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VOL. 9, NO. 2763 TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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Light up in public and pay N10,000 or go to jail for three months

A •Fashola

LAW, which prescribes a maximum three-month jail term for anyone caught smoking in a public place, has gone into effect in Lagos Nigeria’s commercial and business honeypot. Governor Babatunde Fashola signed the bill passed by the House of As-

By Oziegbe Okoeki

sembly into law yesterday. The penalties for first offenders include N10,000 fine and one to three months imprisonment. Repeat offenders may be fined up to N50,000 or get up to six months imprisonment. Fashola signed another bill establishing the Emer-

gency Command and Control Centre, which designated 112 and 767 as emergency lines. The law prescribes a three-year imprisonment or a fine of N500,000 for those who misuse the lines. Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Ade Ipaye said: “The Lagos

State Government, in assenting to the bills, take cognisance of the dangers posed by public smoking to members of the public who are not smokers.” He added: “The law prohibits smoking in all of those areas that have been designated as non-smoking areas, including museums,

public toilets, libraries, nurseries, day care centres and any facility used for the care of infants. “Public telephone kiosks, public transportation vehicles, private vehicles where there are more than one person, Continued on page 2

•BROADCAST ICON OYATOGUN DIES AT 78 P63 •IGE: OYO, OMISORE GET FEB. 21 DATE P8

Boko Haram: Nigeria at war, says governor Military deploys more troops

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ORNO State Governor Kashim Shettima painted yesterday a gloomy picture of the war against Boko Haram, saying the resources of the military are not adequate to defeat the insurgents. Speaking with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, he said that more resources should be voted to the fight against the insurgents as the situation has already degenerated into a war. According to him, Book Haram members are better armed and better motivated to carry out their evil attacks. But Shettima did not blame the situation on the military. He said they were doing their best in the circumstances. Said the distraught governor: “Well, in a nutshell, what we are being confronted with is that we are in a state of war. It is what I came to update Mr. President; the sooner we stop playing the ostrich and rise up to the challenges of the day, and marshall all resources towards visualising the antics of Boko Haram, the better for all of us. “But the bottom line is that we need more resources, more votes on ground. In all fairness to the officers and men of the Nigerian Army and police, they are doing their best, given the circumstances they have found themselves in.” The governor went on: “But, hon•Shettima

$20b oil cash: Ezekwesili disagrees with Okonjo-Iweala

They went to ‘Konduga and did

what they wanted to do. They held sway for over four to five hours before they left. They were in Kauri, Idzge and I don’t blame the Nigerian military. Honestly, we the leaders should be held responsible for our failure in leadership.

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

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From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

estly, Boko Haram are better armed and are better motivated than our own troops. And believe me, I am an eternal optimist as I have always said, but I am also a realist. Given the present state of affairs, it is absolutely impossible for us to defeat Boko Haram. “I made it emphatically clear to Mr. President that the Boko Haram are better armed and better motivated. Anybody who is following events in this country can attest to the fact that they have a very smooth sail overrunning communities, killing people. Have we ever succeeded in thwartContinued on page 2

THE BEST •THE BEST: Nigerian-British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor poses with the award for a leading actor for his work on the film: 12 Years a Slave, at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House in London ... at the weekend. See also pages 7 & 9. PHOTO : AFP

FORMER Vice President of the World Bank, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, yesterday faulted the proposed plans by Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to conduct a forensic audit of the Federation Account to ascertain whether $20billion oil money is missing or not. She said the firms to be hired for the job could be compromised by those who have mismanaged oil revenue. Mrs Ezekwezili said a panel of independent experts from various countries and representatives of civil society organisations would do a better job. Mrs Ezekwesili, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone after posting some tweets, said when a similar crisis occurred in Iraq, a panel of independent experts was raised. She said putting in place a panel of experts is a global trend when it is difficult to reconcile oil receipts and expenditures. Her words: “How can officials of the state treat issues of public revenue Continued on page 2

•MARITIME P16 •ENERGY P18 •SPORTS P23 •POLITICS P45 •TRANSPORTATION P48


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

NEWS

Boko Haram: DHQ orders troops to take battle to forests

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OME suspects have been arrested for the recent attacks on towns and villages in Borno State, it was learnt yesterday. Although the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) was not specific on the actual number of arrests, it noted that some weapons had been recovered. It was also learnt that more troops were deployed in Borno State – over 100 were killed last week in some villages. Yesterday, more troops were moved from military formations in the Southeast to Borno. The Federal Government is trying to strengthen military collaboration with neighbouring countries to curtail the insurgents. According to a source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has directed the troops to draw “the battle line with Boko Haram.” The source said: “The DHQ said the era of being on the defensive is gone; it has directed the troops to take the battle to the insurgents in the forests and hills, especially the Sambisa Forest and Gwoza and Mandara hills in Borno State. “The troops have also been mandated to embark on in-

Boko Haram attacks: We are at war, says governor Continued from page 1

ing any of their plans?” “They went to Konduga and did what they wanted to do. They held sway for over four to five hours before they left. They were in Kauri, Idzge and I don’t blame the Nigerian military. Honestly, we the leaders should be held responsible for our failure in leadership.” He also said he was not aware of any threat by Boko Haram to launch an onslaught against the people if Cameroon assists the Federal Government of Nigeria to fight the insurgents. “I am not privy to such an information but the President has assured us that he will put in his best to see that the unfortunate tendency of the Boko Haram overrunning communities and butchering innocent souls is brought under control.” On the number of casualties, Shettima From Yusuf Alli and Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

tensive combing of villages and towns in Borno State. “The DHQ has indeed declared a total war against Boko Haram in Borno State. The sect has moved against the state and its days are numbered.” Responding to a question, the source added: “Additional troops from military formations in the Southeast have been deployed in Borno.

said: “In Idzge alone, we lost 106 people and they raided eight other communities. So, until I get back home, today or tomorrow, I cannot give you the exact figure. But some were hospitalised with very great injuries so I am afraid the figures might climb.” He said it was too early to start talking about elections in the state as all attention should be on how to ensure peace and harmony. “It is too early for anybody to talk about election when human lives are involved, power comes from God and He gives power to whom He will. I don’t care a hoot whether elections are here but I do care that peace is restored in Borno and the Northeast subregion. So, people should stop playing politics,” the governor added. Shettima spoke with reporters after briefing President Goodluck Jonathan along with service chiefs in the State House.

“No matter what, the troops will surely overrun them very soon. We are already strengthening military collaboration with all our neighbouring countries.” In an official statement, the Defence Headquarters, through its spokesman, Maj.Gen. Chris Olukolade, said some perpetrators of the dastardly attacks on towns and villages in Borno State had been arrested. It accused fleeing insur-

gents of mass killing from village to village in reprisals. The statement said: “The ongoing onslaught against terrorists in some parts of the country will not be deterred by the unfortunate attacks being carried out against troops and innocent civilians by the insurgents. “The terrorists who move from village to village attacking innocent civilians are those escaping from the onslaught against their make-

shift hideout along the border and entry points from neighbouring countries. “The fighting patrols by air and land are being stepped up in the forests and hills of the affected areas and other parts of the Northeast where the Boko Haram terrorists are hiding. “The security forces will continue to employ necessary fire power to enhance the effectiveness of the mission until the terrorists are duly curtailed. “Meanwhile, locations that are prone to attacks are being reinforced while the general area is now under heightened surveillance and patrols. “Some suspected perpetrators of the recent assault have been apprehended and weapons recovered from them. “While appealing for the patience of the general public, the citizens in the affected areas are encouraged to provide security agencies with timely information to forestall the activities of the fleeing terrorists whose attacks on soft targets are intended to provoke fear and create a false sense of invisibility.”

Light up in public and pay N10,000 • Former President Olusegun Obasanjo inaugurating the Afam Power plant built by the Amaechi administration in Afam, Rivers State

Continued from page 1

school buses, restaurants and cinemas, theatres, amusement parks or any other place used by members of the public, conference centres and exhibition halls. Factories and other premises in which more than one person works and areas used as places of work, including the secretariat, are all defined in the law as public places. Ipaye said the law allows the owner of certain public facilities, such as restaurants, to designate smoking areas which must not be more than 10% of the entire size of the place. They are to ensure that the smoking area is properly ventilated. “Owners of premises as such are also required to fix smoke detectors and ensure that those who go out to smoke leave a buffer of about 10meters to the facility. The owners also have the duty to stop smokers from infringing on the rights of the nonsmokers because the owners could be criminally liable for not stopping smoking in his facility. Law enforcement officers, by this bill, could enter and inspect the premises.” Smokers who smoke before a minor or anyone below the age of 18 years risks a fine of N15,000 or six months imprisonment. The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) will enforce the law. Fashola expressed optimism that the laws would further strengthen the state’s commitment to protecting lives and property of the citizens. He said: “These laws only serve to strengthen our hands towards a more efficient discharge of our responsibilities to protect human lives and Continued on page 60

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$20b oil cash: Ezekwezili disagrees with Okonjo-Iweala Continued from page 1

with such level of cynicism and levity. How did $20billion become so ordinary? “How awful to see some reduce serious conversation on missing $20billion to what Yoruba call ‘Awada kerikeri’. No, this is not comedy. “The depth of distrust of citizens for whatever the Federal Government says on NNPC makes the forensic audit approach unacceptable. Which audit firm? Which? “The Minister of Petroleum Resources is the chairman of NNPC Board. Her argument in overseeing a mere corporation, usurp the power of appropriation was awful. “Sadly, the Minister of Finance stated that her ministry does not have the expertise to verify the impunity-induced expenditures by NNPC. “Settling for forensic audit by some recruited firm of auditors will not pass the test of credibility. Issues are too weighty.” Responding to a question, Ezekwesili said: “In 2005, when we had a similar situation on UN Oil-for-Food Programme in Iraq, a commission headed by Paul A. Volcker, was inaugurated by the then Secretary General Kofi Annan to probe the more than $60 billion deal. “The use of Panel of Independent Experts and Civil Society Organisation representatives to investigate serious issues of this kind is global best practice. National Assembly can do same quickly. “Again my earlier advice to the National Assembly is to constitute an independent Panel of diverse technical experts drawn globally plus representatives to scrutinize NNPC.” She said the international experts will be selected “on the basis of their pedigree that they have been on such service globally. “These experts will be drawn from different parts of the world. In this way, the investigation will not be compromised.”

North’s governors decry sect’s insurgency

OVERNORS of the 19 northern states rose from their regular consultative meeting in Kaduna yesterday, urging the Federal Government to stop the insurgency in the Northeast from spreading to other parts of the country. In a communiqué read by Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) chairman Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, the governors also resolved to send a delegation to the proposed national conference. Those they described as the best brain in the region will be members of the team. The governors also advised the government to come up with a national policy that will settle nomads and provide adequate grazing reserves and cattle routes as a way of addressing the frequent clashes between Fulani nomads and farmers. At the meeting, which is the longest in recent times, the governors decried the security situation in the Northeast, caused by the deadly

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

activities of the Boko Haram, urging the Federal Government to arrest the situation immediately. They condemned the killing of about 100 people in a village in Borno State at the weekend. They said the situation in the Northast should be of national concern to avert its spread to other parts of the country, adding that in view of the continuing threat from the insurgents, there was urgent need for the Federal Government to deploy more security personnel with superior military equipment to the troubled sport. Besides, the government, they said, should adopt measures to boost their morale to enable them fight the insurgents and other threats to security. The governors appeal to the federal government to take steps to secure the country’s porous borders by restricting trans-border movement, especially in the

Northeastern states of A d am aw a, B o r n o an d Yobe. The Federal Government, they counselled, should implement all past reports on security challenges. While expressing concern about activities of cattle rustlers in the region, the governors concerted efforts from member states to tackle the increasing security challenges caused by cattle rustlers and the proliferation of arm banditry in most parts of the northern states. They urged the Federal Government to consider a national policy to settle nomads and provide adequate grazing reserves and cattle routes so as to address the frequent clashes between nomads and farmers. On the national conference, the governors resolved to nominate the best of brains from the North, with a united agenda to represent it at the forth coming National conference.

Addressing his colleagues before the closed door meeting, Aliyu, who is the governor of Niger State, said the time had come when as governors, they must muster the desired political will to stop the mindless killings by the Boko Haram insurgents. He said: “We woke up today to hear what has been happening in Borno State in particular but in the Northeast in general and many of the northern states; we must take a position so that we create the political will, if it is lack of political will on our part; we must create that political will, so that from our own political will, it will transcend to the Federal Government and to the people of Nigeria. “The situation is going beyond the traditional description that we give of Boko Haram and I think we need to really appreciate the gravity of the situation. Many countries will go to war for the death of one person, but it appears we

are becoming a little callous, that we don’t seem to care much about what is happening and we must continue to encourage the Federal Government to do really what it is supposed to do. “We need a concerted effort and coordinated effort also on transformation of Almajiri system of education in northern Nigeria. I think time has come where we will say that the proper integration beyond just building primary schools and schools generally but to find a way to integrate them properly so that in the next five years at least that system would have been inContinued from page 60

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


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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NEWS

Excess Crude Ac

•From left: Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria Perry Calderwood and First Secretary, Canadian High Commission in Nigeria Heine Lambert at a Southwest regional workshop on 'Promoting gender development and increased participation of women in democratic governance,' at Ikogosi-Ekiti... yesterday.

The Excess Crude Account (ECA) ought to get fatter as oil price goes up or stabilises, but despite oil price increase, which jumped to $109 yesterday, the account has kept dwindling. Many are asking what the problem is, write CHIKODI OKEREOCHA and EMEKA UGWUANYI

O •Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation Ms. Nonny Ugboma receiving the CSR award for Innovative Partnership from the Chairman, Sickle Cell Foundation of Nigeria, Prof. Olufemi Akinyanju in Lagos. With them are MTN Foundation’s Manager, Health Portfolio Ekong Udoabang (left) and Managing Partners of CTRU Concepts Nigeria Adeleye Babatunde and Olowokere Taiwo (right).

•From left: Non Executive Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc/Managing Director, Renaissance Capital West Africa Ms Yvonne Ike, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Guinness Nigeria Plc Seni Adetu and Head Transparency & Anticorruption,UN Global Compact Ms Olajobi Makinwa at the Pathway of Pride event organised by Guinness Nigeria Plc to showcase business integrity in Lagos. PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU

IL price rose yesterday over severe winter, weak dollar and production disruptions in Libya and Angola. Brent crude oil rose five cents to 109.13 dollars a barrel. If the severe winter continues across North America, the rise in price will also continue and speculators and hedge funds have sharply increased bullish bets on crude oil to near their highest ever. “The U.S. winter and weak dollar are both supporting the oil market,” said Carsten Fritsch, senior analyst at Commerzbank. But there is a chance of a sharp correction. The risk is limited as long as the U.S. weather stays cold. But when it gets warmer, prices could come down, Fritsch said. Brent price in January was between $107 and $107.5 per barrel while the entry price into February was $105.4. At the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which Nigeria is a member, the average price between January and February 14 was $105 per barrel while the average price in last quarter of last year was $106.43. For Nigeria, the oil price hike should be good news. It should mean more money for the Excess Crude Account (ECA), which is the saving made from the oil benchmark and the real oil price. The benchmark for the budget is N77.5. But despite the hike and the stability in the last few months, the ECA has continued to nosedive. Last week, it emerged that the ECA, which was created to provide succour in rainy days for the fed-

•Jonathan

eration, now has only about $2.1 billion. The depletion of the ECA from about $11 billion in December 2012 has been seriously disputed by analysts, who see the withdrawals as unwarranted. The status of ECA emerged at the meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), where N629.128 billion was shared among the three-tiers of government for January. Gross revenue during the month increased to N540.870 billion compared to N479.950 billion recorded last December. Also, revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT) increased to about N82.2 billion in January as against about N64.7 billion the previous month. Speaking with reporters in Abuja, at the end of the monthly meeting of the committee, Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Jonah Otunla, said the revenue from mineral sources for the month was N439.562 billion. The non-oil component was N101.308 billion. Not long ago, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi shocked not a few Nigerians when he drew their attention to the dire consequences of the continuous depletion of the country’s fiscal buffers. Sanusi raised the alarm that both the ECA and the external reserves had been depleted, a development which, he said, undermines the ability of the apex bank to sustain exchange rate stability. The CBN boss, who disclosed this

African American History Month •Managing Director, Kunden Services Ltd Ms Abiola Bashorun (left) and Executive Director (Development), Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Crystabel Onyejekwe at the launching of the bank verification number and biometric data initiative in Lagos.

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Congressional Black Caucus

ATURDAY, January 4, 1969 was the origin of the Congressional Black Caucus in the United States. This is a group of African-American members of the United States Congress who focus on issues of particular interest to Black Americans. Newly elected African-American representatives of the 77th Congress joined six incumbents to form the “Democratic Select Committee” which began the organization. The committee was renamed the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in 1971. The goal of CBC was to positively influence the course of events pertinent to African-Americans and others of similar experience and situation, and to achieve greater equity for

persons of African descent in the design and content of domestic and international programs and services. While the CBC has been primarily focused on the concerns of AfricanAmericans, the caucus has also been at the forefront of legislative campaigns of human and civil rights for all citizens. African-American members have worked diligently to be the conscience of the Congress, but because all politics are ultimately local, they also provide dedicated and focused service to the citizens and Congressional districts that have elected them. Reference: Library of Congress. 101 Independence Avenue S.E. Washington D.C. 20540


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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NEWS

de Account down as oil price goes up ‘ There might be produc-

tion shortfalls in some days, but there were production surpluses in other days. In addition to that, if cumulatively we lost production by 20 per cent, for instance, the difference between the 77 or 75 dollars per barrel and 100 dollars is close to 33 per cent because your budget benchmark is $75, but instead of 75 you are earning more than $25 more per barrel •Mrs Alison-Madueke

•Mrs Okonjo-Iweala

at the end of the bi-monthly meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank, expressed concerns that the absence of such fiscal buffers increases the country’s reliance on portfolio flows, thus constituting the principal risk to exchange rate stability, especially with uncertainties around capital flows and oil price. Sanusi, who decried the continuous fall in revenue from oil despite the stable price of oil and production in 2013, acknowledged output losses due to theft and vandalism. But he was quick to point out that this could not wholly explain the magnitude of the shortfall in revenue. His views tallied with those of Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who, at the just concluded World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, also raised the alarm that the economy was under threat on account of the continuous decline of the ECA. The ECA, in which the country saves revenue above the benchmark oil price set in the budget, stood at $8.65 billion as at end of 2012. The Finance Minister, however, explained that as a cushion against the depletion, “we have tried to set the country’s main parameters in a very modest way”. She added: “We have made our budget at a very reasonable benchmark price for oil. This is to shield us and to ensure we are not subjected to any volatility there may be in the oil market.”

However, Sanusi and Mrs OkonjoIweala’s explanations have failed to impress economic experts, finance analysts and stakeholders in various sectors, who argue that there may be more than meets the eye in the claims that revenue from oil is going down and consequently, the country’s economic buffers are drying up. Economist and frontline industrialist Henry Boyo is one of those who are not swayed by such claims. He believes that the claims are designed to bamboozle Nigerians. Boyo said: “Its grand deception. Whether advertently or inadvertently, to me as a layman, it is deception. We are being taken for a ride.” He described it as red herring contrived to distract the attention of Nigerians from asking real and critical question on how the economy is being managed. As Boyo argued, the stage for the alleged grand deception was set when, in the process of setting the budget, which is the country’s operating plan, its formulators allegedly deliberately contrived that the country would receive less revenue than it should actually receive. “If in addition to that,” he explained, “you now receive more revenue after you have nonetheless borrowed at between 10-15 per cent interest rate to cover the deficit that became necessary because you understated what your revenue would be; because if you have deliberately understated your revenue expectation to start with, and then you now have

•Sanusi

more income than expected but because you have borrowed to cover the deficit between expenditure and your projected spending, whether capital or recurrent, does that make sense? Can a surplus and a deficit exist side by side? The answer is no.” While insisting that the whole setup reeks of fraud, the renowned economist said: “You cannot have an ECA when you have a deficit. You cannot be saying you are building up an excess crude account when your budget is predicated on a deficit, especially when the so-called ECA is sitting idle, earning little or no interest. Besides, you now consume it in addition to the borrowing you borrowed to finance the contrived deficit.” Boyo said the deficit is contrived because if the projected revenue expectation from crude oil is at the rate of $75 or whatever dollars per barrel and throughout the whole time the price of crude oil stood above 100 dollars per barrel. He added that even if production constraints and theft of crude, which of course, Sanusi acknowledged, takes away 20 per cent in terms of volume from the sales the country is expecting instead of 2.5 million barrels per day, the economy would still not be in a precarious fiscal position. Boyo also wondered how the nation’s reserves could have dried up on account of shortfall in revenue from oil when only a few months back, Petroleum Minister Diezani Allison Madueke gave herself and the

country thumbs up for exceeding her production quota. “There might be production shortfalls in some days, but there were production surpluses in other days. In addition to that, if cumulatively we lost production by 20 per cent, for instance, the difference between the 77 or 75 dollars per barrel and 100 dollars is close to 33 per cent because your budget benchmark is $75, but instead of 75 you are earning more than $25 more per barrel. “$25 expressed as a fraction of $75 that you used is about 33 per cent. So if you lost 20 per cent in volume and you gained 33 per cent in price how can you have such a huge deficit to start with that you are financing? If revenue from oil is going down how did they get the surplus? How can you have surplus and deficit at the same time? And how and why must you have borrowed to cover the deficit and similarly consume the surplus you said you gathered above $75 per barrel? Is that not fraud or deceit of some sort?” Also curious to Boyo and other observers of the dynamics of the Nigerian economy is the fact that the supposed collapse of the fiscal buffers is coming at a time when various government revenue-generating agencies have strengthened their capacity, resulting in growing revenue inflow into government coffers. Overall, there has been appreciable increase revenue from the non-oil sector. For instance, in 2012 fiscal year alone, the Federal Inland Revenue

Service (FIRS) realised as much as N5.007 trillion from taxes. The amount, the highest cumulative tax collected in the history of the FIRS, represented an increase of N379.4 billion or 8.20 per cent over the N4.628 trillion collected in 2011. Before Mrs Ifueko OmoiguiOkauru, immediate past executive chairman of FIRS left office, she said in about 11 years, the cumulative revenue from the FIRS hit N21.7 trillion, with N7.53 trillion coming from nonoil sources, while over N13.036 trillion was realised oil revenue during the period. Other revenue-generating agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), NNPC, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) among others, have also shored up their revenue target. Boyo said if the revenue target of the FIRS has come down since the exit of Mrs Omoigui-Okauru, as well as other agencies, the Federal Government should be asking questions rather than confusing Nigerians by painting a gloomy picture of an economy that ordinarily should be buoyant. The industrialist is not alone in his worries over the direction of the economy. Alaba Olusemore, the Managing Consultant, Nesbet Consulting, a Lagos-based firm of finance and management consultancy, is also worried. While noting that the currency denomination the allocation is shared, whether dollar or naira, is not the issue provided it is channelled at production instead of consumption, he said: “The whole story of the depletion of our economic buffers has not been told,” adding that there must be something those managing the economy are not telling Nigerians especially since secrecy is now the name of the game, and people no longer want to be transparent. Olusemore listed some factors that could be responsible for the depleting fiscal buffers. According to him, government may have been spending too much on security to contain the threat of Boko Haram insurgents. Besides, the CBN may have been taking money from the external reserves to stabilise the exchange rate of the naira. Also, a lot of money, he alleged, may have been expended on meeting some political exigencies ahead of the 2015 general election. “2015 is around the corner, and politics in Nigeria means money; a lot of resources may have been expended on projects based on political exigencies rather than economic,” he told The Nation. For now, the government has no convincing answer to why the buffers are going down. So, the people will continue to ask questions.

Diezani, NNPC set to answer Reps’ queries on kerosene

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OT a few felt they were playing hide and seek. But , barring any last-minute hitch, Minister of Petroleum Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke and managers of the agencies under her will today appear before an investigative public hearing on kerosene subsidy expenditures. The public hearing is sequel to resolution HR84/2013 of the House of Representatives, which directed its Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to establish the actual amount spent on kerosene subsidy from 2010 to December 2013; establish the source of the money used in financing kerosene subsidy and the relevant budgetary approval; determine the companies benefiting from kerosene subsidy; establish the extent (if at all) to which the subsidised kerosene gets to the consumers at the regulated price; and investigate all incidental issues relating to kerosene supply and distribution. The Nation learnt yesterday that Mrs Alison-

•By Olukorede Yishau Madueke, Managing Director o the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other agencies will appear before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to answer questions on kerosene subsidy. Twice they had stayed away asking the committee for more time to gather necessary documents, among other excuses. “They are coming on Tuesday,” a competent source told The Nation. Their appearance is coming shortly after the issue they are coming to discuss cropped up at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance investigating the alleged missing funds from the Federation Account. It emerged that NNPC’s expenditures on Dual Purpose Kerosene subsidy totalling N543.9bn (about $3.151bn) were extra-budgetary. Alison-Madueke said there was a presidential

directive that kerosene subsidy should be withdrawn but that the directive was not gazetted, adding that the inter-ministerial committee then comprising of the Minister of Finance and Minister of Petroleum Resources in 2009 directed a stay of execution of the kerosene subsidy withdrawal. The minister said should kerosene subsidy be withdrawn, the price of kerosene would triple and cause pains on the masses. She called for the legal interpretations of the NNPC Act in respect of the first line charge of the corporation to decide the legality of its status in respect of kerosene subsidy deductions. The committee frowned at the expenditures by the NNPC on kerosene subsidy payments, which it said was not appropriated for and called for immediate reversal of the extrabudgetary expenditures to promote accountability and transparency in public finance and restore public confidence in the

system. Despite the subsidy payment, consumers benefitted less from the scheme known as KeroDirect initiated by the NNPC in July 2011 to help distribute household kerosene (HHK) to consumers nationwide. Peterside, while speaking at a function organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the Federal Government spent N634 billion as subsidy on kerosene between 2010 and 2012, describing this as a network of corruption and fraud. He said Nigeria, world’s sixth biggest crude exporter, could not move forward with the present arrangement where the NNPC holds the monopoly of kerosene importation. Peterside said: “No country that spends most of its funds on consumption will grow. And so that explains why Nigeria is not moving forward. How can we move forward when most of our funds are spent servicing corruption?


THE NATION TUESDAY FEBRUARY 18, 2013

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NEWS APC ‘ll save Nigeria, says Melaye By Musa Odoshimokhe

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CHIEFTAIN of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State, Dino Melaye, has said the party will save the country with effective leadership when it forms the central government in 2015. Addressing reporters in Abuja, the former House of Representatives member said APC is a party of progressives, which anchors its ideology on people’s welfare. He said there was pressure on him to run for the Senate in 2015. Melaye, who represented Kabba/Bunu Federal constituency of Kogi State in the sixth National Assembly, said he would respond to the clarion call of his people to reposition Kogi West senatorial district. He said: “The onus lies on APC to take the people out of the wood as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is celebrating her political Obituary.” He stressed that the people of Kogi State were determined to enjoy the dividends of democracy which have eluded them. “By the special grace of God, come 2015, the opposition will demonstrate that power belong to the people. The structure we have is the masses and the masses of this country more than ever before will demonstrate that power truly belong to them.” “And for the first time it will be government of the people for the people and by the people because what we have now is the reverse, where some individuals use public office to corrupt and enrich themselves,” he said. Melaye commended President Goodluck Jonathan, saying he salute his courage, though his actions were belated, urged him to make the exercise wholesome by sacking other erring members of the his cabinet living larger than life and have been indicted for corruption.

David-West faults N7b budget for National Conference

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FORMER Minister of Petroleum Resources, Prof. Tam DavidWest, has said the N7 billion budget for the planned National Conference is “scandalous and staggering”. David-West, who spoke to our reporter on telephone yesterday, expressed disappointment with the government for voting such huge sum for what he called a talks shop in the face of the glaring financial crunches in the country. He urged the delegates to the confab to reject the planned N12 million sitting allowances per delegate as a mark of patriotism. The former minister recalled that members of the 1979 Constitutional Conference, to which he was a member, did not receive any financial reward such as a sitting

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From Bisi Oladel, Ibadan

allowance, from the government. David-West said only transportation and accommodation were offered them 1979 conference members, adding that they served the country well by producing the constitution. He said: “The N7 billion budget for the National Conference is not only scandalous but staggering. It beats imagination because it is most unnecessary. We did the 1979 constitution and nothing was given to us. There was no sitting allowance. We were only given transport and accommodation. All of us were camped at the Federal Government Guest House on Victoria Island, Lagos. And Justice Muhammadu Uwais described that constitution as the best for Nigeria.

OneCard appoints COO

AST-moving consumer goods company, OneCard TopUp Services Limited, has appointed Mr Ali Kajubi its Chief Operations Officer (COO). Kajubi had worked with MTN Uganda in various capacities, such as Services Manager, Senior IS Specialist and Business Process Administrator. His competences include IT service management, service level management, aligning IT to business strategy and accounts management. Trained in Information Technology and Finance, the new COO brings his vast experiences to bear in the operations of OneCard. Kajubi’s experiences in managing and strategically supporting IT infrastructure and service provision to customer requirements will be valuable in providing customer centric top-up services by OneCard Nigeria. The Company Secretary Ade Oyebanji said Kajubi was chosen because of his knowledge and experience in relevant areas that would “positively impact the growth of the company”.

Reps summon ministers, agencies

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HE House of Representatives Committee on Finance has invited the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison- Madueke and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to a hearing over the state of the economy. Others invited are: the Ministers of National Planning and Vice Chairman of

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

the National Planning Commission; the Chairman of Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). A statement, titled: State of the Economy: In Search of Truth, by the Clerk of the Committee on Finance, Farouk Y. Dawaki, said the invitation was necessary to reveal the exact situation of the economy.

•Gbajabiamila (second left) discussing with APC Lagos Central District leader, Prince Tajudeen Olusi. With them are Chief Funsho Ologunde (right) and Mrs Adekanye...yesterday PHOTO:TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO

Trial of UN building bomber stalled

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HE absence of Mrs O. E. Ohakwe, the prosecutor in the trial of four suspected Boko Haram members being held for their alleged complicity in the 2011 bombing of the United Nations (UN) building in Abuja, stalled progress in the case yesterday. The case was fixed for yesterday to enable the prosecutor argue her two applications. One of the applications seeks the court’s leave for the prosecution to reopen its case, while the other seeks the court’s permission for the prosecution to amend the four-count charge on which the four accused are being tried. The four accused - Salisu Mohammed, Inusa Mukailu, Dan’azumi Haruna and Abdulsalami Adamu - were arrested in Kano after the

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From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

bombing on August 20, 2011. They were later arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on terrorism. On November 22, last year, the trial judge, Justice Gladys Olotu, closed the prosecution’s case on the ground that it failed to handle the case diligently. The judge expressed dismay that the prosecution, after applying for and got the court’s permission for accelerated trial, was still reluctant to produce its witnesses months after its first witness testified. Justice Olotu ordered the defence to open its case, consequent upon which the defence filed an application for a “no-case” submission.

Parties were to adopt their written addresses on the defence’s “no-case” submission on January 22, when Mrs Ohakwe informed the court about her two new applications. Although the defence lawyer objected to the new applications by the prosecution, describing them as a ploy to further delay the case, the judge later agreed to hear them. She said the court must hear any application, once it is filed, whether in makes sense or not. Justice Olotu ordered the prosecution to include necessary documents in the new applications before the next date and adjourned till February 17 for hearing.

When the case was called yesterday, Mrs Ohakwe was absent. Defence lawyer, Obi Duruzo, argued that Mrs Ohakwe’s absence was an indication that the prosecution was not interested in prosecuting the case. Duruzo, who noted that Mrs Ohakwe did not inform the court about her absence, said he had tried unsuccessfully to reach the prosecutor on the telephone. The judge directed one of the court’s registrars to call Mrs Ohakwe’s telephone number. The registrar was also unable to reach the prosecutor, prompting the judge to adjourn further hearing till March 12. She also ordered the issuance of hearing notice on Mrs Ohakwe.

N5b pension ‘fraud’: Court to hear bail application Feb 21

N Abuja Federal High Court yesterday fixed February 21 to resume hearing in an application for the bail of Sani Shuaibu, who is charged with stealing N5 billion pension fund. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Shuaibu, a former Director of Pension Accounts in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, had been in Kuje prison for eight months. Justice Adeniyi Ademola said he picked the date to enable the second accused,

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•Prosecutor absent in court

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

Eric Omoefe, a former Manager of the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, to be present in court. The judge had granted them bail for N500 million each with two sureties in like sum. The sureties, the court said, must deposit their property title deeds with the court registry. He ordered the accused to deposit their travel documents with the court’s registrar and avoid travelling

without the permission of the court. Shuaibu was alleged to have connived with Omoefe to steal the money meant for pensioners in the country, using nine companies to siphon the fund at different times. NAN reports that the EFCC had arraigned the accused on June 7, 2013 on a 22-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud, breach of public trust, etc. However, eight months

after being granted bail, Shuaibu and Omoefe are still in Kuje prison. Shuaibu’s counsel, Mr Sunday Ameh, had at the last hearing of the case, informed the court that his client had met all the bail conditions as ordered by the court. He had described his continued stay in Kuje prison as “strange”. However, when the matter came up at the resumed hearing on Monday, Mr Godwin Obla (SAN), counsel to the EFCC, informed the court that the second accused was not in court.

Amnesty programme got N243b, says Kuku

HE Amnesty Office of the Federal Government has denied receiving N400 billion since the inception of its programme. The office urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to involve former Niger Delta militants in the protection of its pipelines in the region. It claimed that this is the only guarantee for peace and security in the region. Also, there were indications that the programme, which is supposed to expire by 2015, will be extended till 2017, because more people have enrolled into the programme. The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta,

From Faith Yahaya, Abuja

Kingsley Kuku, addressed reporters yesterday in Abuja on the activities of the Amnesty Office. Kuku described the claim that the office had received N400 billion as malicious. The presidential aide noted that the rumour was capable of inciting Nigerians and the international community against the Amnesty programme and its beneficiaries. He said: “I want to set the record straight on the exact funding status for the Amnesty programme for former agitators in the Niger Delta since the proclamation of Amnesty in 2009. I want to clarify that the Amnesty pro-

‘I want to set the record straight on the exact funding status for the Amnesty programme for former agitators in the Niger Delta since the proclamation of Amnesty in 2009’ gramme has received just N243,133,917,590.03 since inception and not the N400 billion or N260 billion that is currently making the rounds in a section of Nigerians media.

“In fact, we have noticed that in an attempt to inflate figures purportedly allocated to the Amnesty programme, certain desperate politicians and their allies in the media formed the habit of collating the budgets of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and that of the Ministry of the Niger Delta and lump them up as what has been earmarked for the Amnesty Programme.” Kuku, who said no ex-agitator was given the protection of oil pipelines contract, added that their (ex-agitators) involvement in the protection of oil facilities would guarantee peace and security in the region.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

NEWS

Varsities get N200b intervention fund letters

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HE Federal Government yesterday gave letters of allocation of the N200 billion intervention fund to public universities. Supervising Minister of Education Nyesom Wike, who presented the letters at a meeting with vice chancellors in Abuja, said the Federal Government was committed to improving university education. Wike advised the universities to ensure that the money was used to improve infrastructure in the schools. The minister said the government planned to give account of what tertiary institutions were doing from next month. He explained that the institutions would account for the funds allocated to them to let the public know what the government was doing to improve the sector. Wike said it was imperative that the public know how much government was investing in education and correct the impression that

Jonathan visits Oba of Badagry

2013 budget: ‘Implementation of Education sector below 50 per cent’

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HE Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Sen. Uche Chukwumerije (PDP Abia) has decried the poor implementation of the education budget, saying it was below 50 per cent. Chukwumerije spoke yesterday in Abuja at the budget defence of corporations, agencies and departments under the Ministry of Education. He said: “It is regrettable that the allocation, especially for capital cost, has been dwindling. But it is more regrettable that the level of implementation of budgets has remained below 50 per cent. “While this holds true for all sectors, its impact on the education sector is most severe. “It is important that the executive appreciates the imperative of releasing funds s when due.” Chukwumerije said the committee gathered from its oversight functions that the sector was grappling with infrastructure, faculty and content problems. The senator explained that while funding might not be adequate to address all issues, the committee resolved to find solutions to the contents and access to contents problem. He said: “This is so because the ultimate goal of an academic institution is to deliver effective content.” From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

it was neglecting the sector. The minister said the ex-

ercise would be conducted in the six geopolitical zones, beginning from March 4.

The committee chairman regretted that there was no systematic way of ensuring the professional growth of teachers. According to him, the need to emphasise the quality of teachers’ turnout from colleges of education is pertinent. Chukwumerije said: “Teacher quality is largely determined by the extent of professionalism and opportunities available for in-service training and teacher support.” The senator said there was need for greater commitment to policy implementation, adding that most education laws and policies were not being adhered to. He said: “Whether in teacher recruitment, continuous assessment or school postings, there were minimum standards that must be adhered to. “Non-adherence to minimum standards promotes overcrowding of classrooms and recruitment of teachers not qualified to teach.” Chukwumerije said the committee was worried that N70.4 billion statutory transfer to the Universal Basic Education Committee (UBEC) was added as part of the total personnel cost for the sector. He also said for capital cost, N49.5 billion was allocated, as against N71.9 billion in 2013, showing a decrease of N22.4 billion. The exercise will begin with the Northcentral Zone at the Federal College of Agriculture, Makurdi, he

said. Wike said the Southeast would meet at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on

From Augustine Ehikioya,

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Abuja

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday visited the Oba of Badagry, Lagos State, DeWheno Aholu Menutoyi Babatunde Akran. Jonathan arrived the palace at 10.35 a.m. and was received by the monarch and the town’s chiefs-in-council. After a closed-door meeting with the monarch, the President thanked Oba Akran and the people for the peace in the land. He said this was the result of the monarch’s good leadership. Jonathan assured that the Federal Government would return and preserve the glorious days of Badagry. He said: “I want to thank you for the support you have given to the government and for the peace in Badagry. Within this period, we do not get disturbing stories. This is not brought about by chance but by his majesty, his cabinet and all senior people, including youths who have been working hard. “Also, for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members who have come to receive us; we thank you most sincerely. I want to thank you for this warm reception and assure you that the glorious days of Badagry will be returned.” The chiefs-in-council poured libation, using water, alligator pepper and wine. Prayers were offered for the President, his administration and the nation. Oba Akran said the visit was special to him and the people of Badagry. He told the President that Badagry was the first place in Nigeria where Christianity was preached. The monarch urged the federal and Lagos State governments to make the town a religious tourist centre. Oba Akran assured Jonathan of his support and that of the residents. Jonathan, at the weekend, visited the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero; Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.

March 11, while University of Port Harcourt would host the Southsouth on March 10. The minister added that the Ahmadu Bello University would host the Northwest while the Southwest would converge on University of Ibadan. He urged the universities not to see the exercise as an audit of their financial expenditure but a sensitisation of what they were doing to revitalise education. Wike said the events would be transmitted live on the media for the public to know what investments the government was making in the sector and what the schools have on ground. The Federal Government, in a bid to end the protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in 2013, approved a N200 billion increase in university funding in the 2014 budget and for the next four years.

Don seeks synergy among communication experts

P •Vice President Namadi Sambo (middle) with House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (left) and House Leader Mulikat Akande-Adeola, at the opening of Nigerian Women Strategy Conference in Abuja...yesterday PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

More households to be hooked on national grid

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HE Federal Government promised yesterday to connect at least 75 per cent of households to the national grid by 2020. Minister of Power Prof. Chinedu Nebo said this in Abuja at the seventh annual conference of the Nigerian Association for Energy Economics (NAEE). He said: “We are getting these things ready. The Federal Government is investing huge resources to make sure that most communities get connected. That is going to happen. By the grace of God, it will not be long. By 2020, 75 per cent of Nigerian population and households will be connected to the national grid.” The minister explained that because of the vandalism at the nation’s gas pipeline, the Federal Government had

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•’Why we’re yet to adopt coal-to-power’ From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

learnt not to depend on just one source of energy. He said the government decided to go beyond a monolithic source to the development of an energy mix to complement gas. Prof Nebo said the Federal Government started the 700 megawatts (MW) Hydroelectric Project in Zungeru, Niger State. According to him, the government would soon begin the development of the Mambilla Hydro Power project, besides the adoption of renewable energy from wind, solar, biomass and biofuel. Prof Nebo said Nigeria had not utilised its coal to gener-

But we don’t have the finite quantity of coal deposit in Nigeria...’ ate power because there was no adequate quantity. The minister assured that the Federal Government was working on a bankable feasibility study on the use of coalfor-power. According to him, for Nigeria to venture into coal-topower, there must be proof of adequate quantity to last 25 to 30 years. He said: “But we don’t have the finite quantity of coal de-

posit in Nigeria...We need enough coal for 25 to 30 years. We are working on bankable feasibility study to ensure that we don’t just rush into coal power plant without making sure of adequate supply.” On whether or not the vision of connecting 75 per cent of Nigerians to the national grid by 2020 was realisable, Nebo said: “What the Goodluck Jonathan administration has put in place is dynamic, with infrastructural development not only conceived but also being implemented in extensive grid transmission and will soon make a national grid possible. “By the grace of God, we will be able to achieve that, and for those not connected to the national grid we are making efforts that they have power upgrade sufficient for them.”

Bi-Courtney opens new clinic at MMA2

I-COURTNEY Aviation Services Limited (BASL) has opened a new clinic at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2). The company said this would further make MMA2 a safe and passenger-focused airport terminal. BASL has acquired a new ambulance with modern facilities, such as emergency trolley, couch oxygen cylinder, drip stand, weighing scale and Automated External Defibrillator, among

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

others, to complement the clinic. A statement yesterday by BASL’s Public Relations Officer Chief Steve Omolale said the clinic had begun operations at the arrival hall. The statement said passengers, airport users and workers had started using the facility. It added that the clinic, which is being managed by Health Assurance Consultants (HAC), also had professional health workers.

The statement said organisations in the terminal had begun negotiating with the management of the clinic to provide medical services to their workers. It urged passengers, terminal users and firms operating in and around MMA2 to use the clinic to check their health status. The statement also said the facility is among the projects to raise the standard of MMA2, adding that “more of such projects would be unveiled in the weeks ahead ...to ensuring the welfare and wellbeing of passengers”.

ROFESSOR of Mass Communication at Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Idowu Sobowale, has called for synergy among communication scholars and professionals to maximise the contributions of communication to national development. He spoke in Lagos at a meeting of the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) at Lagos Television (LTV 8), Ikeja. Sobowale, who chairs the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the association, noted that an effective collaboration among intellectuals and practitioners communication would allow the industry to benefit from research. He noted that given the social and political challenges in the country, there was need for research-based communication at various levels in a more focused manner. ACSPN’s President Prof. Lai Oso, who is dean, School of Communication,Lagos State University, Ojo, said the goal of the association was creating a platform for the mutual benefit of communication scholars and professionals. He said this would be beneficial to both groups, adding that the interaction would enhance academic research. Such need-based research would boost the relevance of communication research by benefiting industry practice through identifying areas of improvement and proposing innovations. The association has membership at the departments of Mass Communication in universities and polytechnics and communication professionals in the media, Public Relations, Advertising and corporate communications across the country. Its membership is also open to Nigerian communication scholars and professionals in the Diaspora.


THE NATION TUESDAY FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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NEWS

Bola Ige: Court rules Friday in Omisore’s N20b suit T

HE Federal High Court, Ibadan, has adjourned till Friday the adoption of the substitution of the reply of Senator Iyiola Omisore’s counsel, Chief Albert Adeogun, in a N20 billion suit he filed against the Oyo State government. Omisore, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in Osun State, sued the Oyo government last year for his trial over the assassination of former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Chief Bola Ige. He is seeking N20 billion as

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

damages for “wrong and unjust prosecution”. Oyo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) are joined as respondents. Ige was assassinated in his Bodija home in Ibadan on December 23, 2001. Yesterday, Justice Abimbola Adejumo-Obaseki adjourned

the adoption of leave of substitution to Friday. Adeogun prayed the court to substitute his earlier reply to the objection of defendants’ counsel with the one he filed on February 7. Counsel to the first and second defendants (Funke Fawole for the police and I.O. Tijani for the state government) raised a preliminary objection. Their objections were filed on July 29, 2013, while Omisore’s counsel

filed a reply on January 6, 2014. The counsel to the defendants withdrew the objections on January 31 and re-filed them on the same date. Yesterday, Fawole pleaded for time to study the reply, which she said was yet to be served on her. Omisore’s reply to the withdrawal of objection filed by the counsel to the first and second defendants was filed on February 7.

Osun pupils get 23,100 Opon Imo

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OT less than 23,000 units of Opon Imo (tablet of knowledge) have been distributed to pupils in Osun State-owned schools, Commissioner for Special Duties Ajibola Bashiru has said. Bashiru said the customised computer tablet was a critical part of the education revolution of the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration. He said the delay in the supply of the remaining tablets was caused by the

‘NHIS’ll improve health care delivery’

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HE Ekiti State government unfolded a plan yesterday to fasttrack the implementation of its health programmes, including free health care services to infants and expectant mothers. It said it would use the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to fulfill its health obligations to residents. Deputy Governor Prof. Modupe Adelabu spoke in her office in Ado-Ekiti while hosting a delegation led by NHIS Executive Secretary Dr. Femi Thomas. She said the Governor Kayode Fayemi administration was determined to give every resident access to quality health care services, adding: “To provide free health care for every class of people in the society, the government has taken its free health care missions to every corner of the state. The free medical check-up and treatment for civil servants is part of the strategies to ensure that every citizen enjoys good health and contributes to the

•Prof. Adelabu (middle) with (from left) the Permanent Secretary, Primary Health Care, Mrs. Folake Falore; Commissioner for Health Olusola Fasuba; Thomas and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Folake Olomojobi,...yesterday.

state’s growth.” Prof. Adelabu said the government has found a veritable platform in the NHIS to fast-track its health care agenda. Thomas, a former commissioner for Health in the

state, hailed the administration’s accomplishments in the health sector, particularly on maternal and child health. He said the administration’s free health had reduced maternal and

child mortality and increased life expectancy. Thomas said he was in the state to discuss how the state could key into NHIS programmes and the Universal Health Scheme. He urged the government

to incorporate the formal sector, such as labour unions, in the scheme. Thomas requested for a piece of land in a good location in Ado-Ekiti, where the organisation could build its office.

