unless we make effort toward evaluating all dredging sentiments it may be difficult to ascertain the mineral contents and their significance.” Tijani noted that it might be true that lack of right mineralogy of sand may have been responsible for the high frequencies of building collapses in the state. Allaying fears on the exercise, he said the mineralogy test would rather facilitate a win-win scenario as economic benefit would accrue to both the state and the owner and manager of the site where such economic mineral is located. The benefit for the state, he said, had started becoming feasible as evident in an investor who had approached the ministry on the possibility of exploiting our silica sand deposit for the manufacture of

glass adding that preliminary work on it would soon start. He hinted that the geochemical analysis and geological test had to be contracted to a thoroughbred professional consultant and his team of sedimentologists so as to prevent any form of interference and ensure that the exercise is meticulously carried out. Directing operators of the sites to liaise with the consultant on the best approach, which can be adopted to get the exercise done, Tijani said they should see decision on the exercise as irreversible. “We must all come to terms with the fact the test has come to stay. What I expect we should be talking about is how best to get the exercise done in a cost-effective way. So I expect that you liaise with our consultant and some of our staff when they come visiting at your various sites on how best you think the exercise could be carried out. You should discuss on whether it would be better done in clusters or groups so that the cost to be borne by you would be minimized,” he said.




Local content: Firm calls for more patronage from multinationals


NGINEERING Automation Technology Limited (EATECH), a local engineering firm, has called for an increase in patronage from International Oil Companies (IOCs) on products and services offered by indigenous firms as that would boost the capacity of local firms in the oil industry. Managing Director of the company, Mr Emmanuel Okon, Okon spoke at the company’s fifth anniversary in Lagos. He noted that poaching doesn’t encourage growth of human capital base of local firms. He said low patronage of products and services introduced into the industry by local firms, impedes the development of some local firms. Okon also called for urgent intervention of the Federal Government in the act of poaching in the services sector of the industry. He said that it is vital for the government to help stop poaching of skilled Nigerian workers from indigenous firms by foreign oil and gas companies. He said with poaching and the ever-present problem of difficulty in sourcing for funds, the survival of most local contracting firms is slim. Okon noted that his company had lost a substantial number of trained staff to multinational oil and gas companies. He therefore demanded that payments for projects executed by local firms executing projects for major oil companies to be at par with what for-

Stories by Emeka Ugwuanyi

eign contracting firms obtained. Okon said despite the poaching constraint, it was imperative for local firms to increase funding to train more future human capital in our tertiary institutions as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. “Funding presents itself as the major factor facing most indigenous entrepreneurs in running successful businesses in the oil and gas industry,” said Okon. “Indigenous companies providing similar services like their foreign counterparts are paid less thereby affecting negatively their ability to sustain competent and certified personnel especially those trained by them. “The twin evil of poaching trained personnel by multinational companies and sustaining these trained personnel by local companies is a challenge which requires the intervention of regulators,” he added. Okon, who identified the high remuneration of staff by multinational firms, noted that they were able to pay higher salaries because they usually got more income earnings from even similar contracts or jobs performed by local firms. He said to improve the manpower base for local firms, despite the poaching by foreign firm, EATECH had to inaugurate an award (that goes with N100,000 gift) for the best graduating student of the Electrical and Electronic Department of the Akwa Ibom

State Polytechnic, in Ikot Ekpene. Okon lauded the local content policy of the government, saying it had enabled his company established five years ago, to undertake projects in an industry hitherto reserved for foreign multinational. The industry is regulated mainly by the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), the Local Content Monitoring and Development Board and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). Okon said it was important for these regulators to “implement radical but careful tripartite relationship in providing guarantees for access to project specific finances especially to indigenous companies whose services are listed on NIPEX.” He said this option would provide alternative or additional comfort to banks where genuine indigenous companies cannot provide additional collateral in addition to domiciliation. Engineering Automation Technology started operations in November 2007 with seven staff and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited as pioneer customer. At present, the local firm provides services to other multinationals. They include ExxonMobil Group; Total Upstream; Delattre Bezons Limited; Aveon Offshore Nigeria; and ZB Joint venture Limited. The company holds the ISO: 9001:2008 Certification.

Total, French Embassy partner on human capital devt


JOINT scholarship scheme (TQJS) entitled: TEPNG/ Quai d’Orsay, has been established between Total and the Embassy of France in Nigeria. Under the new programme, five Nigerians are to benefit from a yearly scholarship sponsored by Total and the French Embassy in Nigeria with effect from the 2012/2013 academic year. According to a statement by the company’s Manager, External Communication, Charles Ebereonwu, the agreement to formalise the programme was signed at the French Embassy in Abuja between Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (TEPNG) and the embassy. The Managing Director/Chief Executive of TEPNG, Mr Guy Maurice signed for Total while the Ambassador of France, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle signed for the Embassy of France in Nigeria. The programme started with a pilot scheme this year when a candidate was selected and sponsored to study International Law in France. The agreement makes provision for a four-man steering committee to manage the scheme on behalf of the parties. The cost of each of the international scholarship is about 54,000 euro. Benefits to be enjoyed by the selected beneficiaries include a sum to cover travel expenses, academic fees if in a private university or institution in France, living expenses for 10 months, including food, housing costs and academic text or materials, logistics support in obtaining necessary permits or visas for the selected students, health insurance for each beneficiary (bourse de couverture sociale) such as will give the beneficiaries the status of French government scholarship’s beneficiaries and the health care benefits as-

sociated with this status. Others include 60 hours minimum language training in Nigeria for the selected students and school fees for beneficiaries selected into public universities in France. “Understanding changes in your environment is not a matter of specialisation but a matter of personal balance and culture,” said Ambassador Champagne de Labriolle as he explained that the programme was borne out the need to contribute to the training of Nigerians in different fields. He thanked Total for its contributions to the development of the Nigerian society. Also speaking, Mr Guy Maurice, noted that such initiative on the part of the company was a reflection of its confidence in the country and continuation of what it did in the past. The Quai d‘ Orsay educational cooperation between them started in 2011 and operates in other subsidiaries. Total’s delegation to the event included the Executive General Manager, Corporate Services, Mr. Vincent Nnadi; Executive General Manager Public Affairs and Communication, Mr. Chidi Momah; Training & Development Manager, Mr Sam Nkwo and Senior Legal Counsel Mr Adesina Salawu. The Ambassador’s team included the Counsellor for Co-operation and Culture, Mr Patrick Perez. Total has been collaborating with top rated institutions around the world as part of its contribution towards human capacity development in its host communities. It is the main sponsor of the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS), a postgraduate institution, at the University of Port Harcourt it run with the prestigious Institute France du Petrole (IFP) France.

Total, DOCAG boost R&D in UNICAL •Continued from page 15

•Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle (left) and Managing Director/Chief Executive of TEPNG Mr Guy Maurice, shake hands after the agreement on a joint scholarship scheme entitled: TEPNG/ Quai d’Orsay, in Abuja.

Shell awards contracts to Nigerian firms


HE Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has awarded maturation studies services contracts to four Nigerian firms, which would help them, build their capacity in that key aspect of the oil and gas industry. These pioneer contracts, according to the Corporate Media Relations Manager, Tony Okonedo, would enable the four companies - Laser Engineering and Consultancy Nigeria Limited, Ankorpointe Nigeria Limited, Integrated Data Services Limited, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nubian Nigeria Limited to conduct front-end subsurface maturation studies in SPDC’s onshore eastern operations for over two-years. Maturation studies involve evaluation of subsurface data to build a picture of the hydrocarbon reservoirs and are vital to determining major oil and gas development plans. In the past, there was a tendency to conduct some maturation studies overseas as a way of meeting planned targets. However, in line with Nigerian

Content Development objectives, SPDC is working to domesticate these studies, thereby empowering Nigerian companies to acquire the necessary expertise while also significantly providing jobs in-country and reducing costs. SPDC’s Manager, Geosolutions, Nedo Osayande, representing General Manager, Development, Bayo Ojulari said at the contract signing ceremony in Port Harcourt: “It has been a long journey; we liaised with the contractors on the conduct of subsurface studies, understanding their challenges and working to resolve them to a point where they can now render the required services. This is a top moment for Nigerian contractors in the oil and gas sector, and the four pioneers must seize this opportunity and prove that the investment in time and resources has been worthwhile.” The managing directors of the four companies signed on behalf their organisations, thanking SPDC for the opportunity and promising to execute the contracts efficiently.

In 2011, SPDC also inspired incountry manufacture of carbon steel pipes when it awarded a $37 million contract to SCC Nigeria Limited, a move that led to the establishment of the first line pipe manufacturing facility in Nigeria. Meanwhile, Shell companies in Nigeria have been given an award as the “Most Local Content Friendly International Oil Company” at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping in Lagos. The award is in recognition of their “constant drive to source maritime materials and equipment within Nigeria, and giving priority consideration to Nigerian companies in evaluation of bids for maritime contracts.” General Manager, Nigerian Content, SPDC, Igo Weli, said: “We are grateful for the award which is further confirmation of the leadership role of Shell companies in Nigeria in NCD development.” Shell companies in Nigeria have won three awards this year in recognition of their local content performance.

and development. He said: “The development of human capital in our areas of operation is one of the cardinal objectives of our community development efforts and this has led to the choice of UNICAL as the beneficiary of this project.” The e-library involves the renovation of an existing hall in the institution; provision and installation of air conditioners; partitioning of the hall into a library and two offices for library staff; furnishing the offices and provision of 100 computer systems with accessories and operating systems. Others include the provision of customiSed computer tables

and 100 chairs; provision of internet server infrastructure, VSAT, networking, software, ebooks and accessories; provision and installation of an inverter; payment of subscription and internet services for one year; provision and installation of a 40-KVA soundproof generator to power the elibrary and training of UNICAL staff, who will be responsible for running the electronic library. UNICAL Vice Chancellor , Prof James Epoke, commended the group and assured that the university would maintain the library by ensuring its proper use for research and other academic works.

Ghana’s oil production exceeds 105,000 bpd


IL production from Ghana’s Jubilee Oil Field is now in excess of 105,000 barrels per day (bpd), one of the partners, Kosmos Energy, has announced. According to Daily Graphic reports, the lead operator on the Jubilee Field, Tullow Oil, in a report last week, said production had reached 90,000 bpd because the much anticipated Jubilee Phase 1A project had finally come on stream. It said production on the Phase 1A was now at a rate of 16,500 bpd boosting total output on the field to 90,000 bpd.

In its update on the company’s global operations, Kosmos Energy said production was in excess of 105,000 bpd. The two figures from Kosmos Energy and Tullow Oil are indicative that production levels on the field seem to have improved again. When Ghana begun the commercial production of oil in December 2010, it was expected to produce 120,000 bpd but that could not materialize as a result of some technical challenges in the oil-producing wells.






NEWS Brazilian carnival band in Calabar


HE Brazilian carnival band has arrived in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, for the Carnival Calabar. Known as the Vai Vai Samba Band, the Brazilians thrilled the crowd which gathered at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport to welcome them. Speaking through an interpreter, the leader of the band, Thobias Da Vai-vai, described the reception as marvelous, saying Calabar is peaceful. He said they were happy to be a part of the carnival. Da Vai-vai said the carnival is a practical way of

thanking God through joy and party. He said they have used the medium as an independent nation to express themselves internationally. The Brazilian said they are in Calabar to display Brazilian Samba, which is reputed to be a world-class dancing style. DGM of Calabar International Cement Limited COCIC, Adekanye Kemisola, the facilitator of the Brazilian connection, said they were proud to be involved in the tourism programme of the state, which would strengthen the relationship between Brazil and Nigeria.

Bayelsa fetes old people


AYELSA State Governor Seriake Dickson has donated Christmas gifts to the elderly. The governor directed that presents and cash be extended to all aged persons from 75 years and above. The gesture, it was learnt, is in line with the government’s resolve and commitment to cater for the welfare of citzens, “particularly the aged and vulnerable among

From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

us”. “We must give special care to the elderly because they are important members of our society and we must show that we truly care. “Elders from 75 years and above will enjoy a monthly stipend from the government.” Dickson also approved the construction of an old peoples home.

Navy searches for suspected pirates


HE Navy said yesterday it was hunting for pirates who kidnapped four crew members from a ship off the coast of the Niger Delta at the weekend. The ship, MV Asso Ventuno, was boarded on Sunday about 40 miles (65 km) off the coast of Bayelsa State, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). There were no injuries to other crew members and the pirates released the ship, which continued to a safe port, IMB said. A naval spokesman confirmed the incident. “Five vessels have been deployed for patrol duties off Brass Area. “The Navy, in collaboration with other agencies, has intensified search and rescue efforts of the victims and apprehension of the pirates.”

Oshiomhole advises politicians


DO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has urged politicians to see their foray in politics as service to the people. The governor said politicians must fulfil their electoral promises to the people. Oshiomhole spoke yesterday at Jattu, Etsako West Local Government, at the opening of a market built by the Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, Philips Shaibu.

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

He said promises are like bonds between the governed and the politicians, which must be honoured. The governor said some politicians alienate themselves from the people after securing their mandate. Oshiomhole hailed Shuaibu for building projects that impact positively on the lives of his constituents.

Widow of slain sales rep freed From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin


HE wife of a pharmaceutical sales representative reportedly abducted after her husband was killed has been freed in Benin, the Edo State capital. The widow of Olowo Lafe Martins was freed last week after spending two nights with her husband’s killers, who also injured her son in the attack. A source said the boy’s condition is stable. It could not be immediately ascertained if the N1million ransom earlier demanded by the kidnappers was paid before she was released. When our reporter visited their home at 25, Oghodua Street, Off Iyeware Street, Benin City the place was deserted.

Akwa Ibom monarch laments From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo


N Ibibio monarch, Edidem Ime Dickson Umoette, yesterday lamented what he described as “lack of federal presence in Akwa Ibom State over the years.” Edidem Ime Umoette spoke at the Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio 2012 Annual Carnival held in Ikot Oku Ikono, Uyo, the state capital. He said despite the enormous contributions of the state to the country’s resources, the state was completely marginalised by the Federal Government. The Ibibio royal father also condemned the incessant formation of several socio-cultural organisations in Ibibio land and called for a stop, saying the proliferation of groups in the Ibibio ethnic group was completely unnecessary because all the groups have the same aims and objectives.

