Page 1

Newspaper of the Year

Ekiti PDP primary News Sports for March 15 NEWS

Page 8

•Osun gets April 5 date

Ex-Oyo HOS, others to lose property P9

Home-based Eagles are N31m richer P59 Business More knocks for budget at 2nd reading P12

•Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

VOL. 9, NO. 2759 FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014





Forensic experts to trace missing $8b oil money Senate gives one-month deadline


ORENSIC experts should examine the state of the Federation Account, the government suggested yesterday. Such an audit by independent experts will reveal whether or not $20 billion is missing - as alleged by Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Chairman Senate Commitee on Finance, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, urged the audit panel to do the assignment in one month. The committee, he said, would reconvene on February 20, for legal advice. Addressing members of the committee in Abuja, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “on the $10.8 billion which we had all originally agreed was the shortfall from the NNPC, they have produced documents certified by PPPRA with background documentation to back it, but we do not feel that the reconciliation committee has the expertise and then we are calling for a forensic audit of these papers in order to lay to rest what the

On the $10.8 billion ... shortfall from the NNPC, they have produced documents ... we are calling for a forensic audit to lay to rest what the shortfalls may be. – Okonjo-Iweala NNPC shipped about $67 billion worth of crude and about $47 billion came back into the federation account; so, there is a $20 billion shortfall. – Sanusi From Onyedi Ojiabor, Nduka Chiejina and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

shortfalls may be, what the NNPC owes or does not owe the Federation Account.”

On the $20 billion, which Sanusi insisted was missing, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said: “On the additional charges made by the CBN, the Reconciliation Committee feels that the matter ranges around legal issues and that it, therefore, requires legal experts to answer the questions of who owns these proceeds - NNPC or the Federation Account.” However, the minister revealed that “as of December 2013, the cumulative unreconciled shortfall from NNPC payments stood at N1.792 trillion”. She added: “For the $10.8 billion, this is the shortfall as at July 2013, which mirrors the period the CBN originally looked at. Amount withheld for subsidy, $8.766 billion; holding cost for strategic reserves, $0.499 billion; crude oil and product losses, $0.76 billion; pipeline management cost $0.905 billion for a total of slightly more than the $10.8 billion we talked about. The data presented were all certified by PPPRA as being accepted by them and signed upon.” Continued on page 4

Unease in Jonathan’s camp over Obasanjo


I didn’t kill Bola Ige, says tearful ministerial nominee

•Anxiety over one-term comment


From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation, Abuja


ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo’s disclosure that President Goodluck Jonathan promised to spend only one term in office has ignited a fresh anxiety in the President’s camp. There are fears that Obasanjo’s comments may be a pointer to a major coalition against Dr Jonathan’s second term bid, which is well known, but yet to be announced. But a key strategist of the President said that Obasanjo “cannot intimidate Jonathan out of second term race”. According to Bloomberg, Obasanjo stirred the hornet’s nest on Tuesday in London in an interview in which he confirmed that Jonathan asked for one term in office. Continued on page 2

•HO HOT HO T TEARS: Adesiyan weeping ...yesterday


•Senator: can you swear by the Qur’an?

T was strange and emotional. A wouldbe minister was asked to say what he felt the Senate should know about him that was not stated in his CV. His eyes suddenly turned red, releasing a flood of tears. “I did not kill Chief Bola Ige,” Alhaji Abduljelili Oyewale Adesiyan sobbed as he laboured to clear his name of the accusation that he had a hand in the death of Chief Ige. The former Attorney-General and Justice Minister was assassinated in his Bodija, Ibadan home on December 23, 2001. The Senate resumed the screening of min-

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

isterial nominees, which it began on Wednesday. Former Adamawa State Governor Boni Haruna was the first to be screened. When Adesiyan took his turn, Senate President David Mark, as usual, asked him to make a personal explanation, especially on those things that were not in his curriculum vitae . Adesiyan, who was nominated by President Goodluck Jonathan from Osun State, Continued on page 2





I did not kill Bola Ige, says ministerial nominee Continued from page 1

•2013 NYSC Batch-’A’ members giving three hearty cheers during their passing-out parade in Ado-Ekiti ... yesterday


Insurgents kill nine soldiers in Adamawa

INE soldiers with the 23 Brigade in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, have been shot dead by insurgents. They were reportedly killed in an ambush in Madagali Local Government. Details of the attack were sketchy but local officials and military sources claim that the insurgents attacked the soldiers in the border area as they made to foil another attack. The Chairman of Ma daga l i Lo c a l Go v e r n m e n t , M r M a i n a Ularamu, confirmed the killings but could not ascer-



By Our Reporter

tain the number of casualty. The military authorities could not confirm the killings, also last night. “The soldiers were going to repel a planned attack at Izhe border village when they were ambushed by the heavily armed insurgents. “As I am talking to you, most villagers at the border areas have since fled to Madagali, the administrative headquarters for fear of possible attacks. “We are calling on the government to station more troops with armoured

tanks. These Boko Haram insurgents have more sophisticated weapons than the soldiers, Ularamu said. The local government boss said the insurgents were well-armed with antiaircraft and anti-tank weapons mounted on their vehicles. Brigade Commander of the 23rd Armoured Brigade,Yola, Brigadier General Rogers Nicholas, could also not be reached to comment. According to a source, it was not an ambush but a gun battle that led to the soldierss’ death.

Hospital sources said the bodies of the soldiers were deposited at the hospital in Yola. “Nine bodies are deposited here in Federal Medical Centre, Yola,” said hospital sources. On Tuesday night, Insurgents, believed to be Boko Haram members killed more than 50 people in an attack on Konduga in Borno State. The attackers bore sophisticated weapons including an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APCs). Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states are under a state of emergency.

Don makes case for indigenous languages

PROFESSOR of Linguistic from the University of Uyo, Prof Imelda Icheji Udoh has urged Nigerians to strategise on ways to promote and preserve indigenous languages in the country. She lamented that Nigeria languages are going moribund and threatened. He said efforts should be put in place to ensure that they do not go into extinction. Prof Udoh spoke yesterday while delivering a lecture entitled: “The Empowerment of Nigeria Languages” organised by the Nigerian Academy of Letters held at Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan. She noted that Nigerian local languages seem to appear dying from a particular areas, but still flourishing in others. “Nigerian Languages are at different levels of underdevelopment because they are moribund and are not being used regularly and with that it will be hard for them to be transmitted to the younger generation” Udoh explained According to her, Nigerians needs to look inward and strategise on ways to empower our languages, beginning with survey, documentation, description, codification and development of tools to fa-

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

cilitate the work. On the role the government will play, the don said:” Government needs to fund research , provide scholarships for training manpower, promote, and help enlighten the public on language issues and its policies on it. The legislature should legislate on language matters and the government should super-

vise the language documentation projects through its organs. She also suggested that: each local government area should have a local government area language to be chosen at that level, preferably the language spoken in the local government area headquarters. Each state should also have a state language, preferably the language Continued from page 59

•Prof. Adewole

thanked senators for the opportunity offered him to stand before them to speak as a ministerial nominee. He noted that he was one of those wrongly accused to have had a hand in the death of Chief Bola Ige. He said: “It may interest you, Distinguished Senators, to know that I am one of those wrongly accused of having a hand in the death of my mentor, Chief Bola Ige. It was all political blackmail because I knew nothing about the death of Chief Ige. “I was detained for three and half years for something I knew nothing about. I stand here to say that I knew nothing about the death of Chief Bola Ige.” Adesiyan described the late Ige as his political mentor whom he had no reason whatsoever to kill. There was sustained murmuring in the chamber as Adesiyan appeared to be emotional in his conduct. Senator Ehigie Uzamere (Edo South) raised his hand and was recognised by Mark. Uzamere said: “Mr. nominee, you mentioned in the course of your speech the death of Chief Bola Ige. Can you swear by the Quran that you do not know anything about the death of Bola Ige?” Some senators protested and shouted that the Senate chamber is not a place of worship or a shrine. Others said that there was no Quran in the chamber. Uzamere was not intimidated by the protest of some of his colleagues. The Edo State lawmaker continued: “You said that you did not kill Bola Ige, that you were accused wrongly and detained for three and half years. We are in the same boat because I was also detained. “The question I want you to answer is did you kill Bola Ige? Did you have anything to do with the death of Bola Ige? If the Holy Quran is not here as some senators said, I want to ask you, did you kill Bola Ige. What do you know about the death of Bola Ige?” As the protest in chamber continued, Uzamere insisted that Adesiyan should answer the questions. Mark asked Adesiyan to

respond. Adesiyan thanked Uzamere for the questions. He said: “I thank Senator Uzamere for his questions. I do not know whether I can be availed with a copy of the Holy Quran. But I maintain and say that I did not kill Chief Bola Ige. “I did not have any reason to kill Chief Bola Ige, but I was wrongly fingered to have killed him. “Chief Bola Ige sent me to United States for education; he was my mentor. I am saying it today if Chief Bola Ige gave money to anybody, it is my family and I. “The reason I was fingered was because as Assistant Secretary of AD, I changed to PDP. Because of that, I was fingered and punished as having something to do with the assassination of Chief Bola Ige. “When I was in detention, I used to pinch myself whether I was dreaming because I had nothing to do with the death of Chief Bola Ige. It was all calculated political blackmail.” Haruna told the Senate that he was subjected to the most harrowing inquisition by anti-graft agencies. He said he was happy that a judgment had been given in his favour over allegations of corruption. The judgment, he said, vindicated him that “you can go to public office and come out clean”. On how to achieve peace in the Northeast, the former governor said the peace project should be everybody’s project. On corruption, he said the problem is attitudinal. According to him, the best way to fight corruption is to always ensure honesty of purpose. Haruna, who was praised by the three senators from his state for uncommon achievements during his tenure as governor, told the Senate that for eight years he was governor he did not take security vote. Apart from Haruna and Adesiyan, the Senate screened two other nominees - Dr. Khaliru Alhassan (Sokoto) and Dr. T.W. Danagogo (Rivers). Hadjia Jamilla Salik (Kano) and Asabe Asmau Ahmed (Niger) did not appear.

Obasanjo’s one-term comment unsettles Jonathan’s camp Continued from page 1

Bloomberg quoted Obasanjo as saying: “President Jonathan said, not only once, twice, publicly, not only inside Nigeria, outside Nigeria, that he would have one term, and said that to me. “One of the things that is very important in the life of any man or any person is that he will be a man or a person of his word. “If you decide your word should not be taken seriously, that’s entirely up to you.” Obasanjo’s disclosure caused some disquiet in the camp of the President, leading to a review meeting in Abuja on Wednesday night. It was learnt that at the session, it was suspected that Obasanjo might be out for a spoiler’s game in 2015, with a target of pitching Nigerians

against the President. Those at the meeting also claimed that the ex-President’s comments had confirmed rumours that he has sympathy for the opposition. The meeting reached a consensus on how to checkmate any plans by the ex-President to frustrate Jonathan’s second term bid. The counter-plans against Obasanjo are as follows: •ignore his tirades unless they threaten national security; •address only issues and not personality •sustain the ongoing reconciliation in PDP and consolidate gains made by the party; •Jonathan should continue to pursue his right to second term in office – in line with the laws of the land and the guidelines released by INEC; and

•leave the electorate to determine the fate of Jonathan in 2015. A presidency source said: “We have agreed not to dignify Obasanjo with a response because he is not saying anything new. What should be the concern of all is the position of the 1999 Constitution on second term in office, which the President is entitled to. “Hearsay is not the same as the clear provision of the law of the land. The London comments have left many gaps: where did the President make the so-called pledge? Under what circumstance? Hasn’t the President clarified that he did not say in Ethiopia that he would spend only a term in office? Let Obasanjo provide more details. “A governor once spoke of a one-term agreement en-

tered into by the President with PDP governors. But up till today, the same governor cannot produce a copy of the said agreement. “They keep on revisiting this one-term thing to scare the President out of the race. That is a miscalculation on their part.” Also, a Strategist to the President said: “There is no way Obasanjo can intimidate the President out of the second term race. It is only the electorate that can determine the fate of Jonathan in 2015. “We are not losing sleep over Obasanjo’s comments because the former President has boxed himself into a corner politically. The interview in London appears to be a sign of a likely gang-up against the President. But we are up to the task.

“The Presidency has always suspected that the ex-President might have backed some of these governors that defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) only for him to remain in PDP. “We cannot actually place what Obasanjo wants. President Jonathan has, however, said he would not take any action against Obasanjo in terms of arrest or prosecution. As for politics, we will all meet on the field.”

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Forensic e Continued from page 1

T •From left: Regional Director, Maghreb and West Africa MoneyGram, Francois Peyret; Head Retail Banking, UBA, Olumide Osunyomi; Vice President, Africa MoneyGram,Herve Chomel; Executive Director, UBA, Emeke Iweriebor; Carl OlavSchiebel, Executive Vice President, Europe, Africa and Emerging Channels MoneyGram and Neil Edwards, Vice President Finance - Europe and Africa MoneyGram during a courtesy visit to UBA Headoffice by MoneyGram officials... on Tuesday.

• From left: Lead Water and Sanitation Specialist, World Bank, Mr Hassan Kida; World Bank Country Director Marie Francois Marie-Nelly and Minister of Water Resources Mrs Sarah Ochekpe at a dinner meeting with the World Bank and Minister of Water Resources in Abuja... on Wednesday.

•From left: Head,Public Relations, Airtel Nigeria,Femi Adediran,Vice President,Product and Services, Airtel Nigeria, Nitin Anand,winners of Google Cloud Developer Challenge,Tunde Owokoniran and Femi Taiwo,Programme Manager, Outreach Sub Sahara Africa, Google,Chukwuemeka Afigbo at the prize presentation ceremony of the winners of Google Cloud Developer Challenge in Lagos... yesterday. PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU

HE CBN, he said, has “established that NNPC shipped about $67 billion worth of crude and about $47 billion came back into the federation account; so, there is a $20 billion unremitting shortfall.” He added: “The Finance Minister has explained that out of the $20 billion, there is $6 billion that NNPC says it shipped on behalf of NPDC; there is $2 billion third part finance and the balance of $12 billion from our books and from the NNPC submission is what is outstanding from the domestic crude of $28 billion that was exported by NPDC. So, as far as the CBN is concerned, the most important point to establish is that there is a difference of $20 billion between what NNPC shipped and what it repatriated and we haven’t seen NNPC’s submission, but based on public comments they’ve made.” Sanusi insisted that there is no subsidy on kerosene and that the payment of kerosene subsidy is in violation of a presidential directive. The CBN, he said, has “also asked questions not about the entire $6 billion from NPDC, we asked questions about a specific part relating to oil produced in blocs under Strategic Alliance Agreement with Atlantic Energy. Our concern is to establish if the proceeds transferred to Atlantic Energy belong to the federation account or not”. He agreed with the minister of finance that lawyers can come to proffer legal interpretation, but said that “we have made no comments about the $2 billion third party financing; we have been given no documentation; even the $6 billion for NPDC did not come into any account with the CBN; we have not seen it but we have taken the word of NNPC for it; for us there is a question mark over that gap.” He raised questions concerning the certification of “the actual amount of subsidy the NNPC took, saying: “There is the question of whether NNPC should have taken the subsidy for kerosene, but for the CBN our task ends with establishing that there is $20 billion unremitted. After that, it is up to the committee and the Ministry of Finance determine if the amount has been properly accounted for or not.” Mr. Reginald Stanley, Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, noted: “It has never been our procedure that whatever we certify be subjected to forensic audit. This document was worked upon by PPPRA, DPR and NNPC.” He disclosed that between January 2012 and July 2013, they had duly certified what was brought in by NNPC on PMS, totaling N813,802,673,022 at (N154.87/$) as what we have duly certified as subsidy on PMS $5.254 billion. For kerosene, we have meticulously gone through documents and came

BESIEGED •BESIEGED TREPORT BY REPOR ERS: Mrs AlisonMadueke (middle) answering question from reporters after she appeared before the investigative hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance on unremitted oil fund at National Assembly... yesterday. PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

up with N543,890,398,525 or $3.51 billion.” Stanley was asked if these figures were part of the $10.8 billion unaccounted for and due only to the NNPC. He replied: “The exercise was strictly for NNPC. The subsidy comes within what was provided for subsidy because PMS is subsidised, just as we talk about kerosene. It is part of the money to be accounted for.” The executive secretary could not respond to queries from the senators on where PPPRA got the authority to claim arrears and reinstate subsidy on kerosene? He was asked: “Do you certify and debt NNPC payment later or NNPC deducts claims from source before you certify its claims?” He responded that “our duty is to certify; thereafter NNPC takes over”. To the CBN governor, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, cautioned that “if you are not questioning the entire $6 billion, you need to be certain what you are questioning rather than taking a huge figure of $6 billion that needs to be accounted for; in respect of this, we would request you to do further work so that you have far more specifics in respect of which

African American History Month

Harold Lee Washington, 1922-1987

H •Former Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (left) and his wife Gift during their pulling out in Abuja...yesterday.

AROLD Lee Washington was born in Chicago, Illinois. A lawyer, he entered Illinois state government in 1965 as a Democratic representative, becoming state senator in 1976. In 1980 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Running for mayor of Chicago as a progressive candidate, he defeated

sitting mayor Jane Byrne in the primary and went on to win the 1983 general election. The first African American to hold the office, Washington won re-election in 1987 but died seven months later. Reference: Washington, Harold Lee encyclopedia/people/washingtonharold-lee.html#ixzz2qI64kB64




experts to trace $8b oil cash ‘

The landing cost of kerosene is N150, but they sell at N50. Somebody had to come in to cover up the gap, which NNPC did. If not, NNPC would have gone down a long long time ago just under the weight of the subsidy gap alone

part of the $6 billion is being questioned. We have written to NPDC to furnish us with information if they received this $6 billion in question.” On third party financing, he reminded Sanusi that he said: “You have not received any document but should you be furnished with such document. The CBN will change its position on this $2 billion but at the moment, you are saying you have seen no documents relating to the third part financing issue of $2 billion. On the subsidy issue what is not in doubt is the PMS; we have had PPPRA certification. What is in dispute is kerosene. Are you accepting what PPPRA has submitted in terms of the PMS or are you with the view of the Ministry of Finance that further independent forensic audit may be required?” Sanusi replied: “On the NPDC figure, I cannot accept NNPC saying this $6 billion does not belong to the federation, but to the NPDC so long as I believe a part of it should come to the federation. I do not know how much oil has been produced from those wells I do not know how much crude has been taken and to what value. It is not the kind of thing the CBN can do. What is important is, if we agree with the Finance Minister, if we do establish legally part of this should come to

Fed Govt, states and local govts share N629b for January


•Excess Crude Account now $2.1b

HE three tiers of government yesterday shared N629.128 billion for the month of January 2014 from the Federation Account. It has also been revealed that the Excess Crude Account (ECA) now stands at $2.1 billion. Speaking with reporters at the end of the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) Mr Jonah Otunla stated that N503.685 billion was shared as statutory allocation, N82.277 billion from Value Added Tax (VAT), N35.549 from SURE-P and N7.617 refund from the Nigeria National Petroleum the Federation Account, then it is a question now of some oil industry experts should then go and audit properly how much crude has been taken, how much has been sold, how much is coming and how much ought to have come to the Federation Account; that is really beyond the capabilities of the CBN. For us once it is accepted that this $20 billion has not been repatriated, we have finished our own bit.” Sanusi insisted that he has a letter from PPPRA that they do not pay subsidy on kerosene. It is now left to the committee to determine if that letter has been superseded by other directives. With or without direc-

By Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor)

Corporation (NNPC). Otunla noted that the gross revenue of N540.870 billion received for the month was higher than the N479.950 billion received the previous month by N60.920 billion regardless of the serious disruptions in production and lifting operations that was witnessed in the month. The AGF said the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) would be attending FAAC meetings from next month because of its strategic importance to the nation’s revenue generating efforts.

tive, can NNPC pay subsidy on kerosene?” Makarfi then queried the CBN governor again if he is “saying that if PPPRA that has certified about $8.7 billion as subsidy, is the CBN comfortable and think they have a legal basis to do so, you accept such because it is their responsibility to do so? As you have said before the legal certifying authority is PPPRA, irrespective of the opinion of the Ministry of Finance that you will accept their opinion?” Sanusi responded that “the PPPRA is the institution set up by government and entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that sub-

sidy deductions are legitimate. The Executive Secretary does that certification on his own responsibility and I have no reason to question him. However, if new information comes to light, say for example as we have seen in some cases, we have some claims of some vessels that the vessels were not theirs, then there is a basis for questioning but unless something comes up and PPPRA signs off, that is PPPRA’s responsibility and if after that there is any investigation that shows that they signed off wrongly, then that is their responsibility.” Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke said

•Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala

the NNPC would have gone down under the weight of kerosene subsidy alone. According to her, “the landing cost of kerosene is N150, but they sell at N50. Somebody had to come in to cover up the gap, which NNPC did. If not, NNPC would have gone down a long long time ago just under the weight of the subsidy gap alone. I do think that the law courts are the appropriate body to decide; everybody will do what they have to do.”

Jonathan’s attitude to Poly, Colleges of Education worrisome, says COEASU


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan came under fire yesterday over the running of the education system in the country.

Colleges of Academic Staff Union (COEASU) accused Jonathan of operating an elitist government by ignoring the masses in its educational drive. COEASU President, Emmanuel Asagha, who addressed newsmen at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) College of Education, Zuba, described the attitude as unfair and capable of destroying the system. According to him, government has not ac-

From: Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

corded the two sub-sectors respect enjoyed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) because it feels only the children of the peasants, artisans and the less privileged attend them. Asagha’s word: “Nigerian government is running not only an elitist government but a class government. The specification is so clear. When ASUU is on strike, everybody gets concerned. “Certain persons serving in the present government asked me to suspend the strike because I may not have the sympathy that ASUU has gotten. I told him it is because he does not have a

child in the Colleges of Education. When ASUU is on strike, they will even call the governor of a state to mediate. “ASUP has been on strike since October, nobody called them to anywhere. The more we (COEASU) met with government, the more the memorandum we signed and the more we got betrayed”, he lamented. Asagha said the money required to bail the Federal Colleges of Education was just about N30 billion, “which is a small money for the ruling party”. Asagha likened the problems in the educa-

tion sector to the crisis in the North and SouthSouth where issues had been left unattended to overtime. “We believe one day God will send us somebody that has an interest in the system and save the masses. We would have had peace in the North and South South today if people had heeded warnings. “We will carry the protest to the presidency and not to the National Assembly. We are going to write the security agencies, nobody should beat a child and ask the child not to cry.”





Sierra Leone Varsity honours for Tinubu

ATIONAL Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will tomorrow receive an honourary doctorate degree of Njala University, Freetown, the Sierra Leonean capital. He is being honoured in recognition of what the university described as “your outstanding role in Nigerian politics, especially your contributions to the field of education during your term as governor of Lagos State”. The conferment ceremony will hold during the convocation ceremony of the university in Makonde, in the South of Sierra Leone, tomorrow. Njala University is an independent institution celebrating its 50th anniversary. In the letter of award by its Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abu Essay, the university described Asiwaju Tinubu as a great son of Africa who has had a remarkable career in public service. A presidential reception in honour of the former governor will hold today. President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone will receive the frontline politician in a private audience before the grand reception. Asiwaju Tinubu remains committed to the political and economic liberation of Africa, starting with the sub-region. This is aptly demonstrated in the key role he played in the restoration of democracy in Ghana, Sierra Leone and other countries. Presently, he leads Nigeria’s largest party, after a historic merger by the opposition.

Boko-Haram: Lack of witnesses stalls Ndume’s trial


HE scheduled resumption of the trial of an alleged Boko Haram sponsor, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, was stalled yesterday, following the prosecution’s failure to present its witnesses. The prosecution was expected to call its witnesses yesterday, in continuation of the trial, after the Court of Appeal gave its judgment in two interlocutory appeals by the accused. Ndume had challenged the admission of some electronic evidence tendered by the prosecution, led by O. T. Olatigbe of the Federal Ministry of Justice. Although defence lawyer, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), tendered the appellate court’s composite judgment on his client, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who said he was seeing the judgment for the first time, agreed to proceed with trial. He noted that since the judgments only touched on the admissibility of some exhibits earlier admitted in the trial, the defence could, at the final address stage, ask that such evidence be expunged from the court’s records. The judge proceeded with trial and asked the prosecution team to present its witness. After some delays, the prosecution called its third wit-

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

ness, Aliyu Baka (a security personnel), whose presence in the dock lasted few minutes. He was only invited to confirm the statement he obtained from the accused. When Baka stepped off the witness stand, the prosecution was expected to call more witnesses, but it said the other three witnesses it invited were not available. Olatigbe prayed the court to adjourn the case to a further date, a request that prompted the court to adjourn to March 31. Ndume, a Senator from Borno State, is facing terrorism-related charges before the Federal High Court in Abuja. He was arraigned before Justice Kolawole on December 12, last year, on a four-count charge by the Department of State Services (DSS). He is accused of sponsoring the Boko Haram sect and failing to disclose the cell phone number of Konduga, which was alleged to be in his (Ndume’s) possession. The prosecution, through its third witness, tendered, on December 11 and 14, 2012, some call logs and three digital video discs (DVDs) containing the call data records intended to prove the allegation that Ndume interacted with some Boko Haram members.

NBA urges military to protect civilians


From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

HE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has hailed the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badey, for assuring the nation that the military will end the Boko Haram insurgency in April. The NBA urged the military to respect its rules of engagement and protect the rights of innocent civilians. It advised the Federal Government to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. NBA President Okey Wali (SAN) spoke yesterday in Abuja when he presented cheques to some lawyers and others affected by Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast. He said: “Let me, on behalf of the NBA, congratulate the new Service chiefs appointed by Mr President and to particularly commend the new Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, on his widely reported commitment to ending the insurgency by the end of April, 2014. “To many, that is a tall order. But for us, it is commendable commitment and an exhibition of serious-mindedness to deal with insurgency. “As they say, you aim at the moon and, if per adventure you miss your target, you will very well get the stars. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. So, we wish the new Service chiefs well. But they must remain within their rules of engagement.” “For us at the NBA, they (military) must respect fundamental rights of all citizens, the insurgents inclusive. That is the difference between us and them, and between primitiveness and civilisation.”

• Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (second right); Osun State House of Assembly Speaker Najeem Salam (second left); former Speakers Prof Mojeed Alabi (left) and Adejare Bello (right), during the Assembly’s 2014 budget retreat, at Palms Hotel, Ejigbo, Osun State...yesterday

Reps E back Oduah’s sack T HE House of Representatives has backed President Goodluck Jonathan’s sack of Ms Stella Oduah as Aviation Minister of Aviation. The lawmakers said the budget of the National Conference, though unconfirmed, would be reviewed when the House goes in into the consideration of the 2014 budget. House spokesman Zakari Mohammed, who spoke in company of his deputy, Victor Ogene, noted that though it was coming late, the President had done the right thing. Mohammed said the sack of the former minister was a justification of the House’s stance on corruption, which

I wasn’t sacked, says ex-minister Orubebe

LDER Godswilll Orubebe has said he was not sacked by President Goodluck Jonathan, as widely reported. Orubebe, who, until Wednesday afternoon, was the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Ministry and the longest serving minister in the Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet, alongside Petroleum Minister Mrs Diezani AllisonMadueke, said he resigned his appointment to pursue further political career. Orubebe was appointed minister in 2007, first as Minister of Special Duties and later Minister of State, Niger Delta. He was later made the substantive minister for Niger Delta Affairs in 2010. He is said to be eyeing the Delta State govFrom Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

he said the lawmakers were focused on eliminating in government. Ms Oduah was, last year, accused of buying two bulletproof cars at an alleged inflated price of N255 million. The House recommended her for sack. Mohammed said: “The House of Representatives has kept faith with exposing corruption and for us; we have done our job. If the President has finally decided to do his now, then we are on the same page.”

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

ernorship ticket in the 2015 general election. The former minister spoke in Abuja during the handover to the Minister of State, Darius Ishiaku, who is now presiding as the acting Minister. Orubebe said: “For the avoidance of doubt, I was not dropped; I was not sacked. I put in my resignation letter because I am venturing into politics in another dimension at the Federal and state levels.” The former minister said he could talk boldly now about the President since he is no longer in government. He said: “He (Jonathan) means well for this country. His dream is to see that Nigeria is placed in the right place.”

Though Mohammed refused to comment on the budgetary figure for the National Conference convoked by the Presidency, he assured that the House would review the proposal when it comes to the National Assembly. He said: “As an institution, it is too early for us to talk about the desirability of the conference and the budget for it. But when they bring it to us, we will look at it critically.” Asked about the legality of defection on the floor of the House while the Senate re-

fused to recognise similar attempts, Ogene (APGA, Anambra) said Speaker Aminu Tambuwal was merely abiding by an early court order restraining him from declaring members’ seats vacant. He said: “I would like to remark that Tambuwal is a lawyer and, being a professional, he has to abide by the Rules. He is an embodiment of wishes and aspirations of all members in the House. “He is simply obeying court orders. Any communication that comes to him, he will address it.”

Pilgrims’ camps for international airports


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has directed appropriate authorities to build pilgrims camps at the nation’s international airports. The President gave the directive yesterday in Abuja when he received the report of the Federal Government’s delegation to the 2013 Christian pilgrimage, led by the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. After discussing the matter with relevant ministers, Jonathan said the Federal Government would start budgeting for the facilities to cover the affected airports. The President explained that facilities at the camps could be used for other purposes when they are not used for pilgrimage. He said: “Pilgrims camps should be built inside all international airports in Nigeria. We must build these

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

facilities for Christian and Muslim pilgrims since many people are being moved about the same time every year. “The government must take steps to provide such

facilities. Such facilities can also be used for other things when they are not deployed for pilgrimage. “We will discuss with the ministers and we will begin to budget for it so that gradually, we will begin to provide the facilities at our international airports, espe-

cially the ones that are being used for this purpose.” To ease the movement of pilgrims, Jonathan assured that the Nigerian government would pursue the implementation of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with the State of Israel to a logical conclusion.

Paper-based tests to end in 2015, says JAMB


HE Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) yesterday said it will end paper-based examinations in 2015. Its Deputy Director, Quality Assurance Department, Pastor Francis Ojo, spoke in AdoEkiti, the Ekiti State capital, at a national workshop on the use of computer-based tests for final year pupils of secondary schools in the state. Ojo said no candidate wishing to gain admission into a university, polytechnic or college of education would have the option of writing the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) by the usual paper-based option. He explained that, as being speculated in some quarters, “there is no going back on the board’s resolve to stick to the computer-based test, be-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

cause the paper and pencil option has ended”. The JAMB director said there was “nowhere in the world today where public examinations, such as the UTME, are written with pencils or biros”. He added: “The case of Nigeria cannot be an exception.” Ojo urged parents and pupils to embrace the computer-based test, adding that it is to their advantage. Some of the benefits of the computer-based test, according to him, include “release of result not lasting over 72 hours, absence of familiar examination malpractices, zero result seizure as well as absence of external influences”.




Jonathan assures of enhanced welfare for Nigerians


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan promised yesterday to improve the living standard of Nigerians. The President restated his administration’s commitment to consolidate the reforms in the Housing sector to address the huge deficit in the country. Jonathan spoke at the inauguration of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria’s (FMBN’s) Aviation Village in Abuja and the National Housing Fund (NHF) e-card scheme. He said the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 housing retreat in Abuja gave birth to the new housing units. According to him, the National Policy on Housing, adopted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2012, would also drive the reforms because mortgage institutions were being strengthened to accommodate low-income earners.

•President inaugurates Aviation Village, NHF e-card scheme From Augustine Ehikioya and Grace Obike, Abuja

Jonathan hailed the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and FMBN for initiating and financing the Aviation Village project. The President described the project as one of the products of the reforms in the housing sector. He said: “I assure you that improving the living standards of Nigerians is an imperative which we are resolutely pursuing.” On the NHF e-card scheme, he said it was an effective tool for NHF contributors to access and monitor their contributions and transactions with the fund. Jonathan explained that part of his administration’s objectives was to promote openness in government business, boost contributors’

confidence and encourage defaulters to comply by making their contributions when due. The President hailed the PublicPrivate-Partnership (PPP) arrangement, which led to the birth of the Aviation Village. He said: “Our intention is not to create a government monopoly but to encourage the private sector to drive the process while we provide the right policies and environment.” On the few number of houses being inaugurated, Jonathan stressed that “what makes change is not the big things we do but the little things we do and do them well.” The President said the ability to recreate and replicate small housing estates in more places was better than one large estate of thousands of houses that may not keep

provide jobs for Nigerians who work there. He said: “I am pleased to inaugurate the Aviation Village, a residential housing estate developed for Nigerians under our housing scheme and to formerly launch the National Housing Fund’s electronic card. The significance of both projects is better appreciated when we recall that only three weeks ago, on January 16, I launched the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company. “Together, there are strong indicators of the quick wins emerging from the invigorated approach this administration has adopted in addressing the housing challenges facing our people. Having listened to others who spoke, you will say that these are government functionaries. But when you listen to Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar (Nigeria

Labour Congress (NLC) president), you will not but agree that we are working. “In every economy, the housing sector plays a critical role in economic empowerment, job creation and wealth generation. For this administration, improving the living standards of our people is a cardinal objective for which we are committed, and we are pursuing the development of the Nigerian housing sector under our transformation agenda. “Contributors will not only find the e-card useful in managing their fund but also boost their confidence in the national housing scheme. Those who are still in breach of the law by not contributing should now be comfortable to comply since they are assured of the safety and proper application of their money.”

Court to rule March 20 on ALGON leadership crisis


From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

FEDERAL High Court in Abuja yesterday fixed March 20 to rule in a suit on the leadership dispute in the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON). Justice Abdulkadir Abdulkafarati chose the date after listening to the argument of the plaintiffs’ motion for injunction and the defendants’ preliminary objection. ALGON’s National President Ozo Nwabueze Okafor and other leaders sought an order restraining a group seeking to change the leadership of the association. The defendants are: Akuso Da juma, Nse Ntuen, Segun Agbaje, Cornelius Nnaji, Walson Chubby, Chioma Ogoke, U.K. Ibrahim, Benson Asin, Ategbero Odunayo, Ikra Bilbis and Cyril Odinaka Okafor. They are the first to the 12th defendants. Okafor and other plaintiffs also seek an order restraining the first to the seventh defendants from acting or parading themselves as the appointed or constituted members of the National Management Committee of


ALGON. The plaintiffs also seek to restrain the eighth to 12th defendants from parading themselves or acting as the trustees of ALGON, pending the hearing and determination of the suit. In a supporting affidavit, Okafor averred that he was elected in March 2012 for a three-year tenure, which will expire in March next year. The plaintiff said on July 26, last year, the eighth to 12th defendants took a writ of summons, praying the court to declare their removal as trustees of ALGON illegal. He also averred that “on December 4, the eighth to 12th, again, in the guise of (being) registered trustees of ALGON, took out another writ of summons praying the court for an order that my tenure in office as ALGON President had lapsed.” Okafor added: “ spite of these pending suits before the courts, the eighth to 12th defendants constituted the first to seventh defendants as Interim Management Committee of ALGON.”

Wike: Fed Govt ‘ll issue more private varsities’ licences

HE Supervising Minister for Education, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, has said the Federal Government will continue to issue licences to qualified people to operate private universities. The minister said this would enable Nigerians to have easy access to quality education. Wike spoke in Abuja when he hosted the management of Nigerian-Turkish Nile University. The minister said the Federal Government would continue to collaborate with international agencies to develop university education. He noted that the framework established by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, through the National Universities Commission (NUC), had boosted the quality of international and local private universities in

By Olamilekan Andu

Nigeria. Wike said: “We are happy that the Nigerian-Turkish Nile University has played a key role in the development of university education in the country. “We shall continue to partner your government and other key development agencies in Nigeria to develop our university education.” The minister accepted the invitation of the university management to tour the facilities at the institution. He also approved the participation of the Federal Ministry of Education in the International Olympiad, to be organised by the university. The vice chancellor, Prof Huseyin Sert, said the university would always contribute to the development of the nation’s Education sector.

•AirVice Marshall Iloenyosi (left) presenting a plague to Rear Admiral Alade...yesterday PHOTO:PRECIOUS IGBONWELUNDU

Military chiefs: security forces should work together


ENIOR military officers restated yesterday the need for security agencies and operatives to work together for the nation’s peace and unity. The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command (WNC), Rear Admiral Sanmi Alade and the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Air Force Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) M. V. C. Iloenyosi spoke in Lagos during Alade’s first official visit to Iloenyosi. They noted that collaboration was not enough, because there is need for security agencies to be mentally alert to accept their cooperation to fight a common enemy. Alade, who also visited the Nigerian Armed Forces Reset-

By Precious Igbonwelundu

tlement Centre (NAFRC), Oshodi, told Iloenyosi that his visit was to further strengthen the harmonious relationship between the sister forces. The FOC noted that friendly disposition among security agencies was needed, especially in managing the current challenging times the country is facing. He said: “Count on me and my command to render necessary assistance, especially in the critical area of security. If we continue to collaborate, events will come and go successfully.” Iloenyosi said the Navy and the Air Force had a lot in common towards the security of the nation’s assets especially in litoral states.

“Our shore lines are dotted with a lot of resources that we cannot afford to lose. It was part of the reasons the Air Force combined with the navy to establish the AeroMaritime Umbrella to ensure commonality of purpose. “We must work in synergy and ensure that our jointness go beyond collaboration. There should be a mental aloftness by our personnel to accept that we will be able to fight as one efficient force. To achieve this, we must internalise the jointness of purpose and policies. “We must strive to imbibe concept and orientation of jointness. I am positive that together, we will be able to smash the challenges confronting this nation. We must

cement and revive the spirit of oneness,” he said. He disclosed that the forces intend to establish a synergy that will see them through in line of duty, adding that the Air Force’s platforms shall be available for use by the navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). Also, a British Warship HRM Portland has made a port call to the WNC, as part of efforts to ensure the nation’s water is free of sea criminals. The ship’s captain, Commander Susan West, during a visit to the FOC West, Admiral Alade, said they would spend five days in Nigeria and will carry out joint exercises with Nigerian Navy personnel.

Jimoh Ibrahim gives Newswatch editor’s children scholarship


UBLISHER Jimoh Ibrahim has awarded scholarship up to university level to the three children of the late Deputy Editor of Saturday Newswatch, Mr Toyin Obadina. Obadina was shot by gunmen in the wee hours of Saturday, February 1, close to his house in Ikorodu, Lagos State. He left behind an aged mother, a wife and three children, aged 12, nine and five years.

The education of the children, who are in primary and junior secondary schools, would be taken over by the business mogul, according to a statement by the Managing Director/ Chief Executive of Newswatch, Mr. Moses Jolayemi. Obadina’s widow will also be set up as an entrepreneur, a demonstration of the operational ground work of the organisation, that every worker should be self-sus-

taining and a manager of resources. Ibrahim approved that the organisation bear the cost of Obadina’s burial on February 15, at his home, 2 Macjobi Crescent, Adamo, Ikorodu, Lagos State. He prayed God to lighten the burden of Obadina’s demise on the family, adding that the loss was difficult to bear. The GMD noted that Obadina was “an accomplished journalist, who dis-

tinguished himself as a competent member of staff” from inception of the newspaper. Ibrahim said: “Beyond his competence, he demonstrated loyalty to the organisation.” The business mogul said he felt obliged to ensure that the family Obadina left behind is not left in the cold. He thanked well-meaning Nigerians for their concern and condolences.




Hausa community backs Fayemi


HE Arewa Community in Ekiti State has donated an 18-seater Toyota bus and 10 motorcycles to the campaign for Governor Kayode Fayemi’s re-election. Handing over the keys to Fayemi on Wednesday at the Governor’s Office in AdoEkiti, the state capital, the group’s Chairman, Alhaji Imam Adamu, said the community believes in Fayemi’s vision to transform the state, adding that the governor should be given another term to complete on-going projects. Adamu, who was accompanied by over 100 of his kinsmen, said: “On behalf of the Hausa Community in Ekiti, we are here today to present our donation in support of your second term agenda. We are 100 per cent with you and we pray God will continue to be with us all. Insha Allah, we will achieve our aim. We shall be victorious. I know you are a man who fulfils promises because you fulfilled all your past promises.” Fayemi assured them that he would not relent in his efforts to transform the state. He urged them to see

•Fayemi addressing the Arewa Community...on Wednesday. Inset: the motorcycles.

themselves as bonafide members of the state, having contributed so much to its growth. The governor said: “This is a humbling and pleasant surprise from you. I cannot thank you enough for your

support in the last threeand-a-half years and even before I became governor. We are in this together. Yes, you belong to the Arewa community, but you are authentic members of Ekiti State. You will enjoy all the

PDP fixes Ekiti, Osun primaries for March 15, April 5


Nigeria will survive, says Anglican Bishop


IGERIA will emerge stronger from the various challenges confronting it, the Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West Anglican Communion, Rev. James Odedeji, said yesterday. He said the prayers of Nigerians and the commitment of God will see the nation through its many patches. Odedeji spoke with reporters ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church (AVMCC) in Ikeja, Lagos. The anniversary, with the theme: “His abundant grace”, begins on Monday with a threeday fasting and prayer. Other activities lined up for the celebration are visits to orphanages, anniversary lecture, society celebration and presentation of the anniversary compendium. Others include endowment luncheon, love feast, founder’s day Eucharist service and variety night/launch of a documentary. Bishop Odedeji said: “The church shall step up prayers for the country and we believe this nation will survive regardless of the challenges facing it. We believe God is committed to Nigeria and He would not allow anything or anybody to break this nation.”