Farmers caution govt on anti-tobacco bill

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S anti-tobacco campaigns get stronger, the Nigeria Independent Tobacco Farmers Association (NITA) has urged the government to consider the survival of tobacco producing communities in the implementation of the tobacco control bill. Speaking in Iseyin, a tobacco farm settlement in Oyo State, NITA Chairman Rasheed Bakare said though the association understands the need to control the use of tobacco, the economy of communities whose cash crop is tobacco should not be jeopardised. He said: “We learnt that the government is taking

By Adedeji Ademigbuji

steps towards tobacco control. For us, tobacco farming is our mainstay. If tobacco is banned, our communities will suffer. Our people will be jobless.” Bakare said the association was ready to implement the part of the bill that prohibits the employment/use of children on tobacco farms, adding: “We have about 800 members in this association and we ensured that none of them allow their children to work in tobacco farms. Tobacco firms also frown at this, hence, we obey the AntiChild Labour Law.”

The Oniru of Otu in Iseyin, Oba Sunday Adepoju, said the interest of youths in tobacco farming has curbed rural-urban migration. He said: “Tobacco farming now appeals to our youths. Some of them are returning home while our under-age children no longer work in the farm in compliance with the Anti-Child Labour Law. We have graduates who come here to farm and this has improved our community’s economy. However, we are sad that some human rights groups are fighting tobacco firms. They will end up putting people out of jobs and ruin-

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AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola has sworn in Dr. Ahmed Balogun as the Permanent Secretary in the state’s Health Service Commission. Until his appointment, Balogun was the Medical Director of the General Hospital in Marina. He replaced Mrs. Rafiat Funmilayo Olatunji, who retired on January 23. Speaking at the Executive Council Chambers yesterday during the ceremony,

Fashola said: “What we hope to achieve by his appointment is to deepen our commitment to healthcare, and with somebody who has developed the reputation to care in that facility, it will be easier to spread that kind of culture in our healthcare system. It will be a defining moment for me when those we look after start to say without hesitation that they are receiving the best care. “Dr. Balogun was ap-

pointed on merit. People told me acted beyond the call of duty at the General Hospital and I listened to his citation on health when he was presented to us. His merit has pushed him to leadership.” Balogun, who was accompanied to the ceremony by his wife, Bolanle, and daughter, Tomi, pledged to justify the confidence reposed in him. Highlight of the occasion was the administration of the Oaths of Office and of Secrecy by the Director of

‘Why I abandoned wife, triplets’

ing the economies of communities. We are not saying they should not ban smoking in the public. We support that, but banning tobacco business is not it.” An NITA member, Emmanuel Egbeyale, said: “Tobacco farming is the biggest investment in our communities. The revenue from the plantation is bigger than that of other crops. If the government cannot stop brewers, then it should not stop tobacco. They said tobacco is dangerous to health, but what about alcohol? We are ready to make our case known through the right channel.”

Lagos Health Service Commission gets perm sec Public Prosecution (DPP) at the Ministry of Justice and the ratification of the documents by the governor. At the ceremony were the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; Chief of Staff Lanre Babalola; Secretary to the State Government Mrs. Oluranti Adebule; Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Ade Ipaye and his Information and Strategy counterpart, Lateef Ibirogba; among others.

need to reconfigure them. The commissioner said the tablets were produced through a partnership between the state and a Chinese firm. He said the partnership would also lead to the production of durable and affordable telephone handsets at the state’s Technology Village. Bashiru said: “We are doing this for technological transfer because it would not be economic to import that magnitude of devices from abroad. So, why not have the manufacturing company here? As we speak, the company is on ground and the manufacturing and installation of the software of this product is being done in Ilesa. “The company will meet the telephone demands of Nigerians at a cheaper rate. Over 5,000 indigenes have been trained on the manufacturing of telecommunication devices and some of have been sent to Ghana for further training.” He said the administration recruited about 7,350 teachers, who were trained to improve learning in public schools. Bashiru said: “When the Aregbesola administration assumed office, we brainstormed on how to jump start the non-existent economy, because the allocation that accrues to the state from the Federation Account was not enough to pay salary. That was why we got the Chinese firm to produce the computer tablets here and established a garment factory to produce school uniforms in the state.”

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

•Kabiru

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HE birth of a baby often calls for celebration, but that was not the case yesterday with Jimoh Kabiru (32), an auto mechanic in Kuto, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, whose wife was delivered of triplets. Rather than embrace the bundles of joy with open arms, Kabiru fled, abandoning his wife and triplets at the Lantoro

Catholic Hospital. His wife, Mrs. Tope Kabiru, a petty fashion designer, was delivered of the triplets through a caesarian session. The babies are being kept in incubators to enhance their survival chances. From his hideout, Kabiru, who said he makes about N1,000 daily, told The Nation that he ran away because he does not have the N250,000 required to offset the hospital bill and buy basic things for the babies. He said: “I ran away when family members told me my wife delivered three babies through operation. I have no money for the expense. My friend raised N50,000, but there is no other means to get the about N250,000 needed to settle the hospital bill and do other things.”


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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NEWS (SHOWBIZ)

BAFTA: Chiwetel Ejiofor wins Best Actor

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IGERIAN-BRITISH actor Chiwetel Ejiofor on Sunday beat Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Dern and others to win this year’s Best Actor award at the British Academy Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. Ejiofor, who earned several nominations for his role in Steve McQueen’s drama, 12 Years a Slave, came tops in what many described as “home advantage.” The actor, who had been pitched with other talented thespians in various box office movies in 2013, was earlier beaten by Leonardo DiCaprio, who won the Best Actor in a Comedy at the Golden Globes for The Wolf of Wall Street. Ejiofor also lost out to Matthew McConaughey in the Best Actor category of the Critics’ Choice Awards last month. His day of glory came at Sunday’s ceremony, where he drew huge cheers as he mounted the podium to receive his award. With a heart of gratitude to Steve McQueen, he said: “I’m so deeply honoured and privileged. Thank you for your work, your artistry and your passion in this project … to make it of such value and worth. This is yours by the way - I’m going to keep it. That’s the kind of guy I am, but it is yours.” Although Ejiofor’s win was considered a ‘home advantage’, there were a few surprises that tend to discredit this assumption. American Hustle’s Jennifer Lawrence beat this season’s favourite and12 Years a Slave actress Lupita Nyong’o for the Best Supporting Actress award, while the Best Movie award was also won by 12 Years a Slave and not Gravity,Wolf of Wall Street or American Hustle, as earlier

Yoruba film marketers settle out of court

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LAGOS High Court last week directed members of the Yoruba Video Film Producers/ Marketers Association of Nigeria (YOVIFPMAN) to stop further release of members’ films, pending the outcome of an internal dispute before it. But just before the next hearing on February 27, the warring parties have settled out of court, with releases to resume on Monday. Some younger members of the association, including Okiki Films, Zainab Films and Al-Moruf took their protest to court, accusing their older colleagues of arbitrary use of age and seniority to accrue larger slots to themselves in the weekly film-release schedule. The Nation gathered that members have agreed to follow the clause in the constitution and enjoy equal treatment. Each member will be entitled to one release in five weeks, to ensure that everybody is accommodated.

By Victor Akande

predicted by critics. Barkhad Abdi from Captain Phillips also beat Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender, Matt Damon and Daniel Brühs to take home the Best Supporting Actor award. Gravity ended up the biggest winner at the BAFTA ceremony, taking home six prestigious laurels, including outstanding British film, original music, cinematography, sound and special visual effects awards. Close to this was American Hustle, with three BAFTA awards, including original screenplay for Eric Warren Singer and O. Russell (makeup and hair) and Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Lawrence. Cate Blanchett comple-

mented Ejiofor in the most celebrated award of the season-the Best Actress Award for her role in Blue Jasmine. If there is another opportunity the actor is waiting for, it is to win the Oscar, which many believe is a far cry from every laurel taken so far. Interestingly, Ejiofor will contend again with close rivals, McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club and DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street at the awards on March 2. The Best Actor category also has Christian Bale for American Hustle and Bruce Dern for Nebraska. The BAFTA is Ejiofor’s first major prize, although he had received numerous acting awards and nominations, including the BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award in

2006, five Golden Globe award nominations and the Laurence Olivier award for Best Actor for Othello in 2008, same year he was presented with an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts. The actor is known for his portrayal of Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things (2002), The Operative in Serenity (2005), Lola in Kinky Boots (2005), Luke in Children of Men (2006), Dr. Adrian Helmsley in 2012 (2009) and Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave (2013). He is presently filming Z for Zachariah, a post-apocalyptic drama co-starring Wolf of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie and Half of a Yellow Sun, an adaptation of the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

•Blanchett, a recipient with Ejiofor, at the award


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NEWS

Tanker fire: Fayemi consoles families

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•’We’ll provide alternative route for trucks’

KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has commiserated with the families of the victims of last Wednesday’s tanker fire in Aramoko-Ekiti. Six people died and property worth millions of naira were destroyed in the fire. Fayemi, who visited the families on Sunday, described the accident as “unfortunate.” He said the government would provide alternative routes for trucks and ban them from town centres. Fayemi said if the Federal Government had paid the N12 billion Ekiti spent on federal roads, the state would have built the abandoned Iyin-Itawure road. The governor pledged that a bypass road would be built behind Erio-Ekiti and dedicated to trucks. He said: “We cannot continue this way. This brings to the fore the challenges we

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

are facing fixing Federal Government roads. As challenging as things are for Ekiti State, we are owed over N12 billion spent on fixing federal roads. If that money had been returned, we would have embarked on the Iyin-Itawure road, which would have taken many vehicles off this route, so that our people would not be exposed to drunken drivers or break failure resulting in terrible and unfortunate deaths.” Decrying the spate of tanker accidents on the Efon-Erio-Aramoko axis, the governor said men of the State Traffic Management Agency (EKSTMA) would be deployed on the route to ensure that drivers obey traffic rules. He said many accidents on the route were caused by

excessive speeding and brake failure. Fayemi said the only survivor of last Wednesday’s tanker fire was receiving treatment at the State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) in Ado-Ekiti. He visited the parents of Ahmed Bakare (16), an SS2 pupil of Aramoko District Commercial Secondary School, who died in the accident. The late Ahmed, who was the school’s time keeper, was in a shop to fix his phone when the incident occurred. It was learnt that the brake of a petrol-laden tanker failed and the truck somersaulted and exploded, destroying houses and killing about six people. The repairer’s shop was among structures destroyed. Condoling with Ahmed’s parents, Mr. Ganiyu and Mrs. Iyabode Bakare, Fayemi said

Three remanded in prison for alleged sodomy

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Man, 40, commits suicide in Ibadan

MAGISTRATE’s Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State, has remanded three persons - Oluwasegun Adesina-Rasheed (64), Samad Ojo (20) and Ope Abeeb (18) – for alleged sodomy. The suspects, who were arraigned yesterday, allegedly committed the offence on Valentine’s Day.

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

The prosecutor, Banji Sangotokun, told the court that the offence was committed around 11:30 pm last Friday in AdesinaRasheed’s Honda CRV, parked near the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Oke-Ilewo,

Abeokuta. The accused pleaded not guilty to the two-count-of conspiracy and sodomy. The court turned down the bail application by their counsel, Kehinde Amosa, and remanded them in prison custody. The Chief Magistrate, Anthony Araba, adjourned hearing till February 24.

•Fayemi

it was sad that a promising boy was lost in “such an unfortunate situation.” The Alara of AramokoEkiti, Oba Olu Adeyemi; the lawmaker representing the constituency, Mr. Gbenga Odebunmi; Fayemi’s Special Adviser on the Governor’s Office Chief Abiodun Akin Fasae and Ekiti West Local Government Secretary Akogun Tai Oguntayo accompanied the governor.

40-YEAR-OLD man, Anthony Bankole, has committed suicide in Ibadan, Oyo State. He hung himself at his building site in Olodo last Monday. A family source said the late Bankole left his rented apartment for Abayomi area around 5:49 a.m. on the pretext that he was going to use the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). The source said a few minutes later, Bankole sent him a text message to inform him of his intention to kill himself. He said: “I had no idea that he was going to kill himself. His wife died on Saturday and her body is in the mortuary, so I thought he needed money for her funeral. I gave him money for his fare and told him not to stay out long.” The late Bankole’s wife,

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

Kemi, who operated a business centre at the University College Hospital (UCH), died on Saturday. A neighbour said the couple had a fight. He said she was convulsing and was rushed to UCH, where she died a few minutes later. The neighbour said: “We heard him shouting for help around 2 a.m. on Saturday and, with the help of another neighbour, rushed his wife to the hospital. But she was already foaming from the mouth.” The Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Diran Fijabi, confirmed the incident. Bankole’s body was deposited at the mortuary of the Adeoyo Hospital in Yemetu.

Body seeks pension increment in budget •Oyo urged to pay N24b gratuity arrears

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IGERIA Union of Pensioners (NUP) National President Dr. Abel Afolayan has berated the Federal Government for excluding the 33 per cent pension increase in the 2014 budget. Afolayan, who was represented by the VicePresident, Southwest, Alhaji Lateef Adegoke, spoke yesterday at a meeting with Oyo State pensioners in Ibadan. He said the Federal Government’s action showed that it does not care about the welfare of pensioners. Afolayan regretted that four years after the government approved the 33 per cent increment, pensioners were yet to be paid. He said the NUP and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) wrote President Goodluck Jonathan; the Accountant-General

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla; and Senate President David Mark to express their displeasure. Afolayan said: “If the 33 per cent pension increment is not included in the 2014 budget before the end of March, Southwest pensioners will march on Abuja.” NUP Chairman, Oyo State branch, Ganiyu Azeez urged the state government to pay the N10 billion gratuity owed retired civil servants and the N14 billion gratuity owed retired primary school teachers. Azeez said: “It is disheartening that yesterday was February 17 and January pension has not being paid. In a few days, February pension would also be due. We were not promptly paid in December and there was a minor protest. We were assured then that such a delay

would not happen again. In spite of several letters to the governor to pay pensioners 13 th month, nothing has been heard. If there is anyone who needs the 13th month bonus, it is pensioners.” He urged the governor to pay January and February pension and order that pensioners be paid on the 25th of every month. Azeez said: “The rate at which workers retire monthly is higher, compared to the rate at which workers are employed. If care is not taken, in the next five years, pensioners will be more than workers. To stem this tide, our union recommends that the state government and workers dialogue and key into the contributory pension scheme.” He warned that pensioners’ would protest, if the state government fails to pay January and February pension before month end.

Aganga hails Fayemi’s virtues

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INISTER of Industry, Trade and Investments Olusegun Aganga has described Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi as a purposeful leader guided by values. He said Fayemi “is one of the few astute managers of men and resources in the country”. Speaking in Lagos on Sunday at the First Distinguished Alumni Lecture of the Christ’s School, AdoEkiti, Alumni Association, Lagos Branch, Aganga described Fayemi as an example of “genuine service to humanity.” The minister, who spoke on: “The Emerging Industrial & Investment Climate in Nigeria: New Opportunities for the Nigerian People”, said he was not surprised by Fayemi’s achievements, adding that

the governor imbibed the values of service and selflessness taught at Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti. Aganga, a former Christ’s School pupil, said many of the school’s alumni were good ambassadors. He said: “Every big success is a product of breaking away from old tradition. Nigeria needs commitment, re-orientation and moral values from individuals and organisation to excel. We had the values before but it got eroded. There is need for value re-orientation, if we must achieve our economic growth.” On the Federal Government’s efforts to transform the economy, Aganga said the government would continue to provide an enabling business environment, urging

•Aganga

individuals to take advantage of the opportunities. He mentioned power, transportation and manufacturing as areas where the government’s efforts were yielding results. Aganga described the privatisation of the power sector as the best decision to rescue the sector.


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THE NATION

E-mail:- bussiness@thenationonlineng.net

NNPC debunks bribery allegation in kerosene allocation

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HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corpora tion (NNPC) has dismissed allegations that its workers collect a N25 per litre mobilisation fee from marketers before allocating kerosene to them as lies fabricated by some persons to tarnish the image of the corporation. Its Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, challenged anyone with evidence of such payment to tender it so that the persons concerned could be identified and punished. It said there was a report stating that NNPC officials collected bribes amounting to N195 billion from marketers before allocating kerosene to them. Ibrahim said: “We make bold to state that this allegation is a complete falsehood, callous and malicious. We recall that this is not the first time such unfounded allegations are made against the NNPC. The Senator Magnus Abe-led Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) called all the stakeholders in the downstream sub-sector for a public hearing over similar allegations. No one came out to confirm the allegations.” He said petroleum marketers under the aegis of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) have come up with statements denying ever paying any amount of money beyond the approved N40.90 per litre ex depot price for kerosene.

At the moment, there is an average of about 18 hours per day of constant power supply to different parts of the country. This feat was brought about by the implementation of the integrated power sector reform programme anchored on the power roadmap. - Minister of Information, Labaran Maku

AMCON to off-set N1tr debt in October

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HE Managing Director of the Asset Manage ment Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustapha Chike-Obi, yesterday said the Corporation plans to pay-off additional N1trillion of its debts by October. Chike-Obi spoke at a oneday public hearing on the AMCON Act, 2010 (Amendment) Bill , 2014 organised by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions in Abuja. He also explained how the agency applied N5.676 trillion it raised from government bonds in 2010, adding that the agency had recovered over 50 per cent of the non-performing loans it acquired at inception. Chike-Obi said: “Today, we have recovered over 50 per cent of the non-performing loans we acquired not the 15 per cent that has been thrown around in the press recently. “I want to say that these were debts that the banks had given up on. Some of those

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

debts were seven to 10 years old. “Additionally, in December 2013, because of the huge success in restructuring and recovering debts, we have been able to pay-off N1trillion of our debts well ahead of schedule. “We also plan to pay-off an additional N1trillion of debts in October 2014 which will reduce AMCON’s indebtedness by 30 per cent in the first four years of operation.” He told the lawmakers that the N5.676 trillion raised from government bonds was used to purchase Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs), recapitalisation of Enterprise, Keystone and Mainstreet Banks and injection of capital into five intervened banks. He said: “When AMCON was created in 2010, the immediate action we undertook was to take over Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) from Eligible Financial Institutions (EFIs) and provide financial accommodation to

banks by issuing zero coupon bonds worth N4.042 trillion accruing to N5.676 trillion over three years. “The bonds were used for the purchase of EBAs worth N3.67 trillion at a cost of N1.7 trillion (2010 - 2011); “Issuance of N861.2 billion zero coupon bonds to recapitalise Enterprise Bank, Keystone Bank and Mainstreet Bank to full regulatory capital adequacy. AMCON through this action owns 100 per cent of these banks; “Injection of capital of about N1.47 trillion into five intervened banks to bring the negative capital to zero. The banks are FinBank, Equitorial Trust Bank, Oceanic Bank Plc, Intercontinental Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc. Of the total balance, operating costs have accounted for less than one per cent.” He said the intervention immediately saved the depositors of the banks from losing their funds as well as prevented the systemic collapse of the affected banks

through the alternative of liquidation by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). According to him, it also saved thousands of jobs across the banks as well as its resultant effect on the population who are dependent on the employees in this sector and other affected industries in which AMCON intervened. While declaring the event opened, Senate President David Mark who was represented by Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba, noted that AMCON was established to serve as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for purchasing the NPLs from Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in Nigeria and recapitalising the intervened banks through freeing up their balance sheets and providing liquidity to them to create new risk assets. Mark added that it was set up to also reduce the debt overhang of the banks by facilitating their ability to extend credit.

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

• From left: New Executive Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Ms Yvone Ike; MD/CEO, Mr Seni Adetu and Head, Transparency & Anti-Corruption, UN Global Compact, Ms Olajobi Makinwa at the pathway of pride in Lagos ...yesterday. PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU

Fed Govt eyes $50b ICT sector investment

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HE Federal Govern ment yesterday in La gos unveiled plans to double investments in the information communication technology (ICT) sector from its current $25 billion level to $50 billion in the coming years. Specifically, the Federal Government is targeting another $25 billion in private sector investments into the sector. Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson who made this known during the launch of 'Broadband Campaign" with 'Connected Nigeria, Connected Nigerians' as theme said pursuant to achieving this target, the Ministry and the Nigerian

• Broadband campaign begins By Lucas Ajanaku

Communications Commission (NCC) have been going round the world selling the ICT sector to the international investing public. Mrs Johnson said: "We need $25 billion more in the next few years into the country. The NCC is going around, as the ministry also does, to win more investors into the country to boost broadband penetration in Nigeria." According to her, though the broadband penetration in the country is currently stands at between 6-7 per cent, the ministry is working with all stakeholders to ensure that the

National Broadband Plan 2013-2018 implementation is achieved, adding that one of the steps taken to ensure its implementation is the setting up of a council. She said: "To ensure that the Plan is monitored, we set up the Broadband Council in 2013 to ensure proper monitoring of the Broadband Plan implementation.” She said the ministry has been working with state governments and other relevant stakeholders to tackle technical, financial and environmental obstacles to accelerated broadband roll-out across the country. She expressed optimism

that with ICT sector currently contributing about eight per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the sector will do more if the hurdles on the way of operators are removed. She recalled the landmark memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the Lagos State government and the operators as a loud testimony to the efforts of the ministry at creating a conducive environment for business in the country. According to her, the MoU led to the reduction of the cost of fibre optic deployment by 85 per cent, stressing that similar move is being made to ensure the that Right of Way (RoW) cost is drastically reduced for faster infrastructure deployment.

EFCC opposes ex-Union Bank director’s bid to halt trial By Joseph Jibueze

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HE Economic and Fi nancial Crimes Com mission (EFCC) yesterday opposed a bid by a former director of Union Bank Plc, Niyi Opeodu to stay proceedings in his criminal trial. Opeodu and three former directors Henry Onyemem and Samuel Anyininuola were charged along with the bank’s former Managing Director Barthlomew Ebong. EFCC alleged that they unlawfully granted loan facilities to themselves without security and above the approved limit without lawful authority from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). About N83.67billion bank funds were alleged to have been used. They were also alleged to have granted credit facilities to Falcon Securities, in connivance with its Director Peter Ololo, without collateral. Ololo is also standing trial. Opeodu, through his lawyer Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) had urged the Federal High Court in Lagos, presided over by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, to quash the charges. The court, however, dismissed the application, saying the third defendant should face trial. However, Opeodu appealed against the ruling at the Court of Appeal in Lagos. Yesterday, his lawyer urged Justice OfiliAjumogobia to halt further proceedings pending the hearing and determination of the appeal. But EFCC’s lawyer Kola Awodein urged the court to dismiss the application. He said the defendant is using technicalities to delay the case. According to him, Section 40 of the EFCC Act states that the court should not entertain such application in a criminal trial. “The court should not exercise any discretion to grant stay of proceedings. If it’s the prosecution that is delaying, the court is entitled to strike out the matter. “I urge your lordship, with respect, to refuse the application and to dismiss it,” Awodayin said. The defendants were rearraigned in November 15, 2012. Olanipekun had challenged the validity of the charge against his client (third accused), saying it disclosed no cause of action. The judge, however, held that the charge sufficiently disclosed a cause of action against Opeodu, a decision the defendant appealed against. The defendants are among bank chiefs sensationally removed by CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in August 2009.


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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BUSINESS NEWS

‘Why CBN initiates MSME Development Fund’

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SUN State Branch Control ler of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Macduff Okorode Efetabore has said the apex bank initiated the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund to develop the economy. According to him, it will help develop the status of the over two million Nigeria citizens, particularly the sixty per cent of women entrepreneurs, within the period of ten years. He added that the broad objective of the fund was to channel the long term, low interest funds to the economy through participating financial institutions. CBN branch controller also said the management team of the bank recognised the strategic closeness of state governments to the citizens at the grassroots, thereby making them important stakeholders in the administration of the fund. He added that the CBN has developed operational guidelines for the state government’s participation in the MSME Development Fund. Speaking on the occasion, Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola declared that

the government, as part of its drive to develop the economy of the state, has concluded plans to commission the multi-million naira Osogbo Ayegbaju International Market soon for the benefit of traders across the state. The governor said the state government has also concluded plan to empower the women of the state with N600 million. Governor Aregbesola spoke through his Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning and Budget Development, Dr Wale Bolorunduro as a Special Guest of Honour to declare open a one-day Sensitisation workshop on the N220 billion MSMEDF. The governor who urged the people, especially women of the state to maximise the opportunity of the CBN Fund,described the women as a major factor in the economy development of the state, saying the state was ready to maximise the apex bank’s loan for development of the state and its citizens. Shedding more light on the Fund, Effetabore said: “The MSMED Fund has two broad ob-

jectives which are social and commercial. The social/development fund shall constitute 10 per cent broken down as follows: Grants five per cent, Interest Drawback three per cent, Managing Agents’ Operation cost two per cent. The commercial fund shall constitute 90 per cent of the fund as follows; Wholesale funding-90 per cent of the commercial component and Guarantees/Refinancing-10 per cent of the Commercial component. “Considering the peculiar challenges faced by women in accessing financial services in Nigeria, the revised Micro-finance policy, regulatory and supervisory frame work in Section 4.2 (1V), provides that women’s access to financial services should increase by 15 percent annually in order to eliminate gender disparity. In order to achieve this, 60 per cent which is N132.00 billion of the fund has been earmarked for providing financial services to women. “In operating the fund, special consideration shall also be given to institutions that will provide financial services to graduates of

the CBN’s Entrepreneurship Development Centres” Speaking further on the economic policy of the state government, Aregbesola said when the administration was sworn in in November 2010, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $5 billion. It increased to over $9 billion last year. He condemned the critics of his government, saying that, according to the Federal Government Data on GDP, the state was in number seven out of the 36 states, adding that the opposition parties in the state lack knowledge of the economy development of the state. He reiterated that no fewer than 200,000 people would benefit from the gesture of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) in collaborating with the state government. He noted that Osun State government would provide the counterpart funds to increase the beneficiaries to 400,000. He stressed that the state government would provide banks’ guarantee for the cooperative societies in the state that show interest to access the fund.

NEPC, stakeholders to promote service sector for export

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HE Nigeria Export Promo tion Council (NEPC), in part nership with stakeholders, such as National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is set to promote the services’ sector for export. The council said this is in line with the Federal Government’s efforts to boost the non-oil sector base of the national economy. Speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting on outsourcing at Lagos Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, its Director-

By Toba Agboola

General, Mr Olusegun Awolowo said for the economy to be diversified, create more employment and generate more wealth in line with Vision 20: 20-20, export of services is good for the country. He said: “The Federal Government of Nigeria had requested the Commonwealth Secretariat for assistance to develop a strategy to guide professional services from the country. “The services’ export though not

fully tapped in Nigeria, is considered as a very potent sector which can boost the non-oil sector base of the national economy. In this regard, four sectors have been selected as priority sectors in the strategy for Nigeria under a medium term plan for implementation.“ He continued: “The sectors are information and communication Technology (BPO and Software), financial services (Banking and Insurance), educational services (Knowledge-based activities) and entertain-

ment (Movies and Music).” He said one of the major challenges of firms is access to information about opportunities in and requirements of foreign markets, both regionally and internationally. “To overcome this, the Council will collaborate with the ITC under the Trade in Services Programme (TSP) to enable Nigerian companies to take advantage of ITC’s interventions in the BPO/ITO sub-sectors,” he added.

Nestlé records $11.14b profit amid challenges

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By Toba Agboola

WISS-BASED Nestlé, the world’s biggest food com pany, over the weekend announced a net profit of 10 billion francs ($11.14 billion) for 2013, down from 10.6 billion francs ($11.7 billion) in the previous year. In an interview with newsmen, the Global Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé, Mr Paul Bulcke said the macro-environment in 2013 was one of soft growth, minimal in the developed world and below recent levels in the emerging markets. He said despite this, the company was able to record a net profit of 10 billion francs. He added that the company recorded 44 percent sales worldwide, with 4.6 percent organic growth and 3.1 per cent real internal growth. “The macro-environment in 2013 was one of soft growth, minimal in the developed world and below recent levels in the emerging markets. “Our response was to increase brand support, accelerate innovation, and to ensure our pricing was sensitive to consumer needs. “This gave impetus to our real internal growth and, together with efficiencies and structural cost savings, contributed to our margin improvement and strong cash flow. “We also intensified our portfolio management which resulted in some charges in 2013 but ensures we are putting our people and resources behind the best opportuinities,” Bulcke said. He said the company’s longterm strategic is to be the leader in nutrition , health and wellness.


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THE NATION

BUSINESS MARITIME

e-mail: maritime@thenationonlineng.net

Akpabio backs Navy’s war against pirates

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• Governor Akpabio presenting a souvenir to Rear Admiral Ngonadi during the visit.

NPA MD incurs senators’ anger • ‘I didn’t shun meeting with committee’

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IGERIAN Ports Authority (NPA) Managing Director Mallam Habib Abdullahi has drawn the ire of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport for not being on hand to receive it during its visit to the agency’s Lagos headquarters. The senators accused him of “deliberating” avoiding them when they came to inspect the agency’s projects and appraise its budget performance for last year before considering its appropriations for this year. The senators, who said they wrote Abdullahi two weeks ago to inform him of their visit, wondered why he was not around to receive them. They said rather than write them officially, Abdullahi called their chairman, Senator Zaynab Kure on phone after some of them had arrived in Lagos. Senator Kure said they were not happy with the way Abdullahi, who was represented by the Executive Director, Finance & Administration, Mr. Olumide Oduntan, treated them. She said: “On behalf of my distinguished colleagues, I want to express my disappointment and displeasure, and of course, embarrassment at your MD’s inability to receive an esteemed committee made up of distinguished senators that have come on an oversight function to the NPA. “The committee wrote about two weeks ago to NPA that we are coming on a constitutional and statutory assignment. If, for any reason the MD, who must have received the letter, knew he won’t be around to receive us, he should have written back to us that he has another assignment that he feels is much more important than receiving a committee as this.

Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda Maritime Correspondent

“But there was not that communication. I only got a call from the NPA MD on my way to the airport, by which time all my other colleagues have boarded the aircraft, informing me that he won’t be able to receive us. “I did not tell my other colleagues because I thought that if I had done that, I won’t be doing justice to what has brought us here. I wanted everybody to come and see things for themselves. Except for one of us, every other member of this committee is here for this oversight visit. “We are all here because we have taken our job so seriously. Most of us left other important assignments back home, because we want to discharge our responsibilities as a committee that is concerned about the maritime sector of this country. “But for us to get here and the MD is not here, I must tell you that the committee is seriously disappointed and we are not happy at all. We want you to communicate same to your MD. “We know that you are working as a team, but the MD has no right, whatsoever, to have treated us the way we are treated today. We should have known that he won’t be here and would have possibly rescheduled our trip.” The committee, Senator Kure said, came to see things for itself before the agency’s 2014 budget would be passed. She said: “We feel it is pertinent that we appraise NPA’s performance with the 2013 budget before passing the 2014 budget. But now that nobody is here to give us brief of what has been done with the 2013 budget, our hands are tied on what to do with the 2014 appropriation budget.

“If we wanted just the budget performance appraisal, we could do it in Abuja. But we wanted to come and see on-going projects, that is why we came down to Lagos.” A member of the committee, Senator Ben Ayade, accused Abdullahi of “disrespect”. He said: “I feel highly compromised. I think there is an absolute disrespect for the National Assembly. This conduct is deliberate. I find it very insulting. In this committee, we have at least two ex-governors. We have wives of former governors; we have former directors of the NPA. I find it very insulting for the MD of the NPA to be away when we are here on oversight duties. “It means we are not a priority to him. There can’t be anything more insulting. For me, as far as I am concerned, I am done with NPA.” A former NPA director and member of the Committee, Senator Abubakar Sadiq Yar’Adua, described the development as sad. He said: “It means the NPA MD does not take us serious. I was his boss when I was in the NPA. He reported to me as a General Manager. I think there is no need for us wasting time here. “Let us just go and leave them. If NPA thinks it can operate without us, we will see to that. We are here to ask questions on the performance of the budget, but it’s a pity that all those who are in a better position to give us such details are not here. This behaviour is totally wrong and unacceptable.” Contacted, NPA’s Principal Manager, Public Affairs, Mr Isa Suwedi said Abdullahi did not shun meeting with the committee. He said his boss would soon meet the committee to sort out things.

HE Akwa Ibom State Government has promised to support the Navy on its onslaught against oil thieves and sea pirates on the waterways. Governor Godswill Akpabio gave the pledge when the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Harry Ngonadi, visited him at the Governor’s Office in Uyo, the state capital. Akpabio praised the FOC as the pioneer Commander of Jubilee Naval Base at Ikot Abasi, saying: ”When you came to Akwa Ibom as pioneer Commander of Jubilee, you helped us to fight bunkering and illegal refineries along the shorelines to a standstill. “You have many states under your command, but I want to assure you that this is one state that you will enjoy the greatest cooperation from for mobilising your men and brought that menace to an end. “We are very proud of men in uniform that have been posted to Akwa Ibom State. We are happy the way you have cooperated to ensure the security of life and property.” The governor prayed for the protection of Naval officers in the discharge of their duties. He reminded Ngonadi of the need to establish a Naval Secondary School in the

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NIMASA canvasses alternative dispute resolution

HE Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administra tion and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi has reiterated that alternate dispute resolution is a tool for enhancing the growth of the maritime sector. Addressing Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN) in Lagos, Akpobolokemi decried the pace at which maritime sector disputes were adjudicated in the courts. He said maritime disputes in some instances linger in the courts for decades, adding that this was to the detriment of the maritime sector. The NIMASA boss assured the stakeholders of the agency’s commitment to providing the enabling environment for maritime arbitration to thrive in the country as a dispute resolution mechanism “For the maritime sector, which is an international industry, arbitration has proven to be an effective tool for dispute resolution and we at NIMASA are committed to ensuring that Nigeria embraces this trend

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state. “We have applied to the Chief of Naval Staff to give us one secondary school in Ikot Abasi, and I hope the Flag Officer will follow up so that our children can begin to wear this uniform at tender age,” he said. Ngonadi thanked Akpabio for supporting the Nigerian Navy. He said: “I came in here as the pioneer commander of Jubilee Naval Base in Ikot Abasi and that Jubilee is what is today because of the uncommon nature of the governor. I have come to pay this courtesy call and register my presence here as the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command and to solicit again your cooperation as usual.” He said the planned Ibaka Industrial City would open up the state, stressing the need for the government to factor in the Navy for security purpose. “The Ibaka project is a gigantic project that would open up the potentials of Akwa Ibom State. In doing that, I want to solicit that the Nigerian Navy be factored into it. Whatever we are doing, we must put in place security architecture and factor it into whatever we are doing so that as soon as that project takes off we would not have security issues to contend with,” he said.

to fastrack the growth of the Nigerian Maritime Sector,” he said. President of the group, Dr. Omogbai Omo-Eboh commended the directorgeneral for his efforts in repositioning the NIMASA towards its primary role of providing an enabling environment for the development of the maritime sector. Noting that the Judicial system has challenges in adjudicating maritime issues, Dr Omo-Eboh pledged the readiness of his association to work with NIMASA to resolve issues relating to the progress of the sector. “In order to continue to maintain the role of Nigeria as the lead maritime sector in Africa, Nigeria needs the Arbitrators,” he said. Dr. Omo-Eboh noted that the setting up of an arbitration centre in Nigeria is more desireable than the practice of travelling to New York, United States and Singapore, among other countries for arbitration, a practice he described as a drain on our foreign exchange. He solicited the agency’s support in making this a reality.

Illegal checkpoints on Badagry road

LLEGAL police checkpoints have sprung up on the SemeBadagry Expressway in Lagos. Importers and clearing agents in the area said the illegal checkpoints hinder the facilitation scheme of the Federal Government within the West African sub-region. The Nigeria Police Force and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, the importers said, need to address the problem. Security sources said most of the checkpoints were mounted illegally on the road by some police officers. Over 10 police checkpoints were seen by The Nation last week, between Seme border and the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos. A commercial driver, who spoke with the paper at Magbon, on the increase in police checkpoints, Mr

Solomon Emmanuel said the police officers are extorting them. “This is an international route and we are not against police mounting checkpoints on the road, but they are just too many and they are not far from each other. What they do is to extort us. They collect between N200 and N500, depending on the number of passengers you carry from Seme to Okokomaiko,” he alleged. Another driver, Mr Ebenezer Aderemi urged the government to address the issue, saying that the police officers at the checkpoints were not portraying the image of the country well. “This is an international road. When you go from Seme to Cotonou, you don’t see their police extorting people, it only happens on the Nigeria side of the road and we hope the police authorities will put an end to it,” Aderemi said.


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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THE NATION

BUSINESS ENERGY

E-mail:- energy@thenationonlineng.net

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have been squabbling over non-remittance of revenue due to the government. Both sides are holding-on to their positions. The NNPC is faulting the CBN’s claim on the actual amount of unremitted fund. Assistant Editor, EMEKA UGWUANYI reports.

Twist in the kerosene subsidy tale

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ENTRAL Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s memo kicked off the storm. In the memo to the Senate Committee on Finance, he said from the CBN’s calculation, of the $67 billion crude oil lifted, only $47 billion has been remitted, leaving a $20billion balance. He said the cash legally and unconstitutionally withheld, diverted or spent by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is in excess of $10.8 billion, an amount that was reportedly reached after reconciliation by the Ministry of Finance, the CBN and other revenue generating agencies. NNPC, according to him, said a major component of the $10.8 billion was spent on kerosene and petrol subsidy. Sanusi said he had evidence of a presidential directive stopping kerosene subsidy, claiming that kerosene subsidy is illegal and should be refunded to the Federation Account. He raised serious concerns about NNPC’s crude swap arrangement, adding that oil revenue which should accrue to the Federation Account from the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the exploration and production subsidiary of NNPC, is being diverted to private companies, such as Atlantic Energy and Seven Energy, which resulted in non-remittance of $6 billion of gross crude revenue that should be remitted to the Federation Account by NPDC as part of the divested assets. At its sitting last week, the committee and other parties resolved to appoint independent forensic auditors to investigate transactions in the oil and gas sector. The auditors, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said, would examine the books of NNPC and NDPC to clarify the issues. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said the step would help to unravel the controversies surrounding the alleged unremitted $20 billion by the NNPC, adding that since the $10.8 billion had been accepted by all parties as the outstanding amount, an independent body would be appointed to investigate the financial transactions involving oil exports. She said since conflicting figures were being mentioned by the CBN and the NNPC, the only way to establish the truth is to set up an independent body to verify all the parties claims. Nigerians are awaiting the forensic auditors reports. Sanusi also alleged that the implementation of kerosene subsidy is a violation of the HHK deregulation order by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. He said the presidential directive was sent to NNPC, adding that the average supply of kerosene vessel by NNPC was between four and six vessels per month where conversion factor of 1,136 equals to one

•Group Managing Director, NNPC Andrew Yakubu

•Briggs

metric ton. He added that NNPC rendered nil returns on kerosene subsidy from April 2012 to December 2013, besides delay in filing subsidy claims to Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). The entire subsidy implementation is a farce, he noted. NNPC said Sanusi misrepresented facts in alleging that it violated the presidential directive. “The factual position is that the late president issued a directive on the deregulation of kerosene but the administrative procedure for the implementation was not concluded before his death,” NNPC claimed. It said:”As a matter of fact, the presidential directive contained conflicting provisions that required further clarification to

warrant implementation. The NNPC attempted through several correspondences to seek clarifications on the conflicting clause in the directive without any positive response. It would appear that Sanusi ran into the same difficulty encountered by NNPC in interpreting the controversial presidential directive when he suppressed facts in his submission before the committee. “For the avoidance of doubt, the express letters of the controversial presidential directive is to the effect that commencing from July 2009, “Eliminate existing subsidy on the consumption of kerosene, taking into account that subsidy payments by the government, on kerosene do not reach the intended beneficiaries. Pub-

lic announcement of this measure should be avoided. “The Petroleum Act empowers the Minister of Petroleum Resources to approve petroleum product prices – HHK inclusive and the statutory provision remains un-amended. Such approval must be through the means of a Gazette, the Minister of Petroleum Resources cannot change prices of Petroleum Products without a gazette. Meanwhile, the directive was that “public announcement of this measure should be avoided” in direct contravention of the provision of Section 6 of the Petroleum Act. “The directive on kerosene subsidy was never received in NNPC as posited by Sanusi. Rather the directive was communicated to the former Minister of Petroleum Resources Dr Rilwan Lukman who could not communicate the directive to NNPC arising from the challenge indicated in the earlier paragraph of this submission.” NNPC said the volume of HHK supply to the system within the period was five vessels contrary to an average of four to six vessels per month as alleged by Sanusi and the subsidy implication of kerosene signed by the PPPRA at the inter-agencies reconciliation from January 2012 to July 2013 is $3.511billion. The House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) will begin public hearing on kerosene subsidy this week. There are allegations of fraud in the kerosene importation, allocation and distribution within the chain. The com-

mittee, industry stakeholders believe, will address the issues because the commodity doesn’t reach the public at the regulated N50 per litre but is purchased at between N100 and N150 per litre depending on the area. “In the case of NPDC, its Managing Director, Mr. Victor Briggs, said strategic alliance agreement (SAA) did not start today. He said the company’s offshore field Okono Okpoho is a service contract, which was went into with Agip around 1999. In that service contract, the partners comes in with their financing, because at that time we have not gone offshore before, and because they also operate that field with their own financing, they will recover their cost, we will share the profit. They would do that for a period of five years by, which time NPDC would have been able to build its capacity to operate. “But when we took over the operatorship of the new assets divested by Shell, funding was an issue. The practical thing to have done is, let’s do a service contract but NPDC didn’t opt for a service contract because that means a third party will operate the asset and provide the financing. But we have technical capacity, what we were looking for is financing. What was done was strictly financing and also at our desire request for experienced personnel, to be seconded to us. That option is also critical because at NPDC, we don’t recruit. If we need to act quickly, where we need people, we have to rely on NNPC to recruit and deploy and that will take a long time.”

•From left: Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Schneider Electric Group Chairman & CEO; Dr. Albert Okorogu, SSA to the Minister of Power on Access to Energy Hon. Kingsley Kuku, SA to the President on Niger Delta Affairs; Mohamed Saad, Schneider Electric Africa Zone President, Marcel Hochet, Schneider Electric Nigeria and Ambassador Hakeem Suleiman, Nigerian Ambassador to France at the inauguration of the Isaac Adaka Boro Technical Training school in France.


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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COMMENTARY EDITORIALS

FROM OTHER LANDS

Too little, too late

•Sack of four ministers by president is motion without movement

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T came too late, it was utterly anti-climactic and hardly of any effect whatsoever. This is the most apt way to describe the ouster of four ministers from the Federal Executive Council (FEC), last week. President Goodluck Jonathan had dropped the powerful and controversial aviation minister, Ms Stella Oduah. Also gone are: Mr. Godsday Orubebe, Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs; Navy-Capt. Caleb Olubolade, Minister of Police Affairs and Dr. Yerima Ngama, Minister of State for Finance. Recall that last September, President Jonathan sacked nine members of his cabinet and none of them has been replaced till date. Indeed, it has been suggested that President Jonathan’s tinkering with his cabinet is more a gambit aimed at the 2015 presidential election than an attempt to rescue the country’s faltering socio-economic conditions. The need for a total overhaul of the cur-

‘Jonathan’s method of governance has left many Nigerians wondering whether he is serious about setting aright his floundering administration. If ministers found to have brazenly compromised their offices are simply asked to go, then there seems to be no hope for any redemption. Apart from those ‘asked to go’, there are still many in the cabinet who have been found wanting, either in keeping proper account of their activities or what is clearly inefficient performance of their duties’

rent FEC had been long overdue as the president’s team has been long jaded, corruption ridden and lackluster. Many of the ministers have been caught with hands in the pie while some had lost any drive or initiative whatsoever. The case of Ms. Oduah was spectacularly scandalous. Apart from embarking on a whirlwind of airports renovation which has turned out to be of poor quality, she was involved in the purchase of two bulletproof cars for N255 million found to be grossly over-valued and shorn of due process. It was a scam that shook the entire nation and smeared the country’s image. The House of Representatives committee which investigated the matter found her culpable and recommended a review of her appointment. But the Presidency had dithered, refusing to take any action since last year over an affair that the world came to know as Oduahgate. In spite of her firing, the issue of due process and corruption hovers like a gaping bird of prey over the Jonathan administration. He indicated the files were on his desk. Did he fire her because of the scandal? No records show an answer, and until a verdict on the matter comes out of the presidency, Mr. Jonathan is deemed to have papered over this big, scandalous crack. Though Mr. Orubebe claimed he was not sacked but quit to pursue his political ambition, he however, proved to be utterly inefficient on his beat as the manner and quality of work on the East-West Road has shown. His ministry, being in charge of this major artery linking the restive Niger-Delta zone to the rest of the country, has been unable to make much headway on this important project more than two years af-

ter. Akinbolade and Ngama deny they were axed but their ministries did not epitomise any remarkable service or notable performance. Beyond being a run around the roundabout, the entire cabinet makeover remains ineffectual as ministers who ought to have been given a public reprimand through an express pronouncement of sack are being afforded a face-saving exit. In clarifying their exit status, the Minister of Information and Communication, Mr. Labaran Maku, noted that, “The president said he had asked them to go because they indicated interest in playing deeper roles in the politics of the country.” Jonathan’s method of governance has left many Nigerians wondering whether he is serious about setting aright his floundering administration. If ministers found to have brazenly compromised their offices are simply asked to go, then there seems to be no hope for any redemption. Apart from those ‘asked to go’, there are still many in the cabinet who have been found wanting, either in keeping proper account of their activities or what is clearly inefficient performance of their duties. The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has been in the heart of mind-boggling scandals in the last two years, yet she sits pretty in the cabinet as if she were an untouchable. Under the watch of Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who heads the finance ministry and who also wears the appellation of coordinating minister of the economy (CME), the economy has been in the doldrums and the annual budget mere routines with no value-added whatsoever. But she has remained at her desk, inured to the cries of the populace and unmoved to make any change.