•Some members of the band...yesterdy.

Rivers to spend N490b next year


HE Rivers State Government has proposed to spend N490.32billion next year. The proposed budget is N52.32 billion higher than the N438 billion appropriated for the out-going fiscal year and which translates to 11.9 percent increase in the budget. Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who spoke yesterday at the House of Assembly, said: “The proposed figure was reached after a careful consideration of project submissions, options and factors that are needed to achieve our developmental targets in view of the challenges facing us as a state.” Amaechi said the proposed budget would be funded by Statutory Allocation (FAAC) of N245 billion; Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), including Social Levy of N80 billion; the balance from the out-going year which is N48.32 billion; bond proceeds of N100 billion and World Bank/African Development Bank (AfDB) credit of N17 billion. The Capital Expenditure is N314.30 billion as against N323.70 billion in 2012 while N176.02 is being proposed as recurrent spending. This is higher than the N114.25 billion. These proposed expenditures, the governor said showed a sharp increase of 54.06 per cent in Recurrent Ex-

Dickson presents N285.930b budget From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa


AYELSA State Governor Seriake Dickson has presented a N285.930 billion budget to the House of Assembly. Capital Expenditure has N152.695 billion or 53.40 per cent; Recurrent Expenditure has N133.25 billion or 46.0 per cent. Christening it Budget of Consolidation of Our Restoration, Dickson said the administration must work hard to reduce recurrent expenditure. He said the projected revenue would come from statutory allocation N27.268 billion, N9.955bilion is expected from VAT, N160.70 billion is expected from 13 per cent derivation and from Internally Generated Revenue N4.470 billion. The governor said budget discipline would be the watchword, stressing that efforts would also be geared towards reducing recurrent expenditure and running cost of government. “We have to come up with a policy to revisit the yet to be concluded biometric exercise to clean up the nominal roles. All salary payments will be e- based.” Dickson said overhead to ministries and deferments have been reduced. He said N7.7 billon has been allocated for the Ministry of Health, N6.2 billion for the Ministry of Energy, N2.7 billon for Agriculture ministry. The proposed Airport project is expected to be completed in 2014. Two new schools will be established-the school of tourism and school of agriculture. From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

penditure and a decline of 2.92 per cent in Capital Expenditure compared to the 2012 Budget respectively. Capital Expenditure projection is 64.10 per cent of the total budget while Recurrent Expenditure is 35.90 per cent of the budget. The education sector was given special attention as new

recruitments including the hiring of additional 13,000 teachers to strengthen the sub-sector would be implemented. Adequate provisions were equally made for the Monthly Pension/Contributory Pension Scheme, bond issuance related costs and loan repayment in 2013. These provisions, which amounted to N92.19 billion,

Bola Ige honoured at lecture


HE sterling leadership qualities of the slain Minister of Power and Governor of old Oyo State, Chief Bola Ige, were praised yesterday by notable Nigerians. Ige was killed in his Bodija, Ibadan, home on December, 23, 2001. Eminent personalities took turn to eulogise the late politician at this year’s memorial lecture held at the Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, yesterday. The Guest Lecturer, Dr. Wale Okediran, in his lecture, titled: ‘The challenges of Political Leadership in Nigeria,’ said the first question to ask was whether or not the kind of democracy we currently practice is ideal for the nation or not. “Many politicians and observers have doubted the effec-

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

tiveness of democracy as well as the presidential form of government as a panacea against poverty and backwardness,” he said. The Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Akin Mabogunje, also stated that the late Ige, who followed the values of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, set examples for the younger generation. He pointed out that breakdown of values is responsible for the decadence in today’s Nigeria. Ige’s daughter, Funso Adegbola, said politics was better during her father’s time because money was not emphasised in politics as is done presently. She said: “I really want to bless God for the kind of man

•The late Ige

my father was. “My father was very passionate about younger people. My father wasn’t rich but was well known and loved. “He developed men. He loved people. Things were better during his own time because politicians didn’t need a lot of money to carry out their ambition.”

Amaechi said is responsible for the obvious increase in the proposed Recurrent Expenditure. He also said the government would approach the capital market in the first quarter of 2013 and conclude the first bond issuance for N100 billion. The governor said the bond proceeds would be applied only forspecific projects. These would include: The Greater Port- Harcourt M-10 Highway; the construction of M-1 Highway; new campus of Rivers State University of Science and Technology and funding of monorail project. The breakdown of the capital budget shows that the economic sector take N93.09 billion with Works gulping N93.09 billion while energy and natural resources takes the least with N160 million. Under the social sector which N64.50 billion, education would gulp N47.81 billion while social welfare and rehabilitation would take the least amount of N500million.

UCTH begins kidney dialysis CHIEF Medical Director of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) Dr Thomas Agan said yesterday that the hospital had commenced kidney dialysis. Agan told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar that the Kidney Dialysis Centre of the hospital was now fully functional. “The good news is that we have started doing kidney dialysis in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. “There is no need for people to go to Port Harcourt or any other teaching hospital for kidney dialysis again,’’ he said. The chief medical director said the management was working towards the final relocation to the hospital’s permanent site. He said this was in fulfilment of his vision for the hospital. “We have set March as target to complete the movement of all departments to the permanent site and this is contained in our 2013 appropriation. “What is left is not much, if the budget is fully implemented, we shall be able to complete the movement on schedule.’’



Tuesday, DECEMBER 25, 2012 Website:-

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


Getting land papers with tears

•The disputed Manuel Estate in Abuja.

Elsewhere, land titles are obtained with ease. Sadly, it is not so in Nigeria. Many would-be landlords virtually go through hell in obtaining documents to authenticate the ownership of their property. In many instances, many have fallen into the hands of conmen in their desperation to get genuine land papers. The government, some claim, is not helping matters because of the bureaucratic bottleneck surrounding issuance of title deeds. OKWY IROEGBU-CHIKEZIE reports.


OR many landlords across the country, the story is the same. Getting documents to authenticate ownership of their land is not easy. It is even easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for them to get titles to their land. Land documentation is an age-long problem in the country because of the fraud in the process, some say. Others attribute the problem to the desire of Nigerians to cut corners.

Many would-be landlords, a source said, instead of following due process prefer to go through middle men who procure fake documents for them as title deeds and "when the bubble burst it becomes too late to cry because by then, the head is off". But should people find it difficult to get title documents? The answer, the government says, is no if the procurer is ready to follow the law. Unfortunately, these days, omo onile have virtually taken over land matters in collabo-

•Govt, church tangle over land - PAGE 52

ration with some people in government. In a situation like this, the property market have become a large fraud. Many mortgage firms are feeling the heat of the problem. There firms, which people rely upon for the provision of affordable houses through mortgage, are being dispossessed of the land they claimed they legally acquired from the same government that is soliciting for their support in the provision of houses. From the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)

to Lagos, Ogun states, Rivers, Enugu, Nasarawa and several other states, land hitherto acquired by developers and for which requisite documents had been obtained, have become subjects of dispute. The various tiers of government claim that the documents possessed by the developers are doctored, adding that in most cases they originated from unauthorised agencies. But the develop•CONTINUED ON PAGE 52

•Lagos-Badagry Expressway to cost N40b

- PAGE 53




Getting land papers with tears •CONTINUED FROM PAGE 51

ers insist that the papers were obtained from authorised channels. The disputes remain unresolved, and in some cases, organs of government sent bulldozers to demolish some of the disputed estates. Stakeholders are worried over the development, describing the government’s strategy of addressing the problem-demolition of affected estates, as not the best. Why will government prefer demolition when it could stop the development before it will began? they wondered. The government contravention notices were served on developers, many of who usually sdenied ever receiving such letters. The government accuses developers of non-compliance with town planning and building control laws of the particular states. No matter how hard the developers, fight, they cannot win. The issue is how do you determine that the approval you have is genuine? In the past, some claimed to have genuine documentation only to discover later that what they have are fake papers. When that happens those concerned are caught between the devil and deep blue sea. Some cases in point are Minanuel Estate, Abuja, Pure Fire Church, Lagos and River View Estate, Ogun State. Even though River View Estate, was not demolished, the Ibikunle Amosun administration is claiming that the estate is a fraud, because it is on a water plain, where houses should not be built. Stakeholders said the process of land acquisition and documentation is porous and not well-defined. They are demanding that the government should come and define the procedure for obtaining approvals in each state and the FCT to stop the waste incurred by those affected. They also faulted the government for frequent changes in agencies and their administrations. For example,Minanuel Estate got its approval from the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) that was the issuing authority in land matters in the FCT in 2002, but the administration has rationalised the transaction as illegal, rather than integrating it into the new system since government is a continuum. The estate that was valued at over N10billion with over 400 residents who made partpayment for the houses has been demolished. The subscribers argued that banks and primary mortgage institutions couldn’t have supported the development of the estate without doing their due diligence. They accused the government of acting in bad faith. But reacting to the allegation, the Director, Development Control Department, FCTA, Dr. Yahaya Yusuf, said the estate was demolished because the houses were built on illegal plots. Yusuf said the developer’s document was an AMAC allocation document, which was supposed to have terminated in 2006, but people wonder why the approval powers of AMAC later transferred to another agency would be said to be fake. This has led to suits on the property. A spokesman for the estate Mr Festus Adebayo said the beneficiaries filed their suits individually and in different courts seeking jus-

•A house being demolished at Minanuel Estate.

Govt, church tangle over land


HE church was in session when they came. As the bulldozer rumbled through the church, worshippers watched. Many wondered what could be happening. In a time, three buildings on the 10-acre church had been pulled down. More would have, but for the quick intervention of the Epe monarch and the Local Government Chairman. It all happened at the Pure Fire Miracles Ministries International (PFMI) complex at Afero Village on the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos when officials of the state Task Force came to demolish the church. The Task Force men were with officials of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development. The demolition order followed its discovery that the ministry had no approval for the development embarked upon by the church. The church comprising six auditoria, offices, residential houses and other buildings officials said, costs millions of naira to erect. Defending the action of the government, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Toyin Ayinde, said there was no approval for the church building, adding that notices had earlier been served on the church to leave. He said the allegation that the church paid processing fees to the government does not hold water as it was not akin to getting a building approval permit. He criticised the some people who deliberately build even when building permits

have not given to them. He warned that the state government would not watch people defying government’s regulations of the state. Ayinde claimed that the land fell within the proposed Lekki International Airport and that it could not have been approved for a different use by the same government. “We have served them quit notices since 2011 and another one was served on them in November, which they didn’t comply with,” said Ayinde. One of the quit notices issued entitled: “Lagos State Urban and Development Law 2010”, dated November 15, 2012, alleged that there was “gross encroachment”; that No LASG approval was given to anyone for physical development and that there was no proof of ownership. A similar notice from the same department issued the same day (November 15, 2012, entitled: Demolition notice, gave a seven-day ultimatum culminated in the demolition. But refuting claims made by government’s officials, a document from the Legal Adviser to the church, Pastor Enoch Idowu Aminu, Messrs Ibrahim A. Shittu § Co., of Pro bono Chamber, showed that the land was purchased from Ikujenya Okanlawon Ikuforiji Chieftaincy Family, of No 3, Ikujenya Stret, Bado Oke Epe, Lagos State, on May 21, 2010. The purchase, according to the lawyer, was embarked upon as a re-

tice. He said the people concerned paid for the houses in the estate and were expected to occupy them before the end of the year. He condemned the action of the Development Control Department of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCTA), saying by resorting to such action, it has taken the law into its hands. Adebayo claimed that the subscribers appeared before the National Assembly with the development control officials and other stakeholders to deliberate over the issue on September 28 with their papers, but according to him, “the

following day, the development control team went to the plots and demolished the buildings which comprised two and three bedrooms. They claimed we presented fake documents. We want to know how government will issue her citizens fake papers.” In a related development, two major civil society groups called on members of the National Assembly to protect the rights of Nigeria in general and the subscribers to the Minanuel Housing Estate in Abuja, in particular. In a petition signed by the Chairman of HEDA Resource Centre,

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor

sult of the information contained in the Lagos State of Nigeria Official Gazette, No.29, Volume No 27, September1, 1994. In page 274 of the gazette, it stated as follows: DescriptionAfero Village: “All that parcel of land in Afero in Eti-Osa Local Government of Lagos State of Nigeria containing approximately area of 28.52 Hectares, the boundaries of which are described below ...”, stated the bearings, length of metres and the co-ordinates measurements, among others, indicated that the land was excised and properly belonged to the original owner(s). “Besides, we applied for regularisation of land title through Law Title International, the appointed consultant to the Lagos State Government on Land Regularisation, on which there was no objection. This was confirmed in the official receipt of payment, dated November 23, 2011, bearing N1. 640million. Besides, on the land falling within the proposed site for the Lekki International Airport, investigation revealed that the co-ordinates of the surrounding lands that were after the controversial site were not be affected. “Would the other lands that are after Afero be skipped or be incorporated into the Airport land? What is the reason for this unjust persecution’? asked a senior official of the church from Ghana. However, what the worshippers •CONTINUED ON PAGE 53

Olanrewaju Suraju, and the President of Campaign for Democracy and Women Arise, Joe OkeiOdumakin, the groups recalled that at the time the estate was demolished, it was valued at N10billion with the development of the estate, which started in 2005, reaching 80 per cent completion. They recalled that on December 14, spokesman for Minanuel Investments Ltd, Mr. Chukwuma Ogbuagu, said a few days to the demolition, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the FCT, Smart Adeyemi, accused the developer of trespassing in the land.