By Sunday Oguntola

He attributed the success of the church in 50 ears to God, saying: “He is the secret of our success. Many people would not believe that AVMCC is only 50 years old. It is younger than many churches in the diocese, yet, it has attained the number one position.” Highlighting the many strides of the church, Bishop Odedeji said: “The impact of the church has been felt in preaching and promoting holiness. We have established many other churches and supported other dioceses and churches outside Lagos. Even in the United States (U.S.), God has used us in supporting one of the dioceses in the propagation of the gospel.” Chairman of the 50th anniversary committee, Prof. Wale Omole, said the lecture will be delivered by a former presidential candidate, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite. The topic is: “The church today”. He said the endowment fund will be dedicated to furthering the several humanitarian projects of the church while the award ceremony is packaged to recognise those who rendered valuable services to the church in the last 50 years.

turn also deserves another. We will continue to live up to our promises to the Arewa Community and, in the areas that we have not fully delivered, I assure you that we will deliver. We will work with you to build a

better, more prosperous and healthy community here in Ekiti State.” The bus and motorcycles were branded with the logo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Fayemi’s picture.

Remove campaign bill boards, Jega tells Osun politicians

From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has fixed March 15 for the governorship primary in Ekiti State. That of Osun State would hold on April 5. According to a timetable released yesterday by the PDP Secretariat, the sale of nomination forms for the Ekiti election will start from February 24 and end on March 3. That of Osun begins on March 14 and ends on March 21. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed the Ekiti election for June 21 and that of Osun for August 9.

rights and privileges of Ekiti citizens because you contribute to the state’s economy, peace and progress. “This gesture is an indication that one good term deserves another and one good

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo



NDEPENDENT National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega has called for the removal of campaign billboards in Osun State. He said the erection of the bill boards was illegal. Jega spoke yesterday in Osogbo, the state capital, at


a stakeholders’ meeting with the representatives of parties. He said erecting bill boards before the time stipulated by the law was an electoral offence and attracts stiff penalty. The representatives of some parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), demanded the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Rufus Akeju, and walked out of the

meeting. Representatives of over 20 parties, civil society organisations and traders were at the meeting. Jega assured them that the poll would be credible. The meeting however took a new dimension when some political parties protested to the chairman and advanced reasons for the removal of the resident Electoral commissioner, Doctor Rufus Akeju On the call for the REC’s removal, Jega said no official accused of partisanship

would be removed or redeployed unless evidence is provided to back the allegations. He said INEC has improved on the mistakes of the Anambra election and urged stakeholders to support the commission to conduct a free and fair poll. Secretary of the Interparty Advisory Council of Nigeria Peter Ameh urged parties to shun destructive criticisms Akeju said the commission was sensitising the public on the electoral process.

Ladoja, Oyo APC trade words

HE All Progressives Congress (APC) and Accord in Oyo State engaged yesterday in a war of words. Accord leader former Governor Rashidi Ladoja, at a rally to welcome new members into his party in Lalupon, Lagelu Local Government, accused the Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration of ineptitude. The APC, in a statement by its Interim Publicity Secretary, Kolawole Dauda, told Ladoja to focus on his trial for alleged fraud, adding that he had no moral right to criticise anyone until he clears his name. Ladoja said: “The government is full of deceit. When they came in, they said they did the express

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

way, but why can’t they develop areas like Labo, Gege Oke-Are and Isale-Osi. “They have enslaved the people through their various lies. They claim taps are running in the state; it is not true. Half of the money they spent on flowers and landscaping could have been spent on providing classrooms and furniture in schools. If the schools they attended were like the ones they are running now, would they have attained their present status? In the past, we did not have more than 30 pupils per class, but now, in some schools, they have 10 classes being attended to by four teachers. With

this, what type of future are we giving our children. “Since Alhaji Lamidi Adesina’s death, the governor assumed he has no leader again. This government does not mean well for the people. I implore you to be law abiding and peaceful in your conduct. By the grace of God, we shall form the next government in the state with the assistance of the electorate.” APC said: “It is only in a Third World country like ours that someone on trial for allegedly defrauding the state would not be sober, but preening himself like a turtle-dove and preparing to come back to the same seat where he performed woefully. In Oyo State, we have about three

of such: Ladoja, Adebayo Alao-Akala and Femi Babalola. What unites these three governorship aspirants is the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). They are all on trial for allegedly siphoning billions of the people’s money. “In the state’s history, no government has brought as much development to the state as the APC administration. Even outsiders curse past governors for retarding the state’s growth. While they were in office, it was one violence incident or the other. While Ladoja was arrogant and did not nominate board members for close to two years, AlaoAkala was busy running after his cosmetics. It is only now that the people can point to development.”



NEWS Senator Tinubu supports CDAs


ENATOR Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) yesterday donated N50, 000 to each of the 27 Community Development Associations (CDAs) in Lagos Island East Local Council Development Area (LCDA). The occasion was the inauguration of the LCDA’s Community Development Committee (CDC) at the Christ Cathedral School on Broad Street, Lagos. Mrs. Tinubu also donated N100, 000 to the CDC. The senator, who was represented by the LCDA Chairman, Kamal Salau Bashua, said: “Today’s inauguration is to continue with the good work of the community. We are not talking about building houses, but the security of our social and family values, because the CDAs are the closest to the grassroots.” Bashua thanked Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola for installing street lights in the council, saying it has improved security. He said: “We thank the governor for illuminating our community, because it has really helped us in terms of security. You can now walk at 2 or 3 a.m. on Lagos Island without anyone stopping you.” Bashua also thanked Senator Tinubu for her support. He

By Ibrahim Adam

said CDAs and CDC were agents of change because they are closer to the people. CDC Chairman Florentino Sanya described Senator Tinubu as a “distinguished politician” and declared her the committee’s grand patron. He said: “Senator Tinubu is a distinguished politician and, on behalf of the CDAs and CDC, we have endorsed her for a second term because when Lagos Island speaks, Lagos speaks. Also, the CDC declares Senator Tinubu its grand patron. “

N5.6b scam: Ex-Oyo HoS loses property


ORMER Oyo State Head of Service (HoS) Alhaja Kudirat Adeleke and eight others are to forfeit their property, pending the determination of the N5.6 billion pension scam case against them. An Oyo State High Court yesterday granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC’s) application for an interim forfeiture of property. The other suspects are FIMHAB Nigeria Limited;

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Iyabo Giwa; DUMATH Investment & Services Nig. Limited; Oguntayo Banji; Adebiyi Musendiq Olasumbo; Adeduntan Johnson and Kareem Rasheed. The court granted the forfeiture of nine property, mostly situated in Oyo State, pending conclusion of probe into the teachers’pension scam. The order reads: “An order granting interim attachment/forfeiture of the prop-

erty listed in schedules 1-9 of this application to the Federal Government, pending the final determination of charge No. 1/6EFCC/2013 - Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Muili Hakeem Aderemi and 11 others. “An order granting attachment/forfeiture of the property of the persons listed in schedules 1-9 of this application to the Federal Government pending conclusion of probe into other acts of fraud and criminal allegations by the EFCC.”

Alhaja Adeleke’s property on Plot 4, Oba Adesoji Aderemi road in Agodi GRA, Ibadan, tagged as “a well fenced fully detached luxurious bungalow”; and Aderemi’s duplex on 917.171sqm at Oluwole in Bodija were affected. FIMHAB Nigeria Limited, owned by one of the suspects also lost farms, plants and machinery. The forfeited property include generating sets worth over N2 million and more than 13 vehicles.

Akure lawyers sue Ondo govt From Damisi Ojo, Akure


HIRTEEN members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Akure branch, have sued the Ondo State government for unlawful detention. They were locked in on the premises of their chambers for six days by about 20 policemen on the directive of Ondo State Board of Internal Revenue. The lawyers are demanding N500 million as compensation. Former Akure NBA Secretary Charles Titiloye, who filed the suit on behalf of other occupants of the premises, is seeking a court declaration that the respondents’ action violated the applicants’ rights. The applicants are seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the respondents and their agents from infringing on their (applicants) rights by locking them up unlawfully or in any other manner inconsistent with due process. Titiloye said the respondents, led by Mrs. Monisola Olaoye, on February 4 stormed their law office with about 20 policemen and locked in 14 lawyers and about 60 occupants, thereby unlawfully detaining them and restricting their movement. He said the respondent’s action was based on an expired exparte order from the Chief Judge, Justice Sehinde Kumuyi, which was not directed at the applicants. Omolade said the order applied to another premises, not theirs. He said despite explanations and letters to the respondents, they refused to release them. Titiloye said the applicants were entitled to N500 million compensation because the respondents’ action caused them to lose patronage and earnings, and subjected them to a degrading treatment. Joined as respondents is the Commissioner of Police, Patrick Dokumor.

•A crowd at the De Raufs continuity rally in Ede, Osun State, to mobilise support for Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s re-election...yesterday.

Court bars ex-senator from building on Ikoyi land


USTICE Folasade Bankole-Oki of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, yesterday ordered the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, Ikechukwu Obiora, to stop developing a property on No. 6, Okotie-Eboh Street in Ikoyi, Lagos. The judge ordered that the status quo should be maintained, pending the hearing of the claimant’s application. She warned that anyone flouting the order would be held in contempt. “I do not need to tell anybody that when there is a status quo order, there would be legal consequences, if it is violated,” she said. Justice Bankole-Oki ordered that a photograph of the property be taken to show its present state, adding: “The photograph of the property would be verified by counsel by way of an affidavit.” The claimant, Chief Louis Onwugbenu, sued Obiora; his company, Corporate Ideals Properties Limited; a businessman, A.B.C. Orjiako; and a property firm, Orangeline Limited. Onwugbenu claimed that he paid N1.4 billion to the senator for the property and others in Lagos. He asked the court to declare him the owner of the property.


By Joseph Jibueze

He sought an order directing the defendants to return the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of the property to him and perfect the title in his name. In the alternative, Onwugbenu sought an order directing Obiora to refund N1.4 billion to him. He accused Obiora of demolishing a three-storey building on the land. Onwugbenu ’s lawyer Philip Umeh said: “The property was demolished without any order of this court. For us, it is a sad day that for a matter that is in court, a party could engage in such self-help.” Obiora denied Onwugbeni’s claims, saying: “The claimant is not entitled to the declarations sought in this suit, as he paid N1.4 billion. The sums provided by the claimant to the first defendant, which have almost been refunded, came between April, 2009 and August, 2010, long after the acquisition of the enumerated property, which do not belong to the first defendant, who received the money from the claimant.” Hearing of the claimant’s application was fixed for March 6.

Police arrest fake journalist for alleged rape

HE Ogun State Police Command has arrested a fake journalist, Tosin Awotedo (47), for allegedly defiling a 10-year-old girl in Igbeba, Ijebu-Ode. Awotedo allegedly raped the minor, who hawks fufu, four times in his apartment. The girl’s mother reported the case to the police. Police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi said it was discovered that the sus-

•Robbery suspect killed in Ogun

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

pect, who claimed to be a journalist, was a fake. Adejobi said a medical examination confirmed that the victim was raped, adding that Awotedo would be charged to court. He said the anti-crime patrol team attached to the Onipanu Division in Otta, on

Wednesday, engaged some robbers in a gun battle on Ilasa road, killing one of them. The others escaped with bullet wounds. Adejobi said: “The robbery victim said the robbers trailed him from a bank where he withdrew N100,000 and robbed him at gun point at his home in Iyesi Otta. Police detectives responded to a distress

call from his neighbour and trailed the robbers, leading to a gun battle with the robbers. “One browning pistol with ammunition and N65,000 were recovered from the dead robber. The command assures the public of protection of life and property. We urge the people to contact the police whenever the need arises. The Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye, appreciates the victim’s neighbour, who alerted the police.”

Kidnapped Ekiti businessman freed From Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor


HE Ekiti State busi nessman, Chief Femi Fadeyi, who was kidnapped on Monday at IdoEkiti, was freed yesterday. Family sources said N1.5 million was paid to his abductors for his realease. A source said: “Chief (Fadeyi) was released yesterday morning, after the gunmen were paid N1.5 million. They initially demanded N10 million. We thank God he has returned hale and hearty.” Fadeyi could not be reached for comments. He was abducted by five gunmen at a filling station. The Osuta of Ido-Ekiti, Chief James Olowo, decried the rising spate of crime. He urged the Federal Government to emulate the state government by tackling insecurity through youth empowerment, adding: “Now is the time to be serious about security, as kidnapping has become a problem.”





NEWS Three Tiv farmers killed in Benue


From Uja Emmanuel,Makurdi

HREE Tiv farmers were yesterday allegedly killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Tse-Akpam, Logo Local Government Area of Benue State. Governor Gabriel Suswam hails from Logo Local Government. Narrating the incident, a young man, who identified himself as Tyovenda, said the victims were killed on their way home after a fishing expedition in a popular fish pond within the community. “As the three Tiv farmers were on their way home, suspected Fulani herdsmen ambushed and shot them at close range, they died on the spot,” Tyovenda said. He said three other victims are receiving treatment at Ayilamo Health Centre in Ayilamo, administrative head quarters of Tombo ward in Logo Local Government. Residents of the area, who are mostly peasant farmers, were seen moving their belongings and children away from the crisis zone. Police spokesman Daniel Ezeala said he was yet to get the report. Tiv farmers and Fulani nomad have been at war with each other over grazing land.

Body urges Christians, Muslims to avoid crisis

•Tinubu hailed for resolving impasse • Wife of Kwara State Governor Mrs Omolewa Ahmed speaking at a cancer rally visit to the Aloffa’s Palace ... yesterday. With her are the Aloffa of Ilofa, Oba Samuel Dada and Chairperson, Oke-Ero Local Government Area, Mrs Aminat Yusuf.

I’m not here to favour any party, says Kwara CP


WARA State Commissioner of Police Ambrose Aisabo yesterday said he was not posted to the state to favour any party. The All Progressives Congress (APC) alleged that the commissioner was deployed to the state to replicate the Rivers State saga. Speaking with reporters in Ilorin, Aisabo said his posting was routine. “My posting to the state was routine. There is no ulterior motive about it. So let me correct the impression some people have about my deployment to Kwara State.


From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

meeting by Jamillu Abdulahi and Annum Jethro Terhile, chairman and secretary, the group noted that the establishment of Almajirin nomadic schools would stamp out ignorance among youths. The communiqué reads: ‘We, members of Voice of Arewa Youths, have taken a deep and patriotic assessment of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President, Namadi Sambo and hereby to commend their com-

mitment to peace in the region and Nigeria in general. ‘That the establishment of Almajiri and nomadic schools will put to rest the era when perpetrators of violence in the region often capitalise on misinforming ignorant youths, who were mostly illiterates.” The group further lauded the administration for the proposed N2 billion counterpart initiative funding for a special economic development, urging it increase the amount to cover the huge loss the region has witnessed due to the activities of insurgents.

Court restores Otukpo’s status

HE Appeal Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State, yesterday upheld the decision of a lower court to restore the suppressed ‘Otukpo state constituency.’ By this judgment, election shall be held to produce a member representing Otukpa in the House of Assembly. Otukpa is the headquarters of Ogbadibo Local Government with its state constitu-


“The deployment affected 24 commissioners of police so mine is not an exception. Also the situation that I was brought to Kwara to help a political party is not true. I am a policeman. I am not a politician. I have never played politics before and I can never play politics. I want to assure you I am not going to create any political debacle in this state. I will be fair. I will allow God to guide my actions. I will be firm. “I will not tolerate political excesses and violence. Any act

of political violence will be ruthlessly dealt with by this command. “So let me plead with you that we are partners in progress. Let us work together for the goodness of the country. “I will be fair to all the registered parties. Mine is to maintain law and order in Kwara State. That is why I was posted here. I cannot be partisan. I will not support any party. Whatever I do will be guided by the constitution, the rule of law and the police regulations. That is what I am going to abide by.

Group lauds Jonathan, Sambo

N umbrella body of 105 youth groups in the North, Arewa Youth Vanguard, has supported the measure adopted by the Goodluck Jonathan/Namadi Sambo administration in tackling the challenges confronting the region. The group also described the planned national conference as an opportunity for all strata of the state to contribute toward amicably resolving the challenges bedevilling the country. In a communiqué after its national executive working


From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

ency before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) withdrew it in the Third Republic, thereby making Otukpa share the same constituency with Ogbadibo. Consequent upon the withdrawal, a pressure group, Otukpa Alede Club, Makurdi went to court to challenge INEC’s decision.

The matter, which wasfirst heard in the high court, was ruled in favour of Otukpa community last year but the judgment was appealed against by INEC. With the Appeal Court victory, Ogbadibo Local Govenment Area shall produce two members in the Assembly (Otukpa constituency and Orokam/Owukpa constituency).

Firm assures workers of welfare

HE management of Consolidated Breweries, Imagbon, Ogun State, yesterday assured workers of policies that will enhance their productivity. It also assured workers affected by retrenchment of the payment of compensation. This was contained in a

From Jeremiah Oke, Abeokuta

six-point communiqué endorsed by the management and the National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employees, after an emergency meeting. The workers protested last week, alleging that one of the managers used foul language on them.

The union’s secretary, Mr. Sansui Adedeji, said seven workers, who spent over 20 years, were disengaged without compensation. “Following our meeting with the management, we are confident that our colleagues will be compensated,” Adedeji added.

“I will soon have a meeting with leaders of registered parties. Politics has rules. “Every good politician should be guided by the Electoral Act, especially those relating to campaigns. ‘’It is not yet time for politicians to start campaigning. But we are not stopping them from meeting. If they are to have their meetings, courtesy demands that they should write and inform us so that we will ensure security.”


By Tokunbo Ogunsami

HRISTIANS and Muslims in Osun State have been urged to eschew religious crisis, to allow Governor Rauf Aregbesola deliver more dividends of democracy. The Special Assistant to Lagos State Governor on Religion (Christian), Dr. Sam Ogedengbe, spoke yesterday in Alausa, Ikeja. Ogedengbe, who is also the national president of the All Christian Leaders and Ministers Forum (ACLMF), said Christians and Muslims in Osun should not allow the wearing of hijab at Baptist High School, Iwo to degenerate into a crisis. He said before Aregbesola became governor, the educational sector was in a shambles. “That was why he merged secondary schools. Aregbesola is trying to revive the education sector. The indigenes should not distract him. They should not act as an obstacle to development. “Aregbesola is not a religious fanatic. He is a dynamic governor, who is determined to develop the state. Baptist High School, Iwo is a government school. If Christians are interested in taking it over, they should allow Aregbesola to finish the resuscitation he is doing and write him that they want to take over the school from government,” Ogedengbe said. He advised religious leaders in Osun to meet regularly with the governor to iron out sensitive issues, adding that this would prevent crises.




Malabu oil deal: Reps seek recovery of $1.092b


HE House of Repre sentatives is seeking the recovery of $1.092 billion paid on the transaction involving the Federal Government and Shell/Agip Companies and Malabu Oil and Gas in respect of oil block oil prospecting license (OPL) 245 in 2011. The report also seeks the prosecution of top government officials involved in the alleged scam. According to an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) interim report on the case, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mohammed Adoke and former Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Lawal Ngama instructed the release of the funds into Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd accounts in August 2011. In a report by the Leo Ogor-

• Seek prosecution of Adoke, Ngama • Tell Fed Govt to cancel OPL 245 • Report indict Abacha, Dan Etete From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

headed ad hoc committee on the transaction, the committee recommended: “That in line with global best practices, accountability and transparency, individuals and financial institutions linked with and found culpable by the EFCC of receiving and transferring money unlawfully with respect to or arising out of the Resolution Agreement, should be charged to an appropriate court of competent jurisdiction, and any such monies unlawfully transferred should be recovered.”

Malabu Oil and Gas is owned by Mohammed Abacha, son of the late dictator -50 per cent and former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete - 30 percent) and Pecos Energy -20 per cent. The report of the committee observed that the granting of the licences “was based on a highly flawed Resolution Agreement entered into between Malabu Oil and Gas, SNEPCO and Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd ( NAE) with the Federal Government acting as obligator. “The Resolution Agreement ceded away our National interest and further committed Nigeria to some unacceptable

indemnities and liabilities while acting as Obligator,” the report added. “Indeed, Clause 17 of the ‘ Resolution Agreement’ commits the Federal Government of Nigeria to indemnify, and even defend Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Ltd ( SNUD), Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd ( SNEPCO) and Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd ( NAE) from and against ‘all suits, proceedings, claims, demands, losses and liability of any nature or kind, including but not limited to all litigation costs, attorney’s fees, settlement payments, damages and all other related costs and expenses, based on, arising out of or in connection with the Resolution Agreement and or the issuance of the Oil Prospecting License in respect of Block 245.”

2014 budget passes Second Reading amid more knocks


HE 2014 Appropriation Bill of N4.6trillion yes terday scaled through its Second reading in the House of Representatives. While Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila said the budget proposal was replete with ‘voodoo economics and make beleive’, some lawmakers said it is a budget of consolidation. Patrick Ikhariale (PDP, Edo) said it is a budget of hope that would generate employment and commended the government for allocating funds to the agricultural sector as well as energy. The Minority Leader said

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

there were too many unclear and frivolous items in the document that are detrimental to the growth of the country and her people. He said: “It is voodoo economics when you say a 23.7 per cent capital budget will create jobs and provide inclusive growth “It is voodoo economics when you allocate N700 billion (15 per cent of your annual budget) to debt service. “How do N700 billion for debt and N1.1 trillion for capital projects claim to be a job cre-

ating and inclusive growth budget? “It is voodoo economics and a lie when you bring a budget that has fiscal deficit of N912 billion (82 per cent of N1.1 trillion capital expenditure and you call it a budget of job creation and inclusive growth!” According to him, almost every Kobo for capital will be borrowed i.e. more debt. “It is voodoo economics and a lie when the education sector budget gets a proposal of 10 per cent for capital expenditure and 90 per cent for recurrent expenditure. “You cannot grow an economy without the funda-

mentals such as sound education. Those who brought the budget did not give a damn that UNESCO (United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation) recommended a 26 per cent allocation to education sector. “For goodness sake, health sector with (the) sorry state of our health delivery system is allocated 50 per cent of the budget, a paltry sum. “In 2001, African Heads of State here in Abuja made commitment to allocate 15 per cent to health sector. Practically all other countries have met the target; please save Nigeria,” he said.


Agric mechanisation gets N3.6b cash

HE Federal Govern ment has approved N3.6 billion to support the establishment of Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE) nationwide, Agric Minister Akinwunmi Adesina, has said. He disclosed this yesterday at an interactive session with mechanisation intervention partners in Abuja. Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, Adesina said mechanisation in an agrarian country like Nigeria must be taken very seriously. The minister said the initiative would enable the country to attain the desired height of putting agriculture at the front burners of the economy. “To kick-start the implementation of this framework, I approved an intervention scheme to serve as a pilot with N3.6 billion released by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development towards financing the establishment of the Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE). “The funds in the first phase will make available 400 units of tractors, 500 power tillers, and various harvest and post-harvest equipment to set up 80 centres.’’ Adesina said government was aware of the challenges that had bedevilled the mechanisation sector in the past years, in spite of efforts to subsidise the cost of tractors by 45 per cent. He said the small scale

farmers that produced 80 per cent of the nation’s food had very little or no access to these subsidised machinery. Adesina said the second phase would achieve similar results like the first, adding that the third phase would acquire 250 tractors through the partnership programme. He predicted that at the end of the first, second and third phases, the intervention scheme would bring in 1050 units of tractors, 1500 power tillers and 2400 units of various harvest and post-equipment such as rice reapers, grain threshers and cassava peelers. Adesina also said about 210 units of the equipment would be located in demand driven locations nationwide. He said the intervention would also create 6,090 direct jobs, mechanise a minimum of 488,250 hectares of land. Adesina said the AEHEs would be run by the private sector, adding that the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) would cover the programme. In her remarks, Odusote, who was represented by a Director in the minister’s office, Dr Damilola Eniaiyeju, said the success of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) depended on mechanisation. She said in spite of government’s efforts to mechanise agriculture over the years, it was still at 0.027 horse power per hectare.







Ojavun community in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State rose last weekend for the funeral of Mrs Elizabeth Okheren Ifijeh, mother of the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Nation Mr Victor Ifijeh. NNEKA NWANERI was there.


JAVUN-Emai in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State is a rustic community. But its roads are well tarred. Beautiful buildings are springing up in the agrarian community. Last weekend, the village came alive for the funeral of Mrs Elizabeth Okheren Ifijeh, mother of the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Vintage Press Ltd, publishers of The Nation. She died on November 4, last year at 82. The road leading to the village bustled with life, with vehicles conveying guests to the funeral. The villagers stood by the roadside, watching the spectacle. Many guests arrived in the town on Friday for the wake keep. They sang praises to God for giving the Ifijehs “a mother in million”. They danced till dawn. The remains of Mrs Ifijeh laid peacefully in a well-decorated room in the family house. At dawn, preparations began in earnest for the interment. The funeral service was held at the expansive Egor Primary School field, which is a few metres away from the Ifijeh family house. A large tent and six other smaller ones sat on the field. The remains of Mrs Ifijeh were brought to the field in a motorised hearse. The brown casket was transferred unto a raised platform. The arrival of Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole caused a stir. Many of the guests ushered him in with shouts of 'Osho'!!!. The music band struck up the National Anthem to kick off the event. The late Mrs Ifijeh’s children sat on the front row of one of the canopies and occasionally wiped their faces with handkerchiefs. After some songs of praise, the opening hymn: I Am Thine O Lord, was taken. Grandson of the deceased Newton Ikpefan took the Bible reading from Matthew 13:2430. The profile of the late Mrs Ifijeh was read by her only son, Victor. It chronicled the life and accomplishments of the deceased. The choir rendered a special song in the local dialect. The young choristers, dressed in red shirts and black skirts and trousers, danced as they sang. The Pastor-in-Charge of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Ojavun Parish Pastor Michael Afeigbe, gave a brief homily titled: The Cost of Eternal Life. He admonished all to seek eternal life. Led by Comrade Oshiomhole and Mr Ifijeh, the guests filed past Mrs Ifijeh’s remains to pay her their last respects before the interment. At the graveside, Mr Ifijeh, who

•From left: Governor Oshiomhole; Mr Ifijeh and wife, Mabel

Grand exit of a sweet mother •The Nation MD buries mum in style had held himself all along, wept. His only sister Ms Caroline Ifijeh stepped up to talk. She shivered, muttered a few words and hurriedly left the graveside. She also wept. The remains of Mrs Ifjeh were interred at 12:45pm amid tears by some family members and sympathisers. The show of love for the Ifijehs was incredible. The event was one the community will talk about for long. Comrade Oshiomhole said the late Mrs Ifijeh led a good life. He said there was reason to celebrate her life. Noting that Mr Ifijeh has now become a “motherless baby”, the governor said his mother has agreed to adopt him. He promised

•From left: Mr Odunewu; Mr Edun and Rev Obadan

to erect a mini-water works in Ojavun in memory of the late Mrs Ifijeh. In attendance were former Edo State Deputy Governor Rev Peter Obadan; Senate President David Mark was represented by his spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan and Hon Victor Afam Ogene represented House of Representatives Speaker Hon Aminu Tambuwal; Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius was represented by Mr Sam Nwaobasi; Mr Okey Epia represented House Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha. Others were: Chairman, Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) Mr Young Arabamen;

the representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Mr Isaac Okoroafor; General Manager, Public Affairs, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Mr Supo Atobatele, who represented his Managing Director; Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi was represented by his Commissioner for Information Hon Tayo Ekundayo; General Manager/Editor-in-Chief, Vanguard Mr Gbenga Adefaye; Edo State Commissioner for Information Mr Louis Odion; one-time Lagos State Commissioner for Finance and Chairman Vintage Press Ltd, Mr Wale Edun; renowned essayist Prof Adebayo Williams; The Nation Editor Mr Gbenga Omotoso; Hon Mike Omo; Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Vintage Press Limited Mr Ade Odunewu; Managing Director of ThisDay Mr Eniola Bello; Editorial Board Chairman of The Nation Mr Sam Omatseye; Chief Whip, Edo State House of Assembly Fenny Ogedengbe; Dean, Post Graduate Studies of Ambrose Ali University Prof Dominic Badaiki and other top management and staff of The Nation.

•Mr Dan Unimna (left) and Mr Nwaobasi

•Ms Ifijeh

•Head of Ifijeh family, Pa Josiah Ifijeh •More pictures on page 15



SOCIETY •Continued from page 14


•Mr Tony Iyare

•From left: Alhaji Mukhtar Sirajo; Mr Omatseye; Mr Odion and Prof Williams

•Chief Press Secretary to Delta State Governor, Mr Sunny Areh (left) and Ernest Osagie

•From right: Former Punch Editor Alhaji Najeem Jimoh; Alhaji Lukman Jimoh and Mr Victor Izekor

•From left: Mr Gbayode Somuyiwa; Mr Bello and Mr Ologbodiyan

•From left: Continental Broadcasting Service (CBS) Director of News and Current Affairs Gbemiga Ogunleye; General Manager/Editor-in-Chief Vanguard Gbenga Adefaye; General Editor, The Nation Mr Adekunle Ade-Adeleye and General Manager (Training), Mr Soji Omotunde

•Hon Ogene

•Managing Director, Benin Owena River Basin Development Authority Rev Ebenezer Mafayeyomi

•From right: Mr Kassim Afegbua; Mr Ekundayo and Ekiti State Governor’s Chief Press Secretary Mr Yinka Oyebode

•Chairman, Owan East Local Government Hon Jimoh Idegbai (left) and Mr Sam Ogun PHOTOS: DAYO ADEWUNMI

•Chairman, ThisDay Editorial Board Mr Segun Adeniyi

•Mr Segun Ayobolu




JAMB Registrar’s daughter hooked Egundoyin, daughter of JAMB Registrar Prof 'Dibu Ojerinde, and Oluwatoyin, son of Rear Admiral Anthony Oni (rtd) have got married in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. ADEKUNLE JIMOH reports.

•The couple, Oluwatoyin and Egundoyin

•Oba Sijuwade

•From left: groom's parents, Admiral Oni and wife and bride's parent Prof Ojerinde and wife

•Governor Ahmed


N February 1, all roads led to Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, for the families of Prof ‘Dibu Ojerinde and Rear Admiral Anthony Oni (rtd) whose children got married. Dignitaries thronged the town for the event. The couple are Egundoyin, daughter of Prof Ojerinde, Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and Oluwatoyin, son of Rear Admiral Oni. Ilorin stood still for the high-octane event. The engagement and reception took place at the Romeichs Hall on Ajase-Ipo road. The academia and Nollywood were represented. The couple came to the Calvary Baptist Church in a Chevrolet car, looking radiant and full of smiles. Egundoyin was decked in an immaculate white flowing gown; her husband shone in a black suit, white shirt and black bow tie. The church choir entertained the gathering before the holy matrimony. The couple exchanged wedding rings and signed the dotted lines after being declared man and wife. An officiating minister, Rev Adelani Akanji, from the First Baptist Church in Garki, Abuja, urged the couple not to let their background affect the marriage. Rev Akanji said the success of any marriage is wrapped in three words, "faith, hope and love,” adding: “Each of them is a dimension of patience." "Wedding, the cleric said, ‘is not the same thing as marriage; Faith is patience with God and hope is patience with each other. Love is also patience with each other.

"You are married today, but you are not yet a champion; you are just work in progress. I urge you not to rate yourselves empirically." The masters of ceremony, Ajele and Baba T, doled out rib cracking jokes. The couple tried to outdo each other on the dance floor. Gospel musician Yinka Ayefele entertained guests at the reception. Speaking with The Nation, the groom, Oluwatoyin, said he met his wife, a friend to his younger brother, about six years ago. The groom, who could not hide his happiness, added: "Today is one of my happiest days. My wife is a beautiful, charming, patient and God-fearing lady. She is also peaceful and heartwarming. She is an epitome of everything good. We met about six years ago; she is a friend to my brother." Egundoyin described her husband as caring. "He possesses everything I desire in a man; we met about six years ago through his brother who is my friend. I believe God ordained us to meet via that encounter." Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah

•Otunba Adeyemo (left) and Aare Ayanlakin

Ahmed, the special guest of honour, counselled couple not to bring a third party into their marriage. "Let your good upbringing reflect in your marriage everyday. This will make your marriage blissful” . At the event were Deputy Governors of Ekiti and Oyo states, Prof Modupe Adelabu and Otunba Moses

Adeyemo; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade; former Oyo State Governor, Adebayo AlaoAkala; former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Samuel Afolayan and wife, Precious; immediate past Commissioner of Police, Mr Agboola Oshodi-Glover; Accountant-General of the Federation Mr Niyi Otunla;

•Mr Otunla

Secretary to Kogi State Government Prof Olugbemiro Jegede; Chief Medical Director (CMD), University College, Ibadan, Prof Tope Alonge, Royal Ambassador to the Alaafin of Oyo Aare Ayandotun Ayanlakin, staff of the National Examination Council (NECO) and JAMB.

The alumni of Henley Business School in Greenland, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, England held their inaugural summit at the Ocean Basket on Victoria Island, Lagos. OLATUNDE ODEBIYI was there.


T was the maiden summit for the alumni of Henley Business School in Nigeria. They stormed the first floor of the Ocean Basket for the inaugural event. They arrived at the venue in exotic cars and outfits. The tiles on the first floor of the Ocean Basket sparkled. Basket chairs were also set around a long rectangular tables. The waiters promptly attended to the guests, offering them food and drinks. The evening was a gathering of those who passed through Henley Business School. The Coordinator of the Henley Business School Alumni, Chief Fassy Yusuf, received members as they arrived. His son, Segun Yusuf ensured guests were comfortable and had a nice time all through. Before the event kicked off about 7pm, guests greeted and chatted with each other. The coordinator opened the floor

with an introduction of Henley Business School and what the alumni association set out to achieve. Chief Yusuf, the Baagbimo of Ijebuland, said the gathering was meant to harness potentials, strategise, learn and tap from each other's knowledge for nation building. "We want to contribute to the nation intellectually and in all other areas by using the knowledge we have acquired outside the country to develop our nation; we also aim to assist and address the needs of each other in the association," he said. The convener of the alumni, Flora Omosevwerha, listed some of the challenges facing the association. "Bringing all the alumni together is a bit challenging because some of them do not really take it serious. Besides, the world is a very busy place and people are distracted by many things, including work and family, so getting people's attention

Old students reunite •From left: Chief Yusuf; Ms Omosevwerha; an Accountant, Mr Bayo Osindero and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Tamy Consulting, Mr.Tolu Ojo PHOTO: ADEJO DAVID

is quite challenging, out of about 200 graduates of us in Nigeria, there is a

little fraction of that number here, so the challenge of getting people's

attention is quite a huge task" Omosevwerna said.









Ogbeni’s intervention

• With his recent step, we hope the religious stir will give way to educational dividends in Osun State


HE issue seemed innocuous at first. The Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, started a programme to restructure and reclassify schools in an effort to redeem an educational system long lost in a rut. It was a massive affair involving close to 2,000 schools. The project proceeded noiselessly until rumbles began in a few schools, about three, and the contention set the distinction between state and religion to the front burner. It first began as an accusation that the governor had instructed students to wear hijab, a Muslim wear, for all students, including Christian wards. It turned out a distortion, as the matter is litigation by a non-government body. But the matter persisted and while it was quiet in virtually all the state, the rumpus

‘It is also a tragedy that in contextualising the Iwo drama, commentators have failed to see that in all the close to 2,000 schools in the state, only a few see this as a matter of spilling bad blood. Even though the governor had said that he did not authorise a wear, why did the commentators not point out that he specifically introduced a uniform that bore no distinct religious vintage? He showcased this fact by wearing it to the school’

became identified with Iwo town and not the whole town, but the Baptist High School. What was the issue? It was that some parents did not want their children to abide in a school with children of other faiths – a school of interfaith. Some commentators fulminated that the governor was turning a forbidden issue into a tinderbox, and they had insisted that the governor reverse his programme because students of different faiths could not be forced to learn secular matters under the same roof. The counter-argument was that the religious bodies that insisted ownership of the school’s lifestyle had not, since the takeover in 1976, contributed to the school equipment, curricula or infrastructure all these years. They did not also enlist when the governor introduced the free feeding to the students as part of the nourishment for education. Why were they waking up this late with a proprietary air because the schools, all Osun State schools, were undergoing perhaps the biggest wave of transformation any school system has witnessed in this country on a tab of about N30 billion? It was clear that the matter of faith was no easy one when recently the students of differing faiths contested for sartorial supremacy. The governor intervened by visiting the school in his drama of sartorial solidarity. His was a peace mission, and it was highlighted by a six-man committee he set up to look into the matter with a view to putting the crisis behind. The committee included Gbadegesin Adedeji – its chairman. The others are T.A. Oni – who is secretary-, Israel Ajao, former assistant inspector-general of police, and Alhaji Bola Asafa.

Calm has reportedly returned to the schools and community, and what the governor has done chimes in with the highest tenets of all religions – harmony and peace among all people. Ironically, Yorubaland is that last place we expect such scents of dissent based on faith. Historically the Yorubas have always lived peacefully in an ambience of Islam, Christianity and Ifa, and such distinction of syncretism has set them apart from other ethnic groups in West Africa. It is also a tragedy that in contextualising the Iwo drama, commentators have failed to see that in all the close to 2,000 schools in the state, only a few see this as a matter of spilling bad blood. Even though the governor had said that he did not authorise a wear, why did the commentators not point out that he specifically introduced a uniform that bore no distinct religious vintage? He showcased this fact by wearing it to the school. He said: “We are a product of the rule of law and this has guided all our actions. As we said in the past, we have not approved the use of hijab. I repeat it again for the hearing of mischief makers, who have been working tirelessly to bring religious war to our state. This government did not approve the use of hijab in any school before the matter went to court. It is the court’s position that the status quo be maintained until the case is determined.” The governor had said this several times before February 10 when he visited Baptist High School. We hope that the committee will put paid to the stir and allow attention to turn to the massive school transformation in progress.

Soldiers’ unpaid allowances


•We want to know the true position of the money because we don’t want a repeat of the 2008 scenario

FTER the experience of the 28 soldiers, who on July 4, 2008 protested non-payment of their foreign mission allowances by blocking Ondo-Akure Road for several hours, we would have thought that would be the last time we would be witnessing such incident. It ended up in a celebrated case that attracted the attention of Nigerians to the plight of the soldiers. Unfortunately, more than five years after, we are back to square one, with another batch of soldiers on foreign mission accusing the military authorities of the same infraction. This time, about 800 soldiers under the Nigerian Army Battalion from Zuru, Kebbi State, that participated in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Sudan last year are unhappy over the delay in releasing their allowances. They say their compulsory savings for five of the six months they spent in Sudan are missing. “We were entitled to N180,000 equivalent of Nigeria’s currency; out of which they gave us one hundred dollars, which is about N17,000. The authorities were supposed to keep the rest N163,000 in a compulsory account for us. But when we went to the bank, we realised that they had paid only one month, out of six that were spent there,” a source said. We do not know what informed the idea of the compulsory savings for the soldiers. But it would seem to us a well-meaning initiative to ensure that they do not embark on a spending spree during their assignment so that they could have something to fall back on after.