Banks’ biometric

•It is an example of technology coming to the service of integrity and efficiency

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E consider as a good tiding the move for restoration of banking credibility by stakeholders in the country. The concerned, including the Bankers’ Committee, Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), have come up with the Biometric solution initiative that will allow for collation of a central database where all bank customers’ information will be collected and stored. The idea, according to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, governor of CBN, in his speech during the Standard Bank West African Investors’ Conference was launched in Lagos State on February14 and is expected to: “…in 18 months, fix the problems faced in the banking system.” The rampant incidents of bank fraud across the federation have taken immense toll on the growth of the sector as well as public trust and perception. The introduction of biometric identifiers that are unique to individuals will no doubt go a long way in authenticating identity of each bank customer from bank to bank. And the thought that the project will erase doubts at Point of Sale (PoS) terminals and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) points is heart-warming at a period when unscrupulous elements perpetrate banking criminality only to vamoose into thin air. One interesting feature of this proposed project is that it makes banking transaction easy for both the educated and the uneducated since, of fundamental importance here is the use of thumb-print as a major means of

identification in banks and the ATMs. Quite instructive too is the fact that the ease of the method of thumb-printing will encourage the use of ATMs and PoS terminals in business and banking transactions. The parties involved in this project must ensure that loose ends and technical grey areas are well knitted so that the initiative will not end up another nightmare to bank customers. We are aware that there could be initial hiccups but such should not get to a magnitude that could make banking transactions so complicated for the people that patronise the banks before being remedied. The German company that was reportedly awarded the contract for the supply and installation of these biometric data capturing machines, should equally be allowed the latitude to maintain the machines and also train indigenous manpower to take over within a reasonable period of time. Being a big project, we also think it imperative that spare parts maintenance outlets of the foreign company should be opened in the country so that the machines would not frustrate activities or become decrepit within a short time. Biometric solution has considerably worked in developed countries in helping the tracking of banking and other crimes and we hope that the project will equally work for banks in Nigeria. Getting things right for that sector is the only way through which the nation can redeem her dented international image of being a transit country for money laundering. Once foreign financial institutions no

longer worry about whom their customers are and where to find them, credit facility and fraud would become easy to unravel. The biometric solution initiative should rather be seen by all as a complement to the National Identity Card project. The plundering of the nation’s resources has been done mainly through the banks with the connivance of top echelon of that sector. This initiative, being an institutional idea that would create a unified identity for the financial system that has avoidably become havens of criminals should be allowed to succeed. We support any effort aimed at making our banks truly the ideal custodians of the people’s toil. In our view, this biometric solution is one important move in this direction.

‘One interesting feature of this proposed project is that it makes banking transaction easy for both the educated and the uneducated since, of fundamental importance here is the use of thumb-print as a major means of identification in banks and the ATMs. Quite instructive too is the fact that the ease of the method of thumbprinting will encourage the use of ATMs and PoS terminals in business and banking transactions’

Next move on press freedom

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AST July, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. spoke eloquently of “the importance of the constitutionally protected news gathering process,” the essential role of a free press when it comes to “government accountability and an open society,” and the need to better protect journalists from federal leak investigations. At the time, he described policy revisions that supposedly would achieve those goals, including enhanced oversight by senior Justice Department officials and a new presumption that news organizations would be notified when the government sought their records from phone companies, Internet providers and other third parties. Now, six months later, Mr. Holder says those policies are being followed, but he has yet to actually issue the new guidelines. And, most immediately, he has yet to call off the misguided quest by prosecutors to compel James Risen, a reporter for The Times, who wrote a 2006 book about the Central Intelligence Agency, to reveal a confidential source. Barely a week after Mr. Holder delivered his report to the White House, the Justice Department issued a statement declaring agreement with a chilling 2-to-1 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Virginia, denying the existence of any reporters’ privilege, grounded in the First Amendment, to protect confidential sources in criminal cases. That has been the department’s position on the case from its start to Mr. Risen’s failed appeal in January to the full circuit court. It is sharply at odds with the nearly universal consensus among states that reporters have a common law privilege to protect confidential sources. It also runs counter to the finding by a federal district judge, Leonie Brinkema, and the dissenting appeals judge, Roger Gregory, that the government has ample evidence to proceed with the prosecution without making a reporter give up a source or go to jail. So much for Mr. Holder’s talk of respecting “constitutionally protected” news gathering and not threatening journalists with jail for doing their jobs, except in “extraordinary” circumstances. Mr. Risen has asked the Supreme Court to review his case. But the best resolution would be for Mr. Holder to reconsider Mr. Risen’s subpoena, in keeping with the letter and spirit of his new guidelines. A group of media organizations, including The Times, has been urging just that. It is too late to erase the damage stemming from the Risen case and other egregious attacks on a free press on Mr. Holder’s watch. But reducing the stain on Mr. Holder’s legacy, and building a better legacy, begins with dropping the demand that Mr. Risen testify about his sources. – 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

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu

•Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon

•Advert Manager Robinson Osirike

•Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina

• Gen. Manager (Training and Development) Soji Omotunde •General Manager (Abuja Press) Kehinde Olowu •AGM (PH Press) Tunde Olasogba

•IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness

•Deputy Editor (Nation’s Capital) •Press Manager Yomi Odunuga Udensi Chikaodi •Group Political Editor Emmanuel Oladesu •Legal Counsel John Unachukwu •Dep. Business Editor Simeon Ebulu • Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye •Group Sports Editor Ade Ojeikere •Acting Manager (sales) •Editorial Page Editor Olaribigbe Bello Sanya Oni


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

20

CARTOON & LETTERS

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IR: A fortnight ago, I, together with some publishers and editors of online news magazine and social commentators were in Ekiti State on the invitation of the government for an assessment tour of projects coupled with an interactive section with the governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. We arrived Ekiti on Thursday February 6, and we were all lodged at Ikogosi Warm Spring Resorts situated at IkogosiEkiti. The next day, we started the tour of 12 local government areas. While on the tour, I saw wonders. I encontered transformation. I saw creativity. I experienced innovative ideas. I met one-on-one with development. I saw newly renovated classrooms in all the secondary schools along the road. The primary

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access roads in Ekiti are also under re-construction as each of the local government in the state have tarred SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF five kilometres each. A total of 200 NOT MORE THAN 800 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS. kilometers (access roads) have been tarred by the 16 local governments E-mail: views@thenationonlineng.net while the state government has tarred a total of 1, 200 kilometres of roads. On the state roads, the roads from Ikogosi-Erinjiyan-Ilawe-Ekiti 40, 000 hectares tomatoes farm at schools seen were also in a perfect However, what I saw in Ekiti that needs to be rehabilitated. However, Iyemero-Itapaji. I saw the civic condition. I saw the General Hospropelled this piece was the road the roads from Erinjiyan -Ilawe center under construction at Adopitals under construction and renonetwork across the state. In the Ado-Ekiti were without a pothole. Ekiti; I saw the 12, 000-seater pavilvation across the state. I saw the words of Sam Fasanmi, a Varsity The dual carriage way from Ado ion under construction at AdoOba Rufus Adejuyigbe Hospital Don, "Any Community deprived of Ikere -Ekiti, the gateway to the state Ekiti. I saw the well-renovated under construction at Ado-Ekiti. I good roads will be outfitted of sohas been rehabilitated. The road Oluyemi Kayode Stadium at Adosaw the newly completed Aduni cial, economic and educational from Ado -Ijan-Ekiti is under a masEkiti, and the newly acquired three Olayinka Cancer Diagnostic transformation." sive re-construction. generating power plants at Ero Center at the University Teaching Virtually all the state roads in Driving through OkeimesiDam, Ikun- Ekiti. Hospital, UTH, Ado-Ekiti. I saw the Ekiti have been fully tarred. The Itawure-Efon-Alaaye to Ipole Iloro and back to Ikogosi-Ekiti was my most memorable time in Ekiti, the folklore land with rolling hills. No porthole seen. Also, the route from also have had their share of the vioto unite or face the consequences of our hearts and into our lives? Why Iwaraja in Osun State to Erinmolent attacks and death in the wake violence and ultimately war on our do we look at our neighbours, famIjesa connecting Efon-Alaaye to of visits by members of this hands. ily and friends and see only the Aramoko-Ekiti to Ijero and from dreaded sect the recent being the Nigeria is at a fragile stage in its “darkness” instead of the “light”? Aramoko to Igede-Iyin connecting attacks on Izghe village in Gwoza quest for a free and fair election hence When did friends, colleagues and Ado-Ekiti, the capital of the land of local government area of Borno the urgent need for all hands to be on neighbours become infidels and honour, as Ekiti is being fondly State. deck to realise this goal of a peaceful sacrificial lambs for the slaughter? called, were all without a dent. It’s all the same story of violence and united country. Our politicians When shall we see war and strife as I salute the Fayemi-led adminisand mayhem all over the country and aspirants should watch their ut“demons” to be cast out of our lives tration for their efforts towards as these are exhibited in different terances so as not to ignite negative for good? making Ekiti a place to be and to forms and patterns but all with the feelings against any tribe or religion Nelson Mandela came out of visit. I appreciate his efforts aimed same result. The rich oppressing the or incite violence in the hearts of the prison in 1990 after 27 years behind at abolishing poverty from Ekiti poor and delighting in the misuse populace at this time. They should bars with hard labour and wicked land. Fayemi's giant stride in Ekiti of power as a show of strength and preach peace and tolerance in their and uncompassionate wardens yet is an outright vindication of Abram wealth. Yet we as a people of dimessages and campaigns to their supthe first thing he did was to forgive Lincoln's affirmation about democverse cultures and multi ethnic soporters geared towards achieving his captors and embrace them in the racy being an avenue to serve the ciety should be united by our sustainable growth and development name of peace and love and enpeople! shared strength – our country. of the nation. joined his fellow South Africans to • Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye, Why do we let strife, anger, reli• Olalekan Jimoh, embrace same. It is time for all to Magodo, Lagos. gious intolerance and hatred into Ilorin, Kwara State embrace his last request to Africans

EDITOR’S MAIL BAG

Fayemi’s giant strides in road construction

Time for Nigerians to end the wars

IR: All over the world there is war and strife; from the battle in the Arab world where bloodshed is the order of the day to suicide bombings that daily deplete the world of its human species. Horrific pictures detail man’s inhumanity to man, videos show how these barbaric acts are carried out openly displaying little or no regard for the sanctity of the human life. From Afghanistan to Iraq, from Pakistan to Syria the story is the same. Even Africa is not left out. The Rwandan genocide of 1994 is still fresh in our minds and the country is yet to recover from the worst genocide in human history. South Sudan is still embroiled in war for control of natural resources and power with wanton destruction of lives and property going on. For more than two years now, the fear of Boko Haram has become the beginning of wisdom as these men unleash terror and fear on the populace in the north-east leaving destruction and ruin in their wake. From Borno, to Yobe and Adamawa– the once amiable enclave of the Northeast with its serene environment and warm people are under the rule of terror. Other states of the North like Zamfara, Plateau and Nasarawa

Who benefits from Lagos home ownership scheme?

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IR: From the look of things, the least of the Lagos housing scheme can only be afforded by millionaires and multimillionaires. Many Lagosians and residents who saw or read the Lagos Homs advert in the dailies or through other media have praised the government for the laudable scheme. Truly laudable, but when deeply considered, it is a travesty of the populace.

The question here is, who among the various classes of residents in Lagos State is the scheme meant for? Lagos being a state rich in people of divers classes: first class; second class and middle class, with the latter having more than 50% and on an average salary of N50,000 to N100,000, it is hard to know the true beneficiaries of the scheme. An average first class resident in Lagos State has more than one

house within the state. His second class counterpart has one and can afford to live in rented three or two bedroom flats in GRAs while the middle classes struggle to get one of the uncomfortable houses with lots of efforts in order to afford the exorbitant rent. The average wage earner should of necessity be the first beneficiary. With the eligibility and the mortgage charge being equal, the scheme

will not be benevolent enough if the sales amount is not reconsidered. A plea to Lagos State government and the supporting agencies to help review the sales amount for the inclusion of common average earner living in the state. • Kariola Mustapha, Lagos Mainland


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

COMMENTS

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est that Nigeria be restrucANT a peep into President tured so that region can, at Goodluck Jonathan’s impendleast, marshal the cash to fix its ing National Conference oil-devastated ecology. So, (NC)? Just look back at the president’s should Jonathan go through pre-2011 election Attahiru Jega joker. the motions of another NC But that doesn’t mean Jonathan would without radical re-tinkering of hold a monopoly of stunts at the NC. Nigeria, he would incur the Good Lord, no! About every bloc comboos of even generations uning there would stage manoeuvres; born in the Niger Delta. manoeuvres to outsmart the other bloc, Olakunle Still, Jonathan and his lobby and secure some short-term advantage. are not the only ones that lordbeek1@gmail.com, 08054504169 (Sms only, please) Abimbola That would be perfectly Nigerian! would attempt to play games. Still, what is at stake is a future proThe North, for one, with its ductive, truly federal Nigeria; as opsiddon-look temper (apologies posed to the present parasitic, pseudoto the late Chief Bola Ige) may federal Nigeria, on auto-pilot to self-denot have the clout to scuttle stroy. Jonathan confab. mation, the Independent National Electoral Commission As things stand, and without being unnecessarily alarmist, (INEC) chair and national commissioners, as the Uwais Panel But it picks no bones about its preference for the status-quo, it might just be the last opportunity for peaceful change; to had proposed. if sentiments from the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) are reconfigure the country for sustainable development. WhoBut even as President Jonathan rode the popular crest as electo be believed. That is apparently why the ACF has dismissed ever wins in 2015, but with the present self-destruct structure toral reforms (ER) president, he held close to his chest his decithe Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG’s restructuring model, afunaltered, Nigeria would still be tethered to its old ruinous sion to run or not to run. The not-so-hidden ploy was to shore ter its February 12 one-day Yoruba Constitutional Conference template. up his credibility; and the not-so-unwritten script was to emerge in Ibadan, Oyo State, as confederation bordering on disinteSo, the confab should work towards a long-term solution to the chief beneficiary from the ensuing reforms. gration. the perennial Nigerian crisis, and not short-term selfish maNow, therefore, is a distinct sense of déjà vu. Then, it was ER. noeuvres. But it doesn’t appear the leading actors are thinking The South East is an interesting study in contrasts. While the Now, it is NC. Then, mum was the word, on Jonathan running that way. They would rather game and push their luck. extant partisan establishment over there seems resolved to or not. Now, mum is the word on Jonathan’s re-run. Then, ER Besides, the build-up to the confab, its template of nominaput the future survival of their region at the service of Goodluck was a popular foil to build a callow president’s prospect. Now, tions and its general perception, have not betrayed any novel Jonathan’s presidential encore, Igbo Leaders of Thought, led NC is the platform to rebuild re-run credibility, after a presiapproach, judged against President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Naby Prof. Ben Nwabueze, are insistent on cutting a fair deal for dent’s near-disastrous full term. As it was with ER, Jonathan’s tional Political Reforms Conference (2005) and Gen. Sani the Igbo nation in a truly federal and restructured Nigeria. It mission is to emerge chief beneficiary of NC! Abacha’s National Constitutional Conference (1994/1995). would be interesting how these two strands play out at the The snag is, the deception is not so veiled this time round, if Yet, since these two confabs, rather than improve matters, confab. it was ever so veiled back then. Much as the president has the Nigerian polity has raced to the cliff at geometrical speed, But perhaps the most interesting manoeuvres would come tried, his lobbies continue to give the game away. to parody Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), that doomsday Engfrom the South West. The traditional South West stand is radiOld man, Edwin Clark, keeps on alienating — as, by the lish cleric of the Industrial Revolution era (1770-1850). cal restructuring ala Sovereign National Conference (SNC). way, he did with the North pre-2011 — with his vulgar abuse, That brings the discourse back to the probable Jonathan That was basically the idea the ARG one-day Yoruba conferother sections of the country he had decreed would vote his motive by the confab, and the pre-2011 the Attahiru Jega joker. ence sold, even if the Jonathan confab is not sovereign. presidential godson. Young man, Asari Dokubo, keeps on his After the disastrous 2007 election, Maurice Iwu had come to But immediate political exigencies have, somewhat, diluted trashy threat of war, should Jonathan, his Ijaw kin, lose. the end of his tether. So, accidental President Jonathan allied this consensus. The current South West partisan lords of the Yet, the minority South-South lacks the number for Jonathan himself with the popular clamour to remove Prof. Iwu and manor would not touch the Jonathan confab. But the body to prevail in a free and fair election. So, where will the tally reform the electoral system; with the opposition making a language of followers, in that same ruling party, is much more come from — the marines? feast of the Muhammed Lawal Uwais Electoral Reforms Pannuanced and ambivalent. In the building scenario, the NC is as good a grandstand el’s recommendations. On the other hand, the Afenifere old guard, with a few young platform as any, for electoral harvest. That, of course, has The president hit on the joker of Prof. Jega’s famed integrity elements, are clambering on the Olusegun Mimiko Labour fuelled leading opposition politicians’ wholesale dismissal of — a sure winner, after Iwu’s Iwuruwuru years. Party (LP) platform which, for sheer political survival, makes the exercise — another extreme, if you ask. But he did that without ceding, to the National Judicial Counno secret of its Jonathan dalliance. As Mimiko courts Jonathan President Jonathan apparently has tasted the sweet poison of cil (NJC), his sole power to appoint, subject to Senate confirto survive, Afenifere courts Mimiko to fend off the looming Nigeria’s central coffers; and would appear in no hurry to surhegemony of the Bola Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress render the honey pot — as the majority Hausa/Fulani and (APC) group. “Should Jonathan go through the Yoruba, before him. The question is how much of its SNC ideals Afenifere would President Obasanjo so enjoyed the lollies he, withmotions of another NC without radi- outIndeed, trade off, for the Mimiko-Jonathan support, in mortal fear of much ado, craved an unconstitutional third term, which he cal re-tinkering of Nigeria, he would however continues to deny! The North, on the other hand, an APC hegemony? So, when ARG roared against anyone betraying the “Yoruba cause”, at its Ibadan one-day meeting, sold on the hubris that that honey pot is its divine incur the boos of even generations appears it was clear the message was for the Mimiko-Afenifere camp. right to keep — in perpetuity, if possible! Again, it would be interesting how all these play out inside Still, the Niger Delta continues to bear the ecological brunt unborn in the Niger Delta” Jonathan’s confab. of Nigeria’s oil wealth. So, it is in the South-South’s best inter-

epublican ipples

Inside Jonathan’s confab

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P till sometime last week, I guess it was so easy to put the hiccups being experienced in the power sector to the birth pangs of the historic transition. However, unlike many among the army of critics of the transition, yours sincerely did not suffer the illusion that the singular event of the handover of the distribution companies to private sector operators would come near the magic wand being bandied; the same goes with the undue expectations that the problems that have dogged the sector would vanish overnight because some new owners said to have plenty of cash have suddenly arrived town. Beyond the question of whether the handover was historic or not, it takes a good understanding of the complex dynamics of the power sector to appreciate the fact that nothing was as yet (at least at this stage), given. Had the administration not been so eager to cart home the trophy before the final call of the game, it would have been more tempered in creating the climate of expectations and by so doing, spare itself, and the hapless electricity consumer, the orgy of celebrations of what is no more than a modest achievement of ceding the retail end of the electricity business to a disparate club of businessmen. And to imagine that is supposed to be the dividend of the reform odyssey that has taken nearly 10 years to berth. Now, it seems everyone, not least the government, would have to re-learn the lesson on the danger of counting the chicks before they are hatched. No doubt, the ugly experience of the past few months in the power sector must have been disappointing, to say the least for many Nigerians. And this is not just for the failure of the historic handover to fundamentally alter the electricity supply terrain but also for the fact that the harvest of new plants into the grid is yet to take the nation beyond the dark curtains. Presently, not only is the talk about the extant service thresholds taking a dip to unprecedented abysmal levels, the sad and uncomfortable reality is that the so-called jinx, which has held the sector down appears to have resurrected. While the current state of flux strikes at the heart of what the on-going reforms is meant to achieve, the latest fad of blaming the distribution companies (discos) for problems that are not their making is not only unfair but unhelpful. Two issues seem to me to be at the heart of the current crisis in the power sector both of which hardly present the government as anything but one running on alibis. The first is its continuing claim about the gas supply situation; linked to this is the recurrent claim of vandalisation of the gas pipelines by criminals. The second is the slow pace of completion of the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) expected to boost the capacity of the grid. On the first, it seems taken that no substantial progress can

Policy Sanya Oni sanyaoni@yahoo.co.uk 08051101841

Problem Has Changed Name (PHCN) be achieved without improvements in generation and the ability to evacuate the power so generated for sale to the end users. Unfortunately, it appears that our federal government has long resolved that the twin challenges of gas supply and the associated vandalism of pipelines and transmission lines are such that would require a millennium to tackle. Nothing, perhaps, can be more unflattering than the fact that nearly a decade after the coming of the Power Sector Reform Act, and seven years after the government opened the first tranche of the Letters of Credit for the procurement of the equipment for the NIPPs, we are not just stuck with worn alibis, the serial shifting of the goal posts for the completion of the plants continues unabated. By the way, who remembers these days the 700 KV Super grid projected to cost of $3.5 billion grid on which President Goodluck Jonathan once pronounced? What has happened nearly four years after? No wonder the hype about the transfer of the distribution segment to private investors; the whole idea, it would seem, is to present it as the weakest link – the major undoing of the complex chain when in reality, the interest in that last mile is no more than the typical desire to share in the nation’s booty by the privileged elite. It certainly may not have helped that the new investors and the regulators have not been forthcoming in terms of delivering a new framework for service delivery; it is however a different call to present the discos as the problem

when they are actually no more than symptoms of the Nigerian Disease of mediocrity. Should Nigerians expect improvement in electricity supply anytime soon? For an answer to the question, we turn to the chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Sam Amadi as reported by The Punch. I may well add that I found his summary of the so-called transition milestone both interesting and instructive. Here is what he said: “Yes we have oversold the handing over as a panacea; may be because we had expected people who had enough financial clouts to take over but they did not…what the regulator is doing is manage the scarcity to see if we can get entry points for more power through regeneration! That was the regulator, barely stopping short of describing an exercise, touted as marking the turning point in the power sector reform as an elaborate farce! I need to make an important point at this juncture. I don’t for believe that the argument for the liberalisation of the power sector is necessarily weakened by the dilatory approaches of successive PDP administrations. Indeed, it seems to me that the argument for opening up the sector for competition has become even more compelling now. To start with, I don’t think Nigerians would find much troubles in answering the question of whether a quarter of what the PDP administration has sunk into the power sector would deliver by far more value to the grid if given to the private sector. Rather the more pertinent question is whether the nation can afford to leave the power sector in the hands of the utterly inept, visionless administration that have done little else than mismanage our expectations from the sector.

‘It seems taken that no substantial progress can be achieved without improvements in generation and the ability to evacuate the power so generated for sale to the end users. Unfortunately, it appears that our federal government has long resolved that the twin challenges of gas supply and the associated vandalism of pipelines and transmission lines are such that would require a millennium to tackle’


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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HOSE who are saying I should be removed are wasting their time, it is just beer parlour talk; this minister is here today, tomorrow and day after—Stella Oduah, Sunday 26 January, 2014. That was a boastful former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah at a recent “Aviation Masterplan Workers’ Buy in” programme held at the Grand Ballroom of Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lekki. The 3-day event had in attendance top management staff of the main parastatals in the ministry as well as a few others drawn mainly from her committee of friends carried over from the infamous “Neighbour-to-Neighbour” campaign group. Remember; the faceless group at the fore front of the campaign for Jonathan presidency the first time? Some of those in attendance even quoted her to have added; “yes, I may not have gone to school, but I have native intelligence.” Hmmmm! The sack last week of arguably one of the most powerful members of President Goodluck Jonathan’s government came as a huge surprise to not just a few Nigerians. The way and manner Madam Stella was conducting herself and the affairs of the Ministry of Aviation with near total impunity without even a mere rebuke from the presidency in spite of public outcry, gave little room to doubt that nothing, absolutely nothing, could touch her as long as Jonathan remains Nigeria’s president. Unlike that Ghanaian former female cabinet Minister that boasted that her mission in government was to make a few millions of

‘As Madam Stella is kicked out of office, she would be remembered not so much by her accomplishments/achievements, (if any, think there is a few) but by the politics of her action (the Rivers State aircraft issue), the arrogance of power she exhibited and the native intelligence that reflected in all her actions’

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Stella Oduah; so much for native intelligence dollars, a comment she was later to regret as she was promptly fired by the Ghanaian president, (for even harbouring the thought) Stella Oduah had reportedly said and done worse than that and nothing happened to her until last week. If truly she “may not have gone to school but have native intelligence”, little wonder then that she could not comprehend the enormity of the assignment given to her by the president, hence she ran the Ministry of Aviation based on how far her native intelligence could take her. Like a market woman put in charge of a hi-tech industry, Madam Stella did not know her right from left and presided over Nigeria’s aviation industry in the typical Oyingbo market woman style. Before I am crucified for saying this, let me make it clear that I am not a novice in aviation and count myself as one of those Nigerian journalists well informed about aviation matters worldwide, especially the Nigerian aviation industry, having spend over a decade actively covering aviation as a correspondent and still involved in the industry somehow. We’ve never had it so bad in the industry in Nigeria. Forget about the so called airport remodeling projects of Stella Oduah, those are just cosmetics, which only a market woman awash with cash and obsessed with ‘show off’, the ‘Sisi Eko’ mentality would readily indulge in. The tendency, when you have so much cash and not accountable to anybody, to build houses all over the place and acquire properties, without any thought of how to adequately equip and maintain them to make them continually functional. That in summary is the mentality behind the airport remodeling

N a socio-economically developing country especially, like Nigeria, presidential posturing and actions can weigh significantly on the shape and direction of the national psyche. Alarmed at the engineered polarization of the national psyche and consequent tensions, I sought access to the president's ears. Extracts of my two hour engagement with the president are shared hereunder. Me: Good evening Mr President and thank you for your time. President Jonathan (GEJ): You are welcome and how are things with you? Me: Things are okay with me sir, business is good, family is fine and I can say that I am enjoying life but things are depressing! GEJ: You seem to be contradicting yourself or did I not get you clearly? Me: Sir, it is the same contradiction as that of Nigeria being a rich country with poor people. The pervading atmosphere is that of dejection and anger. You are aware sir, that a volcano can lie dormant 'forever' but you don't tempt fate by going to live nearby and thinking that if it has not erupted all this while it must be in a state of permanent docility. GEJ: So Goodluck Jonathan is to blame for the dejection and all the angry faces in Nigeria and your volcano? Me: No sir and you miss the point. It is not about you! It is about Nigeria and Nigerians! All this counter intuitive referencing of every issue to self, tribe or section is plainly diversionary and potentially devastatingly destructive. GEJ … cuts in... You say it is not about me so let me ask if it is my administration that is now responsible for ethnic rivalry or are we the ones sponsoring the so called ethnic bigots? Me: No sir but you can play a part in steering us away from that dangerous direction. Your body language suggests that you are not uncomfortable with all the propaganda. Let me assure you sir, that anybody who is discomfited or opposed to your being president on account of your ethnic origin or religion is doing so out of only selfish motives. You will be surprised that because of years of retrogressive feudalism and mis-governance, the illiteracy level in the north is such that a large chunk of the population does not know Goodluck Jonathan or that there is anywhere called Bayelsa! We fought a civil war because the senseless killings by a handful of army officers of Igbo extraction led to senseless reprisal killings of innocent Igbos as if the officers were acting at their behest or with their blessing. This collective responsibility propaganda is dangerous and wrong. The majority of our hapless people do not base everything on ethnicity or religion as some will like us to believe. That is why Nigerians live freely together in all parts of the country and intermarry and do business with so called 'different' people from other tribes and have no problems but the locust elite will not let them be, and keep on promoting divisiveness. Sir, you can steer the national discourse away from every issue being given an ethnic or religious colouration. Human nature is basically selfish and resort to territoriality is all in furtherance of selfishness. GEJ: So what is your point because I do not see the relevance of

projects as far as I am concerned. Of what use is a ‘beautiful’ terminal building where the conveniences are not working or in constant good order; where uninterrupted power cannot be guaranteed; where pilfering goes on unabated? By the way an airport is not just the terminal building, it is more than that. What is the state of the navigational equipments at these remodeled airports? If the terminal building is the most beautiful and most modern in the world but the airfield is 19th century technology, you have done nothing but build a modern palace equipped with pit latrine. Well, the jury is still out on Stella’s airports. What is most disturbing is the financial management style of Madam Stella and the source or sources of the funds used for her airport projects in particular. It is alleged that not less than N150 million is taken by the Ministry of Aviation under Madam Stella’s watch, every month from the account of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), one of the agencies under the ministry. This is a serious allegation that requires urgent investigation by all the anti graft agencies of the Federal Government to confirm or disprove. Nothing is proven yet and Madam Stella is not guilty, cannot be guilty until proven guilty. It is a good thing that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says the matter of the N225 million bullet proof limousine scandal involving NCAA and linking the former Minister is still being investigated. You remember the BMW cars, two of them, allegedly bought by the NCAA for the exclusive use of Madam Oduah? Why the former

Minister made spirited efforts to distance herself from the scandal insisting she directed the parastatal in question to do the needful, the House of Representatives found out that her hands were not clean in the matter while a presidential panel equally indicted her. That President Goodluck Jonathan found the courage to kick Madam Stella out, or forced her to resign is commendable, even though belated. But having gone this far, the president must take the next step and ensure that she is investigated by the relevant agencies of government and prosecuted for whatever offence she might have committed while in government, especially financial crimes as being alleged. It might not be a bad idea to conduct a forensic examination of the financial dealings and records of the Ministry of Aviation and its parastatals under Madam Stella Oduah, just to put the records straight. Apart from the NCAA, the accounts of the other parastatals were equally raided by the Ministry under her watch, such that most, if not all were left with nothing other than enough to pay salaries. Even training allowances for staff on mandatory local and/or international training programmes, especially at NCAA could not be met became money had been sent to Abuja. Trusting the EFCC to do a thorough job here is a bit risky. As the Senate has ordered in the case of the alleged missing money in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), forensic experts should be called in to look into Madam Stella’s book. A lot could be revealed. For instance there is this allegation that the former minister had squandered the funds realized under the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) Nigeria has with so many foreign countries. Some have said part of the money for her airport projects came from the BASA fund which under the law she had no power to spend. But some have equally alleged that the former Minister used her closeness to the President to cunningly get Dr Jonathan to sign a blank cheque for to spend BASA money. These are just allegations. As Madam Stella is kicked out of office, she would be remembered not so much by her accomplishments/achievements, (if any, think there is a few) but by the politics of her action (the Rivers State aircraft issue), the arrogance of power she exhibited and the native intelligence that reflected in all her actions. But above all, she would be remembered as a round peg in a square hole. GOOD RIDDANCE Madam and over to you President Jonathan, let the needful be done in her case.

If I were the President

By Edo Ukpong

all this theory? Me: I am just making the point sir, that resort to 'ethnic games’ is like sitting on a keg of gunpowder. Also and has been proven by experts, ethnicity is a major contributory cause for underdevelopment and poverty. GEJ: Why do you assume that I am naïve and do not understand these things? Of course it is all politics! Okay let me concede that it is food for thought but get to the point of your visit, what of all the advice you claimed to have? Me: There are three actions you must take immediately which will start the redirection away from the trending impunity, calm the rising national temperature and portray you as a leader. First make Governor Amaechi irrelevant to our destiny by immediately acknowledging that mistakes have been made in the Rivers crisis by all sides and that those purportedly fighting in your corner should cease henceforth and accord him all due recognition as the Governor of Rivers State and that you also recognise his electoral victory as chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum. GEJ: .. mscheew! Of what importance is Rotimi Amaechi? Or is Amaechi now the solution to Nigeria's problems? Me: He is not the solution but you have made him your biggest problem and the Rivers crisis is now a serious national virus. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him! All because you did not apply Law 36 of the book- '48 Laws of Power' GEJ: My friend you obviously do not know how demanding this job is or you think I have time to read all these books. So what is law 36? Me: Basically it says 'disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge'. Your control of Rivers State or the governors’ forum or Amaechi's respect and support would have been nice but since all proved elusive, you should have disdained them and really what is the big deal about chairman of governors’ forum? A confluence of disparate and mostly unpopular governors with competing egos and selfish conflicting interests, was heading for inevitable irrelevance before you unwittingly breathed life into it. Let me share an illustration of the law as contained in the book – A monkey was carrying two handfuls of peas. One little pea dropped out. He tried to pick it up and split twenty. He tried to pick up the twenty and split them all. Then he lost his temper scattered the peas in all directions and ran away. I need not say more sir! GEJ: So I am behind the Rivers crisis or the governors’ forum crisis? Me: I do not think that discussion is worthy of our time sir and if I may be frank – only a fool will believe otherwise! Secondly sir, announce the immediate cancellation of any plans for a national conference or if you think this too drastic, announce

its postponement in the national interest and for wider consultation. Mr President this is a meaningless exercise and a waste of valuable resources. Apart from not having any legal or constitutional basis, the modalities clearly show that it is just a charade. If people are complaining of marginalization how are they going to obtain redress, in a conference where some of them will have no representation at all and worse still, decisions can only be taken based on unanimity or 70% approval! This is a recipe for perpetual agitation and more anger. If held, it does not take a soothsayer to predict that it will end in chaos and abandonment. This will not be good for the country and you are better off reverting to your initial posture that there are institutions to take care of the issues and we need to strengthen and build confidence in the institutions so that the problem areas can be addressed meaningfully with citizens having a say in a democratic atmosphere. In any event and as the first digital president, why not just ask every ethnic and other interest group to collate their positions and send them to a national conference website. Let us have an Econference instead. GEJ: Are you being serious, can I possibly do that kind of summersault, because to be honest I never knew this matter will be this complex. Me: Yes you can – that is leadership and you must know your people now, all those self sponsored protagonists for a conference will jump to your defence and posit that any conference that is not sovereign is meaningless and that it will be preposterous for a constitutionally elected president to convene a conference outside the ambit of the same constitution under which he derives legitimacy! GEJ: You are very cynical; anyway I have to go now so last point. Me: You have no friends sir! So if protection of friends is what has killed the fledgling anti-corruption drive, do another summersault. The free-for-all is not good at all and you may not know it but corruption is the greatest turn-off for you administration. Nigerians give a damn about corruption and it is the number one problem of Nigeria's unfortunate circumstances. GEJ: Thank you although frankly I was expecting more from you but thanks all the same Me: Sorry to disappoint you sir but sleep over everything and in any case, Law 22 says that, surrender can be a tool of power – ultimately! So think of the big picture sir and lastly since this is Valentine season and on a lighter note – how is your love life, your Excellency? GEJ: Thank God it was you that said it is not about me! And we are not in France! General laughter -There is nothing like waking up from a dream with laughter, as in the case of this fictional chat with a man I have never met. • Ukpong is a legal practitioner


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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“Any act of corruption would confirm the notion that government officials are corrupt. Every act of fair dealings brings hope to the common man in the society” See page 39

E-mail:- law@thenationonlineng.net

INSIDE:

Ministers owe their appointment and tenure to the discretion of the President. That is how it should be. That is the practice in all the democracies in the world. They are accountable to the President and the people through the National Assembly

INEC, Jega, Zinox to open in N17.3b judgment suit -Page 27

‘Comply with climate change laws in town planning’ -Page 28

•President Jonathan

‘I grew up knowing only law’ -Page 37

Court issues bench warrant on AGF, Defence Minister, others -Page 38

Cross Country boss, Okorodudu asks court to quash N82.8m theft charge -Page 40

Last week, President Goodluck Jonathan dropped four ministers, among them the controversial Princess Stella Oduah, who held the aviation portfolio. Some lawyers argue that more should have been sacked, giving their poor performances. To the lawyers, ministers cannot perform well, unless they are appointed on merit and insulated from the President’s whims. JOSEPH JIBUEZE reports.

Recipe for an efficient cabinet

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OW can Nigeria get an efficient cabinet? To some lawyers, it is by giving ministers a secure tenure. Others disagree, saying that would be against the grain of the presidential system. These arguments were ignited by President Goodluck Jonathan’s sack of four ministers last week. Gone are the controversial Minister of Aviation Stella Oduah, Police Affairs Minister Caleb Olubolade, Niger Delta Minister Godsday Orubebe and Minister of State, Finance Yerima Ngama.

Last September 11, the President sacked nine ministers —Prof Ruqayyatu Rufai (Education); Okon Ewa-Bassey (Science and Techology); Olugbenga Ashiru (Foreign Affairs); Hadiza Mailafia (Environment); Shamsudeen Usman (National Planning); Ama Pepple (Housing, Lands and Urban Development); Olusola Obada (State, Defence); Alhaji Bukar Tijani (Agriculture), and Zainab Kuchi (Power). But with allegations of non-performance against Jonathan’s government rife, should

more ministers have been fired last week? Some think so. Section 147 of the 1999 Constitution makes appointment of ministers the President’s exclusive decision. It says: There shall be such offices of ministers of the government of the federation as may be established by the President. The appointments, based on national character (at least one minister from a state), are subject to Senate confirmation. Ministers do not enjoy a secure tenure, and can be removed at the President’s whim. This, observers say, make them beholden to the President rather than the public whom they are to serve. The effect is that ministers who last the longest, analysts say, are those proud to defend the President whenever he is criticised. The idea has, therefore, been mooted that, like the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, •Continued on page 26


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

LAW COVER CONT’D

•Fagbohungbe

•Nwobike

•Omoyinmi

•Aturu

•Mumuni

Recipe for an efficient cabinet •Continued from page 25 minister should have a secure tenure. This, it is believed, would enhance their performances and enable them push through their ideas without fear of undue repercussions. But, according to a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr Joseph Nwobike, amending the Constitution to provide for a secure tenure for ministers would go against global practice of the presidential system. He said: “Ministers owe their appointment and tenure to the discretion of the President. That is how it should be. That is the practice in all the democracies in the world. They are accountable to the President and the people through the National Assembly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. “On the other hand, the office of CBN is a creation of the CBN Act. The same law prescribes the tenure of the office holder. There are, therefore, completely different considerations for the two offices. “I cannot dismiss the Jonathan cabinet. The cabinet has, to a reasonable extent, men and women who have dedicated themselves to the services of this country. There are also some of them who have not performed well. However, as in every human arrangement, there is always the reason and opportunity to improve.” How then can ministers be made to perform better? Lawyers said it would require courage on the President’s part to appoint technocrats who can deliver, and that how the President performs would rub off on his ministers. In the eye of some, Jonathan has not really led by example. “The non-performance of the Jonathan government has got nothing to do with his ministers. Jonathan himself has not shown that he was actually prepared for the job of presiding over Nigeria as President,” said Abayomi Omoyinmi, a member of the Ogun State Judicial Service Commission. “The job of governance is very enormous and what the cabinet consists of is what is called job for the boys. I’m afraid I’m not expecting anything from those coming in other than making the numbers

The job of governance is very enormous and what the cabinet consists of is what is called job for the boys. I’m afraid I’m not expecting anything from those coming in other than making the numbers and marking time in the remainder of this government

and marking time in the remainder of this government,” he added. Lagos lawyer Omodara Samson said until parochial interests stop being the basis of appointments, ineptitude would remain. “Appointments here tend to be based on political patronage, godfatherism, favoritism and nepotism. It is not usually based on merit. There are a lot of Nigerian who are eminently qualified for positions in this country, but because they do not have connections, they will not be considered. “At the end, we have round pegs in square holes, and that has been the bane of development in this country. Until that is addressed, we might not be able to move forward positively,” Samson said, adding that political leaders must have a sincerity of purpose to make right choices, and must detach themselves from undue influences. At the root of executive non-performance is corruption and lack of transparency, analysts have said. If the head is corrupt-free, those under him would have no choice than to tow same path of rectitude. Executive Director of the SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) Adetokunbo Mumuni said if indeed the desired efficiency which will translate to transparency, accountability and

good governance is to be achieved, a fundamental cabinet shake-up (not movement and mere reposting of ministers from one ministry to another) must take place. “My expectation from the Jonathan presidency still revolves around the issue of transparency, accountability and anti-corruption. It is because these issues are not being addressed with commitment that inefficiency and bad governance are evident in all spheres of life in Nigeria,” he said. A former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja Branch chairman Dave Ajetumobi said there been “a lot of motion without movement” in the cabinet. “You can’t really perform beyond the person who appointed you. If you are too eager to work, meaning may be read into it. They can only perform within the space available to them. For most of them, their appointments are based more on party patronage than on merit, making the person loyal to his constituency. “You see ministers crediting everything to the President, just because they want to be in his good books. The President is more or less a demi-god to them. As long as they can continue to bootlick, they remain in office. So, it doesn’t really make for good performance. “These days performance is also about how a minister attacks and deals with opponents ruthlessly. We remember a former Minister of Aviation who ‘performed’ because he was able to abuse and rubbish opponents, when he should be dealing exclusively with air safety issues. “We want to see more of merit. Party considerations cannot be ruled out, but they can’t say these are the best they can get in PDP. There are technocrats in the party who can deliver on the job effectively. Anybody in government should really consider the national interest,” Ajetumobi said. Asked to assess Jonathan’s cabinet, activist-lawyer Bamidele Aturu believes there is a general inefficiency, which he described as tragic. He said: “Non-performance is the defining characteristics of Nigerian governments at all levels. It is just that the higher the level the worse the performance. In

other words, the rot at the Federal government is the worst. But generally the rot is everywhere. “So, my view is that none of our leaders really deserve the positions they hold, from local government councilors to the topmost level. Those coming in are being appointed on the basis of their connections to godfathers and not on the basis of competence. The appointments and removals are based on petty politicking. That is tragic. “Our people must get involved actively in directing our country by being organised to stop the organised rot.” Former NBA Ikeja Branch chairman Niyi Idowu said the antecedents of those to be appointed ministers should be taken into consideration. “Some of the ministers are just bench-warmers. A sizeable number of them are not really doing anything, or probably they don’t really know what it entails to be a minister. Some see it as compensation for their roles during campaigns. In my view, more of the current ministers should have been should have been shown the way out. “Individual background matters in such appointments. If a former Student Union leader a leader in a profession mismanaged the association’s funds, you should know such people are not qualified to hold public office because it’s in the blood. In fact, members of the public should be allowed to make suggestions,” Idowu said. However, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) said Jonathan should be given the benefit of the doubt. “The President is the one in charge, he is the one involved. So he is the one who knows that they are not performing and that the public is not satisfied with his own administration. So I am sure he must be looking for ways of improving his performance by removing those people that he thinks are not contributing to the success of his administration. “It is the President’s prerogative to appoint ministers, and to drop ministers and to keep ministers because he is the only one that is accountable to whole of Nigeria. So whoever he feels will make him happy, that would provide result

•Idowu

•Ajetumobi

•Samson

and improve performance of his administration, he would appoint,” he said. He urged the new ministers to learn from others mistake, saying: “They should avoid those things that led to the pitfalls of their predecessors in office and led to their removal.”

Akpabio seeks quick delivery of justice

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KWA Ibom State Governor Godwill Akpabio has vowed to end slow justice delivery in the state. Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting, he said the government would address issues that hamper smooth administration of justice. At the meeting were members of House of Assembly Committee on Justice and Public Petitions, and a representative of the police. The governor observed that pros-

By Joseph Jibueze

ecution of cases had been slowed down by judiciary budgeting impediments. He said he would implement suggestions from the meeting as the government continues to seek better ways of improving judicial operations. Akpabio praised the judiciary for doing justice despite challenges. According to him, the aim should

always be to ensure that “it is better for one criminal to be set free than for hundreds of innocent people to suffer a crime they did not commit.” The state Chief Judge, Justice Idongesit Ntem-Isua said the Judiciary would continue to collaborate with the executive and the legislative arms towards a better society. Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Ekpenyong Ntekim told reporters: “The meeting was to address issues that mili-

tate against smooth administration of justice in the state. We looked at a number of areas ranging from congestion of the court, inadequate court facilities and general funding of the judiciary. “Certain steps have been taken and to be implemented, certain committees have been setup to ensure the implementation these policies. Also, the budgetary provision of the judiciary would be looked into by the legislative arm with a view to en-

hancing their operation generally. “Hopefully, when these are brought to bear, we are going to have smooth operations in the justice system. “There was no conflict between the executive and the judiciary. Issues that related to the three arms of government were smoothly addressed. All these arms of government belong to the same government, so you cannot be in conflict with yourself,” he said.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

NATIONAL BAR Preparatory to the commencement of hearing in the post-judgment effort by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and two others to halt the execution of a N17.3billion judgment entered against them for copyright infringement, ERIC IKHILAE examines how the impudence of the commission’s leadership has led INEC and its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega into a needless litigation, which the country has expended and is still expending huge resources, and whose outcome no one can predict.