In a radio programme, the lawmaker described the land as having been allocated to his colleagues and called on the firm to liaise with the appropriate authorities. The petitioners further said the developers of the estate claim that the allocation documents, approvals and permits had been obtained prior to development, and that the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, had issued no notices of a pending demolition. “If these allegations are proved true, we are appalled that a minister in a democracy, who is supposed to have the utmost respect for the rule of law and due process, would act in such a contemptuous manner in breach of the fundamental rights of the citizens of the state,” the petition said. Citing citizens’rights deriving from the African Charter on Human and Peoples ‘Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, the groups said access to safe and secure housing is one of the most basic human rights The petition added: “Governments all over the world take the housing needs of their citizens seriously and put in place adequate measures to provide for it. “It is evident that the Nigerian government has not been able to meet this challenge with its evergrowing population. In a presidential retreat on housing, it was reported that the country is having 17 million housing deficit. This single unguided action of an executive and government agencies does not reflect a government that is concerned about how to close this deficit or one that champions the cause of democratic values of due process and rule of law.” The groups said it is even more worrisome that an investment of such magnitude would be destroyed and the victims subjected to untold hardships to satisfy the thirst of lawmakers for land acquisition. In the case of Pure Fire Church in Lagos, the church claimed it applied for regularisation of land title through Law Title International, consultant to the Lagos State Government on Land Regularisation, on which there was no objection, confirmed in the official receipt of payment, dated November 23, 2011, bearing N1.640million. But the government claimed it served notices, which were ignored as payment. According to the Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Toyin Ayinde, this does not confer ownership of property until the approval document is secured. In the case of River View Estate Isheri, Ogun State, the administration though did not demolish the estate, said the process was a fraud as it was not supposed to havebecause the land is on a water plain, adding that it not habitation. But the public wonder what the social responsibility of government is if they can demolish properties under any guise and why it is so easy to get a multiplicity of approval documents from government agencies which in some cases turn out to be fake.



PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT NEMA to diate brunt of a disaster. This is because they are, in most cases, the first to be affected by the disaster partner as well as the first responders. “Though they seem to be the states, least important level of government, they have a peculiar role to in disaster management since councils on play they are the closest to the people at the grassroots. The degree of the floods impact as well as the damage caused by a disaster depends on From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin


HE National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called for collaboration among the agency, state and local governments to stem disaster. The agency said it could not manage disasters alone. ItsDirector-General,Alhaji Muhammad Sidi, spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital at a workshop on awareness and preparedness for disaster management by state and local government areas. He said the training became imperative because of the importance of local government areas, adding that an evaluation of disaster management at the grassroots had indicated the need for a review. Represented at the event by the coordinator of the agency’s Abuja Operations Office, Mr Ishaya Chonoko, the NEMA chief said being the closest to the communities, are first responders to disaster, hence the need to empower their personnel for disaster management. He said: “It behoves on the local governments and the people of the local government to bear the imme-

the vulnerability and level of preparedness of the local government, meaning that if a local government is well-prepared for any disaster situation, it would be able to bounce back to its prior state before the occurrence of the disaster. “This workshop, it is believed, would help to enlighten and empower the local governments in the management of disasters at the local level as well as create a better synergy between the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the Local Emergency Management Agency (LEMA). Earlier, the Special Adviser to Kwara State Governor on Emergency and Relief Matters, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi, said the state has expended N140 million on providing relief package to victims of disaster since the inception of the administration. Abdullahi, however, said the government was more interested in preventing disasters, which necessitated proper training for its personnel. He commended NEMA for the initiative and promised the commitment of the state to support NEMA.

Surveying body chair warns against unethical practice


URVEYORS in Lagos State have been warned to live above board, or face the music. Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Prince Afolabi Solesi, gave the warning during the body’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Ikeja. Members of the profession and practitioners must uphold high sense of integrity because the public and the government will depend on their expert advice on land-related matters, he said. Solesi said: “It is most unfortunate that some of the members of this noble profession are not noble at all. The ethics and monitoring committee is working hard to bring some people to book and putting structures in place to checkmate our errant members. However, a new strategy is evolving and when we begin to clamp down on those involved, I hope no one will cry blue murder. “Let me add that the Surveyors Registration Council of Nigeria’s State Committee on Ethics has decided that henceforth, investigations will start with NIS and end with the SSCE in the state. This is to hasten the process of investigation, especially in view of the fact that justice delayed is justice denied.” Presenting a report of his executive council’s activities for the year, the chairman said the Southwest forum of surveyors had become the

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor

pacesetter on issues of national importance in the profession nationwide. “This is because of the level of objectivity and sincerity that is brought into the decision-making process in the forum by people of like minds, including Lagos State delegates. There is, however, the need for us to be vigilant at all times so that no mischievous, but intelligent person passes through the well-knitted structures that have been put in place,” Solesi said. He said his council was able to complete the second floor of the branch’s secretariat complex and had let same out through the services of an estate surveying and valuation firm; purchased and installed a 150-KVA generator, air conditioners and cable television decoders in all offices; and completed the installation of windows and doors as well as plastered the third floor. On the open space around the secretariat complex, Solesi said the executive council tried to acquire it through the Lands Bureau and Ministry of Transportation, but its efforts failed. “We have, therefore, chosen to fence the property allocated to the branch as shown in the survey plan attached to our Certificate of Occupancy (Cof O). Our land that was en-

croached upon had been reclaimed and we can conveniently say that we have taken full possession of our land,” he said. In a lecture entitled: Lawyers and surveyors: Inestimable partners in progress, a lawyer, Mr ‘Sina Sofola (SAN), said the opinion of surveyors are sought when land matters become objects of litigation. Sofola added: “The easiest (but not the only) way of showing the specific area claim is to file a plan of the area, a plan properly orientated, drawn to scale and accurate, a plan reflecting the boundary features, especially the side in dispute. “This plan is, of course, prepared by the surveyor. This shows the importance of a survey plan. It is a document, which in a land suit, may turn the tide of events.” He said the courts rely on surveyors to determine some complex land matters by shedding light on grey areas, noting that this required trust in their professional abilities and judgment. Sofola said some surveyors mislead the court by giving spurious evidence in land issues. He said: “The surveyor must work assiduously not to forget nor relegate decorum, competence, comportment, hard work, independence, integrity and one can go on and on. I admit it lies with us lawyers too, that is why I see us as partners in progress.”

Govt, church tangle over land •CONTINUED FROM PAGE 52

found disheartening, according to some of them, was the manner in which the demolition was carried out and the seeming intimidation by the security agents who accompanied government officials. It was at the peak of the church’s annual convention that had in attendance, worshippers that included representatives of the church from 12 foreign countries. The more than 10,000 worshippers who included old and pregnant women, children, were said to have been at a loss as to why the government could choose the period to effect the demolition. As bulldozers roared, three buildings fell, until the monarch of Epe, Oba Kamorudeen Ishola Animashaun; Chairman, Epe Local Government and others intervened. They reasoned that the action could lead to breakdown of law and order, urging Governor, Babatunde Fashola to take another look at the issue. Isaac Shigbata, a Nigerian pastor, who said he has been in Ghana for over past 23 years, denounced the way security agents invaded the church without regard for safety of members. He said: “Laws are made for man and not the other way round. No matter what may be the situation, the timing was not only bad, but rather, the action was capable of breaching security. And not at this time that Nigeria is battling religious extremism in some parts of the country’. Pastor David Bangali from Liberia, also condemned the development. He said: “Nigeria is a country that many African countries are looking unto for guidance, especially, Lagos State. But the activities of security agents last week was not palatable at all”. Pastors Johnson Samuel Ani from Burkina Faso; Tamomo Jose from

Benin Republic; David Amevoi from Ghana, Richmondson Shekesesay, from Sierra Leone, Mawu from Manuzikpi, Togo, also blamed the government for its action. Some participants from European countries said their embassies would consult with the Federal and state governments on the matter. A 10-year-old girl from Cameroun, Miracle Bosco, said: “Why is it that police came and destroyed the house of God? I am sad because all the money our parents spent here has become a waste.” She pleaded: “Please, help us to beg the governor to stop this demolition. God is not happy and I am not happy”.

•Part of the demolished church ... last week.

Lagos-Badagry Expressway to cost N40b By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst Editor



HE expansion of the Lagos/ Badagry Expressway will cost N40 billion, the Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Dr. Femi Hamzat, has said. In an interview with The Nation, he promised an early completion of the road, adding that government would pay the contractors as soon as their jobs were certified okay. The road, according to the commissioner, is trans-Atlantic and will open up traffic for over 280 million

people in West Africa up to Morocco. The government, he said why not slow in executing the project which he noted has some. He denied that they are collaborating with the Federal Government on the road, noting that the state would, however, not discourage the Federal Government if it wants to be part of the epoch-making project. He said the administration is mindful of the place of infrastructure in governance, noting that the economy of the United States of America couldn’t crumble despite its economic challenges because of its strong superstructure. Hamzat denied that the government was selective in road construction, noting that there are criteria for road construction in the state, which include traffic and the location of high tax revenue. He said the ministry handled over 443 roads last year. He lamented that the state’s internally generated revenue, which is about N175 billion

and N96billion from Federal Government is small. He said: “If the government decides to do nothing else, but roads it would take us 15 years to take care of all the roads in the state. But what we do now is to handle economic important roads and we are insisting that unless we finish ongoing projects, we will not handle new ones.”. He said there is a new state policy on road designs, where certain aspects of designs would be an integral part of road designs, such as using red bricks as speed breakers so that sight impaired persons would see them from a distance, roads and bridges where physically challenged people can use and a maintenance policy of maintaining 10,000 roads. Another arm of the policy is that every road in the state will, henceforth, have in-built drawings to assist in the maintenance of such roads to know where cables and wires are located. He regretted a situation where the government or its agencies are not in possession of drawings of build-

ings that are 30 years old. Another new policy on roads and infrastructure in the state, Hamzat said, is the Current Replacement Value (CRV) of infrastructure, which would moderate the maintenance so that the government does not spend on wasting assest. He said each school, hospital and government agencies and ministries must have a dedicated budget for maintenance. On the Okota road, he said a court case was delaying the project. To settle the case, the commissioner said the government has reached an agreement with a landlord to pay him N45 million, adding that it was waiting for the court to vacate the case so that the contractor could return to site. On the patronage of Chinese construction firms, Hamzat said they are not only experts in construction, but also have the funds to complete any job awarded to them after mobilisation. He said the state needs to maximise its funding patterns to get best from its contractors while avoiding the abandonments of projects.




Downturn persists as market closes for Yuletide


ESTERDAY, the Nigerian stock market continued its downward movement with additional drop of 0.2 per cent on key indicators. All through the week, the two market key indicators, All Share Index and Market Capitalisation, recorded an increase only on Thursday while the remaining days of the week were in negative. Opening the week, the market traded for only three hours out of the slated five hours for business transactions. Traders as well as household investors made last-minute transactions as Yuletide holidays arrive. Transactions skewed in favour of sell-off, meaning investors sold s hares in order to raise cash. At the end of the day, the market shed 20 basis points, conforming along the bearish path witnessed all through last week. Though, bullish investors dominated trade statistics in terms of transacted volume and value in this order; 48.2

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

per cent and 58.9 per cent respectively, market breadth shrunk. The market traded 116.089 million shares worth N1.262 billion across 2,006. The Financial Services sector retained its position as the lead with 73.937 million shares worth N724.693 million in 1,084 deals. The Conglomerates and Consumer Goods followed at a distance with 19.635 million shares worth N27.041 million in 88 deals and 10.615 million shares worth N314.814 million in 468 deals. Others with significant volume include Industrial Goods and Oil & Gas with 5.314 million shares and 3.507 million shares exchanged for N136.998 million and N49.157 million. According to market operators, the downturn was caused by losses recorded in some mid and highly capitalised stocks such as ETI, GT Bank, UBA, Oando, Skye Bank and Nestle.

In summary, NSE AllShare-Index shed 55.40 absolute points, representing 0.20 per cent depreciation, to close low at 27,346.66 points. Similarly, market weight indicated by market capitalisation shed N17 billion, representing 0.19 per cent decline, to close low at N8.738 trillion. It would be recalled that both indicators depreciated by 0.39 per cent in the previous session last Friday. Gained stocks were at disadvantage with only 14 upticks against 18 downticks (bearish stocks). Leading the 14 gainers list was Forte Oil with price increase of N0.38 to close at N8.13 followed by Nigerian Police Force Micro Finance Bank with N0.05 to close at N1.03. Also on the list of gainers were RT Briscoe, Japaul Oil, Transcorp, Zenith bank, Prestige Assurance, NEM and ETI with price gain of N0.05, N0.02, N0.03, N0.40, N0.02, N0.01, N0.01 and 0.18 respectively. Ikeja Hotels led the losers’ table with a drop of N0.04 to close at N0.76. This was followed by Livestock with price drop of N0.07 to close at N1.37. Others on the list were Fidson, John Holt, GTB, May & Baker, UBA, Fidelity Bank, Oando and AIICO.





Legality of SWF lingers despite March take-off date


HE legality of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) is still being challenged by different state governments even as the project takes off in March 2013, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited has said in its December Economic Review. FDC CEO, Bismarck Rewane said the SWF has a $1billion start-up capital. He said that Nigeria will also borrow in 2013 to support its infrastructural and

Stories by Collins Nweze

other capital projects. The SWF will start making investments in March after receiving board approval. Nigeria set up a wealth fund in May last year to invest savings made from the difference between budgeted oil prices and actual market prices. Africa’s most populous country of more than 160 million people relies on crude exports for more than 90 per

cent of foreign income and about 80 per cent of government revenue, making it vulnerable to swings in prices. He said the wealth fund will help meet budget shortfalls in the future, provide dedicated funding for development of infrastructure and keep some savings for the future generation, according to the law establishing it. He said the monetary policy stance of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been tight-

ening in spite of rising inflation while projecting that reserves would head to $47 billion in the first quarter of 2013. The Monetary Policy Rate, the benchmark rate by which the CBN determines interest rate, has remained at 12 per cent since October 2011 when it was increased from 9.25 representing 275 basis points raise. Beside, the CBN was advised to sustain its efforts at finding other innovative ways to unlock the credit market

Shareholders approve Wema Bank’s plan to raise capital S HAREHOLDERS of Wema Bank Plc, yesterday approved the bank’s plan to raise its capital base to N35 billion. The approval came during the bank’s annual general meeting (AGM) held in Lagos where the shareholders also ratified the appointment of four new non-executive directors who are Mr. Adeyinka Asekun, Mrs Tina Vukor’Quarshie, Mr. Samuel Durojaye and Chief Ayodele Awodeyi. They were all appointed to the board within the year. The bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Segun Oloketuyi, said the bank intends to expand its operations and grow organically into areas that present strong business opportunities. The bank also confirmed the appointment of Mr. Adeyinka Asekun, a seasoned professional in the financial services industry as its new chairman. Asekun

By Tonia Osundolire and Ajose Sehindemi

takes over from Samuel Bolarinde, who resigned from the board at the AGM. The CEO commended the board’s choice of Mr. Asekun and declared his management’s commitment to ensuring that there is synergy between the board and management for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Asekun, who sits on the board of several companies, said he is committed to providing necessary support to the management of the bank in steering it through the next phase of its transformation agenda. He praised the contributions of Bolarinde during his tenure as chairman which saw the bank grown into a formidable player in the banking sector.