Unfortunately, the impression is being created that it could have become another avenue for corrupt enrichment. According to the soldiers, the money had been paid by the UN even before they left the country. If this is true, then it contradicts what the Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade said. “The money is not missing; they should have patience. The authorities are working round the clock to secure the funds from the appropriate quarters and the relevant agencies and sponsors of the mission”, Olukolade was quoted as saying. Now, who are the “appropriate quarters and the relevant agencies” that Gen. Olukolade is talking about? Has the UN paid the money into the appropriate agency’s account in Nigeria? We need to know. If the money had been fully released to the appropriate agency in Nigeria, why were the accounts of the soldiers only credited with one month allowance? What is involved is hefty; with each soldier being owed about N163,000 monthly, the amount for the five months is said to be about N652m for all of them. We are concerned for two reasons: one, we know that in many government establishments, workers’ salaries are appropriated by some top executives who place such monies in fixed accounts, with a view to creaming off the interest, which is usually substantial. This is the reason why salaries are delayed in many government establishments. We hope this is not the case with the soldiers’

allowances. Second, the labourer is entitled to his wage, and promptly too. It is dangerous to deny people who are trained to handle arms and ammunition their legitimate entitlements. We saw the embarrassment that only 28 soldiers caused the entire military establishment in the 2008 incident. We can only imagine what the situation would be like if about 800 of them now protest over unpaid entitlements. We don’t want a repeat of such a protest which would make the military authorities accuse the soldiers of mutiny again, without addressing the cause. The Nigerian Army owes Nigerians more explanation on the matter; we want to know what exactly the situation is and where specifically the money is hanging. Fair is fair.

‘We saw the embarrassment that only 28 soldiers caused the entire military establishment in the 2008 incident. We can only imagine what the situation would be like if about 800 of them now protest over unpaid entitlements ... The Nigerian Army owes Nigerians more explanation on the matter; we want to know what exactly the situation is and where specifically the money is hanging. Fair is fair’

Demonizing Gays in Africa


S acceptance of gays and lesbians has grown in the United States and Europe, intolerance and persecution has been rising in other parts of the world. African nations are leaders in this cruel and dehumanizing trend. The latest alarms were triggered by a ban in Nigeria on same-sex relationships that was passed by Parliament in May and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan on Jan. 7. Nigeria is a leading oil producer and Africa’s most populous country, and the ban is considered the most significant setback yet to gay rights on the continent. Although gay sex has been illegal in Nigeria since British colonial rule, the draconian new law criminalizes homosexuality, banning same-sex marriage and prescribing years in prison to anyone who makes a “public show” of same-sex relationships or participates in gay organizations. Even people who simply support gays are subject to criminal arrest and penalties. Before the new law was enacted, convictions for gay sex were rare in the southern part of Nigeria and occasional in the mostly Muslim north. But since the law went into effect, as Adam Nossiter has reported in The Times, arrests of gays have multiplied and some people have sought asylum overseas. According to Amnesty International, homosexuality is illegal in 38 of 54 countries in Africa. It carries the death penalty in Mauritania, Sudan and Somalia; in northern Nigeria, where Islamic law is practiced, the penalty can be death by stoning. In Senegal, the press regularly “outs” gays and same-sex relations carry a penalty of five years in prison. Another severe law has been passed by Uganda’s Legislature, but President Yoweri Museveni has not and should not sign it. Such laws violate commitments made by United Nations members in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights documents. If these nations cannot do the humane thing, they should at least consider their self-interest. For any leader who values stability, it makes no sense to promote new laws that foment greater hostility among people, like in Nigeria, where there is already ethnic tension. Even in countries where antigay laws are not enforced, they provide an excuse for abuse — including blackmail and extortion — by police, Amnesty International said. It is unlikely that any of these countries can reach their full economic potential because many foreign entities may find it too risky to invest in such hostile environments. These governments, in abusing their citizens, are moving in dangerous and destructive directions. – New York Times TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh

• Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Adekunle Ade-Adeleye •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile

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IR: Nigerians should be very proud of their parliamentarians if visual representation is the mark of excellence. The lawmakers wear the latest designer traditional attires and delicately walk in comfort in finest European leather shoes. The princes and princesses march into the auditorium of sophists as if on a fashion parade in Milan. The wall of the National Assembly embraces the show with grace. The vast openness inside is hollow. The Senate and the House of Representatives have progressed immensely in the arena of legislative discourse. The arguments on the floor of both houses have passed the level of embezzlers wanting to add another title in their honors list. The House leaders credibly




The way of our lawmakers

boast about the many bills they have successfully passed into laws. Ironically, a critic of the Nigerian situation may argue that it is like filling a waste basket with junk legal papers. There is no visible point to the effects of these laws on the masses. Honourable members of the House polish their public persona with fine language. They appear on television and talk storm about

strengthening the nation’s democracy. When the war front gets tight, they escape into their havens in Abuja. Nigerians question the cost of pampering the lawmakers like an endangered species. They are quick to respond that their role is to make laws. Maybe the unemployed youths should crowd the gate of the National Assembly and look for scraps of passed laws to build their lives.

The legislative arm has power in a three-tier system of government. Surprise they always win when it comes to fighting for huge salary increase and other benefits for themselves. The problem is that the honourable members have no regard for the welfare of Nigerians in sum. Most see the National Assembly as a redoubt for redundant honchos, an exotic place for influential politicians to hibernate while

newly discovered athletes to emerge have been turned into a mere jamboree. The host-to-win mentality has bastardised and reduced the quality of the national sports festivals to an avenue for the various state sports councils led by their commissioners to milk huge amounts of money from their state governments. At the end of the day, nothing tangible comes out of it. There is an urgent need for us to restructure the National Sports Festival to enhance efficiency and to align it with its original purpose, which is to serve as a platform for the emergence of new talents and to foster national unity. The National Sports Festival should be decentralised; the current structure where all the 36 states of the fed-

eration converge in a particular state to participate in numerous sporting events is not only unsuitable but has proved ineffective and a waste of time. The festival should be restructured in such a way that each state would only host one sporting event at a time. If a state like Kwara was to host all the 35 states for swimming for example, this would not only enhance the quality of the swimming facilities, but it would enhance the participation for swimming alone, as a high number of athletes would be able to compete and participate due to the fact that resources needed to put that kind of event together is meager compared with hosting all the sports together. We need to have a national sports calendar

therefore, so as to allow the various states prepare for their chosen sports ahead of time, and this would ensure that activities are made allyear-round instead of the current biennial arrangement. Our sports festivals should be organised in two categories, namely: The professional and the amateur categories, as this will not only ensure that our career or professional sports men and women keep their form, but will also allow for the development and discovery of new talents. If this is done, then poaching which has eaten deep into the fabrics of our sporting events among the states would have been nipped at the board. • Dr. Hussein Obaro, Ilorin, Kwara State

Restructuring the National Sports Festival

IR: Sports no doubt have been a major unifying factor for us in this country. Only in sports do Nigerians care less about federal character or quota; the Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba see themselves more as Nigerians and not their respective different geographical entities during sporting events. Sports have greatly enhanced unity, togetherness and cohesion, hence, the need for us all to give it the seriousness it truly deserves. Our performances at international sports tournaments like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and All African Games have been woefully poor. It is sad and shameful that in a country of over 40 million agile and healthy youths, we have failed to make any major statement as far as sports is concerned. The mere fact that we have not even been able to rule Africa as far as sports is concerned, let alone the whole world, calls for a fresh approach to sports development. If we can win medals at the Paralympics, why can’t we do the same at the Olympics and others? What are we doing right at the Paralympics that we have refused to do right in other competitions? The time to look inwards to right our wrongs is now, considering the enormous role that sports can play in terms of employment of our youths, reduction of youth restiveness, national cohesion and unity. Unfortunately, the biennial National Sports Festivals which is supposed to be a platform for


they retool their career. Ex-governors especially find the House convenient to buy time to mitigate their exploits while in office. Some legislators have distinguished themselves. They showed that the honourable members can influence national politics and attract federal projects to their constituencies. The conscientious arbiters make judicious use of their constituency allowance. Contrastingly, captains of oil boom politics would rather stuff their war chest with fund allocated for their constituency projects in readiness for election battle. The audacity of puffy cheek honorable members is mindboggling. They disappear in swanky lofts in Abuja for four years and come back to their constituencies and run for re-election. They schmooze with electorates with hope to buy them with sweet rhetoric and vacuous gifts. The enlightened voters know that if their candidate is grossly obese and rides in a convoy with blaring siren to his vulgar palace that their message, as the saying goes, to the chimney smoke has not reached heaven. Lords of the jungle know their dark route back to Abuja. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been incapable of closing the back door. Godfathers use their loot from the national treasury to finance election frauds. Nigerians perpetually watch to see if the God that created this endowed nation will abandon it in backwardness. • Pius Okaneme, Umuoji, Anambra State.

Can APC make the difference?

IR: The emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been roundly applauded by many in and around the country. People look up to the party as an alternative platform which came at a time when the political space in Nigeria yearns for visible, viable and vibrant opposition to the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP, having ruled for more than 13 years with little or no impact on the socio-economic wellbeing of the people needs astute opposition parties that will redefine Nigerian politics and square up with the ruling party on critical na-

tional issues that would ordinarily receive the usual PDP bandwagon effect. The emergence of APC is all about redefining politics, squaring up with powers at the centre, filling the vacuum of checks and balances; an important concept of democracy which has been in short supply since 1999. With APC an alternative formidable platform of ventilating political ideas is veritably established. Also, with the defection of five state governors and 37 members of House of Representatives to the party and planned defection of more politicians, especially in national, state assemblies and local

councils, the stage is set for strong political realignment. Even though in politics, politicians do not have permanent enemy but permanent interest, how long will this realignment endure? APC as an amalgam of various parties with unique shades of opinion is not quite different from PDP and other parties that will soon begin to jostle for our votes, come 2015. With this marriage of convenience, sooner than later these shades of opinions will start manifesting. For instance, those who dumped a certain political party for another with the intention of grabbing positions will soon be disappointed

and leave if their expectations are not met, or worse still create problems and overheat the polity. APC seems to have made tremendous progress in the area of awareness outreach and political membership mobilisation of disenchanted members of other political parties, mostly PDP. But how was the leadership of APC bamboozled into believing that politicians who have been active members of a political party for more than 10 years and have occupied political positions in that party are genuine and can abode with them without skirmishes? •Sunday 1Onyemaechi Eze Zaria




Who’s your daddy? (2) (Inanities of the Nigerian faithful) Email: 08038551123, 08111845040


OD will not do for the Nigerian "faithful;" salvation lies at the feet of the “daddy.” Thanks to “daddy,” heaven now lies in “spirited” hoopla, the ones they have learnt to tout as soul food; there’s bliss to be had in “miracles” and terrifying hypocrisies. “Daddy” knows how dumb his believers are. A simple lust remains their woes; he knows, thus his desperation to milk their gullibility even as he legitimizes their unarticulated sinful lusts. The problem of the Nigerian faithful is a problem of intellect. The virtue of understanding, which connotes the beauty of mankind has given place to that fount of all ugliness, unquestioning humility. It doesn’t matter the age, learning, wisdom and status of the Nigerian believer, the spirit of inquiry has died in him under the untiring energy and superior powers of the “daddy.” As you read, the Nigerian faithful sinks, without demur, to his place at the bottom of a new pseudoreligious and economic system that consciously shuts him out to any philosophy of life except that advanced by his “daddy.” The values of humaneness, knowledge and experience are calculatingly stifled in him to prepare

him emotionally and psychologically for the doctrines of passive submission embodied in the newly evolved faith by the “holy daddy.” This conquest of the Nigerian faithful is evocative of the triumph of racist aristocrats and slave masters of old that realized the usefulness of religious propaganda and joyously aided it controlling their slaves within certain bounds. As it was during the period of tribulation, repression and degradation of the African slave in colonial captivity, religious practice tends to emphasize the elements of the believer’s character which lays him bare thus making him a valuable chump and meal ticket of “daddies.” Twenty first century faith according to the “daddies,” encourages the faithful to affect unquestioning humility. It seeks to degenerate moral strength into “moral” submission; while it consciously remodels profound human appreciation of simplicity into an infinite capacity for covetousness and materialism. The Nigerian faithful, in pursuit of his often elusive joy and right to prosperity, eagerly seizes upon the offered conceptions of the “grace,” “extraordinariness” and “holy spirit” of his “daddy” who excites and enables his lust for material-

‘It's about time you renounced your “daddy” and his infinite capacities to bind and cast demons into your life. It’s only in the context of knowing that you have been blessed with astounding gifts of intellect or talent that you can intimately surmount your weaknesses by marshalling your strength’


N Christmas day, I had to drop somebody off at their office somewhere in Ikota, close to Victoria Garden City, Lagos and had a most hilarious yet somewhat disturbing encounter. Just some metres into the street, some children had mounted a roadblock. Apparently, they had decided to skip the traditional door to door visits children do during the festivities and face this more lucrative opportunity to hustle car owners using that road. In a very organized group, two children held a rope on opposite ends of the road while a second duo approached the car and asked for ‘Christmas Money’. When the driver passed some money over, they would signal the other two and the rope would be lowered to allow passage. Ingenious and smart thinking on their part; quite funny to those of us in the car but like I said, it also raised a whole lot of issues in my mind. Hawking in Lagos has become almost an exclusive job for children. The parents who send them out feel no qualms and the people who buy these wares from them barely give it a second thought. We grew up with it and somehow we cannot summon the outrage we should feel when a 10 year old boy weighed down with a large and overloaded tray of plantain taps on our car window in traffic and pleads with their eyes for us to buy from them. Despite the fact that education is free for all in primary and secondary schools in Lagos, we still see young children who should be in school selling one ware or the other. One may argue that with the parents so poor, every member of the family should pitch in to keep their heads above water. But do the immediate gains and rewards justify compromising the future of these children? Reviewing my route back home from work helps me categorize the types of children who are hawking. From Lekki Phase 1 to Jakande is quite free of hawkers. After Jakande roundabout, the first group is life-toughened teenagers selling contraband like stolen phones, knock-off ‘designer’ watches, recharge cards, phone chargers, etc. These are no innocents; they have tasted the harsher parts of life and have probably dabbled into petty crimes. They have a sharp eye for an easy mark and won’t waste their time with certain road users. From VGC roundabout to Ajah roundabout are the chil-

ism. This deep religious perversion, painted so beautifully by the “daddy” according to his gospel of the “living faith” breeds, as all fatalistic faiths do, the pathetically vain and idiotic, side by side with the sensualist. Shock and grief perhaps most clearly depicts the peculiar ethical paradox that faces the Nigerian faithful today. With the exception of the purportedly high and mighty aristocrat and upper middle class, the Nigerian faithful dwells in an atmosphere in which his rights and dearest ideals are being trampled upon. He lives in a society in which the public conscience has grown deafer to virtuousness, and that all reactionary forces of prejudice, greed, and revenge are daily gaining new strength and fresh allies. Conscious of his impotence, and heartfelt pessimism, he often becomes bitter and vindictive; and his religion, instead of worship becomes a complaint and a curse, a wail rather than a hope, a mockery rather than a faith. Apology to W.E.B Dubois. On the other hand, the self-righteous “daddy” and vendor of faith, shrewder and keener and more twisted too, see in the hopelessness of the faithful, an opportunity to amass wealth and socio-political strength. Hence with prophetic virtuoso and sophistry, he marshals his cunning and vanities to turn the poor and unassuming faithful into his hopeless prey. Thus we have two pitiful and psychologically reconcilable streams of thought and moral strivings; the danger of the one lies in idiocy, and that of the other in duplicity. The faithful eagerly deserts God for “daddy” and his prophet, the “daddy” is too often found a traitor to righteousness and a coward to spirituality. The faithful is excited to the pursuit of prosperity, the whimsical and often impossible rewards of spirituality; his “daddy”

on the other hand, keeps smiling to the banks, conveniently forgetting that life is more than materialism and humanity more than raiment. Consequently blatant lie triumphs to the detriment of truth and spirituality. The gospel evolves and perpetuates acceptable falsity, irrationality and vanity. From the faithful, the most valuable thing taken is his thought, and the most abject tragedy suffered is his loss of humaneness and understanding. By this pitiful loss of his, his “daddy” prospers. Meticulously and quite lovingly, he strips the believer of intellect and thought, conditioning him via dazzling oration, ostentatious realism and “executive” life-coaching programmes. Basically, he silences his ability to think and wonder “why?” No degree of “faith” or “grace” can cure the faithful of his pitiful condition and no amount of hope will rid him of his extraordinary capacity to scurry before his high and mighty “daddy” every Sunday as a caricature of humankind in order to please, succeed, or climb the long spiral ladder to approval. Eventually, he needs to face the fraud. Asides it’s obvious theological problems, the gospel according to “daddy” poses a psychological problem in the end, a problem of fraudulent living as whitewashed tombs. What Jesus preached was a religion that fostered simplicity, mercy and sacrifice. These humane elements have been perverted by the gospel of the “daddies” to evolve a base and more pocketfriendly version of faith. Basically, it enhances the capacity to say the right things without doing them. The “daddies” brand of righteousness and faith propagates life without integrity, devotion without humanity and the darkest possible version of prosperity. The modus operandi (MO) of

both faithful and their “daddies” brazenly projects a dynamic adaptation of sorcery or what more discerning theologians have termed “charismatic witchcraft.” A pastor or “daddy” who tries to control his flock or group is practicing witchcraft. The Nigerian “daddy” thinks he knows best for his faithful and then tries to force it to happen. Many Nigerian churches are administered and controlled by dictatorial “daddies” for a profit. Thus if you attend a church where the preacher elevates prosperity over everything and anything, it’s time for you to leave. Basically, you are enslaved to your “daddy” who has without doubt formed an unbreakable soul tie with you. Consequently, you have yielded to his control rather than the direction of God in your life. It is time to desert your spiritual “daddy” and his wife, your “mummy,” in order to embrace and honour your God-given parents. The path to heaven lies at the feet of your parents; whether heroes or villains, the beaming brightness of their heartfelt prayers and goodwill illumines even the darkest pall hovering above the most sinful adherent. It's about time you renounced your “daddy” and his infinite capacities to bind and cast demons into your life. It’s only in the context of knowing that you have been blessed with astounding gifts of intellect or talent that you can intimately surmount your weaknesses by marshalling your strength. And what are your strengths? Your Godgiven intellect, initiative and humaneness; basic attributes that your “daddy” seeks to pervert. Forget the gospel according to your “daddy,” it is essentially the crusade of the erudite neurotic; much like medieval anti-witchcraft campaign: grounded in myth, perverted by whim and a most pronounced tendency to play god.

Saving our future generations By Okeoluwa Egbi dren as young as five years of age with staggering weights on their heads, some of them also have their siblings strapped to their back. You can see their mothers sitting by the sides of the roads with the majority of the stock for sale while they weave in and out of traffic selling them. They are dirty, undernourished and would go as far as begging you to help them by buying their wares. Among these ones are their age mates who are not there to sell but just to beg. They will hang onto the side mirrors, clean your windscreen, tap your windows, etc, just to get your attention. Is this really the future Nigeria we want to have? A Nigeria where children believe the answer to their future comfort is on the street? The Christmas day hustlers were only continuing a tradition that had always worked for them – making money on the streets. At such a young age, they were practicing the beginnings of thuggish behavior. Their morals have already been shaped and built according to the streets and as far as they were concerned, there was nothing wrong in what they were doing. What about the girl child and the dangers she is exposed to? With varying ages and experience among the hawkers, childhood influences cannot be controlled. Girls have a higher risk of indulging in unhealthy relationships leading to underage sex and even teenage pregnancy. The dangers of hawking are many. In the short run, they could be victims of kidnapping, sex predators, hit and run drivers, police harassment, ritual killings etc. In the long run, these hawkers pose graver dangers as they too could turn out to be criminals and terrorize innocent Lagosians. Perhaps the greatest effect of all is psychological. These children are born into hardship and immediately thrust out there into more hardship. They start to fend for themselves even before they fully understand the world around them. Their childhood is cut short; they

have no time to dream; and no opportunity to become better than their parents and so the vicious cycle of poverty continues. With the free education offered by the state however, children can have a chance. A chance to enjoy their childhood; to learn about the world they live in, to learn about what they could be; and to dream and to excel. They have a chance to be better and to take a different route in life. Parents are in a position to give their children this dream and indeed the dream of all parents should be that their children turn out better than they are. Let us stop hawking in Lagos together. If you are a parent or guardian, allow your children grow; take advantage of the free education offered by the state government and send your children and wards to school. If you know people who let their children or wards hawk, you may offer a neighbourly advice to discourage them and aid them to rather send the children to school. This is the only way we can ensure the future of these children in particular and our country in general. Today is the time to decide to act. • Mrs Egbi lives in Lagos.

‘The dangers of hawking are many. In the short run, they could be victims of kidnapping, sex predators, hit and run drivers, police harassment, ritual killings, etc. In the long run, these hawkers pose graver dangers as they too could turn out to be criminals and terrorize innocent Lagosians. Perhaps the greatest effect of all is psychological’



COMMENTS ‘The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.’ ------Aristotle


ACQUES-Anatole-François Thibault, who is universally known and addressed as Anatole France was that French writer of satire and fantasy that won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921. Though not a lawyer, he was exercising his artistic freedom when he wrote: ‘The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges.’ He must have realised shelter as being, alongside good hospitals and education, a most important thing that a society needs. Homelessness is a serious problem in any society because a house, no matter how lowly, is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul. Anatole France’s statement in our clime seems idealistic because its applicability looks more real in developed societies of the world. In our society, the statement has no applicability as only the rich amongst us could boost of living in good homes and environment while many of the lucky poor live in shanties/slums just as several other unlucky plebeians live under the bridges in Lagos and other cosmopolitan cities of the world. Quite presumably, the realisation of the truism in France’s comment that not only the rich, but also average income earners should own houses, prompted Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State to decide to help aspiring home owners in the state to own one. To show his characteristic seriousness, the governor of archetype recently launched the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS). And available for purchase through mortgage are newly completed 1,104 units of flats and terraces, while 3,156 other units are under various stages of construction. The governor further disclosed at the launch that work would soon commence on additional 4,454 units across the state. The solely government-financed project was done through sustained initial monthly savings of N200 million that was later increased to N500 million monthly. The scheme provides a minimum payment period of 10 years that would attract a reasonable maximum interest of 9.5 per cent per annum. The conditionality includes that aspiring owners must be first-time home owners with none on ground, either acquired privately or bought from government and the claim must be backed by sworn affidavit; only for Lagos residents irrespective of origins but must have stayed for not less than 180 days; and


OU cannot help but sympathize with Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji of Abia Abia State; he must be the most harangued, maligned and abused governor in the land. He is up against an armada of antagonists led by a deep-pocket, very clever, albeit bitter erstwhile godfather who has in his corner, some of the most competent journalists, publicists and propagandists. They have the rare advantage of what is today, perhaps the most-read newspaper in the land. With such a force arrayed against one man and his government, he is bound to look bad, inefficient and incompetent. Indeed he will appear in the eye of the public, whatever colour they choose to tar him. There is no prize for guessing what hue that would be. Abia’s ugly narrative But it is only providence that whisks the flies for the cow that has lost its tail. In other words, if not for some divine grace, TA, as Governor Orji is called, and his administration would have become extinct like that copper-coloured three-penny coin (toro). The story of TA and his estranged god-father, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu (OUK) is a very long and corny one that would require an entire book to tell adequately. To situate it in a few words, TA served as chief of staff to OUK in his eightyear rule as governor of Abia State (1999 2007). TA must have served his master well, covering his back (and even his front) so diligently that he found him good enough to succeed him. But it turned out that OUK really did not want a successor but a puppet, a stringed marionette that would keep up a façade while he continues to enjoy the overlordship of Abia State which after eight years had diminished to the size of OUK’s personal estate. Thus when TA won the 2007 election and was sworn in, it turned out that he was worse than a marionette for that is capable of some mobility. He was actually an artwork; an inert installation in Abia Government House by OUK that neither moved nor spoke nor capable of any action. So it was that OUK and his clan continued to rule Abia for another three years (making a total of 11 years). Then there came that divine jolting that freed TA


Thoughts on a welcome mortgage

• Fashola must show a residency card issued by LASIMRA. Additional requirements include proof of payment of tax for an uninterrupted period of five years preceding application, while house choices eligibility must match with applicants’ proven income sources; successful applicants must live in the houses while violations would lead to re-possession, pay-off and or re-offer to others. This Fashola initiative is just a consolidation of what Pa Lateef Jakande pioneered in the state as far back as early eighties and which Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the master strategist, broadened and greatly improved upon to give thousands of Lagosians opportunity to own homes in a state where the housing deficit is placed at one million units per annum. This is understandable in a Lagos with strong economy and people’s pull; thus the state understandably is witnessing an attendant increase in the demand for housing that has shot prices of properties beyond

the reach of average Nigerians. Even rents have become so high that the government of the state, through its legislative assembly, came up with a relatively new Tenancy Law with the primary goal of protecting tenants from shylock landlords that have turned their houses into crude oil. The policy is no doubt very good. But the institutional/legal modus for deciding beneficiaries and the eligibility criteria for owning them need not be drastically inequitable. And this has led to the question of whether it can survive in this kind of environment where employment turnover is dangerously high. While it could be argued that the flats are in cadres, how does one correlate the fact that the law regulating it says that aspiring owners must be first-time home owners with no pre-owned home, whether acquired privately or bought from government in the state? So, a man that works in Apapa/Island/ Lekki axis of Lagos, who managed to build a small structure in a manageable but not necessarily safe surrounding in Agbado/AbuleEgba/Alakuko/Agege/Egbeda/Igando/ Aboru et’al end of Lagos that his funds could cover, cannot upgrade by getting one of these flats because he owns something called property in a Lagos slum. Yet, others that live along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, Ojudu/ Sango Ota end of Ogun State among others with LASRA cards and evidence of tax payment in the state can convenient bid for the flats. What about those with personal properties but who would now leverage on the fact that they are unknown to law because they are yet to be registered with the government to get the flats? Those that have registered titles with the state government after payment of required fees will be unjustly


SMS 08111526725,

Most maligned governor in the land and Abia from the spell of OUK. Since then, a fresh light had begun to shine on that entity called God’s Own State where dark principalities had held sway; flowers have begun to bloom in a land that was made arid by a band of ravaging locusts. Abians may go to bed and sleep with both eyes closed. All around, there is a renewed up-welling of harmony, hope and happiness. Yes, Abians have regained their freedom. They have broken the chains of economic, psychological and spiritual slavery. Today all the leaders, the political and intellectual elite and majority of the people have risen as one to say never again. But the barbarians are still at the gate baying for blood and seeking to regain their lost paradise. PDP through the back door This, in a nutshell, is the ugly narrative of Abia’s recent history. But only the battle has been won, the war rages on with remorseless heavy shelling still resounding. Recall that OUK at the peak of his reign quit PDP, the party that gave him life and founded another political party with which he won two states. But a mansion built on quicksand is only but a mirage. Today, OUK desperately wants to return to PDP (Peoples Democratic Party). Last year he tried to sneak into the fold through the back door but TA who is the leader of the party today by virtue of being the governor of the state,

•T. A. Orji foiled the move. Now, hardly had a new PDP chairman mounted the saddle than OUK moving to corral him into admitting him back to the PDP fold. But vintage Igbo wisdom acknowledges that only a tree would stand still when an axe is raise against it. TA simply rallied the party leaders in the state, paid the new PDP chairman a visit and made a few elementary and commonsensical points that every adult ought to understand to wit: OUK’s return to PDP must be on the condition that he must subordinate himself to the current leader (there can’t be two captains in one boat, lest it capsizes); two, he will have

denied access to the mortgage, despite meeting other conditions. While I could discern the altruistic motive of the government for inserting this provision in the widely reported law, may I quickly add that the mischief that it will cause in the long run to those owning properties in suburbs of Lagos, but would have otherwise qualified to bid for these flats in decent areas and environment is greater than whatever good is officially desired. The target of BRF are those politicians that are attempting to buy up entire Lagos and the civil servants that unduly allocate such flats to themselves in the past but majority of those that would now suffer the sins of these classes of Lagosians are neither politicians or civil servants that already live and own properties, courtesy of abuse of government policy, in the choicest areas of the state. This column believes that it is a good thing that BRF has taken the good housing initiatives of Jakande and Tinubu a bit further, but it would not be too late if fractional part of the flats could be used as pilot study for the mortgage while others are rented out to gainfully employed Lagosians who are currently desirous of decent and affordable accommodation. This is the model in London and other developed countries where such tenants after demonstrating good tenantable conduct for years are offered the right of first refusal to buy. Such model can be emulated in Lagos. The policy is good because the principle behind it will ensure maximisation of space and elimination of slums in the state. However, the inequality that the initiative’s law would create under the guise of eliminating fraudulent and gluttonous acquisition of properties by the ‘haves’ to the detriment of the ‘havenots’ is something the governor has to look into. Like l told the governor when some members of this paper’s Editorial Board interviewed him last December, except this mortgage policy identifies now with the peculiarities of the people of the state, the probability that it won’t be messed up and eventually discarded by succeeding government is very slim. And that won’t rub off favourably on the credibility the BRF administration has earned through its exemplary commitment to the welfare of the majority, so far. After all, my learned senior and Lagos governor must realise that law as an instrument of social engineering, as espoused by Rosco Pound, that inimitable legal theorist, should not trample on the just in its bid to emasculate or punish the unjust.

to be admitted through the local party organ and his re-admission is to be supervised by the current leadership and lastly, he must pledge to abide by the rules of the party. Anything short of this will throw the Abia PDP into a cataclysm immediately OUK steps into it. Let’s try reconciliation The point therefore, is that OUK must realize that his reign in Abia had long-ended, he must come down from his high-horse, he must understand that a good son would one day grow up to his father and even outgrow him. When that day comes the father would have to adjust to living under the now great shadows of his son. In Igboland a father’s fervent prayers is not to raise a child that never grows. A player who cannot discern when the game has change never wins it; the game really has changed in Abia. One of the virtues of great leaders is the ability to forgive, reconcile and make peace for the greater good; especially if the goal is for the good of the people. That was the essence of Mandela. If OUK’s craving is not for relevance and personal gains, then he would find it easy to reconcile with the other leaders of Abia State for the greater good of her people. On the other hand, he has achieved a level of greatness and he does not need a political party membership to validate him or grant him relevance. Trying to ‘shock and awe’ a sitting governor and other great sons of the state to submission is clearly a wrong strategy. LAST MUG: It’s a Coke, no it’s a fake Coca-Cola must have been hit by large-scale fakery. Last Monday I bought a pet bottle of coke and I couldn’t go past just two sips of it. First it erupted like a volcano upon opening it messing up my desk. No, first it was too difficult to uncork so I had to deploy my teeth. I took a sip and a burning-peppery sensation coursed down my throat. This couldn’t be Coke I thought. I took another sip; no, it isn’t. I took a closer look at the bottle and it looked a little rough-hewn. I found another bottle and all my suspicions were con--+--firmed. All the evidence are still on my desk so I could show friends to beware. The Nigerian Bottling company must act fast.









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

Coastal Hire opens for business

‘SON not weak regulator’ By Chikodi Okereocha


LOCK Moulders Asso ciation of Nigeria (BMAN) has passed a vote of confidence on the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) over its regulation of the cement sector. Reacting to claims by a coalition of civil society groups and professional bodies in the building and construction industry that cement manufacturers may have taken advantage of its weak regulation to produce and import poor quality cement into the country, the association insisted that SON is not a weak regulator. At a briefing in Lagos, over the weekend, National Chairman of the group, Mr. Rasheed Adebowale, said SON is not weak in the regulation of the cement sector “because we are part and parcel of the construction sector and major end users of the product.” He said the association is not comfortable with what he described as the ‘faceless Civil Liberties Organisation’s claims about the development, especially allegations levelled against the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga and the management of SON. “We want to put it on record that we have never had it so good until the emergence of Dr. Joseph Odumodu at the helmship of SON. The current leadership of SON is working closely and collaboratively with us to ensure quality and standard of products,” he explained.

By Chikodi Okereocha


• From left: Divisional Head West, Keystone Bank, Mutairu Akinfolarin; Divisional Head, Lagos Island 2, Helen Eriyo; Vice Chancellor (VC), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof Idowu Bamitale Omole; Executive Director, Lagos & West Directorate Mrs Yvonne Isichei; and Senior Technical Assistant to the Managing Director, Temitayo Olutoye, during the VC’s courtesy visit to the bank’s Head Office.

Credit to Nigeria’s economy hits N14tr


HE aggregate banking system credit (net) to the domestic economy grew by 3.4 per cent monthly to N14.09 trillion, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Economic Report for November, last year has said. The report also said the figure showed a growth of 4.1 per cent compared with that of the preceding month. “The development reflected, largely, the 10.9 and 1.1 per cent increase in claims on both the Federal Government (net) and the private sector. “Over the level at end-December 2012, aggregate banking system credit (net) to the domestic economy rose by 10.98 per cent, due largely to the growth of 8.9 per cent in claims on the private sector,” it said.

MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE -N11.4 trillion JSE -Z5.112trillion NYSE -$10.84 trillion LSE -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -8% Treasury Bills -10.58%(91d) Maximum lending -30% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -1% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $45b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472

It said the banking system’s credit (net) to the Federal Government, on month-onmonth basis, grew by 10.9 per cent to negative N2.3 trillion, compared with the growth of 17.0 and 22.9 per cent at the end of the preceding month and the corresponding period of 2012, respectively. According to the report, over end-December 2012, net credit to the Federal Government grew by 3.9 per cent, reflecting, largely, the 77.9 per cent increase in the banking system’s holding of government securities. “On month-on-month basis, banking system’s credit to the private sector, grew by 1.1 per cent to N16.4 trillion, at end-November 2013, in

contrast to the decline of 0.02 per cent at the end of the preceding month,” it said. The report noted that, relative to the level at end-December 2012, banking system’s credit to the private sector rose by 8.6 per cent, compared with the 7.5 per cent increase at the end of the corresponding period of 2012. It said the development reflected, largely, the 8.3 and 9.8 per cent increase in claims on the core private sector and States and Local Governments, respectively. At N8.6 trillion, foreign assets (net) of the banking system at end-November 2013, fell by 2.4 per cent, on month-on-month basis, compared with a decline of 0.3 and 0.35 per cent at the end of the preceding month and

corresponding period of 2012, respectively. The development was attributed, largely, to the respective decline of 1.5 and 6.4 per cent in the CBN and banks’ holdings of foreign assets. Over the level at endDecember 2012, foreign assets (net) of the banking system fell by four per cent. “Other assets (net) of the banking system, on a month-on-month basis, fell by 0.6 per cent to negative N8 trillion, at the end of the review period, compared with the decline of 4.5 and 0.5 per cent at the end of the preceding month and the corresponding period of 2012. Over the level at endDecember 2012, other assets (net) of the banking system fell by 28.5 per cent,” it said.

FCMB sells Fin Insurance to ACA

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$117.4/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,396.9/troy Sugar -$163/lb

By Collins Nweze


HE largest shareholder of Cornerstone Insur ance Plc, African Capital Alliance (ACA), has bought the 96 per cent share of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in Fin Insurance. African Capital Alliance is also a core investor in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. The Nation learnt that the insurance firm was handed over by FCMB management at a ceremony in Abuja early in the week. The buy-over, it was learnt, would allow the combination of business with Cornerstone. The firm has been on sale since June last year follow-

By OmobolaTolu-Kusimo

ing the announcement by FCMB to transit into a Holding Company. But the plan to sell it to FBN Life and other foreign investors fell through. The delay, sources said, had affected its clientele such that it lost over 80 per cent of its customers. It was also gathered that some workers of the company have not been paid since December last year while official cars are faulty and capital projects were unattended to for over a year. The company has Mr Sallau Hamman as its Managing

Director, three senior managers and about five managers. According to sources, the new buyers have agreed to allow Fin Insurance run as Cornerstone’s subsidiary while it also remains in Abuja. When The Nation called Hamman on phone to speak on the development, he declined comment. He, however, directed our correspondent to FCMB. Spokesman for the insurance regulatory body, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) could not also confirm the report. On Monday, June 24, last year,

FCMB announced its transition into a holding firm structure having completed all the legwork. In a statement, the Marketing & Communications department of the bank confirmed that under the new structure, four out of its seven subsidiaries - City Securities (Registrars) Ltd, FinBankCapital Ltd, FinBank Homes Ltd and FinBank Securities & Asset Management Ltd - were sold. The sale of FinBank Insurance Brokers Ltd, FinBank Insurance Company Ltd and Arab-Gambia Islamic Bank Ltd is ongoing, while Fin Registrars Limited had been liquidated, it added.

‘June deadline for NIPPs’ privatisation remains HE Bureau of Public or not.’’ sancrosanct’ Enterprises (BPE) and Also, NDPHC’s spokes-


the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC)- owners of National Independent Power Plants (NIPPs) have said the June deadline fixed for the privatisation of the plants remains sacrosanct. The two agencies, in separate interviews with The Nation, in-

By Akinola Ajibade

sisted there is no change in the programmes outlined for the privatisation of the plants. BPE’s Spokesman, Joe Anichebe, said the exercise would go on whether the power plants are completed before June or not.

He said: ‘’Failure to complete the projects cannot be a reason for the postponement of the privatisation scheme. The investors know this before they agree to bid for the plants. Only the National Council on Privatisation can say whether the sale of the plants to investors would be shifted forward

man, Yakubu Lawal said the non-completion of the projects could not derail the process. He said the story that the sale of the plants might be postponed due to inability to complete them as published in a national daily( not The Nation) was incorect.

MAJOR boost came the way of operators in the construction and industrial sectors with the arrival of Coastal Hire Nigeria Limited, a franchise partner to parent company, Coastal Hire South Africa. At the opening of its store in Lekki, the Managing Director of the firm, Mr. Abayomi Onasanya said: “One of our key objectives for bringing the brand to Nigeria is to provide viable, cost-effective and sustainable alternative to the construction and industrial sectors. “We realise that these two sectors are marked by accelerated development and will need reliable and efficient equipment to support their business and commercial activities. Coastal Hire Nigeria has come to fill that gap by providing top-notch equipment that assists them in reaching those goals.” Chief Executive Officer of the firm in South Africa, John Harcourt Cooke, said: “We are eager to partake in and support the impressive development that has marked certain sectors in the economic space. “As the leading small equipment hire franchise in Southern Africa, we will be bringing our many years of experience and expertise to bear on delivery of service and technical support.”

Glo explains 200% recharge bonus’ By Lucas Ajanaku


LOBACOM said it launched the Glo Bumpa tariff plan to reward its customers who have displayed commitment to the brand over the years. The package, recently introduced by the telco, has received wide activations across the country by subscribers eager to avail themselves of the generous bonus it offers. According to a statement, the plan was launched by Globacom last month to give prepaid subscribers an instant value of 200 per cent bonus on every recharge. With the bonus airtime, subscribers are allowed to text or call any network across the country and to browse the internet. Globacom’s Marketing Coordinator, Adeniyi Olukoya, said Glo Bumpa has received unprecedented acceptance in the market. “Our subscribers are jostling to get on the tariff plan in order to cut their expenses on airtime. This is not a surprise as subscribers receive up to 200 percent recharge bonus every time they recharge their phones with airtime worth N100 and above. For instance, subscribers on the Bumpa plan who recharge with N1,000 get up to N3,000 as value,” he said He also said pre-paid subscribers have, particularly, embraced Glo Bumpa because of the due care Globacom had paid to making it convenient for users.





e-mail: /mobile line: 08131075667

Jumia is rated as one of the thriving e-commerce brands in Nigeria. It became a household brand within two years. The owners’ decision to sell all their equity to some global investors has sparked interest, writes ADEDEJI ADEMIGBUJI.