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INEC, Jega, Zinox to open in N17.3b judgment suit

HE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), its Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega and one of the commission’s contractors, Zinox Technologies Limited are on March 14, this year, expected to commence their fight for a stay of execution of a January 28 judgment got against them and three others from the Federal High Court, Abuja. They are expected to argue their applications pending the appeal to the judgment. The same exercise was to take place on February 11, but the absence of the applicants, who neither gave reasons for their absence nor sent legal representations, stalled the exercise. The development informed Justice Ibrahim Auta’s decision to adjourn to March 14. The judgment was on a suit by a firm-Bedding Holdings Limited (BHL), marked: FHC/ ABJ/CS/816/2010. It was filed shortly after INEC awarded about N34.5billion contracts for the supply of Direct Data Capturing machines for registration of voters, preparatory to the 2011 general elections. Defendants included INEC, Prof Jega, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Haier Electrical Appliance Corporation Limited, Zenox and Avante International Technology Incorporated. The plaintiff had claimed the sole ownership of the subsisting patent rights Nos: RP16642 and RP NG/P/2010/202, and copyrights designs No: RD13841covering its inventions - the Proof of Address System Scheme (PASS) and the Electronic Collapsible Transparent Ballot Box (ECTBB). It claimed that a combination of both inventions creates a voters’ register involving ”the process and application of DDC machines for the compilation and collection of various biodata.” It said the suit was intended to protect its inventions after INEC proceeded to award the DDC contracts despite having been notified of its subsisting patents and the need to first obtain its consent. While parties led evidence in the course of trial, it became evident that the process, over which the plaintiff claimed ownership, included “the collation of bio-data of any Nigerian living in the country,” a process similar to what INEC applied the DDC machines for. In the judgment, Justice Auta noted that the plaintiff’s case was mainly, that it is the bona fide owner of the patent rights Nos: RP16642 and RP NG/P/2010/202; copyrights designs No: RD13841(covering its inventions), while INEC and Jega denied infringing the plaintiff’s patent, arguing that the plaintiff’s invention was not novel, and that it was designed for electronic voting, which they did not employ for their elections. Haier and Zinox equally argued that BHL’s invention was not new and that similar process had been used in other countries before now. After a thorough analysis of evidence by parties, the judge observed that none of the defendants claimed to have patent rights over the process claimed by the plaintiff in Nigeria. He also noted that none of the defendants was able to discredit the plaintiff’s claim to the patent rights, which certificates it tendered in court, but have only argued that such patents were not new. The judge also noted that although Zinox filed a counter-claim, it failed to lead evidence in its support and therefore, abandoned it. Relying on the provision of Section 2(1) of the Patents and Designs Act (PDA) 2004, Justice Auta upheld BHL’s claim to the patent rights. Section 2(1) provides: “Subject to this section, the right to a patent in respect of an invention is vested in the statutory inventor, that is to say, the person who, whether or not he is the true inventor, is the first to file, or validly claim a foreign priority for, a patent application in respect of the invention.” On the issue of novelty, the judge also held that, in the absence of any evidence to challenge the certificate issued to the plaintiff by the Registrar of Patent, it implies that the invention in question is new. In resolving the question whether the plain-

tiff was able to establish that the defendants infringed on its intellectual property rights, the judge relied on the provision of Sections 6(1)(b) and 25(1) of the PDA in holding in favour of the plaintiff. The judge hinged his decision on the ground that the plaintiff had shown that INEC, without its consent, awarded contracts to the three companies, for the supply of DDC machines for the process of voters registration. Section 6(1)(b) provides: “Where the patent has been granted in respect of a process, the act of applying the process or doing, in respect of a product obtained directly by means of the process, any other acts mentioned in the paragraph (a) of the is subsection.” Section 25(1) provides: “The right of a patentee or design owner are infringed if another person, without the licence of the patentee or design owner, does or cause the doing of any act, which that other person is precluded from doing under Sections 6 or 9 of this Act, as the case may be.” Justice Auta also referred to a book titled: “Reflections of a Nigerian electoral umpire,” written by former INEC Chairman, Abel Guobadia, who under similar circumstance, sought the plaintiff’s consent prior to the 1999 general election. Guobadia, on page 85 of the book explained how the sound advice from a former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Commerce (the patent issuing ministry), Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed and the then AGF, assisted INEC in avoiding needless, long-winding and fundwasting litigation over a patent right they found to genuinely belonged to BHL. The judge observed that, rather than follow the example laid by his predecessor, Jega and INEC chose to award the contracts, even when they knew that somebody else has a subsisting patent right over the process they intended to adopt and that they do not have the patentee’s consent. He said while the plaintiff, during trial, tendered evidence to show that it has the right to the intellectual property, none of the defendants claimed to have any. He noted that none of the defendants presented evidence to show that they did not infringe on the plaintiff’s existing right. Justice Auta observed, from evidence before the court, that the plaintiff and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Sylvester Odigie were awarded national honours in the past, for their creativity and contributions to the nation’s economic development. One of such, according to the judge, was the Nigerian highest order of honour and dignity for productivity - the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM), in 1997 by the then Head of State. “From the above compelling evidence before the court, which the former Chairman and Secretary of INEC admitted - that the plaintiff is the registered owner of the said patent - the court has no option, but to hold that the defendants have breached the plaintiff’s right to the said property. “Everybody, for the avoidance of doubt, including INEC and all government institutions have the responsibility to obey the law of the land. “The business of election is a very serious business, which affects the interest of the country, as it affects elections into the various arms of government. “Therefore, INEC should always play by the rules, so that its failure to follow due process in awarding contacts should not affect elections to be so conducted,” the judge held when entering judgment in the plaintiff’s favour.

This is not the first time the plaintiff is obtaining judgment against INEC over the same issue. On June 5, 2012 another judge of the same Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice Adamu Bello, now retired, in a judgment in suit No: FHC/ ABJ/CS/82/11 held among others, that BHL owns valid and subsisting patent rights over Transparent Ballot Boxes and Electronic Collapsible Transparent Ballot Boxes being used by INEC for elections in the country. Justice Bello upheld BHL’s claim to being the bona fide patentee and the exclusive owner of the invention named “Transparent Ballot Boxes” on which it was issued certificate of registration patent rights No. RP12994 and registration of industrial designs rights No. RD5946 by the Registrar of Patents on January 12, 1998. The court also upheld the subsequent certification of an improvement on the invention named “Electronic Collapsible Transparent Ballot Boxes” (with certificate of registration of patent rights No. RP16642 and registration of industrial designs rights No. RD13841 issued on November 27, 2006, which are still valid. The judge voided the rights over similar inventions purportedly issued later, by the Registrar of Patent, to three firms, Emchai Limited, Tambco United Nigeria Ltd and Anowat Project and Resources Ltd (which INEC issued contract to for the importation of BHL’s patented ballot boxes without its consent). Similar incidents had preceded the award of contract for the supply of the ballot boxes as was the case with the DDC machines. And as if playing the same script, INEC again applied for a stay of execution of the latter judgment as it did with the former judgment. It did not only failed to seek BHL’s consent in its subsequent procurement and deployment of the ballot boxes, INEC went ahead to conduct elections despite Justice Bello’s judgment. As it has done now, INEC later applied that the judgment be stayed. But in his ruling on May 28, 2013 Justice Bello refused to stay execution of the judgment on the ground that it was declaratory in nature (as the one by Justice Auta). The judge equally frowned at INEC and Jega’s decision to deploy the same ballot boxes for subsequent elections, including the governorship elections held in Edo and Ondo States, without the consent of the plaintiff and in disregard of the court’s subsisting order made on June 5, 2012. Justice Bello held that it was funny that INEC and Jega would approach his court for an indulgence having willingly disregarded and flouted its order. “They (INEC and Jega) conducted the elections on July 14 and October 20, 2012, using the same ballot boxes as averred by the plaintiff/ respondent (BHL) in its counter affidavit, which has not been denied by the 6th and 7th defendants (INEC and Jega) in the two further and better affidavit, in total disregard to the injunctive order, the execution of which they now seek to stay by their application. “Since the elections have been conducted, the need for staying the execution of the injunctive order granted by the court has abated, at least for now. And even if the need for the order for stay of execution has not abated, the defendants by proceeding to conduct the two elections, using the same ballot boxes, the use of which was restrained by the court’s judgment, have soiled their hands and can not therefore seek the indulgence of the court. “He, who comes to equity, must come with clean hands. The 6th and 7th defendants have not come with clean hands before the court and can not therefore, seek for equitable relief of

From the above compelling evidence before the court, which the former Chairman and Secretary of INEC admitted - that the plaintiff is the registered owner of the said patent the court has no option, but to hold that the defendants have breached the plaintiff’s right to the said property

•Jega

stay of execution of the order in the judgment. “Consequently, I refuse to grant the application, as granting it will be tantamount to the court encouraging further breach of its own judgment order, which subsists until set aside by the Court of Appeal.” Justice Bello, however, stayed proceedings in the contempt case brought against INEC, Jega and others by BHL for flouting the court’s orders as contained in the June 5, 2012 judgment. Today, INEC’s refusal to simply play by the rules and avoid needless litigation, as was the tradition in the past, has exposed it to multiple litigations, on which the country’s scarce resources is being expending to the pleasure of some few. BHL has not only appealed Justice Bello’s decision to stay proceedings in its contempt case, it has also initiated fresh case in relation to fresh instances of violation of its patent right, as upheld in the June 5, 2012 judgment. In its appeal, BHL is contending that Justice Bello had no business staying proceedings in the contempt case, having found that INEC and Jega disobeyed his court’s order. It also argued that since contempt proceedings are separate from the cases from which they emerged, they could run separately. BHL queried Justice Bello’s decision to make the consequential order staying proceedings in the contempt case when no party sought for such order. Among other suits initiated by BHL following the Judgment by Justice Bello is a contempt proceedings against the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its key officials, including President Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo, over the use of its ballot boxes at the party’s last mini-convention held in Abuja, without its consent. It has also filed different cases where it, among others, prayed the court to void the elections that produced Adams Oshiomhole (Edo Governor), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo) and Willie Obiano (Anambra) on the ground that its ballot boxes were used without its consent, in violation of the June 5, 2012 judgment. The cases, now before Justice Ahmed Mohammed (also of the Federal High Court, Abuja) have been adjourned till March 18. The question being asked by everyone is why INEC, under Jega, wilfully opens itself to unnecessary litigations, spending huge sums to engag senior lawyers, when it could simply avoid them. The fear now is that, aside public funds deployed to fight these needless legal battles, like in actual war, no one can predict their outcome. What happens if the plaintiff, as it has been in two instances, succeeds in the cases that seek to void the elections held after the June 5, 2012 judgment? What happens should the court find that President Jonathan and other PDP leaders were in contempt of court when INEC led them into deploying BHL’s ballot boxes without its consent? Will it not be wise for INEC to simply heed Justice Auta’s counsel to learn to “play by the rules” and learn that its primary role is the conduct of free, fair and unencumbered elections, and that it will serve the nation better by simply avoiding courting unnecessary troubles?


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

LEGAL OPINION A paper presented by CHIEF JOE-KYARI GADZAMA (SAN) at the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian Law School.

50 years of legal education in Nigeria: A critique •Continued from lastweek In 1914, the Supreme Court Ordinance 1914 repealed the Supreme Court Ordinance of 1876. This marked the second phase of legal training in Nigeria. During the second phase, the professionally qualified lawyers monopolised legal practice in Nigeria. This was so because enrolment was restricted to qualified lawyers only. 3. Establishment of the Nigerian Law School Clearly, the legal training in the United Kingdom (UK) then did not take into account the Nigerian Legal System especially, our customary law and the strong influence of Islamic law. Accordingly in 1959 the Unsworth Committee was set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the recommendations of the committee included setting up of the Nigerian Law School in Lagos and establishing a Faculty of Law at the University College, Ibadan. Based on the recommendations, in November 1961, a board was constituted to make arrangements for the establishment of the Nigerian Law School. This was accepted by the Government and the Legal Education Act, 1962 was passed under which the Council of Legal Education was set up. Unfortunately, the recommendation of the Unsworth Committee that a Faculty of Law be established at the University College, Ibadan was not accepted by the government. However, in 1961, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka established the Faculty of Law, the first in the country. The academic stage of legal education in Nigeria after 1962 was characterised by acquisition of approved university law degree. It is generally agreed that undergraduate academic law should give the students a “broad general knowledge and exposure to other disciplines in the process of acquiring legal education. Academic legal education should therefore, act first, stir the student into the critical analysis and examination of the prevailing social, economic and political systems of his community and, secondly, as an intellectual exercise aimed at studying and assessing the operation, efficacy and relevance of various rules of law in society. We shall proceed to examine the various institutions of legal education and their impact on the Nigerian Legal Education system.

4. Institutions of Legal Education in Nigeria

On paper, it looks as though the system that produces lawyers in Nigeria is foolproof and devoid of cracks, but a closer inspection has revealed that this is not the case. On one hand, the Nigerian lawyer oversees major financial and property transactions, often preparing the instrument of transfer and his statutory declaration of compliance is a sine qua non for the registration of a company. He also represents his clients in civil and criminal matters in court where he serves as mouthpiece. There are, as a matter of fact, Nigerians who do nothing without their lawyers’ consent. Everything from the preparation of Wills, signing of important documents and every day commercial negotiations, now seems to require the services of a lawyer. Legal Practice in Nigeria has therefore, developed steadily over the years, beyond court appearances.

It has become so much more than that. On the other hand however, only a minute percentage of Nigerian legal practitioners can be said to have tried to expand the frontiers of legal practice in Nigeria. Worse still, the toga of integrity was recently stripped from notable members of the profession, lawyers and judges alike. We shall therefore, proceed to assess our institutions of legal education and their impact on our legal practice in the last 50 years. Quite naturally, the blame has been selectively placed on some components of the system to the exclusion of others. I would like to think that it should be more evenly spread amongst them. A law student goes through the University and then on to the Law School. It is after he has passed the Bar Examination and has been found worthy in character that he is called to the Nigerian Bar. We shall start with the Nigerian Faculties of Law. Nigerian Faculties of Law (i) In Nigeria, the education of a lawyer starts at the university. Faculties of Law are to be found in some of the universities all over Nigeria and the conditions or qualification for admission to study law are usually as published by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board Act. A prospective lawyer may also choose to study law in a foreign University. A person aspiring to study law at a university in Nigeria is required to have completed Secondary School education and passed the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination or its equivalent with at least five ‘O’ level credit passes in Arts and Social Science subjects including: English, Mathematics and Literature-in-English. Candidates are admitted into the Faculties of Law in Nigerian universities either by direct entry or by undertaking the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination. Direct entry candidates are admitted into the second year of the five-year LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree programme. The qualifications acceptable for direct entry (in addition to the ‘O’ level subjects) include: a university degree in disciplines other than law; a two-year diploma in law; and other qualifications in fields outside law such as a Higher National Diploma in a related course. They also include ‘A’level papers in History, Government, Economics, Religious Studies and Literature-in-English. It takes five years to complete a law degree in a Nigerian University. Upon completion, graduates are awarded an LL.B (‘Bachelor of Laws’). The undergraduate curriculum requires law students to study 12 compulsory core law courses and 11 optional law courses. There are currently over 30 faculties of law in Nigeria. They include, but not limited to faculties of law in: Abia State University, Afe Babalola University., Ahmadu Bello University, Ambrose Alli University, Ben Idahosa University, Benue State University,Delta State University, Ebonyi State University, Ekiti State University, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Igbinedion University, Imo State University, Lagos State University, Madonna University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Obafemi Awolowo University, Adekunle Ajasin University, Ogun State University, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, University of Abuja, University of Benin, University of Calabar, University of Ibadan, University of Ilorin, University of Jos, University of Lagos, University of Maiduguri,

•Gadzama

University of Nigeria, Nsukka and University of Uyo. In Nigerian Faculties, the typical Nigerian law student spends five sessions, which should ordinarily not exceed five years, subject to unforeseen (or foreseen, depending on which side of the divide you belong) circumstances like industrial actions (“ASUU” strikes to the uninitiated) and internal administrative problems. Quite naturally, industrial actions such as the now regular Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike are peculiar to government owned Universities. Within these five sessions, Nigerian law students in these faculties are compulsorily introduced to the following courses one way or the other; Legal Method, Land Law, Jurisprudence, Nigerian Legal System, Criminal Law, Law of Evidence, Law of Torts, Law of Equity, Law of Trusts, The Law of Contract, Constitutional Law, Commercial Law, Company Law. The following Law courses are also offered as electives by law students at some point during the said five sessions; Family Law, Environmental Law, Oil and Gas Law, Law of Intellectual Property, Islamic law, Conflict of Laws, Labour Law, Law of International Trade, Law of Taxation, International Law, Administrative Law, Maritime law, Criminology, Law of Banking, Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, Medical Law. •To be continued next week

‘Comply with climate change laws in town planning’

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ENVIRONMENT and building experts have called on Town Planning authorities in the country to respect climate change provisions in our town planning laws with a view to reducing the harmful effects of climate change. They made this call last week during a roundtable on “Urban and Town Planning in the eyes of Climate Change” organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) at the Old Court Room of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Abuja. Introducing the roundtable, the Director-General of the Institute, Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN) said the aim of the roundtable was to distil and discuss to a large extent, the consequences of not planning our urban cities well. He noted that compliance with our Urban and Regional Planning laws will reduce the harmful effects of climate change and improve the quality of life of Nigerians. Speaking on Urban Planning Strategies as intervention against climate change, Mr. Philip Iyortyer said: “Urban and town planning will emphasis on climate change as it affects the built environment.” He blamed weather and water changes on deforestation, agricultural activities, transportation, tourism and a lot of factors mostly human activities, which result in carbon dioxide and water emission” Iyortyer said: “When the hot air

By John Austin Unachukwu

rises, we invariably have green house effects.” He blamed industralisation as a major cause of greenhouse emission and atmospheric pollution. Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, in his paper on adaptation strategies for climate change in urban areas, said: “Adaptation is an adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.” He said climate change adaptation comprises of spontaneous responses taken to cope with impacts of, or reduce vulnerability to a changing climate, Planned action taken to cope with impacts of, or reduce vulnerability to a changing climate and that daptation strategies can be anticipatory or reactive”. He said: “Example of adaptation measures include using scarce water resources more efficiently (rain harvesting; regulated use of underground water; management of waste water) adapting building codes to future climate conditions and extreme weather events, building flood defenses and raising the levels of dykes, developing drought-tolerant crops, choosing tree species and forestry practices less vulnerable to storms and floods.” He defined urban environment as the environment of a city, usually

•From left; Osanakpo, Dr. Okon, Okwudi Odunukwe and Iyortyer.

characterised by many buildings in a limited amount of space, with a high per capita per square mile, sheer population size, ratio of population to space is disproportionate (density or concentration), saying that urban environment should be distinguished from a megacity On the importance of adaptation, Fagbohun said: “Obvious from the salient facts and interactive effects of climate change is that without adaptation, climate change is likely to bring ever-increasing number of deaths, serious injuries and increasing serious damages to people’s livelihoods, property environmental quality and future prosperity.” He described the scope of the responsibility of government in adaptation to include: “Finance, engineering/public works, development planning and development control,

environmental health public health, social, community, safety services, emergency Services and administration”. Fagbohun said: “Hazard reduction from climate change depends on major changes in lifestyles and consumption patterns among middle and upper income groups.” High risk urban areas have largest deficiencies in adaptive capacity. Dr. Theresa Iloegbune spoke on the Land Use Act and Urban Planning. She blamed high level of anti climate change behaviors on non compliant with the provisions of our laws. She noted that the Land Use Act, which was promulgated in 1978, did not contemplate the current global harzards of climate change Moronike Aguda discussed climate change and the built environment while Dr. Emmanuel Okon dis-

cussed “The failure of Urban and Town Planning authorities in effecting urban planning laws and control”, using Lagos State as the case study. In her paper on ‘Building a sustainable urban development in the eyes of the climate change’, Ona Osanakpo defined Sustainable Development as the “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Sustainable development, Osanakpo said, recognizses that growth must be both inclusive and environmentally sound to reduce poverty and build shared prosperity for today’s population and to continue to meet the needs of future generations. It must be efficient with resources and carefully planned to deliver both immediate and long-term benefits for people, planet, and prosperity.


Newspaper of the Year

AN 8-PAGE PULLOUT ON NORTHERN STATES TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

PAGE 29

Suspected robbers arrested in Kwara •PAGE 30

Foundation’s free medicare, food for community •PAGE 34

Tackling •PAGE 30 youth restiveness in Gombe

Making a living out of stones T

HE sea of heads and the busy nature of the area attracts your attention. Then, the staccato sound of the hammer hitting the stone gives an indication that some activities are on through which people are deriving their means of livelihood. A close watch also reveals some form of marketing going on as trucks of various sizes are packed waiting to be loaded with granite. These are the routine jobs of young men and women engaged in the difficult business of cracking stone as a means of livelihood at either of the two sites of stone deposits in Kaduna. The first of these two sites is located along the newly constructed Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa Way, a few metres from the residence of VicePresident Mohammed Namadi Sambo while the other is located along the Umaru Gwandu Road in

When the fire is burning and gets to a higher degree, we keep away, watching from afar as the rock is blast. In the morning, we return to the site and our leaders will apportion the broken rocks to different groups to break them down to the desired shapes and sizes before they are sold From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

the Malali area of the metropolis. From these two places, most of the granites used for house constructions within the Kaduna metropolis and its environs are sourced. As difficult

as the business may be, it is expected that it should be carried out using modern equipment, but the workers use local tools and said some of them have been involved in this business for several years. Incidentally, some of those in-

volved in the business of stone cracking are graduates and students of higher institutions who fend for themselves. Without the luxury of using dynamites to blast the rocks before breaking them into smaller pieces, those involved in this business first blast the rock firing it up. While leaving the place after the day’s business, they make bonfire on the crack between the rocks. Abubakar Ladan, one of those involved in the business told our correspondent that the exercise usually starts at 6:00 in the evening when they set fire to blast the rock. “When the fire is burning and gets to a higher degree, we keep away, watching from afar as the rock is blast. In the morning, we return to the site •Continued on page 31

FCTA remits N3.2b to PENCOM

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Suspected robbers arrested in Kwara A

SSISTANT Inspector-General of Police, Zone 8 Christopher Dega has handed over key of a recovered Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) Infinity to the owner Mr Lawal Adewale Dare. Presenting the vehicle stolen in December last year to the owner in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, Mr. Dega lauded the gallantry of the officers and men of the command for being diligence, adding that the vehicle was recovered in the neighbouring town of Shaki, Oyo State. The states under Zone 8 are Kogi, Ekiti and Kwara. The AIG was in Ilorin as part of his working visits to police formations in the zone. Earlier the immediate past Commissioner of Police in the state, Agboola Oshodi-Glover had told reporters that the information extracted from the suspects led to the recovery of the vehicle. The Commissioner, who paraded the suspects and others, gave their names as Adekunle Ishola, Dele Cletus, Simon Ogundeji, Dare Suleiman, Salisu Balogun, Okesola Rufai, Kazeem Yakubu and Fatai Yakubu. Items recovered from them include three sharp cutlasses, one Toyota Corolla car, three motorcycles, two cut-to-size barrel guns and the sport utility vehicle. He said: “On December 13, 2013, one Lawal Adewale Dare of Mubo area of Ilorin reported that a gang of about six robbers invaded his house and stole some personal effects. The arrest of the first suspect

•AIG Dega (middle) flanked by other police officers

On December 13, 2013, Lawal Adewale Dare of Mubo, Ilorin reported that a gang of about six robbers invaded his house and stole some personal effects. The arrest of the first suspect who was identified by the complainant led to the arrest of the second, third and fourth suspects by a team of anti-robbery men a team of anti-robbery men from the state Criminal Investigations who was identified by the com- Department (CID). “Their confession also led to the plainant led to the arrest of the second, third and fourth suspects by arrest of one Fatai Balogun of From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

Shaki area of Oyo State, who later led detectives to the recovery of an earlier stolen SUV and arrest of two other members of the gang.” The owner of the Infinity SUV, Elochukwu Okeke hailed the state police officers who helped him recover his vehicle. Mr. Okeke said he had lost hope of recovering this vehicle, “but this your boys have worked hard to recover my car. May God Almighty continue to be with them.” Mr. Oshodi-Glover also paraded a woman in her 30’s for allegedly kidnapping one-month-old daughter of her neighbour. The woman, whose name was given as Funke Odelabi allegedly, committed the crime early February around Sobi area of Ilorin. “On February 2, the complainant, one Funke Olowokere of the

•The suspected kidnapper

said address gave her one-monthold daughter to the suspect, who was her neighbour to help her take care of to enable her wash the baby’s napkins. But the woman allegedly disappeared with her baby. A search party was organised but neither she nor the baby was found. “This was reported at the police station and, in the course of investigation, the suspect was traced and arrested at Ogbomosho. She confessed that she did not have a child of her own, hence she decided to steal the child,” the commissioner said.

Tackling youth restiveness in Gombe From Vincent Ohonbamu, Gombe

•Dankwambo

F

OR close to eight years, youth restiveness was a common phenomenon in Gombe State. Peace was elusive as a particular class of people, popularly known as yan kalare, raided, intimidated and maimed other citizens with impunity. But the inception of the administration of Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo brought relief as he immediately proscribed the group and its activities. The pronouncement was made at his inaugural speech when he made it clear that his administration would neither tolerate them nor their activities. As if it was still business as usual, three youths flouted the declaration. They were immediately jailed. Their arrests and eventual prosecution became a message to the kalare boys. Soon after that episode, government slackened the noose a little by offering an olive branch to the political thug group. The youth were encouraged to submit their weap-

ons as prerequisite for enlistment into government’s re-orientation and rehabilitation programme. Thereafter, it became a criminal offence to wield weapons around in the state. Details of the programme may not be pointless at the moment, but suffice it to state that many well-behaved unemployed youths also saw a window of opportunity in the novel initiative and enlisted for the programme under which they were trained as Ward, Environmental and Traffic Marshals. This, however, was after the recommendations of the Committee on Youth Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation, one of the 12 sectorbased committees constituted by Governor Dankwambo to look into all sectors of the state and proffer suggestions on how to improve or better the system. Recently too, the governor launched yet another groundbreaking youth empowerment package tagged Talba Empowerment Scheme (TES). This package “is capable of giving direct employment to 3,500 youths. The aim of the governor is to teach the people how to fish rather than to give them fish,” said the Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Hassan Muhammad. Components of the package include the supply and distribution of 100 Suzuki Alto cars (taxi), 50 18seater buses, 1,050 eight-seater tricycles for commercial purposes and 220 tractors with four sets of implements at subsidised rates. By extension, it equally includes the estab-

‘The police will deal ruthlessly with anyone caught causing problems in the state. The Commissioner of Police is determined to see that Gombe State is safe for development and growth. The police are determined and nobody can spoil our efforts’ lishment of tricycle assembling and servicing plant in the state. Thousands of youths have benefitted from various training schemes and skill acquisition programmes put together by the administration with the aim of curtailing the hitherto prevailing idleness and attendant restiveness among youths in Gombe State. Apart from these, all the programmes and policies being generated by the Governor Dankwambo’s administration are inclined towards empowerment of youths with a view to making them better citizens capable of contributing positively to the growth and development of the state. Prioritising the revitalisation of the educational system, building structures for the acquisition of tertiary education, massive infrastructural development; unprecedented attention to agricultural development, rural electrification and direct assistance to enhance commerce and commercial activities and other endeavours underscores the administration’s determination to better the lots of youths and the entire state. No wonder the governor said at the launch of the scheme that the con-

cept of empowerment has remained in the forefront of his administration because it represents one of the most practical and realisable means of fulfilling the mandate given to him by the people of Gombe State through their overwhelming votes in the 2011 general elections. With all these measures, the state has witnessed tremendous growth and development. People go about their activities without fear of molestation or intimidation because the usual disturbances attributable to the kalare thugs are no longer there. There is peace as well as unity. Those who have expressed their fears about the state and vowed not to have anything to do with it due to activities of the dreaded group now visit the state at will. However, recent events unfolding in the state have shown tendencies of the re-emergence of the kalare boys. Most of them feared that the daredevil boys may re-appear as 2015 general elections are around the corner. True to their fears, police started the random arrest of some hooligans during the ‘ember’ months of last year. But activities of the kalare boys indicating their re-emergence manifested at a wedding ceremony that

took place at the palace of the Emir of Gombe in December last year. While the ceremony was going on, some youths clad in blue T-shirt with the inscriptions of an opposition member currently representing a portion of the northern part of Gombe State at the House of Representatives came brandishing cutlasses, sticks and daggers. One person was injured in the incident. Penultimate week, a representative of one of the political parties at a political party stakeholders’ meeting with the police boasted that if their political party’s symbols were removed over the night, they would retaliate in broad daylight. On January 21, some youths created a scene around the usually busy Bauchi Motor Park. They brandished dangerous weapons like cutlasses, cudgels, daggers and others over what eyewitnesses said was not unconnected with symbols of political parties. Commenting on the development, the spokesman for Gombe State Police Command, Fwaje Atajiri a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) who was contacted on the phone, said no arrest had been made as far as that incident was concerned, even as he assured that they were still investigating the matter with a view to getting to the root of the development. He added that some arrests were nevertheless made within the same week over another incident at Jekadefari where some youths, with dangerous weapons, attacked people and destroyed property. Jekadefari is on the same axis with Bauchi Motor Park.


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Making a living out of stones •Continued from page 29 and our leaders will apportion the broken rocks to different groups to break them down to the desired shapes and sizes before they are sold,” he said. On his part, Ibrahim Isah, who said he has been involved in the business for 15 years, said it requires some procedures and instruments. He said: “You need chisels, hammers, shovels and diggers to do your work and when you have a rock before you to break; you may end up sitting down for hours breaking the stones into pieces. This requires patience and endurance.” It was further gathered that the stones are sold in different shapes and sizes. The pieces go for between N2,500 and N3,000 while a tipper load is sold between N50,000 and N75,000 depending on the size of the truck. Even though some of those spoken to believe the business is a difficult one, it is daily attracting many youths apparently because it doesn’t require much initial capital to start except small amount of money needed to acquire the tools. Some residents of Umaru Gwandu Road in Malali are, however, not happy with those cracking stones in the neighbourhood. They believe that those involved in the business in the area constitute public nuisance to them. Smart Adejoh, a teacher with Destiny College located close to the quarry in the area told our correspondent that the noise from the rock affects teaching and learning in the school as it often causes distraction to the children. He, therefore, wants the government to relocate them to other areas. He believes that they have a right to earn a living, but insisted that such a business is better carried out outside the town in order not to disturb other people. Alhaji Bashir Mustapha, a retired Permanent Secretary said apart from being a source of public disturbance, the area where the people operate shields criminals. Mustapha said it is very common to see people engage in this business who indulge

•A woman cracking stones for a living

in taking hard substances as source of extra energy. This is because stone breaking demands much energy. “There was a time a young man was killed at that very site because of misunderstanding between two of them over who owns some equipment to which both of them were laying claims. Anybody in normal senses will never engage in such dangerous action. “The police saved the day when they raided the area and culprits were arrested while others abandoned the site and for a few months, we enjoyed a quiet environment. But by the middle of last year, they returned. I am calling on the authorities to monitor their activities,” he said. However, Alhaji Mohammed Iliyasu Malali, who is the leader of the workers, disagreed with the allegations, saying they pose no form of threat to society. He said the business in the area is as old as Malali itself. He said: “In 1974, all the stones used in constructing the state and federal low cost housing units for the FESTAC 77 were gotten from the Malali rock. In fact, the area was so named because of the business. We have contributed immensely to the economic development, not only of

•Bags of split stones ready for sale

In 1974, all the stones used in constructing the state and federal low cost housing units for the FESTAC 77 were gotten from the Malali rock. In fact, the area was so named because of the business. We have contributed immensely to the economic development, not only of Malali, but the state in general Malali, but also the state in general. That people live in houses is enough for shown some gratitude, because we endure all kinds of hazards in order to get these building materials.” He, however, said it is not impossible to find criminally-minded ones among the people, saying “it is human nature. Everybody cannot be a saint. But we have a way of controlling ourselves. If we discovered that any of them steals stones broken by other people, the punishment is automatic expulsion from the membership of our business. “If someone fights or engages in taking hard drugs, he is suspended until he shows some remorsefulness.

So, you see we are organised. I am part of the Badarwa/Malali District Council and I cannot be leading hooligans and rogues as being peddled around by some people.” However, the stone crackers along Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa Way declined comments on their operations as they demanded to be paid before doing so. They alleged that they have been promised equipment to ease their operation , a promise they said was not fulfilled. However, at the two sites, it was discovered that some of those engaged in the trade are teenagers and under-aged children who claimed they want to be of help to their par-

Residents kick against park-and-pay policy

•Governor Jang

R

ESIDENTS of Jos, the Plateau State capital, are unhappy about the park-and-pay policy which the state government introduced last year. Residents say that Jos is just recovering from nearly two decades of multi-dimensional ethno-religious/ political crises. The strife was responsible for years of devastation of the city and state. This also led to massive bloodshed and exodus of non-indigenous residents with the resultant capital flight. But since late 2012 when the last bomb blast was recorded in Jos, the city had been recording relative peace except for some mischievous attacks/ clashes in the neighbouring local government areas between the Fulani

herdsmen and the natives. This relative peace in the city had encouraged the return of many who fled the city in the heat of the crises to resume businesses. Jos city also became one of the major recipients of victims of Boko Haram onslaught in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states where many relocated and re-established their businesses. In the circumstances, it is obvious that the greater percentage of the population in Jos metropolis has been traumatised by either loss of life, property or source of livelihood occasioned by these crises or the monumental fire incident that gutted the magnificent Jos ultra-modern main market in 2002. The population and the city that are struggling to pick up the pieces from the ruins are again being oppressed by the new government policy of park-and-pay which is in practice in designated areas of Abuja and Lagos where car owners are made to pay a token fee on parking in properly built parking slots away some city roads or in well-fenced and secured car parks. This was quickly copied by the Plateau State government and introduced in mid-last year on some roads in Jos. These roads, namely Ahmadu Bello Way/Beach Road, Rwang Pam Street, Tafawa Balewa and Bukuru Park area were built in the 1970s by the late J.D. Gomwalk administration. Except Ahmadu Bello Way/Beach

‘The park-and-pay policy is good. It is a good source of revenue for the government. But the roads should be properly built and demarcated for easy parking by motorists. The youth engaged to collect these revenues should undergo proper orientation as some of them lack manners’ From Yusuf Aminu Idegu, Jos

Road which has become a dual carriage way, others are in dilapidated condition. Yet, car owners are made to pay N100 for daring to park there. Unfortunately, the law does not exempt property owners (landlords), tenants, shop/office owners who live or run businesses in these areas. As soon as one is navigating to park along any of these roads, one is rushed by the youth engaged in the task of collecting money from people. Most pained are those who survived the deadly onslaught in Dilimi, Sarki and Ayeni streets and are managing to find their feet along Tafawa Balewa and Rwang Pam streets. Their businesses are seriously being affected as their customers who cannot afford the daily park-and-pay fee of N100 look elsewhere for their transactions. The park-and-pay policy is good. It is a good source of revenue for the government. But the roads should be properly built and demarcated for

easy parking by motorists. The youth engaged to collect these revenues should undergo proper orientation as some of them lack manners. Additionally, the N100 currently charged is on the high side considering the weak financial power of average Jos resident just recovering from the crises. If the park-and-pay policy has come to stay, there should be a downward review. But if the state government has the feeling of these traumatised residents at heart, this policy should be suspended for now as it is seen to be anti-development, even as it affects small businesses. This may further deplete the population of the city if these people, out of frustration, relocate to other cities where they can operate in a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Some residents maintain that the peace in Jos is too fragile so much so that implementing some laws which may further traumatise the people may trigger anger which may lead to another round of crisis.

ents. The plight of these kids is currently before the House of Representatives. The House has reportedly directed its relevant committees to investigate the alleged use of child labour at the quarries and report back to it. Even though the directive was issued in May last year, it is not clear if the committees have done that. According to available reports, the directive by the House followed a motion raised by Hon. Hassan Saleh (PDP-Benue) entitled “Urgent need to investigate the use of child labour in some quarries in Kaduna and Nasarawa states”. Saleh said the quarries usually engaged children of primary school age who ought to be in school to work in their quarries crushing rocks from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., pointing out that about 40 children were engaged at the quarry site along Yakowa Road in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, while some are also found along AkwangaLafia Road in Nasarawa State. He believes the children were daily working in rather very risky environment and are exposed to very harsh conditions while working under the scorching heat of the sun and even in the rain. Saleh also alleged that the children working in some of these quarries were children between ages nine and 15, who, he said, still required the protection of their parents and the states. He said: “The employment of children of these ages is a deprivation of their ability to attend regular schools and could subsequently cause irreparable mental, social and moral damage to them.” Those engaged in this business are, no doubt, exposed to various health hazards. A visit to the area revealed high level of hazy dust resulting from the cracking of the stones. Unfortunately, the boys engaged in this business do not wear protective masks to prevent them from inhaling the dust. Health experts believe that the dust settles in the lungs over time and results in ailment such as asthma. To reduce such ailments, Mallam Ali Sokoto appealed to the government to provide them with equipment to enable them carry out their trade with little ease. He lamented that government has not considered them important enough to be included in the SURE-P programme, adding that the government has an obligation to come to their aid. He said: “Many of the people here are young men. They are engaged here and will have no time for mischief. So, they cannot be used to foment trouble. When they leave this place, they will be too tired to go and foment trouble. So, we deserve to be included in the poverty alleviation programme of the government and the SURE-P.”


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Website: http://www.thenationonlineng.com

•A section of Jahi community

Foundation’s free medicare, food for community

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A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Joseph Amuta Adeyi Foundation (JAAF),has provided free healthcare services to the residents of Jahi community populated by Gbagi and Gwari people. The community is one of the many slums within the heart of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It has over 400,000 people. However, in spite of being close to the seat of power, the community is an irony of what Abuja should be known for in terms of provision of basic amenities. The features of the settlement are such that give first-time visitors the impression of a people long abandoned to their fate. The community, which is sandwiched between highbrow Ministers’ Hill in Maitama and Gwarinpa can only be accessed through a narrow and dusty road. To a first-time visitor to the community, the picture of Jahi is that of desolation. The forlorn atmosphere witnessed on getting to the community gradually

From Sanni Onogu

transforms into a beehive of activities as one gets to the community. Within the community, people burble as they go about their business activities. Wares displayed in most of the shops are mostly food items, clothes, shoes, handbags, electronics and firewood. The settlement, like other slums in the FCT, is characterised by the multiple shanties and glowing waste water which is ever running even in the dry season. Cars are parked haphazardly. People, cars motorcycles and hand drawn water carts mingle freely. Ironically, the community is already being fenced-in by beautiful high-rise edifices owned by top government functionaries, politicians, businessmen and big time contractors who have secured land allocations in the area. A cursory look around the settle•Continued on page 35

•Chief Adamu being attended to by one of the nurses

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Foundation’s free medicare, food for community •Continued on page 34 ment reveals that only two blocks of classrooms, with one malfunctional borehole, are the only mark that signals government’s presence in the community of over 400,000 inhabitants. However, given the numerous beautiful houses which have formed a shield for the slum, it becomes a paradox of existence that such life of squalor, complicated by long period of utter government neglect, goes on silently within the area without the FCT authorities siting any basic amenities. It was further learnt that a lot of pregnant women die in the process of delivery because the only health centre in the town lacks equipment and personnel to handle emergencies resulting from complications during labour. It was also revealed that maternal mortality is on the increase due to unprofessional and local methods employed by local midwives during labour. Investigations by Abuja Review also revealed that a lot of women have lost their lives while being conveyed to the hospital during emergency cases arising from prolonged labour. In addition, it was discovered that a good number of women prefer hiring the services of of the native midwives, to going to hospitals in the town due to the distance that they would trek before they get vehicles that would convey them to the town. The Chief of Jahi community, Salihu Adamu, told Abuja Review that lack of motorable road and good means of transportation in the community contribute to the death of several women during childbirth. Adamu also blamed the several deaths on poverty, saying that most of the locals prefer to patronise local midwives because they cannot afford high medical fees which both private and government hospitals located in the city centre charge. Chief Adamu, who spoke when a medical mission organised by the Joseph Amuta Adeyi Foundation (JAAF), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), provided free healthcare services to the people of the community. He urged the FCT Administration to come to the people’s aid. “Health is life, that is the most important thing,” Adamu said, adding, “our women die because we don’t have a health centre here in the community. This community has over 400,000 people. If government can

Our women die because we don’t have a health centre here in the community. This community has over 400,000 people. If government can provide one health centre, it will help us

•Some of the nurses attending to the residents

provide one health centre, it will help us.” He called on the government to help sink functional boreholes in the community since the river which is their primary source of water is not only unhygienic but dries up during the dry season. The Chief praised JAAF for the drugs and health services which it freely donated and provided for the members of the community. One of the women in the community, who identified herself as Salmatu Halisu, recounted how she lost her baby during delivery, saying the hospitals are far from the community. On why women in the community do not patronise the hospitals in the town for them to be delivered of their babies, she said when a pregnant woman is in labour at night, there is little she could do than to call in the

local midwives. Even though she argued that the native midwives are experts who have been assisting expectant mothers in the community for many years, she admitted that several lives, including those of babies and their mothers, have been lost in the process. The founder of JAAF, Albert Adeyi, told Abuja Review that the foundation decided to assist the community in their little way because of their pathetic condition. Adeyi, an engineer, said the medical mission was in the community to conduct medical examinations, treatments to those in need and to provide free drugs. He said the NGO also distributed free drugs and food items worth millions of Naira to the people. He said the gesture was meant to alleviate the health challenges confronting the

people of Jahi. He stated that about 100 adults, including men and women, were examined for high blood pressure and provided them with medications while over 500 children were dewormed. He said a sub-group in the foundation, whose duty it is to go round Abuja and identify communities with such challenges, located Jahi community, hence they stepped in to lend a helping hand. Adeyi expressed shock that the community, despite being so close to the seat of the Federal Government, has no single healthcare facility. He urged good-pirited Nigerians to locate such communities in their areas and extend health and other essential services to them. He further explained that the mission of the foundation was to assist the less-privileged in areas of education, skill acquisition and health services. Adeyi stated that the gesture was part of the foundation’s contributions to the development of the society and humanity and not for any material or political consideration, adding “as an engineer, I am called to be a pastor and not a politician.” He said JAAF was established as a result of his desire to give back to the society, in fulfilment of a promise and commitment he made to God. He also said he was able to achieve the mission by setting aside a percentage of his income monthly.

FCTA remits N3.2b to PENCOM From: Gbenga Omokhunu

•Senator Mohammed

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HE FCT Administration has remitted N3.2 billion to the National Pension Commission in 2013 as contributory funds of staff of the administration and the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory. The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, disclosed this while receiving the Director-General of the Commission that paid him a work-

ing visit. The minister further said that the payment was done after due reconciliations between the officials of the FCT Administration and the National Pension Commission. Senator Mohammed revealed that in addition, about N92 million is now being worked out to pay the commission being the outstanding of fee the FCT Contributory Pension fund. The minister, however, called on the management of the National Pension Commission to look into ways of investing the huge amount of funds available to it in infrastructural development instead of remaining idle. He said the commission can moderate the law establishing it to enable it go into partnership with genuine investors where such funds can be used thereby reducing overdependence on foreign capital inflow. Senator Mohammed stated that such partnership could be guaranteed by a reputable bank in the country to take off the risk aspect of the investment from the commission.

The banks can be used to float bonds for such purposes which could be beneficial to all parties involved. The Abuja Master Plan has about 79 districts with nine sector centres in the Federal Capital City and with only 11 Districts as well as two Sector Centres were so far developed

According to him, infrastructure such as roads, housing and transportation are bankable and that money stockpiled at the National Pension Commission can be used to turn around infrastructure in the country with profitable interest to all parties. His words: “The banks can be used to float bonds for such purposes which could be beneficial to all parties involved”. He said for instance, the Abuja Master Plan has about 79 districts with nine sector centres in the Federal Capital City and with only 11 Districts as well as two Sector Centres were so far developed while about 80 percent of such districts have not been attended to due to the paucity of funds. The minister promised to make

available a plot of land for PENCOM to build its State-of-theArt headquarters after the commission has met all administrative processes. Speaking earlier, the DirectorGeneral of the National Pension Commission, Mrs. Chinelo AnohuAmazu, remarked that she has gone round the country including the FCTA to explain the merit of PENCOM scheme to the end users. The director-general noted that ignorance from the people seems to be working against the commission especially some members of the Organised Private Sector that are not keen in joining the scheme. She pointed out that the National Pension Commission has opened zonal offices across the country to strengthen its performance.

Residents lament power outage From: Gbenga Omokhunu

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ESIDENTS of Zone 1, Dutse Alhaji in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are lamenting the prolonged power outage being suffered for the past two months. The residents, who spoke with our correspondent, said that several complaints had been made to the management of Power Holding Company of Nigeria in Zone 1 but with no positive result yet. Gloria Igado, one of the residents, said that the youth in the community made an attempt to stage a protest in January to make known their grievances, but were pacified with the promise that the transformer problem would be tackled . “We have been living in darkness for more than two months now, but the authority in charge does not care about what we are going through. We have made different complaints to them, they kept on promising that they would come and fix the problem, that they will replace the faulty transformer, but since then, nothing has been done. “We are appealing to the leadership of the council to come to our aid, by providing us with a transformer, so that we will be free from this darkness that we are experiencing now. This is the first time we are experiencing such a thing in this area, and it is crumbling businesses here,” she said. Ahmed Ibrahim, another resident, lamented that since the power outage over two months ago, his barbing saloon has not been moving well, the way it used to because he spends more money on generator fuel and this has been having negative effect in his business. “This situation is really painful, because I buy fuel on daily basis to keep the saloon moving, and the amount I spend buying fuel on daily basis is really affecting the money I make. Most times I find it difficult to safe money since this power outage. We really need the help of government to restore electricity,” he said. Attempts by Abuja Review to speak with the operation manager of PHCN at Zone 1 proved abortive, as an official who preffered anonymity said that the operation manager was not available , but said that there are moves to replace the faulty transformer.

Minister promotes 2,201 workers From: Gbenga Omokhunu

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HE FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, has approved the immediate promotion of 2,201 staff of the FCT Administration. The minister, who disclosed this, said it has become necessary to motivate the staff and increase their productivity. Mohammed stated that this gesture of the government would spur the workers to greater heights and by extension increase service delivery to the residents of the Federal Capital Territory in accordance with the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government. His words, “The promotion exercise became necessary in order to motivate staff, enhance productivity for better service delivery”. The minister revealed that out of the 2,201 being promoted, 1,892 are senior staff while the remaining 309 are junior staff. Senator Mohammed charged the beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by giving better service to the country.