On his part, Bolarinde said the ‘reform policies and development efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), impinged on the economy in various ways in 2011. He added that the successful purchase of the banking industry non-performing loans by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), led to significant decline in the aggregate number of non-performing assets in the industry which allowed industry players to reposition for stronger results’.


TRONG investor demand in the fixed-income space, especially for treasury bills (TBs) and bonds, continued this week and could strengthen naira exchange rate, FBN Capital, an investment and research firm, has said.

At the monthly auction of Federal Government of Nigeria bonds on a week ago, the total bid of N144 billion was the highest since August and comfortably exceeded the Debt Management Office’s sales target of N77 billion. Last week, the CBN raised

N138 billion from the sale of TBs. The total bid amounted to N299 billion, including N180 billion for the 364-bill alone. Also, a sizeable offshore bid at both auctions has supported the naira exchange rate. The inclusion of three FGN bonds in the JP Morgan government

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

Amount Offered ($) 350m 350m

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80


INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012





22.49 1.27 4.56 0.59 4.37 1.53 0.70 0.99 4.87 0.58


6.59 5.83 5.80 5.36 4.80 4.79 4.48 4.21 3.62 3.57

O/PRICE 16.50 3.65 1.86 1.45 3.94 0.84 3.79 1.70 0.56 2.06

C/PRICE 15.23 3.47 1.77 1.38 3.75 0.80 3.63 1.63 0.54 2.02

CHANGE -7.70 -4.93 -4.84 -4.83 -4.82 -4.76 -4.22 -4.12 -3.57 -1.94

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8

Date 2-7-12 27-6-12






Current Before

Current After

CUV Start %


147.6000 239.4810

149.7100 244.0123

150.7100 245.6422

-2.11 -2.57

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


















July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days


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

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

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


LOSERS AS AT 24-12-12


Amount Demanded ($) 150m 138m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate

index has attracted investors who may have been previously wary of the market. “The headline inflation story is also compelling. We can see a single-digit level as soon as January, and the CBN projects 7.2 per cent year to year for March 2013,” it said.

tions on food trade within the region. The report urges African leaders to improve trade so that food can move more freely among countries and from fertile areas to those communities where people are suffering food shortages. “The World Bank expects demand for food in Africa to double by the year 2020 as people increasingly leave the countryside and move to the continent’s cities,” it said. According to the new report, Africa Can Help Feed Africa: Removing barriers to regional trade in food staples rapid urbanisation will challenge the ability of farmers to ship their cereals and other foods to consumers when the nearest trade market is just across a national border. It said that countries south of the Sahara, could significantly boost their food trade over the next several years to manage the deadly impact of worsening drought, rising food prices, rapid population growth, and volatile weather patterns.





ORLD Bank report says the African continent would generate an extra $20 billion in yearly earnings if its leaders can agree to dismantle trade barriers that blunt more regional dynamism. The report was released on the eve of an African Union (AU) ministerial summit in Addis Ababa on agriculture and trade. In a statement, the bank says that Africa’s farmers can potentially grow enough food to feed the continent and avert future food crises if countries remove cross-border restric-



Current Market 5495.33 N552.20

Also, the volume of cheques rose to 3.76 million even as forex sales increased by 69.75 per cent to $2.75 billion due to rising demand as. He said however that Point of Sale (PoS) terminals are still affected by telecom downtime even as consumers are yet to fully get used to using the electronic payment channels.

World Bank sees agric earnings add $20b annually

‘Offshore TBs, bonds’ bids support naira’


Initial Quotation Price N8250.00 N1000.00

and stimulate the economy. Rewane said despite implementation of the cashless policy, 90 per cent of transactions are still cash-based. The cashless Lagos project has resulted is an increase in value of cheques by 12.16 per cent to N1. 61 trillion in May. He linked the rise to improving business activities in the state.

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 132.37 125.53 0.80 1.13 0.92 1,763.58 11.31 1.39 1.87 9,335.15 193.00 1.67

9.08 1.00 132.05 124.60 0.77 1.13 0.91 1,754.53 10.75 1.33 1.80 9,091.15 191.08 1.62




Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833




78TH KANO STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING The 78th sitting of the State Executive Council meeting was held on Wednesday 19th December, 2012 (6th SAFAR, 1434AH) under the Chairmanship of Gov. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, fnse. During the meeting deliberations on important issues, policies and programs aimed at impacting positively on the lives of its citizenry for the overall development of the State were held. At this sitting approval for an expenditure of the sum of N5, 644,093,969.94 was approved as presented below: 1. OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT (A) Request for Funds to commence the 3rd batch of Kwankwaso Women Empowerment Scheme: Since the inception of the present administration of the State in May 2011, Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso fnse has initiated various empowerment programs leading to the establishment of 21 institutes amongst which are the Hospitality Institute, Livestock Institute, Fisheries Institute, Informatics Institute, Security Institute, Entrepreneurship Institute and Poultry Institute. These institutions are training hundreds of women and youth skills for self-employment and sustenance. Citizens may also recall the Lafia Jari Empowerment Program where youth who completed their courses in health related institutions are being empowered through training and financial support to open drugs patent stores across the State to attend to rural and urban patients. More than 200 youth have undergone this program and now are not only self-employed but also employers of labor in addition to serving their communities. Through this, Government has curbed youth idleness by empowering them with skills and financial support to establish and run their small-scale businesses. One of the prominent empowerment programs being implemented by this administration is the Women Empowerment Program, which focuses attention on women across the 44 Local Government Council areas in the State. This program, which is being executed by the Community Re-orientation Committee (CRC) has witnessed the economic transformation of the women folk because at the end of every training program the beneficiaries from each of the 44 Local Governments were given the sum of N10,000.00 as a start-up capital on various trades they were trained on. In appreciation of this praiseworthy initiative, this memorandum informed the Council of the preparation on the ground for the commencement of the 3rd batch of the program, hence the request for the sum of N484, 000,000.00. Out of this sum, N440,000,000.00 will be expended on the 44,000 women selected from the 44 Local Government Areas in the State for the training as each participating woman will be provided with the sum of N10,000.00 as entrepreneur assistance. The balance of N44, 000,000.00 will be utilized for the purchase of training materials/equipment and facilitators honorarium. In view of the importance of the program to the Kwankwaso led administration and the teeming people in the State, Council approved the release of N484, 000,000.00 for the commencement of the program. (B) 2011 Annual Progress report in respect of Kano State Senior Secondary Schools Management Board: Council acknowledged the progress so far achieved and the challenges being faced by the Management of Kano State Senior Secondary Schools Management Board. According to the Annual Progress report, the Board during the year under review, in addition to its function of general supervision of Schools was able to process the payment of retirement/death benefits of retired staff, promotion and training of staff, generation of the sum of N103, 480,467.90 as Internally Generated Revenue and the returning of the sum of N12, 271,802.01 as unclaimed salaries to the State Treasury due to abscondment, resignation and retirement, among other things. The Board also had conducted scheduled and unscheduled monitoring and evaluation visits of 746 schools. The Board however, intimated the Council that over the years, challenges of inadequacy of well trained personnel in administration, and erratic power supply have been the stumbling block towards the achievement of its set objectives. This report is impressive having in mind that this Government had inherited a crisis ridden education sector that was fast approaching stagnation. Major problems facing the sector were shortage of teaching staff, overcrowding in classrooms and lack of instructional materials. Citizens are aware of this administration’s effort to resuscitate the sector by employing around 2000 qualified teachers for the primary and secondary schools and expending more than N4billion on the construction of classes, staff quarters and the supply of instructional materials. (C) Progress report on Bandirawo and Amana cities by Kano State Investment and Properties Limited: It could be recalled that since the inception of the present administration, the State Governor has started mapping out strategies on how to establish more cities with a view to decongesting the ever growing famous ancient city of Kano. The administration realized the need to establish modern satellite cities at the outskirts of the congested old city. Three major cities of Amana, Kwankwasiyya and Bandirawo are being constructed concurrently. In addition to these major cities another one is progressing at Jido, along Maiduguri road. These projects are giant strides, which may take years to be equaled in Nigeria. It was in recognition of this that the Governor was recently honored with the Housing Circuit Award as the Housing/Urban Development Governor of the Year 2012. Already contract has begun with the provision of 110 houses in Amana and 65 houses in Bandirawo concurrently, which will consume the sum of N2, 428,174,578.74. The content of this memorandum, therefore, briefed the Executive Council on the level of progress at the sites. Council noted and appreciated the report. (D) Report on the participation of Kano State Civil Servants at the Staff Skills Capacity Assessment Seminar in Katsina State: This memorandum intimated the Council on the proposal submitted by Sparc Consultant of the DFID requesting to undertake staff skills capacity assessment in the Project Monitoring Directorate (PMD) among the four focal MDAs as part of the on-going implementation of the corporate planning process. As indicated in the proposal the objective of the exercise is to sustain the provision of capacity building to relevant officers covering proficiency to conduct skills assessment using a relevant questionnaire. The conference was scheduled and held in Katsina from 13-15th November, 2012. To facilitate the attendance of the selected officers Council approved the release of the sum of N262, 000.00. MINISTRY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Request for the purchase of Computers and related Hardware/Software for the newly acquired mobile Van computer Laboratory: This Government is bent on creating an information society through the provision of ICT infrastructure and computer literacy. The pursuit of this knowledge could only be achieved when youth in our schools are trained by professionals the use and minor maintenance of the system. Citizens may recall that the 1st Phase of the training of the State workforce, youth and students ICT knowledge was conducted by the State Ministry of Science and Technology in March 2012 at 2 Schools selected from each Senatorial Zones. Plan for the implementation of the 2nd Phase of the training program has been completed, hence, the request for the release of the sum of N4, 182,500.00 to equip the newly acquired mobile computer van laboratory. This van when equipped will be utilized in the training of School students’ computer operations and minor repairs. In view of the success recorded in the 1st Phase of the program, Council approved the commencement of the 2nd Phase and the release of the amount requested for the procurement of complete set of computers/accessories to equip the additional vans for the smooth take-off of the program. MINISTRY FOR PLANNING AND BUDGET Request for the release of counterpart funds for the conduct of an activity in collaboration with UNICEF “D” field office Bauchi: This memorandum reminded the Council that the UNICEF had released the sum of N1, 370,945.00 to accomplish the Stakeholders Sensitization meeting and Workshop for the development of data collection tools and rapid assessment. In line with the agreed funding arrangement, the State is to sponsor the dissemination meeting in order to popularize the results of the findings that will enable the stakeholders to select the exact communities to intervene as well as relevant projects to be implemented for the betterment of the lives of the affected communities. A total of 65 participants derived from the employees of the Kano State Government, UNICEF and NGO’s would attend the workshop, hence the request of the sum of N967,400.00 as Government contribution for the conduct of the exercise. In consideration of the need for the Workshop by the State and its teeming populace, Council approved the release of the sum of N967, 400.00 for the exercise. MINISTRY OF HEALTH Request for funds for the construction of additional Patient Relations Shed at Maternity side of the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital: Citizens may recall the present administration’s efforts in the general renovation and the supply of equipment to Murtala Muhammad Hospital and other health centers across the State for effective healthcare delivery system. In fact, some days ago, the Governor, Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso had paid an inspection visit to the on-going rehabilitation and examines the medical equipment supplied at the Dental and Eye units at the famous Murtala Muhammad Hospital. During the visit, the Governor directed the construction of Patient Relations Shed to shelter the relatives of patients on admission. It was in view of that the Ministry of Health has through this memorandum proposed an estimated budget of N2, 363,947.26 for the project. Council approved the release of N2, 363,947.26 for the execution of the project. MINISTRY OF EDUCATION (A) Request for the release of funds for the conduct of year 2012-2013 Academic year Annual School Census: No development and progress will be possible without a meaningful educational system. This Government has since inception considered the provision of qualitative education to all its citizens as one of its cardinal responsibilities. However, sound policy formulation and implementation require reliable data. The Annual School Census is a program of data collection that gives a guide to the implementation of the National Policy on Education without which a number of information required in making cogent/informed decision will not be made. The program is being coordinated by an international Non-Governmental Organization, ESSPIN in collaboration with the State Ministry of Education in the provision of working materials for the realization of the exercise. To facilitate the smooth conduct of the program, Council approved the release of N5, 474,450.00 (B) Bilateral Agreement on Education between Niger Republic and Kano State: Recently the Kano State government hosted a maiden Economic Summit between the State and Niger Republic with a view to re-establishing the long existing relationship of the 2 entities especially in the areas of commerce and education among others. The economic summit and the earlier visit of Gov. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso to Niger Republic had solidified the relationship paving way for initiating a Bilateral Relationship between the State and the Republic of Niger on Education. The Bilateral agreements consist of the establishment of a standard Secondary School in Niamey as a joint venture project. Also according to this memorandum, the school when completed would accommodate 100 Junior Secondary School students from Kano State and Niger Republic. After completion of the Secondary School education the students would be given the opportunity to proceed to the Nigerien Universities to learn French Languages. The estimated cost of the project as per the State contribution stands at N153, 431,910.09. Sequel to the foregoing, Council approved the release of N153, 431, 910.09 as State contribution for the project. MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCE (A) Rehabilitation of No8 and No11 Raw Water Intakes for Challawa Water Treatment Plants: People may recall the destruction caused by flooding during the last raining season leading to loss of lives and properties. The heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding affected public utilities such as that of the Water Board. As a result of the flooding experienced in the Kano River the raw water intakes No.8, 11 and 12 serving Challawa Water Treatment Plant were completely destroyed, subsequently causing a reduction in treated water output by about 20% during the month of September and October 2012. In view of this, Council was informed that the State Water Board