What informed sale of online firm Jumia? • Acquisition by Germans sparks interest


MOTIONS ran high the day co-founders of Jumia Raphael Afeador and Tunde Kehinde broke the news to their young team of 500 experts at their Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos campus that new owners are taking over the business. Inside the long horizontal office dormitory built beside their 90,000-square footwarehouse, the largest campus in West Africa, where young men with an average age of 23 attend to thousands of online shoppers at the speed of light, Afeador, noted: “Jumia was an exciting one and a-half-year journey for us. We are extremely proud of Jumia and wish all the best to the company and all the people here.” If Afeador’s message was not clear enough, his partner, Kehinde put the message succinctly. “As we move on to start our own businesses, we owe a lot to every member of the team, together we made history, together we have built Nigeria’s first and biggest online retail brand; a fate we never would have achieved without you.” The meeting ended an era in Jumia, which has won several local and international awards for pioneering Nigeria’s first ecommerce website. In a brand life cycle, the growth stage is a level when sales start growing exponentially. During that stage, brand managers or investors often chart a new strategic direction to increase distribution to further enhance sales, according to As a strategic option, a company may also improve the quality of their product brands, adding various flavours or features as the success could attract one or more companies, more competitors into the market with their own competing brands; in effect, some competitors may try to lower prices to gain marketing share. However, for the Jumia co-founders, to increase market share and sustain its leadership position against growing competition in Nigeria’s rising e-commerce market, bringing venture capital appears to have become the option. This option necessitated the founders’ exit to build a new brand. Experts are wondering what could have pushed founders of such high networth company to sell the brand to African Internet Holding, which is owned by a controversial German e-commerce cloning king. The total global investment in Jumia later saw MTN, Rocket Internet and Millicom International Cellular acquire 33.3 per cent equity each in Africa Internet Holding, a partnership that will expand MTN online retail and other essential digital services on the African continent. To marketing experts, the brand is reputed to have rebuilt trust among online shoppers who in the past were skeptical about online transactions. Also, considering the growing rate at which banks are adopting online transactions payment, just as the online payment system is beginning to encourage consumers to shop online, brand and marketing professionals wonder why the founders are letting go of their gold mine. The brand success, however, has drawn rising interest to venture into their

• Iqoh

• Okusaga

• Ali-Balogun

own online platform to push sales., Dealdey, tafoo among thousands of market followers have become major competitors to Jumia. While the allure of impressive growth of the industry, whose total worth in 2014 is project at N150 billion, the Millicom President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), HansHolger Albrecht, said: “We are pleased to welcome MTN as a strategic partner to accelerate the growth of our online alliance in Africa. It is a significant vote of confidence in its future. Between us we have more than 220 million mobile customers in the continent with very limited overlap.” However, after announcing their departure from Jumia, Kehinde told The Nation that they no longer have stake in the company, a decision that spark debate among marketing communication experts. Under the new arrangement, the co-founders have parted ways to start up new businesses. Kehinde is venturing into logistic business while Afaedor’s next move remains unknown for now. “We have left Jumia going to a month now and we no longer own a stake in the company. Afeador and I have also parted ways but a time will come when I will talk about my new business, a logistics management company. For now, everyone will do his businesses

separately,” he said. Now that the new investors have taken over, announcing Nicolas Martin and Jérémy Doutté of AIH as Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Jumia a few months ago, marketing communication experts, who spoke with The Nation, assumed that many factors could be responsible for the sale of the Nigerian e-commerce brand by its co-founders. The Marketing Services Director, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mrs Iquo Ukoh said: “Before you talk about a brand, you talk have to talk about the business. If the owners decide to sell, maybe, they have seen something more profitable. Maybe they are moving to a more profitable venture that could have better value. They might be going into something bigger than Jumia in terms of value and profit because I know that these guys are good business people. So, they could have decided whether to sell the brand at maturity or growth stage, however, they might feel the value of selling it at growth stage is better for them.” Looking at how the vision of a brand builder defines its future, the former Chairman of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Lagos Chapter, Mrs. Nkechi Ali-Balogun, feels bad about the sale of Jumia. She said such a local brand

that has assumed a national brand trademark should still reside with the founders because the vision of the founders repose trust on brands. However, she cautions that the move might have to do with the goal of the founders from the outsets. “I thought Jumia is good initiative as a local brand but I’m not impressed that the young guys that founded it have sold it to foreign investors. However, it depends on the challenge that propelled them to sell it. It might be for profit, if that was the initial goal. “They brought e-commerce to awareness; create a run for competitors such as Konga and the rest. Building a brand has to do with integrity, trust but how equipped are the new owners in meeting up the trust they have built. The impact of founders of businesses has a lot of influence on the life of a brand reputation. But when consumers are aware of your dented image they won’t patronise you.” She also raised issue of safety of credit cards under the new investors, which if negativ,e will rob-off on the brand. “There is a trust issue because for me to give my ATM pin to new people could be difficult because you are dealing with faceless people. E-commerce is a faceless business,” she said. While the Managing Director of Quadrant Company, Mr. Bolaji Okusage, affirmed that Jumia was incubated with venture capital and abi nitio set up for sale, there are fears that the company might witness job loss for some of the Jumia team. But Jeremy, a new Co-CEO, told The Nation that would not be the case. “We support our local entrepreneurs to build up their businesses and employ many people who one day will also be founders – in fact we want that over 50 per cent of all our previous employees start their own businesses. Currently, we are creating an ecosystem, supporting startups to have more customers and visitors by building up trust in online companies and all startups in general. We accelerate the online industry in Nigeria,” he said.

‘Before you talk about a brand, you have to talk about the business. If the owners decide to sell, maybe, they have seen something more profitable. Maybe they are moving to a more profitable venture that could have better value. They might be going into something bigger than Jumia in terms of value and profit because I know that these guys are good business people’



Brandnews Global sanitary firm enters market

Alcohol adverts: The W challenges of self-regulation As the beer sectoral group harps on self-regulation, growing competition and poor sales are forcing players to flout the much-preferred self-regulation. ADEDEJI ADEMIGBUJI looks at the industry’s challenges of sales and self-regulation.


REWERS have been working with the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) to ensure that alcohol advertisements are done according to the rule prohibiting the placement of such advertisements during certain period on television, radio and newspapers. Beyond that, the code also prohibits agencies from using children under 18 as models in campaign materials. In the light of ensuring compliance without having to wield the big stick on violators of the APCON code, stakeholders in the beer sector promised to deliver effective and credible self-regulation in their marketing communications but that promise in recent times appears to be waning. Recent developments showed that in the face of volatility in beer market couple with new entrants is forcing some of the top brands to tactically violate the watershed rule. While the marketing continues, stakeholders observe that the allowance for internal examination is fast being taken for granted, hence, may prompt the regulator to wield the regulatory big stick. Pouring about 20 million hectolitres of alcoholic drinks into the market yearly, the sector sometimes ago had through an industry summit organised by APCON on Alcohol Marketing and Marketing Communications began to chart ways to manage the potential Impact of Alcohol Beverage Marketing and Marketing Communications on the Society. During the summit, the Beer Sectoral Group (BSG) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the International Centre for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) and the World Federation of Advertising (WFA) in an attempt to collaborate with APCON brainstormed on the best way forward for an industry choked by regulation and challenged by the need and, as stated, their right to do business and be in business. Being forced to caution consumers to “Drink responsibly”and “Not for persons under 18” on their commercials communication, a brand expert working with a leading brewer, who preferred anonymity, said the industry feels “unfairly treated and have called for what some described as ‘respect for their right’ to do legitimate businesses”. He gave credence to a position by the President of WFA, Stephan Loerke, who in a global trend presentation, stated that, those countries with stiffer alcoholic adver-

tisement regulation records higher consumption than countries without any. During the alcohol summit held in Nigeria in 2012, Loerke, admonished industry players not to be seen to be disobeying rules of alcohol marketing. “We should not be seen to be disrespecting the sensitivities of regulation and society. We will continue to do this and move to a point where we agree on what is good for our society, what is good for our belief systems and balance that with what is good for business to thrive in our environment,” he said. While the BSG, a member of the MAN expressed believe that selfregulation rather than ban on alcoholic communications in the media is a way to regulate the industry, a recent development

showed that self-regulation could be tactically flouted. Barely a year after the alcohol summit, some brewer flouted a major campaign watershed rule despite their claim to self-regulation. In an effort to increase sales during Christmas, the brewer, a member of BSG relaunched one of its flagship brands in a manner industry experts described as not only flouting regulations but flew in the face of the self regulation sing-song of the sector. The situation aggravated industry regulator, hence, undermined the drive industry call for internal self examination to drive marketing and regulatory compliance, prompting the use of ‘big stick’ to ensure compliance. However, while the big stick option remains unimportant to industry observers, a brand expert, Mr. Yemi Brown (not real name) who works for a media agency servic-

ing a media account a new beer brand, told The Nation that those who are rooting for regulatory “big-stick” are still worried over some issues. “These borders on the relationship between the impacts of whatever sanctions are prescribed for non-compliance and take-outs from marketing mileage. A brand might be fined N5 million for regulatory breaches but when measured against a marketing mileage of immeasurable value, the sanction diminishes in impact. In other words, there just might be deliberate flouting of rules with the thought that paying relatively insignificant fines would do little on whatever mileage would have been achieved.” But Nigeria is not the only country where self regulation has been applied in alcohol beverage marketing. In fact, in many countries, advertising for beverage alcohol (as well as for many other products and services) has been subject to self-regulatory rules for many years. A recent survey of 22 European countries, according to www.ourthinking found that 21 of them, including all EU member states, have developed self-regulatory systems which govern alcohol advertising. In particular, the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) is dedicated to acting as a single voice on advertising self-regulation issues, and promoting high ethical standards in commercial communications by means of effective self-regulation. However, the Nigerian alcoholic beverage industry has been urged to comply with rules of compliance, especially those set by the industry itself. For industry observers, rules on alcohol marketing are not new. “There are global templates that the industry in Nigeria can easily adopt and follow to get their marketing right. It happened in the tobacco industry in the not-too distant past. There was no need for anyone to wield any big stick against them even when everyone knows the tobacco industry in Nigeria is a virtual monopoly.”

‘We should not be seen to be disrespecting the sensitivities of regulation and society. We will continue to do this and move to a point where we agree on what is good for our society, what is good for our belief systems and balance that with what is good for business to thrive in our environment’

ITH its inclusion in the league of global eco nomic trading bloc, otherwise known as MINT nations, which includes Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey, a German global brand in the sanitary fitting market category, GROHE, has announced plans to expand its market frontier to the Nigerian market, its third footprint within the African market. GROHE Chief Sales Officer for Europe, Media East , Africa and America, Michael Rauterkus, explained that expansion is driven by Nigeria’s attractive urbanisation, multiplier lifestyle, increasing disposable income among other positive economic indicators. With consolidated sales of 1.405 million euro generated by the group in 2012, Rauterkus said the firm is offering Nigeria, which is the fastest growing market in the world, some of its building materials and housing equipments to contribute to a perfect water experience for consumers. “All products are designed and engineered to contribute to a per-

fect water experience. The GROHE product range comprised everything from aesthetically appealing designer faucets for bathrooms and kitchens to ingeniously safe thermostats to showers and showers systems that pamper the user, from smart installation and flushing systems to attractive accessories,” he said. While relying on its nine plants across which generates 85 per cent sales outside Germany, Rauterkus said the firm is world-wide known for innovative quality and technologies, ground-breaking designs and firm commitment to environmental sustainability. “As a global brand for sanitary products and systems, we realise the economic potentials of Nigeria. We have been operating in Africa for years now with the establishment of GROHE within the region as early as the 1970s with offices starting in Egypt. While in some parts of North and South Africa were in the spotlight, in recent years, GROHE has inaugurated offices in East Africa and West Africa-Nairobi and Lagos,” he added.

Valentine bash for new couples


S the world celebrates Valentine today, WED Expo, Africa’s largest wedding exhibition, has offered new couples opportunity to witness a wedding exhibition hosts to 200 exhibitors in Lagos and over 100 exhibitors in Abuja in each edition. To enhance convenience shopping for their wedding, the organisers said WED Expo, which recently expanded to host four exhibitions within one year in two cities, would afford couples planning to get married the opportunity to find all they need to plan their wedding in one place. Accordingly, the expo with the new theme ‘Your Wedding Starts Here’ is expected to present a bumper package for couples and wedding vendors. “Couples who visit the exhibition venue are sure to get great discounts and inspiration on various aspects of their wedding planning such as the decor, cake, aso-ebi, wedding gown, groom’s suit, makeup, photography, accessories and much

more,” the organisers stated. The statement stated further: ”What makes WED Expo unique is that couples can literally envisage their entire wedding and bring it to life at the event. The beautiful set up of the exhibition booths by several wedding vendors helps couples envision their wedding, giving them great ideas too. What’s more, couples have the chance to interact one-on-one with these wedding vendors and get great discounts for their services.” There would be two editions of the exhibition shortly after Valentine from March 28 to 30 at The Haven Events Centre, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos and from April 12 to 13 at the M&M Events Centre, Garki, Abuja. The organiser said the target market for the expo include wedding planner, decorator, makeup artist, photographer, Aso-oke maker, designer, bridal house, groom house, cake maker, dessert or cocktail specialist, hotel, venue, honeymoon expert.

Promasidor partners Thomson Foundation on Quill awards


ROMASIDOR Nigeria Limited, makers of Cowbell Milk, is partnering with Thomson Foundation to ensure that winner of the 2014 Promasidor Quill awards would have the opportunity of participating in a five -week course in the United Kingdom (UK). Chief Keith Richards, the in-coming Chairman of Promasidor Nigeria, said the partnership is to have a champion of champions among the winners of the seven categories created by the company go for a training programme in the UK. The award was instituted to rewarding excellence in journalism in Nigeria for dedicated news reportage on industry, education, and corporate social responsibility and nutrition issues all year round. Richards noted that the media is an important organ in the life of the society and it plays a very important role in checking the pulse of different issues in society but most times, the practitioners are undermined. “Since we sold the first sachet of milk and grew our product brands across our dairy, beverage and food enhancement categories over the

years, we have continued to enjoy and benefit from the support of the media and committed journalists who have noticed our commitment and hard work,” he said. Richards explained that the awards tagged ‘Promasidor Quill Awards’ initially covered five categories among which are the Brand Advocate of the year, Best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report of the year, Most Educative Report of the year, Best Report on Nutrition and the Best Photo Story of the year. He said winners from the maiden edition had received state-of-theart tools of trade as well as a sixweek certificate-awarding course at the School of Media and Communications of the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos to further equip them with new knowledge and skills set to do more. Also, the Chief Executive of Thomson Foundation, Mr. Nigel Baker, said they were proud to work with Promasidor on this initiative, adding that it will open new opportunities for journalists in Nigeria.









Love turns money spinner at Valentine Valentine’s Day is a memorable event all over the world. Today, a lot of people, both old and young, will ‘storm’all the shopping places around them to pick one unique item or the other for their loved ones. While some will make purchases online, others will visit the big shopping malls. TONIA ‘DIYAN writes that in preparation for today’s celebration, open market shop owners and big malls have stocked their stores with wares and promised good pricing . RE you looking for gifts that are cheap but unique? Are you searching for a gift that will outlive the rush of this season? If your answer is in the affirmative, then take a trip to both the virtual and physical shopping stores. Operators of these shopping centres have, over the last two weeks, been paying hosts to people who are prepared to mark the Valentine day. Retailers, particularly in Lagos, have succeeded in turning the occasion to a huge cash cow. One strange thing about this year’s celebration is that the open markets have taken the lead as they commenced stock-piling gift items earlier than the malls and online stores. According to them, the malls and high street stores have prompted them to start sales early. They said this is one of their strategies for making sales this year. One open shop owner in Lagos, Alhaja Bashirat Abeni said open shop owners are taking the right steps to get a bite of the season’s market share. She said: “We are only taking the bull by the horn, catching our competitors unaware. Ordinarily, no one would have thought we will stock valentine items earlier than the big stores and malls. They tend to look down on us most of the time, but we are stepping up our game, re-enforcing and re-packaging. It is simply one of our strategies.” They have all promised to make today’s shopping more convenient and exciting. They have also promised good prices for their customers. Proprietor of Delightsome Gift Concept, Gbagada-Lagos, Mrs Modupe Shopeju said valentine has graduated from being an event for lovers to being an event for people to take advantage of its business side. She said: “Valentine’s Day is

cally searching for the perfect gift to give to a special someone; don’t forget to check your neighbourhood stores to make sure your search doesn’t go too far because what you are searching for may just be right there at the back of your compound. A rose seller, Mrs Babajide Sumbo said shoppers buy roses on occasions like this. She is optimistic that today’s will not be an exception. “Roses always will be our show stopper. We sell a lot more roses on Valentine’s Day than any other day of the year,” she said.

Today’s offers top five Valentine’s Day gifts for him & her

For him Men’s gifts are more difficult to pick especially these days when they are more fashion forward and tech savvy. However, nothing says ‘I love you’ more for a man like the latest Samsung Smartphone, a dolce & Gabbana perfume, the latest PlayStation 4 game console, Rotary wristwatch and a bottle of the finest Veuve clicquot la Grande dame brut champagne.

For Her Women’s Valentine’s gifts are different from everyday gifts. They have to make her feel unique and special. Gifts like; Handmade Jewelry from Le Reve pieces for the elegant and stylish woman or Coco Chanel perfume to spray love all over her is not a bad idea. She can be coloured in a red-hot dress to make dinner look complete. She should be allowed to walk in style in killer shoes, pro-founding her new found self with her love.

• Valentine mood at Shoprite


For Couple For those who have found the right one, they can seal their love with the diamond engagement ring Jumia is giving away this valentine to one lucky couple. However, with every valentine item bought on with a Paga account, there is 10 per cent cash back in the ‘Paga Give love get love promotion’, there will also be free shipping within Lagos. has opened its Valentines store with plenty of special treats for everyone. From sweet daily timed deals to discount codes to help people enjoy amazing discounts to E-Gift vouchers, people can pick gifts for them and loved ones.

Gifts for Him Fragrances, Apparel, Shoes & lovely men’s suits.

• A road side trader at Ikorodu, selling Valentine gift items

less about love and more about the business of love for retailers, particularly those in Lagos. “ Shopping, spending, giving gifts and more is the tradition for many people on Valentine’s Day, as such, retailers will always take advantage of the celebrations.” According to her, the spending, shopping provide a light-hearted view of all the common Valentine’s Day traditions. Retailers say Valentine’s Day is among the top three holidays in terms of sales as each year, they put in their best to make it worthwhile. A greeting card seller in Ikeja, Mr Kelechukwu Maduka, agrees with Shopeju. According to him, the occasion usually provides an opportunity for traders to make money after the Yuletide. “Valentine’s Day may mean flowers, dinner, a

sentimental card or a special date night to some people, but to us, it means an opportunity to get busy again following the lull of postChristmas rush.” Shopeju is particularly excited that this year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday because it will allow offers to be extended into the weekend. “Valentine this year falls on a weekend. For us, this is perfect because it gives lovers time to plan the whole romantic package and we are ready for them,” she added. According to her, there are more offers for women as they are the biggest shoppers always. “Women tend to buy for their husbands, kids, their mothers and everybody around them. I know today is specially for them and I am looking forawrd to an exciting time,” she said.

Branch Manager at Shoprite, Mr Linus Okon, said he is expecting a huge crowd, adding that he has made provision for twice the number of customers he receives on ordinary days. He said: “At Shoprite, there is going to be an overflow tomorrow of the people who could not make it here today after work. Our offer still extends till after valentine.” Valentine is the shortest holiday season because it lasts for only one day. Men are notorious for shopping at the last minute and stores are prepared for this. For this reason, retailers are eager to help people find something special for their loved ones today and they look forward to seeing people come out in the spirit of the season. For them, each Valentine’s Day brings a little uptick in sales. Therefore, while you are franti-

Gifts for Her Fragrances, Jewellery, Watches & Accessories, Lingerie, Shoes & Bags and Beauty Products.

Gifts for His & Hers Teddy Bears, Chocolate, Wine , Love Baskets ,Gadgets ,Home Essentials ,Intimate Gifts ,Books ,Music & Movies ,Gifts for Kids. is giving out Blackberry Bold 7 for N20, 100, Techno Phantom A+ for N20, 700, Samsung Galaxy S4 for N52, 800, Sony Play Station 4 console for N64.800 , Iphone 5c 16gigabyte (GB) for N94,995. For Valentine, the store is also offering amazing Blackberry deals under N25,000, Curve 6 for N 18,200 and curve 7 for N24,700 and a Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos Touch Screen phone for N44,495 .

Newspaper of the Year


PETERSIDE THE Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Dakuku Peterside, says the police must be guided by the law in Rivers State. •Peterside

•PAGE 32






THE former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, is staging a comeback to the state’s politics, with the All Progressives Congress (APC) registration as springboard.

WHO still consults the oracle in this 21st century? The people of Obite 3 did over the death of a woman and this has thrown the community into turmoil.

•PAGE 32

•The late Chikodi

•PAGE 34

• SACKED RISONPALM WORKERS SPIT FIRE OVER UNPAID GRATUITY STORY ON PG 32 Odi moves against PDP over unpaid N37.6b compensation

Ogunsakin...The man who will ‘clear’ Mbu’s mess T

From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

EMPERS are rising in Odi, an oil-producing community plundered by military invasion in November 1999. The community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, has reasons to loathe the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government. The rural community has experienced backwardness, violence, anguish and entrenched poverty since 1999. In a case many felt it was like using a sledge hammer to kill an ant, former President Olusegun Obasanjo overran the community with battalions of soldiers and military hard-wares. The indigenes recalled with shock the killings, raping, looting and crumbling of buildings in their community for an offence that they never conspired to commit. They are indignant that the government has refused to honour an order from a court mandating it to pay the community N37.6billion damages. They are distraught that instead of paying the money, the Federal Government is insensitive to their plight. So, Odi remains in dire straits. But, following the “political revolution” in the country, Odi seems tired of PDP and is set to dump the ruling party. Their anger further stems from the fact that despite coming from their state and occupying the presidency for over four years, President Goodluck Jonathan, has done nothing to alleviate their plight. So, the people are rushing to an alternative platform presented to them by the All Progressive Congress (APC). Two prominent indigenes of Odi, Timi Frank and Preye Anganaba, were the first to take the bull by the horns by defecting to the APC. Frank, who was the former National Youth Leader of the defunct new PDP, and Anganaba, raised political consciousness of Odi people when they led a delegation of party enthusiasts to the community recently to participate in the registration exercise of APC. On arriving Ward 2 where registration officials were conducting the exercise, the duo were stunned. They saw sea of heads struggling to partake in the exercise. The people of the community were, however, orderly as they queued despite the hot weather.

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt


OMMISSIONER of Police Mbu Joseph Mbu was on February 6 redeployed in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and replaced with Johnson Tunde Ogunsakin, an indigene of Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, who was the commissioner in charge of the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. Mbu, for almost all his time in Rivers, many say was unprofessional. To Rivers indigenes, Ogunsakin’s success will depend on his embrace of professionalism and neglect of partisanship. Ogunsakin was born on August 1, 1957 and enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in 1982. He attended L. A. Primary School, Ikere-Ekiti and later proceeded to the Annunciation College, Ikere-Ekiti. On completion of his secondary school education, the Rivers police commissioner gained admission into the then University of Ife, IleIfe, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). He graduated in 1980 with B.A. (Hons.) in Political Science/History. He participated in the compulsory one year national youth service in Ogun State in 1981. He also has Advanced Diploma in Law Diplomacy/Conflict Management from the University of Jos (UNIJOS) and enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in 1982. Ogunsakin started his police career in 1984 in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, as a Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) at the Bodija Police Station. In 1985, he attended the Anti-Riot Mobile Police Training at Gwoza, Borno State. He was the Unit Commander, Number 4 Squadron, Ibadan. In 1989, he joined the Interpol Lagos as a Detective Superintendent. • Continued on page 30

•CP Ogunsakin

• Continued on page 30





Ogunsakin...The man who will ‘clear’ Mbu’s mess • Continued from page 29


T Interpol, he performed excellently, became the head and was made the Officer-inCharge (OC) of the Organised Crime Division; OC, Europe/North America of the Economic and Financial Crimes Division and the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of Interpol. Ogunsakin was among the officers that worked on the team that put an end to the terror reign of the notorious armed robbery gang of Lawrence Anini in the country. Shortly after his redeployment, said: “I am going to do my professional work and create an environment for the peaceful conduct of elections. I will be fair to all.” The new Rivers police boss was appointed commissioner of police, SFU in 2009. Prior to the appointment, he was the deputy police commissioner, Information Technology, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja. Ogunsakin also served as the Director of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) between June 2008 and May 2009. He is a former Head of Investigations at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC). The representative of AndoniOpobo/Nkoro constituency of Rivers State in the House of Representatives, Dakuku Peterside, believes there is the need to give peace a chance in the state. Peterside, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) and ex-Rivers Commissioner for Works, said: “Mbu is only a symptom of an ailment. Mbu is not all about the problem. He is not the fundamental problem. The fundamental problem is to guarantee the rights of Rivers people to associate freely. The rights of Rivers people to gather when they so choose to. That is the issue. Mbu is only a vehicle that they have abused. “The police force is established by our constitution and they have rights. It is funded by tax payers’ money. They have rather abused the institution of the police force. Whether you change Mbu or not, is not the issue. The President is under oath to guarantee the freedom of all Nigerians. He is on oath to protect lives and property. Are lives and property protected? The answer is no. “For me, when there is breakdown of law and order, when you continue to go on with lawlessness, it is the first sign of a failed state. We are advancing to that point. We must do something drastic to halt the decline that we are currently experiencing. “We must do something very fundamental to stop the lawlessness that pervades the land. Until we stop the lawlessness, then there is no hope for our people. Our people will take their destinies into their own hands. They will stop this impunity by their votes. Of course, February 2015 is by the corner. “Our people are tired of this lawlessness. They are tired of this impunity. They will use their votes and stop this madness. “Whether Mbu comes or Mbu goes is immaterial. The Nigeria police should keep themselves to their constitutionally-guaranteed duty of enforcement of law and order. Whether

it is Mr. White or Mr. John, we are not excited. “What we want to see is the fact that the police force must be impartial, must be fair to all manner of people, protect lives and property and ensure the maintenance of law and order. That will be our ultimate joy and will be the ultimate joy of our people.” Senator Magnus Abe, who was at the receiving end of Mbu’s reign of terror, said change must come. Abe, while recalling his experience in the hand of Mbu’s men, said: “I was not alone there (Rivers College of Arts and Science, Rumuola, Port Harcourt). There were more than two hundred people, who saw what happened. This young man was there with the camera. He was beaten up and his camera was destroyed. So, if nothing happened, why were they so eager to make sure that no picture of what happened got out? “They (policemen) opened fire on us in their midst. We were not in any crowd. To say that I was not shot is the largest understatement or the biggest lie of the century. These men opened fire, teargassed, everything was fired everywhere. People saw what happened. “That I was not killed, yes, but to say they opened fire on you and you did not die, therefore nothing happened, is the height of. I do not know how to describe it. However, for me, I am going to court. I have asked my lawyers to file my case in court, against all those who had hands in what happened. I will meet them in court.” He said the time had come for a new direction for the state. Abe said: “We have had lots of these crises. Any right-thinking person will agree that it is time for us to put some of these things behind us. Since last year, there had been a concerted attempt to remove the governor (Amaechi) from office and overthrow the government of Rivers State by force and there is no provision in our Constitution for that kind of behaviour. “Having tried by all earthly means and they have failed, I will appeal to them to now sheathe their swords and let us work together, to try to help the people of Rivers State. That is the reason for which we say we are playing politics. What we are doing now is not helping them. It is clear that the governor cannot be removed without the law. “So, since that is clear and that is what we all agreed, as citizens of Nigeria, let us work with the governor (Amaechi), let him do his job and let all of us, who also have jobs to do, be allowed to do our own jobs. If we do that, it will help the state (Rivers), it will help the country. “For us to turn Rivers State into a theatre of war, because of the ambition of any single individual, is morally, politically and spiritually wrong. We cannot kill ourselves here, because of anybody. If people feel that they want to join a political party, they should be allowed to join the party of their choice. “If you feel that you have superior reason why people should follow your own party, explain your reasons to the people. Do not carry guns to go and attack or kill the people, for going to join another party. There is no justification for that kind of behaviour. As far as I know, the Presi-

•CP Ogunsakin

dent (Dr. Goodluck Jonathan) himself has said he does not think that anybody’s ambition is worth anybody’s blood. “Nobody should assume that when you throw a stone into the market, you know who it will hit. If we continue to buy guns and arm people, every gun you buy has a lifespan of over one hundred years. “So, who knows who will be your friend tomorrow? Who knows who will be your enemy tomorrow? Who knows in which direction these guns will point tomorrow? Let us play our politics, win or lose, let us thank God for the privilege he has given to us to lead and we should move on with our lives.” The Rivers Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ibibia Walter, however, insisted that Mbu exhibited professionalism. ALTER said: “Mbu exhib ited professionalism while in Rivers State. Many Rivers people appreciated the works of Mbu in Rivers State. Mbu was accused of protecting the PDP by Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the APC and SRM’s leaders, who found it difficult to pocket Mbu, who showed so much professionalism. “That is why he (Mbu) has been deployed to a higher challenge. The incoming police commissioner (Ogunsakin) must also show professionalism.” The President of the pro-Amaechi’s SRM, Charles Aholu, a lawyer, declared that Mbu would be remembered for rascality, partisanship and trampling on rights of Rivers people. Aholu said: “Mbu’s redeployment from Rivers State to Abuja is a victory for democracy. Mbu will be remembered for the rascality he perpetrated on the psyche of Rivers people. He will be remembered as the only cop that has worn a very clear apparel of partisanship, when it comes to policing. “Mbu will also be remembered for trampling on the rights of Rivers citizens and for us, these are not good


remarks. “The incoming police commissioner (Ogunsakin) should not make the mistakes that Mbu made. We will expect him to be professional in his approach. We believe that he will be professional.” The new Rivers police commissioner said in an interview: “As a policeman, you must be prepared for every challenge. Whether you are doing investigation, operations or even administration, you must be prepared to step on toes. “If you are doing investigation or working on a case, you must believe in yourself and then know that you have responsibilities. The responsibility you have is your guts, your country and you will do justice to the case you are doing. “If you are investigating any case, you must have it at the back of your mind that your friends, brothers, sisters and church members are going to come to try to influence you, either on the side of the suspect or the complainant. “So, you must be able to define your own pedigree. Once you believe in God and you believe in fairness, you will overcome every challenge. I have friends, but my friends know me when it comes to my job. I do not joke with my job. I can hardly be influenced.” Ogunsakin also admitted that initially, he did not want to become a policeman, while opting to work in a foreign mission He said: “Everybody has an ambition. As a small child, when you are growing up, you always want to grow up to be like your father. So, it is true that while we were in the university I did not want to become a police officer, because the profession did not look attractive then, but the event that happened later did change my whole perception about the police. “I am very proud to be a police officer. I thank God for that. I have satisfaction being a policeman and people must appreciate that police are

friends of the public. “There were several jobs when we finished school, but my target was to work in foreign mission, but I am now a policeman and I am very happy to be a policeman.” HE new Rivers police boss admitted that he did not know he was going to join the Nigeria police, but it happened after an event, as he was impressed by how a police officer handled the matter, when he and his friend were wrongly accused of assaulting a police officer, which he said propelled him to join the police. Ogunsakin said: “Prior to that incident, if there was any profession I was interested in, it was not definitely the Nigeria police. I was on the verge of joining the Nigerian Foreign Service, when a friend and I were accused of assaulting a police officer and we were taken to the police station. “An ASP handled the situation so professionally, that I was so keen to want to join the Nigeria police, because of his action and that led me to where I am now. I am actually proud to be a policeman and I am enjoying the job.” Hailing from Ekiti State, fondly referred to as “The Fountain of Knowledge” and “The Land of Honour,” which has Dr. Kayode Fayemi as governor, the new Rivers police commissioner places emphasis on integrity and fear of God, standing out as a police officer who cannot be compromised. Ogunsakin said: “As soon as I finished the training, that lasted for 13 months, at the Police Staff College, Jos, I was posted to Ibadan as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). I was privileged to serve in the office of Mrs. Koloko, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) at Dugbe Motor Traffic Division. “My working with Mrs. Koloko shaped my job in the Nigeria Police, because she was a very strict disciplinarian. She had zero tolerance to corruption. I was to spend three months



attachment with her, but ended up spending eight months, out of the nine months attachment I was supposed to do, because she would not let me go. “Initially, senior officers who had worked with her tried to discourage me from doing my attachment with her, when they heard that I was posted to her office, because they believed she was wicked and all that, but then, I had no choice, I was posted there. “My first day, I got to the office around 7:30 am and she was already there. The second day, I was in the office by 7:45 am, she was there again and I told myself I had to adjust my timing, because she did not say anything. The third day, I got to the office five minutes before her and the fourth day 10 minutes earlier and since then, I studied her conduct. “I did my best and she reciprocated by giving me a lot of sensitive jobs, counseling me and she was very good to me. She mentored me. She stays in Ibadan, but she still comes around to encourage us. “After my attachment, I was posted to the Crime Department of Bodija Station in Ibadan. After about a year, there was an opening in the Anti-Riot Police, otherwise known as the Mobile Police and I was very interested. So, I went to the Commander in the Mobile then, who is late now, and I told him I was interested in Mobile Police. “The Commander just looked at me and said I was just about a year old in the Nigeria Police Force and that the Commissioner of Police then, Senator Nuhu Aliyu, now retired, would not consider me, because I had to spend at least three years, before I could be admitted to the Mobile Police. I begged him that I wanted to do it. “Fortunately for me, not many officers wanted to go into Mobile Police then, because most officers wanted to work in other divisions. I put more pressure and I was taken to the then Deputy Commissioner of Police, who was initially reluctant, but eventually took me to the then Commissioner of Police, who asked me if I really wanted to join the Mobile Police and I said yes. He then said if I had made up my mind to join the Mobile Police, he believed I could do great. “The mobile training I received has always been a good part of me, because it was quite different from the ordinary learning process of the police. It was effective, thorough and strenuous. There is a saying in the Mobile Police, the three “S” which is Silence, Speed and Surprise. The Silence, Speed and Surprise are the key “S” that prepares you for other issues.” He believes it pays to work hard, be professional in one’s duties, shun corruption and put one’s trust only in the Lord. Ogunsakin said: “When I left the Mobile Police after three and a half years, I was in Lagos and I had an instance when my boys killed eight armed robbers in one night, when Anini was terrorising the state. “If you are good in the Mobile Police, you are good, because they are very professional. I was nicknamed ‘Tunde OC Court’ or ‘Tunde Idiagbon’ in Ibadan, because they knew that I would never want to hear about anybody collecting money at the road blocks. My experience at the road traffic in Ibadan helped me a lot. Back then in Ibadan, anybody that was caught was taken to court, hence the nickname given to me. “That was how I got myself into Interpol, because when I left the Mobile Police, I met with Aliyu, who said I would be good in investigation and he brought me to Lagos. As soon as I got to Alagbon in Lagos, I was posted to Interpol. As at that time, not many people wanted to work in the Interpol. “I handled the Independent Na-

tional Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) case and we recovered about N23 million. I handled the case of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), where we recovered about N650 million and the suspects were charged to court and other cases like that. “Subsequently, I briefly worked in the Provost’s Office and I was moved to the Police Staff College as the Director of Studies for few months. I was taken back to Abuja and I worked in the Force Secretary’s Office. From there, I was moved to IG Monitoring Unit, where I worked under Mr. Sunday Ehindero (former IGP). From there, I was moved to the ICPC as the Head of Investigations. “I must mention that Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, is somebody I see myself very lucky to have worked with, because I learnt a lot from him. When I got to the ICPC, there were lots of things we wanted to do, but he was like, he slowed us down, saying we had to be very thorough. “Most of the cases I handled, I had to first send them to his office and he would call me to his office saying: ‘Tunde, o ya sit down, you want to charge this man to the court’ and I would said yes sir. ‘I am the Judge in this court, you are the prosecutor, convince me why this man should go to the court and all that.’ If you are not prepared, then you would mess yourself up. So, before taking a case to him, you must know what he was going to ask you and you must be well prepared. “I was later moved to the EFCC as the Director of Operations. From there, I was posted back to the Police as the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Information Technology. It was a section of the Police I enjoyed, because of the dynamism of the society and the globalisation of policing. You must be up to date in Information Technology, to be able to do good policing. I left the place and thanks to the IGP and Police Management Team, I was posted to the SFU as the Commissioner of Police.” In Ogunsakin’s interaction with police officers across the globe, he said he found that police officers are respectfully remunerated. In United Kingdom, for instance, he noted that a police inspector friend of his (now retired) then earned about 47,000 Pounds annually, and upon retirement, the house he lived in worth about 300,000 Pounds would become his and would go on vacation twice a year, to any location of his choice in the world and the government would pay, while education, medicals and others for his children were free, making cases of corruption in the UK to be very minimal. E called on the members of the National Assembly and other people at the helm of affairs to give priority attention to police welfare. The new Rivers police commissioner said: “Police officers and men have to be very well remunerated, because there are so many good police officers and men that corruption practices will be unattractive to, if they are well looked after. “The core problem of corruption today is because of lack of security. Anybody in the corridors of power thinks that it is his time and the best he will do is to get enriched before the time runs out. Because of our kind of polity and cultural demands, people tend to prepare for the future. “In a situation where you have a future, in the sense that you have a welfare package and your retirement is secured, then corruption will become very unattractive.” Ogunsakin also admonished Nigerians, especially the youths, to imbibe the culture of integrity in whatever they do. Will his integrity not give way in Rivers? All eyes will be on Ogunsakin. Certainly.



NIGER DELTA REPORT COVER Odi moves against PDP over unpaid N37.6b compensation • Continued from page 29


N fact, the people of Odi were excited at the registration procedure. “We have never seen this type of party registration before. It is unique. In a twinkle my passport photograph was taken. This party is serious”, an indigene who identified himself as Success said. On why he decided to become a member of APC, he said: “We are tired of PDP in this community. The PDP has done us more harm than good. The failures of the PDP-led government to pay us our compensation make us sick and remind us of how this same party destroyed our community and killed our brothers and sisters with impunity. “This shows that PDP is quick at wreacking but slow at mending fences. I mean how can a party flouts court orders with impunity and still expect the receivers of such ill-treatment to identify with it? Before proceeding to the registration centre, Frank and Anganaba had led the delegates to the palaces of Kala Okun of Kolokuma Kingdom, King Agara Onya Mozi and the Paramount Ruler of Odi, King Shine Aprè. The delegates were warmly received by the kings who also gave their royal blessings to APC. Frank, who spoke for the delegates, gave reasons why some prominent indigenes of Odi abandoned the PDP for the APC. “Some of us were members of the PDP before today. I was the National Youth Leader of the breakaway faction of the new PDP. “We left the PDP because of impunity. There was no leadership in the PDP and we say that as progressive Nigerians, we must take another dimension. We must take a decision to rescue this country. We have left the PDP for good, for development and progress,” he said. He also said they took to APC because of their desire to bring development to the community. “I feel sad for Odi” he lamented, adding: “This is a community that has paid the prize of giving us Ijaw Presidency in this country. Odi is one of the communities that contributed to it. What are our reward? We are not getting anything from this struggle. “It is known to Nigerians today that we have an Ijaw son that is the President of this country. Under his watchful eyes, people have suffered and died in this community. We have lost people. We must defend and ensure that whatever is due to Odi community must come to this community”. Reflecting on the Odi massacre, he accused the Federal Government of insensitivity wondering why the government was sitting on the N37.6billion compensation awarded the community by the court. He insisted that the money though inadequate since it would not resurrect those who died during the invasion, should be paid in the interest of justice. He said: “That money is not adequate to compensate us from what we have lost in this community. It cannot bring back the lives of those that had died in this community. Despite that, nothing has been said either by the Federal Government, the state government or anybody regarding the money. “I have written two open letters to the President to pay this money. But till today the President has paid deaf ears to the problems because he believes he is not an Odi man and that the Odi problem doesn’t concern him. “If this thing had happened in Otuoke in Ogbia where the President comes from, maybe by now that money would have been paid. Just recently we did prayers for God to touch the heart of federal government to pay the money. This same government went ahead to appeal the judgment. They went to seek stay of execution”. He appealed to the traditional rulers to rescue the future of the youths

by granting a fair playing field to APC in their domains. He also asked them to rise and appeal to the government to pay the judgement sum. He regretted that Ijaw leaders and some political appointees at the Aso Rock Villa from the local government area had kept sealed lips over the development. “Instead of the Ijaw leaders and elders to speak and urge the government to pay this money, nobody is saying anything. Since this Odi matter, Chief E.K Clark and Ijaw leaders have not spoken to compel the Federal Government to pay this money. “We are like orphans in this government. There is no prominent Odi man in this government but Odi is one of the recognised communities in Ijaw land. As an Ijaw son that belongs to this community, l have taken this battle upon myself. “I won’t fear the President until he pays whatever belongs to Odi to Odi people. The community is underdeveloped. There is no employment. Our Odi youths are roaming the streets joblessely while the PDP government promises us endlessly”. Frank dropped the bomb. He said: “We are tired of Jonathan’s government. We are tired of the PDP government. Odi people have passed through so much pains and if PDP will not listen to our cries, we will take it to somewhere else. “With the emergence of APC and with people from this community identifying with it, by the time APC comes to stabilise in Odi, there must be changes. Everybody is tired. We need changes. We are tired of saying our own, our son, but we have not felt the dividends. “If Jonathan fails to pay us the money and he leaves government, who do we expect to pay the money? All Odi people must rise. If Jonathan fails to listen to our cries, all Odi people should fail to listen to Jonathan’s cries of 2015 ambition. I am making this comment without fear or favour.” He said all the money reported missing in the country and stashed away in private accounts was enough to pay Odi. He said it was unfortunate that under Jonathan’s government so much money had been reported missing. He said APC offered the people of Odi a platform to emancipate the people of Odi from poverty and underdevelopment adding that APC would win the local government area and Odi in 2015. “I must continue with this campaign of Odi struggle. The money must be paid because it is our right. It is not free. Some Ijaw people beleive that there is no room for any other person to lay his complaints. This is wrong for democracy. “Democracy is not being defined by saying that our son is there and therefore nobody should speak. Today, the votes that made Jonathan the President did not come from Odi, they did not come from Bayelsa and did not come from the Niger Delta. What made him the President came from the north”, he said. He asked the people in the community to go about their political activities peacefully describing APC as a peaceful party. He said APC’s gospel of change would be preached to all localities during campaigns. While urging all Nigerians to identify with the party, he said APC would bring good governance and development. Referring to the people that came out to register in APC in the community, he said: “You can see progressive young men everywhere. They are tired. They want change. They want development. They want empowerment. But today, there is nothing and no empowerment even in the government led by an Ijaw man. “We are tired and we can’t pretend any more. Despite what Jonathan’s government likes, what we are saying

•PDP Chair Adamu Mu'azu

is that our votes in Odi must count. People must not vote based on sentiment. They must not vote because Jonathan is an Ijaw man. “People will continue to register because everybody wants to identify with change. People have known that APC is a party of change. It is not a party of impunity and lawlessness. “My people here are tired of PDP and all of them beleive that the only time we can change this country is for everybody to come out en masse to register for the APC. APC will win this ward and this community by the grace of God.” In his remarks, Anganaba harped on peace saying it would be foolhardy for people to clash in the community over 2015 since their votes would not decide the presidency. He asked the elders to mount pressure on Jonathan to pay the money. He urged the President to stop paying lip service to the cries of Odi. He further appealed to the people to use their brains in playing politics of ideas.”We need peace and not violence. We need to be smart and wise. We are only here to send the message of change to everyone.”, he said. Also, the former South-South Youth Leader of PDP, Mr. God Sidi, who dumped the party for APC recalled the massacre and said he took inventory of lives and property lost to the invasion. But he said having painstakingly followed a legal process and obtained a judgement, the people of Odi deserved to be paid. He lambasted those claiming to be Ijaw leaders in Abuja for failing to champion the cause of justice. But he warned against violence saying politics is not a do-or-die affair. In fact, the two kings welcomed the message of change and promised to create enabling environment for all political parties to co-exist. King Agara said though the state was governed by PDP, APC’s coming was good development for democratic entrenchment. Addressing the delegates, he said: “If all other states are having APC, Bayelsa should have it too. I am happy that you have come. APC is like a child now and a child must grow. APC will grow too”. He cautioned against violence observing that both PDP and APC were made up brothers and sisters. He described the courtesy visit as an honour adding that the presence of PDP should not prevent APC from laying its structures. “Do your job diligently. Please, avoid crisis. Control the youths and prevent them from engaging in clashes. I can’t tell you that we don’t need APC because one party alone can’t rule Bayelsa forever”, he said. Also, Aprè did not deny the delegates his blessings. He prayed for them and promised to make Odi’s political field fair to all participants. He said his palace was open for everybody with good intentions. He said it was unfortunate that the Federal Government was delaying the payment of the compensation adding that he would not prevent APC from registering its members in the community. But he warned: “Don’t harm you sisters and brothers. Whatever party that wins, wins for everybody. It shouldn’t be a winner takes all. We must not disintegrate. No one should oppress others.”