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ABUJA REVIEW

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HE way most pilots and convoys of top dignitaries to the Presidential Villa park their vehicles before the main gate to the Villa, is fast making the area lose its Presidential status. While some of the drivers park their cars by the road side, others park on the flower beds and walk paths. The rowdiness this situation creates gives a first-time visitor to the Villa an impression of disorderliness. This scenario is mostly witnessed on Wednesdays during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings when vehicles numbering between three and five in a particular minister's convoy are parked by the roadside leading to the main gate of the Presidential Villa. In most cases, only one vehicle conveying the minister out of his or her convoy is allowed to go through the gate to drop the minister inside before joining others by the road side. This situation is also experienced on most Mondays or Thursdays or any other day when security council meetings are held at the Villa. The various escort cars and motorbikes belonging to the service chiefs and other top security agencies also litter the roadside during such meetings. The vehicles conveying the service chiefs, Inspector-General of Police and National Security Adviser are among those that are allowed to park in the four courts of the Presidential Villa close to the President's office. The rowdiness is also witnessed on the road leading to the main gate any day state governors have one meeting or the other to attend at the Presidential Villa or when they are just paying a visit to the President or Vice-President in the State House. During such days, only the car conveying the governor also is allowed through the gate. It will drop the governor inside the Villa before joining other vehicles in the governor's convoy

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pilot vehicles thereby keeping them away from the roadside

already packed by the road side. The road leading to the main gate of the Presidential Villa is

By Augustine Ehikioya

also jam parked when a major function is taking place inside the Banquet Hall. On such occasion, the Banquet Hall, which has a very large car park, is overstretched and the excess vehicles spill over to the roadside. Even though the roadside

parkings does not befit the Presidential status of the area, it sometimes offer useful information to some staff in the Villa on some of the secret meetings in progress at the State House. Sighting the vehicles by the roadside, they could guess the

dignitaries that are inside the Villa and what meeting was going on. In the circumstances, efforts should be urgently taken to address this rowdy parking system in order not to rubbish the status of the Presidential Villa. Apart from special occasions at the Banquet Hall when the large parking lot is filled to its capacity, the Banquet Hall parking lot is hardly half-filled on ordinary days and it should be able to accommodate the escort and pilot vehicles of ministers, service chiefs and governors during their meetings or visits to the Presidential Villa. Alternatively, a new area in or around the Villa can be developed as parking lot to accommodate such escort and pilot vehicles thereby keeping them away from the roadside.

‘We are not touts, we make musicians’

OU can be the best musician with good songs, if you like re-invent the songs of Michael Jackson, if Disc Jockeys (DJs) don’t play the song, there is no way it will be a success. DJs make musicians who they are.” The above underscores the importance of DJs in the society. When DJs (Disc Jockeys) are mentioned, what comes to mind first is just some young men who usually wear trousers that is well sagged; rough looking individuals with dreadlocked hair, face cap, earphones and other things to make them appear rugged. DJs are known as people who play music and make a particular occasion lively and fun-filled with musical sounds. An occasion is believed to be incomplete without a DJ. Abuja Review was surprised to see a group of graduates from reputable institutions in Nigeria and who work as civil servants, bankers, engineers gather for the first National Conference of Nigerian DJs. The conference, which had as its theme, Promoting Unity and Creating Employment was organised by the DJ’s Association of Abuja and it saw delegates from 22 states of the federation. The National President of the Association, Tade Adeyemi, said the continuous clamour for job creation

Haphazard parking at the Villa Alternatively, a From new area in or around the Villa the can be developed as parking lot to Villa accommodate such escort and

From: Faith Yahaya, Abuja

due to the level of unemployment can be reduced as he believes his sector can create jobs for some unemployed youths and graduates. He said: “People are complaining of unemployment not knowing that DJ is a profession. Out of the over 160 million Nigerian population, the DJs we have in Nigeria are not enough. We are not sufficient. We can create jobs if we come together as one. We can help government. All we require is DJ academy and we will train them to become professionals like us. “President Jonathan cannot do it alone, he needs support and since his administration is talking about Public Private Partnership, we believe, we the DJs can contribute our quota. We can give jobs, we are not touts, most of us are graduates from reputable institutions”. He explained that DJs are usually overstretched during festivities because of too many demands as a result of unending ceremony. “You will discover that during festivities, Abuja and other cities are always short of DJs which makes it difficult for some DJs to even sleep in their houses because they have to be in almost all shows. If they have subordinates or enough trained DJs, this will not happen and

it will reduce the workload. Lamenting the near non- recognition they suffer, Adeyemi said, “We make musicians and they end up ignoring us. Some people think the only thing they need to become a DJ is owning a laptop. It goes beyond that.” Also speaking, Mr Sam Kpago, a

legal practioner, attributed their lack of recognition to absence of an association or a body, saying most doctors, lawyers, and other professional bodies are easily identified because they are under a body. “In Nigeria, selective value is given to professionals for no convincing reasons, we say doctors are

better than other profession without scientific proofs. You need to blow the trumpet of your profession because if you don’t, no one will do it for you”. According to Kpago, “You own the night life, a night life without DJs is nothing. Use the power to get better returns from what you offer.

• Bauchi State Deputy Governor Alhaji Sagir Saleh (right) with the Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Tasiu Mohammed, at a worskshop for medium and large scale cotton farmers in Bauchi.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

LAW DYNASTY Tomi Taiwo is the daughter of former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos Branch, Taiwo Taiwo and Justice Olawatoyin Abosede Taiwo. She was called to the bar in 2010. In this interview with PRECIOUS IGBONWELUNDU, the graduate of Bradford University, London speaks on why she studied law, her aspiration, among others. Excerpts

‘I grew up knowing only law’ Y OUR mother is a judge in Lagos State judiciary, your father is a known lawyer and your elder sister also a lawyer. So, why did you studied law? Honestly, when I was growing up I knew nothing else but law. I did not know what I wanted to do initially. In my diploma year in the university, I tried to figure out what I wanted at that time my mother had just been elevated from a Magistrate to a Judge. Then, my dad a lawyer and my sister was studying law. I just concluded that law runs in our family and that it would be best for me. What would you have studied if you had an option? Back then in the university, I thought of studying something like psychology or an industry that has not been saturated yet. But then, I looked at the financial aspects of psychology in Nigeria and it was not encouraging. But now, if I were to change my profession, I would opt for Business Administration and Human Resource Management. It is something I have passion for because I love to work with people and I have been told I have good skills in managing people. To top that up, I did my Masters in 2011 at Bradford and I studied Human Resource Management. So, if it is possible to deviate in the future, I will go into human resource management, but I will definitely return to law practice afterwards. It is the desire of every parent to see their children surpass their achievements. Do you see yourself outdoing them? I must confess that their shoes are big. But my parents are not forceful, they are very lenient. Despite their successes, they still allow us make our decisions. I know they would love that I carry on the legacy they are building and I do not intend to disappoint them either. Eventually, I might end up at the bench at the end of the day, but for now, practicing law is fun and I am enjoying it. I might deviate a bit by trying my hands at human resources but I will still come back. Do you think there is need for an overhaul of the Nigerian Law

School curriculum? As at the time I went to the law school, they have made a lot of changes. It was not the same courses my father or my sister had that I was exposed to. My sister graduated in 2007 while I graduated in 2010. But each time I spoke with her while I was in the law school, she always told me that the curriculum was better than what they had. We had a lot of assignments and the classes were interactive. I think they have made a lot of changes already, but things could be better. One thing I will like to note is that the teaching aspect of law is different from what is obtained in the field. The bulk of law practice must be learnt by lawyers practically and individually because it is only experience that can teach a lawyer. There has been clamour from junior lawyers over the meager salaries they receive from their principals. What is your take on that? Yes, it is very disturbing that some lawyers earn as low as N30, 000 per month. I think it has to do with their principals, because where I work, Babajide Koku and Co., I am fairly paid and apart from our salaries, we get bonuses. I also think that every

I think most of the things going wrong in the judiciary are as a result of individuals and not the process. Basically, it has to do with integrity and hard work. Most lawyers and judges do not practice what they have sworn to practice

law firm gives according to their income, though that does not justify giving lawyers peanuts. It is highly condemnable and I think the relevant bodies should look into it. There should be a standard for law firms of certain grades because if you do not pay a lawyer well, how do you expect that lawyer to give his or her best? Why are you not working in your father’s chamber? I wanted to take my job seriously. If I was working in my dad’s chamber, maybe I would have seen it as a family affair and would not be as serious as I would love to. So, working with my principal, though he is also my father’s friend, makes me have the feeling that I am an employee and would be disciplined or penalised if I relapse. Also, not working for my father avails me the opportunity of interacting and meeting other people, both seniors and juniors, and we judge ourselves professionally. If you had an opportunity, what would you change in the judiciary? I think most of the things going wrong in the judiciary are as a result of individuals and not the process. Basically, it has to do with integrity and hard work. Most lawyers and judges do not practice what they have sworn to practice. If I am opportune, I will streamline the appointment of judicial officers to stem corruption. I will ensure that only those who have been in the system as either Magistrates or lawyers are elevated as judges. The current practice whereby lawyers, who work as company secretaries, in other firms are made judges is not healthy. I think it fuels corruption and encourages delayed justice. This is because such judges are giving to frequent adjournments for flimsy reasons, thereby, dragging proceedings. At the moment, Nigeria is trying to meet up with other developed nations as far as law practice is concern with the new e-filing system. Though it might take a while for us to get there, to me, it is a good step. Everything has been put in place already for legal practitioners, but some chose not to follow or obey. I think people should search them-

•Taiwo selves thoroughly before assuming certain responsibilities. If you know you are corrupt, why go and accept to be a judge and give others bad name? I also think the current Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) is doing a great job. We have seen suspensions and even compulsory retirements of judicial officers and more are being probed. Another thing I would do if I have the opportunity is increase the penalty for late filing by lawyers. The current practice where lawyers pay N200 per day as demurrage for not meeting filing deadline is not good enough as punishment. It makes lawyers lazy and delays justice delivery. Currently, the Federal High Court has increased its penalty to N1000 and it is commendable. So, by the time a lawyer realises that each extra day that passes without filing his processes attracts a fine, which his principal will deduct from his salary; such a lawyer will sit up and do the right thing. As a daughter of a serving judge,

what will you do should anyone approach you to talk to your mother on their behalf? First of all, I would not put myself in that position. Secondly, I do not make people, who know my mother as a judge, comfortable enough to discuss such things. Thirdly, even if I was like that, my mother is not that kind of person and so, it cannot work. I do not think there is any case where someone has approached me to talk to my mother on their behalf, no. What is your advice to young lawyers like you? Law is hard work and passion is required. If you are not passionate about it, then you have no business being in it. When you have the passion and drive for law, it would not be a big deal to you. Use everyday as an opportunity to learn. Everyday I am in court I learn something new or revised something I learnt in law school. Even if it is not a profession you want to end up with eventually, it is no time lost because you will gain a lot.

Court fixes March 25 for judgment in suit against Airtel

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USTICE Mufutau Olokoba of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, will on March 25, deliver judgment in a N50million suit by a telecoms firm, Globacell Nigeria Ltd, against a Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) service provider, Airtel Nigeria. Written addresses will also be adopted on that day, the judge said. Globacell asked the court to determine whether a subsisting contract between it and Celtel Nigeria Ltd (now Airtel Nigeria) empowers the communication giant to receive payment for recharge cards without supplying them to the claimant. The firm also wants the court to determine whether the contract empowers Airtel to unilaterally cancel the Ongoing Revenue Service Commission (ORSC) agreement between them without recourse to it. The court is also to decide whether an affirmative answer to the issues will not entitle Globacell to be granted judgment as per its writ of summons and statement of claim. Airtel, on the other hand, wants the court to determine whether the

By Joseph Jibueze

subsisting agreement between it and Globacell was governed by a letter dated September 14, 2006 or a Distribution Agreement dated February 25, 2008. It also wants the court to determine whether it reserves the right under the agreement to increase or reduce Globacell’s ORSC-backed credit facility, and whether Globacell is entitled to its claims. Globacell, through its lawyer, Mr Sunny Omoragbon had sought an order compelling Airtel to restore its existing ORSC-backed credit facility worth N3.8million, which it alleged the GSM company cancelled illegally. It also sought an order compelling Airtel to pay it N2.6 million, being daily earnings of N75,000 per day that it makes from sale of recharge cards, from May 27 till June 30, 2008, “and the same amount until judgment is delivered.” The court is also to order Airtel to pay interest of 25 per cent on the sum until judgment is delivered, and thereafter at the rate of 30 per cent until it is liquidated.

Globacell urged the court to order the GSM company to pay it N50million as damages to cover the alleged trauma, embarrassment, loss of income and business opportunities suffered by its Managing Director, Mr Mark Davies “as a result of the unilateral cancellation of the ORSC agreement by the defendant.” Besides, it wants a declaration that Airtel’s alleged refusal to release the stock of recharge cards it paid for amounts to a wrongful and illegal cancellation of the ORSC-backed credit facility “and therefore constitutes a breach of the agreement between parties.” Globacell claimed that Airtel granted it the ORSC facility of N1.1million through a September 14, 2006 Offer Letter, and that due to its excellent performance, the facility was increased to N2.3million on February 9, 2007. Airtel, therefore, owed it the fiduciary duties of acting in good faith and acting in Globacell’s best interest, ensuring that the facility is not disrupted, stopped or cancelled without just or reasonable cause; that it supplies the claimant the

cards it paid for, and that it is given “the mandatory 24 hours notice of the defendant’s intention to cancel the ORSC credit facility.” The claimant told the court that it paid N2,434, 705 to place an order for 2,500 units of N1,000 Recharge Cards and 50 units of N3,000 Bumper cards on the basis of the “expanded ORSC arrangement.” Globacell said it should have been entitled to a stock of cards worth N2.5million in line with the agreement, but to its disappointment, Airtel said it had overstretched the credit limit, and that the facility had been slashed by 70 per cent. The claimant said there was no basis for Airtel’s arbitrary slashing of the facility, as it never overstretched its credit limit, nor did Airtel inform it of such development. The claimant further averred that based on Clause 11 of the agreement, Airtel ought to give it a mandatory 24-hour notice before it could cancel the agreement. Failure to do so, Globacell said, engendered “serious dislocation of, and disruption to,” its business, “with attendant negative chain reactions associated therewith.”

However, Airtel denied Globacell’s claims, saying that the “ORSC-backed credit facility or any other credit facility extended to the claimant has been fully utilised by the claimant.” The defendant added that the credit facility covered by the Offer Letter of September 14, 2006 had a tenor of 60 days, and had long expired before Globacell allegedly placed the order for the recharge cards. Besides, Airtel informed the court that with the entry of a Distribution Agreement of March 1, 2008, the Offer Letter or any other prior agreement no longer had any binding force on the parties, as the facility had expired by effluxion of time and lost its legal force. It said it never acted arbitrarily toward Globacell nor acted in breach of the terms of the Offer Letter, and that it was not under obligation to give the claimant any mandatory 24-hours’ notice. Airtel said Globacell is not entitled to its claims, and prayed the court to dismiss the suit in its entirety or strike it out with substantial cost.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2014

FROM THE COURT

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Court issues bench warrant on AGF, Defence Minister, others

USTICE Olubunmi FemiAdeniyi, of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, has issued a bench warrant against the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN); his Defence counterpart, Mr. Labaran Maku; the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Alex Badeh and the Nigerian Army. They are to appear in court on March 27, this year to defend a N18.7 billion suit brought against them by market men and women over the sealed mammy market, Giwa Barracks, Falomo. In a ruling, Justice Femi-Adeniyi ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar to produce the Federal Government officials in court. The judge gave the order following their refusal to appear in court to defend the suit. Justice Femi-Adeniyi last December granted an ex-parte motion, to be served on the defendants, following their refusal to comply with an earlier order instructing them to reopen the closed Mammy Market within Giwa Barracks, Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos. The Defence authorities had in February 2007, sealed the 225 shops in the market at the expiration of one week notice given to the market men and women to vacate the place. But the market men and women resisted the order, which they claimed did not mention anything

By Adebisi Onanuga

about payment of compensation over billions of naira they had invested in the market as assets. The market association met with the then Commanding Officer, Group Captain Patrick Mbanugo and pleaded that the military should see reasons, but he told them that the closure was an order from above. Sequel to their failure to secure a reprieve, they approached the court on February 19, 2007, and commenced a civil action before the Lagos State High Court against the defendants. They claimed among others, a perpetual injunction, declaratory reliefs and N18.7 billion as damages against the defendants. The court granted them an interlocutory order on April 25, 2008, directing the defendants to re-open the market for them to take inventory of all goods and properties of the claimants. The court also gave an order restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, developers and privies from demolishing, defacing, altering and, or removing in any manner, reconstructing and rebuilding of any or all of the claimants 225 shops at the market pending the hearing and determination of the suit. At the resumed hearing, counsel to the market association, Mr. Stanley Ochoga told the court that the settlement move by the defen-

dants was long overdue and without a head way. Ochoga said the refusal of the defendants to obey the court order and appear in court showed lack of seriousness on their part. He, therefore, prayed the court to issue a bench warrant on the defendants to appear in court at the next adjourment. Responding, AGF’s counsel, Mr. B.R Ashiru prayed the court to give the defendants more time to perfect the settlement. He said defendants are still interested in the settlement agreement and would soon come up with the terms of settlement. Ashiru prayed the court not to issue the bench warant as requested by the defence counsel. But Justice Femi-Adeniyi in her short ruling noted that the settlement agreement was long overdue as the case started 10 years ago. She acknowledged that defendants might still be willing to settle but that they have not exhibited any concrete move towards settlement. The judge, therefore, granted the request of the claimant and issued the bench warrant against the AGF, Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Group Captain Patrick Mbanugo and the Nigerian Army (operating as ministry of defence & defence headquaters). She thereafter adjourned the matter March 27.

•Former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, Prof. Yemi Osibajo and Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips at the launch of her book, Landmark Judgment at the City Hall, Lagos.

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Court dismisses Chevron’s objections to N17.223b suit by Bayelsa communities

USTICE Ibrahim Buba of Federal High Court, Lagos, has dismissed the preliminary objections by Chevron Nigeria Limited and Fode Nigeria against a suit by some fishermen in some communities in Bayelsa State. In his ruling, Justice Buba said the suit was competent. The judge described as baseless the preliminary objections by the defendants against the claimants. The claimants in the suit are fishermen of Koluama 1; Koluama 2; Ekeni; Ezetu 1; Ezetu 2; Foropa; Fishtown and Ikibiri communities in Southern Ijaw and Brass Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State. They are asking Chevron and Fode Nigeria for N17, 222, 528,

By Adeola Ogunlade

441.00 as compensation for the losses they suffered as a result of gas blow-out that occurred on the Chevron operated KS Endeavor Rig drilling in the Funiwa 1 gas well, on the North Apoi Oil Platform on January 16 2012. The claimants/plaintififfs, through their counsel, Mrs. Tonbofa Eva Ashimi had alleged that Chevron’s negligence was responsible for the explosion and prayed the court to hold the oil firm liable for economic losses and environmental damages. They also alleged that Chevron failed to take the necessary precautions to prevent the explosion and

did not adequately control it with available technology. Chevron, through its team of lawyers, led by Professor Tunde Fagbohun (SAN), filed an objection, challenging the competence of the suit. The company, in its notice of objection to the suit, argued that it did not receive any evacuation requests from the rig and that the staff aboard always maintained the power to halt all work if they truly believed working conditions were unsafe. Justice Buba has, however, ordered the suit to be set down for hearing while a date is to be fixed for commencement of hearing of the substantive suit.

LAW AND PUBLIC POWER

with gabriel AMALU email:gabrielamalu1@yahoo.com

Ndigbo needs greater stake in APC THIS column will write on politics today. After all, public power in a democracy is premised on politics. And by section 221 of the 1999 constitution, political party is the platform for politics. I therefore, intend to argue the potentials for a more vibrant All Progressive Congress (APC), among the states of Ndigbo, principally made up of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. Notably, there are also, very significant Ndigbo, in Rivers and Delta states. Presently, within the Igbo states, APC controls only Imo state, Anambra is precariously controlled by All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), while the rest are Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) controlled states. As the famous Tatalo Alamu, in his gripping column, Snooping around in The Nation, correctly argued recently, Ndigbo are individualistic in their politics. Ordinarily that tendency is a plus, in an egalitarian polity, but in our present democratic environment, it is also a burden, as group interests are most times sacrificed. But still, Ndigbo need to aggregate the basic fundamental democratic interests of her people, and of course that of our nation, as presently configured. Then, the commonly accepted cultural organs, should pressure individuals to pursue those basic programs through the diverse forces of individualism. Anything short is group suicidal. So, my major contention, today, is that Ndigbo should invest more political interest, in the newly formed APC. Conversely, that APC should train its hurricane through the states of south east, for political harvest. Take Enugu state. There are potentials there. The Governor of the state, Barrister Sullivan Chime, who I have praised handsomely for his infrastructural achievements, has yet again exhibited his careless political marksmanship. Just as the Governor cherry-picks for councilors and chairmen of local councils, he hopes to do same for the governor, senators and representatives in the 2015 elections. While Governor Sullivan, can railroad the PDP to his destination, since the state party machinery, is substantially in his pocket, his potential victims, we must note, have established themselves as political forces in the present dispensation, and APC should plan to harvest them. Most notable, is the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu. Sullivan is angling to supplant him as the next Senator, representing my senatorial zone, and the fight should yield a harvest for the APC. Just a breath away, the governor is pushing to retire the deputy governor, Sunday Onyebuchi, from politics prematurely. Just recently, the deputy governor’s residence was raided by a state environmental agency, and the poor fellow, was humiliatingly disgraced. The motive for that political rascality, against the deputy governor, is just to pave way, for one of Governor Sullivan’s women in politics, to gain greater ascendency. Here I am referring to Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, the present chief of staff to the governor. Another neophyte, that Sullivan turned a champion, is Mrs. Fidelia Njeze. With the next governor zoned by the Governor to the Enugu north senatorial zone, the deputy governor who is from the east senatorial zone is being destabilized, so that he should not dream of a senatorial ambition, which the chief of staff, Mrs Nwobodo, wants for herself. Of course the current senator representing the zone, Gilbert Nnaji, a scion of the Igwe Nnaji family, is already crying out, that, the most powerful official in Enugu state is working to covet his seat. So APC should move in for a harvest. There is also the potential that the governorship candidacy, within the north senatorial zone, will result in a fight. The senator ably representing the zone, Ayogu Eze, ordinarily should deserve the governorship seat. But I doubt if Governor Sullivan will allow that. The rumour is that he is angling for a minnow. It is just possible that when the push comes to shove, Senator Ayogu Eze, who has done very well in the senate, first as senate spokesman and now as the senate chairman on works, may need the political oxygen that the APC can provide for his rumoured governorship race. Abia state is also a potential harvest for the APC. The current state governor, Chief T. A. Orji has never sat pretty. And no amount of visits to Aso rock by well dressed women and men will change his precarious condition. With a major political godfather, Chief Apugo, and the governor’s former boss, Orji Uzor Kalu harassing the governor, it is understandable why the circus to Aso rock. But I doubt, if President Jonathan and his wife, can change the potential catharsis of the state PDP, as the people of Ngwa, engage in the battle to secure the governorship seat. Just like his other colleagues, T. A. Orji also wants the senate seat, and the rancor will further tear the leaking PDP umbrella. Anambra, the most sophisticated Igbo state, already has a large APC followership, ably lead by Senator Chris Ngige. Unfortunately in the last governorship election in the state, Senator Ngige, Onwa, came up against a well oiled political propaganda, led by the credible governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi, Okwute; that APC is a Yoruba party. Luckily for APC going forward, it is now clear that the party is as much a Yoruba party, as the Yorubas invest their political energy in it. Of course, with the leadership of the beloved, astute and sagacious Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of the party, the Yoruba understandably should have an edge, with the majority Yorubas following this incredible leader of men. The most import reason why Ndigbo must invest in APC, I dare say, is that President Jonathan has not shown the capacity to turn our country around. Also importantly, the signs that he wants to use and dump Ndigbo is glaring. Ostensibly, he has failed to deliver his campaign promises. So, it is time, to lead the charge to APC.


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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LAW & SOCIETY The judiciary is making efforts to find solutions to its problems. The Customary Court, as the first point of contact with the law,should restore the hope of the public in the judiciary, writes ADEBISI ONANUGA.

Customary Court judges urged to restore hope in judiciary

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UDGES of the Customary Courts got a marching order last week. They were to restore the hope of the common man in the judiciary. Various speakers at a one-day workshop in Lagos organised by the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission gave them the order. The theme of the workshop is “Administration of Justice at the Grassroot:Myth or Reality” Among those that gave the charge were the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, a former chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Hon. Abdul-Lateef Hakeem, who gave the keynote address and the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, Mrs. Ayodele Odugbesan. Ipaye admonished the judges to shun any act of corruption that tends to confirm the notion that government officials are corrupt. He counseled them to be fair in their dealings, stressing that it is their responsibility to restore the hope of the society in the judiciary. The commissioner reminded them that as customary court judges, they are part of the government. “Customary Courts are part of government machinery. So, whenever you sit, you are a key representative of government. Whatever you do, whatever you said, it would all be said about you. “Any act of corruption would confirm the notion that government officials are corrupt. Every act of fair dealings brings hope to the common man in the society. “We owe the society the responsibility of restoring hope in the judiciary. So, let us be mindful of what we do because it not only reflects the personality, but the entire institution,” he said. The commissioner disclosed that the state Customary Laws are presently undergoing another review to accommodate some aspects of criminal jurisdiction. According to him, some aspects of the criminal offences would henceforth, be handled at the local level. Ipaye said the state government was very much inclined to accepting suggestions from those advocating that some neighbourhood criminal offences of lesser gravity be handled at the local level and is working seriously on the suggestions. “We are bringing this power back. When we do, we rely on you to display appropriate sense of responsibility in dispensing justice,” he said. He, however, counselled the judges to apply criminal law only in extreme cases when the criminal jurisdiction is restored. He explained that part of the reasons while the criminal laws were initially expunged from the Customary Laws was to prevent judges at the local level from being influenced and using their position to send people to prison arbitrarily. The Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, who was represented by the Deputy

Registar of the state High Court, Mrs. A.O. Soladoye urged the judges to maintain a high level of honesty and integrity in the administration of justice at the grassroot. “Remember that Lagos State judiciary is the foremost judiciary in the country and we must be seen to be maintaining that lead,” she said. The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Judicial Service Commission Mrs. Ayodele Odugbesan said the issue of jurisdiction was of utmost importance to all levels of courts in the state. “We are never tired of jurisdiction, this is the main root of the courts, whether it is the Customary Court or the Supreme Court. A court that does anything outside its jurisdiction is only fooling itself. It’s decision can never stand,” she said. Mrs. Odugbesan said the state’s judiciary has adopted Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which is now gaining ground across the world, as an alternative way of resolving disputes. She said the practice has now been fully entrenched in High Court Rules, Magistrate Court Rules and of late, the Customary Court Rules. According to her, that is why a high premium was placed on training and re-training of judges particularly, customary court judges. She said the commission was committed to the training of customary court judges, hence the annual workshop. She explained that the choice of this year’s workshop topic, “Administration of Justice at the Grassroot:Myth or Reality”, was intended to find out whether the judges were practising customary law as it ought to be practised and whether the society can put their hope in the customary court judges to get justice. Deputy Director, Lagos MultiDoor Courthouse (LMDC), Mrs. Adeyinka Aroyewun, who delivered a paper on “The Mediation Process” said the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the best approach to getting dispute resolved within the shortest time possible. Listing its advantages, Aroyewun said both the complainant and defendant enjoy a lot of confidentiality and can both make input into what they want and decide settlement terms, which ultimate becomes the judgement. She listed the success story of the LMDC to include resolution of a case of disengaged 50 staff of a bank, which had been in court for 12 years and a dispute over a property between two companies which had been in court for over 16 years, which were resolved in one session. She also recalled the case of a widow, who was trying to enforce an earlier promised of scholarship for her children made by a corporate body following the death of her husband, which had dragged for years before it was resolved in two sessions. Chief Magistrate Eniola

•From left: Commissioner, Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, Mrs. Folashade Iwajomo; Mrs. Soladoye and Hon. Hakeem.

Fabamwo in her paper entitled: “Customary Courts in Lagos State: Jurisdictional Issues and The Current Challenges in a Fast Growing Economy” explained why Lagos State does not have Customary Court of Appeal as obtained in other states such as Edo, Delta, Abia, Ebonyi, Imo, Benue, Plateau, Nassarawa, Kaduna and Taraba and the Federal Capital Territory(FCT). She explained that the combined effect of Sections 282(1) and (2) and Section 245 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria restricts appeal from Customary Courts to Court of Appeal to only civil matters where it involves questions of customary law. “States that have Customary Court of Appeal in operation are caught by this provision and can only allow civil cases based on customary law. In other words, other cases including criminal cases tried by Customary Court of Appeal.” She reasoned that it would be wise to continue to keep the present structure in the state whereby appeals from the customary courts go to the Magistrate Courts, the High Courts and the Court of Appeal without any restriction. Former Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary in state House Assembly, Hon. AbdulLateef Hakeem lamented that the public took to self help and engage in jungle justice because they have lost faith in the system. Hon. Hakeem, whose key-note address was on the theme of the workshop, admonished the judges against miscarriage of justice, stressing that they should use their position to influence the society positively. Quoting several passage from the Bible, Hon. Hakeem urged them to administer justice fairly, reminding them that they were writing their own history in everything they do. Hakeem emphasised that the judges are in good stead to change the society because they occupy a very relevant position in the hierarchy of the judiciary. He counseled them to keep abreast of customary laws and new developments stressing, “a good knowledge of customary laws is what is needed to enhance administration of justice”. “Demonstrate patience and be open minded at all times and listen to all sides before arriving at decisions,” he counseled.

•From left: Commissioner, Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, Mr. Taslim Animashaun and Mr. Ipaye.

•From left: Mrs. Odugbesan and Executive Secretary Lagos State Law Reform Commission, Mrs. Ade Adeyemo.

•Mrs. Fabamwo (left) and Commissioner, Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, Mrs. Abisola Oshodi.


40

THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

LAW & SOCIETY

Widow sues firm over leased property A

N 86-year-old widow, Mrs. Adedayo Dada has sued a Lagos based firm, Timicom Telecommuications Limited, owned by the Acting National ViceChairman, Southwest of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Deji Doherty, before an Ikeja Magistrate Court for false information and misrepresenting facts over a leased property. In her Statement on Oath, the widow stated that the defendant had misrepresented facts to the subtenants of a property inherited by her from her late husband, Dr. Ekundayo Dada, located along Joel Ogunnaike Street, GRA Ikeja, Lagos. The widow and the administrators of her late husband estate told the court presided by Chief Magistrate Eniola Fabamwo, that her husband entered into an agreement with the defendant for the lease of the property for a term of two years, starting from February 19, 2001 to February 19, 2003. She averred that in October 2001, the defendant sought the consent of the lessor, vide a letter dated October 30, 2001 to extend the said lease for an additional five years. She said the lessor consented to

By Adebisi Onanuga

extend the said lease for an additional three years. According to her, the lease was further extended for one year, from February 19, 2007 to February 18, 2008 for N1.6million. Mrs. Dada further stated that her husband died during the period and the management of the premises devolved to her as the surviving spouse of the lessor and the beneficial owner of the property. Subsequently upon the lessor’s death, and series of negotiations and exchange of correspondence with the defendant, she claimed that the lease was further extended to February 18, 2013. She claimed to have written the defendant a letter dated January 30, 2012, that she and the estate of the lessor had agreed to make personal use of the property at the expiration of the lease on February 18, 2013 but was issued a Notice to Quit dated June 3, 2012. She said the defendant informed her that it had rented the building to third parties up to 2015, contrary to the lease agreement. Further investigations, she stated in her Statement on Oath revealed

that “the defendant had at different times made unauthorised alteration to the building and had rented it out to nine different sub-tenants for various terms”. She added that the wife of Doherty, Mrs. Abiola Doherty had in October 25, 2012 sent her an email showing the schedule of tenants, that the defendant had collected monies from and when the term granted to them would expire. She lamented that the defendant had fraudulently misrepresented facts to the sub-tenants and thereafter rented the premises beyond the term granted it without her prior or subsequent consent or ratification. The statement went further: “I never increase the rent and did not demand for three years advance payment. On the contrary, upon the discovery that the defendant fraudulently obtained monies by false pretence from the sub-tenants, far beyond the term granted him, I requested that part of the monies collected from the sub-tenants as rent (estimated at about N13 million), be remitted to me, to enable me accommodate the interest of the sub-tenants, since the defendants tenancy had been determined”, she

stated. But in his defence and counter claim filed before the court, Timicom Telecommuications Limited stated that it did not breach any covenant as the approval of late Dr. Ekundayo Dada was obtained before it built the shopping complex in the demised premises. The defendant stated that the late Dr. Dada pleaded with it to take over the premises and carry out any renovation necessary either for residential or business premises in order to salvage the property from collapsing entirely. Timicom Telecommuications averred that there was an agreement with the deceased lessor that should the premises be used for business, it must be converted back to residential status upon the determination of tenancy. “As a result of understanding between the defendant/ counterclaimant and the plaintiffs/ defendants predecessor (Dr. T. Ekundayo Dada) the defendant/ counterclaimant invested about N40million and carried out massive reconstruction of the demised premises which was done in two phases whereupon it established business therein. “As a result of huge investment made by the defendant/ counterclaimant, it insisted on long lease in order to recoup its investment but the late Dr. Ekundayo

being a retiree insisted on yearly tenancy as he may often need money but assured the defendant/ counterclaimant that there will be no problem being a bossom friend of Dr. Tunji Doherty, father of the defendant/counterclaimant chairman. The defendant stated that the plaintiffs never raised any issue about the shopping complex built in the premises even when the widow took over the administration of her late husband upon his demise in 2007, until 2013 when disagreement ensued between them over increase in rent to N10 million and demanded for three years advance payment in the sum of N30 million. The defendant added that whenever he complains about the outrageous increase in rent, Mrs. Dada will tell him to pass it on to the tenants in the demised premises. Timicom Telecommuications urged the court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost. The defendant also prayed the court to grant it additional five years subject to payment of reasonable rents to enable it recoup its investment in the demised premises. It also prayed the court for an order authorising it to convert the demised premises to residential premises in accordance to the tenancy agreement.

Tenancy dispute: Appeal Court reserves judgment in Odili’s suit

T

•Enugu State Chief Judge, Justice E.N Nmezuluke cutting the tape to open the Enugu Zonal Office of the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS).

T

Cross Country boss, Okorodudu asks court to quash N82.8m theft charge

HE Managing Director of Cross Country Limited, Mr Bube Okorodudu has asked the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja to quash the N82.8 million theft charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He made the request in a preliminary notice of objection by his counsel, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN), before the court presided over by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo. The EFCC had charged Okorodudu and his company, to court with another company, Car Link Limited. They are facing an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, forgery and uttering. The EFCC alleged that the defendants stole the money through the fraudulent sale of 17 units of Volkswagen transporter buses belonging to AG Moeller Limited and

By Adebisi Onanuga

Mr Adeloye Olukemi; allegation which Okorodudu denied. At the resumed hearing last week, Clarke told the court that the defence had filed an application challenging the competence of the charge and the jurisdiction of the court to hear and determine the matter. He submitted that the EFCC had no power to prosecute criminal cases under a state high court, adding that all the 400 cases filed by the EFCC before the Lagos State High Court should be struck out. Counsel to Car Link Limited, Chief Ladi Rotimi William (SAN), described the charges as absurd since the defendants had already made payments for the buses. “The proof of evidence does not disclose a prima facie case against the defendants requiring them to stand

trial,” Williams said. According to him, the disagreement between the defendants and the complainants was purely a civil matter, which was already before the Federal High Court in Lagos. But counsel to the EFCC, Mr Aliu Adebayo told the court that the EFCC needed more time to respond to the application. Adebayo asked the court for an adjournment to enable the EFCC gather some vital documents, which would be attached to its application. The judge, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of the EFCC. Justice Lawal-Akapo said Adebayo’s excuse for an adjournment was flimsy and unpalatable. He, however, adjourned the matter till March 3, 2014 for hearing of arguments on the applications.

HE Court of Appeal in Lagos has reserved judgment in a suit filed by Essential Logistics Limited, challenging a judgment by Justice O.A. Dabiri of a Lagos High Court, which ordered the firm to vacate Chief Victor Odili’s property. The appellate court reached its decision after counsel to Odili, Dr. Fabian Ajuogwu (SAN) adopted the respondents’ written address. Justice Dabiri in 2009, in a suit filed by the firm against Odili and another company, Trevi Foundation Limited, said the defendant (Odili) acted in accordance with the law when he issued a quit notice from his property at 27A, Bishop Oluwole, Victoria Island, to Essential Logistics. Odili, who rented the property to the firm for two years in 2005, had obliged the company a threemonth notice of owner’s intention to recover possession for the purposes of constructing a multistorey building. Angered by the development, Essential Logistics approached the court to seek a declaration that Odili (first defendant) has not validly determined the claimant’s tenancy in respect of the premises, and as such, cannot without due process of law, eject the claimant or compel it to give up possession of the building. The firm prayed for an injunction to restrain the defendants, their agents, servants, privies and successor-in-title from forcefully or unlawfully ejecting it from the premises, and any order deemed fit by the court. But when the matter, which started in 2007, was not decided in its favour the claimant appealed the matter by filing a Notice of Appeal and a Motion for stay of Execution dated September 29, 2009, at the lower court to prevent the defendants from executing judgment. In a ruling on April 19, 2010, the

By Precious Igbonwelundu

lower court refused the firm’s request for stay of execution of the judgement of the court delivered on September 17, 2009. The firm (appellant) further filed a Motion for Stay of Execution at the Court of Appeal on April 19, 2010. In a reply to the appellant’s brief, Ajuogwu filed a Counter Affidavit on July 12, 2010 opposing same. At the resumed hearing, Ajuogwu informed the court of the deliberate steps by the appellant to frustrate the respondents since the appeal was filed. “On February 17, 2011 when the matter came up for hearing, the court ordered the appellant to ensure that it regularised its appeal since it did not file it within the stipulated time. “Several months after the order of court that the appellant should file its Brief of Argument, the appellant still did not comply. The respondents thereafter, filed a Motion on Notice praying the court for an order dismissing the appeal for want of diligent prosecution. “Having been served the respondents’ motion for dismissal on May 26, 2011, the appellant went ahead to file its Brief of Argument and also filed a Motion to regularise same for filing out of time. “The respondents also filed and served their respondents’ brief of argument and prayed the court to withdraw the motion for dismissal earlier file, which was granted,” he said. Ajuogwu, who urged the court to hear the appeal since the matter has lingered at the appellate court for four years, drew the court’s attention to the absence of the appellant and its counsel in court. After listening to his submissions, the court adopted the respondent’s brief of argument and reserved judgment in the matter.


42

THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014


HEALTH

THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

43

THE NATION

E-mail:- health@thenationonlineng.net

‘Diabetes cases on the increase’ is what we have in people with Type 1 diabetes. This also occurs commonly in little children. They usually need insulin to survive. “The most common diabetes is the Type 2. In this group of people, they produce insulin but not inadequate quantity. Even the little they produce doesn’t work very well as the body doesn’t recognise it. This known as insulin resistant diabetes, whichever way the body cannot make use of glucose. It remains in the blood and very high,” the endocrinologist said. The problem, he said, is not in the food consumed but the inability of the body to produce insulin to utilise the glucose which comes from the food

Diabetes can get complicated if not managed on time. WALE ADEPOJU writes.

N

OT many people are aware of the danger diabetes pose to their lives. People die ignorantly from a seemingly preventable ailment. A Consultant endocrinologist, College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL), Dr Ifedayo Odeniyi has said. Dr Odeniyi said while some undergo checks to prevent diabetes; others are ignorant of its fatality just as a 70- year old retiree, Mr Kola Samson, who lost his sight to the ailment over 10 years ago. The man thought it was glaucoma that was responsible for his loss of sight, but unknown to him it was diabetes. The cause was made known to him at a primary health care centre in Lagos, when he went to see a doctor, after urinating uncontrollably. His family members said he had been experiencing that for about three months before he finally agreed to see the doctor. At the hospital, he was told to do blood sugar test. The result was terrifying. His blood sugar was about 300, blood pressure (BP) over 200 and pulse, 145. He commenced treatment immediately. To drain his urine, the doc-

tor inserted catheter into him. He received treatment for two weeks before it was removed and his blood sugar crashed down to about 145 and BP 135/80. He was discharged with strict advice that he should take his drugs religiously. But he deviated from using his drugs regularly and the blood sugar rose up to 175. This made him to take excessive glucophage, a diabetes drug, which brought the blood sugar down beyond required level, resulting in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemic is low blood sugar. Mr Samson started to shiver and almost died from the condition, but for the timely intervention of family members, who contacted the doctor. He became a diabetic. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said diabetes would be the seventh leading cause of death in 2030. It said an estimated 3.4 million people died from consequences of high fasting blood sugar. WHO said 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, adding: “Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.”

•Dr Odeniyi

Dr Odeniyi said diabetes is a non-communicable disease. He said it is a problem of the body not being able to use the glucose it produces very well. The body, he added, breaks down food into glucose to generate energy and function properly. The body, he said, requires insulin to be able to use glucose. “In people with diabetes, it is either they don’t have insulin at all, which

eaten. He identified factors such as sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and obesity as precursor to rising cases of the ailment. “It can also be inherited. An offspring of parents, either mother and father or one of them who has it, may be susceptible to diabetes,” he added. He said some people inadvertently develop the condition by using drugs such as steroids if they are on it for a long time. Odeniyi said some have gestational diabetes, which is the type diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy. This, he said, has its attendant risks if not properly diagnosed and treated on the mother. He said the projection by the International Diabetes Association (IDA) was that by 2025 about 266 million people would have diabetes if nothing was done. “But by 2010, we have reached

A

•Chellaram (right), Mr Abolade Oyewole of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee (LSBTC) and Mrs Sherifat at the event.

N

400 workers donate blood

O fewer than 400 staff of Chellarams Group of Companies have donated blood as part of the 90th celebration of the conglomerate’s contribution to national well-being and development. The event was held at the firm’s premises, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Isolo, Lagos. Among those who donated blood were group’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Aditya Chellaram and top management staff. Chellerams said he was concerned by the perennial unvavailability of blood in hospitals and clinics

By Joseph Eshanokpe

and inability of some people to afford it. He urged Nigerians to come out and make the manufacturing giant’s blood donation a success. Governor District 9110, Rotary Club Olugbenga Olowu commended Chellerams’ gesture, describing it as a noble effort. He noted that the club had been part of blood transfusion for some time and was glad to work with the firm. “We partner with organisations of like minds all over the country and Chellarams is one of such because they have extended their ten-

tacles to every nook and cranny of the country. They came to us to talk about blood transfusion as part of their 90th anniversary and we keyed into it,” he said. He said: “We are a human organisation and our goal is to serve humanity. We have blood banks and save the lives of those involved in accidents and other mishaps and that is why we are collaborating with Chellarams. We believe in good health for all and we want to save lives.” Members of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion committee, including Mrs Lawal Sherifat, coordinated the event.

that target; the new target is by 2030 about 556 million people will come down with diabetes worldwide. Africa and other developing countries are inclusive,” he said. He warned against sedentary lifestyle and consumption of excessive calories which may be hard to burn. “When people are fat insulin will not work very well and it could result in diabetes,” he said. He said LUTH receives over 30 referrals and about 100 diabetics on follow up weekly. He said most times the patients come late, adding that some do this because they ignored while others do so on their volition. The endocrinologist said the disease is not cheap to manage because it is a lifelong disease. “It doesn’t have a cure. What we do is to manage the glucose and bring it to the acceptable level as much as possible,” he added. Hypoglycemia, he said is a complication of diabetes that result in treatment, stressing that it killed very fast, even than high blood sugar. He said diabetics presented by passing out a lot of urine, drinking excessive water and weight loss despite eating very well. Their urine attracts ants because is very sweet,” he added. He said sometimes, they might not appear that way, stressing that it might be that an optician, who is the eye doctor, which would discover the ailment. “When they are tested and their glucose level is very high, they are then referred to us. They may have different grades of visual impairment. They vision can become blurry or hazy. Most times the patient must have tried all eye drops in the market to no avail. It is when they don’t get improvement that they come to the eye doctor, who checks their glucose level,” he said.

Help cancer children

NON-GOVERNMENT organisation, Children with Cancer Intervention Initiative (CCII) has called on the government to come to the aid of children battling with cancer. The call was made at a press briefing to commemorate this year’s World Cancer Day observed by a non government organisation (NGO) at Oregun, Lagos. According to the coordinator of the foundation, Honor Onyebuchukwu, the country has no cancer centre where children can go for free screening, and where services are available, they are not well equipped to world standard. For instance, she said, “on the visit of the foundation to LUTH, it discovered that the hospital needs the installation of oxygen piping into the Oncology ward; procurement of cold centrifuge and provision of accommodation for care givers during treatment. She said the children suffering from cancer go through a lot of pain, which no one can share with them. “This is why the government should come to their aid by subsidising the payment for their treatment if not totally free. Government should create more awareness, open up cancer screening centres, equip the hospitals and make funds available for research into cancer. The treatment for cancer is so expensive that no family can comfortably afford it” Onyebuchukwu said. She said at LUTH, Idi Araba, there

By Olatunde Odebiyi

were 25 children between the ages of eight months and 14 years battling with the disease as at May 2012 out of which 10 of them were lost. Onyebuchukwu said the organisation’s objective is to assist children battling with cancer in any way it can including prayers, counseling and financial reliefs. “We also conduct enlightenment programmes through road shows, seminars, workshops and concerts among others. Parents should please reduce the amount of chemicalised, saturated and processed foods that their children eat and also keep them in a clean environment because this would help in reducing the risk to cancer,” she said. Another coordinator of the Foundation, Mr Akin Opayinka said parents need to be cautious on their children saying that good hygiene, taking of healthy foods and regular medical check-ups could help in the prevention of cancer in children. He said that the treatment of cancer is expensive and this is why the government needs to come to the aid of children battling with cancer. “What you eat, drink, your environment and what you get exposed to are all likable causes of cancer. From the computer radiation, to fumes from cars. Early detection and proper diagnosis and early treatment are essential in cancer prevention”, Opayinka said.