utilized its internally generated revenue to resuscitate intakes 12B, while the repairs of intakes 12A and 11 require some costly civil works amounting to N37, 622,594.00. Council deliberated on the significance of resuscitating the failed intakes and approved the release of the same amount as requested for the project. (B) Request for the payment of Outstanding claims of Messrs. Paterson Candy International:Following the construction of the new Tamburawa Water Treatment Plant by the immediate past administration of the State to produce 150 million liters per day, the above named company was contracted to operate, train staff and supply laboratory equipment for 3 years at the cost of N159, 666,424.60.At the expiration of the 3years Contractual Agreement, Rabi’u Musa Kwankawaso the Company had in May 2011 handed over the plant to the Kano State Water Board. According to this memorandum, the company after handing over the plant had applied for the settlement of the agreed contract sum from the Government. Council deliberated and based on the submission of the State Water Board approved the release of N159, 666,424.64 to the company for the job executed. (C) An Appeal for compensation on 434 units of Ductile Iron Pipes to Messrs. Bengar Limited: This memorandum intimated the Council that in the year 1999, 434 ductile pipes were imported by the above mentioned company on behalf of the State Government through Water Resources Engineering and Construction Agency (WRECA), which was confirmed to be in the custody of the State Water Board and no payment was made for the pipes to the contracting company. To offset the payment of the said pipes, the Ministry of Water Resources had through this memorandum requested for the release of N9, 883,437.00.Subsequently, Council approved the release of the same amount as requested. MINISTRY OF WORKS, HOUSING AND TRANSPORT (A) Construction of Sports Complex at Former NAMA site Kofar Na’isa: Citizens are aware of the State Government efforts in supporting and resuscitating Sports facilities in the State leading to the impressive performance of the Kano Pillars Football Club at the National League. Part of the present administration’s electioneering campaign was to have a befitting Sports Complex for the Kano teeming youth with a view to upgrading sporting activities in the State. To achieve that, the Kofar Na’isa NAMA site had been identified as the most suitable site for the construction of the Sports Complex at the sum of N2, 761,959,814.26. This complex when completed will be the first of its kind to be funded and executed by State Government in the history of Sports in Nigeria. Council deliberated on the significance of such a project to Sports development in the State in particular and the nation in general and approved the award for the construction of the complex in the sum of N2, 761,959, 814.26. Request for Funds for perimeter wall fence of the Mosque and Islamiyya School at Ibrahim Kunya Estate Farawa Quarters along Maiduguri Road: The need to construct a perimeter wall fence of an Islamiyya School and a mosque at Ibrahim Kunya Estate Farawa Quarters along Maiduguri road for security and future possible encroachment of the land necessitated the raising of this memorandum. Council deliberated and approved the execution of the project at the sum of N4, 034,869.85. This approval explains Government’s commitment and support for Qur’anic and Islamiyya schools. The ultimate goal of this administration is the modernization of this type of education through improved learning method and the provision of conducive environment. MINISTRY OF FINANCE Request for the procurement of New National Plate Number from the Federal Road Safety Commission: Pursuant to a move by the Federal Government to phase out the current Plate Numbers of both Motor Vehicle and Motor Cycle nationwide and the introduction of new Plate Numbers which is expected to commence in July 2013, Kano State Board of Internal Revenue has requested the State Government to grant a loan to the Board in the sum of N200, 000.000.00 for the procurement of new National Number Plates for Motor Vehicles and Motor Cycles, which will be paid back within 18 months. The content of the memorandum revealed to the Council that the need for such amount of money became necessary, following an earlier discussion between the State Governor, Finance Commissioner and the Corp Marshall/ Chief Executive of the Federal Road Safety Commission where the later indicated much interest on Kano considering its high demands and population in the area of the procurement of the new Number Plates. It was in view of that the Council approved the sum of N50, 000.000.00 for the Board to continue with the purchase of the new Number Plates from the FRSC. MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES (A) A proposal for the distribution/Utilization of 1000 tons of Organic fertilizer procured and kept at the Storage of the State Agriculture Ministry: Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources suggested to the Council that considering the soil degradation being faced in the Irrigation areas and Sahelian parts of the State especially at this material time, the State Government should pay attention on the distribution and utilization of the 1000 tons of organic fertilizer it kept in the Ministry’s stores to the desired users. It proposed that the distribution exercise should be as follows: 70 tons to Kano Agricultural Rural Development Authority (KNARDA) (Adopter Research unit), 70 tons to Kadawa Irrigation Scheme (Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources & KNARDA), 20 tons to Bunkure Irrigation Scheme, and 30 tons to Tomas Irrigation. Other areas to benefit from the sharing are Jekarade Irrigation Scheme, 30 tons, Wala Irrigation Scheme 40 tons, Apex Fadama users’ Association, 450 tons and All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kano Chapter 230 tons respectively. While suggesting further that the product should be sold at a subsidized rate it highlighted that the venture will trigger the farmers to obtain more organic fertilizers since the one at the government’s possession will not be enough and that the irrigated lands controlled by the State Government can now be rented out to individual farmers. Council noted and approved the distribution /utilization of the fertilizer to the areas mentioned and also directed the sale of the product at N1600.00. MINISTRY OF LAND AND PHYSICAL PLANNING Reconstruction of Guda Abdullahi Road and Justice Dahiru Mustapha Road in the City Centre: The government has expended over N20 billion on the construction of roads within and outside the municipality. Of recent the sum of N1 billion was approved for the construction of the Airport road alone, in addition to the approval given for the completion of three inherited abandoned projects amongst which was the Kwanar Goda road. The roads in this memorandum; Guda Abdullahi and Justice Dahiru Mustapha roads have deteriorated and remained unattended for years despite their significance. These road projects when constructed according to the memorandum will facilitate wider efforts of the present administration of re-creating befitting physical infrastructural networks in the State metropolis as they are strategically situated between the city center, Zaria and Maiduguri roads. These roads will decongest the neighboring road networks and ease traffic on Zaria road, which is a major outlets from the City. In order to facilitate the execution of the project, Council approved the sum of N1, 939,468,407.95 for the construction of the two roads. MINISTRY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (A) Request for the allocation of three Hilux Vehicles to Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies: It was on record that the above institution has been granted an approval to commence National Certificate of Education (NCE) program, which necessitated the introduction of new courses that will pave ways for students to seek admission thereby reducing competitions in other institutions offering the same courses. Already, contract for the construction of the lecture halls in the sum of N150 million was awarded for the new intake students, while new teaching staff were employed. The introduction of this course necessitated the need for the procurement of vehicles for the day-to-day running of the faculty. Considering the significance of the vehicles to the College, Council approved the purchase of One Hilux at the cost of N6, 950,000.00. MINISTRY OF JUSTICE Report on Drugs Exclusive Market in Kano state: The area of Healthcare delivery has received attention since the inception of the administration as more than N400 million was expended in the renovation of health centers and institutions, provision of medical equipment and facilities. The government decision to stop the selling and dispensing of drugs in Abubakar Rimi Market at the end of December 2012 will be implemented unfailingly. The decision was based on the fact that the medicine sellers in the market are operating without license, thereby operating illegally contrary to Section 2 (1) of the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food Act CAP, C34 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The government in its wisdom had been trying to educate the Drug sellers on the illegality of their business especially in the market under unhealthy environment and without proper registration. However, Government is aware of the efforts of some misinformed individuals who were trying to politicize the issue. In relation to that, fake drugs worth over N500 million were confiscated and destroyed by the State Government. The decision of the Government in curtailing the distribution and dispensing of fake drugs will continue. Government will not fold its arms and allow self-serving businessmen to misuse Kano State free market economy with the sale of fake and illegal drugs. UPDATE ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE 78TH EXCO SITTING 1. CONDOLENCE MESSAGES Council wished to extend its condolence messages to the families of late Hon. Danladi Isa Kademi, State Assembly member representing Gaya Constituency at the State House of Assembly over his death as a result of gun- shot by unknown Gunmen. Similarly, Council wished to condole the families, Kaduna State citizens, and the entire nation over the death of the Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, Andrew O. Azazi, Pilot Murtala Muhammad Daba etc, as a result of plane crash in Bayelsa State. 2. GRADUATION OF TRAINED AGRICULTURAL STUDENTS Council noted with delight the graduation ceremony of 490 students from Leventis/Kano State Agricultural Foundation School Panda and another 132 Students, 1st set of Livestock Institute Bagauda. In the same vein, Council noted with appreciation the successful launching campaign of the 2013 Animal Vaccination program at Kiru Local Government last week. 3. POLIO ERADICATION CAMPAIGN Council noted with appreciation the successful flag off and completion of last week Polio Eradication exercise and equally extended its gratitude to Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Emirate Council and other major Stakeholders for their immense contributions towards the implementation of the program. More information about kano state government can be obtained Signed:Hon. Commissioner, Information, Internal Affairs, Youth, Sports & Culture





NEWS Yero nominates Bajoga as deputy From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

KADUNA State Governor Mukhtar Yero yesterday nominated Nuhu Bajoga, a former Nigerian Ambassador to Poland, as the deputy governor. Bajoga, 63, hails from Jaba Local Government. He is the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Information Commissioner Saidu Adamu said Bajoga’s name had been forwarded to the House of Assembly for approval. He said Yero had met with stakeholders in the state before agreeing on the nomination. Barring last minute hitches, Amb. Nuhu Bajoga will be sworn in as Kaduna State deputy governor before the New Year. Governor Mukthar Ramalan Yero yesterday sent Bajoga’s name to the House of Assembly for approval. He was selected by the governor to fill the vacant position of the deputy governor when Yero became governor following the death of Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa. The Nation had reported that Bajoga was among the contenders for the position and was about the most favoured candidate because of his acceptability in southern Kaduna. Bajoga’s first stint in politics was when he was to be the running mate to Hamisu Yusuf (Mairago) in the 2003 governorship election on the platform of the Peoples democratic Party (PDP). Mairago did not contest the election as he stepped down for former governor, now senator, Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi. Bajoga, 63, hails from Kwoi in Jaba Local Government. He has worked in the private and public sectors. He was elected the state Chairman of the PDP in 2011. Bajoga attended SIM Primary School, Kwoi; Baptist Primary School, Keffi, Nasarawa State, and SIM Secondary School, Kagoro. He obtained his West African School Certificate in 1968 and his Higher School Certificate (HSC) at St. Paul’s College, Zaria.

Taraba acting governor presents N73.4b budget From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

TARABA State Acting Governor Garba Umar yesterday presented N73.4billion budget proposal for the 2013 fiscal year to the House of Assembly. The appropriation comprises N38.8billion, or 52.18 per cent recurrent expenditure, and N34.6billion or 47.82 per cent capital expenditure. The recurrent expenditure comprises personnel cost, N17.5 billion; overhead cost, N9.4billion; and consolidated revenue fund charges, N11.9billion. A sectoral breakdown of the capital expenditure showed that the economic sector has N15.7billion; social services, N9.7billion; regional development, N2.5billion; and general administration, N6.7billion. From the estimates, transport has the biggest share of N12.1billion; education, N4.9billion; and general administration, N5.8billion. The budget is N436.5 million lower than the N73.8billion presented by Governor Danbaba Suntai for 2012.

Police kill four suspected criminals in Gombe T HE police in Gombe State have said they killed four suspected criminals on the DukkuGombe Road early yesterday. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that police spokesman Atajiri Fwaje, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), spoke in Gombe, the state capital, when he paraded the bodies of the suspected criminals to reporters. He said the suspected criminals were shot after their 30minute gun duel with the police. Fwaje explained that policemen were on patrol on the

Gombe-Dukku Road around 2.30am last Friday when they suspected a Honda Hansen brand with registration number AG 648 RSH. He said the police trailed the vehicle. According to him, the criminals were heading to Gombe town. The police spokesman said the criminals opened fire on the police near Gaddam village in Kwami Local Government.

He said after 30 minutes of exchange of fire between the police and the criminals, the police killed the four criminals. Fwaje said the police did not record any casualty. According to him, three AK 47 rifles, a locally-made pump action gun, 316 live ammunitions, 17 used cartridges and N59,000 were recovered from the criminals. He said: “This is a warning to people who think they can foment trouble. Gombe is a no-

go-area. The morale of our men is high and we will do everything to make Gombe peaceful.” Fwaje said policemen would be deployed in places of worship to ensure security of life and property during the Christmas and New Year. He added: “Places of worship will be protected; no vehicle will be allowed to be parked less than 200 metres from the places of worship.” The police spokesman urged parents to advise their children not to engage in crime during and after the festivities.

•Aliyu signing the Bill into law...yesterday. With him are Speaker Adamu Usman (middle) and Chief Judge, Justice Jibrin Ndajiwo.

Aliyu to govt officials: you’re under watch


IGER State Governor Babangida Aliyu yesterday warned civil servants, political office holder to be careful in their official dealings because the state was under surveillance. The governor spoke in Minna, the state capital, after signing into law the 2013 Appropriation Act passed by the House of Assembly. But he did not explain why the state was being watched by an unnamed anti-graft agency.

•Governor signs 2013 Appropriation Bill From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

Aliyu warned that everything government officers was being monitored. He said: “Everyone, I mean, all political appointees and elected officers, must be very cautious and careful. Some of us are under surveillance. Anyone from Niger State may be given more surveillance than people from other states.” Besides being monitored by

the anti-graft agencies, the governor said government officials were also under security agencies’ telescope. Aliyu said: “This is not only a declaration but also a warning. Be careful in what you do in your offices, because when a petition is written against you, anti-graft and security agencies will surely invite you.” The governor signed the N84,098,860,326 budget, instead of

the proposed N83,798,860,360 estimate, which was presented to the House of Assembly on December 4. The budget was increased by N300million. Of the over N84billion proposal, N46billion would be committed to recurrent estimates while N37billion would be spent on capital projects. Aliyu said the record time the budget was passed was an indication that the relationship between arms of government was cordial.

Five injured as gunman shoots at Bauchi residents


HE Bauchi State Police Command yesterday said a gunman shot several residents at Bigi Village, near Bauchi. Police spokesman Abbas Abdullahi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed the incident yesterday. He said the victims have been taken to the University Teaching Hospital in Bauchi for treatment. The police spokesman said not all those who were shot had died. Abdullahi explained that some of the victims were re-


ceiving treatment at the teaching hospital. He said the police had not confirmed the number of casualties. The police spokesman, however, assured that the figure would be announced. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the police have cordoned off the area to prevent a breakdown of law and order. Also, the police and army formations in Bauchi metropolis have been barricaded. NAN learnt that vehicular and human traffic has been re-

He said: “After he finished eating, he used his gun and shot three people. Some good Samaritans at the joint attempted to overpower him and arrest him, but he used his gun and hit two people who also sustained injuries before he fled.” The source further revealed that all the five injured people have been taken to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital for medical treatment and security has beefed up in the area to prevent further attack or break down of law and order.