APC on a rescue mission in Rivers, others, says Peterside The representative of Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency of Rivers State in the House of Representatives, Dakuku Peterside, isthe Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) and ex-Rivers State Commissioner for Works. In this interview with BISI OLANIYI at his coastal Opobo hometown, the headquarters of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of Rivers State.


OW do you feel, coming home to register as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC)? I feel very elated. Today, we have made yet another history. Some years ago, I was elected to represent the people of Andoni, Opobo and Nkoro, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but a lot has happened since then and I have changed party platform. I am now a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Today, I have formalised my membership of the APC. That is why I said history is being made today. We are reintegrating our people back to the mainstream of national politics. At the time we fought and agitated for democracy, we did not subscribe to repressive government. We did not subscribe to any government that will take our natural resources. We did not subscribe to corruption. We did not subscribe to repression, intimidation and lawlessness, but that is our lot, under the leadership of the present government in Nigeria. And so, we are on a rescue mission, to ensure that the people do not continue under this style of governance that represents corruption, represents repression and represents the fact that people can take away that which belongs to us. We have since moved on. The beauty of democracy is that people must have choices. People must have options. The beauty of democracy is freedom to belong to any political party of your choice. The beauty of democracy is the freedom to express your opinion and to associate with whomever you want to associate with. Under the present circumstance,

led by the PDP, our people cannot enjoy those constitutionally-guaranteed rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of movement. Those fundamental freedoms that make us, in the first instance, to cherish democracy, cannot be guaranteed under the present arrangement. That is why we have opted for a platform that will guarantee the rights of our people, that will secure our commonwealth, that will restore hope to our people again. A platform that will galvanise the aspirations of our people and a platform that will meet the yearnings of our people. I can assure you that the APC is that platform that will meet the aspirations of our people and can of course, restore hope in our people. I believe that the journey of a thousand miles starts with the very first step. Today, we have started the very first step. In 2015, we will elect an APC president for the country and APC governor for Rivers state, but that on its own is not an end. It of course marks the beginning of good governance. It will mark the beginning of prosperity again and the development of all our people and of course our state and nation. We are very optimistic that when the change in government will come, it will signify a new beginning for our people and I believe that APC is the vehicle that will take us to that new beginning. How do you react to violence in some parts of Rivers State, during the membership registration of the APC? It is most unfortunate. Again, it is the hallmark of the PDP. They have championed violence against the same people, who gave them their mandate, some two, three years ago.

They have championed violence against the same people who gave them over two million votes. They have been at the forefront of intimidation of the people. Democracy is a matter of choice. You cannot intimidate us into belonging to a particular political party, especially one that does not protect our interest. Politics is a game of interest. It is clear that the PDP, as it is presently constituted, cannot protect the interest of Rivers people and indeed cannot protect the interest of Nigerians. On the issue of violence, everybody can see clearly the hand of the PDP, wherever you experience violence. They are scared about the fact that the masses have embraced the APC. They are scared of change, but change is inevitable. How will you react to the February 6, 2014 redeployment of Mbu Josepn Mbu and how will you advise the incoming Rivers Commissioner of Police, Johnson Tunde Ogunsakin, an indigene of IkereEkiti, Ekiti State? Mbu is only a symptom of an ailment. Mbu is not all about the problem. He is not the fundamental problem. The fundamental problem is to guarantee the rights of Rivers people to associate freely. The rights of Rivers people to gather when they so choose to. To make choices. That is the issue. Mbu is only a vehicle that they have abused. The police force is established by our constitution and they have rights. It is funded by tax payers’ money. They have rather abused the institution of the police force. Whether you change Mbu or not, is not the issue. The President is under oath to guarantee the freedom of all Nigerians. He is on oath to protect lives and property. Are lives and property protected? The answer is no.

Our people are tired of this lawlessness. They are tired of this impunity. They will use their votes and stop this madness. Whether Mbu comes or Mbu goes is immaterial. The Nigeria police should keep themselves to their constitutionallyguaranteed duty of enforcement of law and order


For me, when there is breakdown of law and order, when you

continue to go on with lawlessness, it is the first sign of a failed state.

We are advancing to that point. We must do something drastic to halt

Sacked Risonpalm workers spit fire over gratuity C RISIS is brewing between disengaged workers of defunct Rivers State owned Risonpalm Limited and SIAT, the new owners of the palm oil company, over the nonpayment of entitlements. The aggrieved workers are threatening to disrupt the operation of SIAT and force the management to pay their entitlements if all the dialogue presently being initiated on the matter failed. Risonpalm Limited started operation in 1975 with over 3000 workers, but collapsed due to managerial problem which lingered till 2009 when it was finally abandoned. The palm fruits were left unsecured and became easy targets for some youths in the host community who illegally harvest the palm fruits and sell to local palm oil mill owners. The subsequent stopping of op-

From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt

eration led to the frustration of workers and the gradual decay of Ubima Palm Estate, the headquarters of the Risonpalm Limited amidst appeals to Rivers State government by the host communities and stakeholders to restore the company’s lost glory. Governor Rotimi Amaechi brought back the original planner of the palm plantation to take over the company, which name was changed to SIAT along with a new board in 2010. The former management of the company and staff were asked to leave with a promise that they would be paid their entitlements. The Chairman of disengaged workers, Chief Jude Woka decried the fate of his members. He explained that the payment SIAT made to workers was paltry

and not befitting for those who spent decades of their youthful years in service of the state-owned company. He alleged that some ex-workers who spent years in service got as little as N5,000 while some did not receive a dime. He recalled that Mrs. Victoria Ngozi Welekwe, who joined Risonpalm in 1982 and was disengaged in 2011, did not receive a dime. He said the computation of the workers entitlement was done secretly without consultation with the finance controller. He also regretted that about 17,000 hectares of arable land were expropriated from the workers’ homeland by the defunct Risonpalm but at the end they were abandoned and left to suffer. More frustrating, he alleged that of the N5billion earmarked for worker’s gratuity, only N165 million was paid by SIAT. He said: “We have informed Governor Chibuike Amaechi of our

plight, having made several efforts to ensure that the entitlements owed to us will be paid. The non-payment of our outstanding retirement benefits has brought untold hardship to the disengaged workers. Some have died; some are sick and unemployable as a result of age. “Also, it is quite unfortunate to inform the governor and the public that some of the disengaged workers served for about 30-35 years and when they were disengaged, they paid them a token of N100,000.00 as retirement benefit for 30 years service and N200,000.00 for 35 years respectively. We have also written to all relevant authorities involved to pay us, but all to no avail. We have equally written reminder letters to SIAT management but all efforts proved abortive. “Are we going to wait for the payment till we all died? We have work for years, spent our life in Risonpalm, It is part of the

company’s corporate social responsibility to pay off staffs which is line with the partnership agreement with Rivers State government. I wonder why up till now the company has not met this obligation. “I want the government to know that if people are paid N5 million and N10 million, it will change their lives. Risonpalm was a state-owned company, the government should take us seriously like the way they took the staffs of Tide, RSTV, RIVOC and the rest of state own establishments. The 3,000, workforce will do everything possible under my leadership to get our money.” Mr. Emmanuel Amadi, one of the oldest disengaged staff, said the unpaid entitlement has sent many of his colleagues to early grave. Amadi said: “The total amount owned us is N5billion, which the company promised to pay us off during their familiarisation tour of the host communities. However,

• Woka only N165 million was paid by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Risonpalm sole administrator. As

the decline that we are currently experiencing. We must do something very fundamental to stop the lawlessness that pervades the land. Until we stop the lawlessness, then there is no hope for our people. Our people will take their destinies into their own hands. They will stop this impunity by their votes. Of course, February 2015 is by the corner. Our people are tired of this lawlessness. They are tired of this impunity. They will use their votes and stop this madness. Whether Mbu comes or Mbu goes is immaterial. The Nigeria police should keep themselves to their constitutionallyguaranteed duty of enforcement of law and order. Whether it is Mr. White or Mr. John, we are not excited. What we want to see is the fact that the police force must be impartial, must be fair to all manner of people, protect lives and property and ensure the maintenance of law and order. That will be our ultimate joy and will be the ultimate joy of our people. How do you react to the Friday, February 7, 2014 Supreme Court’s judgment, in the suit involving Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Sir Celestine Omehia? We have always known that Omehia has no business trying to join a case for which he is not a party to, ab initio, and for which he has no stake. The Supreme Court said he simply could not have his cake and eat it and that he is a pretender. Justices of the Supreme Court reprimanded him. We have always had confidence in the judiciary. That is why we have never resorted to violence or selfhelp. We have absolute confidence, first in God and secondly, that the institution of the Supreme Court would be able to do justice according to law and that it is not about emotions. It is not about sentiments. And so, we are glad that the Supreme Court did not disappoint the people of Nigeria. That the Justices of the Supreme Court, by their action, have deepened democracy and our people, once more, are very hopeful, very optimistic and they look to a glorious and very bright future and all of us will have the opportunities to enjoy the good things that constitutional democracy guarantees all over the world. Ours cannot be an exception. So, we are actually elated. a result of the forceful evacuation of staffs from the Estate which was issued within 24 hours by the new company’s board without consideration of their plight? This heartless action brought unexpected shock that led to hardship, death and sickness among others.” Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Emmanuel Chinda, who was contacted, said part of the money owed the disengage workers have been paid to them including 17 months salaries. Chinda said: “We do not owe anybody, what we suppose to give them, part of it has been paid to them, and after many years of rot and abandonment we came on board and decided to revive the company. Today, people are protesting and agitating for entitlements even when they knew there were no workers at the company when we met it. As for me I don’t think they should be demanding for gratuity and all that because they all abandoned the company. We are ready to discuss with their leaders and see how we can sort thing out but believe me some money was paid to them.”

Sylva's return to reckoning ‘ Have you ever heard in the



T was like a homecoming for estranged loyalists of the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva. Ever since they were driven out of the Government House by the "Oga at the top" in connivance with the highest echelon of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Wednesday last week was the first day most of them came back to the state. Thanks to the All Progressive Congress (APC). They ran away from the state as PDP members but they came back as members of the vibrant opposition. With enthusiasm, they arrived into the embrace of their friends who besieged a temporary headquarters of APC at Enepa, Yenizuegene, Yenagoa. It was like a joke but it got serious when people started trickling into the streets of Enepa. Like dew drops, they began to assembly and in a twinkle, they formed a crowd of persons. "We are tired of PDP. We want APC," one of the enthused youths shouted. The enthusiasts soon took over the pubs and restaurants on the street of Enepa as they waited patiently for chieftains of APC in the state. Soon, they rose immediately a convoy of vehicles drive into the party headquarters. "APC!" "Change!" The crowd consisting mainly of youths shouted. They rushed the convoy and barricaded it. Shortly after that Tiwe Orunimighe emerged from one of the vehicles causing uproar among the crowd. Tiwe is the former Chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area in the state. He was also the former leader of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON). During the era of Sylva, Tiwe was very popular. He was known as a grass-root mobiliser and he led many protest against the national PDP for rejecting Sylva. As a diehard believer in Sylva, he stuck to him, swam with him and unfortunately drowned alongside him. He is a man in touch with the youths. No wonder, the crowd rose to welcome him. In fact, as a trustworthy loyalist, Tiwe was nominated by Sylva to drive the process of mid-wifing APC in the state. He came back to the state as the interim Chairman APC. The crowd was excited to see the former Special Adviser on Youth to Sylva, Sylva's former Chief of Staff, Samuel Ogbuku and other known loyalists of Sylva. Tiwe was accompanied by a

history of this country that elected members of a party abandoned the party and defected to another party? This is to tell you the direction that we are going. As we speak, APC states are 16 and by the census of this country, the population of those states are two times the states of PDP From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

member of the interim National Committee of APC, Miriki Ebikibina. In the convoy were other members of the state interim committee. They were later introduced by Tiwe as Elder Chris Alagoa (interim Secretary) and Mr. Aroz Zuokomor (Interim Publicity Secretary). Tiwe said other interim executive members would be introduced later. The interim chairman further unveiled members of the Registration Committee led by an activist and lawyer from Cross River State, Obono Obla. Obla, Adokeye Ameye and Preye Aganaba were in the state to begin the membership drive in the state of President Goodluck Jonathan. Tue development excited the crowd and many of them volunteered to be train for the exercise. Tiwe said APC had come to stay. Describing PDP as dead and buried, he said APC had taken over the country. He told the youths that President Goodluck Jonathan, though from the Niger Delta, had failed to guarantee their future. He said politics should be devoid of ethnic sentiment and urged the people to forego tribal chauvinism and identify with positive change. "They have always said our son is the President. Yes we agreed. But you and l know that as youths you don't have a future", he said. He said PDP both at the centre and in the state had been hijacked by "Ogas at the top" who he said were lording it over other members of their party. "Have you ever seen where sitting governors abandoned their party to embrace the opposition? This is to tell you the level of impunity that exists in PDP", he said. He said APC with 16 states was already in control of the majority in the country explaining that APC states boasted the population "two times the population of PDPcontrolled states". He asked the people to secure their future by coming out en masse to register as members of APC. "This exercise is different from that of PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Our party APC has seen the future because in the nearest future we will be going digital. So, your passport is required for registration.

"Even though INEC comes with electronic voting and any kind of voting, we are set," he said. But he said the party would bear the burden and cost of providing passports adding that photographers had been deployed to take passports of willing members. "We will manage to go to your places, get your passports and attach them to your forms. We need your signature on the form or your thumbprint. Don't allow anybody to take your form. It is what qualifies you as a member of the party. "In the next one year, APC will be the government of the day. The former Vice-President of the country who is the number one founding member of APC, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, has gone to APC. "Have you ever heard in the history of this country that elected members of a party abandoned the party and defected to another party? This is to tell you the direction that we are going. As we speak, APC states are 16 and by the census of this country, the population of those states are two times the states of PDP." He further promised that the party would provide equal opportunity for everybody to actualise their political aspirations. "They used to say that APC is a ghost party in Bayelsa. Now you can identify the people behind the party in the state. Everybody has an opportunity to register as a member. With your membership cards you are equal to any of our party chieftains and you can contest for any position. Obla advised the people to partake freely in the exercise. "I am happy that the revolution is starting from Bayelsa State. I now know that APC has come to stay. From today no more CPC, no more new PDP, no more ACN and no more APGA", he said. Explaining the registration process, he said: "It is a very simple exercise. Go to your polling units. All you need is two passport photograph. Meet your registration officer. He will give you a form. Fill your name, your phone number, sign or thumbprint. "The form is in two parts. One will be detached and given to you the other one will be sent to Abuja. The one given to you will be your temporary membership card until about two months when a permanent card will be sent to you. The registration is open to all Nigerians from 18 years old and above."




Tension in Obite as oracle fingers traditional O

BITE Community in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State has been in the news for the wrong reasons in recent times. The community was unearthed by Niger Delta Report as the setting for the repulsive gang rape video that surfaced on the internet two years ago. The latest bizarre incident in the area was the mysterious death of Ms Chikodi Nwankwoala, a middle-aged lady, allegedly killed by strangulation on the first week of the year; she was found dangling from the branch of a tree in the early hours of January 5. The story, exclusively reported by Niger Delta Report, became even more intriguing when leaders of the community, suspecting foul play in the circumstance surrounding the death, levied themselves to raise N500,000 to consult an oracle in their bid to unravel the gruesome death. The finding of that traditional investigation has been made public but rather than lay the spectre of uncertainty and confusion to rest in Obite, it is threatening and bigger and wider crisis in the Etche town. Sources in the town told our reporter last weekend that after the oracle’s consultation, one of the family member was revealed as the hand that pulled the rope and squeezed the life out of Chikodi. “Last weekend ,after the contribution of N500,000 by the three communities in Obite, the elders unanimously agreed to consult an oracle and other deities to unveil the killers of their daughter. Finally, they said the oracle has spoken,” our source stated. The oracle is said to ahve fingered an older sibling of the

From Precious Dikewoha

deceased. Chief Linus Nwankwoala, one of the elders in the community confirmed the result. He said: “The oracle mentioned the name of the oldest man in the family of the deceased - Chief Ndubuisi Nwanwoala, who later ran away from the community.” The death initially looked like a suicide: the victim’s lifeless body dangled from a tree, but her kinsmen doubted that she took her life. Those who knew her said the late Chikodi was hale and healthy and full of life. And she had no quarrel with anybody before she retired to bed that night. She had done her chores and cooked for the household, it was said. One of the chiefs in the community, who pleaded anonymity, said they had no doubt the answer over motive could lie within the family compound. He said: “The oracle did not only mention his name, the deity also said he was responsible for many deaths in his family. The oracle gave us a short ladder to lead us to our community and when we got to the community nobody showed them the house of the suspect and they went directly pointing at him. “That was how the community became angry, especially the youths who wanted to descend on the suspect, before he escaped through the back door. The youths also attempted to burn down his building but the police were fast to prevent such tragedy. Since then he has not returned to the community.” Now Obite community is polarised along the line of those who support the accused and his accusers.

The division was highlighted during a meeting called on Saturday, January 8 to deliberate on the matter. The assembly was attended by the Chairman of Etche Local Government Area, Reginald Ukwuoma as well as the councillor representing the area (Obite Ward 10) in the legislative arm of the council, Kingsley Echebe, and other prominent members of the community who came from within and outside the area. Nevertheless, Chief Ndubuisi Nwanwoala, who was not in the community during a meeting to deliberate his fate on Saturday, told Niger Delta Report during a phone interview that he was innocent. He blamed his fate on a clandestine plot by his detractors in the community. “How can I kill my own sister?” he asked, adding: “I am innocent. It was just a gang-up against me by my detractors who are seriously looking for my downfall. The same lady the community is accusing me of killing was somebody I gave job through the assistance of my wife. I was even planning to make her a staff in the local government where she worked before her death. I did not kill my sister; I am not bordered because very soon the truth of the matter will surface.” His supporters at the meeting also expressed the view that he would be vindicated at the end of the day. Some of those who spoke on condition of anonymity also doubted the oracle, but its minders and leaders of the community who made the consultation. “The elders who consulted the oracle have done something strange that made the oracle to say it is the suspect. Chief

Ndubuisi is innocent,” one dissatisfied member of the community said. In spite of the voice of reason, it was gathered that but for the timely intervention of some members of the community the houses of the suspect and his properties would have been subjected to violent attacks by aggrieved youths who blamed him for the death of his sister. Those in this group said his house must be demolished first before any discussion, as it had been done to members of the community who allegedly committed such heinous crimes in the past and. Chief Longinus Nweke, one of the leaders, suggested that there was no need beating around the bush over the matter when the tradition that governs the community over such matter was clear. “Whoever that killed our sister will not see good, by now I think the person that the oracle has indicted should have his house being demolish as it is been done in this community.” His suggestion however did not go down well with the Local Government Chairman Hon. Reginald Ukwuoma, who immediately interrupted Chief Longinus Nweke saying the issue of demolition of house is needless since house is not greater than the life of Chikodi. Ukwuoma, who disclosed that he had just been informed about the matter further stated that he was at the meeting to avert tragedy. “They went ahead to consult, and what they consulted accused a member of this community of being responsible to the death of the decease. But it appeared there is a doubt over the methodology on how the consultation was done.” “I am not a supporter of evil,

•The late Chikodi

but you don’t demolish somebody’s house because he killed (someone). Since some community members doubt the first oracle consultation we need to give peace a chance. Let the community look at ways they could feel comfortable and satisfied with. At the end who ever that is indicted must face the punishment no matter how highly place the person is. “I am not against the doubt neither am I supporting any-

Why we are hosting NIBRA, by Bayelsa Akwa Ibom partners Seven


AYELSA State government has said its decision to host the Nigerian Broadcasters’ Award NIBRA is to provide an opportunity to attract investors from across the world and establish a network with other African countries. The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Deacon Markson Fefegha, spoke recently while announcing the hosting of the event. He also disclosed that the ministry had concluded plan to build an edifice that would accommodate all the media houses in the state. He said the edifice would be called a Communucation Village. He said the concept would help to build synergy among the state-owned broadcast media organisations. On the Nigerian Broadcasters’ Award slated for weekend in Yenagoa, Fefegha said it was a collaboration of international broadcasters and organisers. He said it was put together by the state government, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and other collaborators to showcase and appreciate the best in Africa’s broadcast industry and practitioners who have played significant role in the develop-

Energy on power supply

From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

ment of the broadcast industry in the African sub region. He said: “by hosting this intonation all and productivity and recognition award in the state, we are ostensibly providing a window of opportunity to attract investors across the world and attracting fraternity with other African countries. “As a government, the hosting of this event provides us with yet another opportunity to showcase some milestone achievements if the administration of Governor Seriake Dickson as it celebrates second year of the journey to restore the lost glory of Bayelsa State. “We have placed premium on education, infrastructural development, security and poverty eradication as a panacea for economic growth and development. What we are doing is to rebuild the shattered confidence of our people and also give them hope of a better, secure, peaceful and prosperous Bayelsa. “We are purpose driven and it is our determination to make Bayelsa State the Jerusalem of all Ijaw people and the Dubai of Africa.” Continuing, he said: “in recent past, we yearned for the



dawn of a new era in the area of recreation. Today, that era is right here with us now because, we have collectively buried the dark days of hostility and obviously we are enjoying a peaceful era of progress. “It is quite clear now that the good things of life are now within our reach. Our natural holiday resorts, numerous colourful festivals, arts and culture provide a tourist’s haven to even the most pessimistic tourist. It is on this account that government has continued to upgrade existing tourism facilities, besides providing the enabling environment.”

KWA Ibom State has entered into partnership with Seven Energy, an indigenous Nigerian oil and gas company, to improve power supply in the state. The partnership was sealed at the monthly power sector operational stakeholders meeting held in the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Power. While addressing the operational stakeholders which consists of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Ibom Power, Government and industry representatives, Seven Energy’s Vice President, Operations, Ani Umoren said: “Seven Energy will engage in the partnership through one of its principal subsidiaries, SEPTA Energy Nigeria” Umoren noted that the major challenge confronting Akwa Ibom state’s power sector is “how to achieve steady power generation, transmission and distribution to improve profitability”. He said the partnership between SEPTA Energy and Akwa Ibom Power sector stakeholders is aimed at addressing this challenge because “part of the objective of the partnership is to deliver continuous power

supply in Akwa Ibom State.” Speaking further, he explained that “SEPTA Energy is willing to work with Akwa Ibom power stakeholders to ensure that power generated from Ibom Power plant is used to enhance economic activities in the state.” He added that the partnership will also provide a roadmap and coordination towards achieving sustainable power in Akwa Ibom state.” Responding to the partnership, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Power, Dr. Victor Udo, said: “The partnership is a welcome development because it will help actualise the vision of His Excellency for uninterrupted power supply within the shortest possible time. “SEPTA Energy is the supplier of gas to Ibom Power plant, if the gas is supplied and the power generated is successfully transmitted and distributed but the final consumers do not pay their electricity bills it amounts to losses so there is need for proper coordination between the power sector stakeholders. The partnership with SEPTA Energy is a winwin-win situation for the Government, public and private sector.”

body; but this can be done in a proper way. The community can reinforce and look for a means traditionally on how to do it better without any doubt. The matter has been reported to the police. As the Local Government Chairman I will say the community especially the youths should remain lawabiding. I will not encourage the issue of demolishing house. Whoever that is supporting evil will see evil and who ever that

FMC takes over


HE Board members of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Yenagoa have toured the Otuoke Cottage Hospital (OCH) preparatory to its take-over by the Federal Government. The members toured the facility on Tuesday. The Medical Director of the hospital and tour guard, Dr. Benjamin Tembowei, described the facility as a modern hospital with state-of-the art equipment and called for it to be replicated in other parts of the country. He said such facilities established in the country would discourage Nigerians from seeking medical help in other developed countries like Indian, Germany and China. He said:”If people can replicate this in other places, it will go a long way in assisting the poor man in the society. This equipment if we have the manpower to man them, Indians can come here too and be treated.” He eulogised the Federal Government for its directive to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) to take over the hospital. Tracing the origin of the hospital, he said the foundation was laid by President Jonathan in 2006 during his brief tenure in the state as the governor. He said: “Unfortunately the work could not go on because of logistic problems until the of-




NIGER DELTA REPORT PERSPECTIVE National language policy as a vehicle for preserving Ijaw, others

title holder in woman’s death T

•Obite elders at the bush where Chikodi was killed

has done this atrocity must be punish by God. I am in this meeting to maintain peace, I know the youths are angry but they should calm down before they take law into their hands.” In Echebe’s view, justice must prevail anyhow: “The man in question as far as I am concern has been accused, the community has a way of knowing the truth, I am not going to support anybody even if it is my brother or father that was indicted at the

end of this matter he will face justice. As the councillor of this ward believes me, the killer will not go unpunished. His view enjoyed the support of a large number of attendants, most of who felt that the suspect must be dealt with, not only to serve as deterrent to others, but to enable the spirit of Chikodi a true peaceful rest. Chibueze Ukwulor, an indigene of Obite 2, said: “She can now rest in peace even though

there was palpable tension in Obite as proponents of the contending views continued to make their case. Meanwhile, Ndubuisi was yet to return to the community, ostensibly because of fear for his life. One of the elders of the community while leaving the meeting, told our reporter: “We have not heard the last of this matter yet. The end is yet to come.”

Rattled Bayelsa Assembly

Otuoke hospital fice of the Millennium Development Goals adopted and finished it. “The aims of the MDGs is to decrease maternal and child mortality. I know the place is far from Yenagoa Metropolis and it is rural, we will achieve the aim when it is taken over by the FG. I am very happy because it will become a federal institution with better funding.” He also spoke of the challenges facing the facility. The Medical Director said: “We need more monitors and aesthetic machines. What we have is not enough. The hospital depends mainly on two 350KVA generators for its electricity supplies. “We use three drums of diesel a day.” He reeled out the problems of the hospital as lack of electricity, lack of potable water which he blamed on the difficult terrains of the state. He recalled that some sophisticated equipment such as two most modern 4D coloured ultra-scan and x-ray machines were destroyed by the 2012 floods. He appealed to the board to facilitate the process of replacing the damaged equipment. He said: “For sometimes now for about three, four months ago we don’t have generator. To run this light, we have two 350 KVA generators and to run it every day is capital intensive.”

she has not been buried. Her death and the way she was strangulated to death were mysterious. No death has ever shocked the community the way her death did. That was why the day we heard the news all the communities Obite 1, 2 and 3 joined hands together to find her killer. We don’t need to argue it the oracle has accused somebody of being responsible for the death.” At the time of this report,


OTHING has rattled Bayelsa State House of Assembly more than the recent reports that some of its members have joined the gale of defections rocking the polity. Typical of a rumour mill, the report which insinuated that 11 members of the House had defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC), emanated from unknown sources and soon saturated the political landscape. But Niger Delta Report discovered that two main speculations led to the news that travelled with the speed of light. One was the known fact that the former estranged Governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, has dumped the PDP to become the chieftain of APC. Those behind the insinuations insisted that since Sylva under whose tenure the lawmakers were elected had joined the APC, scores of the legislators who were still sympathetic to the former governor were considering the opposition platform. The former governor was also believed to have intensified moves to lure the lawmakers. Secondly, there were insinuations that the lawmakers may have concluded a move to APC to secure their political future following reports that the Governor of the state, Mr. Seriake

From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

Dickson, was not keen at returning them in 2015. So, based on these two speculations, some persons flew the defection kite. But the lawmakers were compelled to convene an emergency meeting recently to condemn the development. Eighteen of the 24-member house attended the meeting that was held at the House of Assembly Quarters, Yenagoa. They debunked the insinuations in strong terms. Rising from the emergency meeting the lawmakers flayed the reports of defection and said the assembly was intact. The Speaker of the House, Mr. Kombowei Benson, said all the lawmakers remained loyal to PDP, President Goodluck Jonathan and the state party Chairman, Col. Sam Inokoba (retd). Benson said they were happy at the transformation agenda of President Jonathan and the restoration programme of the state Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson. He said it was baseless to insinuate that lawmakers defected to APC because the former Governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, under whose tenure they were elected, had joined the APC. He said it was also premature

to speculate that some lawmakers were planning to join the APC and use it as a platform to return to the assembly in 2015. “The reports of defection are fallacious. There is no cause for any member to think of defecting to APC. The Bayelsa State House of Assembly is intact”, he said. He reiterated the satisfaction of lawmakers to the leadership style of President Jonathan and Governor Dickson whom he described as the most development-oriented governor in the country. He further declared the loyalty of lawmakers to the national leadership of the PDP and advised people to stop heating up the polity. “We have no reason to suspect that any of our members are planning to switch party loyalty. We call on members of the public to disregard such report”, he said. The assembly comprising only Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to declare his presidential ambition for 2015. As far as we a concerned, Mr. President is the son of this soil and we will not wish him any other thing but to urge to continue in the good work he has been doing. Members of the assembly hereby resolve to call on him to run for 2015 presidential election.”

HE Bayelsa State government recently said it has earmarked money to sponsor Nollywood films done in Ijaw language. This initiative brings to mind the concern of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on our dying languages. More than half of the 6000 languages currently spoken in the world are estimated to be in danger of disappearing during the 21st century. These include Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo and even Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo. It is a well-known fact that the country does not have a well-articulated national language policy. We need a national language policy to protect our local languages. In many countries, a language policy is designed to favour or discourage the use of a particular language. Some now have policies to protect and promote local languages being threatened. This is what Nigeria should do and it must be through legislation. Experts, such as Ghil’ad Zuckermann, believe that everything must be done to protect local languages. He once said: “Native tongue title and language rights should be promoted. The government ought to define Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vernaculars as official languages of Australia. We must change the linguistic landscape of Whyalla and elsewhere. Signs should be in both English and the local indigenous language.” This is the way Nigeria should go. And this is how: Let’s tackle the problem from the root. For most of us, the first language we spoke as children were our mother tongue. We were not introduced to English language until we got to school. It is no longer that way. Now children speak English first and stumble on their mother tongue or never get to speak them at all. Since a national policy cannot compel parents to speak local languages to their children, we have to turn to schools. Here, I mean nursery schools. The policy should decree that every nursery school, be it private or public, should have teachers who teach the pupils their local languages. This way, we can catch them young. This should be continued by primary schools. Really, it will not be a bad idea if the policy requires that the mother tongue or language of the immediate community be the medium of instruction at pre-primary and early primary levels, with English emerging as medium of instruction halfway through primary education. I understand the Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi is pushing for this. He needs to speed up action and use the state as launch pad. And for secondary school level, the old practice where students were expected to write and pass one local language in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE) should be revisited and be made a key component of the national language policy. Each child must learn one of three major Nigerian languages (Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba). If the United States is forcing its citizens to learn one international language before being given a degree, then we should follow suit and in our own case,

By Babatunde Fadun

• Fadun

it should be the learning and understanding of a local language that should be a prerequisite for being found worthy of receiving a university degree. English should remain the language of instruction. We should also make it part of the national language policy the need for Houses of Assembly to address plenary atleast once a week in their local language. The Lagos Assembly has started that with members addressing plenary in Yoruba language. This should be reciprocated by other assemblies. Efforts should be made to ensure there are effectual supporting policies and practices; adequate facilities; curricula that reflect the difference between first and second language teaching; adequate instructional materials; and positive public sentiment. By the time we try these steps, we will be on the way to reversing the current trend. Not only that we will also see an improvement in students’ performance in examinations, as experts believe that students who have better understanding of their mother tongues stand a better chance of doing well in other areas. When there is proper transition from the mother tongue to English in such a way that pupils are not made to learn too many languages too quickly, the multilingual approach is always advantageous. I believe when we do take these steps we will be on the way to reversing the fact that the emphasis on English language has not reflected in the number of candidates who pass the language in terminal examinations, such as the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE). The 2012 result shows that 771,731 candidates, representing 46.14 per cent, obtained six credits and above; 952,156 candidates, representing 56,93 per cent, obtained five credits and above; while 1,107,747, representing 66.24 per cent, obtained credits in four subjects. But, only 649,156 candidates, representing 38.81 per cent, obtained credits in five subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics. Efforts, such as the one introduced by Bayelsa State government in sponsoring Ijaw language films should also be replicated by other governors in their native languages. We all know Nollywood has a huge fan base home and abroad. A word is enough for the wise. We must act now. •Fadun, an Insurance Executive and former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senatrorial candidate in Ogun West, writes this piece from Lagos.





FEW days ago, a miracle happened. It is not that an 80-yearold woman was delivered of a baby. It had nothing to do with a woman without a womb getting pregnant and giving birth to a healthy baby. No deaf person spoke after a pastor laid hands on his head. But it is a miracle because over time many were beginning to give up. They had resigned to fate and literally declared: “This man will stay here for life!” But the man has gone! He has left and in his place has surfaced a man those who know him claim is both an officer and a gentleman. They are vouching for his credibility and integrity. As far as they are concerned, the messiah of peace has finally come and darkness should just vanish. Johnson Tunde Ogunsakin. These are the names of the new Commissioner of Police in Rivers State. He is the man many are ready to invest their reputation. Ogunsakin is a Lagos boy. Never mind that he comes from Ekiti State, which is governed by the cerebral Dr Kayode Fayemi. Ogunsakin, I was told by a colleague who covers police affairs, is a gentleman, who will rather quit than allow anyone mess him up. But despite everything I have been told about Ogunsakin, who I feel comfortable addressing as Brother Johnson, I still want to thread on the path of caution. My reason is simple: Rivers where he has been posted is a state where the First Family has interest. President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife Patience, I stand to be corrected, have more than passing interest in Rivers State. Whatever crisis the state has witnessed in the last few months could be likened to the parody of the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob. The man Ogunsakin is replacing, Joseph Mbu, may have his bad ways. He may be notorious but the sort of mess he created in Rivers, which many expect Ogunsakin to clear, I doubt, was not the stuff he individually was capable of. As respected Professor of Law Itse Sagay noted, Mbu could only have done that with the Presidency's backing. While Mbu reigned, Rivers was on the edge. The police chief saw no reason to respect Governor Rotimi Amaechi. Just a few days before his removal was announced, he banned political rallies. Before then he had insisted permits must be sought and approved by him before anyone or group could organise political rallies. Mbu made sure the Grassroots Democratic Initiative (GDI), a group which has Supervising Minister of Education Nyesom Wike as patron, enjoyed police support for its rallies. He, however, ensured the Save Rivers Movement (SRM) did not enjoy the same treatment. There were instances his men even disrupted SRM rallies or looked the other way when


ABOVE WHISPERS •A weekly intervention on Southsouth matters

Brother Johnson

Will you have a good outing in Rivers State? The choice is yours Brother Johnson. The matter is like a bird in between your palm. You can decide if it is alive or dead. I rest my case by repeating again that you come from a state of honour. Ile Iyi, Ile Eye! Yesterday is history. Mbu is history. Tomorrow is mystery. You are tomorrow. Live above board by clearing Mbu's mess and if in the process you have to bow out of the force, do it •CP Ogunsakin

militants or thugs unleashed mayhem on SRM members. Mbu was law. He reduced the governor to almost a second class citizen in his own state. It was not until the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party to which the governor defected after being harassed out

Our people are tired of this lawlessness. They are tired of this impunity. They will use their votes and stop this madness. Whether Mbu comes or Mbu goes is immaterial. The Nigeria police should keep themselves to their constitutionallyguaranteed duty of enforcement of law and order __

Rep Dakuku Peterside.

of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), threatened to shutdown the Jonathan government using its strength in the legislature that Mbu allowed the first SRM rally. Days after, he announced a ban on all rallies to ensure SRM does not have the upper hand.



Now, Mbu is history. At least in Rivers. May be he will now hound opposition elements in Abuja, where fate has thrown him. The talk in town now is Brother Johnson. Will he be different? Will he quit if external forces try to give him wrong instructions? Will he ensure peace in Rivers as he has promised? Does he have what it takes to stand up to the madam at the top? These are questions time will tell. But some believe Brother Johnson will balk. They say the fear of ending his career despite the prospects ahead of him will make him think twice before disobeying the madam at the top, who is coordinating the 'Operation- confine-Amaechi-to-history' for the First Family. Whatever happens, Brother Johnson, permit me to remind you of a few things, which should guide you: when a woman and a man are in the heat of passion, they help undress each other. When they are done, it is “to your tent oh Israel”. What this means is that when you have been used, you get dumped and left to sort yourself out. A life example will drive home the point. The late Raphael Ige was the police big shot who was used to execute a coup against the then governor of Anambra State, Dr Chris Ngige, who is now a senator. Those who used the late Ige dumped him after the matter became an embarrassment. He was disgraced out of the police and died not long after in opaque circumstances. A few who were used for bad acts survived and lived to repent. Many do not have such luxury. I will end this by reminding you of where you come from. Ekiti, your state of origin, is known as Ile Iyi, Ike Eye. Simply put, it is the land of honour. What made you decide to join the police, going by your own account, was the honourable way an officer once handled a matter in which you were involved. This is not the time to forget honour. It should be your watchword as you settle into your new assignment. You had a good record in the Mobile Police Unit. You were outstanding at INTERPOL. You had a good outing at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offence Commission (ICPC). You had a good time at the Special Fraud Unit (SFU). Will you have a good outing in Rivers State? The choice is yours Brother Johnson. The matter is like a bird in between your palm. You can decide if it is alive or dead. I rest my case by repeating again that you come from a state of honour. Ile Iyi, Ile Eye! Yesterday is history. Mbu is history. Tomorrow is mystery. You are tomorrow. Live above board by clearing Mbu's mess and if in the process you have to bow out of the force, do it. All the best.