HEALTH

THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

43

THE NATION

E-mail:- health@thenationonlineng.net

‘Diabetes cases on the increase’ is what we have in people with Type 1 diabetes. This also occurs commonly in little children. They usually need insulin to survive. “The most common diabetes is the Type 2. In this group of people, they produce insulin but not inadequate quantity. Even the little they produce doesn’t work very well as the body doesn’t recognise it. This known as insulin resistant diabetes, whichever way the body cannot make use of glucose. It remains in the blood and very high,” the endocrinologist said. The problem, he said, is not in the food consumed but the inability of the body to produce insulin to utilise the glucose which comes from the food

Diabetes can get complicated if not managed on time. WALE ADEPOJU writes.

N

OT many people are aware of the danger diabetes pose to their lives. People die ignorantly from a seemingly preventable ailment. A Consultant endocrinologist, College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL), Dr Ifedayo Odeniyi has said. Dr Odeniyi said while some undergo checks to prevent diabetes; others are ignorant of its fatality just as a 70- year old retiree, Mr Kola Samson, who lost his sight to the ailment over 10 years ago. The man thought it was glaucoma that was responsible for his loss of sight, but unknown to him it was diabetes. The cause was made known to him at a primary health care centre in Lagos, when he went to see a doctor, after urinating uncontrollably. His family members said he had been experiencing that for about three months before he finally agreed to see the doctor. At the hospital, he was told to do blood sugar test. The result was terrifying. His blood sugar was about 300, blood pressure (BP) over 200 and pulse, 145. He commenced treatment immediately. To drain his urine, the doc-

tor inserted catheter into him. He received treatment for two weeks before it was removed and his blood sugar crashed down to about 145 and BP 135/80. He was discharged with strict advice that he should take his drugs religiously. But he deviated from using his drugs regularly and the blood sugar rose up to 175. This made him to take excessive glucophage, a diabetes drug, which brought the blood sugar down beyond required level, resulting in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemic is low blood sugar. Mr Samson started to shiver and almost died from the condition, but for the timely intervention of family members, who contacted the doctor. He became a diabetic. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said diabetes would be the seventh leading cause of death in 2030. It said an estimated 3.4 million people died from consequences of high fasting blood sugar. WHO said 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, adding: “Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.”

•Dr Odeniyi

Dr Odeniyi said diabetes is a non-communicable disease. He said it is a problem of the body not being able to use the glucose it produces very well. The body, he added, breaks down food into glucose to generate energy and function properly. The body, he said, requires insulin to be able to use glucose. “In people with diabetes, it is either they don’t have insulin at all, which

eaten. He identified factors such as sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and obesity as precursor to rising cases of the ailment. “It can also be inherited. An offspring of parents, either mother and father or one of them who has it, may be susceptible to diabetes,” he added. He said some people inadvertently develop the condition by using drugs such as steroids if they are on it for a long time. Odeniyi said some have gestational diabetes, which is the type diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy. This, he said, has its attendant risks if not properly diagnosed and treated on the mother. He said the projection by the International Diabetes Association (IDA) was that by 2025 about 266 million people would have diabetes if nothing was done. “But by 2010, we have reached

A

•Chellaram (right), Mr Abolade Oyewole of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee (LSBTC) and Mrs Sherifat at the event.

N

400 workers donate blood

O fewer than 400 staff of Chellarams Group of Companies have donated blood as part of the 90th celebration of the conglomerate’s contribution to national well-being and development. The event was held at the firm’s premises, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Isolo, Lagos. Among those who donated blood were group’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Aditya Chellaram and top management staff. Chellerams said he was concerned by the perennial unvavailability of blood in hospitals and clinics

By Joseph Eshanokpe

and inability of some people to afford it. He urged Nigerians to come out and make the manufacturing giant’s blood donation a success. Governor District 9110, Rotary Club Olugbenga Olowu commended Chellerams’ gesture, describing it as a noble effort. He noted that the club had been part of blood transfusion for some time and was glad to work with the firm. “We partner with organisations of like minds all over the country and Chellarams is one of such because they have extended their ten-

tacles to every nook and cranny of the country. They came to us to talk about blood transfusion as part of their 90th anniversary and we keyed into it,” he said. He said: “We are a human organisation and our goal is to serve humanity. We have blood banks and save the lives of those involved in accidents and other mishaps and that is why we are collaborating with Chellarams. We believe in good health for all and we want to save lives.” Members of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion committee, including Mrs Lawal Sherifat, coordinated the event.

that target; the new target is by 2030 about 556 million people will come down with diabetes worldwide. Africa and other developing countries are inclusive,” he said. He warned against sedentary lifestyle and consumption of excessive calories which may be hard to burn. “When people are fat insulin will not work very well and it could result in diabetes,” he said. He said LUTH receives over 30 referrals and about 100 diabetics on follow up weekly. He said most times the patients come late, adding that some do this because they ignored while others do so on their volition. The endocrinologist said the disease is not cheap to manage because it is a lifelong disease. “It doesn’t have a cure. What we do is to manage the glucose and bring it to the acceptable level as much as possible,” he added. Hypoglycemia, he said is a complication of diabetes that result in treatment, stressing that it killed very fast, even than high blood sugar. He said diabetics presented by passing out a lot of urine, drinking excessive water and weight loss despite eating very well. Their urine attracts ants because is very sweet,” he added. He said sometimes, they might not appear that way, stressing that it might be that an optician, who is the eye doctor, which would discover the ailment. “When they are tested and their glucose level is very high, they are then referred to us. They may have different grades of visual impairment. They vision can become blurry or hazy. Most times the patient must have tried all eye drops in the market to no avail. It is when they don’t get improvement that they come to the eye doctor, who checks their glucose level,” he said.

Help cancer children

NON-GOVERNMENT organisation, Children with Cancer Intervention Initiative (CCII) has called on the government to come to the aid of children battling with cancer. The call was made at a press briefing to commemorate this year’s World Cancer Day observed by a non government organisation (NGO) at Oregun, Lagos. According to the coordinator of the foundation, Honor Onyebuchukwu, the country has no cancer centre where children can go for free screening, and where services are available, they are not well equipped to world standard. For instance, she said, “on the visit of the foundation to LUTH, it discovered that the hospital needs the installation of oxygen piping into the Oncology ward; procurement of cold centrifuge and provision of accommodation for care givers during treatment. She said the children suffering from cancer go through a lot of pain, which no one can share with them. “This is why the government should come to their aid by subsidising the payment for their treatment if not totally free. Government should create more awareness, open up cancer screening centres, equip the hospitals and make funds available for research into cancer. The treatment for cancer is so expensive that no family can comfortably afford it” Onyebuchukwu said. She said at LUTH, Idi Araba, there

By Olatunde Odebiyi

were 25 children between the ages of eight months and 14 years battling with the disease as at May 2012 out of which 10 of them were lost. Onyebuchukwu said the organisation’s objective is to assist children battling with cancer in any way it can including prayers, counseling and financial reliefs. “We also conduct enlightenment programmes through road shows, seminars, workshops and concerts among others. Parents should please reduce the amount of chemicalised, saturated and processed foods that their children eat and also keep them in a clean environment because this would help in reducing the risk to cancer,” she said. Another coordinator of the Foundation, Mr Akin Opayinka said parents need to be cautious on their children saying that good hygiene, taking of healthy foods and regular medical check-ups could help in the prevention of cancer in children. He said that the treatment of cancer is expensive and this is why the government needs to come to the aid of children battling with cancer. “What you eat, drink, your environment and what you get exposed to are all likable causes of cancer. From the computer radiation, to fumes from cars. Early detection and proper diagnosis and early treatment are essential in cancer prevention”, Opayinka said.


44

THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

HEALTH

DENTAL TALK

More hospitals are providing dialysis services, with the Delta State Univerwith Dr Samuel Awosolu 08108155239 (SMS Only); sity Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH) offering the cheapest. But, there are email- samawosolu@yahoo.co.uk ways to prevent kidney disease, OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA writes. Tips on sealants

‘Kidney damage can be prevented’

W

ITH less than N5, 000, a Delta indigene who has last stage kidney failure but cannot afford haemodialysis can get it at the state’s Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH). According to the Chief Medical Director (CMD) Dr Leslie E. Akporiaye, the state government has subsidised the cost of such service. A non indigene will pay N22, 000.00 at his or her first visit to the hospital and N17, 000.00 subsequently. Elsewhere, the cost varies between N20, 000 and N55, 000, per session, depending on if the facility is public or private. According to the CMD, the Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, decided to subsidise the cost for dialysis after the success of the first kidney transplant carried out in the hospital. “And also, to ensure that Deltans do not come down with end stage kidney failure (ESRF) pending the time those with ESRF will be ready for kidney transplant; their heamodialysis requirement won’t be hindered. The hospital has 19 heamodialysis machines to do that. Acute kidney disease (AKD) must be prevented,” Akporiaye said. According to him, “AKD and ESKF are on the increase globally, and all hands must be on deck to ensure that the trend is halted. AKD can be reversed but ESKF cannot.” Kidney disease can lead to acute and chronic kidney failure, both of which can be lifethreatening. Acute kidney failure happens suddenly within hours to days, whereas chronic kidney failure happens gradually over a period of months to years. Acute kidney failure can often be reversed if the underlying disease is treated. In both conditions, the kidneys shut down and can no longer filter wastes or excess water out of the blood. As a result, poisons start to build up in the blood and cause various complications that can affect various body systems. “AKD leads to Chronic kidney failure which eventually reaches an end stage. This condition occurs when the kidney is working at less than 10 per cent of full capacity. At this stage, the person will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to be able to go on living,” he said.

•Dr Akporiaye

Prevention/Screening The kidneys are bean shaped organs located at the back of the body. Said Akporiaye: “Your kidneys process a huge volume of fluids and chemicals. Simple lifestyle changes can help keep them functioning healthily. It is important that everybody must know how to take care of his or her kidneys. In most cases, CKD cannot be completely prevented, although you can take steps to reduce the chances of the condition developing. Unless the kidneys are swollen or there’s a tumour, your doctor can’t usually check for disease by feeling the kidneys. “Instead, your doctor might test the urine and blood, take a scan of the kidneys, and test samples of kidney tissue. A routine urine test, called a urinalysis, checks for protein, sugar, blood, and ketones (created when the body breaks down fat). “The urine is tested with a dipstick, which is a thin piece of plastic covered with chemicals that react when they touch substances in the urine. Your doctor will also check for red and white blood cells in the urine during a urinalysis (the urine is examined using a microscope).

Depending on the suspected cause of the kidney problem, other tests may also be done,” said the CMD.

Dialysis He said: “Dialysis or transplantation treats end-stage kidney failure. In haemodialysis, blood is filtered through a tube that’s inserted in the vein. The tube is connected to a machine that cleans the blood of wastes and the “clean blood” is returned to the body through another tube. Hemodialysis is usually performed in a hospital in a three 4-hour sessions a week. In peritoneal dialysis, the space between the abdominal wall and organs is filled with a cleansing solution that absorbs toxins from the abdominal lining. The solution is then drained out into a bag. This procedure is normally done one to four times a day, seven days a week or overnight using a cycling machine.”

Transplantation Akporiaye said: “In kidney transplantation, diseased kidneys are replaced with a healthy one. Kidney transplants usu-

HIV intervention in Oyo’ll be community based, says Ajimobi’s wife

T

HE wife of the Governor of Oyo State, Mrs Florence Ajimobi (JP), has said HIV intervention will be community based, with more efforts from local governments. Funding will be focused on areas of priority interventions, she said. Mrs Ajimobi spoke at the opening of a two-day forum of the state’s Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA) and the Local Government Agency for the Control of AIDS (LACA) in Ibadan, Oyo State capital. According to a statement by Mrs Ajimobi’s Special Assistant on Media, Yejide GbengaOgundare, a-risk populations would be given more attention this year “The bulk of our intervention

By Adebisi Onanuga

this year will be at the community level and this is the more reason why our Local Government Authorities (LGA) must improve on their commitment to the HIV response by ensuring regular funding and implementation of HIV prevention activities at their respective LGAs. “Our HIV/AIDS funding this year will be based on area of priority interventions that have the potentials of reaching the most vulnerable and at-riskpopulations earlier stated, which would have a considerable impact on the status of the epidemic in the state. “In other words, our planning and programming will be prioritised, well focused, evi-

dence-based and result oriented. We must cut down on unnecessary expenditures that would not add value to the response and achieve value for money,” Mrs Ajimobi said. Mrs Ajumobi said there was need to strive to be efficient in the way and manner in which resources are utilised to ensure that quality HIV prevention and treatment services are delivered to our people at the lowest possible cost. “The fact stares us at the face and we cannot shy away from the fact that there are high rates of new HIV infections among vulnerable and most-at-risk populations in the state. Most of our youths engage in premarital sex without adequate information on protection. “Multiple sexual practice is

ally work at least 80 per cent of the time. The greatest danger is that the body might reject the transplant. To prevent this, transplant recipients are given powerful medications to suppress the immune system; these have the potential drawback of making one more susceptible to infections and to some types of cancer. The risks are usually worth it since the new kidney improves a person’s chance for a normal and healthy life. We at DELSUTH did carried out one led by the governor and it was our first and quite sucessful.”

Causes On the causes of Kidney Disease, Akporiaye said: “The most common causes of kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, and hardening of the arteries (which damage the blood vessels in the kidney). Some kidney diseases are caused by an inflammation of the kidneys, called nephritis. This may be due to an infection or to an autoimmune reaction where the body’s immune or defense system attacks and damages the kidneys. “Other kidney diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, are caused by problems with the shape or size of the kidneys (anatomic disorders), while other kidney diseases interfere with the inner workings of the kidneys (metabolic disorders). “Most metabolic kidney disorders are rare, since they need to be inherited from both parents. Other common causes of kidney failure include certain medications that can be toxic to kidney tissue, and blockages of the system that drains the kidneys which can occur with prostate problems.”

D

ENTAL sealants are used in the prevention of tooth decay in children; they are rubber/plastic like materials applied to the teeth that are most susceptible to dental decay (dental caries). The back teeth, that are the posterior teeth in the mouth are susceptible to dental decay because of their morphology and structure, they have cracks, pits and fissures which are like weak points in the tooth structure. These are what make the teeth more susceptible to dental decay. This makes decay in the front teeth not as common as tooth decay in the posterior teeth, that is, the molars both in children teeth (deciduous dentition) and adult teeth (permanent dentition). These pits, fissures, cracks are areas on the teeth that are difficult to clean, even after rigorous cleaning effort; therefore they are more susceptible to acid attacks which leads to cavitations and dental caries. The plaque- food debris, that accumulates makes the bacteria in the mouth able to use the substrate to produce lactic acid. It is the lactic acid which leaches the inorganic parts of the tooth structure the enamel, which makes the tooth resistant ordinarily, to dental caries. The role of the dental sealant is to eliminate this pits fissures crevices on the teeth, this it does by blocking out these ‘defects’ and smoothening out the surfaces of the teeth, keeping germs and food particles out of these grooves. The permanent molars and the deciduous molars benefit most from fissure sealants. Fissure sealants are best applied just after the teeth erupt into the mouth before decay has a chance to set in, a sort of pre-emptive approach to treatment. The first permanent molars erupt at about the age of six and the second permanent molars erupt at about the age of twelve, so applying fissure sealants within these age range will ensure a great reduction in the level of caries experienced in an individual. The third permanent molars often referred to as the wisdom teeth erupt about the age of seventeen years to as much as twenty –one years. These last molars are sometimes not having sufficient space to erupt into the mouth and therefore become impacted, causing a source of intense pain, they need to be surgically removed, and the impacted third molar will be addressed as a different topic in the near future. The fissure sealants have an advantage over conventional restorative filling materials, in that, there are no complex equipment needed. Only drilling and anaesthesia are necessary. Tooth structure is also not removed to effect the restoration, there is no cavity preparation and it is often a painless procedure, it is a nice way to introduce children to the dentist, coupled with topical fluoride application. The ease of application has led to some countries including same in the school awareness program; we in Nigeria can do well to replicate this idea. The procedure can indeed be performed not necessarily by a dentist as in New Zealand where the school health nurses perform same. Dental therapists and hygienist and specified ancillary staff can carry out the procedure which can take roughly less than two minutes. The obstacle in a country like ours will be control mechanics to ensure quality and not abuse as often ancillary staff have been known to set up places where they carry out procedures far out of their scope and job description. This could be a real let down to the ideal of treatment for prevention being replaced by sharp practices and quackery, I will leave that to the policy makers. The procedure to apply tooth sealant is simple. A special gel called etching gel is used to prepare the teeth surface. This gel is washed off and the soft plastic material is applied , this hardens in time to fill the fissures, it is easily done in a couple of minutes. The sealants come in various shades and colours and are to the untrained eye not visible. It can be tinted to mimic the surrounding teeth structure. Sealants have a long life span; can be in place for upwards of ten to fifteen years, they need to be periodically checked by the dentists. In summary the use of fissure sealants is a better option than waiting for a cavity to form, that is, dental decay when a filling becomes unavoidable. The maxim- decay destroys teeth, sealants protect teeth. See you next week.


44

THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

HEALTH

DENTAL TALK

More hospitals are providing dialysis services, with the Delta State Univerwith Dr Samuel Awosolu 08108155239 (SMS Only); sity Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH) offering the cheapest. But, there are email- samawosolu@yahoo.co.uk ways to prevent kidney disease, OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA writes. Tips on sealants

‘Kidney damage can be prevented’

W

ITH less than N5, 000, a Delta indigene who has last stage kidney failure but cannot afford haemodialysis can get it at the state’s Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH). According to the Chief Medical Director (CMD) Dr Leslie E. Akporiaye, the state government has subsidised the cost of such service. A non indigene will pay N22, 000.00 at his or her first visit to the hospital and N17, 000.00 subsequently. Elsewhere, the cost varies between N20, 000 and N55, 000, per session, depending on if the facility is public or private. According to the CMD, the Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, decided to subsidise the cost for dialysis after the success of the first kidney transplant carried out in the hospital. “And also, to ensure that Deltans do not come down with end stage kidney failure (ESRF) pending the time those with ESRF will be ready for kidney transplant; their heamodialysis requirement won’t be hindered. The hospital has 19 heamodialysis machines to do that. Acute kidney disease (AKD) must be prevented,” Akporiaye said. According to him, “AKD and ESKF are on the increase globally, and all hands must be on deck to ensure that the trend is halted. AKD can be reversed but ESKF cannot.” Kidney disease can lead to acute and chronic kidney failure, both of which can be lifethreatening. Acute kidney failure happens suddenly within hours to days, whereas chronic kidney failure happens gradually over a period of months to years. Acute kidney failure can often be reversed if the underlying disease is treated. In both conditions, the kidneys shut down and can no longer filter wastes or excess water out of the blood. As a result, poisons start to build up in the blood and cause various complications that can affect various body systems. “AKD leads to Chronic kidney failure which eventually reaches an end stage. This condition occurs when the kidney is working at less than 10 per cent of full capacity. At this stage, the person will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to be able to go on living,” he said.

•Dr Akporiaye

Prevention/Screening The kidneys are bean shaped organs located at the back of the body. Said Akporiaye: “Your kidneys process a huge volume of fluids and chemicals. Simple lifestyle changes can help keep them functioning healthily. It is important that everybody must know how to take care of his or her kidneys. In most cases, CKD cannot be completely prevented, although you can take steps to reduce the chances of the condition developing. Unless the kidneys are swollen or there’s a tumour, your doctor can’t usually check for disease by feeling the kidneys. “Instead, your doctor might test the urine and blood, take a scan of the kidneys, and test samples of kidney tissue. A routine urine test, called a urinalysis, checks for protein, sugar, blood, and ketones (created when the body breaks down fat). “The urine is tested with a dipstick, which is a thin piece of plastic covered with chemicals that react when they touch substances in the urine. Your doctor will also check for red and white blood cells in the urine during a urinalysis (the urine is examined using a microscope).

Depending on the suspected cause of the kidney problem, other tests may also be done,” said the CMD.

Dialysis He said: “Dialysis or transplantation treats end-stage kidney failure. In haemodialysis, blood is filtered through a tube that’s inserted in the vein. The tube is connected to a machine that cleans the blood of wastes and the “clean blood” is returned to the body through another tube. Hemodialysis is usually performed in a hospital in a three 4-hour sessions a week. In peritoneal dialysis, the space between the abdominal wall and organs is filled with a cleansing solution that absorbs toxins from the abdominal lining. The solution is then drained out into a bag. This procedure is normally done one to four times a day, seven days a week or overnight using a cycling machine.”

Transplantation Akporiaye said: “In kidney transplantation, diseased kidneys are replaced with a healthy one. Kidney transplants usu-

HIV intervention in Oyo’ll be community based, says Ajimobi’s wife

T

HE wife of the Governor of Oyo State, Mrs Florence Ajimobi (JP), has said HIV intervention will be community based, with more efforts from local governments. Funding will be focused on areas of priority interventions, she said. Mrs Ajimobi spoke at the opening of a two-day forum of the state’s Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA) and the Local Government Agency for the Control of AIDS (LACA) in Ibadan, Oyo State capital. According to a statement by Mrs Ajimobi’s Special Assistant on Media, Yejide GbengaOgundare, a-risk populations would be given more attention this year “The bulk of our intervention

By Adebisi Onanuga

this year will be at the community level and this is the more reason why our Local Government Authorities (LGA) must improve on their commitment to the HIV response by ensuring regular funding and implementation of HIV prevention activities at their respective LGAs. “Our HIV/AIDS funding this year will be based on area of priority interventions that have the potentials of reaching the most vulnerable and at-riskpopulations earlier stated, which would have a considerable impact on the status of the epidemic in the state. “In other words, our planning and programming will be prioritised, well focused, evi-

dence-based and result oriented. We must cut down on unnecessary expenditures that would not add value to the response and achieve value for money,” Mrs Ajimobi said. Mrs Ajumobi said there was need to strive to be efficient in the way and manner in which resources are utilised to ensure that quality HIV prevention and treatment services are delivered to our people at the lowest possible cost. “The fact stares us at the face and we cannot shy away from the fact that there are high rates of new HIV infections among vulnerable and most-at-risk populations in the state. Most of our youths engage in premarital sex without adequate information on protection. “Multiple sexual practice is

ally work at least 80 per cent of the time. The greatest danger is that the body might reject the transplant. To prevent this, transplant recipients are given powerful medications to suppress the immune system; these have the potential drawback of making one more susceptible to infections and to some types of cancer. The risks are usually worth it since the new kidney improves a person’s chance for a normal and healthy life. We at DELSUTH did carried out one led by the governor and it was our first and quite sucessful.”

Causes On the causes of Kidney Disease, Akporiaye said: “The most common causes of kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, and hardening of the arteries (which damage the blood vessels in the kidney). Some kidney diseases are caused by an inflammation of the kidneys, called nephritis. This may be due to an infection or to an autoimmune reaction where the body’s immune or defense system attacks and damages the kidneys. “Other kidney diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, are caused by problems with the shape or size of the kidneys (anatomic disorders), while other kidney diseases interfere with the inner workings of the kidneys (metabolic disorders). “Most metabolic kidney disorders are rare, since they need to be inherited from both parents. Other common causes of kidney failure include certain medications that can be toxic to kidney tissue, and blockages of the system that drains the kidneys which can occur with prostate problems.”

D

ENTAL sealants are used in the prevention of tooth decay in children; they are rubber/plastic like materials applied to the teeth that are most susceptible to dental decay (dental caries). The back teeth, that are the posterior teeth in the mouth are susceptible to dental decay because of their morphology and structure, they have cracks, pits and fissures which are like weak points in the tooth structure. These are what make the teeth more susceptible to dental decay. This makes decay in the front teeth not as common as tooth decay in the posterior teeth, that is, the molars both in children teeth (deciduous dentition) and adult teeth (permanent dentition). These pits, fissures, cracks are areas on the teeth that are difficult to clean, even after rigorous cleaning effort; therefore they are more susceptible to acid attacks which leads to cavitations and dental caries. The plaque- food debris, that accumulates makes the bacteria in the mouth able to use the substrate to produce lactic acid. It is the lactic acid which leaches the inorganic parts of the tooth structure the enamel, which makes the tooth resistant ordinarily, to dental caries. The role of the dental sealant is to eliminate this pits fissures crevices on the teeth, this it does by blocking out these ‘defects’ and smoothening out the surfaces of the teeth, keeping germs and food particles out of these grooves. The permanent molars and the deciduous molars benefit most from fissure sealants. Fissure sealants are best applied just after the teeth erupt into the mouth before decay has a chance to set in, a sort of pre-emptive approach to treatment. The first permanent molars erupt at about the age of six and the second permanent molars erupt at about the age of twelve, so applying fissure sealants within these age range will ensure a great reduction in the level of caries experienced in an individual. The third permanent molars often referred to as the wisdom teeth erupt about the age of seventeen years to as much as twenty –one years. These last molars are sometimes not having sufficient space to erupt into the mouth and therefore become impacted, causing a source of intense pain, they need to be surgically removed, and the impacted third molar will be addressed as a different topic in the near future. The fissure sealants have an advantage over conventional restorative filling materials, in that, there are no complex equipment needed. Only drilling and anaesthesia are necessary. Tooth structure is also not removed to effect the restoration, there is no cavity preparation and it is often a painless procedure, it is a nice way to introduce children to the dentist, coupled with topical fluoride application. The ease of application has led to some countries including same in the school awareness program; we in Nigeria can do well to replicate this idea. The procedure can indeed be performed not necessarily by a dentist as in New Zealand where the school health nurses perform same. Dental therapists and hygienist and specified ancillary staff can carry out the procedure which can take roughly less than two minutes. The obstacle in a country like ours will be control mechanics to ensure quality and not abuse as often ancillary staff have been known to set up places where they carry out procedures far out of their scope and job description. This could be a real let down to the ideal of treatment for prevention being replaced by sharp practices and quackery, I will leave that to the policy makers. The procedure to apply tooth sealant is simple. A special gel called etching gel is used to prepare the teeth surface. This gel is washed off and the soft plastic material is applied , this hardens in time to fill the fissures, it is easily done in a couple of minutes. The sealants come in various shades and colours and are to the untrained eye not visible. It can be tinted to mimic the surrounding teeth structure. Sealants have a long life span; can be in place for upwards of ten to fifteen years, they need to be periodically checked by the dentists. In summary the use of fissure sealants is a better option than waiting for a cavity to form, that is, dental decay when a filling becomes unavoidable. The maxim- decay destroys teeth, sealants protect teeth. See you next week.


POLITICS

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

45

THE NATION

E-mail:- politics@thenationonlineng.net

NATIONAL CONFERENCE It is becoming obvious to a growing number of Nigerians who bought into the idea of the proposed national dialogue that the conference may not succeed in dousing the current tension in the country, Deputy Political Editor RAYMOND MORDI writes.

Jonathan’s game of musical chairs

W

HEN President Goodluck Jonathan set up the Femi Okurounmu-led committee late last year to work out the modalities for a national conference to restructure the country’s political system, the idea was greeted with enthusiasm by many Nigerians, who have been yearning for a return to true federalism, to harness the country’s abundant human and natural resources. But since the federal government released the modalities for the nomination of delegates for the conference on January 30, criticisms against the idea has continued to mount. Going by the modalities, the consensus of Nigerians from various walks of life is that the federal government is not sincere and that the outcome of the conference would not satisfy the aspirations of Nigerians. For instance, Monday Ubani, a legal practitioner and chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Chapter, said based on the modalities announced by the Presidency, the conference is likely to be dominated by politicians. “When politicians gather, you know the kind of mischief they cause; they would not address the fundamental issues bedeviling this country,” he said in an interview with The Nation last Wednesday. Ubani said the irony is that those people who have been very vocal on the matter and have articulated their positions would not have the opportunity to participate in the conference. “It is those who never believed in national conference that would take part in it,” he added. He noted that the country is not making progress because the Nigerian state requires restructuring for efficiency. “We are not running a proper federalism; we are running a unitary system of government. The issue of allocation is absurd; every state goes to Abuja with a cap in hand, begging for money,” he added. Even those who ordinarily support President Jonathan are not in agreement with him on this matter. Norman Osakuni, a Lagosbased chartered accountant and lead partner, Egba Osakuni & Company, is a great fan of the President, but he believes the number one citizen is wrong-footed as far as the modalities for the conference is concerned. His words: “I totally disagree with the idea of making discussion on the option of pulling out of the federation a no-go area. Gone are the days when our fathers used to impose wives or husbands on their children. Marriages nowadays require the consent of the two parties involved. In the same vein, the continued coexistence of the ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria should be negotiated.” Osakuni said ethnic nationalities in Nigeria never came together to agree to live together under one entity and that the proposed national dialogue would have provided a golden opportunity for them to do so. He believes that given the chance no ethnic nationality would opt to leave the union. “Rather, it would have provided an opportunity for us to reassess our relationship and chart a way forward based on current realities. What the Jonathan administration has succeeded in doing with the idea of a no-go area is pushing dooms day forward,” he told our correspondent. Against this background, Ubani insists that there is no difference between the so-called national conference witnessed during the Olusegun Obasanjo era and the one currently being embarked upon. “It is going to end up in the same way: in confusion,” he said, adding this one is going to be more annoying because of the enormous amount of money involved (N7 billion). Ubani said the money should have been used to tackle the country’s decrepit infrastructure. The NBA chairman said the country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder as it approaches the year 2015 because several geo-political

•President Jonathan

zones are threatening fire and brimstone if things do not go their way politically. His words: “We are nearing 2015, remember the American prediction and remember the threats from several geo-political zones. The east is threatening, the north is threatening, the south-south is also threatening. It is not desirable for us to go into elections without resolving some of these issues. If you do that, you are creating a recipe for disaster.” He said if the country goes ahead with the forthcoming election without resolving some of the contending issues, the ticking time bomb would explode. “The disaster that may take place after 2015 may be more than what took place during the civil war, if care is not taken. This is because there is bottled up anger,” he added. He said if the federal government had been sincere; the conference would have helped to douse the tension in the country before the election. Prof. Ben Nwabueze, a constitutional lawyer and chairman of The Patriots, a group of eminent Nigerians has been faulting the report of the Okurounmu committee, which worked out the modalities for the proposed conference, saying it falls far short of what the group had canvassed in a 30-page memorandum it submitted to Jonathan in August last year. For instance, according to the group, the conference it has in mind should have two fundamental attributes: One, adopting a suitable new constitution embodying re-negotiated terms and conditions on which the diverse ethnic groups comprised in Nigeria can live together in peace, security, progress, prosperity, general well-being and unity as one country. Two, the conference should be one of ethnic nationalities that make up the

•Nwabueze

Nigerian state. But rather than fashioning a new constitution as the Patriots had suggested, the advisory committee recommended a conference whose deliberations would only be integrated into the existing 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly. At least, the committee did not state it anywhere in its report that the proposed national conference is for the purpose of framing a new constitution. Contrary to expectation, it also failed to state categorically that the new constitution to be adopted should be submitted to the people in a referendum for approval. Tony Uranta, a member of the National Conference Advisory Committee, said the committee did not suggest that the outcome of the conference be subjected to a referendum because such decision should be taken by the participants. “If we had gone for a referendum, it means the national conference may not hold as planned this year,” he added. Ubani disagrees, however, saying government has deliberately created a recipe for disaster by not properly spelling out the objectives of the national conference. His words: “My position has always been that the objectives of the national conference must be properly spelt out and that spelling out must be done through an act of the National Assembly. That was my recommendation even to the Femi Okurounmu-led committee; that we must enact a law spelling out the modalities, the issues to be talked about and what to do with the outcome of the talk, so that we would know what we are dealing with.” He added: “When you now constitute a national conference and say that it is

‘When you now constitute a national conference and say that it is the conferees that would determine the outcome, you have deliberately created a recipe for disaster’

the conferees that would determine the outcome, you have deliberately created a recipe for disaster.” Such obstacles, the lawyer said, were deliberately put in place to make sure that the conference fails to achieve the aspirations of Nigerians. The fact that 75 per cent of the delegates must agree on an issue before it can be ratified, he added, suggests that government does not want them to arrive at a consensus on critical matters. “They decided to set the consensus parameter at 75 per cent; that is, three quarters of the delegates must approve before they agree on any issue. This is very high; it is always two-third,” he said. For Osakuni, the fact that Jonathan and state governors would nominate a sizeable number of the delegates is not an issue. “After all, those that would be nominated are Nigerians and may not necessarily toe government line at the conference,” he argued. But he agrees that the objective should be to dismantle the bogus federalism the country is currently operating, by giving more powers to the federating units and leaving the central government to control areas like currency, defence and external affairs. “We would develop faster if a healthy competition is encouraged among the federating units, by allowing them to develop at their own pace,” the accountant enthused. Osakuni said the idea of proposing to ask the National Assembly to incorporate the outcome of the conference into the existing constitution is one of the biggest mistakes the Jonathan administration has made with regards to the proposed conference. He asked rhetorically: “How can you ask the National Assembly, which is one of the mistakes foisted on Nigerians by the military through the current constitution, to vet the will of the people? Where does the sovereignty lie? Is it with the National Assembly or with the people? What do you think members of the National Assembly would do? They would throw most of the recommendations overboard. Asking Nigerians to decide through a referendum would have been the best approach.


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

46

POLITICS

‘The best is yet to come’ Text of a speech by National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at the conferment of honourary doctorate degree of Civil Law, Honoris Causa on him by Njala University, Sierra Leone at the weekend.

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ITH deep appreciation I step forward to receive this honorary degree from this respected institution, Njala University. The very institution that topped the University of Sierra Leone in the 2013 ranking of African Universities and now a pride to this noble country and her people. It is appropriate that I step forward to receive this degree because that is exactly what Njala University and what Sierra Leone have done. You have stepped forward. From the ash and dust of war, you have stepped forward. A small nation engulfed by such a big war. You persevered, defying the odds and resurrecting and steering yourselves toward hope and peace. As a nation, you have stepped forward. You, as individuals, have stepped forward. After seeing what you have done in facing down the steep odds and overcoming the harsh challenge of war, what more could I do but join you by stepping forward to accept this degree. As such, our roles today should be reversed. You called me forth to honor me. I accepted your invitation but came here not for the purpose you think. I came here not to receive an honor but, in my own humble way, that I may honor what you have done and what you symbolize to the West African sub-region. Sierra Leone, no nation, no people ought to have suffered as you have. You teetered on the brink of extinction. You came as close as any nation would dare to the gates of Hell. Yet with some help from your friends, you averted disaster when disaster seemed inevitable and permanent. You held fast to a thin ray of hope until it grew to fill the sky above the nation. Where there was nothing but breakage and destruction now is learning and the building of new buildings, new lives and new dreams. A new nation has risen from the old. Yes, scars and wounds from the battle are there but the spirit is a different one. It directs us toward a better future and away from the bleak past.The worst has passed. The best is yet to come. This is lesson you teach the rest of West Africa. Social tranquility and peace are precious things not to be taken for granted. Take them for granted and they just may be taken from you by virtue of your own negligence. We ignore these lessons at our peril. Leadership and those in government are the mind of a nation. Women constitute the heart of the nation and men the backbone. But it is the youth who are the muscle, limbs and hands of a country. Leave the youth idle, leave the youth hopeless, leave them destitute, then you leave a nation at the mercy of a merciless fate. For its muscles, limbs and hands will atrophy or begin to work against it. No nation can attain stability, let alone greatness, unless it provides productive work and opportunity to its young. If not, the young will be led astray and with them shall go not only the future but the present. This is why I am so committed to youth education and employment. As a leader, I would be guilty of gross dereliction of duty if I did not place a high priority on the learning and labor of our youth. To cast you to the winds of unguided fate is to cast a ticking bomb toward the rest of the nation. Njala University with her student population is an inspiration. Founded in 1964 and fifty years hence, it remains a fountain of knowledge. Through its six established schools; School of Education, Community Health Services, Social Sciences, Agriculture, Environmental Sciences and School of Technology, Njala University continues to dispense knowledge and equip present and future leaders. And just like, the country Sierra Leone, it weathered the storms of war, absolved the carnage and deadly mortar of battle to hold forth the torch of education. What I see here encourages me. What I see beginning to evolve in this great country under the competent leadership of Ernest Bai Koroma. His commitment to change and good governance excites me. Old ways crumble. Old things pass away. Something new approaches. Oh yes, the best is yet to come. In Nigeria, a unique political movement is afoot and gains traction. Joining other progressive leaders, I recently helped establish the All Progressives Congress (APC). This is more than a political party or organization. It is a mission, a calling forth of the nation to realize its better self. We realized that if Nigeria continues as is, it would soon collide into the barrier of its internal contradictions. A land of vast wealth yet vast penury. A people of great talent and energy but also of despair and unproductivity born of their jobless poverty. A land that exports the raw material that helps fuel, electrify and lubricates the global economy but one that lives more in darkness than in light. We formed the APC so Nigerians from all walks of life and social station might gather under one tent to develop the nation

•Tinubu delivering his acceptance speech

•Tinubu greeting Emeritus Prof Endral Rose after the conferment of the Honoris Causa...at the weekend. With them is Njala University Vice-Chancellor Prof Abu Sesay.

on the basis of equity and shared prosperity. What we seek is a nomic activity that not only sparks growth internally but also catalyzses development in the sub-region. fair social compact sp that we may avoid social calamity. West African economies still too closely adhere to colonial A core element of our mission is to make all levels of education, from primary to university level, accessible to all people, patterns of trade and commerce. Our economies interact with the outside world more so than they do with regardless of economic circumstance. To surWe must end this. An economy vive in the modern economy, education is a “We advocate a liber- themselves. with poor trade with its neighbor is a poor must. As such, responsible leadership must view education as a public right and no long- al student aid and loan economy. Maintaining these patterns of trade means our economies stay mired in the lower a luxury to be enjoyed only by those with the money to purchase it for themselves. Gov- program so that able er rungs of the global division of labor. We ernment must help financially those who can’t but poor students are export raw material on the cheap and import manufactured goods at dear costs. help themselves in this essential regard. The industrialization of the sub-region For example, we advocate a liberal stu- not denied their dream dent aid and loan program so that able but of a university educa- and vast number jobs such activity would unleash remain a dream deferred and prospoor students are not denied their dream of a university education. Under our program, tion. Under our pro- perity delayed. It is high time we did for young people will also receive technical and gram, young people ourselves what other parts of the world have to help themselves. vocational training for jobs and opportuniwill also receive techni- done We are committed to promoting sub-reties that actually exist in the economy instead of just receiving classroom instruction for cal and vocational train- gional industrialization and manufacturing will bring new jobs to our increasingly things that only exist in the textbook. ing for jobs and oppor- that urbanized populations. We espouse reform Moreover, we seek a jobs program whereby government works in tandem with the tunities that actually ex- that enhances the quality and quantity of private sector to provide meaningful work ist in the economy in- internal trade among West African states so that we may become our brothers‘keeper, experience, mentoring as well as temporary and permanent employment for various class- stead of just receiving thus guaranteeing each other a better, more economy. Unless we do this, we es of youths. classroom instruction diverse would have turned our backs on our own We aim not to train and educate young people into joblessness and despair but to help for things that only ex- prosperity and development. Unless we do this, we would continue to work more for them realize their finest aspirations by be- ist in the textbook” the benefit of foreign interests than for ourcoming able, productive members of society selves. who can fend for themselves and earn liveliI have worked too hard and long for the progress of our hoods allowing them to establish families and homes of their people to countenance such a broken outcome. We must reform own. We have this dream, we move toward this goal. I tell you the ourselves so that we can fully occupy the destiny our people best is yet to come. Moreover, we seek this improvement not just deserve. In other words: The best is yet to come and that best will come for Nigeria but for the entire sub-region. As the most populous nation and largest economy in the sub- from you. From me. From all of us. God bless you all. region, Nigeria has the singular responsibility to generate eco-


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

ENERGY

KPMG chief warns on shale threats, poor investment in oil

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UDITING giant KPMG has warned the Federal Government of the dangers of not investing in the upstream oil sector and the threat of shale oil to the country’s revenue drive. KPMG’s Global Chairman, Energy and Natural Resources Sector, Michael Soeting, told reporters in Lagos, that the government should be concerned with lack of investments in the oil and gas exploration and production, which is resulting in depletion in oil reserves and revenues. He said the United States (US), which used to be Nigeria’s biggest market, is becoming dependent in oil and gas and marketing. The US he said, would by the end of this decade be producing about six million barrels of oil per day, adding that one third of gas production in the US is related to shale. He said although, Nigeria has found alternative markets in Asia, noting that it may depend only in the short term because

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

many countries including China, South Africa and Argentina have huge reserves of shale gas and oil. Other countries, he added, have discovered conventional oil and gas. The implication is that the multinational oil firms have choices to make in terms of where to invest their money. He said: “The Nigerian economy depends on crude oil export and there is need for the country to do it right. Non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has resulted into investment apathy in the sector. The International Oil Companies (IOCs) are uncertain about what the fiscal terms in the PIB would become after passage and they have refused to invest. “Unfortunately, more countries are becoming energy players across the world, creating alternative markets for the IOCs to channel their investment. After discussion on PIB was introduced about 10 years ago, coun-

tries such as Ghana, Mozambique Angola and others have discovered oil and already attracting investment from IOCs.” He also drew attention to the undue long contracting cycle in Nigeria, which he said, is three to five times what it takes in other countries. KPMG partner in Risk Consulting, Dimeji Salaudeen, who also is Head, Africa Oil and Gas sector, said between January 2011 and January 2012, crude oil exports to US reduced from 600,000 bpd to 150,000 barrels per day(bpd). “Assuming a barrel of crude oil was $100 throughout that period, it means Nigeria lost $45million per day due to shale gas discovery in the US,” he said. He argued that Nigeria has slipped from being the third to the sixth supplier of crude oil to US. “This means the US. is importing more from other suppliers than Nigeria. The implication of this in the long term is that the country may be faced with inability to finance its budget and build oil reserves in the future.

•From left: Salaudeen, Soeting and Partner/ Head, Tax and Regulatory Services, KPMG Mr. Victor Onyenkpa the event. PHOTOS ADEJO DAVID

‘Nigeria requires 50,000mw to grow economy’ N IGERIA requires over 50,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity to be economically viable, the Chief Executive Officer, General Electric(GE) Nigeria, Lazarus Angbazo, has said. Angbazo, who spoke at a Power Investors Conference in Lagos, said the volume of electricity production in the United States and Britain is huge, hence their ability to develop economically. “Texas alone generates over 34,000 megawatts of electricitynearly eight times than the whole of Nigeria. The city of New York with a population of eight million consumes about 40,000 mega watts, far higher than what Nigeria is currently generating, adding that there is hope of improved power supply, given the on-going privatisation in the sector. ‘’ As primitive as the present situation appears, nearly everyone can now see light at the end of the tunnel due to a combination of factors. Fundamentally, a well-thought

By Akinola Ajibade

out power sector reform is being implemented by the Nigerian government. Our confidence is buoyed by the fact that the right steps are being taken in the right direction. “As you are aware, the power sector is capital intensive and the financial and technical resources required to rescue Nigeria from dismal and unacceptable condition are clearly beyond the government’s capabilities. This is why we believe that government has done the right thing by implementing full-scale privatisation, ’’ he added. According to him, the greater dividends accruable from government’s reform efforts will exert overwhelming results in the overall economy by the time it is completed. ‘’ Just close your eyes for a second and imagine what would happen to the Nigerian

economy if we are generating between 40,000 or 50,000 megawatts of power. Imagine the impacts on the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), job creation, per capital income, inflation, the cost of doing business and so on,” he noted. It will be recalled that the global infrastructure giant recently signed a financing agreement with Standard Bank, Africa’s leading financial institution in a partnership that seeks to provide affordable access in the continent. The partnership will target 10 priority countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Tanzania, South Africa and Ghana. Others are Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Financing activity will centre on project finance, equipment finance, trade finance and advisory. The programme will be open to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and non- recourse infrastructure projects, industrial and manufacturers, natural resource companies, food and agricultural processors and other burrowers.

Marketers allege inadequate supply of products

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is yet to fix the Ijegun pipeline supplying products to Mosimi from Atlas Cove, weeks after it was vandalised, the Zonal Trustee, Independent Marketers Branch (IMB) of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers(NUPENG), Kofoworola Olasehinde, has said. This, Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), claim is affecting them as they do not get enough supply from the depot. Olasehinde said marketers were allotted 20 tankers at the weekend, instead of the usual 80 to 90 tankers per day. The same situation prevailed last Thursday when marketers shared 30 trucks. The marketers, the sources added, shared less than 30 trucks among themselves on Wednesday after waiting for hours for the product. Sources said independent marketers got six trucks on Monday, major marketers (five) and mega marketers (five) last tMonday. The sources said: “Low stocks exist in Mosimi NNPC’s depot since three weeks ago when the pipelines got vandalised. The reason is because the depot cannot access

By Akinola Ajibade

enough fuel from Atlas Cove Jetty for onward distribution to Ejigbo, Ibadan, Ilorin and Ore depots. Before now the depot supplied 80 trucks per day (400 trucks) per week to marketers since it operates between Monday to Friday. Nigerians have not been feeling the effects because many marketers still have oil in their tanks. If the trend continues, there would be scarcity of petroleum products in Ibadan and Ilorin depots since they got their supplies from Mosimi.” Olasehinde said the depot has been struggling to meet the needs of the marketers since the pipeline was vandalised in Ijegun. Oladehinde said the pipeline is the link between Atlas Cove Jetty, Lagos and Warri Refinery, adding that the development has affected fuel supply to Mosimi depot. He said the Ijegun pipeline vandalism worsened the problem, noting that the Ore pipeline has being vandalised making it difficult for marketers to get fuel from that end. ‘’When fuel is coming from Warri Refinery, it passes through the pipeline in Ijegun.”

Forte Oil rebrands lubricant

NIGERIA’S energy solution provider, Forte Oil Plc has rebranded its new VISCO 2000. The launch, coincided with the unveiling of Tiwa Savage as the company’s new Ambassador in Lagos, was one of the company’s innovative ways of enhancing performance. Speaking at the event, the Company’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Akin Akinfemiwa said the lubricant was produced to offer automobile and generator’ users quality services. He said the processes and formulations of the lubricant was of high standards, adding that the company would take advantage of its over 500 retail outlets and authorised lubricant distributors nationwide to grow the product. He said the company was spurred by the need to promote local content initiatives, as evident by the production and marketing of its range of energy-solution products and services. He said Nigerians have important roles to play in driving the local content policy by patronizing products and services coming from the oil and gas sector. According to him, the company takes local content value into consideration when producing energy solution products, urging Nigerian to assist the growth of indigenous oil and gas operators.