Day-old baby dumped near stream in Jos

DAY-OLD baby boy was found yesterday near a stream at Race Course, Jos, the Plateau State capital. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the baby was found at 6am opposite the main campus of the University of Jos (UNIJOS) by a mechanic, Malam Abubakar Garba. Garba told NAN that he wanted to cross the stream, on his way to a naming ceremony,

when he heard the cry of the baby by the bank of the stream. He said: “When I heard the cry of a baby at that odd hour, I got scared. But I mustered the courage to peep into the bank where I saw the baby in a basket. “The baby was dressed in a sweater while a towel was wrapped around him.” The mechanic said he called some neighbours, who took the baby to Sharna Police Station

near UNIJOS. Garba added: “The police directed us to take the baby to a nearby hospital where a medical check-up confirmed that the baby was healthy.” He explained that the baby had been taken to the ward head of Angwan-Rogo, Alhaji Mohammed Sani, for necessary care. Police Commissioner Chris Olakpe could not be reached for comments.

But a senior police officer attached to Angwan-Rogo Police Station, who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, confirmed the discovery of the baby. The officer said Garba had indicated interest to adopt the baby before it was resolved that he should be taken to the ward head’s house. He said the police were investigating the whereabouts of the baby’s mother to prosecute her for cruelty.

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


ANO State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso yesterday presented N235,304,929,000 as the 2013 Appropriation Bill to the House of Assembly. The budget, tagged: Budget of Economic Consolidation and Fiscal Discipline, comprises a capital expenditure of N175,510,102,000, representing 75 per cent, and a recurrent expenditure of N59,794,827,000, representing 25 per cent. The governor explained that the recurrent expenditure proposal consists of N2.2billion for consolidated revenue fund charges; CRC, N35.839billion for personnel costs. According to him, N21.706billion would be funded from an expected surplus over recurrent receipt of N89.071billion and an expected capital receipt of N67.139billion. Kwankwaso said the budget is higher than the outing year’s amended estimates, representing N13,685,597,405, or six per cent increase. He said his administration was moving into 2013 with a healthy opening balance of about N20billion. The breakdown of the budget indicates that infrastructure got the lion’s share of N62.4 billion, while Works and Housing was allocated N41.8 billion. Projects to be executed under these sectors include massive urban road construction and dualisation, construction of two flyovers, take-off of Independent Power Plants (IPP) project at Tiga and Challawa dams as well as the competition of inherited projects. Education got N24.17billion, from which N16billion was set aside for Basic and Secondary Education and N8.1billion for Higher Education. Agriculture got N9.68billion. The governor said his administration would make mass food production the cornerstone of its intervention in the real sector.

No casualties in Kano explosions, says JTF


BOMB exploded near a drinking parlour in Badawa Quarters of Kano State on Sunday. An eyewitness told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano that the explosive was planted near the local drinking parlour. The JTF spokesman, Capt. Ikedichi Iweha, confirmed the incident. He, however, said nobody was injured. Capt Iweha said the explosion occurred at 7.20pm. According to him, the bomb was in a small can of Improvised Explosive Device (IED), which was reportedly planted near the local drinking parlour. “It was a small IED that was planted at the local drinking parlour and it did not kill or injure anybody,” he said.

‘Bafarawa’s petition intended to mislead Senate committee’



duced while a section of the road to the office of the police commissioner has also been condoned off. Access to Army Barracks has since been restricted to forestall attack. Five people sustained injuries at a drinking joint when an unknown gunman Monday opened fire in Bigi village a suburb of Bauchi metropolis in Bauchi local Government area. NAN gathered that the gunman entered the joint where people were eating and drinking and joined them.

Kwankwaso presents N235.3b budget

HE Sokoto State Government has said former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa’s petition to the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption on his alleged harassment was intended to politicise a legal matter. The government alleged that the petition was also

From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

aimed at giving the former governor cheap public sympathy and mislead the committee. It said: “Ordinarily, we would not have responded to or joined issues with the former governor as the matter is still in court. But seeing the manner Bafarawa leaked

his petition to the press, we were compelled to respond.” The government noted that it was not in the practice of the National Assembly to delve into or entertain issues that are subjects of litigation before a court, to avoid such matters becoming sub judice. It urged the Senate to hands off the matter. In a December 17 letter to

the Senate committee, in reaction to Bafarawa’s petition, prosecuting counsel Chief Jacob Ochidi said the former governor had written an open letter, asking the EFCC to probe his activities between 1999 to 2007. The lawyer said the request prompted the agency to investigate the former governor.



NEWS Enugu residents celebrate Xmas in filth


ESIDENTS of Enugu are living with the nightmare of celebrating the Christmas in a filthy environment as mountains of refuse have taken over the coal city. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no part of the city is without filth. Spills from dumpsites in parts of the city have encroached on roads, reducing them to single lanes. The refuse heap at Liberty Junction in Abakpa Nike covered the road as of yesterday morning. Disused fridges and other heavy items littered the place. Some of the residents expressed disgust about the situation. They described it as an eyesore. Mr Nonso Igwesi, a resident of Trans-Ekulu, wondered how the people could celebrate in the midst of filth. He urged the government to clear the refuse. A resident of Uwani, Dr Stan Madu, said the people had set the heaps of refuse on fire. He said the smoke from the fire was offensive to the residents. Acting Governor Sunday Onyebuchi acknowledged the situation. He said the state’s waste and environmental management was inadequate. Onyebuchi said the state had acquired three mechanised sweepers, 1,040 dumpsters and 10 compactors, which will become operational before the end of the year. The government had sacked the Managing Director of the State Waste Management Agency (ESWAMA), Mrs Chinyere Ogakwu, and appointed Mr Dominic Okonkwo to replace her.

Jonathan commiserates Ekweremadu From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has commiserated with the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu on the death of his older brother, Prince Chukwuemeka Ekweremadu. The President, in a statement by his media aide, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the news of the death was “very shocking, sad and regrettable”. He noted that the late Prince Ekweremadu had “many years ahead of him to accomplish more goals in life”. The President said it must have been a traumatic experience for the Deputy Senate President to lose a loving and worthy brother. He urged the senator and the Ekweremadu family to take consolation in the fact that the deceased made an indelible mark in his services to Enugu State and his community. The President prayed God to grant the bereaved family the fortitude to bear the loss and the soul of the deceased eternal repose.

•A cross section of State of Osun indigenes rushing to board free train service organised by the State Government of Osun from Lagos to Osogbo for Christmas/New Year holidays.

Five teenagers die in Anambra community river


IVE teenage members of a family in Umueze-Anam, Anambra West Local Government area, yesterday died in a river in the community. The deceased were four boys and a girl. They reportedly drowned in Omambala River where they had gone to swim. The teenagers were said to have just returned from Lagos to spend the Christmas holiday with their family. Umueze-Anam is the home town of former Minister of State for Transport, Prince John Emeka.

•Council chief condoles with family

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

The Nation learnt that the deceased were from a family of six. All six reportedly went for a swim. The sixth member reportedly shouted for help when the river reportedly carried away the others. The villagers were said to have rushed to the scene but the teenagers had drowned. then. It was learnt that the local government chairman, Chief Alex

Chukwurah, has visited the bereaved family. Three of the deceased were said to be the children of a man, simply identified as Chief Okonkwo; one was said to be the child of his sister's, (Nwadiana's) child. The fifth child, who reportedly hailed from Delta State, was said to be on holiday with the Okonkwos. The survivor reportedly did not jump into the river with the others. Chukwurah confirmed the inci-

SURE-P: Fed Govt orders employment of 3,000 youths, women in Enugu


HE Federal Government has ordered that 3,000 youths, women and vulnerable persons in Enugu State be employed, under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). Participants will be engaged under a scheme called Community Services, Women and Youth Employment (CSWYE) and paid a monthly stipend of N10,000 each. The CSWYE employees or participants will work in projects such as rehabilitation of hospitals and primary health centres, rehabilitation of schools and repairs of educational infrastructure, construction of water supply projects, sanitation, brick moulding and various repairs of critical community projects. The Coordinator of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in Enugu State, Nnamdi Asomugha, spoke on the programme in Enugu. Asomugha doubles as the Head of the State’s Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) as well as the ViceChairman of the State Implementation Committee (SIC) of the SUREP’s CSWYE. He said the Federal Ministry of Finance, which is implementing the programme, had directed the beginning of the CSWYE in Enugu State. He said the scheme is the fulfilment of President Goodluck Jonathan’s promise to reinvest the savings from the partial withdrawal

From Chris Oji, Enugu

of the subsidy on petroleum products in critical social safety net programmes. These include maternal and child health services, urban mass transportation and vocational development. The state Coordinator explained that the objectives of the CSWYE are: to create employment and empowerment opportunities for semiskilled and unskilled labour force, reduce the vulnerability of women and the youth through exposure to income support, enhance societal access to quality social and economic infrastructure and services. About 110,000 jobs are expected to be created under the CSWYE in the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. He also disclosed that 37,000 jobs will be created for graduates and holders

of equivalent or higher degrees under the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) at the rate of 1000 jobs per state in the first quarter of 2013. Asomugha said the State Implementation Committee (SIC) under the Chairmanship of Uche Agu has finalised the modalities for the sensitisation, mobilisation and recruitment of the 3000 participants into the programme. The coordinator said that the SIC shall hold meetings once every month to ensure the successful execution of the programme in the 17 Local Government of Areas of Enugu state. He said that to ensure fairness and address specific target objectives, the 3000 participants shall be drawn from all the wards in the Council areas of Enugu State while 30 per cent of the participants must be women and vulnerable persons shall constitute 20 per cent of the total for the purpose of equity.

dent. The council chief said he has visited the Okonkwos, adding that they live near his office. He said: "I have gone to condole with the family. That happened because they were not living in the village. There is no way such could happen, if they were villagers or regulars. But because they didn't know how to swim, they drowned immediately they jumped into the river. The only survivor refused to jump into the river with them. God knows the best…"

Funeral for lawyer


LAWYER, Mr. Taiwo Koffie Sagoe, is dead. He was 85. He passed on in his home in Yaba, Lagos, on December 19. The late Sagoe, popularly called The Perfect Gentleman, was born in Lagos on June 24, 1927 to Mr. Samuel Quesi Sagoe and Sally (nee Aboyade-Cole). He is survived by a wife, his children, including Ekua and Wale Abudu, Kofi and Toyin Sagoe, Araba and Tunde Morakinyo and eight grand-children. A funeral service will be held at the Cathedral Church of Christ, The Marina, Lagos, on December 27. Interment will follow at Ikoyi cemetery.

Three die in Abuja-Lokoja road From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja


ITH the busy traffic of travelers going for Christmas celebration across the country, three persons were confirmed dead in an accident at Awawa village, near Abaji in the (FCT)Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It was learnt that seven other persons were injured in the accident. Members of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), who came to the rescue of the victims, were said to have recovered N65,000 from the scene of the accident.

•The late Sagoe




•The choir performing at the Deeper Life National December Retreat in Suleja, Niger the weekend

•Bishop of Ekiti Anglican Diocese, Rev. Christopher Omotunde (middle) raising the hand of Venerable Segun Agbetuyi during his (Agbetuyi) collation as Archdeacon at the Cathedral Church of Emmanuel, Ado-Ekiti. With them is Agbetuyi wife. •Abia State Governor Theodore Orji (second left); his deputy, Sir Emeka Ananaba (left) –– their wives –– Mrs. Mercy Orji (second right), Lady Nene Ananaba (right) and the couple: Mr/ Mrs Orchiaga Ananaba at their wedding at the weekend.

•From left: A businessman, Prince Arthur Eze; traditional ruler of Nibo Community, Ezeike IV of Nibo, Igwe Ugonwanne Ngene; traditional ruler of Ukpo Community, Igwe Robert Eze and Group President, Azikiel dredging Nigeria Ltd, Dr. Aruani Godbless at the 21st Ofala Festival of the traditional ruler of Ukpo Community in Anambra...on Sunday. •From left: Chief Executive Officer, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, (BASL), Operators of Murtala Muhammed Airport-2, Mr. Christophe Pennink; Managing Director, Greater Washington Logistics, Mr. Owolabi Awosa; Chief Operating Officer, (BASL), Mr. Adebisi Awoniyi and Chief Financial Officer, (BASL), Mr. Olusola Awoniyi at a Christmas Carol organised by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited and Greater Washington Logistic at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two... at the weekend.

•Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo (left) recieving a memo from the representative of the People of Malleri Ward, Alhaji Yaya Baka in Gombe

•Nigeria Christian pilgrims at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem... on Sunday



FOREIGN NEWS UN envoy meets Assad


NTERNATIONAL peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has held talks with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, in a fresh bid to end the conflict. Brahimi said they discussed “many steps to be taken in the future”, but he did not elaborate. On Sunday, opposition activists said dozens of people had been killed in a government air strike in the rebelheld town of Halfaya in Hama province. Syrian state media blamed a “terrorist group” for the attack. Brahimi drove into Syria from Beirut on Sunday, after fighting closed Damascus airport. “I had the honour to meet the president and as usual we exchanged views on the many steps to be taken in the future,” he said after meeting President Bashar al-Assad yesterday. President Assad expressed support for “any effort in the interest of the Syrian people which preserves the homeland’s sovereignty and independence”, the state-run Sana news agency reports. It is the third visit to Damascus by Brahimi since he was appointed joint UNArab League envoy to Syria in August. However, he has made little progress on a peace process so far and it is unclear what new ideas he may be bringing. Rebels have been fighting Assad’s government for 21 months. Opposition groups say more than 44,000 people have been killed.