•Last Word is Niger Delta Report’s verdict on Southsouth affairs

$20 billion gas project from Warri to Europe


T is, no doubt, an ambitious project. The Federal Government is thinking about exporting natural gas from Warri, Delta State to Europe. This will undercut Brussels’ dependence on gas exports from the Russian Federation. This $20 billion Trans-Saharan project , when completed, will transport about 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Warri through Niger Republic to the north of Algeria and finally to Spain, from where it will find its way to other parts of Europe. But there is a stumbling block on the way of this grandiose scheme. The problem is its huge cost. President Goodluck Jonathan, on January 29, announced the project in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. So far, according to Jonathan, Nigeria has mobilised $700 million to support the completion of the Nigeria-Algeria natural gas pipeline project. Jonathan said: “We have raised $450 million in Eurobonds and an additional direct equity contribution of about $250 million in support of this project. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is the executor of this project has completed the concept design for the pipeline, which is an important milestone

since I last provided an update on this project to the committee.” A staggering $19 billion is still required for this project that will become the world’s most expensive energy export project. It will dwarf the $3.6 billion, one million bpd, 1,092-mile BakuTbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which ships 850,000 barrels per day of Azeri Caspian oil to Turkey’s deep-water Mediterranean Ceyhan port . In a keynote address by African Union Commission chairman Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the African Mining Indaba Ministerial Symposium on February 3 in Cape Town, Zuma said: “We should move away from building infrastructure only for one purpose, whether it is power generation and distribution capacity for a mine, whilst the communities and villages surrounding the mine are still in the dark. A good example is the new pipeline that transports gas between Nigeria and Algeria, where there are also plans for a Trans-Saharan highway on the same route.” As good as this project is, there are concerns. One of them is the fact that will it be corruption-free, given the country’s status as “Africa’s most corrupt hydrocarbon state”? Again, the fact that it is passing through the militant-torn Magreb to southern Europe is also a concern.

It is a concern that not a single major European financial lending source has signed to the project yet. Could the corruption issue be at the heart of this? An article recently noted that if Nigeria wishes the project to go forward, it must begin to grapple with corruption in its energy sector and find a way to get its neighbours to provide a transit route, which will make the investment less risky. There is also the germane issue of the people of Warri and Delta State generally where the gas is coming from. Has everything been done to ensure their interest is protected? It is worthy to note that the major problem behind the low supply of electricity in the country is lack of gas to power the turbines. Of course, it is not that the country is short of gas; not with all in its reserves. But some people blew the gas pipelines with dynamites. Is anyone thinking of doing something to ensure that this sort of problem will not affect the investment into this massive project? Certainly, all these concerns are guiding investors’ interest in the project and unless they are taken care of, the project may only remain on the paper.




Rewards rain at Ikeja City Mall


T’s the month of love and Ikeja City Mall, as always, is celebrating with its customers. This year, as part of the activities planned to celebrate the Valentine season, the mall has rewarded 10 premium shoppers with candle lit dinner for two. Other rewards like shopping vouchers and a week’s trip to Kenya or South Africa will come up March 4th. The shopping promo is tagged “the ICM 2014 valentine’s promo”. The promo which is in partnership with Hemingway’s Safari Africa Ltd, is an in-mall activation aimed at rewarding ICM’s premium shoppers for their loyalty. Qualification is purchase driven and in three steps, winners emerged. First, shop-

By Tonia ‘Diyan

pers made purchases from any store in the mall worth N25, 000 or above, got tickets from any of the Hemingway’s Safari personnel positioned at entrances of the mall, wrote their names and numbers behind the receipt and dropped their receipts in dedicated boxes placed at any of the three mall entrances . The first raffle draw was held two days ago in the mall where winners were picked in a lucky dip for the Candle lit dinner with press men and mall tenants witnessing. The selected couples will be hosted at Dheerhug, a restaurant inside the mall today. They will be feted with exquisite cuisines, exotic wine

and lots of love songs and games that will show how well they know their spouses. Also, three winners will be picked in the second draw next month with the following prizes: -3rd prize $600 worth of shopping voucher, 2nd Prize $900 worth of shopping voucher and the Grand prize, an all-expense trip for two to either Kenya/ South Africa or $1500 worth of shopping voucher. All winners will be contacted via phone calls as soon they are picked, as it was done on wednesday when the first draw took place. This is to inform them of their selection and confirm availability for the reward. Promo will end February 28th, between the hours of 10am - 6pm.

• From left: Sales Consultant, Montaign Place, Ifeoma Meludu; Sales Consultant, Truworths, Ogunwomoju Omobola and EXP Account Manager for Ikeja City Mall, Kunle Olukolu at the Ikeja City Mall Valentine Draw Promo.

Huge sales on lovers’ day


OR the Valentine’s Day celebration, traders in Ikorodu and its environs are recording high sales from variety of eye-catching valentine gifts. On display in Ikorodu are cakes in red colour, flowers, hampers, clothes, wrist watches. A medium-sized Valentine cake goes for N3,500 while small-sized is sold for N2,000. The biggest-sized cake cost N4,000. Also, love roses goes for N5,000,N3,000, N1,500, N500 and N200 respectively depending on its sizes. Hampers are also in their various categories and sizes. A pack of hamper with a Teddy Bear, a bottle of wine, flowers and jewellery costs N20,000 while that which contains a bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate costs between N5000, N3500, and N3,000. Items with red white colours have suddenly increased in price, but people still buy them, notwithstanding. Proprietor, Just Your Size Boutique, Madam Stella Oduyemi said red dresses are more expensive because they are in high demand now. She said: “A red dress sells for between N5,000, N3,500 and N3,000 depending on its quality while blouses goes for N1,000.” Mr Tobi Johnson sells valentine accessories also in Ikorodu. He said he has not seen the kind of sales he is experiencing before on valentines day. “I have sold all the accessories I came to market with, it wasn’t like this last year,” he said. At Ayoola Shopping Plaza, in Ijegun, a Lagos suburb, Mrs. Ayoola Aunoluwapo, who owns the plaza said people’s response to items this valentine is better than the past year. According to her, sales get better each valentine, adding that despite the fact that items have become costlier than they used to be, people still buy them. For her, business has been good. “ Today alone, I have sold more chocolate and cakes. I have also sold hampers. So, business has been good,” she said. A house wife, Mrs Grace Okaro, was at Ijegun market to buy red and white cloth for her six months old baby. According to her, its prices vary between N1,500 and N2,500 and while baby shoes cost N2,500. At Ajegunle, another Lagos suburb, Mrs Ruth Obiofia, who runs a floral shop, said she has sold more rose and tulip flowers in

• Bargain for Valentine dresses at Ikorodu By Abisayo Awoleye, Ronke Shijuade and Adeola Adeyemi

the last two weeks. She said this is so because flowers are suitable for expressing love. She said: “Valentine is a day to show love to people. Artificial flowers can be used to express love on a day like this. It is warm and affectionate. I have been selling more of roses and tulips in the last two weeks and sales have been high. “Contrary to what people think, Nigerian ladies appreciate flowers. A lot of men have been coming here to purchase flowers which they would give as a gift to their lovers today.” A bouquet of rose flower sells for between N3,000 and N7,000, depending on the colours, as against N1, 500 and N3,000 before valentine. A lady who simply identified herself as

Eunice and owns a boutique in Ajegunle said red colours sell more on Valentine’s Day. “I have made more sales in the last three days with more people coming to buy valentine clothes. “Some people make special demands for clothes I don’t have in stock and I meet those demands all for valentine,” she said. Another trader, Mrs Remilekun Adebisi, said there is a remarkable increase in the sale of specially made valentine hampers in her shop. Valentine hampers cost N5,000 and N15,000, depending on their content. But a customer, Patricia Nwafor, decried the hike in the prices of commodities because of valentine. “Prices of cake have suddenly increased, but their sizes have not. It is so carzy and exploitative and it is all because of the valentine day,” she said.

Give gifts from the heart


HIS is not the occasion for a new drill, a vacuum or toaster. Valentine’s Day gifts should be an expression of love and affection. Even when valentine gifts come in the smallest packages, they make the perfect statement for him or her. There are over 101 ways to say ‘I love you’ w i t h amazing gifts, especially w h e n looking to please lovers on a day like this. There are gifts that keep memories for long even after all the valentine candles have been blown out and the roses have faded away, they remain. Finding the perfect gift is like a puzzle where one is on a mission alone. It is usually not easy, therefore, it is advisable to leave the gifts picking to the online stores, as they know how best to go about it. All that is required from the buyer is a few clicks. However, personalised gifts could be more valuable because they keep memories forever, except when they are misplaced. Monogrammed stationery is also a good idea. Others are; an embroidered pillow, a monogrammed bed linens. Valentine gifts should be such that will be remembered for years to come.







Containerised shipping of agric produce on the rise A NEW window of opportunity has opened for farmers. Many of them are taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the movement of agricultural products in containers, a booming business which experts put at between $250 million and $500 million a year. Speaking with The Nation, the Chief Executive Officer and Programme Director of Multimix Academy, a Lagos-based export training and logistics outfit, Obiora Madu, said farmers were taking advantage of the availability of containers to ship out their agric produce. According to him, farmers, grain cooperatives, and exporters are taking advantage of the opportunities by shipping empty containers and filling them with grain overseas. He also said daily, foreign confectionaries buy agro products shipped in from overseas in 40-foot containers. According to him, more farmers are appreciating the importance of the export market for their business. Madu said the use of containers for the carriage of bulk agric commodities is effective and that farmers have found it profitable to ship their agric produce, such as cotton and cocoa through the seaports to their overseas buyers. Only recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said agricultural products earned $1.3 billion during the third quarter of last year alone. The major agro exports markets are identifies as United States, Asia and Europe. The principal export crops include cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cocoa cake, ginger, sesame seeds, and cashew nuts. Others are shea nuts, cotton lint, palm kernel cake, shea butter, cashew kernel, rubber, chillies, hibiscus flower, and tropical fruits. Experts such as Madu said there was substantial overseas market for shea butter for use in chocolate, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical

•Madu By Daniel Essiet

products hence, many farmers and entrepreneurs are involved in shipping shea butter in containers. Madu, however, explained that though, the demand for export is huge, there has been fewer number of trees in existence to cope with the surge in demand. Another major constraint, he pointed out, is maintaining quality control in processing, which requires organisation of harvest and collection. He said one of the challenges facing tropical fruit exporters is how to organise, assemble and transport their produce by air or sea without compromising export quality. Madu also blamed low yields of cashew nuts on aged trees, urging the government to encourage



cashew tree regeneration and motivate the general public to return to the farm to boost export trade. He said ports have expanded their facilities to accommodate the increasing agro exports business. The growth in the value of waterborne agric exports, he maintained, could hit five per cent with increased production. He attributed this to the government’s support to farmers riding on the back of the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES). Apparently recognising the opportunities in the business, shipping firms are taking time off to explain the benefits of containerised exports. Some of them have also moved a notch higher, assisting government agencies and non-governmental organisation (NGOs) in promoting

soybeans in nutrition. Madu was, however, noted that airports are critical for the fast shipment of high-value, time-sensitive and perishable fruits. President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria(NCAN), Mr. Tola Faseru, said cashew nut producers could triple revenue from exports by increasing processing capacity and adding value to the crop. He called for the removal of bottlenecks hindering the processing of raw goods before export. Value addition, he noted, would help producers maximise returns and lessen the risk of price fluctuations in commodity markets. According to him, the market for agric exports is so huge, therefore the government must assist to

86,000 children get food fortifying powder W ITH the purchase of 10 million sachets of micro-nutrient powder (MNP) known as Enrich, the Benue State Government has begun tackling the scourge of malnutrition by distributing the food fortifying MNP to 86, 000 children. According to the state government, the micro-nutrients food powder, manufactured by BioOrganics Nutrient Systems Limited, will reach thousands of children in Benue State up till May to fortify them against malnutrition and diseases associated with micro-nutrients deficiency. Speaking at the launch of Enrich Micro-nutrient food powder in Benue State, the First Lady of the state, Mrs. Dooshima Suswam, said there was the need to address the problems of malnutrition in Benue with the MNP because the lack of nutritious food, poor feeding practices and children not getting enough nutritious food lead to malnutrition – which is the underlying cause of about half of deaths recorded in children under age of five years and severe acute malnutri-

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie

tion affecting millions of Nigerian children. She expressed delight with the innovation strategy aimed at reducing infant mortality in the state saying: “Benue State Government has procured 10 million satchet of MNP for distribution to 86, 000 children between the age of six and 59 months during the Maternal Newborn and Child Health Weeks (MNCHWs) of December 2013 and May 2014. A sachet of MNP contains 15 micronutrients that are supposed to be added to the food of a child at the point of consumption. “The overall strategy is to adopt a state-driven approach that is built upon existing routine and outreach health services delivery system with increased mobilisation of communities during the specified months of MNCHWs,” Mrs Suswam said. Enrich micro-nutrient pow-

der, a single-serve free-flowing blend of 15 vitamins and minerals, is targeted at meeting the daily recommended nutrient intake of children above six months. It does not change the taste, smell or colour of food and is easy to use. The Chief Executive Officer, Bio-Organics Nutrients Systems Limited, Dr. Kenny Acholonu noted: “Most complementary and staple foods lack sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals required for optimal growth and development of children, especially in the first 1000 days of life. But, with the use of Enrich as part of their food, these essential micronutrients will be supplied in sufficient quantities. “We, therefore, want to use this opportunity to urge mothers to adopt MNP as part of their children’s feeding routine and use them according to the instructions of the health workers. Doing this diligently will enhance the health, growth and development of the children, which will favourably complement the efforts of the state and all the stakeholders involved,” he said.


FOOD expert, Tola Atinmo, has urged the government to review the food production chain by stepping up checks and revising labelling legislation to address the increasing cases of food fraud. Food fraud is a term used to describe the deliberate substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain. Food products are susceptible to various fraud through substitution, relabelling and adulteration. Atinmo, a Professor of Nutrition at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, expressed concern at the increasing cases of food fraud, which he said, are committed through exploitation of the structural weaknesses in the production chain. Atinmo, member of Council of International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS), said cases of food fraud are rampart and should be stopped. He argued that the industry needs better and more frequent inspections as well as ppropriate penalties for defaulters. According to him, a label indicating the product’s country of origin gives consumers the power to make informed choices, and forces food manufacturers to get a grip on their supply chain. He called on the government to strengthen the food and veterinary offices, which carries out

remove all bottlenecks and create a conducive atmosphere to facilitate trade. Faseru urged the government to support exports, manufacturing and agricultural expansion to serve the cause of the private sector. He also urged exporters to pay attention to quality issues and avoid practices that could lead to the ban of exports from Nigeria. He admonished them to acquire relevant permits and certificates before exporting, adding that this would help them to be competitive and successful. He noted that the non-oil sector is growing and making significant contributions to national economic development. Similarly, the National President, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN), Dr. Victor Inyama, said operators should improve facilities at the seaports since the bulk of agricultural produce are exported through the ports. He said the ports lack capacity and infrastructure to handle the increasing quantities of agric bulk exports. “There are cases of breakdown of facilities during peak periods, with queues of trucks building up outside the main ports’ gates, while vessels, too, struggle to berth,” he added. Spokesman for Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), Robo Adhuze, also called on the government to tackle the declining transportation infrastructure to avoid significant short- and long-term damage to the agric business sector. He said a situation where the ports and its logistics counterparts are under-performing was inimical to the growth of the business of agro-industrialists. He said significant efforts were needed to build new railways and rehabilitate the roads to provide suitable connection between the production areas and the selected ports.

‘Address cases of food fraud’ inspections. He also called for the establishment of a network to combat food fraud, adding that more tests should be used to eliminate suspected products. He made a case for thorough inspection of frozen foodstuffs and for a draft law to make labelling mandatory for meat and fish. This is aside from making mandatory for labels to state the product’s the country of origin, including all meat-based processed products. Atinmo suggested that the penalty for food fraud should be made more stringent. He urged the government to empower relevant authorities to combat fraud in the food supply chain because the risk of such criminal activity is great. According to him, the practice thrives because criminals know there is little risk of detection or serious penalty. He recommends that producers and other sellers should be hel liable if they sell improperly labelled products to consumers. He assured of the readiness of members the academia to work with the industry. He urged the enforcement agencies to improve intelligence on food fraud and clamp down on those who attempt to deceive consumers.




Why empowering women farmers is critical


NITED Kingdom-based charity, Oxfam Nigeria, said supporting female growers will empower them to change their lives and members of their communities. Speaking in Lagos, Gender Officer in charge of the campaign in Nigeria, Boyowa Roberts, said it was the key to lifting women farmers who face gross inequalities, producing 50 per cent of the food, yet owning few per cent of legally titled land. She said women faced unequal access to credit and agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertiliser, which lowers their yields relative to men. Roberts said with access to resources, rural women can drive positive change in their communities. She said women farmers need to have the same access as men to resources and inputs for agricultural productivity to rise sharply. Reversing the inequities facing rural women, she noted, would break cycles of poverty and hunger. For this reason, she said the group is focusing on rural women, saying they hold the key to ensuring food and nutrition security. She said Oxfam Nigeria is empowering women through its partners to have access to a credit system that provides small loans. She said the organisation would make public the list of female food heroes in Nigeria, who have excelled in agriculture and provided jobs. “Oxfam wants to celebrate and recognise the powerful voice that women can have in Nigeria in changing our food system. We want to share the stories of women we know who are changing the injustices of the food system and challenging the inequities of the rights of women – these

•From left: Roberts, Idibia, and Akau, during the briefing in Lagos By Daniel Essiet

are our Female Food Heroes,” she said. Roberts noted that the award aims at celebrating small scale women farmers, adding that Oxfam is collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to ensure the credibility of the nomination process for the award. She said a team would be set up to determine farmers that are registered with the Ministries and other cooperatives under the Association of Small Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria. Boyowa further said on determining the criteria for nomination, the public would nominate female farmers by through either snail mail or via Oxfam’s mail portal. “It could be an independent nomination

or by someone who thinks a female farmer is doing very well in the community, but the team will cross check and evaluate most of the entries made,” she said. Economic Justice Campaign Manager, Horn East and Central Africa Oxfam International, Marc Wegerif, bemoaned the situation among smallholder women farmers, insisting that there was need for extension and training services targeting smallholder women farmers in order to improve their productivity. He emphasised that these programmes must be complemented with improved access to inputs and markets if they are to have a lasting impact on farmers’ livelihoods. With the right support, Wegerif said smallholder women farmers can identify their needs, package relevant messages and effectively communicate them to policy makers. Media Officer for Oxfam, Safiya Akau, said

there is need to establish local-level dialogue platforms that capture the voice of women farmers in the process of policy formulation and implementation. She revealed that as part of this effort, the National Female Food Hero Award, which is celebrated annually by the organisation has been slated for October 15, this year – a date which coincides with the International Rural Women’s Day celebration. Mrs. Medinato Oyinloye Bolatito, a farmer from Oyo Local Government Area of Oyo State, seized the opportunity to commend Oxfam for the empowerment so far provided to small scale farmers. “Oxfam has taken issues bothering us to the Agricultural Committee of our State House of Assembly for discussion,” she said. Noting that challenges still exist for small scale farmers, she called on Nigerians to help female farmers.

Fisheries and aquaculture: Options and pathway to providing more fish in Nigeria T HE increasing awareness of the roles fish and fisheries products play in the nutrition and food security of nations continue to put pressure on fisheries scientists and economists, natural resource managers, governments,non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to increase supply. Aside food, fish as the most common aquatic organisms provides jobs, foreign exchange, recreation, and raw materials to industries, such as the pharmaceutical and hospitality business. Fisheries (capturing from inland system, such as rivers, lakes and lagoons, and marine) and aquaculture (farming in an enclosure outside natural systems) are the two sources for fish and fisheries products. Data obtained from the Federal Department of Fisheries indicated that in Nigeria, the total fish production in 2012 was 968,283 tonnes with fisheries accounting for about 74 per cent and aquaculture contributing not more than 26 per cent (the country is first in the continent in the farming of catfish). Production from both ends is 40 per cent of the 1.5 million (MT) requirement of 9.38 kg per capita fish consumption with importation taking care of the huge balance. Increasing production from the two ends becomes imperative. Supply from both sub-sectors shows positive outlook with fisheries expanding by eight per cent and aquaculture by as much as 27 per cent using the 2010 as base figure. However, this is a far cry from what is needed to reduce the gap between supply from the local production and importation. The President of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), Dr. Abba Abdullahi, said the situation is unacceptable because of the need to conserve the scarce foreign exchange and the huge arrays of different seafoods the country is blessed with. He said aquaculture is a critical means in ensuring that more fish is produced locally but quick to note that there is the need to rethink the restrictive definition of aquaculture to just the pond systems, urging the need to promote urgently the cage culture. In this light, two foreign firms have already indicated their willingness to invest in the cage culture systems in the country. Responding to the question of clashes of interests in the use of natural water systems for aquaculture viz a viz others uses, such as power generation, land reclaiming for urban

•Akintola By Shehu Akintola

beautification and renewal, etc, which states are carrying out, he suggested the need to pursue water productivity and enhancement with integrated water resource management. Fish and fisheries product remain a very valuable protein and essential micronutrient to ensure balance nutrition and promote good health. The contribution to nutrition and food security can-not but be emphasised.

Complementing Dr. Abba, Mrs. Fakoya, K. A., a doctoral student at the Lagos State University (LASU) agreed that aquaculture may be used to promote increased access to fish. However, she cautioned on the need to examine critically the option, knowledge and capability, stating that the obvious mono species culture, where in only the catfish dominates production from farm is worrisome. He added that the market is showing signs of concern. Consumers are asking why it is only catfish that is mainly available. She suggested the need for the government, universities and research institutes to put in place the require incentives, such as funding for research on diversification of the monoculture for which fish farming in the country has been associated with in the last two decades. Mr. Joseph, Femi (Mr. Fish) drawing from his experience with cage culture emphasised that the technique should be handled carefully to avoid the danger of cultured species escaping to the wild and wiping out the fisheries. She further suggested the need to direct research towards a situation where aquaculture can be made to support production from artisanal fisheries. Based on her knowledge of Fisheries Biology and Fisheries Economics, she averred that given the scenario and optimistic projections, there was no way aquaculture will outcome supply from artisanal fisheries. Aquaculture is bound to face serious competition from other land uses even from within the

‘Supply from both sub-sectors shows positive outlook with fisheries expanding by eight per cent and aquaculture by as much as 27 per cent using the 2010 as base figure. However, this is a far cry from what is needed to reduce the gap between supply from the local production and importation’

agriculture industry. Federal and state institutions would need to be proactive in directing the mind of the youth towards fishing as an occupation. “The fishermen are aging while the youth continued to be held back by modernisation and find distasteful being called fishermen,” he said. Different problems hamper fish production and impact negatively on the efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition in the rural areas, especially. Assistant Director-General, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Arni M. Mathiesen, in a foreword to The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (FAO, 2012), stated that the challenges confronting fisheries and aquaculture include poor governance, weak fisheries management regimes, conflicts over the use of natural resources, the persistent use of poor fishery and aquaculture practices, a failure to incorporate the priorities and rights of small-scale fishing communities, and injustices relating to gender discrimination and child labour. The governance structure remained a key issue in ameliorating constraints faced in fish production. The Fisheries Act 2014 when signed into law will provide a vital platform in making fish more accessible. A very key provision in the Act is the provision for the establishment of a Fisheries Commission, which among other functions, is ‘take measures, implement actions and otherwise perform its duties so as to ensure the longterm conservation, management and sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources, in order to meet the needs of present and future generations’. Eventually, when this act is gazzeted civil society and international and local nongovernmental organisations must act in unison to give the necessary bite and hold government accountable on agreed commitments and ensure that the voices of all stakeholders are heard and represented. Abdullahi called on the government to sign it into law without any further delay. •Dr. Akintola is Senior Lecturer, Department of Fisheries, Lagos State University (LASU). E-mail:



BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL partners Indonesia, China to increase oil refining Petronet Angola, others on LNG by 100 per cent P


HINA aims to add more than twice the oil processing capacity in the year than it did last year, even as top state refiners plan to raise crude runs only 1.4 per cent at some of their largest plants due to worries about slow fuel demand growth. The world’s second-largest oil consumer aims to add nearly 600,000 barrels in daily refining capacity in 2014, and was slated to bring on more before PetroChina delayed two startups and an expansion as 2013 oil demand growth dropped to a 22-year low. China’s biggest state refiners plan to raise crude throughput by just 45,350 barrels per day (bpd), or 1.4 per cent, this year over last year at 13 plants along the nation’s eastern seaboard, a Reuters poll on refinery operations showed. If that same rate of increase in crude runs holds across all of China’s refineries, it would be the smallest rise in refinery throughput since at least 2003, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. Given overcapacity in China’s re-

fining sector stretching back several years, that suggests the near-term future for the nation’s refiners includes low run rates, stressed margins and continued pressure to hold off on expanding capacity. “The new capacity this year could make oversupply a bit more serious than last year. Refinery run rates fell last year and could fall further this year,” said a Beijing-based oil analyst. China accounted for about a quarter of the world’s increase in oil use last year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), and its slower growth in fuel demand capped prices that may have risen further on the plunge in exports from Iran and prolonged outages in Libya and disruptions in Sudan. The refineries in the Reuters poll operated by Sinopec Corp , Asia’s largest refiner, PetroChina and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), long with foreign partners in some cases - have a combined capacity of more than 3.8 million bpd, about one third of China’s total.

The run rates at the plants represent a utilisation rate of around 84 percent, with a number of refineries, such as PetroChina’s Dalian and Lanzhou and CNOOC’s Huizhou refineries, planning major maintenance this year. China’s overall refinery run rates have held around 80 per cent for the last dozen years, according to Reuters data and BP’s Review of World Energy. Despite refinery overcapacity that has held around two million bpd since 2008, Chinese oil majors will still be adding a total of 590,000 bpd an effective 420,000 bpd when averaged across the full year - this year, the poll showed. Among those starting up this year, state-run Sinochem Corp’s first fully owned refinery, the 240,000 barrelsper-day Quanzhou plant, began test runs in January. PetroChina’s $6 billion refinery and petrochemical complex in Sichuan province in the southwest, with 200,000 bpd in capacity, will be ready for trial production in weeks, company officials have said.

ETRONET LNG, which gets about 75 per cent of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply from Qatar, is looking to reduce its dependence on that country. The company is negotiating longterm LNG purchase contract with Angola, Mozambique, Yamal and Indonesia, Ashok Kumar Balyan, managing director and CEO said. The company is looking at securing contracts for 2.5-3 million tonne (mt) of LNG through these deals. From Qatar, Petronet gets 7.5 mt LNG at $13-$14 per million metric British thermal unit (mmBtu) at its Dahej, Gujarat, terminal against the capacity of 10 mt. While Dahej terminal will be expanded to 15 mt by end 2016, the company also has a 5 mt capacity at Kochi, which is under-utilised as pipelines carrying the gas to customers are not ready. “Long-term contracts will improve utilisation at both Dahej and Kochi. However, at what prices these contracts are decided is crucial as the company may not find any buyers if prices are too high,” Dhaval Joshi, an analyst with Emkay Global Financial, said. Petronet has been criticised for its expensive LNG import deal

fromAustralia’s Gorgon project. The 20-year-deal signed for 1.44 mt LNG at a price of $14.5/mmBtu could land up at the Kochi terminal for around $15-$16/mmBtu and may ultimately cost the consumer $18/mmBtu. Balyan, however, said the deal was still cheaper in comparison with spot LNG purchases. “We have bought LNG in last three months at a price of $18.5-$19 from different places for the Indian market,” he said. Petronet LNG’s deal with Qatar is also now more vulnerable to spikes as the price since December is completely linked crude oil unlike earlier where prices were decided monthly on a specific formula. On Kochi terminal, Balyan said the company would hold a meeting with stakeholders on February 20 and the pipelines can be constructed within six months from the time of approval. The terminal has been facing lower capacity utilisation due to lack of adequate pipeline connectivity after the farmers’ opposition on building pipelines on agricultural land. Balyan hopes to achieve 30 per cent utilisation for Kochi refinery post pipeline connectivity.

Germany civil servants demand 3.5% pay raise


• Members of Derby Curry Club, a business networking group for property professionals at an event in London.

Brazil anticipates 95m tons of soybean harvest


RAZIL’S President Dilma Rousseff and Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply Anttnio Andrade have opened the 2013/2014 harvest season at a ceremony in the city of Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, and released new data on an anticipated record year for Brazilian agriculture. This season, Brazil anticipates a harvest of 95 million tons of soybeans, which would earn it a title as the world leader in soybean production. Brazilian farmers are also bringing the country closer to be-

coming the largest food producer in the world, as they expect to harvest about 200 million tons of grain this season. New survey data from the Strategic Management Advisory Board of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (AGE/ Mapa) reveals that the agribusiness Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Brazil is expected to reach R$ 1.03 trillion in 2014, which is four per cent higher than last year (R$ 991.06 billion). If the anticipated results are met, the sector’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will have ex-

panded by 34 per cent in 10 years. The survey also predicts that as crop production grows, the socalled gross value of production (GVP) is also expected to increase to the highest ever achieved in the country, totaling R$ 314.8 billion. This amount would be a 10 percent increase over 2013 and the first time GVP would surpass the R$ 300 billion mark in Brazil. The combined GVP of crop production and livestock breeding is expected to reach R$ 462.4 billion, up 7.5 per cent from last year’s result.

Agribusiness exports hit $100b


RAZIL’S agribusiness exports reached $99.97 billion in 2013, an increase of 4.3 per cent over that of 2012. Imports grew by four per cent, reaching US$ 17.06 billion. Thus, the balance of trade for agribusiness was positive at US$ 82.91 billion. Brazil exported US$ 30.96 billion in soy complex in 2013, which was the primary export sector for the year. Meat exports reached US$ 16.80 billion, while maize exports totaled US$ 6.25 billion in 2013. Brazil’s continued expansion of international agribusiness trade strengthens its position as one of the largest food producers and export-

ers in the world. One of the reasons for such growth in the sector is expansion into new markets that now purchase Brazilian agricultural products. China, for example, is the primary buyer of Brazilian soy, and has also shown interest in other crops. In 2013, Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply and the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China (AQSIQ) signed a protocol that allows for the export of Brazilian maize to China. The negotiations are part of the Brazilian federal government’s strategy to open new markets, providing for

even greater access and opportunities for Brazilian agribusiness exports. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, through its Secretariats of International Relations (SRI) and Agricultural Surveillance and Inspection (SDA), negotiates the opening of new markets for Brazilian meat exports. One of the most anticipated deals for 2014 is the possible access of Brazilian meat to the United States market—which has been under negotiation since 1999. The North American country is the world’s largest importer of beef, and is a global model for many other markets regarding health standards.

ERMANY’S over two million public sector employees of federal and local governments should get a wage increase of at least 3.5 per cent, the white-collar trade unions ver.di and dbb demanded. On top of the 3.5 per cent wage increase, the unions also called for a basic 100 euro ($137) rise in monthly wages for all employees over the next 12 months, which means that particularly those with fairly low wages will see their income rise the most. Analysts estimate that the combined wage demand is effectively asking for a pay increase of at least six per cent. The wage demand comes as Germany has been urged by the U.S. and many neighboring euro-zone countries to do more and stimulate domestic demand. They argue that Germany can afford higher wages because it runs an almost balanced budget and its economy is one of the strongest in Europe. “Our goal is a clear increase in real wages,” said ver.di head Frank Bsirske. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who is one of the negotiators on behalf of the federal gov-

ernment, however called the unions’ wage demand “excessive.” “This translate into a wage demand of around seven per cent. This is even more than trade unions in the private sector have requested and it’s even only for one year,” Mr. de Maiziere said. “This would cost the federal and local government billions. Nobody can afford such a deal.” The negotiations, which will start next month, affect 2.1 million employees such as teachers, nurses and bus drivers. Earlier this month, the chemicals sector reached a wage deal of 3.7 per cent for 14 months for the 550,000 employees in the chemicals industry. Wages settled in Germany’s wagebargaining system between trade unions and employers rose by an average 2.7 per cent last year, according to the Hans-Boeckler-Foundation, a trade union-related think tank. In their previous wage deal reached March 2012, the publicsector workers secured a 3.5 per cent pay increase from March 1. 2012, another 1.4 per cent increase from Jan. 2013, and a 1.4 per cent rise as of August 1, 201.

EFCC raids software firm


HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has raided Maris & Baker, a popular High Quality Counterfeit (HQC) software reseller in the Ikeja, Lagos. The incursion, the first in a series of enforcement, is aimed at curbing unfair play in the software in the country, followed months of intense market intelligence, several mystery shopping exercises and warnings to counterfeit syndicates. Microsoft Corporation’s counsel, Francis Chuka Agbu (SAN) said software counterfeiting is an evil that has to be fought. He said: “Counterfeit software is a cankerworm that is eating through the fabric of societies all over the world. Their prevalence has a lot to do with the sophisticated and organised syndicate of pirates but also can be traced to the resellers who propagate their use. “These resellers of pirated software must also realise that they will be punished for contravening

the law and putting people’s livelihoods as well as the economy of the country as a whole at risk. To win this fight against copyright infringements, it must be a joint effort of regulators as well as resellers.” Anti-Piracy Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Temofe Ugbona, said software piracy hurts the economy by depriving the government revenues. “Software piracy is unfair play that ultimately hurts us all. Economic growth in Nigeria is thwarted by piracy – pirated software doesn’t create jobs for students, developers, or IT professionals. “This is one of the key reasons we take responsibility to educate consumers, resellers and retailers about the risks through enlightenment campaigns, market education session and support local enforcement efforts by authorities like the EFCC – extremely seriously,” he said.














A press statement released by a Nigerian human right organisation called Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), last Monday was frank and pungent. It served as a reminder to all Nigerian Muslims particularly those in the Southwest of their agonising experience of the past. In the press statement MURIC pointedly condemned the so-called Yoruba Committee on National Conference which comprised mainly of Christian champions, including bishops and pastors, to the exclusion of the entire Muslims in the region. He described the composition of that group as parochial and self-centred. Prominent among those present at the meeting held in Isara-Remo and hosted by Sir Olaniwun Ajayi were such personalities like Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Olu Falae, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi and Pastor Tunde Bakare, among others. Looking at the composition of that committee once again, any reasonable Nigerian will wonder if the issue for discussion at the meeting was about Church affair. It seems that some self-appointed socalled Yoruba leaders are still living in the remote past. How did these people (all Christians without a single Muslim) feel gathering in Isara-Remo to determine the destiny of the entire Yoruba people of the Southwest of Nigeria without any consideration for the Muslims who are in overwhelming majority in the region? If this was the case in the past because of seemingly sheepish tolerance on the part of the Muslims should it still continue and be turned into the rule? Who mandated these people to champion the course of the Southwest without consulting the major stake holders in that region? Muslims of this region had tolerated government of exclusivity of the days of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and appointment of ministers from the entire South without a single Muslim in the days of Chief Obasanjo. The era of sheepish tolerance which warranted playing second fiddle in our cohabited society is now over. And the earlier this is well understood the better.

Learning from history History is an invisible object with two wings flying across time and space through generations. One wing is positive, the other is negative. But both must always come together to ease the flight. With history, the present becomes the heritage of the past even as the future awaits the baton of continuity from the present. No living nation or tribe or even group or individuals can dream of a realisable future without a viable present based on the memorable experience of the past. The web of life is like a magnet which no iron element can bypass on its way to ornamental glory.

Fabric of Uncertainty Against what ought to be her heritage, Nigeria today, is passing through a fabric of uncertainty as she rolls back the fibres of the future into those of the present and weaves both into the vestiges of the past. Such is a sign of a dead nation waiting to be interned in the rubbles of history. What war is not ravaging Nigeria today in spite of Allah’s abundant bounties? The forces of the present seem to have connived with those of the past to wrestle the future aground thereby depriving the generations yet unborn of any hope of existence. From all indications, Nigerians live in a country that is evidently enslaved to some self-centred demagogues called leaders. For decades, Nigeria had been forced by her so-called leaders to fight wars ranging from political to economic to social and to ethnic without winning any. Now, a religious dimension is being added. And this is more evident in the Southwest of the country where some self-appointed men and women can audaciously proclaim themselves as leaders and therefore surge ahead to think and plan for others without any mandate. Like a billow vigorously storming around at the instance of an invisible tempest, a melee of religious hullabaloo en-

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By whose mandate? consistently refuse to learn any lesson from history and the price is always unpredictably high.

Leaders by example

•Chief Adebanjo

gendered by a vicious political Pandora is vigorously turning Nigeria into a land of curses and the Southwest seems to be at the behest of that tempest. To avoid any scourge of such a melee or prevent its spread and intensity in the Southwest of Nigeria, some foresighted Nigerian youths (Muslims and Christians) of Yoruba descent decided sometime ago to take the bull by the horn by calling for a summit in Lagos to jaw-jaw in order to prevent any possible war-war. But some leaders who had benefitted from similar hullaballoo in the past do not seem to think that such a summit would be necessary since Muslims are there only to play a second fiddle. They would rather laud it on the Muslims as usual.

Poison and Panacea By its design and intent, religion is supposed to be not only a panacea for all human psychological ailments but also to serve as a soothing balm for any spiritual ache. Ironically, however, the same religion is being gradually turned into a poison, especially in the Southwest without any provision for an antidote. The factors that culminated in what we now variously call religious militancy, radicalism, extremism, fanaticism and terrorism emanated not from the yoke of intolerance as often mischievously alleged but from that of unwarranted provocation often engendered by the so-called leaders. Yet ignorance and bigotry would not have had any role to play in our religious or political lives, if our leaders had demonstrated any good will to genuinely follow the tenets of their religions by demonstrating justice and fair play and by learning from the lessons of history without banking on mere assumption. History as a teacher always has a lesson to teach those who are ready to learn. But unfortunately, most human beings, especially the self-opinionated Nigerians, have

In 1962, Nigeria’s Governor General, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (who later became Nigeria’s first President), paid a three-day official courtesy visit to the Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, in Kaduna. He was accompanied by his wife, Flora. The host Premier mobilised all the paraphernalia of office in honour of his guests whom he gave an unprecedentedly flamboyant hospitality. The visit enabled their wives to become so familiar with each other that Flora also invited the Bellos to the East on a similar visit. By the end of the visit, Dr. Azikiwe had become so much impressed that at the point of departure he held Ahmadu Bello’s hands and gently told him to “Let us forget our differences”. In response to that emotional but infatuating gesture, Sir Ahmadu Bello said in an equally gentle but emotional baritone voice: “No sir! Rather than forgetting our differences, let us understand them. I am a Muslim and a Northerner. You are a Christian and a Southerner. It is only by identifying and understanding those differences that our friendliness can truly endure”. There and then, Dr. Azikiwe nodded in agreement with his host’s logic and accepted the fact that one could not forget what has not been identified. The lesson to learn from this experience is that of mutual understanding and mutual respect without arrogantly claiming any non-existing superiority by any stake holder. That is the spirit upon which the marriage of political strange fellows who find themselves in the same political party is often based in Nigeria. It is also the spirit upon which the partnership of many Nigerian businessmen and women is based despite their cultural incompatibility.

The will of Allah If it had pleased the Almighty Allah to make all human beings one single race with one colour, one tongue and one religion, He would have done so without receiving any query from any quarters. But as the Omnipresent and Omnipotent, His decision to diversify His creatures cannot be faulted as it is from that diversity that all creatures have consistently derived benefits. In the world today, there are different races and tribes of human beings with different colours, languages and cultures each functioning as predestined and yet they all interact positively with one another to the benefit of all and sundry. This is in accordance with the words of Allah in Chapter 49 verse 13 of the Qur’an thus: “Oh mankind! We have created you from a male and a female and classified you into races and tribes that you may interact with one another (and thereby draw from the advantages therein). Verily, the most hon-

‘As a true adherent of a divine religion, you can only perceive your God according to your faith and that should not cause any rancour between you and adherents of any other religion’

ourable of you before Allah is the most pious among you. Allah is All-knower and most acquainted with all things”. What is true of human beings here is equally true of other creatures. For instance, we can all see that on a single arable plot of land, a variety of plants may grow to form an orchard but each with different foliages and fruits. Some of those fruits may be sweet, some may be bitter and some may be sour. Some plants may be fruitful, some may be fruitless. Some may be trees of gargantuan posture while others may be ordinary legumes. Yet they are all fed by the same soil, watered by the same rain and photosynthesised by the same sun. Their different foliages, sizes, heights and tastes notwithstanding, they all function effectively and advantageously according to the purpose for which they are created.