By Helen Ogwuche

He said the company has metamorphosed from British Petroleum (AP) to African Petroleum to Forte Oil, adding that its evolution has been historical and challenging. The company, he said, has experienced transformation in areas such as philosophy and processes, adding that the development has endeared its services to people in Nigeria and beyond. He said: “At Forte we are committed to excellence and quality, we do our things in a peculiar way that make us stand out as a brand. Our core values are being committed, openness, responsiveness and respect as seen in our activities at both the downstream and upstream segment of the sector.’’ Also, the Company’s Head Product Marketing, Bayo Akinwunmi said Forte Oil has rebranded its processes and philosophy to achieve growth. ‘’Our heritage is with the British Petroleum. We are still blending our products under BP. We have fact Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) certification which tallies with the International Standard organization (ISO) certification. This has enhanced the company’s profitability,” he added.

Ikeja power warns cable vandals THE Business Manager, Ikeja Business Unit of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), Mr. Lateef Olaleye, has warned those behind the incessant vandalism of electric cables and accessories in his network to desist or meet their waterloo. The Senior Manager, Public Affairs, of the Business Unit, Rotimi Afolayan, said Olaleye described the cable thieves and their sponsors as vermins who are not fit to live in any decent society, adding that the company would soon put in place sterner measures that would make it very difficult for the vandals to tamper with its installations. Olaleye, who was alarmed at the recurring rate of the vandalism of the company’s transformer distribution substations in the last few weeks, said that such acts were nothing but sabotage because no person in his right senses would want to risk his life by cutting and taking away live electrical mate-

rials that would at the end of the day earn them less than N50, 000 in the market. Olaleye, who spoke at an enlarged meeting of the management and staff of the Business Unit, including the service managers and their distribution and marketing managers, directed the undertakings’ staff to enlighten their customers to be more vigilant over electrical installations in their areas. He explained that the security of electricity facilities is not the duty of only the new owners of the power companies but everyone. He said within the last one month, three substations had been vandalised. “As I am speaking to you, I just received a call that our Emmanuel 500kVA substation at Maryland, an area that is very close to the Ikorodu express, has been vandalised,” he said warning that this wanton destruction of the company’s facilities just has to stop.


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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

THE NATION

BUSINESS

TRANSPORTATION

E-mail:ynotaderibigbe@gmail.com

Though molues are banned from major roads and bridges in Lagos, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which replaced them, seem not to be better. According to commuters, BRT buses are fast becoming a contraption on wheels, writes ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE

•A BRT without rear wind shield

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NTHONY Adebisi was angry last Friday night. The itinerant trader in men’s shoes and accessories was incensed like other passengers at the insensitivity of the driver and conductor of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), who preferred to ‘do their thing’ at that time of the night. It was 9.20 p.m. and Adebisi, after waiting for about two hours on queue for the Agegebound BRT bus at the Oshodi station, thought it would load its passengers and move on, but the driver and his mate had another idea. With the bus filled, the conductor began to holler for passengers to stand on the gangway. Adebisi, who observed that such has been the practice every night, began to fume. Despite his annoyance, the ticketer went on with his business. He packed the passengers tightly, ensuring that they filled every space in the bus, till there was no leg room left. Yet, the driver was reluctant to move, thereby incuring the anger of more passengers, who joined Adebisi in shouting at him and the ticketer. When he eventually moved, the ticketer was still screaming and beckoning on commuters on all bus stops on the route. “That has been their usual practice,” Adebisi told The Nation. Every night, these guys would stay at the loading point and wouldn’t allow another bus to load, until they carried those who will stand. No matter how many buses were on the queue, at Cappa, where the buses are temporarily parked to avoid congesting the road, the one loading wouldn’t move until it carried those would stand, it is as if the returns on standing is for drivers and conductors to share,” he said. He said he was always infuriated because the people carried on with so much impunity, as if they were above the law. “I will make sure I report you guys,” Adebisi threatened. “If this is how you guys will run this BRT with 45 sitting and 100 standing, then there is no point taking molue off the road,”he said. Packing passengers like sardine, like the old Bolekaja (come down let’s fight) and molue be-

PHOTO: ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE

BRT: Going the Molue way? fore it, which made the late inimitable Fela Anikulapo Kuti come up with the song: Suffering and Smiling; is not a peculiar commuting experience on the Oshodi/Agege route. The BRT, which is run by the Lagos Bus Assets Management Company (LAGBUS), an allpurpose assets management vehicle by the government has become a glorified contraption that provides mass shuttle services to the bustling population of commuters around the state. The Na tion’s investigation last week showed that commuters stand in the BRT buses the way they did in the old decrepit molue buses, which the Lagos State government has banned from major roads within the metropolis. From Ikorodu to Oshodi, Oshodi to Mile 2; Oshodi to Ikotun, and Agege to Ishaga, or Agege to Secretariat, or CMS to Oshodi, or Ojota to Eko-Idumota, it is fashionable for commuters to stand in these maxi buses. But the practice is not limited to the BRT

buses alone. Under the scheme, other franchisees, such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which was given about four routes, among other transportation firms, and the NURTW Cooperative Ltd., which runs the dedicated blue buses along with other Bus Franchise Scheme (BFS) operators, who are under the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authourity’s (LAMATA) supervision do same with impunity on all the routes they plied. A ticketer, on the Sango-Ota-Oshodi route, who simply identified himself as Mike, said the practice to overload the vehicle might not be unconnected with targets set for them by their management. He said many of the franchisees were still battling to recoup their investments, which came from bank loans. There is also the angle of the huge demand for the mass transit buses by Lagosians. He said his route, which is being handled

Investigation showed that commuters stand in the BRT buses in the same fashion as they did in the old decrepit molue buses, which the Lagos State government has banned from major roads

by the TUC buses, which put more vehicles the route, has begun to experience the pressure because “the demand for our buses gradually outstripping supply.” Mike, who said he witnessed such pressures only during the rush hours in the mornings and at night, said the solution lies in increasing the numbers of vehicles on the roads. A driver on the Agege-Oshodi road, who preferred anonymity, said drivers on the route were acting on directive from above. Though he would not volunteer more details, the driver said the directive might have come due to the market research that indicated that many may not really mind opting to stand inside the buses. He said: “We weren’t packing passengers like this before. But, sometimes last year, a directive came from the office that we should be carrying those standing and if you look at it, we do this only during rush hours, when there are many passengers. At any other time when traffic is calm, we just carry our normal seating capacity and move.” He, however, said it is even the passengers that often beg us to come on board the buses and stand, especially those of them who are running behind a deadline or running out of time. Though the driver might be right, some Lagosians said the standing option, which ordinarily, ought to be a last resort is fast becoming the fad. A resident Mrs Ronke Oladimeji said the distortion to the BRT masterplan, which the standing option represents, is fast eroding the gains of the state’s public sector transportation. Mrs. Oladimeji, an Advert executive, recalled that when it came on board on March 17, 2008, the BRT buses were designed to be the government’s response to the nagging issues of mass transportation in the metropolis. •Continued on page 49


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

TRANSPORTATION

Union seeks more investments in transport

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HE Lagos State Chairman of the Tricycle Workers Association of Nigeria (TWAN), Mr. Olumuyiwa Odesanya, has demanded more investments in the transport sector. Odesanya, who observed that the sector is too capital intensive to be left to the private sector, said more private sector involvement would improve efficiency and safety in the transportation system. He spoke at the inauguration of a 21-member executive committee of the association in Lagos. Describing the private sector as very crucial to the development of transportation, Odesanya said it is very clear that government alone can no longer shoulder the transportation needs of Nigerians. He explained that a partnership between the government and the private sector is needed to make transportation more readily available in the country. “There is the need for the private sector to inverst more in thr country’s transportation system. Goernment alone cannot develop all the infrastructure or the funds for the sector. He said all modes of transportation enjoy massive private sector participation in Europe and the United States. Odesanya, therefore, called on the government to put in place favourable policies aimed at encouraging more private participation in the transport system. While extolling the virtues of members of the committee, Odesanya urged the leaders to ensure they train their members and encourage them to continue to observe road safety regulations at all times.

‘We are committed to provision of street lights’

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HE Lagos State government has assured that it remains committed to the provision of street lights, which he described, as necessary road furniture. The Commissioner of Transportation Comrade Kayode Opeifa who made this known to The Nation in his office, said the street lights, like other road furniture like drainages, pedestrian walkways, medians and kerbs, service ducts and bus lay-bys, are part of the agenda of the Fashola government as it transforms Lagos into a “model mega city.” He said the Lagos State Electricity Board has been saddled with installing street lights all over major streets and high ways for the safety and security of motorists. He said: “The street lights also have dedicated power generating set A ltrernative source of power to ensure the provision of continuous illumination of the streets especially at night.” Opeifa said the state has moved way out of what obtains in the past, where virtually all parts are enveloped by darkness, a development that promotes crime and criminality. He noted that the street lights has provided accelerated economic

By Adeyinka Aderibigbe

development and encouraged social integration across communities and localities. “That informs why all road contracts, which were awarded in the last seven years have as major components the street lights, and they are what the state has accepted as the basic minimum in road

designs,” Opeifa added. The Commissioner for Transportation said the state, since 2000, has embarked on the development of a strategic transportation master plan which is anchored on road rehabilitation, junction improvement, one way system and lane marking, all of which has helped in maximising existing road space, reduce vehicle opera-

•From left: Head, Accident Investigation for FRSC, Chukwuma Njoku; Head, Planning Advisory FRSC headquarters, Mr. Clement Oladele; Head, Service & Technical, TNL, Mr. Victor Connaway; Executive Director, TNL, Mr. Kunle AdeOjo and Ag. Head, Safety Engineering, FRSC Efosa Osawe during the presentation of an Ambulance to the Corps.

‘No plan to sell ANAMMCO’

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Agencies still work on Saturdays

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LL transportation agencies in Lagos comprising the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), the State Drivers Institute (LASDRI) and the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA), still operate on Saturdays, the government has said. They, however, do not work on the last Saturday of each month which is dedicated to environmental sanitation. Commissioner of Transport Comrade Kayode Opeifa said the clarification was necessary to enable those who could not transact business with these agencies on week days to do so on Saturdays between 10am and 2pm. Opeifa spoke in his office while reviewing the strategies for the enforcement of the new Public Transport Management System, which involves the accreditation of commercial passenger vehicle owners and operators. He said though enforcement had begun, the accreditation is still on. The centre for the VIS and Drivers Institute on Saturdays are Lagos Island, Ikorodu, Isheri, PWD and Mile 2. Commercial vehicle owners, he said, should visit the VIS centres, while drivers and conductors should visit the Drivers Institute for their accreditation.

•Opeifa

tion cost and promote road safety facilities. On pedestrian bridges, Opeifa said the government introduced the millennium bridges since year 2000, which took into consideration to the comfort and convenience of pedestrians as they were built with features that make them complement the various modern road projects being handled by the government.

•From right: (Front row), Managing Director PAN Nigeria, Alhaji Ibrahim Boyi; Pierrepont Franck of AP France; member, AP France International Partnership, Daniel Gauer. Standing from left: General Manager Industrial PAN Nigeria, Mr Augustine Okolo; Representative of AP France in Nigeria, Mr. Eric Medieu; Deputy Managing Director PAN Nigeria, Mr. Jaime Pena; Head, Corporate Communication Musa Bashir Usman, after inspecting PAN’s Production facilities. •Continued from page 48

Kicking off the project six years ago, Governor Babatunde Fashola had dreamt up an initiative that would provide the needed elixir to the nightmare that mass commuting has become in the state. Fashola envisaged that in some few years, the BRT would have become a needed means of transportation for the upwardly mobile middle class, such that the executives would prefer to park their vehicles at home, especially on week days and opt for the BRT. And it seem the BRT was up to fill that vacuum and occupy its pride of place in public sector transportation management in the first few years of its introduction when the government claimed its records showed the BRT now takes over seventeen million people across the state every month. Invariably, by the state’s record, 204 million passengers patronised the BRT yearly. The development encouraged the government to delineate more routes, and add more buses to the existing fleet to ensure that more areas around the state are covered.

BRT: Going the Molue way? The Commissioner for Transportation Comrade Kayode Opeifa, who made this known the re-fleeting initiative known said about 250 new vehicles are being expected to be added to further strengthen the public transportation system in the state. Though the government would want Lagosians to believe the BRT brand as an effective public sector transportation option is still on course and getting stronger, available facts are showing that the state’s mass shuttle buses are losing the steam and its allure especially among the middle class. Though the staate has further strengthened the BRT scheme by ensuring that no one uses the dedicated lanes meant for the buses, the bulk of the middle class are yet to fully buy into the dream of the public transportation scheme. Transportation experts say the cold shoulders from the economically active segment of the state’s economy remains the way the scheme is still being run. The absence of professionals in the discharge of transportation services

in the BRT services remains a major drawback, Mr. Tunde Ojuola said. According to him, a business executive with an early morning appointment to catch up with would not see the BRT as an option where his personal car provides not only the solution, but the comfort. To address the comfort of this class of residents, the government’s initial policy was to introduce air-conditioned buses. These set of buses, however, couldn’t operate for more than six months before it was abandoned. Though the governor would admit that getting the rich and the active middle class on the public transportation remains a work in progress, he has in the meantime ensured that the poor and average income, at the grassroots, which the BRT presently accommodates, have unfettered access on the road. Jam packed buses, dirty interior, thorn seat covers, and buses in different stages of disrepair, are few of the challenges besetting the six- year initiative leaving a negative impact on the passenger traffic and patronage. A LAGBUS official, who preferred

HE Chairman, Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company (ANAMMCO) Mr. Godwin Okeke has said there is no plan to sell the firm. There have been speculations that ANAMMCO, which produces wide bodied luxury buses, will be sold. Okeke, in a statement, described the report as false. According to him, the report that some auto manufacturers and investors are jostling for the purchase of the firm is “malicious and deceptive.” He said rather than being sold, ANAMMCO is being positioned to maximise the opportunities in the new automotive policy, which he described as the rightstepintherightdirectionforthecountry. He said ANAMMCO remains a committed auto firm with a functioning production infrastructure, adding that the firm would eventually be a major player in the industrial revolution policy of the Federal Government. ANAMMCO, he added, would unveil its plan for the automotive industry, adding that steps are being taken to ensure the firm regains its pride of place. anonymity, said even with the challenges, the BRT is still a major cash cow. The official, who preferred not to be named, said LAGBUS makes allocates N10 million weekly to service and fuel the vehicles, adding that it is baffling that many of the vehicles were still an eyesore despite the money deplored to keep them. He said: “Though the initial problem the agency confronted was sourcing spare parts for the vehicles, it has since gone pass that stage as some of the parts are already being produced in the country.” Ojuola, who, however, believes service delivery in the sector remains very poor, called for the training and retraining of all the drivers and conductors (ticketers), to arm them with appropriate skills that would make them offer services that could rank at par with what obtains anywhere in the world. It is only by taking charge of the structure, he continued, that the government would make the sector more attractive and rolls the carpet off the feet of thugs parading as ticketers, drivers and other allied workers on public sector transportation.


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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

THE NATION

BUSINESS PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT

* The Environment * Mortgage * Apartments * Security * Homes * Real Estate Website:- http://www.thenationonlineng.com 08062722507

property@thenationonlineng.net muyiwalucas2002@yahoo.com

•A proposed estate

Land speculators are capitalising on Nigerians’ quest to own houses in estates without basic amenities. Yet, the prices are exploitative, reports Assistant Editor MUYIWA LUCAS

S his retirement drew nearer, the fear of not owning his personal house became overwhelming. For 25 years, Segun Ojedokun, 55, has been a tenant. So, when a dashing young man approached him about an estate where he could buy a land, he was elated. The land, allegedly situated on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, has “standard facilities in a serene environment, he was told.” But, Ojedokun was disappointed, after a visit to the location - it was a virgin land, without signs to correlate with what he saw on a flyer. He left the place dejected. Emeka Ikechukwu, a businessman had a similar experience. Swayed by the ability of a young female marketer and the very attractive building and layout printed on a flyer, he agreed to buy two plots in an estate around Agbara, Ogun State. Following his friend’s probe of the marketer, Ikechukwu was shocked to learn that what he saw on the flyer, was a charade since the ‘estate’ was still a virgin land in an obscure location. While Ojedokun and Ikechukwu could thank their stars for not losing money, Dele Oguntade, a retired civil servant, cannot. For him, it was a double loss as he could not get the land purportedly allocated to him, neither did he get a refund for the land he bought in Ikorodu, on the outskirts of Lagos State. Oguntade has since relocated to the United States. The property industry is awash with offers by land speculators who parade themselves as estate promoters. This is prevalent in Ogun State, which is close to Lagos, where land is not only scarce, but expensive. It is estimated that over 20 of such estates have sprung up around the state. The Nation findings revealed that the catch in these estates is the same: flexible payment options spread over six to 24 months, after an initial deposit pegged at between 10 and 30 per cent. Also, prospective buyers are assured of state-of-the-art facilities, such as infrastructure with interlocking paved roads, or ashphalt road network, drainage, electricity, street

• How estate agencies dupe subscribers

While “estates” keep springing up in every corner, the challenge of development with the associated standard assurance is worrisome. Most estates in this category are said to be substandard and not fit to be so called

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The big housing fraud

lights, perimeter fencing with gate, estate 3D layout, global, health centres, security (fire and police station), sewage system, adequate water supply, green areas, playgrounds, and easy transfer of ownership. Such lands are also said to be free from any encumbrance, or government acquisition. One of such estates is on the Simawa-Ikorodu Road. According to its website, two options are available for the land - payment of N1.5 million for a plot, or an instalment payment option offered at N2 million per plot and payable over 10 months. Another estate is springing up in Agbara-Igbesa/Atan area of Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State. It costs N750, 000 to own a plot there if one is paying at once, with an option of the buyer enjoying a 10 per cent discount. However, three other payment options available are spread over 24 to 42 months. Although the flyer and handbills advertising this estate say it has modern facilities, what is on ground presents a different story as the “estate” is still a virgin land without

tangible development. The company’s website also failed to open after several attempts. Efforts to get the promoters for comments failed. When a call was put through to the company, a young man who responded, said only the marketing director could comment. Contacted two days later, the same man said his boss was not ready to speak since the company was trying to “re-strategise” its operations. However, on the company’s website are pictures of “physical allocation exercise,” held on July 13, last year. For now, allocation has been put on hold, while nothing on ground points to the picture painted on its website. Yet, there are reasons for the continued survival of mush room estates. For Olaniyi Sanni, a civil servant, the fact that he is saved from the stress of dealing with “omo onile” is enough to patronise estate promoters. “Buying land in an estate frees you from dealing with omo onile, whose activities can be a nuisance,” he said. For others, the allure is the ease of payment encouraged such promoters. However, chances of a subrisciber losing as much as 30 per cent of his money are high in case of a payment default or when a client decides to withdraw from the offer. While “estates” keep springing up in every corner, the development with the associated challenge of standard assurance is worrisome. Most estates in this category are said to be substandard and not fit to be so called. Although the government is said to grant approvals for the creation of such estates, their substandard state continues to amaze stakeholders. This is blamed on the failure of regulation and supervision. The unfulfilled promises of adequate security and provision of infrastructure, among others, by •Continued on page 51


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT

Nigeria gets $23m from GEF G

•Darius Ishaku, surpervising Minister of Environment

LOBAL Environmental Facility (GEF) gave $23 million grants to Nigeria in four years, Mrs. Halima Mohammed, assistant director and GEF’s Desk Officer in the Federal Ministry of Environment has said. The grants, according, to her, were for various environmental projects across the country. She said the funds were being used to implement projects in the Fifth replenishment cycle which is expected to end next June. The grant is used under three focal areas — climate change, biodiversity and land degradation.

Govt launches NHF e-Card

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ONTRIBUTORS to the National Housing Fund (NHF) can heave a sigh of relief over the transparency in the management of their money. Last week, President Goodluck Jonathan kicked off the first electronic real estate wallet system called the National Housing Fund (NHF) e-Card. The data card, Jonathan assured, would ensure transparency in remittance of deductions made by the employers from employees’ salary into their account. He described the project as a huge step forward in delivering the “advantage of speed accuracy, transparency accountability and superior customer experience to NHF contributors”. Noting that the national policy on housing and the national policy on urban development are the first of their kind in the country since 1991, President Jonathan said the increasing importance of cities and urban areas as pivots of human interaction and centres of national and global economic development defined his administration’s prioritisation of these policies. He said: “We are strengthened in all other related institutions as all the agencies are being reinforced to improve their capacities in providing affordable mortgage financing targeted at low income Nigerians and also stimulate affordable mortgage financing and institutional investment to reduce the cost of

housing finance in Nigeria.” He described the NHF e-card as an effective tool for ensuring transparency and accountability of national housing funds contributions received by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), which he reckons is in line with his administration’s efforts at promoting transparency in the management of resources. The new e-card, he added, would not only be helpful in managing funds contributed, but would also boost contributors’ confidence in the NHF scheme. It is hoped that defaulters of the scheme will now be comfortable to comply with the scheme since the e-card assures of the safety and proper application of their money, he said. The introduction of the e-card makes it possible for NHF deductions, collection and remittance to be done electronically by all designated commercial banks in Nigeria through their existing information technology structures. The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FMBN, Mr. Gimba Yau Kumo, said the government has already begun to harvest the benefits of the scheme as NHF collections rose from about N700 million monthly, to over N2.2 billion with an estimated 100 per cent increase to achieve monthly collection of N4 billion before the year ends.

The big housing fraud •Continued from page 50

promoters of the estate, also leave much to be desired. When The Nation contacted the Bureau of Lands, in Ogun State, no body seemed willing to talk on the regulation of these “estates.” Throughout last week, the information officer could not proffer any explanation either on phone or through an electronic mail, which she asked

•Ibilola

to be sent to her, saying she had “internet network problem.” By Friday evening, the DirectorGeneral, Adewale Mr Osinowo, could not be reached. Mr Richard Ibilola, an architect and senior consultant with a building construction firm in Lagos, said there are two ways to set up an estate-by putting up the infrastructure and allocating plots for people to buy and develop; and second, by developing fully built structures and selling same to the public. Ibilola, in a chat with The Nation, said there is no standardised estate in this category of estates, especially in Ogun State. He said most of the promoters were only acting as land speculators and know nothing about estate management and development. Explaining how the “estates” came to being, he said owners of such mushroom estates either bought a large expanse of land from a family or get paid with land allocation by land vendors, popularly known as omo onile, as commission for helping to sell parts of their land; and therefore, they cannot be said to be developing an estate.

Stories by Muyiwa Lucas

Giving a breakdown of the grant, Mohammed said over $14 million was received for climate change; $5 million biodiversity; and $3 million land degradation. The allocation is under the System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR), which allows GEF to allocate funds to countries to implement projects in specific focal

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areas. Apart from the $23 million grant, the country has also benefited under STAR. He GEF also okayed over $6 million for implementation of some projects under Persistent Organic Pollutants category. GEF is a counterpart funding scheme between the benefiting country and the body. “Nigeria may decide on the modality to pay the counterpart fund-

ing, through the Federal Government, states or the communities. The communities contribute by giving lands and by the time you quantify this, they would have made a substantial contribution to the project,’’ she added. The GEF works with countries to produce global environmental benefits and based on national priorities for sustainable development. It is the largest funding agency for environmental initiatives in the world, which also provides grants for projects related to biodiversity and climate change.

During the visit, the UN-Habitat chief is expected to hold meetings with top government functionaries, including the Supervising Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Musa M. Sada and the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She is expected to address the inaugural ceremony of Nigeria’s National Habitat Committee on Thursday in Abuja. The establishment of National Habitat Committees was recommended by the UN General Assembly to serve as a vehicle for ensuring a broad-based, gender balanced and inclusive participation process leading up to the Habitat III summit, and will include representation from the government, civil society, the private sector, academic and research institutions and the media. The Committee will, among several other tasks, ensure the effective and efficient participation of all stakeholder groups in the Habitat

III preparatory process and oversee the preparation of national reports. The deadline for conclusion of National Habitat reports is June, this year. Meanwhile, following the recent launch of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC), Ministers for Land and Urban Development in Africa will address housing finance during their meeting next week in Chad, as they deliberate on “Case Studies in Financing Human Settlements in Africa: Appropriate Legislative Frameworks and Innovations in Implementation.” The meeting would develop an enhanced operational compendium for legislative framework and innovative practices for human settlements financing; define ‘Africa Urban Agenda 2063’ that will also serve as an input into the African Union’s ‘Agenda 2063 as well as to the Post-2015 Agenda and to Habitat III; and ddopt the N’Djamena Declaration on Financing Human Settlements in Africa.

UN-Habitat envoy coming

EPUTY Executive Director/ Assistant Secretary-General for UN-Habitat, Ms. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira is expected to arrive in the country tomorrow for a fiveday visit to strengthen ties between the United Nations and Nigeria. The mission, coming ahead of the fifth session of the African Ministerial Council on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD) scheduled for N’djamena Chad from February 25 and 28 and the seventh session of the World Urban Form holding in Medellin, Columbia from April 5 to 11, is coming in the wake of efforts towards the articulation and adoption of a New African Urban Agenda, required to tackle urbanisation on the continent. These will lead to the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, billed for 2016. Nigeria, last year demonstrated its commitment to the process with a pledge of $3million spread over three years, to drive participation by African countries.

FHA woos Lagos on FESTAC Town

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HE Managing Director, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Trever Gemade,has appealed to the Lagos State government to support the development of FESTAC Town Phase II. At a meeting with officials of the state government, Gemade said the yet-to-be developed 1,100 hectares of land in FESTAC Town Phase II, has been concessioned to a developer who would sand- fill it and provide infrastructure, such as roads, water and electricity, cell box culverts for linking roads, drainage and sewage as well as waste water disposal. He said the concessionaire would also deliver housing units through

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condominiums for the benefits of all Nigerians in general, and Lagosians in particular. He said earlier stakeholders, including the FHA, Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the concessionaire and the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission, held a meeting in Abuja on the project. The FHA helmsman noted that the Lagos State government had earlier issued a caveat when newspaper advertisements were placed in 2012 for the concession and that the FHA considered it necessary to liaise with the government to execute the project. The FHA, he said, was eager to

work with Lagos as it had done with other states, urging the state government to appoint someone who would work with the stakeholders for the realisation of the project. The Solicitor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Lawal Pedro, assured that the state would not object to the development as long as it complied with its laws and regional master plan, stressing that the government was determined to enforce its town and regional planning laws. He urged the FHA to familiarise itself with and ensure compliance with them in the development of the state.

Lagos to improve water, sewage at Games Village

HE Lagos State government is to safeguard the well-being of residents of the Games Village in Eric Moore, Surulere. Following the collapse of the central water and the sewage disposal systems in the village, the residents cried to the government for assistance. Chairman, Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LSWRC), Taiwo Sebioba, who presided at a stakeholders’meeting between the government and the Village, said though the Village is owned by the Federal Government, the state government would not fold its arms to allow further degeneration of the situation, noting that the welfare of the residents is important to the government. Also, LSWRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Tanwa Koya, reiterated the commission’s mandate of prompt delivery of water and waste water management services in the state to discourage indiscriminate drilling of boreholes. Koya said improper waste water and sanitation management contaminates drinking water. Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Toyin Ayinde, said to solve the problem, the relevant Federal Government agencies would be

consulted. He, however, promised that the management of necessary infrastructure, such as the sewage plant would receive the urgent attention of the state government. The Games Village, built in 1973 by the Federal Government to

accommodate participants at the All African Games, was sold to residents in early 2000. It comprises about eight estates with over 600 homes. Its water treatment plant had been sold off and the sewage treatment plant packed up, resulting in the proliferation of boreholes, septic tanks and blocked pipes through which drains out into the environment.

20th Ekpenyong Lecture holds Thursday

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STATE Surveyors and Valuers will converge on the Civic Centre on Victoria Island, Lagos, on Thursday for the 20th Annual John Wood Ekpenyong Memorial Lecture. Ekpenyong was Nigeria’s first Chartered Surveyor/Estate Surveyor and Valuer. Nigeria Estate Institute of Surveyors and Vluers (NEISV) President/Chairman of Council Mr. Emeka Eleh said in Lagos that 34 members of the institute would be inducted as Fellows at the event. Otunba Victor Ayeye, the Honorary National Publicity Secretary said the President of the institution Mr. O. J. A. Idudu will be the guest lecturer.

He will speak on the topic: Estate agency: have we lost it? Idudu is Chairman, NIESV Board of Trustees. A former president of the institution, he is also a past chairman of Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON). Guests expected on the occasion include Mr. A. G. Sangosanya, who will be the Chairman of the event, while the Paramount Ruler of Yewa Land and Olu of Ilorin, Oba Gbadewole Olugbenle, a member of NIESV, will be the Royal Father of the Day. The Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko and the Lagos State commissioner for Finance are the special guests of honour.


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

52

THE NATION

BUSINESS AVIATION Following last week’s sack of the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, by President Goodluck Jonathan, anxiety is mounting over the fate of her airport infrastructure projects.KELVIN OSA OKUNBOR reports.

What becomes of Oduah’s aviation master plan? D ‘ It is not ideal for URING Princess Stella Oduah’s tenure, the aviation master plan was dear to her. With her exit last week as aviation minister, questions are being asked on what becomes of the project. Under her watch, she undertook the remodelling of 22 airports across the country , which were scheduled to be implemented in phases. Besides, she initiated the airport city concept, otherwise known as aerotropolis, the building of perishable agro-allied terminals and replacement of obsolete air nivagation facilities at airports across the country. Part of the projects in the master plan include the five international airport terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kano to be built by a consortium of Chinese investors. Others are the construction of the General Aviation Terminals (GAT) for charter operators in Lagos and Port Harcourt and a state-of-the-art car park, transit passenger lounge, and an independent power plant at the Lagos Airport. Some aviation players, including Comrade Benjamin Okewu, President of the Air Transport Services Senior Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) believed that the projects would be completed despite her exit; others, including Comrade Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, National Association of Air Transport Employees

(NUATE), think otherwise. Okewu said the projects would be completed because aviation workers have resolved to ensure projects meant to benefit Nigerians are not abandoned. He spoke of plans by aviation workers to remind whoever is appointed her successor to ensure he or she does not deviate from the master plan. In a statement, issued after a meeting in Lagos, Okewu and ATSSSAN’s Deputy National Secretary Tarnongu Captain said all hands must be on deck to ensure that the exit of Princess Stella Oduah should not have any negative impact on the aviation industry. The group said it was not averse to change since it is the only thing that is constant in life . It said it was time for the President to appoint a person with sincere and fundamental interest of the aviation industry at heart.

The association assured President Goodluck Jonathan of its readiness to provide the platform and safety valve to support the incoming minister to ensure that the Transformation Agenda in the aviation industry is not truncated. Abioye alleged that there is nothing to convince industry players that the projects would be completed because they were shrouded in secrecy. He said details of the scope of work and the contractors handling the projects are not in the public domain. The Secretary-General, Nigerian Aviation Professionals Association (NAPA), Mr Siedu Abdulrasaq, believes that all the projects initiated by Oduah will be completed. He says there are competent hands in the team she left behind to complete the projects. He said the former minister has put the necessary measures in

Because these projects have changed the face of aviation, there is no way they will be abandoned, whether Oduah is there or not. Look at the airport terminals. These projects will continue because they are in the interest of the aviation industry

•One of the remodelled domestic airport terminals.

Firm, airline strike plane support deal

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IRLINE Services Components Limited (ASC) has signed a contract with Discovery Air, according to a statement by ASC. ASC has been selected to provide full component support on its fleet of Boeing B737-300 aircraft. This power-by-the-Hour (PBH) contract will cover an initial three operational aircraft. The agreement has room for expand as the airline is set to develop its route network domestically and

regionally to Gambia, Ghana and Cameroon, among other destinations. The contract will be for three years after which it is subject to renewal. Captain Abdulsalami Mohammed, Managing Director at Discovery Air said: “We are very happy to have ASC as our support partner.” ASC Director Nick Filce expressed delight at signing the contract.

“This is ASC’s first contract in Western Africa and a key addition to our growing portfolio. ASC has recently reinforced its focus on the region and this contract provides a great cornerstone to our planned expansion into the market. “ASC’s experienced and flexible approach to component support on the B737 platform ensures we are well-placed to assist the regions operators to streamline operations.”

place to see to the completion of her numerous projects, including the airport remodelling and the aerotropolis project. But an airline operator who pleaded not to be named said there is no need to entertain any fears over the projects that Oduah left behind because they were funded by the government. He said: “Because these projects have changed the face of aviation, there is no way they will be abandoned, whether Oduah is there or not. Look at the airport terminals. These projects will continue because they are in the interest of the aviation industry.’’ Mr Chris Aligbe, an aviation consultan, said it would not be acceptable for the government to allow the projects to hang in the balance because of the minister’s exit. He said: ‘’It is not ideal for anybody to think that the ambitous projects started by Oduah will be abandoned. Government is continuous, so who ever is appointed to head the ministry will work with heads of aviation agencies to ensure the completion of the projects. This has to be so, because these projects have turned around the sector which for many years was almost comatose. “There is no debate that the former minister of aviation, Stella Oduah made her mark in the sector, with the massive infrastructure upgrade, the ambitious aerotropolis, the proposed cargo terminals, the new international terminals, these were projects others could not deliver in the past. Despite the scandais and other issues raised by stakeholders, I think she made her mark, and the greatest disservice by any successor is not to continue from where she left off.’’ Sheri Kyari, an Aircraft Engineer and Executive Director of Centre for Aviation Safety and Research, said there is no need to fear over the noncompletion of the projects Oduah left behind. Kyari said: ‘’One may be tempted to be afraid, but stakeholders want government to sound it to her successor that the greatest disservice to the industry master plan is not to complete those ambitious projects that take aviation to the next level. Honestly, Oduah made her mark, with courageous and ambitious projects that will take aviation to the next level. I do not think government would be insentitive to do that. This is because the expectation of industry players is so high, as to what becomes of those projects in the master plan. Despite the scandals, this was one minister that took the bull by the horn to deliver projects that have changed the face of aviation. If other ministers did a little of what Oduah did, the aviation sector would have moved forward.’’ It is believed that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), should work towards completing the projects. In an interview in Lagos, Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison said Oduah contributed her best to turn around the aviation sector.

anybody to think that the ambitious projects started by Oduah will be abandoned. Government is continuous, so whoever is appointed to head the ministry will work with heads of aviation agencies to ensure the completion of the projects

Meggison said Oduah attracted a lot of funding into the aviation sector, which helped her carry out the massive airports rehabilitation programmes. The AON chairman said her leadership style may appear controversial , but, she ensured any project she was convinced about was executed . He noted that if she had some knowledge of the rudiments of aviation, perhaps she could have done better. Meggison said: ”Today, we may be clamouring for the appointment of an aviation professional as minister, but Oduah before she left attracted a lot of funding into the sector, which helped her to carry out the remodelling of airports. In other critical areas of the aviation sector, she could have done better, if the information at her disposal at the time of leaving office was available to her when she assumed duties two years ago. But, we must admit that she tried her best.” However, during her tenure as aviation minister, Oduah fought a running battle with many concessionaires, whom she said were shortchangingTHE government through fraudulent airport concessions. She said the collective wealth of the nation, was being enjoyed by a tiny fragment of the population thr o u g h a i r p o r t c o n c e s s i o n s that were skewed against the interest of the government. This led to the revocation of the concession agreement with Maevis Limited, for the provision of automated airport management system at both the Lagos andAbuja airports. The matter is still in court. She also had a running battle with Bi- Courtney Aviation Services Limited, over the tenure of its concession of the new Domestic Terminal Two of the Lagos Airport as well as the building of hotel and conference centre opposite the new domestic terminal.


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT

17-2-14

Equities rally on earnings prospects

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IGERIAN equities yesterday rode on the back of dividend recommendations and prospects for good dividend yields to regain their upbeat and douse the panicky downtrend that had dominated the market last week. Nigerian Breweries, which at the weekend announced a final dividend of N4.50 per share, led the bullish rally yesterday, urging on market momentum that saw share prices of several stocks that could release their earnings reports within the month closing on the upside. The main index at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)-the All Share Index (ASI), rallied by 0.51 per cent to close at 38,964.75 points as against its opening index of 38,767.29

•FBN Life seals acquisition of Oasis with two cross deals By Taofik Salako Capital Market Editor

points. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities rose from N12.427 trillion to close at N12.528 trillion. Nigerian Breweries gained N3 to close at N145. Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria trailed with a gain of N2.45 to close at N109.45. Oando rose by N1.86 to close at N20.06. Stanbic IBTC Holdings added 90 kobo to close at N19.95. Guaranty Trust Bank gained 66 kobo to close at N25.39. United Bank for Africa gathered 55 kobo to close at N7.49. Ecobank Transnational Incorporated chalked up 49 kobo to close

at N14.49. Zenith Bank rose by 40 kobo to close at N20.50. Okomu Oil Palm garnered 39 kobo to close at N41 while Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (Nahco) gained 26 kobo to close at N5.59 per share. The market’s activity was however defined by the cross deals that saw the transfer of majority equity stake in Oasis Insurance Plc to FBN Life Assurance, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc. With two deals for 4.63 billion shares valued at N2.55 billion, the acquisition of 71.2 per cent majority equity stake in Oasis Insurance by FBN Life Assurance was finalised. FBN Life Assurance acquired the 4.63 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of Oasis Insurance from the previous core investors-Oasis Group Limited and MetroWest Investments Limited.

DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 17-2-14


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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MONEYLINK

‘VISA commited to cardholders’ protection’

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LOBAL payment company, Visa International, says it invests heavily in advanced fraud-fighting technologies and innovative programmes to mitigate fraud and protect cardholders. Visa’s Country Manager in West Africa, Ade Ashaye said in an interview that the global payment firm’s efforts have helped keep fraud rates steady near historic lows, enabling accountholders to

attacks on multiple accounts across the system, enabling issuers to stop potential fraud at checkout, before it occurs,” he said. Ashaye said the firm’s advanced authorisation remains an industry-leading security technology that analyses and scores in real-time every Visa transaction for its fraud potential. Risk scores are based on a

Stories by Collins Nweze

use cards with confidence. “In fact, with technological innovations and advances in risk management, global fraud rates have declined by more than two-thirds in the past two decades. Because VisaNet processes more electronic card payments globally than other networks, it has an enhanced ability to identify fraud on individual accounts and coordinated

FCMB partners TUC on mortgage financing

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IRST City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited has collaborated with Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Rock of Ages Properties to build 100,000 housing units for workers nationwide. In a statement, the bank explained that the project to be executed under a public-private partnership, would allow it provide funding and act as act as collecting lender. As a collecting bank, FCMB is to provide funds to workers interested in owning any of the housing units upon completion. The first phase of the 100,000 units,

By Modupe Oluneye

needed because workers have continued to suffer in the hands of landlords. He stated that the intervention of FCMB and Rock of Ages Properties (the project developer) will further bridge the huge gap in the housing sector in the country. Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu, commended FCMB, TUC and Rock of Ages Properties for the initiative assuring that the government will support the project.

involving 20,000 housing units to be constructed at the Lugbe and Deidei areas in Abuja, was flagged-off recently at the Federal Capital Territory. Commenting on FCMB’s involvement in the project, the Bank’s Divisional Head, Corporate Banking, Mr. Ola Olabinjo, said the lender will always support good initiative that will ensure that overall development of the economy particularly in critical areas such as housing’. Also speaking on the project, the President of the TUC, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, said houses are urgently

Guinness Nigeria records N53b turnover

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UINNESS Nigeria Plc has recorded a N53 billion turnover in its interim results for December 31, 2013. In a statement, the company said its results were impacted by continuing softness of the beer market. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Guinness Nigeria Plc Mr. Seni Adetu, said continuing decline in discretionary income amongst other factors, have continued to affect the performance of the business in the year under review. “Our performance for the period

Chairman, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr Babatunde Savage said that the board continues to support the management in its efforts to continue growing the business and deliver shareholder value. “We will continue to manage our cost base tightly to deliver moderate operating margins improvement. The Board is confident that our focus on our strategic priorities will return the business back to growth and improved profitability,” he said.

ended 31st December 2013 has been impacted by the contraction of the beer market for most of the half and the shift towards the value segment mainly due to affordability and discretionary income trends.” He said contributions from strategic innovations have remained strong, as it continues to invest in sales organisation to drive increased distribution and to support long term growth. “Our marketing investments behind our brands also continued as we launched a new campaign for Guinness FES and Harp.”

Amount N

Rate %

M/Date

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

NIDF NESF

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

STANDARD Chartered Plc has said it is investing more money in private-equity deals on the continent than in any other region in which it operates. Bloomberg said since 2008, when its African private equity team was formed, the lender has invested more than $700 million across the continent and may invest as much as $300 million in three companies this year, Peter Baird, head of the buyout unit, said. Investment firms from Carlyle Group LP (CG) to Robert Diamond’s Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Ltd. are seeking to profit from Africa, where many countries are growing faster than developed nations. Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to accelerate to 6.1 per cent this year from a projected 5.6 per cent in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund. Investment will probably rise to 23.2 per cent of gross domestic product, from 22.8 per cent last year, according to the IMF. While private-equity firms typically raise a set amount of capital to invest, “the funds we have on offer are limited only by the bank’s global appetite for private-equity,” Baird said. “Our maximum ticket size is realistically about $125 million per deal. The Africa business is booming for the bank.”

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

NGN USD

147.6000

149.7100

150.7100

-2.11

NGN GBP

239.4810

244.0123

245.6422

-2.57

NGN EUR

212.4997

207.9023

209.2910

-1.51

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

Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

149.7450

Bureau de Change 152.0000

O/PRICE

OANDO UBCAP UBA CUTIX AFRIPRUD NAHCO STANB IC AIICO OASISINS DIAMONDBNK

18.20 2.28 6.94 2.00 3.21 5.33 19.05 0.85 0.50 6.16

C/PRICE 20.06 2.48 7.49 2.10 3.37 5.59 19.95 0.89 0.52 6.40

Parallel Market

153.0000

CHANGE

O/PRICE 3.79 201.42 2.08 37.00 9.90 0.77 0.79 0.54 0.60 0.74

C/PRICE 3.61 192.00 1.99 35.49 9.50 0.74 0.76 0.52 0.58 0.72

-3.04

153.0000

155.5000

-2.30

154.0000

156.0000

-1.96

Feb. ’14

July ’11

Feb ’14

MPR

6.50%

6.50%

12%

Standing Lending Rate

8.50%

8.50%

9.50%

4.50%

4.50%

5.50%

,,

Deposit Rate

,,

Liquidity Ratio

30.00%

30.00%

30.00%

Cash Return Rate

1.00%

2.00%

2.00%

Inflation Rate

7.8%

7.9%

8%

LOSERS AS AT 17-02-14

SYMBOL ETERNA GUINNESS FIDELITYBK PZ BERGER INTENEGINS NEM CILEASING UTC IKEJAHOTEL

154.3000

DISCOUNT WINDOWx

1.86 0.20 0.55 0.10 0.16 0.26 0.90 0.04 0.02 0.24

CHANGE -0.18 -9.42 -0.09 -1.51 -0.40 -0.03 -0.03 -0.02 -0.02 -0.02

Exchange Rate (N) 155.75 155.8 155.7

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

NSE CAP Index

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%

(S/N)

GAINERS AS AT 17-02-14

SYMBOL

154.0000

(S/N)

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

Amount Sold ($) 399.9m 399.9m 399.9m

CAPITAL MARKET INDEX

BANK (S/N)

PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS)

sented to other payment firms and industry trade groups in coming weeks, according to the statement. Tokens would be the digital equivalent of magnetic stripes on the back of plastic bank cards that contain customer information. They also may help to reduce fraud by providing uniformity as companies such as Google and Starbucks embrace mobile commerce and offer consumers new ways to pay.

StanChart targets private equity deals

NIGERIA INTER OBB Rate Call Rate

•Ashaye

DATA BANK

FGN BONDS Tenor

global view of fraud and spending patterns across the entire Visa network providing an analysis of fraud trends. “In less than one second of processing, the Visa network can analyze transactions and provide risk scores accurately. This speed and clarity help issuers prevent fraud from occurring in the first place, rather than just reacting to fraud after it occurs,” he said. At the global level, Visa, MasterCard and American Express, the biggest United States payment networks, have proposed using “digital tokens” instead of account numbers for processing purchases made online and with mobile devices. “Tokens provide an additional layer of security and eliminate the need for merchants, digital wallet operators or others to store account numbers,” the companies said in a joint statement. The standard, to be applied worldwide, they said, will be pre-

NIBOR Tenor

Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012

7 Days

9.0417

Rate (Currency) Movement 6, Mar, 2012

MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Name

Offer Price

Bid Price

AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND 0.72 AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND 172.15 ARM AGGRESSIVE GROWTH 9.17 BGL NUBIAN FUND 1.10 BGL SAPPHIRE FUND 1.17 CANARY GROWTH FUND 0.72 CANARY GROWTH FUND 0.72 CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST 1.39 CORAL INCOME FUND 1,617.65 FBN FIXED INCOME FUND 1,000.00 FBN HERITAGE FUND 115.83 FBN MONEY MARKET FUND 100.00 FIDELITY NIGFUND 1.67 INTERCONTINENTAL INTEGRITY FUND 1.05 KAKAWA GUARANTEED INCOME FUND 143.11 LEGACY FUND 0.78 NIGERIA INTER DEBIT FUND 1,856.44

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

• ARM AGGRESSIVE • KAKAWA GUARANTEED • STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUNDARM AGGRESSIVE OPEN BUY BACK

10.17%

30 Days

9.6667

11.46%

60 Days

11.2917

11.96%

150 Days

12.1250

12.54%

Bank P/Court

Previous

Current

04 July, 2012

07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833

Movement


56

THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

57

NEWS

NIPR President appoints aides

By Precious Igbonwelundu

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HE President, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Dr. Rotimi Oladele has appointed six principal aides. Willy Ogbidi was named as Chief of Staff; George Akpan, Special Assistant on Secretariat/Chapter Matters; Dr. Grace Achum, Special Assistant on Media and Abiodun Olatubosun as Special Assistant, Protocol. Others are Adile Iroajugh, Special Assistant on Information Technology and Hajia Rabi Mohammed, National Treasurer of the Institute. A statement by Dr. Achum said the appointees are to resume duty with immediate effect, adding that they should be proactive and embrace challenges associated with the portfolios.