Indian PM appeals for calm


NDIAN PM Manmohan Singh has appealed for calm in the capital, Delhi, following violent protests over the gang rape of a woman. Singh said his government would “make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety to all women”. More than 100 people were hurt in clashes at the weekend - police say at least 60 officers were injured. The rape, which happened on a bus in Delhi and left the woman in a critical condition, has caused outrage in India. The government has tried to halt the rising anger by announcing a series of measures intended to make Delhi safer for women. These include more police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants and the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains. But the protesters say the government’s pledge to seek life sentences for the attackers is not enough - many are calling for the death penalty. Six people, including the bus driver, have already been arrested in connection with the incident. In a short televised address to the nation yesterday, Singh said: “I appeal to all concerned citizens to maintain peace and calm. I assure you we will make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety of women in this country.”

Egypt’s referendum result delayed


HE result of a controversial referendum on Egypt’s new constitution has been delayed as officials check allegations of fraud. Early unofficial results have suggested more than 60% of voters said “yes” to the document, which is endorsed by President Mohammed Morsi. But officials are still investigating opposition allegations of fraud and the result will now come on Tuesday. There has been violent unrest in the past few weeks over the constitution. If the document passes, elections must take place

within two months and the deep polarisation in the country is likely to continue, the BBC’s Bethany Bell in Cairo reports. In the meantime, legislative powers will pass to parliament’s upper chamber, the Islamist-controlled Shura Council. State media reports of the results following Saturday’s second and final round of the referendum suggested that some 63% of voters had backed the charter. Turnout was low, estimated at 30%. A member of the supreme election commission said on Monday appeals and allegations of irregularities in the

voting process were still being investigated. He said the results would be announced on Tuesday. Earlier, another member of the commission, Mohamed el-Tanobly, told Agence France-Presse it wanted the referendum to “really reflect the will of the Egyptian people”. The opposition National Salvation Front said on Sunday the vote had been marred by “fraud and violations”. It said these included polling stations opening late, Islamists seeking to influence voters and a lack of judges to supervise.

Spokesman Amr Hamzawy told a news conference the National Salvation Front had urged the commission to investigate the irregularities but he also appeared to anticipate a “yes” vote. He said: “We do not consider this constitution legitimate. We will continue to attempt to bring down the constitution peacefully and democratically.” The opposition says the draft constitution fails to protect the freedoms and human rights that were sought in the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s rule last year.

Newsweek unveils last print copy


HE 80-year-old US current affairs magazine Newsweek has revealed the image that will grace the cover of its lastever print edition. A black and white photo of the publication’s Manhattan headquarters takes pride of place, with the strapline #lastprintissue. The nod to Twitter is regarded as a backhanded compliment. The death of the print edition was caused by falling advertising revenues, as audiences moved online. From the new year, Newsweek will be a digital-only publication. Editor Tina Brown described it as “a new chapter” for the magazine. In a defiant editor’s letter, she wrote: “This is not a conventional magazine, or a hidebound place. “It is in that spirit that we’re making our latest, momentous change, embracing a digital medium that all our competitors will one day

need to embrace with the same fervor. Ms Brown became editor of the publication two years ago, after it merged with The Daily Beast, a news website she co-founded in 2008. Newsweek’s first edition was published on 17 February, 1933. It made an immediate splash with its front cover, featuring seven photos - one news story for each day of the week. Although it always took second place to its rival, Time, it gained prominence in the 1960s for its coverage of the civil rights movement. At its height, it had a circulation of 3 million, but declining readership and advertising revenue saw it fall into losses. It was sold by the Washington Post Company to businessman and publisher Sidney Harman in 2010, and was merged with the Daily Beast three months later. Ms Brown is a former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.


engine company and some firefighters in their personal vehicles, they underwent gunfire from a location unknown,” Webster’s Fire Marshal Rob Boutillier told reporters. The two dead firefighters were named by police as Tomasz Kaczowka and Mike Chiapperini. An off-duty policeman who was driving by the scene at the time received shrapnel wounds and was also being treated, Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering told reporters. Police spokesmen said the area was “an active crime

•The last copy

She unveiled Newsweek’s final front cover via Twitter, saying: “Bitter sweet! Wish us luck!”

scene” but that no more shooters were believed to be present. Police teams moved in to evacuate residents after the shooting. Firefighters were then able to return to the scene and are now tackling the blaze. “All of our thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of those who were killed in this senseless act of violence,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “The contributions made by the fallen and injured officers in Webster will never be forgotten,” New York At-

Mandela to spend Christmas in hospital


OUTH Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela will spend Christmas in hospital, a government statement has said. Mandela, 94, was admitted to hospital two weeks ago and has been treated for a lung infection and gallstones. There is growing concern in South Africa about his health. Mandela was jailed for 27 years for leading the struggle against white-minority rule. He is regarded by most South Africans as the father of the nation, having inspired them to fight for democracy. “Former President Nelson Mandela will

MORE than 31,000 Americans have signed a petition calling for British TV host Piers Morgan to be deported. They are angry about his advocacy of gun control, in the wake of the 14 December shootings in Connecticut. The petition followed an interview with Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, on CNN - in which Morgan called his guest “a dangerous man”. Petitions posted on the White House website only require 25,000 signatures to get a response from the government. The campaign was started by a journalist in Texas following Morgan’s CNN programme of 19 December. The petition says the talk show host “is engaged in a hostile attack against the US Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment”, which protects an individual’s right to own guns. “We demand that Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”

Police warn vehicle owners

One reader commented that the hashtag headline was “like using your final breath to ID the killer”.

Two firefighters shot in New York WO volunteer firefighters have been shot dead and two injured while responding to an emergency call in the town of Webster in New York state. It appears the four were fired upon as they arrived at the scene of a fire early yesterday morning. The blaze broke out just before 06:00 local time (11:00 GMT) and the shooting reportedly prevented firefighters putting it out for several hours. A gunman has been found dead at the scene, local police say. “Upon arrival of the first...

Piers Morgan ‘under fire’

spend Christmas Day in hospital, his doctors have confirmed,” a government statement said. The BBC’s Karen Allen in Johannesburg reports that with every passing day there is growing public anxiety about Mandela’s health. There was hope that he would be allowed to spend Christmas at home, but his doctors are still not comfortable about discharging him, she says. Although President Jacob Zuma has described Mandela’s condition as “serious”, he has tempered this by saying that he has been “responding” to treatment, our correspondent adds.

torney General Eric Schneiderman said. “As this investigation unfolds, we stand with our partners in law enforcement to ensure that lethal weapons are out of the hands of dangerous people, so that the brave New Yorkers who risk their lives every day to protect us are not exposed to additional danger,” he added. Also yesterday, a policeman was shot dead in the city of Houston, Texas after the driver of a car he pulled over opened fire on him. The debate on gun violence in the US was rekindled earlier this month by the shootings at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was one of the worst mass shootings in American history.

THE Lagos State Police Command has warned owners of accident and abandoned vehicles parked at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja to come and remove them within 21 days or risk losing them to members of the public through auction. The vehicles are: Honda CRV SUV BV 291 KWL,Honda CRV SUV BL 613 FST,Nissan Maxima S/ Car BS 762 BDG,Mazda 626 S/Car KSF 569 HA,Honda Accord S/Car NV 397 KJA,Toyota Camry S/ Car(scrap) Unregistered,Toyota Camry S/Car JJJ 482 AA,Nissan Quest Bus CX 807 JJJ,Rover S/Car AM 830 AGG,Toyota Corolla S/Car CG 396 ABC,Audi A6 S/Car Unregistered,Toyota Camry S/Car MUS 02 AT. Others are; Toyota Sienna Bus unregistered,Nissan Sunny S/Car EL 206 AAA;Toyota Camry S/Car DD 83 APP;Nissan Infinity S/ Car GGE 808 AA;Honda Pilot SUV FD 459 KRD;Toyota Camry S/Car JH 496 ABC;Toyota Camry S/Car KSF 525 AZ; Honda Accord S/Car SMK 392 AJ;Honda CRV SUV BT 708 FST;Toyota High Lander SUV KJA 402 AW and Honda Accord S/Car BV 749 MUS.

PUBLIC NOTICE HARGROVE: I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Hargrove Imani Joy, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Jacob Akeodi Imani Joy. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


1991: Gorbachev resigns as Soviet Union breaks up Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union for almost seven years, steps down from office



SPORT EXTRA Besiktas want Taiwo on loan

Eagles’ list: I chose only T committed players—Keshi S

UPER EAGLES Head Coach, Stephen Keshi has revealed to NatioSport that commitment to national duties was one of the major criterions that guided his selection of players for the final camping stage for the Africa Nations Cup holding in South Africa. The Head Coach has been under criticism for dropping Osaze Odemwingie, Taiye Taiwo and Obafemi Martins from the list of 34 players released for the final camping in Faro, Portugal. But in an exclusive chat on Monday, the Big Boss said: “I am here in the team. I call the shots, no other person has the final say of the players to invite or not. The players I chose for camping in Faro, Portugal, are players who are ready to give over 100%

From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja while wearing the national team jersey. That is the quality of players that we want, and the list of players released contained just that. “No single player is bigger than Nigeria; no player can dictate to us when to come to camp. I want to be totally in charge of the dressing room and that all. Nigeria is bigger that any single player, and I still maintain that Nigeria made everyone of us what we are today, and we should be ready to defend her at every point in time. It is the country that gave us the platform to become what we are today, and we should respect her at every point. “I want to tell you, that if any player is waiting for the

country to beg him before he would come to play for her, I want to tell you that that era is gone and gone forever. We are blessed with an

Eguavoen: Okonkwo has no business in Eagles


HARKS coach Austin Eguavoen has said Chibuzor Okonkwo should not be part of the Eagles after the player absconded with his club’s cash. Former Eagles coach Eguavoen in an exclusive interview with said Okonkwo is a “bad example” for a national team player. The former Eagles captain, who joined Sharks this season, has alleged that the bulky

Nigeria dismiss Newcastle’s Ameobi claim


NIGERIA has debunked a claim by Newcastle that Shola Ameobi will skip next month’s AFCON and that coach Stephen Keshi is aware of this. "We are not aware of such a thing about Shola (Ameobi); he is a FIFAlisted player for us. The federation is not aware, the head coach is not aware of this and that was why Shola was called up for the

competition,” spokesman for the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ademola Olajire, told “We will do all within us to see that Shola or any player picked by the coach for the Nations Cup is released to us." Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said Shola Ameobi will not be going to the Nations Cup with Nigeria, according to BBC

abundance of talents, at every point in time, we will surely achieve maximally if we harness the potential properly,” he concluded.

sports. The Kogi State indigene is on the 32-man provisional squad released by Eagles coach Stephen Keshi last week. Pardew said: "Shola won't be going. The national team manager knows the reasons, which I am keeping to myself." Ameobi made an encouraging debut in a 3-1 friendly win over Venezuela last month, setting up the third goal in Miami.

right-back collected money from Sharks on the pretext that he will play for the Port Harcourt club in the coming season and then absconded. "Chibuzor has no business being in the national team. He is a bad example for a national team player. Can you imagine that Chibuzor came to Sharks, collected our money, signed and absconded?" a furious Eguavoen said. "That is not an attitude a national team player should exhibit. “I have been calling him and he is not picking my call. Sharks no longer need him, so it is best he returns the club’s money.” Eguavoen added: "I have been trying to reach Keshi and let him know because personally I don't think a player with such character deserves to wear the national colours." Okonkwo, who last season played for Heartland, has been handed a last-ditch chance to be at next month’s Nations Cup. He has impressed in training in Abuja and will now join the rest of the squad in Portugal.

AYE TAIWO could be a defensive reinforcement of Besiktas in the winter transfer market, reports Fotomac. Ukrainian vice - champions Dynamo Kiev signed the Nigeria international from AC Milan this past summer on a semi - annual lease, the Turkish website said.

In the proposed deal, Taiwo will join Besiktas on loan in January and the Istanbul club will pay his five months wages totaling 750, 000 euros. According to, Dynamo Kiev are understood to be in talks to acquire two wing backs Yenhen Selin (Vorskla) and Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg)

NTF tasked on sustainable programmes for talents


AIDU MUSA, a Chief Umpire with the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), on Monday urged the federation to develop sustainable programmes for the 20 players discovered at the justconcluded 18th National Sports Festival. Musa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the male and female players identified at the sports festival could form the vanguard of a new generation of tennis players in the country. ``The young players, with good height advantage, who are neither in league or professional teams, displayed a high standard of skills at the festival. ``There is no doubt that if properly followed up, they can revive the country’s flagging fortunes in international tennis,’’ he said. Musa, who is also a member of the NTF technical committee, also urged coaches to regularly

acquaint themselves with current trends in the game. ``If we must move forward at all, coaches must update their knowledge regularly because a lot of technical rules keep changing. ``Let them watch cassettes of international championships, read and study the do's and don’ts of tennis because the more they do it, the better their future. ``Everything is not training; coaches need experience too and nobody buys experience, it is acquired,’’ he said. Musa also urged the newly-discovered talents not to relent in training and watching international tennis games. He added that they must be disciplined and have control over whatever they drink and eat. NAN reports that the federation discovered about 10 male and 10 female players with high potentials at the biennial tournament which was concluded on Dec. 9 in Lagos.



NEWS Jonathan, Mark, Tambuwal to Nigerians: be hopeful Continued from page 2

peace, stability and progress of our beloved nation “My Administration continues to do its best to give our beloved country effective leadership towards rapidly overcoming present challenges.” The president also felicitated with Nigerians, who joined the rest of the world in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. He also urged Christians to learn from the lessons of Jesus Christ’s mission on earth. The president said he expected that the lesson would have great significance on the people; adding that “there can be no doubt that we all, irrespective of our religious beliefs, can draw immense strength and inspiration from the Messiah’s enduring personification of selflessness, dedication to duty, and commitment to the well-being of others. “The virtues and ideals of peace, tolerance, faithfulness, honesty, justice, fairness, true wisdom, knowledge and understanding which He taught and exemplified also remain very relevant to us in Nigeria as we continue to grapple with the challenges of development and nation-building.” Senate President David Mark yesterday congratulated Christians across the country for witnessing another Christmas. Mark, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, urged Nigerians to continue to live in peace, love and harmony. He enjoined Christians to imbibe the teachings of Jesus Christ, which emphasise peace, generosity, kindness and love. Senator Mark said: “Christ-

mas is a season to give and expect little in return. “It’s a time to preach peace and exemplify it in line with the coming of Christ. “For us as a people, this is the time to forgive, be more united and forge ahead in our onerous task of building a strong and vibrant nation, which will be a pride of all Africans.” He urged Nigerians to live in peace and harmony and emulate the virtues “and exemplary life bequeathed to us by Jesus Christ.” He said: “Our democracy is waxing stronger as we stride in years.” Mark assured that the National Assembly would work in the best interest of every Nigerian in making laws for the good governance of the nation. In a message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said with renewed faith, commitment and hardwork, the country will soon realise its full potentials. He said Christmas is a time for deep reflection to the teachings of Christianity and what Jesus Christ stands for, and urged Nigerians, especially Christians, to pray for the peaceful coexistence and unity of the nation. Tambuwal urged leaders at all levels of governance to make the interest of the people their priority at all times, adding that despite the challenges of development confronting the country, progress is being made in some critical sectors. He said the House of Representatives would continue to play its role in efforts to provide quality representation to the people of Nigeria.