An Axiom It was for this reason that a famous German dramatist and critic Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) once made an axiomatic statement still being quoted today because of its relevance. The statement went thus: “There are good men in every land. The tree of life has many branches and roots. Let not the topmost twig presume to think that it alone has sprung from the mother earth....We did not choose our races by ourselves. Jews, Muslims, Christians-all alike are men. Let me hope I have found in you a man”. In Islam, revealed religions are like an embassy established by a nation in another nation to strengthen her relationship with the host country. The Ambassadors appointed to manage such embassy, may be changed from time to time just like the foreign policy which guides those ambassadors but the embassy remains intact barring any unforeseen circumstances. So is the case with the Prophets of Allah. They might have come at different times and from different lands and tribes. They might have brought different books and spoken different languages but their mission was one and the same. Muslims believe that all the Prophets and Messengers who have come into the world to guide mankind were from one and the same God who created the universe. Thus, Prophets Ibrahim (Abraham), Ismail (Ishmael) Ishaq (Isaac), Musa (Moses), Daud (David), Isa (Jesus) and Muhammad (SAW) as well as others who preceded them or came in-between them brought the same message of monotheism through which mankind was counselled to worship one God and be upright in conduct. In Qur’an Chapter 2 verse 285, Allah admonishes Muslims against discriminating among His Apostles thus: “The Apostle of Allah, Muhammad, (SAW) believes in what has been revealed to him by his Lord, and so do the (Muslim) faithful. They all believe in Allah and His Angels, His Books as well as His Apostles. We do not discriminate against any of His Apostles. They say ‘We hear and obey. Grant us your forgiveness oh Lord! To you we shall all return”.

Religious Perception As a true adherent of a divine religion, you can only perceive your God according to your faith and that should not cause any rancour between you and adherents of any other religion. As Nigerians, we dwell in the same country, eat the same foods, drink the same water, wear similar dresses trade in the same markets and spend the same money. Our children attend the same schools, write the same examinations and obtain the same certificates. We intermarry across tribes and ethnicities as well as religions. All these form a stronger bond that ought to unite us much more than the abstract ones which often threatens to separate us. In a situation where the factors of life that unite us grossly surpass those that divide us will it not be stupid to sacrifice unity and cooperation? This is what Daniel Webster meant when he coined his famous poem which goes thus: “If we work marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds and instil in them just principles; we are then engraving that upon tablets which no time can efface but will brighten to all eternity”.






Enter the Archbishop Rev Amos Akinlose has been inaugurated as the pioneer Archbishop of the new Igbobini Archdiocese of Methodist Church, Nigeria. DAMISI OJO reports.


KITIPUPA, the headquarters of Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State went agog for the inauguration of Igbobini Archdiocese of Methodist Church, Nigeria. The event also marked the enthronement of Rev Amos Akinlose as the pioneer Archbishop of the Archdiocese, which covers Ondo, Edo and Delta states. Thousands of christians decked in various beautiful attires stormed the church. Cars of various brands were parked in the premises of the Methodist Church with clerics in their ranks exchanging pleasantries before the processional hymn heralding the big event. The atmosphere was pervaded with joy and ecstasies as such memorable day has never

Back to School


•Dr Uche (left) presenting Rev Akinlose

been witnessed in Okitipupa, the political headquarters of the Ikales. It was graced by Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko, eminent clerics across the country, politicians and captains of industry. In his homily shortly before the installation, the Prelate, Methodist Church, Nigeria, Dr Samuel Kalu Uche, called on ministers of God to promote love, unity and peace in the country, saying politicians, too, must not play dangerous politics that is detrimental to the unity of the country. He described Archbishop Akinlose as a humble and dedicated Christian who devotes his time for the gospel and the development of the church. The Prelate charged him to champion the teaching and preaching of the words of

God, and give sincere advice to those in government with dignity. According to him, the church continue to pray for the peace and development of the nation. The new Methodist Arch Diocese was approved last year at the first special conference of the Methodist Church of Nigeria in Lagos. The occasion also witnessed the installation of former Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Commissioner in the state Dr Ibukun Omotehinse as the Lay president of the new Archdiocese of Igbobini. Rev Uche said the unity of Nigeria supersedes party or individual interests. He said many politicians go into politics because of their selfish interests and not for

the development of the nation, adding that such people would soon wither away like a tree planted on the rock. For Nigeria to remain as one entity, the cleric advised politicians to embrace peace, love and unity and continue to work in God's way. The Governor of Ondo State Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who read the first lesson of the service, appealed to religious leaders in the country not to relent in their prayers for the nation. Mimiko assured the new archbishop of support for economic diversification in agricultural development and youth empowerment. Highlights of the ceremony include music ministrations, thanksgiving, prayer sessions and entertainment of guests.

AWARD Akwa Ibom State Governor's wife, Mrs Ekaete Unoma Akpabio receiving most Valuable Governor's Wife Award from the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, during 2014 Valuable Governor's wives Award in Abuja


Senator Ganiyu Solomon (right) with Nureni Ogunbona at the funeral of Alhaja Nimotalai Agbeke Solomon in Lagos

APPY Valentine Day to you. We started out year 2014 by laying the foundation for success. We have examined the purpose and process of setting objectives, reading effectively, managing our time and building profitable relationships. If we are disciplined and committed, we will definitely achieve greatness this year than any other year we have lived so far. It is important to note, however, that the aim of this AMODU LANRE OLAOLU column is not only to moti( Ph.D) vate and inspire you, but 07034737394 mainly to teach you how to @lanreamodu communicate effectively. We teach you to "do it yourself". Last year, we started a study on types of speech. If you have been following this column, you will remember that I mentioned that there are five basic types of speech- informative, persuasive, entertaining and technical speeches, as well as the brief remark. We have examined the first four speeches, leaving us with the brief remark. As compensation to those who missed some of the topics, however, and as a reminder for those who read all of them, I will give a summary of each topic. Hopefully, this will create an easy transition between what we have done and what we still have ahead. Summary of Informative Speech Have you ever listened to someone speak and at the end of it you learnt something new? Have you ever heard someone provide a deeper insight into something you have always known and you thought in your heart, "Wow! I never saw it like that before"? If you have, then you have come in contact with informative speech. So, what exactly in informative speech? An informative speech is one that is directed at enlightening the listeners. It is designed in such a way that valuable information is passed across to the audience either for the first time or to provide a fresh perspective. If we look around us, we will discover that we are constantly exposed to so many types of informative speeches. For instance, if you are a student, all the lessons or lectures you take in school are informative in nature. This is because they teach you something new that you will need for your future career. One of the ways to know that school lectures are informative in nature is that you are given tests and examinations to evaluate your level of understanding. Also, there are several empowerment seminars these days. Some of them are on entrepreneurship, career development, skill acquisition, internet business, forex trading and computer proficiency to mention a few. All of these are informative speeches. Their sole aim is to impact knowledge on the listener. Some people are of the opinion that informative speech is different from demonstrative speech because one involves only information while the other takes it to the next level of demonstration. I am of the opinion that they are the same. Demonstration is an element of speech that does not necessarily need to stand alone. All the types of speeches mentioned above can be demonstrative depending on the preference of the speaker. There are some basic requirements of an informative speech and they are the following: •The Speaker Must be Knowledgeable: if it is true that an informative speech must contain fresh information or a different perspective to existing ones, then it goes without saying that the speaker must be knowledgeable. •It Must be Systematic: this simply means that the presentation of the speech must follow a given pattern. It must be according to predetermined procedure. You have to plan your speech in such a way that the information will be effectively passed across to the audience. •Audience's Knowledge Must Equal Speaker's Knowledge: at the end of your informative speech, your audience must know exactly what you knew at the beginning. This is the only indication that you have communicated effectively. Some strategies that will help you deliver your informative speech effectively include: •Determining your Objectives: it is not enough to say that you want to inform your audience, you must tell us what about. Unless you know what exactly you intend to achieve, it will be difficult to measure your success. •Researching your Topic: The moment your listeners perceive that they know more than you do, you will lose your initial respect and attention. Remember that you must have earned a right to talk on the subject. •Outline your Points: one way to make sure that your message is simple enough for your audience to relate with is to outline your points. I have heard it said several times, and I have experienced it too, that any time you are addressing an audience and you make a statement like, "There are three major types of …" people pick up their pen and start to write. The psychology of this is that people attach importance to clearly defined points. These are some basic strategies that you can use to make your informative speech more effective. There are of course several others, but we will leave them till a later date. Dr. Amodu teaches at the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, Ogun State.




•The couple, Oluranti and Abayomi flanked by groom’s parents Most Revd Charles Oderinde and wife(left) and bride’s parents Mr Ademola Osinubi and wife, after their wedding at Methodist Church Opebi, Lagos.

•The Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye, Oba Abdul Rasaq Adesina Adenugba

•Dr Lekan Are and wife Olabisi

•Former Chairman, Punch Nigeria Limited Mr Ajibola Ogunshola and his wife, Iyabo

•Ms Lola Ibi Aboderin (left) and former Minister of Industry Mrs Nike Akande

•Amb. Remi Esan

•Former Punch Editor Mr Steve Ayorinde and his wife, Temitope

•Bishop Ogun Sunday

•Managing Director of The Guardian Mr Emeka Izeze and his wife, Stella




Former Deputy Director in the office of the Auditor- General of the Federation Alhaja Khairat Sodique presented a book titled Born to be at the Lagos State Secretariat Mosque Auditorium in Alausa, Ikeja last Saturday. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO reports

An inspiring life S

HE has seen it all. From her humble beginning at Epetedo on Lagos Island to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where she retired as Deputy Director in the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, Alhaja Khairat Oluwatoyin Sodique’s sojourn in life could be framed in the word of one time Emperor of Rome, Julius Caesar, She came, she saw and she conquered. The woman of many parts excelled in religious, academic and diplomatic worlds. As an accountant, she traversed the United States, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Russia, Ghana, Zambia, Libya, Canada, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Botswana and Guinea Bissau to audit Nigerian Embassies. The University of Lagos Accountancy graduate was an Assessor and Examiner to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) for 15 years. At 65, Alhaja Sodique's blazing trails in various religious organisations remain outstanding. She rose from the General Secretary of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) to the pinnacle of the organisation National President. She is at present the National General Secretary of Jama-at-ul-Islamiyya Society of Nigeria, the first female to occupy such post. Married to Alhaji Abdul Giyas Oluwakorede Sodique, a chartered building engineer, the couple is blessed with children doing well in various fields. It was no surprise when eminent personalities thronged the Lagos State Secretariat Mosque Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja last Saturday for the presentation of Alhaja Sodique's book titled: Born to be, a reminiscing and counsels on life and living. The book is an autobiography of the great woman. The event, which began on a prayer note featured recitation from the Quran, lecture, book review, presentation, unveiling and launching, goodwill messages and special prayer for the author. Lateefah Oluwakemi Sodique, a lawyer read the biography of the author before Chief Imam of Victoria Garden City Muslim Community Mosque (VGC) Alhaji Taofiq Awwal delivered the soul-inspiring lecture. Alhaji Awwal commended the author for a brilliant piece. He enjoined Muslim women to be outstanding in their chosen field of endeavours. According to him, the Muslim community needs more of Alhaja Sodique to uplift the society. The book was reviewed by Chief Executive Officer Deen Communications Limited Mr Mudathir Niyi Sanuth and Mrs Mujidat Olagunju of the Voice of Nigeria (VON). Mrs Olagunju hailed the author's creativity. The book, she said, is not written in the usual autobiography with history and date. "You would appreciate the book if you are a creative person from a creative perspective. Most autobiographies are non-fiction but this one is like a fiction but it real life experience; she had a mixture of prose and poetry. It's not the normal convention of an autobiography," she said. According to her, the author's acceptability of destiny aids her success. "She is able to accept that Allah is the driver of her life. Whatever life throws at her, she has been able to take as what Allah has 'Kadar' (destined) for her. So for that, she was

•Co-launcher and former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Alhaja Lateefat Okunnu (right) and FOMWAN National Amirah Alhaja Aminat Omoti

•Senator Gwadabe (right) assisting Alhaja Sodique to present the book

•Alhaji Sodique (right) and Chief Executive Officer Conference for African Studies, Abuja, Alhaji Raheem Bayo

•Alhaja Monsurat Taiwo (right) and Special Adviser to Lagos State Government on HIV/AIDS Dr Fausat Tokunbo Dabiri

able to move far. She appreciates things that have happened in her life even when she made mistakes; she was able to appreciate those mistakes believing that, they are all from Allah. So, she did not cry too much and she did not laugh too much which is part of lesson from Prophet Muhammad," she said. The Chief Launcher Senator Khairat Gwadabe described the book as a must read. "It is a good book; it has a story of life that has gone through ups and downs and has succeeded. For women, it's not easy to juggle education, marriage and carrier. So, to see a book written about the stress of all these, I think it's something encouraging, including men who see that you can be a husband and still be in charge and giving your wife all the freedom. Without her husband support, she wouldn't have achieved all of this. You can see that, that is a lesson. She gave total submission to her husband and then he elevated her," she said. Senator Gwadabe described Alhaja Sodique as an outstanding personality.

"She believes strongly in her religion and sticks to the principles. She doesn't lie; whatever she says, that is how it is going to be and she is a dogged fighter. When she goes on to a course, she runs with it. She doesn't give up easily," she stated. Senator Gwadabe urged women to be steadfast, honest, prayerful and hard working. The author said the urge to serve humanity inspired her to write the book. According to her, knowledge kept is knowledge wasted but knowledge shared is knowledge beneficial to humanity. Alhaja Sodique told The Nation that the writing, publication and printing of the book took her up to six months. "The fact is that when you are interested in something, once you pick your pen, it starts flowing and you do not want to stop. You stop when you are tired and you continue again. So, it something that is sort of inspiration, discharge it and it keeps coming and coming," she said. Though she admitted such task is a bit strenuous due to age factor. "I have to sit and do a lot of writing.

•NASFAT Women Secretary Alhaja Nofisat Arogundade

•University of Lagos Senior Lecturer Dr Ismail Ibrahim

•Book reviewer Mr Sanuth

•Book reviewer Mrs Olagunju PHOTOS: RAHMAN SANUSI

I enjoyed doing it. So, I wouldn't see it as any challenge and my family has been very supportive; I really thank my husband and children for their wonderful supports," she said. She urged women to believe in themselves and not think that there is anything they cannot do. "Once you have the zeal to do it, go ahead, start it, and pray about it and you will be successful," she said. Chief Imam of Jama-at-ul-

Islamiyya Society of Nigeria and Overseas Alhaji Muhammad Babatunde Alfa-Nla made a special prayer for the author, her family and guests at the ceremony. Administrator of PENCKERS School, Isolo, Alhaja Rizqah Lasaki, daughter of the author delivered the vote of thanks. There were refreshments and sales of the book before the closing prayer was made.




National conference: making Nigeria work Text of a speech by National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at the eighth anniversary of the late human rights activist Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti on Monday.


HE man we celebrate today, Dr. Bekolari Ransome-Kuti remains an icon undiminished in death and unrivalled in courage and tenacity. He is the sad reminder though of how Nigeria wastes some of her best and brightest. He died fighting for us all. For a Nigeria that works. For a democracy that guarantees freedom. justice and fairness and for a government that is responsible and accountable. That he died in the midst of the battle to liberate our country was a big loss. We however, have a lot to learn from his life and times. We have a lot to work with in the principles he espoused. He was a decent man. A core professional who sacrificed his professional career in the struggle to liberate his people. The things he fought for, the kind of country he wanted and the cause to which he dedicated his life gives us an idea of what needs to be fixed for this country to excel. Nigeria is assailed on many sides by an inept leadership, corruption and funds miss-management and collapse of public infrastructure. The climbing unemployment level speaks to the disarticulated economy we operate as a country. Lack of economic freedom has made Nigerians vulnerable to all sorts of government pranks. Nigeria can no longer continue on this sorry and uncertain path. There must be a change in governance and general orientation. Let me however, return to the issue of the national conference and the attempt to hoodwink Nigerians that the “Jonathan Conference” is what will be the panacea to our problems. On the issue of National Conference. I have been consistent. I have always maintained that the call for the convocation of a national conference to give to Nigeria and Nigerians a people’s constitution is justified. It is not only the process of the enactment of the 1999 Constitution that is faulty and undemocratic, the contents of the constitution are also inimical to the operation of democratic governance and the realization of the aspirations of the federating units and the peoples of Nigeria A Sovereign Conference is an idea Beko during his lifetime championed. Several others and myself through PRONACO and similar platforms have actively promoted, supported and advocated the same idea of a Sovereign Conference. To insinuate that I will of all people be opposed to the convocation of a national conference that meets the prescription we have advocated is mischievous and totally untrue. The Jonathan Conference is not what we have continuously agitated for. My opposition to the Jonathan Conference is anchored on principle. In October 2013, after a deep review of the Jonathan Conference proposal, I told Nigerians that the conference is not what Nigerians had advocated for. I warned that booby traps lay ahead. Though I remain an unrepentant supporter of a genuinely Sovereign National Conference, I am suspicious of this present concoction because it is half- baked and fully deceptive. Government’s sincerity is questionable, the timing is also suspect. Now that this government is sinking in a pool of political and economic hot water of its own making, it seizes hold of the national conference idea as if it were a life jacket. Today, there are enough contradictions and confusion to sink the conference even before it

starts. Yet the government forges on. In that same October 2013 write up which I made public, I articulated my position on the national conference being organized by the Jonathan government. The issues I raised remain. The fears I mentioned abide and the demands I made on the Jonathan government to treat some long standing issues before rushing us into another jamboree are fundamental to moving this country forward. For the benefit of this important occasion and audience here today, let me repeat some of what I said. “This government has not the honesty, foresight, tolerance and objectivity to hold a National Conference of any type. This government is so partisan and parochial it can’t even hold its own party together how dare it even think it can organize a national conference that lives up to its name by being truly representative of all the nation’s constituent parts. At most, all they can conduct is a conference comprised of one section of their party and those shell, artificial civil society groups that purport to reflect the public’s mind yet do nothing but spew government propaganda and get paid good naira for their service. This government cannot hold a National Conference anymore than a comatose man can stand and hold up a candle that the rest of us might see our way to a better Nigeria. Before embarking on new public relations ploys to whitewash its tarnished record, the government should treat some long outstanding issues and matters. This government cannot give what it does not have. If the conference must be held now, we must return to the spade work already done by the Obasanjo government in the aspect of constitutional review. Let the Jonathan government bring it out, remove the third term toxic component and set up a technical review committee to examine the 118 recommendations therein. We must continue from where we disagreed. Nation building is a progressive work and to totally jettison the considerable spade work already done is to set back the hands of the clock. Time is not on our side. Secondly, this government should implement the Uwais recommendations on electoral reforms. That report was the work of imminent Nigerians and it was done after widespread consultations to constituencies far and wide. We all know that our electoral system is broken and unfair. If the President has done nothing to fully implement this corrective report that would fix a system so blatantly broken, why would he implement recommendations of national conference if those recommendations do not suit his narrow purposes? The government should first implement this important work in order to demonstrate to Nigerians that it can hold and honor the outcome of a National dialogue. This government should do so to show that it has nothing to hide and is willing to engage in the upcoming electoral contest on a level playing field. This government must first show good faith for Nigerians to believe them. President

Jonathan is not the man to give Nigerians a true National Conference. He can only give us a “Jonathan conference” as bitter icing on the sour cake his government has become. This government lacks the presence of mind and the decency to implement a national conference. This administration has not achieved any tangible transformation because it has no concrete goals. Now it tilts and staggers under the weight of insecurity. Claims of transformation and of building an economy that is robust and institutions of democracy, by the President shows someone who believes fiction is more important than fact and imagination is more genuine than reality. Both in timing and in style, previous administrations adopted the same tricks of National Conference as a framework to structure their agenda to which people presented memoranda and attended plenaries before realising it was a trick. This government’s offer of a National Conference is a wingless bird. It will not fly. The report and recommendations of the Senator Okunronmu advisory committee is now the subject of raging controversy because it failed to the aspirations of Nigerians. Rather than bring clarity, it has brought confusion. The structure and mechanism of the process in that report confirms my assertion that we are on a journey with no destination save the wall of futility. Yes, we need to talk. However, we need a national conference that is truly sovereign and not one dictated by the reactionary and regressive elements of the ruling party. This is not the way to clear Nigeria from danger. This is a selfish ploy that will place the nation deeper in darkness and indirection. Nigeria is adrift and unless we start a discourse aimed at updating and improving our political economy and its structures, we might wake up one day from a night devoid of dreams because we have turned into a nation devoid of hope. However, an imposed national conference by individuals who have shown total disdain for anything nationalistic that does not unduly benefit them and who have demonstrated lack of respect for the opinions of others because they are in “Power” will have little success. It will be an empty and expensive futility with no true dividends for a people wanting their leaders to show them a way out of the pit and not a way deeper into it. So, how can we make Nigeria work? First, government must devise a system by which it can deal with the issues that readily confront the Nigerian State and also the constituting ethnic nationalities. This is fundamental. Equally, there can be no short cuts if Nigeria is to be liberated from its present quagmire. Here is a prescription: • Overhaul Government-get competent and knowledgeable in key positions to conceive and execute dynamic policies • Diversify the economy, revitalize agriculture to create jobs and create wealth • Combat corruption by plugging loop holes and government wastages • Provide adequate energy to power homes, industries and businesses • Subcribe to the rule of law and ensure there

‘This government’s offer of a National Conference is a wingless bird. It will not fly’

•From left: Former Ekiti State Governor Niyi Adebayo, House of Representatives member Hon. Bimbo Daramola, Speaker, Ekiti State of Assembly Hon. Adewale Omirin at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stakeholder’s meeting in Ado-Ekiti. PHOTO: MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE

•Asiwaju Tinubu

is justice for all and not just a few • Fiscal/true federalism must be practiced in all ramifications. These suggestions are by no means exhaustive, but Nigeria most first confront the known demons that have held it back. Today as we pay glowing tributes to an extra – ordinary activist, a patriot of great repute and de-trabalized Nigerian, I call upon us all to honor him by fighting for the ideas he promoted and defending the principles he sought to promote: a truly democratic society.

‘APC’ll save Nigeria from PDP’s misrule’


By Musa Odoshimokhe

HE All Progressives Congress (APC) will save Nigeria from the alleged misrule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Special Assistant on Political Matters to Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, Ebunola Martins, has said. Martins spoke with reporters in Lagos yesterday. He condemned the attack on Okorocha by an aide of Governor Peter Obi. “It is often said that success attracts envy and jealousy; we are not surprised then about these unnecessary criticisms and campaign of blackmail against Owelle Rochas Okorocha by Mr. Mike Udah,” Martins said. He said Okorocha decided to join the APC because “this political party offers the Igbo the opportunity to occupy strategic leadership positions.” Martins added: “The structures of this political party offer the Igbo the opportunity to occupy strategic leadership positions and also actualise the progress dream of the Igbo for a presidential or vice-presidential ticket in the coming 2015 presidential polls. “Thus, the best option for the Igbo in contemporary Nigeria is to the All Progressive Congress (APC) whose manifesto (that is aims and objectives, policies and programmes) will further promote the rapid development of Igboland. “Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s credentials as a patriot, nationalist and progressive politician have been acknowledged nationwide and world-wide. Since his assumption of office as the Executive Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas A. Okorocha has recorded remarkable achievements in many sectors of governance. To mention few; Free education at all levels (305 school, Road Schools built across the state in every local government at 65 per cent completion), Owerri City School, Road rehabilitation and construction, 15 kilometers of road across all the local government, agriculture, transformation of ADA PALM now Imo State Plantation over 2,000 Imolites has been gainfully employed in this scheme) Housing Hero’s apartment (over 150 suites), Imo Hall of Fame, total overhaul of Concord Hotel that was abandoned for several years, Ikemba Ojukwu Square, Health (Imo Renal Diagnostic Centre for Kidney transplant), 27 general hospitals across the state-at advanced stages of completion, Poverty Alleviation programs, youth employment and skill acquisition, Hero Square (100 days in office project), transformation of Imo State Government House, Imo International Conference centre at completion stage, transformation of Orlu and Okigwe cities, prevention of crime, maintenance of peace and security, local government and chieftaincy affairs, social welfare and so on. Million of Imolites and visitors to Imo State have been testify to the remarkable achievements of the progressive administration of Owelle Rochas Okorocha is a great achiever.”








Lafarge plans to double Nigerian capacity


AFARGE, the world’s leader in cement and building materials with presence in 64 countries, plans to double its production capacity in Nigeria as part of a new expansion programme that would see additional investments by the foreign majority shareholders in its Nigerian subsidiaries. Executive vice chairman and country chief executive officer, Nigeria and Benin, Mr. Guillaume Roux, disclosed this yesterday when he led the top management of the Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria Plc on a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Lafarge is the majority core investor in two publicly listed companies-Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria Plc and Ashaka Cement Plc, and Calabarbased Unicem.

• Equities lose N289b in panic sales By Taofik Salako Capital Market Editor

Roux, who noted that Lafarge had recently increased its capacity from 3.0 million metric tonnes to 8.0 million metric tonnes, said the group would be making new investments in the next few years to double its capacity and strengthen its position as a leader in the Nigerian cement industry. He pointed out the historic importance of Lafarge Wapco as the oldest cement company in Nigeria and the operational spread of the group’s business from the south to the north adding that the expansions will also be across the regions. He underscored the importance of Nigerian market to the Lafarge global operations not-

ing that the group has continuously demonstrated its commitments to the longterm development of its business and the Nigerian economy by sustained investments, development of new innovative solutions and building of Nigeria’s indigenous know-how and capacity. “We will make a lot of new investments in the next few years,” Roux said. He said that contrary to recent speculations about presence of low-grade cement products in Nigeria, there could be no low-grade cement in the country as Nigeria has the most modern cement industry in Africa. He assured shareholders of good returns on their investments.





FIRS: Transfer pricing to check double taxation


HE Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has taken steps to ensure that multinationals and other firms operating in the country pay appropriate taxes. FIRS’ Acting Executive Chairman, Alhaji Kabir Mashi, who spoke in Lagos at the opening of a stakeholders’ engagement on ‘Filing of Transfer Pricing (TP) Returns,’ said that transfer pricing would reduce the issues associated with double taxation, provide taxable persons with certainty and a level playing field between multinational enterprises and independent enterprises doing business in Nigeria. He explained that ‘Filing of Trans-

be used to file the TP returns in line with the its regulations as well as the relevant tax laws. He said that Nigeria adopted the regulations and commenced implementation on transfer pricing in order to address the problem associated with shifting profit among enterprises. “These are laudable objectives but it would not by itself translate to a success story unless the regime is properly implemented. It is only and only if we all play by the rule that the regime of transfer pricing in Niger could reposition our be-

By Collins Nweze

fer Pricing (TP) Returns,’ involves setting appropriate prices for goods, services, assets, intellectual properties, loans, guarantees supplied or transferred by one enterprise to another, both of them being members of the same group or otherwise connected. Mashi, represented by the Coordinating Director, Direct Report Group (DRG), Queensley Seghosime, said the regime would also help to fight tax evasion that are embedded in “underpricing’’ of controlled transactions between associated enterprises. Mashi explained that the programme is meant to expose the various guidelines, forms and documents that would

ABCON seeks transparency, accountability in forex dealings T HE Association of Bureau De Change of Nigeria (ABCON) has said its members must conduct all their transactions with probity and transparency in the overall interest of the industry and economy. Speaking yesterday at the launching of operational manual and unified logo for Bureau De Change (BDC) operators, ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe said forex liberalisation policy instituted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not only empower the subsector, but prompted an influx of new investors and increase in the number of BDCs. He said number of operators rose from 300 in 2006 when the market was libralised, to over 3,000 presently, a process that has created thousands of jobs for the population. “With this increase also comes the need for training and retraining of staff and operators to en-

“We also have the mandate to ensure uniform standards of operations and quality of services across the subsector. The manual represents firm commitment to performing these responsibilities,” he said. The ABCON boss said the manual shows commitment to continuously partner with the CBN to achieve to achieve an orderly foreign exchange market where all operators play by the rule. Speaking further, he said the need to distinguish between fake and genuine foreign exchange dealers led the body to create a new logo for operators. “The website provides opportunity for immediate and direct access to ABCON by its members and members of the public. It is our desire that only licenced operators buy and sell foreign currency, and the public patronises such,” he said.

By Modupe Oluneye

sure uniform standards across the industry. We have realised the need to introduce operational manual for BDCc to guide all operators,” he said. Gwadabe said the operational manual remains a comprehensive information database for all operators. Some of the provisions contained in the manual include requirements for licencing new BDCs, membership registration requirement, responsibilities of operators, explanations on Money Laundering /Counter Terrorism Financing Act. Others are book keeping requirements, returns rendition, general administrations and domiciliary account operation. He said the manual remains a demonstration of its commitment to training and retraining of BDCs adding that the guideline also would help the body demonstrate its Self Regulatory Organisation.

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

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


Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday, intervened to stabilise the naira, deputy governor Sarah Alade told Reuters, after the currency fell to an all-time intraday low of 167 to the dollar. She added that, with $42 billion of reserves, she was confident the bank would be able to maintain the currency within its managed band of three per cent either side of 155 to the dollar. She said the CBN had no plans to hold an emergency meeting on the naira’s fall, for which she blamed currency speculators. The CBN had consistently said

Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34


Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %
















Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 400m 400m 400m 400m 400m 400m



O/PRICE 4.37 2.02 4.05 1.92 36.31 0.60 74.05 9.50

C/PRICE 4.58 2.10 4.20 1.99 37.00 0.61 75.00 9.55

O/PRICE 42.20 0.55 0.55 18.65 20.95 2.38 4.82 3.10 5.79 0.98

C/PRICE 40.61 0.53 0.53 17.99 20.21 2.30 4.66 3.00 5.61 0.95






Parallel Market






CHANGE 0.21 0.08 0.15 0.07 0.69 0.01 0.95 0.05

CHANGE -1.59 -0.02 -0.02 -0.66 -0.74 -0.08 -0.16 -0.16 -0.10 -0.03

Exchange Rate (N) 155.75 155.8 155.7

Date 2-5-14 2-3-14 1-29-14


6-2-14 N13.07tr 40,766.16

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


Feb. ’14

July ’11

Feb ’14





Standing Lending Rate








Deposit Rate


Liquidity Ratio




Cash Return Rate




Inflation Rate




LOSERS AS AT 13-02-14



Bureau de Change 152.0000

GAINERS AS AT 13-02-14


Amount Sold ($) 399.9m 399.9m 399.9m



Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

that while that while the currencies of most emerging markets lost appreciable value in their currencies, in double digit range, the naira lost only 2.3 per cent in the last one year. It referred as unnecessary and uninformed, the occasional criticism that the CBN has been unduly protecting the naira exchange rate, to the detriment of other macroeconomic variables. It noted that such critics had not given due consideration to the negative implications of the attendant loss of confidence by international investors on the Nigerian economy.





in partnership with our esteemed stakeholders the taxpayer is indeed king to us. We hope to conduct similar events in Abuja and Port Harcourt in order to achieve a good spread,’’ he said.

CBN to defend naira with intervention





loved country to a path of sustainable economic growth and rapid development. At the FIRS, our yearning is to implement the transfer pricing regime transparently, efficiently and effectively in order to promote voluntary compliance as enshrined in our mission statement. I therefore solicit your cooperation to make the implementation of the TP regime a success through your voluntary compliance with the provisions of the TP regulations and other extant tax laws,’’ he said. Earlier, Mr. Ajayi Bamidele, Coordinating Director, Field Operations Group (FOG), said the FIRS had resolved to make transfer pricing a success through the establishment of Transfer Pricing Division (TPD) in FIRS Lagos office to drive the processes. “Today’s event is part-fulfillment of our pledge to do the business of tax administration


Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012

7 Days


Rate (Currency) Movement 6, Mar, 2012


Offer Price

Bid Price


0 171. 9 1. 1. 0. 0. 1. 1,613. 1,000.00 115. 100. 1. 1. 142. 0. 1,857.



30 Days



60 Days



150 Days



Bank P/Court



04 July, 2012

07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833




CITYBEATS Doctor, pastor arrested for alleged robbery A Owo monarch

• Oba Olateru-Olagbegi



HE Olowo of Owo in Ondo State, Oba D.V Olateru- Olagbegi (CFR), will on Monday, begin the celebration of his 15th anniversary. Press Secretary to the Owo Kingdom Advisory Council (OKAC) Gboyega Amobonye, said there would be a press conference at the palace that day at 10am. Amobonye said: "The following day, the final of a football comptition among secondary schools will hold at the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Ground, Owo at 4pm. Health talks and free medical services will be provided at the palace on February 19 at 10am "After Ugbade, a parade by school pupils at the palace on February 20, the Ugha royal dance will be held on February 21. There will also be conferment of chieftaincy titles and a launch in support of palace projects. A Jumat service will hold at the Owo Central Mosque, while a Christian thanksgiving will take place at the Saint Andrews Cathedral, Owo on February 23 at 10am.

SEVEN- man gang, including a doctor and a pastor was paraded by the police in Lagos yesterday. The gang allegedly killed three policemen while attempting to break into the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of Access Bank Plc on November 16 last year at Ayobo, a Lagos suburb. The suspects were arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). They are: Tairu Kareem (40), a welder; Jonathan Nsirim (36), Dr. Tajudeen Dosumu (65), Pastor Isaiah Willie (40). The three others, Daniel Onuoha (34), Eyo Bassey (35) and Confidence Saviour (30), died from the injuries sustained during exchange of gunfire with the police. The police, Manko said, recovered 12 AK47 and two K2 rifles, 30 AK47 magazines, one pump-action gun; one police Walkie-Talkie, one hammer and cutter; eight gas cylinders and a damaged ATM machine. Manko paraded the suspects at the Command's Headquarters in Ikeja, with the recovered arms and ammunition. He confirmed that on November 16, last year, at 1am,

CITYBEATS LINE: 08023247888

By Jude Isiguzo and Ebele Boniface

the gang stormed Access Bank Plc, Ayobo Branch to burgle the ATM, but policemen from the Ayobo Division led by the late Assistant Superintendent of Police Longinus Amuzie in response to a distress call, ambushed them. The suspects, he said, killed three policemen, including Longinus, adding that while others sustained injuries, the robbers took away two AK47 rifles belonging to the policemen. Manko said the suspects were arrested through diligent investigation and deployment of advance technology driven by SARS team led by Superintendent of Police (SP)Abba Kyari. Dosumu, who claimed to be the owner of Kola Hospital Okeoluwa, Igando, a Lagos suburb, said he attended a university in Osun State, but dropped out at 400 level. "One of my elder brothers arranged my medical certificate with the help of some lecturers at the university. They paid about N20,000 for it. The same brother arranged my housemanship at a university in the North and also assisted

• The suspects ... yesterday me to gain employment with the then Ikeja General Hospital, now Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), where I worked for 14 years. The gang paid me N20,000 for using my car

when it attacked a bank at Ayobo and another at Idimu. My first child is in the US Navy, while my daughter is in Germany," he said. He said he did not know what led him into crime. "I

have one hospital known as Kola Hospital at Igando. I had never been involved in any crime,” he said, asking: “Why is it that it is now that I am over 60 that I find it interesting to go into crime?”

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

consignment was witnessed by other security agents. NDLEA’s Chairman/ Chief Executive Ahmadu Giade, who ordered that the cases be investigated, said the suspects would be charged to court.

Syndicate abandons drug at airport


SUSPECTED drug trafficking syndicate has abandoned a five-kilogramme highgrade heroin at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos. The drug, it was learnt, was hidden inside praying rugs imported from Pakistan, according to narcotics officers who made the discovery during the inward screening of cargoes on a Qatar Airline flight. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) also arrested a 29year-old man, Osigwe Kelvin Uchenna for ingest-

ing nine wraps of methamphetamine weighing 400 grammes at the airport. NDLEA Airport Commander Mr Hamza Umar said the examination of the

Council chief seeks peace

THE Chairman of Mushin Local Government, Hon Olatunde Babatunde Adepitan, has charged youths in his domain to settle their quarrel amicably instead of engaging in violence. His plea came on the heels of a recent fight that led to some residentsin the area. Though the Area Commander, Zone 'D' of the police command, Mr. M.D Garba, urged the family of the victim to take solace in God, assuring that the culprits would be brought to book, Adepitan appealed to police authorities to release the victims’ corpses to their families for burial.


Our challenges, by Censors Board


IKE many government agencies, the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) faces a complex public and constitutional shortfall that has impeded its regulatory functions. Addressing the media in Lagos on Wednesday, NFVCB’s Director General Ms. Patricia Bala listed some problems bedevilling the agency, including lack of functional distribution, illegally distributed contents and pitfall in the enabling laws. From the time of her predecessor, Mr. Emeka Mba, the agency initiated what it called: New Distribution and Exhibition Framework (NDEF), aimed at regulating distribution through auditable structures, but the scheme is yet to fly. Although many complained about the registration fees, the Board, last year crashed the fees by 50 per cent. Bala said the NFVCB should not be blamed for the implementation of the NDEF, which could also help in curtailing piracy. "We are not the operators of the NDEF," she noted. "All that we are meant to do is to categorise the operators, but they have refused to implement it. There is nothing wrong with the NDEF, because it is working in Benin, Edo State." She decried obscenity, violence and recycled storylines in Nigerian movies, arguing that cultism and rituals should not be portrayed as the only solution to prob-

lems. 'There are challenges of inappropriate content unsuitable to the Nigerian brand, which we desire to project to the world, gaps in marketing and distribution standards, competitiveness in the global space and many more." Asked why the Board is veering into areas besides classification of films, Bala said "our job goes beyond just putting badges of approval or disapproval on movies. We engage in responsibilities to engender genuine interactions and exposure to ensure that our regulations and statues are well understood and assimilated." She pleaded for action on the amendment of the Board's enabling law, which she said had been on the concurrent list since 1993. She said the proposed amendment is with the Ministry of Justice and hoped that it

would get to the National Assembly soon so the Board can be strengthened to act when the need arises. On indecent movies, Bala noted that most of the pornographic movies do not emanate from Nigeria, adding that the agency is talking with its counterpart in Ghana, on the need to fight the incursion, as some of the films appear to be from that country. She said the Internet is another medium of distributing such films, which even the advanced countries are having a problem with. "There are plans to checkmate indecent movies on the Internet. However, in doing this, we are careful not to interfere with freedom of expression." Bala, who said the Board received 1,462 movies for home release and public exhibition, noted that there is


• Bala dearth of children-inclined movies. "Children are not being catered for. There is a serious gap that needs to be filled by the industry. Last year, there were only seven movies rated for children of the 560 approved for home viewing," she stated.

M-Net gets first regional director

ONTINENTAL TV content provider MNet has named Mrs. Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu as its first regional director of West Africa. According to the company's Chief Executive Officer in sub-Saharan Africa Mrs. Patricia van Rooyen, the appointment of MbaUzoukwu's, who will assume duty on March 1, reflected the broadcaster's growth in West Africa. "Such has been the increase in our pan-African viewership that we decided to split our African operations into West and East Africa," Van Rooyen said, adding: "This will enable us increase our presence in these regions and focus on delivering content and services tailored to our audiences need." Van Rooyen noted that the

new appointee was one of West Africa's most talented broadcast executives. Mba-Uzoukwu joined MNet as regional manager in October 2012, from Airtel Nigeria Limited where she was head of Brand and Marketing Communications.

• Mba-Uzoukwu

Top DJs, others in Lagos for MTN Val's party


• Jimmy Jatt

• Tiwa-Savage

HIS evening, five celebrated Nigerian deejays will thrill fun lovers at the MTN Valentine's party at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. The disc spinners, according to MTN, organisers of the show, include the iconic DJ Jimmy Jatt, DJ Neptune, DJ Sosse, DJ Big N and DJ Obi. The 'MTN Valentine Rave Party' with the deejays will be reinforced by performances from Don

Jazzy, Kcee, Iyanya, Banky W., Sound Sultan, Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Chidinma, D'Prince, HarrySong, iMike, Praiz, Monica, Ayo and Olawale, among others. Interestingly, some of these acts have been on the MTN twitter handle, giving sneak previews on how exciting the show will be. During the interaction via the 'MTN Yello Valentine' celebrity guest tweet series, Limpopo master Kcee

boasted that the show would be an unforgettable one. "Nigerians will enjoy great entertainment from me and other leading artistes. It promises to be one of the best shows ever witnessed on a Valentine's Day," he said. Marvin Records' Tiwa Savage also said: "It's going to be a great show, as most Nigerian artistes and the best DJs in the country will converge to give the best musical entertainment to Nigerians."




Lagos to build Psychiatric hospital in Ikorodu

•LASUTH outgoing CMD presents Heroes and Others


LANS are underway by the Lagos State government to site a psychiatric hospital at Ikorodu. Governor Babatunde Fashola broke the news yesterday at the Protea Hotel, Ikeja, at the launch of a book, Heroes and Others, authored by the outgoing Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Dr. Femi Olugbile. He said the Federal Government-owned psychiatric hospital could no longer meet the needs of the state’s over 21 million residents. Fashola said since the state has a facility at Ikorodu, the hospital would be built there to accommodate the needs of various psychiatric patients. He said: “We must domicile mental health facilities because many of us may need such services. We need classification and it is important to break the stigma associated with mental ailments, because they are like every other sickness. “Mental challenge is caused by mal-functioning of an organ. We have had our first conference operating at an altitude. It must come down to concerns beyond visible to what is invisible. “What are these things we cannot see beyond health and school?”, said Fashola. Speaking glowingly of the author as well as the contributions he made as a public servant, the governor said “what people know is worth more than what they own. “When I appointed Dr. Olugbile as GMD LASUTH, I knew he made a First Class in Medicine, but I did not know he was also a great literary writer.


•Fashola (third left); his deputy Mrs Orelope-Adefulire (second right); Dr. Idris (left); Mrs. Okoli (fourth left); Dr. Olugbile (fourth right); his wife Yemi; Special Adviser to Lagos Governor on Health Mrs. Yewande Adesina and Mr. Alokan...yesterday By Precious Igbonwelundu

“To me, today’s event is a combination of education and healthcare, which represents the core of human capital development. “When people are well and educated, they can be anything they want to be. “Olugbile’s life is a massage that you can be anything you want to be in life provided you know what to do with your time. “I have benefitted immensely from his work. His advice is assisting us make good decisions and we will still tap from his knowledge in the next 11 days before he retires,” he said. At the event were Lagos Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Adefulire; GMD of Emzor, Mrs. Stella Okoli; Prof. Adebayo Williams; Lagos Health Commissioner,Jide Idris; former Lagos Commissioner

•Mr. Tunde Fagbenle (left); Mr. Gori Ogunyomi; foremost scholar Prof. Adebayo Williams and Mr. Idowu Obasa...yesterday.

for Health Leke Pitan; Majority Leader, Lagos House of Assembly, Ajibayo Adeyeye; Permanent Secretary, Ekiti State Deputy Governor’s office, Tunde Alokan, the book reviewer, Kunle Ajibade, among others.

Ojukwu estate: Judge disqualifies self

USTICE Adebayo Oyebanji of a Lagos High Court, Igbosere, yesterday disqualified herself from a case brought against Bianca, the widow of Biafran warlord Chukwuemeka OdimegwuOjukwu and others, by Debe Ojukwu. Justice Oyebanji, who said the matter ought not to have followed her to the court where she was posted by the Chief Judge, Justice Ayotunde Philips, told the parties that it would be re-assigned to another judge. The judge announced this when the suit was called and the claimant (Debe) stood up to announce his appearance. “I have observed that this matter was assigned to this court.


By Precious Igbonwelundu

“It was before the creation of the fast track division. The registrar should not have brought the case to this court. “It will go to the fast track because case management conference (CMC) has not begun. I will only minute on it, give a date and ask the registrar to take the case file to the office of the assigning judge,” Justice Oyebanji said. She adjourned the case till March 3 for mention. Joined as defendants are Prof. Joseph Ojukwu, Emmanuel Ojukwu, Lotanna Ojukwu, Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Patrick Ojukwu and Mrs. Margaret Nwagbo-Ojukwu. The Ojukwus have been enmeshed in a legal tussle since

the death of the late Biafran warlord over property and the claim by Debe that he was his legitimate eldest son. Debe, who claimed that the company he administered on behalf of the family, sponsored Ojukwu’s funeral with about N100 million, said he was deprived of his right as the eldest son during the funeral. He urged the court to compel the family to pay him N200 million compensation for the wrong and that the court should declare that as the eldest son, he should control the assets of Ojukwu Transport Ltd (OPL). Debe prayed for a declaration that he is fit to collect the military paraphernalia used for Ojukwu’s funeral.

‘PDP can’t go beyond 2015'

GROUP, ‘Total Loyalty’, yesterday asked Nigerians to vote wisely next year. The group, led by the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Alhaji Toyin Balogun, described the 14 years of the PDP administration as years of national tribulation, adding that all the critical sectors are on their knees. Balogun said in a statement in Lagos that the country has a choice between the PDP and the APC next year, warning that a bad choice will spell doom for the polity. Noting that the journey to the next general elections has started, he said the APC membership registration is the first step in the push for change. He chided the PDP Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, for his uncomplimentary state-

By Tomisin Amokeoja

ment about the exercise, saying that he is living in the past. Balogun said, not only has the PDP’s dream of ruling Nigeria for 60 years has crumbled, the party is now struggling to remain relevant. He described the APC as the solution to the problems confronting the country, urging the people to embrace the mass movement. Balogun added: “We take exception to the remarks made by Olisa Metuh that the APC membership registration is motivated by mischief. Olisa Metuh has displayed the highest form of mediocrity. They delude themselves into thinking that the PDP will survive beyond 2015. They are living in a fool’s paradise. There will be change in 2015 and it will be a change for the better”.

•Mr. Ajibade...yesterday PHOTOS: RAHMAN SANUSI




Two men to die by hanging


STATE High Court in Osogbo, Osun State has sentenced two 20year-old men to death by hanging for raping a 14-yearold girl to death. The men, Suraju Olarewaju and Lekan Olatayo, were tried on a two-count charge of conspiracy and murder, which, according to the prosecution, was contrary to Section 324 and 319 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 34. Volume 2 Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2004. They committed the offence on June 1, 2005 at Abesu, Osogbo.


•For raping teenager to death From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

While defiling the girl, the convicts were said to have stuffed a loaf of bread into her mouth to prevent people from hearing her cry for help. In one of the convicts’ voluntary and confessional statement, they said: “About midnight, we saw Fatai making love to Bilikisu. When me and Suraju saw how Fatai was making love to her, we decided to sleep with her. We covered her mouth with a N30

bread to prevent her from shouting for help.” A Senior State Counsel in the Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Adekomi Folashade, who led the prosecution, told the court that no other persons were responsible for the commission of the offence except the convicts. The defence counsel, Mr. F.N. Ukaegbu (ESQ), opposed the prosecutor’s submission, but Justice R. A. Shiyanbola sentenced them to death by hanging.

Suspects die while trying to escape

WO suspects, Lekwa Uzor and Ruben Okezie, arrested by the police in Aba, Abia State for allegedly kidnapping a Chinese, Mrs. Tang, have been shot dead by the anti-robbery squad while trying to escape. The Nation learnt that the men were arrested in Aba by the police after a tip- off. They were part of a kidnap syndicate, which abducted the Chinese, wife of Mr. Christian Kalu, an indigene of Amaekpu Item in Bende Local Government. A source, who spoke on

From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba

condition of anonymity, said the suspects confessed to the police that they were the mastermind of some of the kidnaps in Aba, including Mrs. Tang’s. The source said the suspects took the police anti-robbery squad to their base at Ihie Oji in Obingwa Local Government where their colleagues were hiding. He added that while the policemen were approaching Ohuru Isimiri, hoodlums, suspected to be members of the gang, opened fire on them (the police). The suspects were said to have been

hit by stray bullets while attempting to escape from the police during the exchange of gunshots between the police and the hoodlums. Efforts to save their lives were said to have been futile, as they died from gunshot injuries. Police spokesman Geoffrey Ogbonna confirmed the death of the suspects. He said they died before they could be taken to a hospital. Ogbonna said Mrs. Tang had been rescued and had reunited with her husband. He did not confirm if any ransom was paid.

UNITY BANK PLC WITHDRAWAL OF REGISTRATION AS CAPITAL MARKET OPERATOR UNDER THE INVESTMENT AND SECURITIES ACT 2007 In furtherance of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive for Banks to divest from all non-core banking activities, UnityBank Plc hereby notifies the general public of its withdrawal from its Issuing House and Portfolio Fund Management functions with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the Investment and Securities Act 2007. For further information, please contact the Bank, at the address below: COMPANY SECRETARIAT UNITYBANK PLC UNITY BANK TOWER 785 HERBERT MACAULAY WAY, CENTRAL BUSINESS AREA, ABUJA. 07080666000 07057323225

•From left: Dean, Diocese of Lagos West (Anglican Communion), Ven. Abel Ajibodu; Bishop, Diocese of Lagos West (Anglican Communion), Bishop James Olusola Odedeji and Chairman, Anniversary Committee, Prof. Wale Omole, during a news briefing on the 50th anniversary of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, GRA, Ikeja... yesterday. PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL.

Pharmacists, NCWS meet to fight drug abuse


HE Association of Lady Pharmacists is to partner the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) to fight drug abuse. Its president, Zainab Sharrif, spoke in Abuja when she led a delegation to the NCWS president, Mrs. Nkechi Mba. She said the intake of drugs by youths is alarming, stressing the need for drastic measures to be taken against it. “Children today take overdose of Benylin syrup and other drugs capable of intoxicating them. This is harmful to their health. We will soon organise a programme called ‘Catch them young’, where we will invite youths and mothers and talk to them on the dangers of drugs,” Zainab Sharrif said. She suggested that a vegetable market should be built

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where fresh and dry vegetables could be bought, “as Nigeria is blessed with these.” She said if properly managed, the market could attract foreigners and boost small scale businesses. Mrs. Mba urged the group to visit the First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan, “as she ensures women projects adoption.” The NCWS president said she would assist in sending the proposal to President Goodluck Jonathan, who she noted believed in women. The Executive Director of the Unity In Diversity Initiative (UIDI), Dr. Chinyere Osuchukwu, has led a delegation

of the group to visit the NCWS to seek collaboration with the council in order to curb restiveness. She said UIDI is poised to advance the fight against violence, adding that if there must be sustainable peace, women issues must be prioritised. “We believe if we must end this conflict legacy, which has battered our image as a nation, mothers need to encourage more cross-border relationships and mixed marriages among our youths. This is because people from such relationships and marriages will work hard to improve ties among citizens,” Dr. Osuchukwu said. Mrs. Mba assured the group of the council’s support. She said she would do her best to enlighten women on the need to fight insecurity.

Police arraign four for alleged fuel theft


OLICE yesterday arraigned four men at the Federal High Court, Lagos for allegedly stealing petrol from a pipeline. The suspects Bambo Orisabinone, Victor Sofia, Jutten Jonas and Oluwasegun Okimiji were arrested in Makoko, Lagos on August 31 last year. Police said they vandalised a Nigerian National Petroleum

By Joseph Jibueze

Corporation (NNPC) pipeline. They were accused of scooping about 13,500 litres of petrol worth N1.3 million. The accused pleaded not guilty to a four-count charge of conspiracy, unlawful possession, vandalism and stealing of petroleum products. The offences violate sections 7(a) and 7 (b) of the Miscellane-

ous Offence Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation, 2004. The offence of stealing contravenes sections 390 and 516 of the Criminal Code, Cap C 38, Laws of the Federation, 2004. Justice Saliu Saidu ordered the accused to be remanded in custody until their bail application is heard. He adjourned till February 20 for hearing of the bail application.

Eight die in Benin-Ore road accident


HE Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), yesterday in Benin, Edo State confirmed the death of eight persons in an accident on the Ugbogui axis of the Benin-OreLagos Expressway. The FRSC Tollgate Unit Commander, Mr. Adewale Ameen, confirmed the accident to reporters. He said it involved an 18seater bus with registration

number CT 874 FST and a Mercedes Benz truck (MUS 570 SS) belonging to a Pentecostal church. Ameen, who said the accident occurred on Wednesday, attributed it to fatigue on the part of the bus driver. He said the driver rammed into a stationary truck while driving from Lagos to Benin. “Although the bus driver survived, eight passengers

died,” the unit commander said. Said he: “It was an avoidable accident because the truck parked well away from the road. “From my interaction with the survivors, they warned the driver about his recklessness before the accident occurred. “They were coming from Lagos after an all-night prayer session before the accident.”

Valentine’s Day: FRSC places operatives on alert


S Nigerians join the global community to celebrate this year’s Valentine’s Day, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has placed its operatives on intensive routine patrols nationwide. The FRSC officials have been placed at strategic locations to enable citizens enjoy an accident-free celebration. According to the Corps Public Education Officer, Jonas Agwu, while the Corps has finalised arrangements to ensure a crash-free celebration, the public have been urged to celebrate love with caution by obeying traffic rules and regulations. He said this year’s Valentine’s Day initiative forms part of the Corps’ nationwide intervention patrols, pursuant to its 2014 strategic

goals with a projection for 15 per cent reduction in road crashes and 25 per cent decrease in fatalities. The Corps warns the public to desist from road vices, such as excessive speeding, which ranks as number one causative factor for road accidents in the country, the use of phone while driving, non-use of seat belts by occupants of a vehicle and overloading, stressing that patrol teams have been mandated to arrest and prosecute violators on the spot. Agwu also harped on the negative impact of drunk driving, which often results in blackouts, euphoria, loss of co-ordination, balance impairment, poor judgement, impaired memory and slow reaction among drivers.



FOREIGN NEWS Afghanistan frees ‘dangerous’ detainees


ISREGARDING heated American protests, Afghanistan released 65 accused militants from a former U.S. prison on Thursday, despite warnings that the men are dangerous Taliban fighters and bomb-makers likely to return to killing foreign forces and Afghans. The freeing of the men from the Parwan Detention Center further strains relations between Washington and President Hamid Karzai. The Afghan leader's increasingly antiAmerican rhetoric and refusal to sign a long-negotiated bilat-

eral security deal has heightened uncertainty ahead of the year-end withdrawal of most international combat troops. Outrage over Karzai's decision also mirrors the mistrust and resentment that has developed between the ostensible allies in recent years. The souring of sentiment has often played out in a tug-of-war over control of the detention facility near the American military's Bagram Air Field, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of Kabul. Karzai reacted sharply to the strong U.S. and NATO criticism

over the releases, saying it was not up to foreign powers to determine Afghan justice. "Afghanistan is a sovereign country. If Afghanistan judiciary authorities decide to release prisoners, it is of no concern to the United States," Karzai said at the end of a summit with Pakistani and Turkish leaders in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Thursday's move could be a gesture by Karzai to try to woo the Taliban insurgents into joining peace talks with his government before he leaves office later this year, since he is unable to serve a third term.

Kenya govt accuses US as tear gas breaks up rally


top Kenyan official on Thursday accused the United States of trying to overthrow Kenya’s government by supporting activists even as baton-wielding police used tear gas to break up an anti-government protest in downtown Nairobi. A press statement from the National Security Advisory Committee asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon the U.S. government aid arm, USAID. The security committee said it wants to learn of USAID’s alleged plans to “topple the government using activists.” The security committee said it possesses cred-

ible intelligence documents detailing how USAID has funded demonstrations by activists. “NSAC warned that the consistent plans to destabilize the current government will not be tolerated at any costs, especially where activists are sustainably funded to tarnish the country’s and leaders’ reputation regionally and internationally,” said the statement. The letter was signed by Francis Kimemia, the chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee and the secretary of the president’s Cabinet. Kimemia confirmed in a text message to The Associated Press that the letter is authentic.

Putin backs Egypt army chief for president



USSIAN President Vladimir Putin yesterday wished Egypt’s military chief victory in the nation’s presidential vote, even though he has yet to announce his bid - a strong endorsement signaling Moscow’s desire to expand its military and other ties with a key U.S. ally in the Middle East. Without naming the United States, the Kremlin used Egyptian Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi ‘s visit to criticize what it regards as U.S. interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Russia’s ties with the U.S. have been badly strained by disputes ranging from Syria’s civil war, to missile defense plans in Europe, to

Moscow’s human rights record. Putin’s public endorsement of el-Sissi is unlikely to cause a stir in Egypt, where an announcement by the field marshal that he is running in the election is a matter of when, not if. “I know that you have made a decision to run for president,” Putin said at the start of his meeting with el-Sissi. “That’s a very responsible decision: to undertake such a mission for the fate of the Egyptian people. On my own part, and on behalf of the Russian people, I wish you success.” El-Sissi didn’t mention his presidential ambitions in brief opening remarks, but emphasized his focus on ensuring security, saying that the country’s military is capable of providing it. The 59-year old El-Sissi, who rose to prominence after the ouster of elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, is popular among a large segment of Egyptians and is widely expected to announce a can-

didacy for presidential elections that are likely due in late April. Putin’s statement could be a reflection of widespread predictions in Egypt that the career infantry officer will win a landslide in the upcoming presidential vote. It also reflected the Russian leader’s intention to forge close relations with Egypt under el-Sissi. Putin is known to have been less than warm toward Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood Egypt’s oldest and most powerful Islamist group - has been a guidance force for Islamic groups across much of the world in the last 50 years or more. “Putin and el-Sissi have a lot in common, both coming from an intelligence background, both having waged a war on terrorism ... and both sharing a negative view of the Brotherhood,” said Abdullah el-Sinawi, a prominent Cairobased analyst known to be close to the military.

Jonathan splashes N31 million on home based Eagles, crew

•Each player gets N1 million •Head coach N1.5m, Asst Coaches N1m each, seven others N0.5m


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday announced a cash reward of N1 million for each of the 23 Super Eagles home based players that recently won bronze medal at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa. The Head Coach, Stephen Keshi will take home N1.5

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja million, while the three assistant coaches got N1 million each. Others included N500,000 each for Team Secretary, Team Doctor, Team Physiotherapist, team curator, Media Officer, Technical, team coordinator. The President, who announced the N31 million

cash reward during the Presidential Reception for the team at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja, said that the supporters will be rewarded at a later date. He said: “As a token of our appreciation, we have decided to give you very little token because ‘Thank You’ does not go to the market.” “We feel like welcoming you in a golden way even though

you got bronze because of your outstanding performance in the match against Morocco.” “Although you did not get gold, you got the hearts of Nigerians. Your achievements speak volume. You may not have won the championship, but you performed gallantly.” He went on: “I think we are succeeding in sports because of the strong link between the executive and the parliament.” “We are reaping the



Gift shops make Valentine’s Day sales

TORES and gifts shops in Abuja made brisk business yesterday as residents rushed to buy items ahead of today’s global observance of St. Valentine’s Day. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Wuse market, Grand Square, Sahad Stores, Shoprite, Next Supermarket and some gift shops recorded high traffic of customers, who picked one gift item or another. Perfumes, flowers, toiletries, cards, cakes of different sizes and shapes, ice cream, groceries and special Valentine hampers dominated the gift items purchased by the customers at the shops. Mr Silas Mbiam, a Manager at Grand Square, one of the biggest supermarkets in FCT told NAN that management of the shop had a tradition of stocking necessary products for Valentine Day celebration every year. He said that the shop had since Wednesday been recording influx of customers buying one gift item or the other for their husbands, wives, children, girlfriends, boyfriends and other loved ones. “In 2013, we made a lot of sales on wines, ice cream, chaplets, valentine hampers, cards, perfumes and other items. “We appreciated the patronage and because of it, we are offering 50 per cent discount on biscuits,

•Abuja hotels lure customers with special offers wines, kitchen utensils and household items, and different discount rates on jewelries, for Valentine celebration this year,’’ Mbiam said. At Sahad Stores, an official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the Valentine Day “mood” had started registering at the shop with unusual number of people moving in to buy gift items. “On working days, patronage is usually low in the mornings and rises in the evening when workers have closed but because of Valentine celebration tomorrow, people have started coming early since morning (Wednesday),’’ the official said.One of the customers at Next Supermarket, Mrs Blessing Ayuba, told NAN she was there to pick up Valentine gifts for her husband and her children.She said that she could not miss to buy gift items for her family members at Valentine celebration. The rush for gift items to celebrate the “Lovers’ Day” was the same at Wuse Market, where ‘unusual” high number of customers, mainly young people besieged the shops. One of the customers at a shop, Mr John James said he was there to pick “good things” for his girlfriend.“I am already in the spirit of

Valentine and I have to fetch some nice things for my girlfriend,” he said, adding “tomorrow is the D-day’’. NAN reports Saint Valentine’s Day is observed on Feb. 14 every year and it is celebrated in many countries around the world. The Day began as a liturgical celebration of one early Christian saint named Valentinus. However, several martyrdom stories had been invented for the various Valentines for the February 14 celebration. Some hotels in Abuja have reduced their prices to attract guests for the Valentine celebration. A visit to some hotels yesterday indicated that some of them have placed discounts of between 10 and 30 per cent on most of their services and products. Mr Shola Adeyemi, Public Relations Manager of the five-star Transcorp Hilton, said the hotel had special rates for the Valentine period. According to him, a room which usually went for N75,000 per person on one night will now go for N67,000 for two persons for one night on Valentine’s day. “If you want to prolong the feeling beyond Valen-

tine day, you just add N44,000 to extend your stay in the hotel,’’ he said. Adeyemi said the hotel was also offering special Valentine four-course romantic dinner for two or a lavish Valentine dinner buffet for N18,000. He said the package was with a welcome champagne cocktail, a bottle of wine and a special gift for the ladies. At the Abuja Sheraton Hotel, NAN checks revealed that there were also mouth-watering special Valentine package for couples and friends to explore. According to the Sheraton Valentine brochure, there will be a special candlelight dinner of four-course meals for N28,000. “Stay between Feb. 13 and Feb. 16 and enjoy an all tax-inclusive rate of N30,000 plus breakfast for two persons,” the brochure said. The General Manager, Agura Hotel, Mr Mark Loxley, said there would be a special couples’ dinner and a seafood lovers’ buffet today “The seafood and couples’ dinner are the hotel’s way of encouraging couples to celebrate the valentine season with a mouth-watering spread of local and continental dishes,” he told NAN.

dividends of our investments in sports. Although there is still much more to be done. Let me encourage you to remain committed and disciplined” he added The Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi applauded the decision of the President to host the Super Eagles Home Based players inspite of winning Bronze just like the teams that won gold in the past. “You are the best President sports has ever had in


HE immediate past Chief of Staff, Lt.Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, has blamed the increasing cases of terrorism in the country on regional threats and militia activities in neighbouring countries. Speaking in Abuja at a farewell ceremony to pull him out of the Army, Gen. Ihejirika said the menace of terrorism and insurgency could however be resolved quickly if people volunteered information and ap-

•Jonathan Nigeria.” He stated Among those who graced the occasion were the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam and many cabinet members.

Ihejirika blames terrorism on neighbouring countries preciated the sacrifices being made by the security agencies. The ceremony which attracted top serving and retired military officers saw General Ihejirika being pulled out of the Army by Brigadiers-General and other senior officers.

Don makes case for indigenous languages Continued from page 2

spoken in the state capital, while English language can continue to function as the national and international language” Udoh went further that the role of individuals, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) a n d co rp or a t e b o d i e s i s enormous, because they are closer to the people. She urged them to assist in funding research on languages and their documentation, development of tools, and help in the area of advocacy. “Our languages have to be empowered to take their place in the league of languages and claim their global citizenship. Let us empower them so that we

can share them as global citizens, bearing in mind that in the galaxy of languages, every word is a star”. President of the Nigeria Academy of Letters, Prof Munzali Jubril, said all Nigerian languages are in trouble, and there is a lot of social injustice against them because communities a r e spea k i ng m or e t ha n one language, while one will definitely dominate others. Jubril commended University of Ibadan for hosting the lecture. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Isaac Adewole, assured the academy of a commitment to work with it in order to develop languages that will enhance the level of education in the country.

‘Our languages have to be empowered to take their place in the league of languages and claim their global citizenship...’



NEWS Oshiomhole gets best governor award

Edo fetes widows



DABA Ekperi, the largest community and largest voting centre in Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo State yesterday honoured Governor Adams Oshiomhole as the best performing governor. Residents said: “Our dear state has never had it so good in terms of development. Your achievements are so numerous that time and space will not permit us to enumerate but we are so delighted for the developmental projects that our community had enjoyed and still enjoying.” The Secretary to the State Government, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, stood in for the governor. An address by the President of Udaba Ekperi Youth Association, Favour Atsenokhai, said: “The decision of this association to present this award was conceived at our Annual General Meeting in Abuja. We are grateful for the construction of Udaba/Anegbete road and the electricity project embarked upon by your administration. “We will not fail to thank you for your efforts towards alleviating the plight of our people,especially during the 2012 flood disaster, where your administration salvaged the situation.” Ihonvbere said: “I want to thank you for giving the comrade governor a beautiful award as the best performing governor. We appreciate and thank you once again for the award. We recognise that a government that has no regard for youths is a government that is bound to fail.

Triumphant Baptist Church programme


RIUMPHANT Baptist Church Akowonjo will tomorrow hold its monthly programme “Heavenly dew”. The programme starts at 7am till 8.30am. The theme is “Help of the helpless”. The host, Dr Sunday Oladejo, said the programme is designed to enable people pray and have solutions to their challenges.

•Leaders of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in Akwa Ibom State Senator John Udoedehe and Group CaptSam Ewang(rtd) embrace after the two factions of APC in the state were reconciled by Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi(right) in a meeting in Port Harcourt...yesterday. With them are their supporters

Lawmakers okay Amaechi’s withdrawal of N30b from reserve R IVERS State House of Assembly has empowered Governor Rotimi Amaechi to withdraw N30 billion from the state’s reserve funds. This decision was reached, following a resolution by the lawmakers when they sat at the Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday. The lawmakers had amended the State Reserve Fund Law of 2008 by setting up an Ad Hoc Committee on the reserve fund, titled: The State Reserve Fund Law


From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

(Amendment) Bill, 2014 The three-man committee, headed by the House Leader, Chidi Llyod, submitted its report yesterday. Deputy Speaker Leyi Kwanee, who presided over plenary, put the amendment to vote and the 18 lawmakers present supported it. The government had been saving one billion naira

monthly since 2008. Kwanee directed the Clerk “to write the government to withdraw only N30 billion for the projects it is carrying out in the state.” He explained that the lawmakers took the resolution to enable the government pay the 13,200 teachers and contractors handling critical projects. The deputy speaker noted

that N53 billion was in the reserve fund. He said paucity of funds had made the state to dip hands into the reserve fund “because the government is losing about seven billion naira monthly due to the ceding of its oil wells to Bayelsa and Abia states.” The Committee on Environment headed by Victoria Nyeche also submitted its report.

Governor to police chief: be neutral

IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has urged the police commissioner deployed to the state, Tunde Ogunsakin, to work towards restoring effective policing in the state. He said his administration would co-operate with the police to restore law and order as long as the Force was ready to be non-partisan and neutral. Amaechi spoke yesterday when Ogunsakin and other officers visited him at the Government House, Port Harcourt. He said: “We are willing to co-operate with the police to

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

restore law and order. The only thing we need is for the police to have the courage to restore law and order. The police must do whatever it takes to restore law and order; the Rivers State government will assist the Nigerian Police in any form that they require. “Don’t support Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and don’t also support the All Progressives Congress (APC). Just, support Rivers people. Any order that is illegal from the Rivers State government, please, don’t obey...What we want is a neutral police com-

missioner, who is firm and understands that the state needs to accommodate everybody. Ogunsakin said it was proper and of necessity that the governor and the commissioner of police synergise to pursue and enhance the security of life and property. “This is the crux of my visit to your office today. In a state, the governor is the chief security officer, and the commissioner of police is the chief law enforcement officer. This relationship is best appreciated when it is harnessed to ensure peace and tranquility in the state. “I intend to begin consultations and meeting with inter-

est groups. Iam convinced that this will assist us to find a common ground. “Therefore, political activities must be managed in order not to endanger the peace in the state. We shall on our part be objective, liberal, firm and non-partisan as I will deploy my expertise to manage the affairs of the command in the best possible professional manner. “I will strategically marshall a formidable operational plan to arrest the trend of criminality in the state. I want to warn criminals to either have a change of mind or relocate. I encourage law abiding citizens to go about their lawful business.”

DSS arraigns five suspected job racketeers


IVE person, who allegedly specialises in duping people under the pretense of securing jobs for them at the Nigeria Maritime Security Agency (NMSA) were yesterday arraigned before an Oredo Magistrate’s Court. They were arrested, following petitions by victims and a covert operation by the Department of Security Services. The suspects are Felix Rotimi Akanbiemu, Goddy Okoidede, Lawson Edehomon, Abiodun George and Juliet Abiodun-George. Two of the suspects were arraigned on a two-count while five were arraigned on a one-count. They pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them. The suspects were said to have, between October 2012

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

and last month, obtained N954,000 from Mrs. C. Njoku, Faith Ifunayan, Orukpe Friday, Igiebor Semi, Williams Osagomwengie, Adeyemi Princess and Fatai Ogbe by pretending to help them get jobs in a phantom security agency, the Nigeria Maritime Security Agency. In count two, Rotimi and Okoidede were accused of


impersonating members of the Armed Forces by wearing uniforms and accoutrements resembling that of the Armed Forces. The Magistrate, Peter Edo Asemota granted N200,000 bail to three of them and two surety who must be property owners. He reserved ruling on the bail application of Rotimi and Okoidede, and adjourned the case till February 26.

Church holds revival

HE Power of Bethsaida Evangelical Ministry a.k.a OriOke Aseyori will hold a seven-day revival with the theme: “Divine Favor-Gen 39:21 at 3, Mafoyofo Street, off Ikugbomire Street, Loburo Mowe, Ogun State, from tomorrow till Thursday at 5pm-8pm daily. There will be a vigil today at 10pm. The General Overseer, who is also the chief host, Prophet H.A Afolabi (a.k.a Olorun Aseyori) has said all participants twill receive salvation, divine healing, restoring lost glory, abundant blessings, connection, joy, breakthrough, testimony ,among others.

DO State government presented yesterday N14 million cheques to widows of police officers, who died in the line of duty. Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who made the presentation, said the security of lives and property is the responsibility of every government to the people. The governor praised the officers and men for their efforts to rid the state of criminals. He said: “Many now freely tell me more and more people were able to visit Benin City during the Christmas and New Year Celebrations. “I believe that objectively speaking, you have made a difference by your conduct and your leadership style and by the way in which you have motivated your officers and men to do the job so that we may have the peace we’ve always enjoyed in the state. “So I want to thank you, appreciate, praise and counsel you to continue to do your best as the reward for hard work is more work.” The governor, who sympathised with widows and children of police officers, said: “Crocodile tears will not suffice; we need concrete measures designed to alleviate their suffering, which cannot be equal to the loss of a loving husband or a caring father.” Oshiomhole also used the occasion to make another donation of N500,000 to the children of each of the seven wives of the police officers as education support.

Duke good for Chief of Staff’


SOCIO-cultural group, South-South Professionals, has said the best replacement for sacked Chief of Staff, Mike Oghiadome, is former Cross River State governor Donald Duke. It said the former governor is “the right man for the job”. In a statement yesterday by its President Fynface Wariboko and member Ngalari Peters, the group noted that “if there is anyone on whose head the cap of the Chief of Staff rightly fits at this moment in our polity, the President should waste no time in appointing Donald Duke as his right hand man”. It added: “If the President is looking for a man with character, diplomacy, candour and a bridge-builder, who will be fair to all, decisive and, above all, gifted with ideas, then he has to look back at Duke’s profile and antecedent. This man lifted Cross River State as a rural backwards state and catapulted it to national and world acclaim. “His legacies today include Tinapa Business Resort, Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort, the annual Calabar Christmas Carnival and Obudu Mountain Race. These are few examples that stand him in good stead or ahead of other contenders to this position.” The South-South Professionals said Duke’s pedigree during his eight years tenure as Cross River State governor makes him asset to the President. The group stressed that “as the President rejigs his administration, there can’t be a better time than now to inject a fresh face like Duke’s into his team”. It added: “Since he left office, Duke has been apolitical, less controversial and has concentrated quietly on building his family business.








VOL.9, NO.2,759

TOMORROW IN THE NATION ‘It's about time you renounced your “daddy” and his infinite capacities to bind and cast demons into your life. It’s only in the context of knowing that you have been blessed with astounding gifts of intellect or talent that you can intimately surmount your weaknesses by marshalling your strength’ OLA TUNJI OL OLADE OLATUNJI OLOLADE


•Continued from yesterday HERE is another freedom, only recently recognised-economic freedom, not less valuable than any of those mentioned. It is the freedom of the whole people from the oppression of poverty, of illiteracy, of hunger, of hopelessness, of ignorance, of a degrading environment, destructive of happiness, prolific of misery. As Adam Smith, the great British classical economist once observed, ‘No society can flourish and be happy, of which the far greater part of its members are poor’. In Nigeria today, 70 per cent of its citizens live below the poverty line of two USD per day. It is the love of power, the extension of state power, the abuse of power, the greed and avarice of the ruling class, that is the source of wide spread poverty, misery and social abuse in Nigeria. In general, the strong have a tendency to abuse their power, particularly in a poor country, such as Nigeria. All governments have a tendency to extend their power, a hidden hankering after absolute power, which all political progressives must resist. They must seek to protect the weak against the strong, and the subject against the ruler. In other words, the political progressives, or liberals, have a duty to lead the resistance against any form of absolutism or personal rule. Where there is corruption in public life, the people cannot be truly free as freedom will cease to have any significance for them. Now, how has Nigeria faired in maintaining or promoting these freedoms? First, let us consider the idea of freedom from foreign control. We are rid of colonial rule, but this has been replaced by indirect rule by foreign big businesses, the corporate behemoths, and the ubiquitous foreign creditors which, with the active support and connivance of the World Bank and the IMF, now determine the economic fate of the poor countries. In other words, formal colonialism has been replaced by the informal one of globalisation under the direction of the old colonial Western powers. And the global economic objectives of these powers are being actively promoted by local agents tied to the WB and IMF, who also retain in the poor countries so-called ‘country directors’ to ensure that western economic interests are fully protected, and that they override local economic interests. So, our freedom from foreign rule has proved illusory. The foreign powers are still in charge through their foreign economic agents and their local collaborators. Our impressive statistical economic growth has not translated into more jobs or a better quality of life for the poor. It is our rulers and the rich, like the foreign predators, who garner the material reward of any economic growth. Then, how have we faired with regard to constitutional freedom? The truth is that since



..Then how did you BECOME EX-MINISTER?



True meaning of freedom

•Map of Nigeria

independence in 1960, there has been a massive erosion and decline of personal freedoms in this country. For nearly half of the post-independence era, Nigeria was under military rule during which all personal freedoms were simply abrogated. Under duly elected civilian governments personal freedoms have not faired any better. General elections are blatantly rigged, thus denying the electorate of its freedom of choice. Even the political parties lack internal democracy. Their candidates are usually selected, not elected. State power, through the security forces, particularly the police, has been used to curtail personal freedoms in this country. The police often act outside the constitution to harass, intimidate, demonise, and terrorise citizens even when they have not broken any laws. The security agencies have become the instruments used by the state to deny its citizens of their personal freedoms. The freedom of association is being denied the people by the police for partisan political reasons and objectives. The right of the citizens to full protection and security by the state has been under massive

assault by religious extremists, often with the connivance of the local authorities. As for economic freedoms, the right to employment, to equal economic opportunities, to a decent environment, to a good infrastructure, to such social services as access to good education and health care, Nigeria has faired very badly, way below its full potential. It is the reason that a large number of skilled Nigerians emigrate abroad, to escape poverty at home. The prevalent massive public corruption has undermined the economic and social rights of the people. Every kobo of public funds stolen by public officials makes the people poorer and deprives them of their inherent right to a decent standard of living, to security, the main purpose of the state. Except the rich, every man, woman, or child in Nigeria suffers from such massive public theft. How have we faired with regard to religious freedom? This is a delicate question, as religious freedom is both the most fundamental of all freedoms and the most difficult to defend. It is the most fundamental because all other freedoms depend ultimately on religious freedom. In our religion, whatever it may be, we express out total being, our reaction to the universe. In its essential nature, it defines our worldview, and determines our values. This is why people cling tenaciously to their religion; it is their way of life, the only spiritual succour they have. If asked to choose between dying for their religion or their nation, most people, except those with no religion, will prefer to die for their religion. Abandoned by the state and out of desperation, the poor and needy in Nigeria flock to the mosques and churches where they are again ruthlessly exploited by unscrupulous clerics who control their lives completely in the name of religion. Down the ages, people have fought and died for their religion, whether Islam, Christianity, or Judaism. In Nigeria, there



IGERIA’S football house seems to thrive on chaos, intrigues and confusion; all the ingredients that make for retardation and under-development. Mind you we do not refer to the edifice, the Glass House, the Abuja secretariat of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). We talk about the administrators and managers tending Nigeria’s beautiful game of football. It is as if something odious is always in the brew in the Glass House and every now and then it wafts into the atmosphere sending Nigerians scampering and holding their noses. We are beginning to get used to the fact that scandals and misbehaviour come to them naturally to the point that when there is no caper, they create one. We are of course belly-aching over the recent shenanigan in the football house between the coach of Nigeria’s senior football team, Stephen Keshi and members of the Technical Committee of the NFF, let’s call them NFFTC. The report which had been in the grape vine since last year after Keshi led the Super Eagles to win the Africa Nations Cup, AFCON, the premier continental football trophy, blew to the open recently. As the story goes, a plan was afoot by the NFFTC to employ a foreign technical assistant ostensibly to help Keshi pros-

have been some direct and indirect efforts to use state power to promote one religion or the other. But as we have seen in the Arab world, where sectarian conflicts even among the Moslems have erupted, it is a futile effort as no people will accept any attempt by the state to force them to change their religious way of life. Nigeria is a multi religious state in which the freedom of all religions must be guaranteed and respected by the state to avoid future religious conflicts. The state must be even handed when dealing with religious affairs. What, then, can we as a people do to regain our freedom, our fundamental human rights? The German philosopher, Karl Marx, once stated that man was born free but was everywhere in chains. The fact is that man has always and everywhere had to struggle for and maintain his freedom. In Nigeria, some people have openly called for a revolution. But it is these same people, some of whom have worked for and profited materially from corrupt governments, who, by their action, actually make a populist revolt unlikely. It is they who have made our people poor, docile, servile, and indifferent to the assault on their freedom. At the moment, despite the prompting, there is little or no sign of the willingness of the people to enter into such a struggle. The people are already tired from the strains of social and economic deprivations imposed on them by their rulers and their collaborators. As a result of this weariness and poverty, they are inert and not inclined to go looking for more trouble. Besides, it is the middle class that can trigger off such a rebellion. Historic revolutions in France, Britain, the United States, Russia, China, and Cuba were led by the middle class in all those countries. But where is such a middle class in Nigeria today? If it exists at all, it is part of the problem and not the solution, for it has no soul. It has compromised itself and abandoned its moral responsibility to the people for the good life. All the freedoms outlined in this article are vital for the stability and future harmonious progress of the nation. They must not be trampled over. It is the primary duty of the state to protect them. That is not the case now. These are some of the basic issues that the forthcoming National Conference should address itself to. Writing a new constitution for Nigeria will not necessarily make it a better country. What will make it a better country is the respect of the state for the freedoms I have outlined in this article. •Concluded • For comments, send SMS to 08054503031

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Keshi and the football technicians ecute the World Cup tournament in June. In fact, there was an indication of this move when shortly after the Nation’s Cup success last year, the NFF had moved in such a brazen manner to fire most of Keshi’s backroom staff, including his technical assistant and video analyst, without as much as a discussion with him. The excuse then was paucity of funds. But football watchers think it was a ploy to cut Keshi to size as he is deemed to have become uncontrollable since he led the team to clinch the AFCON trophy. Recall his resignation brouhaha in South Africa shortly after AFCON and the bonus battle just before the Confederation Cup tournament last year. All these gave fillip to the persistent murmurings that Keshi must either be removed or reduced. The cage-Keshi-monster may have broken from its leash again after the recently concluded CHAN tournament. Some members of the NFFTC notably, Paul Bassey and Victor Ikpeba had told journalists that a foreign technical assistant (TA) was to be employed shortly for the Super Eagles. When a spontaneous uproar from Nigerians greeted the pronouncement and Keshi in-

sisted that he would not be subordinated to any other coach, they quickly made clarifications that the TA would not sit on the bench with Keshi but would largely do the work of a video analyst. NFFTC insist that only a foreign TA would help Nigeria make an impact during the world Cup in Brazil. But the more they explain, the louder soccer-crazy Nigerians shout them down with a let-Keshi-be slogan. In fact Keshi has become the nemesis of those who used to do jiu-jitsu with football in Nigeria; he is the kind of meat Yourba call ishan, they can chew him all they want but they cannot swallow him. To moot a foreign TA just about four months to the football mundial is to suggest that Keshi is not technically sound enough to play at the world stage. In their diminished selfesteem, they will pay the white skin tenfold higher than Keshi, this will instantly breed disaffection and cause crisis in the team Keshi has been building in the past two years. Obviously, many are not happy with the stability and progress the Keshi era has brought to the national team and our football sub-sector. But we say let those who feed through crises starve.

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Feb 14, 2014  
Feb 14, 2014  

February !4, 2014 publication of The Nation Newspaper.