“I therefore congratulate Nigerian Christians, who joined their colleagues the world over in celebrating this important occasion. May the blessing of the season shower on our homes and our nation,” the Speaker said. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called for love and peaceful co-existence while urging Christians to pray for the progress of the nation. In a goodwill message by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the party also enjoined its members in various positions of authority to emulate the humble life of Christ. The statement reads: “ It is our fervent prayer that Christians, indeed, all Nigerians learn from the abundant and perfect examples of Christ in love, kindness and peaceful co-existence. “It is our wish that beyond the jingle bells and festivities, moments of sober reflection be spared to illuminate and re-kindle national fervour against corruption, religious intolerance, ethnic suspicion and other ills that have kept the nation down for decades. “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is irrevocably committed to this cause as we make steady progress in actualising our vision for a country where things work better than they do at present. “The lesson, Christ, though the Messiah, was born humble and humbly served and saved mankind should guide and further fire our zeal to place the people first. “We shall commit more efforts in ensuring that all our members, elected and appointed into positions of authority, shall like Christ, be servants and not masters”.

Massive Xmas Day security nationwide

•Abubakar Continued from page 2

ed according to the Law of the land. “Patrol and raiding of criminal hideouts are being intensified, with the aim of checking the activities of criminal activities in the state. We are doing everything humanly possible to ensure the safety of life and property by God’s will,” the Kano police said. Military authorities in Kano admitted that there were plans by terrorists to unleash mayhem during today’s Christmas celebration. He said the move has been aborted with the arrest of some key members of Boko Haram militants in some hide-outs. The Army said the on-going house -to- house search for suspected gunmen in parts of the city has yielded tremendous result, leading to the dislodgment of a group of terrorists, who arrived Kano from Yobe State for their deadly mission. Commander of the 3 mechanised Brigade of the Army, Kano, Brigadier General Ilyasu Abbah stated this at the

Bukavu Barracks Headquarters of the Brigade after a meeting of security chiefs in Kano. About 12 foreign militants were recently rounded up by security operatives in the Yankaba Area of the city and the military chief insisted that the raids on suspected hideouts of criminals and flashpoints are a continuous exercise. Brigadier-General Abbah recalled the recent attempt to attack the masts of two communication firms - MTN and AIRTEL - which led to the death of two suicide bombers. He described the mission as failed operation. The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Damaturu said there was no restriction of movement of people and goods within and outside the state. JTF spokesman Lt. Lazarus Eli noted that the curfew imposed on some major towns in the state is still in place, adding that improved security measures have been put in place during the Yuletide. “The Joint Task Task Force JTF in Yobe State wishes to assure the public that improved security measures are put in place to safeguard lifes and property, especially at this Yuletide period “It should be noted that JTF never placed any ban on movement of goods and persons in and out of the state as there was no reason for such action to be taken. However, the curfew earlier placed to restrict movement between the hours of 9pm and 7am is still in force. “While JTF wishes the people a hitch-free Christmas and

New Year celebrations, it enjoins all law-abiding citizens to go about their lawful activities without any fear,” Lt. Eli said. Yobe and Borno are the epicentre of the killings by Boko Haram. Joint military, police and Civil Defence patrol teams have been deployed in major streets of Yola, the Adamawa State capital. The armed security teams operate in convoys as they patrol major streets of JimetaYola and its environs to ensure security of lifes and property. Spokesman of Adamawa police, Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Yola that the security machinery was part of strategy to protect the public from any threat. He said: “There are powerful joint patrol teams of army, police, civil defence and other sister agencies, which are deployed in strategic places in the state capital and other towns across the state. “The reason is to protect and secure public places, especially worship centres and other public arena, across the state to ensure a peaceful Christmas and New Year celebration. He said that the police had earlier warned the public to avoid the use of fireworks popularly known as “knockout’’, saying they would deal with anyone or group who breached the peace during the period. Ibrahim appealed to residents of the state to report any suspicious movements or strange characters to the nearest security post.





VOL. 7


‘Before Oronto Douglas became an aide to President Jonathan could he afford to fly his friends or even think of flying them to attend a private ceremony he was holding? If he was not in office would he do that even if he has all the millions in this world? ’ WAHEED ODUSILE



T is that time of year again, of peace on earth – as an aspiration, that is – and goodwill toward men or to us men. Apparently, the precise rendering of that phrase is one of the overarching issues in Christian theology. About 20 harmattans ago, I worshipped at a Christian service at an Anglican church during which the vicar, probably the most learned venerable gentleman in these parts never to have been translated to the episcopacy, discoursed at great length on the matter. He had studied and no doubt perfectly understoodthe original Greek text, and was thoroughly dissatisfied that the conflict had not been resolved definitively. The way he proceeded, one was almost led to believe that the laws of gravitation would suddenly cease to operate, and the earth would be plucked from its orbit, depending on whether the phrase in question was translated as goodwill toward men or to us men. That was many years before Gloria Steinem and the women’s liberation army launched themselves on the popular consciousness in America. And if there was a woman in that Christmas Day congregation who felt that her gender could do with some goodwill as well, she did what was then the proper Nigerian thing: She kept her views severely to herself. That we are once again in the season of aspirational goodwill was brought home to me the other day by the familiar strains of O Come, All Ye Faithful, wafted across by the harmattan wind from one of the schools that dot our neighbourhood. The children sang it with the kind of innocence that only the pure at heart can muster. There was not the slightest trace of anxiety about thefuture in their voices, about an economy that seems determined not to recover, despite what anyone may prescribe. Few of them, I am sure, are aware that this may be the last Christmas at which they can have wheat bread for breakfast. In such an eventuality, history is unlikely to repeat itself. There will be nobody who, on being told that the children are grumbling because they have no bread, will retort: “Let them eat cake.” For there may be no cake to cut on birthdays or to eat just for the fun of it. And there may be no biscuits or cookies. Those items may vanish from the supermarket shelves at the end of the year when the ban on wheat imports goes into effect. Wheat imports are being stopped to conserve foreign exchange, and to encourage all of us to structurally adjust our tastes in line with contemporary reality. Besides, there are adequate local substitutes that are just as good as, if not actually better than wheat for making all those foods that children love for their taste and adults cherish because such foods keep them away from the kitchen. The ban will create an opportunity to





Benito Aderemi, Benito Aderemi ...

•Minister of Agriculture Akinwunmi Adesina

present the Nigerian people and indeed the entire world the unique, all-Nigerian bread, made entirely by Nigerians, from Nigerian raw materials, with machines fabricated or adapted entirely by Nigerians. In the end, instead ofwasting billions of Naira every year importing wheat, the nation stands to generate a great deal of foreign exchange from the export of the all-Nigerian bread for which the entire world has been waiting. If the protagonists of the wheat ban have not put forth its advantages in exactly those terms, it is because they are exceedingly modest people, seldom given to stating the obvious. Yet, if the nation’s experience in banning undesirable or unaffordable items is any indication, the wheat ban, if not deferred or rescinded, will in operation be a farce. That, at any rate, is what I hope will happen, in-

deed, what I am substantially sure will happen. About this time last year, a ban on rice imports was announced, to much editorial and popular acclaim, as part of yet another new beginning, a determined effort to”look inwards” and”to use what we have to get what we need.” Barely five months later, rice imports worth an estimated N40 million surfaced at Lagos port. Who placed the order for it, when, and how, remain mysteries to this day. It was speculated, when no one could claim ownership, that the rice was part of relief materials being sent to Chad. If so, why was the shipment not identified as such? Why had Chad not stepped forward to claim it? Part of the shipment later turned up in Benin Republic from where, according to newspaper accounts, it found its way back to Nigeria overland, and in much less contentious circumstances. And so, despite the official ban on rice importation, there has never been so much foreign rice in Nigeria since Shehu Shagari and Umaru Dikko launched their rice armada about six years ago. Allthis should bring some cheer to wheat bread addicts. There will be bread and cake and biscuits and cookies, for there will be wheat flour somehow. And only an insignificant fraction of it will be produced locally. As for the all-Nigerian bread that is supposed to replace wheat bread, I frankly cannot vouch for its future, if I were to judge only from personal experience. I recently had the displeasure of having a bite of the stuff made from corn or cassava or a blend of the two. It looked like caked, high-grade animal feed and tasted like sawdust. It cannot have been the same stuff that was



NE of the core principles of Christianity is the concept of giving. Indeed, giving is the bedrock of Christianity, as exemplified by the incomparable sacrifice of himself Jesus Christ made for salvation. Somehow, over the centuries, giving has become an integral part of Christmas celebration, with many Christmases incomplete without the exchange of gifts. In many parts of Nigeria, the concept of giving has been transmuted from exchange of exotic gift items, like jewellery, gadgets and toys, into exchange of food items, often cooked delicacies, like fried rice and jollof rice. Who is anybody to say gourmet delicacies are not acceptable? This transmutation – indeed some say transmogrification – is perhaps a reflection of the worsening hard times Nigerians have been facing over the decades. The worse the economy, the more food-oriented the Christmas gifts. In these parts too, even the concept of hampers is largely food-oriented, with items like corn flakes, corned beef, sugar, milk etc. enclosed in baskets. In the spirit of Christmas, however, Hardball would like to draw Christians into a re-examination of the concept of giving. What gifts are doctrinally sound? Is there indeed anything that circumscribes the kind of gifts to exchange? Would a hungry man or family not appreciate food more than gadgets in their hour of need? These questions lead to a polemical minefield that will not be resolved with a wave of a list of permissible gifts. There will probably never be such a list. Christians will from time to time,

In the spirit of Christmas often within the ambit of their countries’ cultures and the shifting values of the times, determine what gifts to exchange. But more critically, they must now have to determine whether the exchange of gifts has not moved unwholesomely from the personal to the impersonal, from a reflection of sacrificial love that comes from the depth of the soul to a mere external expression of perfunctory love. Christians recognise Jesus Christ as God’s gift to mankind; the Canonical gospels indicate that three Wise Men came from the East bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh; and Pentecostals have had all sorts of troubles stressing tithes, regular offerings and prophet offerings, particularly because of the attendant abuses. Given the general decline in morals everywhere, it does seem as if the exchange of gifts has a bearing only on the conviviality of the festive period itself, not on the essential doctrine of Christmas. Perhaps it is time Christians took a fresh look at what should drive their giving, not what their giving should consist of. If love is not at the heart of it, it is hard to defend it. If love is not given copiously, it is never given at all. Givers, it is said, never lack. Many foreign countries have accepted this lesson, and have given copiously and received unquantifiable

served as lunch to members of the Armed Forces Ruling Council the other day and praised by some of them as being as fingerlickin’ good as the Colonel’s chicken, and just a shade less delicious than caviar. The pupils in the neighbourhood preparatory school are still where we left them, singing. Had the tune not been so familiar, I would have had to wonder what was going on in there as Benito Aderemi, Benito Aderemi drifted through the harmattan haze. They had completed adoring Him in English and had switched to the Latin. In their charmingly Nigerian minds and mouths, Venite adoremus had become Benito Aderemi. I wonder whether there was a pupil called Benito Aderemi in that school and what he thought of it all. I wonder what those innocent children would think of the all-Nigerian “bread” if and when it materializes. Who knows but that they may actually come to prefer it to cake, being the “new Nigerians” that members of my generationare not? They may even come to prefer oil-andwick lamps to light bulbs, and the towncrier to John Momoh and Hauwa Baba Ahmed on television. * The foregoing, slightly abridged, was my column for The Guardian during the week leading to Christmas, 1986. Today, 26 years later, they are raising tariffs on wheat flour to discourage its importation, and planning ultimately to replace bread as we know it with “cassava bread.” But only Aso Rock has made that culinary transition, and President Goodluck Jonathan seems in no hurry to share its vaunted delights with his compatriots. They are talking of raising tariffs on rice imports, and are already furiously installing the mills that will process the local crop that is yet to be produced to meet surging demand. Only last week, they added raw sugar to the list of products marked for banning, and vegetable oil is sure to follow soon. And they are already touting as money in the bank the billions of Naira in foreign exchange they claim will be saved from banning wheat and rice and raw sugar imports. Meanwhile, nary a thought has been given to fixing the nation’s epileptic petroleum refineries so as to end gasoline imports and the attendant, ever-growing, “subsidies”. “Transformation” never came more cynically packaged. •For comments, send SMS to 08082036515

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above benefits in return. It is not clear whether, in spite of our economic stress, Nigeria has made a habit of giving and giving and giving. As the table in this piece shows, none of the countries listed in Official Development Assistance (ODA) donors is African. If we are going to wait until we are economically prosperous and stable, we will have to wait for much longer. The time to climb that table is now, when we do not have enough to spare. Individuals have imbibed the culture of giving, and have had great stories to tell. Let Nigeria begin to tell great stories too, even as Christians are invited in a Nigeria festering with hate and bloodshed to recognise that love is at the core of their faith and they must give it uncomplainingly in order to help build a stable nation.

Aid Statistics by Region 1 United States $7 763bn 2 EU institutions $5 443bn 3 IDA $5 196bn 4 France $4 187bn 5 United Kingdom $3 075bn 6 Germany $1 948bn 7 Global Fund $1 914bn 8 Japan $1 888bn 9 AfDF $1 760bn 10 Canada $1 532bn Other donors $13 226bn Total $47 932bn Source: OECD (2012)


16% 11% 11% 9% 6% 4% 4% 4% 4% 3% 28% 100%

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The Nation December 25, 2012  
The Nation December 25, 2012  

The Nation December 25, 2012