Ohanaeze to Okorocha, Nwabueze: you can’t speak for Ndigbo

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HE apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has warned constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN) and Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha to stop speaking for Ndigbo. The group said the two men had no justification to claim to be Igbo leaders. Speaking with reporters yesterday in Awka, the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Anambra State, Elder Chris

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

Eluemunoh, said their utterances could make people believe that there was disunity in Ohanaeze, when there was none. Ohanaeze alleged that Nwabueze printed leaflets and pamphlets, discrediting the group, adding that he was creating an impression that there was disunity. The body said: “He should stop speaking for Ndigbo.

Ohanaeze remains the only mouthpiece of Ndigbo. Everybody is in support of the national leadership. “Ohanaeze has no case. The only one it had in 2011 was the one instituted against the leadership of Amb. Ralph Uwechue. “Nwabueze should toe the line of Chief Garry Igariway. Anambra will not support Nwabueze’s reckless utterances. “He should quit from poli-

tics. We will not abuse him, we don’t want to ridicule him, being a revered constitutional lawyer and the president of the Patriots. He is an elder statesman, but he should watch his utterances. “Ohanaeze Ndigbo is intact, Ime-obi is intact, there is no problem whatsoever.” The pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation said Okorocha would never be Ndigbo leader. It said he should stop arrogating the tag of Igbo leader to

Poly students demand Wike’s sack From Gbenga Omokhunu,

Ekiti PDP hails NWC on primaries

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EADERS of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State have hailed the National Working Committee’s directive to organise primaries for aspirants in the state. A former chairman of the party in Ijero Local Government Area, Chief J. A, Adeosun, addressed reporters on behalf of the 34 of the 38 PDP Ekiti State former local government chairmen. He said the sanctity of the rule of law must be upheld, if the party intended to move forward. Adeosun alleged that some intending weak PDP governorship aspirants had been planning to meet the party’s national leadership for a reversal of the decision of the NWC to conduct the primaries. According to him, majority members of the PDP in the state welcome and accept the decision of the party’s leadership to conduct free, fair and transparent primaries. He said: “We also support the decision of our leader to test the popularity of the contestants in party before presenting them for the election. “As leaders, we are bold to say that the imposition of candidates in the past led the party to this unfortunate situation we found ourselves today; hence, we align ourselves with the decision of the party to conduct primaries as announced.” The party leader said it was curious to hear that some aspirants were mobilising to prevail on the leadership of the party to reverse itself.

•Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Plateau State chapter, Gen. John Shagaya (left); House of Representatives member Suleiman Yahaya Kwande and APC’s Interim Auditor, Sir Olisaemeka, when Kwande defected to APC in Jos ...yesterday.

Anambra tribunal shifts ruling till tomorrow

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HE Anambra State Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal in Awka did not sit yesterday, as the three judges failed to show up. Consequently, the rulings on the three motions deferred for yesterday could not hold and the lawyers were stranded. The panel, led by Justice Ishaq Bello, did not sit because of what the court registrar, Mr.

•Lawyers stranded, judges absent From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

Bashir Salihu, described as unforeseen circumstances. When the announcement was made, supporters of the petitioners and the respondents were disappointed. The tribunal reserved rulings on the motions involving one of the contenders for the governorship ticket of the All

Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr. Chike Obidigbo, against Chief Willie Obiano, the governor-elect. In the motion by Senator Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress (APC), through his lawyers led by Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), he is praying that the preliminary points of law and objections be taken along with the final

E

addresses of the parties. When the parties gathered at the tribunal, the registrar surprised them by saying the tribunal would not sit. The Nation learnt that Justice Bello of the Federal High Court, Abuja had many cases and travelled between Awka and Abuja. The registrar told the parties and their counsel that the rulings would be delivered tomorrow.

CourtadjournsBabalakin,othersapplicationstodismissfraudcharges

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N Ikeja High Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of an application filed by the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Ltd., Mr Wale Babalakin, to March 14. Babalakin, in the application filed before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, asked the court to dismiss the N4.7 billion fraud charge preferred against him and four others.

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Babalakin and the other defendants to court. They are facing a 27-count charge of conspiracy, retention of proceeds of a criminal

conduct and corruptly conferring benefit on account of public action. Babalakin’s co-defendants; Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Ltd., Bi-Courtney Ltd. and Renix Nigeria Ltd, had also filed similar applications challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the charges. They also challenged the competency of the charges, ar-

Chime hails Chiwetel Ejiofor’s BAFTA Best Actor award

NUGU State Governor Sullivan Chime has congratulated Nigerian-born British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, for winning the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) 2014 Best Actor Award last Sunday. The governor said the feat was a victory for Nigeria and Enugu State. Chime described Ejiofor, who hails from OyofoOghe in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State and the son of renowned musician,

•Okorocha

himself, adding that Okorocha’s root was wellknown in Igboland. Eluemunoh said: “With his antics in politics, especially in Igboland, he will not go far, irrespective of the party he attaches himself to.”

Sylvester Arinze Ejiofor, as an icon. The actor is also the nephew of the traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Christopher Ejiofor. Chime said Ejiofor’s historic exploits had not only brought glory to Nigeria but would also inspire other young Nigerians to strive for excellence and recognition in their endeavours. The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Chukwudi Achife, noted that Ejiofor

had won other laurels, including five Golden Globe nominations and the honour of Order of the British Empire (OBE) conferred on him by Queen Elizabeth 11 of England. Chime said: “Chiwetel Ejiofor has, by this feat, brought great honour and glory to Nigeria and Enugu State in particular. The fact that he beat some of the best actors in the world to win the BATFA Best Actor Award is something that calls for great celebration. “It proves once again, that

Nigerians can hold their won in every field of endeavour if they really put their minds and hands to it.” Then governor urged youths to emulate the good example by the acclaimed actor by engaging in ventures that would uplift the image of the country and also inspire future generations. Ejiofor won the BAFTA Best Actor Award for his role in the slavery drama, 12 Years A Slave, defeating acting legends like Leonardo Dicaprio and Bruce Dem to the honour.

guing that the EFCC lacked the power to prosecute them before a state high court without a valid fiat. During Monday’s proceedings, the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told the court that he sprained his ankle last week, in an accident. Jacobs said he could not undertake the business of the day (hearing of arguments on the applications), due to the unfortunate incident. He, therefore, prayed the court for an adjournment. On his part, Babalakin’s counsel, Dr Abiodun Layonu (SAN), urged the court to allow the defence to adopt their written addresses in support of the applications. After listening to the requests, the judge held that he was inclined to grant the adjournment on the basis of Jacobs’ injury. “If you have an injury just on your fingertip, it will affect the whole of your system completely,” Lawal-Akapo said. He, therefore, adjourned the matter till March 14.

Abuja

CTIVITIES at the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja were disrupted yesterday, as the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) enters the fifth month. Students under the aegis of the National Association Nigerian Polytechnic Students (NANPS) protested what they described as the insensitivity of the Federal Government to their plight. They demanded the removal of the Supervising Minister for Education, Nyesom Wike, over what they called his inability to resolve the crisis. Protesting in front of the Federal Ministry of Education, the students carried placards, such as: “Wike Must Go”, “Government is insensitive”, among others. Policemen ensured law and order. NANPS’ National President, Comrade Sunday Ogbonnaya, told The Nation that ASUP’s demands had the backing of the students, particularly as it concerned ending the discrimination against HND holders and demanding better funding for the polytechnics.

Yoruba group sends delegates’ names for confab

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YORUBA group, Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum, said yesterday it has sent the names of four delegates to the proposed National Conference to the Federal Government. A statement by its Secretary-General Akin Malaolu, reads: “As an independent socio-cultural group and entity, we have the permission of our people to do so and have well articulated agendas to sell at the confab. We, however, warn that we shall not submit to threats nor be guided by leaders who have every opportunity to turn things right but failed to do so. Our delegates to the conference shall not support these agendas – regionalism, due to its many misapplications, if put in wrong hands; resource control and state police. “One thing we beg of other Yoruba socio-cultural groups in the Southwest and those in Kwara, Kogi and Edo states is that they must work together for the interest of Nigeria and Nigeria alone.”


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

58

NEWS

Suntai’s aide, others get N2.5m damages

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USTICE Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court in Jalingo, Taraba State, yesterday awarded the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Danbaba Suntai on Media and Publicity, Silvanus Giwa and four others N2.5 million as compensation This followed a violation of their rights by former Commissioner of Police Jubril Adeniji. Giwa, a former Channels Television reporter, sued Adeniji for his illegal arrest and detention with four of his friends on September 28 last year in Jalingo. Giwa and his friends were

•’Police chief violated citizens’rights’ From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

holding a valedictory session for their friend, Hamidu Ali, who was travelling to Mecca the following day. The trip was aborted because of their arrest. Since then, Giwa and his friends had been visiting the police command daily without being told their crime. Adeniji, who was recently redeployed from Taraba, said he arrested the plaintiff for “conspiracy and unlawful assembly.” It was gathered that Adeniji

acted on the orders of the Acting Governor, Garba Umar. But Umar denied through his Chief Press Secretary, Kefas Sule, that he had a hand in Giwa’s arrest and detention. Justice Okorowo yesterday described the act as a “violation of the rights of the applicants.” The other applicants are Elhamid Ali Ibrahim, Philip Kamishi, Elkabir Eldio and Anderi Imbred. The judge said he felt sad that the police continued to trample on the rights of citizens. The applicants’ counsel, Ibrahim Effiong, urged the court

to declare that the arrest and detention was a violation of their rights. Justice Okorowo ruled that the applicants were not only assaulted by the police, but were also “dehumanised and degraded.” He said: “The police have no basis for the arrest and detention of the five applicants. “The respondent (Adeniji) has no justification whatsoever to restrict the movement of the applicants - they have the rights as citizens to meet anywhere. Their arrest and detention is illegal. “The applicants are entitled to damages.”

Kwara NLC shelves strike

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From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kwara State has shelved its plans to embark on strike over salary disparity, Head of Service Dabarako Mohammed has

said. The NLC has been contesting the discrepancies between salaries of junior and senior civil servants. Mohammed, who spoke to reporters yesterday in Ilorin, added that the government would host the national council on establishments from February 24 to 28. The HoS said: “I don’t know why the issue of minimum wage recurs. I have told everybody that if you have any civil servant receiving less than N18,000, I am ready to render my salary. There should be the difference between the law and what you are asking for. “I think that is the grey area. The law says anybody employing 50 people and above should pay minimum salary of N18, 000. What the labour people are contesting is that the difference.” On this year’s national council of establishments meeting, he said the states’ heads of service, permanent secretaries and directors of establishments would be in attendance. He added that the attendees would discuss the grey areas affecting the civil service, especially the dichotomy between polytechnic and university graduates.

Aspirant kidnapped in Bauchi

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•From left: Kebbi State Governor Saidu Dakingari, his Kaduna State counterpart Muhktar Ramalan Yero, their Niger State colleague Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and Katsina State Deputy Governor Abdullahi Garba Faskari at a Northern States Governors Forum meeting in Kaduna...yesterday.

Petrol scarcity: Kwara warns against panic buying

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HE Kwara State government has called on residents to refrain from panic buying of petrol, following reports of scarcity of the product. Special Assistant to the Governor on Petroleum Monitoring Lawal Isiaka told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that there was no reason for panic buying. “The vandalised pipeline on Ogbomoso road, which supplies petroleum products to Ilorin, has been repaired. “So these marketers who closed their stations to create artificial scarcity because of bridging of fuel at Oke-Oyi depot will be disappointed. “l want to warn fuel marketers who sell the product

•Queues resurface in Iseyin above the official pump price to desist as anybody caught will face the wrath of the law,’’ he said. A NAN correspondent reports that residents besieged the few stations where the product was being sold. At Omu Aran, headquarters of Irepodun Local Government Area, no filling station was selling to consumers as at 3pm on Sunday. NAN investigation showed that most independent operators closed in Ilorin, while there were queues at the NNPC stations and outlets of major marketers, such as Mobil and Total. State Chairman of Inde-

pendent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Bashir Olopade attributed the situation to inadequate supply of the product to their members. “Can you believe that over 300 of our members in this state were being supplied with two trucks only on a daily basis? “There is scarcity because the independent marketers are not loading as expected; the loading is now a camouflage. “ What we do now is to go for bridging by approaching independent depots in Lagos,’’ he said. State Controller of the De-

partment of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Amos Jokodola said he was on leave and could not make any comment. In Iseyin, Oyo State, queues resurfaced in many filling stations following the scarcity. NAN reports that most filling stations closed while the few selling had queues. A NAN correspondent reports that filling stations owned by independent marketers at Koso, Bolamarck, Barracks and Oja-Agbe had queues. NAN also reports that only five of the 25 stations in the area were selling petrol. Some motorists said they had parked their vehicles in different stations since Sunday night to enable them buy fuel.

Arewa youths fault Gulak for attacking northern elders

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HE Arewa Youth Liberation Council, Ibrahim Gobir, faulted yesterday the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Ali Gulak, for attacking northern elders. It urged President Goodluck Jonathan to prevail on Gulak to stop attacking people. The council, in a statement in Abuja by its Presi-

P

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

dent, Ibrahim Gobir, said the President should replace Gulak. The statement said: “Gulak not only embarrassed Mr. President by attacking Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso and Aliyu Wammako, but cast aspersions and abused northern elders. “This is happening at a time when Mr. President is reaching out to all sections

through their leaders and elders without taking their criticisms as personal. “But the political adviser is doing the opposite. How can Gulak dare northern leaders over support for Jonathan? Sycophancy at such levels destroys a leader.” The statement added: “In a democracy, a president appoints aides to help him chart a course and explain policies

Jang swears in two commissioners

LATEAU State Governor Jonah Jang yesterday swore in Abubakar Dashe and Lorenzo Gwatau as commissioners. They are to replace two former commissioners, who were dropped recently. Jang called on the commissioners to add value to governance, saying “one thing I can assure the people is that we would remain com-

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

mitted and responsible in prudent deployment of funds towards delivery of projects before the end of our tenure. “I urge you to make sacrifice and patriotism your motivation when discharging your duties while distancing yourselves from corruption and uncharitable sentiments.”

to strengthen governance and administration. But some of President Goodluck Jonathan’s aides are doing the opposite. “President Jonathan’s political adviser, Alh. Ahmed Ali Gulak’s remarks have portrayed the Jonathan Administration in a bad light. ‘’Mr. President, the earlier you get a knowledgeable and polished political adviser of the Chuba Okadigbo fame of the ex-President Shehu Shagari period the better as you move towards 2015. The council also condemned alleged distortion of history by Gulak. It said: “Your political adviser Mr. President is a liability; he has erred by rating our respected nationalists and founding fathers of our country as parochial leaders.

From Austine Tsenzughul, Bauchi

N All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial aspirant in Bauchi Central, Samaila Ahmed Ilalee, was abducted from his home yesterday in Darazo, Darazo Local Government Area of Bauchi State. Samaila represented Darazo and Ganjuwa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011. He was taken by a gang of 10 men. It was gathered that the gunmen could be responsible for the attack in Soro town in Ganjuwa Local Government Area last week, where a policeman and his son were killed. A family member, Nasiru Darazo, said: ‘’Samaila’s house was attacked between midnight and 2:30 am. They took him away to an unknown place.” Police spokesman Haruna Mohammed confirmed the incident, saying ‘’the police received a report at 0200hours that some gunmen dressed in security operatives’ uniforms went to Samaila’s house and kidnapped him’’. “The commissioner, Mohammed Ladan, has ordered a manhunt and whenever we arrest the suspects we will let you know,’’ Haruna said.

NTA reporter, wife killed in fire

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REPORTER with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Yola, Adamawa State, Aliyu Zubairu, and his wife, Nazira, died in a midnight fire yesterday, the authority’s General Manager, Adamu Yusuf, has confirmed. Yusuf told reporters that the incident occurred in the couple’s home in Shagari Quarters, Yola -South Local Government Area. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the fire started at 1 am. Yusuf urged the deceased’s family and colleagues to take the news in good faith as “no one can question God”. The state Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mallam Salisu Mohammad, enjoined journalists to register with the NUJ insurance scheme to enable their families get succour in the event of the unexpected. Until his death, the deceased was the NTA reporter covering the House of Assembly and had been buried according to Islamic rites.

Plateau lawmaker sues colleagues

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From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

MEMBER of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Johnbull Shakarau, has sued his 23 colleagues for removing him as deputy speaker. Shekarau was removed on October 9, last year, after the resignation of the Speaker, John Clark Dabwan. He was replaced by Joyce Ramnap. The state high court has served hearing notice to the lawmakers, notifying them of the March 4 date of hearing. The lawmaker is asking the court to declare that his impeachment was unconstitutional, null and void. He is also seeking that the impeachment be set aside and he reinstated to his former position.

Businesswoman turns 50 tomorrow

•Ajoke BUSINESSWOMAN, Lady Tunrayo Ajoke, will celebrate her 50th

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birthday tomorrow at Genesis Hall, Genesis Hotel, Challenge, Ibadan, Oyo State. Her business partner, Akeem Olatunji, said the event was special because it was only by God’s grace that a person can celebrate the golden jubilee. He thanked God for sparing her life, despite various challenges. According to Olatunji, music would be supplied by Alhaji Abass Akande Obesere (PK1) and Sakhira Ololade Amoke Salam Salam. The event will be anchored by Kola Olootu.


THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

59

NEWS

2015: US backs electoral offence tribunal From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

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HE United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Linda ThomasGreenfield, has supported the establishment of an electoral offence tribunal in Nigeria. She said the National Assembly should pass a legislation enacting an electoral offences tribunal—legislation. Thomas-Greenfield, who spoke at the opening of the Nigeria-US Bi-National Commission meeting in Abuja yesterday, said it would help enthrone transparency. She urged voters not to sell their votes, saying the gain was temporary while the future would be mortgaged. The Assistant Secretary for African Affairs also enjoined citizens to ensure credible and transparent elections next year. She said the people should hold politicians accountable. According to her, “Nigeria’s future is full of promise and opportunity and it cannot afford to have elections or general governance slide back in terms of peacefulness, fairness, transparency, or credibility.

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Edo indicts 1,800 workers

HERE was tension among Edo State government workers yesterday, following rumours that some were sacked. Some workers were said to have been issued letters to explain some discrepancies in their age or credentials, following verification by the government. Nine hundred and twenty teachers were sacked in December after the government concluded verification. State chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress Emmanuel Ademokun after an emergency meeting said no worker was sacked. But he confirmed that 1,800 workers were indicted in the report by the Information and

•Labour issues ultimatum on sacked teachers From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Communication Technology department after the staff audit. Ademokun said the workforce in the state without the judicial workers was less than 3,000. “ICT has compiled reports and the staff strength is less than 5,000. Before the comrade governor came on board, we were about 15,000 but the number reduced due to retirement. Of 5,000, 1,800 have been indicted for falsifying their age or not presenting their primary school certificates. “We are aware that 1,800 workers are involved. We are

awaiting directives from government. We have not been briefed. Before government carries out any retrenchment, it must inform Labour. We are up to the task, if the government fails to do that. “It is a rumour that the affected workers will not get their salaries. Government has not removed their names from the vouchers. In our communiqué to government we gave them up to February 28 to recall those sacked teachers. By March 3, the workers will go on an indefinite strike. What you are hearing are mere rumours, until there is a pronouncement by the government.”

Commissioner for Information Louis Odion said no decision had been taken by the government to sack any worker. Odion said the list being circulated was fake. The commissioner said the government’s action was a routine administrative exercise to verify the number of workers. “Whatever list going round is fake. The verification is a legitimate exercise, which we have a right to do. It shows the government is not discriminatory as alleged by the teachers that they were targets of the staff auditing. “

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

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WO million people in Kano State have registered with the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso has said. Kwankwaso said this during a meeting with National and State Assembly members at the Government House. The governor said with this development, APC was taking the lead in the state. He alleged that the Federal Government was bribing APC members from the states and national assemblies to leave the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), noting that no sincere legislator would do so in view of the implications of such action. On the interaction with the legislators, the governor said that meetings would be organised from time to time to ensure closer cooperation and understanding between the legislature and the executive.

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Chief Nursing Officer in Dala Orthopaedic Hospital, Kano, Abreham Akaya, was yesterday killed by seven gunmen, who invaded his patent medicine store in Tukurawa Quarters, Taurani Local Government Area. The incident, according to residents, occurred at 10 p.m. when the deceased received several bullets from his attackers after closing for the day. It was gathered that the late Akaya, who hailed from Kogi State, was said to have received various death threats. As a result of this, the late Akaya decided to relocate his family to Kogi, fear of the unknown. Police spokesman Magaji Majia said some robbers invaded Akaya’s shop and shot him. He said they made away with money, car and other valuables. Majiya added that police had begun investigating the incident.

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

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APC registers two million in Kano

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

Protest over monarch’s sack

Bureau urges sacked ministers to declare assets HE Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) yesterday urged the ministers, who were sacked last Wednesday from President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet, to declare their assets. A statement by Mrs Iyabo Akinwale, the Head of Press and Protocol Unit of CCB in Abuja, said the directive was in accordance with “Paragraph 11 of the 5th Schedule, Part One of the 1999 Constitution”. The statement said the schedule provides that every public officer shall, within three months after coming into force of this bureau or immediately after taking office and at the end of every four years, submit to it a written declaration of all properties, assets and liabilities.

Gunmen kill medical officer

•Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and younger sister of the deceased, Patience Akowa when the governor visited former Deputy Governor Simeon Ebonka on the death of his wife, Ngozi, who was Special Adviser (Abuja Liaison Office) at Agbor.

Amaechi’s K-leg has been straightened, says Obasanjo F ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has stated that the K-leg of the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, has been straightened, declaring that he has no apology over the declaration he made in December 2006 at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt. The former President also admonished incumbents never to run down their predecessors, but to build on their achievements. He was apparently referring to President Goodluck Jonathan, who is now at loggerheads with the ex-President, who has temporarily withdrawn his membership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and now one of the leaders of the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), declared that the K-leg pronouncement was made based on wrong assumptions and information. Ex-President Obasanjo and the former Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly (Amaechi) spoke yesterday at the inauguration of Ambassador Nne Furo Kurubo Model Secondary School, Ebubu-Eleme-Ogoni in Eleme Local Government Area of the state. The first phase of the projects’ inauguration would showcase Rivers government’s completed projects in over 300 communities in 300 days. The former President’s white

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

aircraft (jet), marked G-SENT, landed at the Port Harcourt International Airport at 11:07 am, Obasanjo alighting at 11:09 am. He was received by Amaechi and wife, Dame Judith. Monarchs, led by the Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Godwin Gininwa; the representative of the Rivers Southeast Senatorial District, Magnus Ngei Abe and some members of the National Assembly, commissioners, other top government officials and eminent personalities were part of the welcoming party. The tumultuous crowd at the airport and projects’ sites kept shouting “Baba, Baba, Baba (daddy/father), we love you.” Many of the enthusiastic people carried placards with these inscriptions:, such as “OBJ, you are God sent to Nigeria” and “Amaechi, the people’s Governor.” Other inaugurated projects inaugurated on the first day of the two-day visit include the reconstructed and dualised 18.3 km G. U. Ake Road; the dualised Okporo Road, off the EastWest Road; the dualised Elekahia-Rumuomasi and Ken SaroWiwa (Liberation Stadium) Roads, as well as the Model Primary Health Centre at Akpajo-

Eleme. The Songhai Farm at BunuTai, off Bunu-Afam Road in Tai Local Government Area; the Banana Plantation in Ogoni; Afam Power Station in Afam, Oyigbo Local Government Area; the 2x60 MV/132/33 KVA Elelenwo Sub-injection Station in Port Harcourt were also inaugurated. At the free Model Secondary School built on 21 hectares of land and being managed by an Indian firm), named after Nne Furo Kurubo, the state’s first permanent secretary and a former Nigerian Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, who was at the ceremony, the exPresident stated that the NGF chairman had done well. PDP’s flags were given to the governorship candidates of the party in the Southsouth zone, excluding Amaechi, at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt in December 2006, with the ex-President Obasanjo declaring that the ex-speaker’s candidature had K-leg, in spite of winning the governorship primaries. The flag for the Rivers governorship candidate of the PDP was later given to Amaechi’s cousin, Sir Celestine Omehia, from Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area Ameachi went to court. His

property was thrown out of his Port Harcourt residence, while Dr. Peter Odili was governor. He relocated to Ghana with his family. Omehia won the election and was inaugurated as governor on May 29, 2007, but he was sacked by the Supreme Court in the landmark judgment of October 25, 2007, with Amaechi inaugurated as governor the following day at the Government House, Port Harcourt. Former President Obasanjo, who did acrobatic, by jumping to the high stage/podium, unlike Amaechi and Kurubo, who used the steps, said: “I am not here (in Rivers State) for politics. I am here to see development and to acknowledge development. So far, I have seen a bit. We still have other places to go. “The Governor (Amaechi) talked about K-leg. I believe that as a leader, when I have something that requires action, that action must be taken. Otherwise, I am not a worthy leader. A report came about him (Amaechi) which indicated Kleg and I said yes, there was a K-leg. But then, he did what was required in democratic dispensation. He went to court to straighten the K-leg. “I am one of those who when he got the judgment/verdict, I found it awkward. I did not voice it out publicly. Awkward in the sense that how can a man, who has not contested an election, a man who has not been voted for, will be declared the governor?

ESIDENTS of Ewu community in Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo State have protested the removal of the monarch, Zaiki Raqak Isesele Ojeifo. Ojeifo was removed by a Court of Appeal judgment and the court pronounced Jafaru Ojiefoh as the legitimate ruler. It held that attaining kingship at Ewu was by primogeniture and not rotational. The protesters said the judgment was capable of destabilising the kingdom and described it as an affront and desecration of the community’s tradition.

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THE NATION TUESDAY FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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CITYBEATS

FOREIGN NEWS Co-pilot hijacks Ethiopian plane Badagry communities seek N100b compensation

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HREE communities in Badagry Local Government Area have instituted a legal action Lagos State and the Federal Government at the Federal High Court in Lagos over the alleged demolition of 1,500 houses in the communities. They are demanding N100billion as damages from the respondents. The Inspector-General of Police, Commissioner of Police Lagos, Area Commander Area K Police Command, Ministry of Police Affairs and Lagos Task Force on Environment and Special Offences Unit are the respondents. Others are: Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lands Bureau, Lagos Attorney-General and the Attorney-General of the Federation. The communities that were represented by 23 of their leaders are Atinporome, Araromi Ale Extension and Mowo Phase 2. The applicants said the houses were demolished by the police on December 16 and 17 last year and that a six-month-old baby was killed in one of the houses in the process. The demolition of their houses without prior notice or valid court order violates their fundamental human rights under Sections 33, 34, 36,43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution, they said. According to them, the respondents carried out the act despite a subsisting order against them over the same matter in a suit before the Badagry High Court. The applicants also sought N5million as the cost of filing the case.

CITYBEATS LINE: 08078425391

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By Joseph Jibueze

According to them, a letter dated December 14, 2013, written to them by the police, specifically mentioned Agemowo/ Agelado Mowo via Badagry as the community whose residents are encroaching on the Force’s land. They claimed that contrary to the letter, the police stormed their communities - Atinporome, Araromi Ale Extension and Mowo Phase 2 - at about 4.30am on December 16 to begin the demolition. Over 100 armed policemen, 16 Black maria and 12 bulldozers were said to have committed the act, despite their reply to the police on December 15, indicating that their communities ought not to be demolished. In an affidavit, one of the applicants, Chief Charles Adu, who is chairman of Atinporome Development Association, stated: “On December 16, 2013, over 500 houses were demolished; on December 17, 2013, the agents of the respondents continued the said demolition and 1,000 houses others were demolished, rendering the residents homeless.” He said their valuables worth billions of naira were destroyed while many who took pictures were arrested, detained and had their phones seized. “No resident was allowed to pick anything from their houses before rendering us homeless,” the applicant said. The affidavit also states that about 72 residents were arrested and detained by the police in the course of the demolition, while four residents died from

•IGP Mohammed Abubakar

shock. “We have run into serious loss to the tune of billions of naira as a result of collateral damage on our house and property and being suddenly put out of shelter,” the applicant added. The December 14 letter by the Police Commissioner to the Baale of Atipo Rome, MowoMorogbo Chief Joshua Medepo, is entitled: “Encroachment of Police Land Located at Agemowo/Agelado Mowo via Badagry.” The letter, signed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Admin) F. G. Ogundeji, read: “This is to inform you about the encroachment on the above land measuring 64.429 hectres by some persons believed to be your subjects. “The land which was duly allocated to the Nigeria Police by the Lagos State Government with C of O No.33/33/2009 is meant for the building of housing units for its personnel. The project will commence anytime from now.”

HE co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet en route to Rome from Ethiopia seized control of the Boeing 767-300 early yesterday and flew it to Geneva, where he asked for asylum, a spokesman for the Geneva police said. The plane landed safely, and none of the 202 passengers and crew members on Flight ET-702, which originated in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, was injured, the police spokesman, Eric Grandjean, said. “Everybody was safe from beginning to end — no problem,” he added. Other officials said passengers were unaware of the hijacking until the plane landed in Switzerland. The plane was in Italian airspace when the co-pilot, an Ethiopian national who was not immediately identified, took the controls after the pilot left the cockpit to use the restroom. After locking the cockpit door, he initially told Italian air controllers that he needed fuel, but then activated a transponder to signal that the plane was being hijacked, Grandjean said. Italian fighter jets were

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scrambled, and they escorted the aircraft out of Italian airspace. The plane landed in Geneva at 6:02 a.m. and continued to a taxiway, where the co-pilot turned off the engines, opened the cockpit window and lowered himself to the tarmac with a rope, officials said. He then ran toward security officers and identified himself as the hijacker, declared that he was in danger in Ethiopia and requested asylum, the officials added. A Geneva prosecutor, Olivier Jornot, said the co-pilot would be charged with tak-

ing hostages, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, The Associated Press reported. He added that the man’s chances of winning asylum were slim. “Technically, there is no connection between asylum and the fact he committed a crime to come here,” he said, according to The A.P. “But I think his chances are not very high.” Ethiopian Airlines, in a statement published on its website, confirmed that all passengers aboard the flight were safe, and said it was making immediate arrangements for them to continue to their destinations.

18 dead in Nepal plane crash

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SMALL passenger plane crashed in the mountains of western Nepal, killing 18 people on board, authorities said yesterday. The Twin Otter aircraft left Sunday afternoon from the tourist town of Pokhara, about 200 kilometres (124 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu. It was on its way to Jumla, a remote town, about 600 kilometres (373 miles) northeast of Kathmandu, when it went missing. The flight usually takes an hour. “Police have reached the crash site and no survivors have been found,” said Bam Bahadur Bhandari, regional police chief of Pokhara. “The bodies are being collected.” The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known. The plane was flying in poor weather conditions as it had been raining and snowing across the country for the past few days.

Italy President asks Renzi to be next PM

TALY's President Giorgio Napolitano has asked Matteo Renzi, the mayor of Florence, to form a new government. Enrico Letta resigned as prime minister on Friday, after he was ousted in a vote called by Renzi at a meeting of their centre-left Democratic Party.

Renzi, who has never been elected as MP, will now have to come to a deal with Letta's former coalition partners. He will begin talks on Tuesday and could be sworn in on Thursday. Renzi would become Italy's youngest ever prime minister, two months younger than

Benito Mussolini when he came to power in 1922. In a separate development on Monday, Italy's borrowing costs dropped to their lowest rates for almost eight years. Ten-year debt bonds fell to 3.64 per cent, seen as an apparent nod from the markets towards Renzi's plans for economic reform.

NEWS

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HE North raised the level of discussion in the 2015 Presidential election yesterday, when the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) insisted that political parties must field candidates of Northern extraction. The position of what is considered as North’s pre-eminent socio-political organisation, is contrary to that of many groups in the region. The ACF lamented the activities of these groups, claiming to speak to the North. It said the activities of these groups contradict the goal of achieving unity and coordination, which is the reason for the formation of the ACF.

2015: North insists on president

•Coomasie leads ACF From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

Presenting his annual report to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the forum at its secretariat in Kaduna, (then out-going) Secretary General of the ACF, Col. Musa Shehu (rtd), said at the moment, there were too many groups claiming to be speaking for the region, adding that this had done more harm than good to the region. He said: “The emergence of such groups would be detrimental to the goals of achieving unity and coordination in

the north and as a way to salvaging the situation, the ACF, Northern Elders Forum and other associations in the region came together to appoint a joint committee to protect the interest of the region. Speaking further on 2015 elections, Col. Shehu said the forum is not going back on its stand that all political parties should field northerners as presidential candidates. He lamented that since the return to democracy in 1999, there has been a dramatic in-

crease in violence among Nigerians, ranging from religious conflicts, Fulani nomads versus farmers, indigene versus settlers and recently insurgency versus the military. “57 per cent of all conflicts in the country occur in northern Nigeria and the region is also witnessing the escalation of insurgency in the Northeast. We therefore urge the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, address the issues involving sociocultural, organisation, traditional authorities and other stake holders.

Aljazeera Television, a video that contained the allegation. We sent the video to the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) in Jos, for them to authenticate, whether it is genuine or not, which they did and later returned to us. “After that, we received the post mortem and autopsy report of the allegedly murdered Yusuf and his followers. We thereafter invited all the officers on ground at the Borno Police Command,” Yakubu said. Attempt by the prosecution lawyer, Ralph Ojabo, to tender a Digital Video Disk (DVD) containing the recording of how Yusuf and his followers were killed and copies of correspondences between the police investigative team and the management of Aljazeera was objected to by the defence lawyers. Okonache Ogar and Edwin

the prosecution was yet to comply with the conditions prescribed under sections 83 and 84 of the Evidence Act to warrant the admission of the items. Ojabo countered, arguing that what he intended to tender were a combination of original and certified true copies of letters and DVD generated by the police’s investigation team. He urged the court to disregard the defence’s objection and admit the exhibits. Justice Evoh Chukwu adjourned to March 5 for ruling on whether or not to admit the items in evidence. Five policemen - J.B. Abang (ACP), A. Akeera (ACP), Mohammed Ahmadu (CSP), Mada Buba (ASP) and Adamu Gado (Sgt) - are being tried on a two-count charge of conspiracy and muder, over the killing of Yusuf and his followers.

How police unmasked suspected killers of Boko FEDERAL High Court Haram’s founder, others Inegedu (who represented the in Abuja heard yesteraccused persons) argued that

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day how investigators unmasked those allegedly behind the killing of the founder of the Boko Haram sect, Mohammed Yusuf and some of his followers Yusuf and others were allegedly killed by some police officers, to who they were handed by military men, who arrested them. An Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) attached to the Special Investigation Unit (SIU)

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, Mohammed Yakubu told the court that a video recording of the incident, aired on a foreign television channel Aljazeera - aided the investigating team, on which he served. “The first thing we did was to transfer the file of the case from Borno to our office at the Force Headquarters in Abuja. “We later received from

20 Boko Haram men arrested

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EIGHBOURING Niger Republic has arrested about 20 Boko Haram Islamist militants suspected of planning attacks in Niger’s south east, security officials said yesterday. The alleged plot to strike Diffa, a Nigerien town that borders Borno state, highlights the cross-border threats following army’s offensive against militants that have pushed thousands of refugees and some insurgents across the border into Niger.

“The effort of the forum towards promoting peace and unity neither stops with providing consultancy for the Federal Government nor with participation in committees commissioned by government. As part of our mandate, we initiated certain programmes which were aimed at promoting peaceful co-existence in our communities. “We hosted a major conference on peace and unity on the December 5 and 6 2011. The conference was aimed at discussing and analysing various security and other problems bedeviling the North and the possible strategies that could be adopted to tackle them”. At the end of the meeting, former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, emerged as Chairman of the ACF. Former Military Administrator of Kebbi State, Col. John Ubah is now the SecretaryGeneral.

North’s governors decry sect’s insurgency Continued from page 2

tegrated in our system. “We must take a concerted effort together. Many are beginning to think that we even need to settle nomadic people in our states. Many countries with similar nomadic movement of cattle were able to settle them. “Some of them over 100 years ago and we should begin to think towards that direction. We must begin also to protect those who rear cattle and livestock generally because of what we notice is happening all over the northern part where cattle rustling has become an issue. The meeting was attended by the governors of Kaduna, Niger, Kano, Kebbi, Kwara and Benue. Kogi, Katsina, Jigawa and Bauchi were represented by their deputy governors. Plateau, Nasarawa, Adamawa and Taraba states did not send representatives.

Light up in public and pay N10,000 Continued from page 2

properties. The bill that prohibits smoking in public places addresses serious public health issues. Before the bills were presented, I read a lot of comments about the possibility of enforcing the laws. But our commitment to public health and public safety is stronger.” On the law establishing the Lagos State Emergency Command and Control Centre, Ipaye said the legislation was geared towards regulating the making of calls to the emergency centres and limiting hoax calls. “No one except for the purpose of informing the centres any event properly defined as emergency is allowed to call the emergency telephone numbers. Misuse of the lines constitutes offence under this law and offenders are liable to conviction and penalty,” Ipaye said.


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THE NATION TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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SPORT EXTRA

Broadcast icon Walter Oyatogun dies at 78

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ETERAN broadcaster, Walter Oyatogun whose voice brought life to sports presentation on radio and television in the 70s and 80s on Nigeria television is dead. The renowned sportscaster, who worked with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), died on February 14 at exactly 7.30 am at the General Hospital, Gbagada after several battles with stroke. It was the third attack that finally took his life. The eldest daughter of the late broadcaster, Moyo Oyatogun told NationSport that burial arrangements will be announced soon. "We do not intend keeping him in the morgue for too long. For now, we have not decided on a date and venue yet, but l am certain the final burial rites will not exceed

•The late Oyatogun

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•Kids plan ‘last lap’ for their dearest dad By Kayode Williams, Julius Okorie and Akeem Lawal two weeks from now," she said. Speaking in a tired voice over the telephone, Moyo, a presenter with Star FM, explained that a special session tagged "Last Lap" was being planned for the lying-instate. "My father jogged at the National Stadium in Lagos. So we consider it appropriate to do something special for him at the stadium, after which we would move to the Teslim Balogun Stadium for the lying-in-state," she said. She however hinted that they were yet to secure permission for the use of Teslim Balogun Stadium from the state authorities. Beyond admitting that her father played a significant role in her taking up broadcasting as a profession, Moyo described him as loving and affectionate. "He was one in a million and l would always be proud of him. We would surely miss him and may his gentle soul rest in perfect peace," she added. Oyantogun's death shocked the sporting family. Sports marketer and TV sports personality Mitchell Obi recounted how people thronged the National Stadium because of Oyatogun's presentation and reportorial skills. "This was because of the way he presented sports. To him, sports was life. He was an apostle of all," he said. For Heartland Football Club of Owerri Chairman, Fan Ndubouke, Oyatogun gave sportscasting an image.

"He spoke the language of sports aside being passionate and a role model," he added. Similarly, ex-Daily Times Sports Editor, Gboyega Okengbenro, said Oyatogun made him fall in love with boxing because of the way it was reported by him. "I understand he was a boxer in his early days," he said. A former colleague at NTA, Donald Overedjo, described his death as a big blow. "My heart goes out to the family and friends. He left his name in the hearts and minds of Nigerians," explained Overedjo. Another colleague, Tayo Balogun however felt pained at the insufficient help Oyatogun got. "I was aware that the Lagos state government offerred help to him but apparently it was not enough to give him a better life," he regretted. FIFA and CAF instructor Adegboye Onigbinde said. "He was a great presenter who applied everything to the job. Whatever he handled was with seriousness, he said. Waheed Olagunju who was a colleague with late Oyatogun on NTA Sports Desk and now Executive Director, Bank of Industry Limited, said: “It’s so sad. He was a very hard working person who shows commitment to whatever he’s doing. It’s so unfortunate that we’ve lost such a personality. He was very hardworking, very energetic and highly enthusiastic. He gave his best when he was alive and may his soul rest in peace. Paul Ogazi, a veteran sports commentator with

•Oyatogun on his sick bed before his demise

the NTA, said Oyatogun was a source of inspiration to the sporting world. Ogazi added that Oyatogun would not be easily forgotten because of the impact he made on the profession and the people he came across. ``Although, his death came as a shock, he was a source of inspiration to us when we were coming up in the profession. He was a thorough man, and that was what made him stand out the more,’’ he said. He then called on the younger generation of journalists to aspire to be like the iconic broadcaster. ``Young sports journalists should aim to be like him,

his hardworking nature made him stand out and we will not forget his good deeds,’’ Ogazi said. Trigo Egbegi, a renowned boxing analyst and former secretary, Nigeria Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C), said it was a shocking event, adding that his former colleague, Oyatogun, would not be forgotten. ``It is shocking news to hear he is gone now, I knew he had been ill but this is a shock to me. Walter has always been a close friend and colleague; he always had a way of making everything interesting to us rookies then. Even though he was our senior, he was a friendly and a wonderful man and would

be greatly missed,’’ he said. Chuka Momah, a former presenter of tennis events on NTA and ex-president, Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), described Oyatogun as a dedicated journalist. Momah said the deceased would be missed for his panache for his spectacular manner of sports commentary on television. ``He was a fine gentleman, my friend and a committed journalist. He had a flair for sports journalism and I’m glad that I worked alongside him and other colleagues like Yinka Craig and Fabio Olanipekun. We were like a family because he made it seem that way; we will definitely miss him,’’ he said. He was aged 78.

Your Sexual Health & You: Novelty Tips, Questions & Answers

love a lady who is older, wealthier and more connected. We talk very well and sometimes we talk about sex and I want to let her know that I need her both in terms of sex and relationship. Please advise me on what to do please – Eya Eya, you are basically saying that you will like to date this lady friend of yours? Well then, if she is single, ask her out. What are you waiting for? The good thing about your situation is that you know her already, she knows you and both of you talk regularly even about intimate subjects. So you have a foot in the door. All you have to do is to ask her out. If you don’t know how to say it, tell her that you will like to go and see a movie with her. That is an indirect way of asking her out and if you reach out, she will too. But as the man, you need to make the first move and she is waiting for you to make that move – Uche I have five children, a very low libido and a rather lose vagina due to child bearing. Please what products can help me? Thank you – Franka For a start, you need a libido booster to raise your arousal level and make you want to be intimate again. You have two options. You can use the On for Her Libido Cream to increase your sexual desire. It is a new and revolutionary arousal cream that is nothing like thecommon arousal creams that are massaged on the clitoris. TheOn for Her Libido Creamis a special libido cream that is applied on the hips, thighs, stomach or arm. And it works wonders over time to revive the body’s natural balance and restore sexual desire. Your second option is to take the Pink Elevate Libido supplement for women which equally works from within to revive passion and sexual desire. And to tighten your pelvic muscles, you will need to combine vaginal exercises with a tightening lubricant. Get the Leopard Duo Tone Orgasm Balls for pelvic exercises along with Like a Virgin Tightening gel. These two will help you in the short term and in the long term – Uche

I travel a lot so I need a vibrator that can give my wife quality pleasure in my absence. I also want your best penis enlargement pump. Thanks – Michael Hello Andy. Get her the Thrusting Butterfly Stroker and for yourself, go for the Penis Enlargement Pump – Uche I wanted to know what the big deal was about this Exploding Thunder everybody has been talking about so I tried it. I am 57 years old and my erections had become irregular. Sometimes it is hard and sometimes it is too soft for penetration. Since I started taking Exploding Thunder, everything is working fine and I am able to even perform better. Money well spent – Seyi You are welcome – Uche I am married for six years and intercourse has been a problem. I don’t get wet easily and my husband doesn’t have the patience. So I am always bruised afterwards which is not fun at all. I need something that can help rescue my marriage – Stella Hello Stella. Not all women lubricate enough, even with foreplay. Get the Mood Sensitive Lubricant. It lubricates very well to avoid vaginal dryness, bruising and pain, hence ensuring a smooth and enjoyable sexual experience. It is very affordable too – Uche Sometimes when I ejaculate during intercourse, the semen is rather small. Is semen increment possible? AJ Of course it is possible. Ask forMax Loadsupplement orExplosion Ejaculate Volumizer. They increase semen quantity, sexual enjoyment and the intensity of your climax. They are natural too – Uche That’s it for today. The names of the people featured here have been changed for their privacy. Adults in need of these treatments/novelties can call 07086754515 or 08051924159 or any other number here to order or they can order online at www.zeevirtualmedia.com. Zee Virtual Media delivers to you wherever you are in Nigeria. For enquiries, send your emails to custserv@zeevirtualmedia.com - Uche Edochie, MD, Zee Virtual Media.


TODAY IN THE NATION

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

‘Should Jonathan go through the motions of another NC without radical re-tinkering of Nigeria, he would incur the boos of even generations unborn in the Niger Delta’ VOL.9

NO.2,763

COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA

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N Nigeria, nothing succeeds like an award. It does not matter whether the award recognises recondite achievement or no achievement at all, for the award itself is often the achievement. And if it is of the latter kind, it has to be marked with lavish, multistage and multi-venue celebration, the type that only the most inventive local, state, national and Diaspora organising committees can arrange. Congratulatory advertisements fill the newspapers, crowding out the news entirely or reducing it to a mere adjunct. Not the staid, flat, monochromatic advertisements of a bygone era but visual delights laid out in living colour by some of the finest graphic designers in the business. Given the prominence of such features in our culture, is it not something of a scandal that no organisation, not even the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, has seen it fit to institute an award for The Congratulatory Advertisement of the Year Award? How can it be explained that there is no National Merit Award for the Designer/Producer of the Best Congratulatory Advertisement of the Year? But I digress. I was led to these ruminations by two congratulatory advertisements in this newspaper the other day, not for their visual quality, which is not particularly remarkable, but for the great achievement they celebrate. The first rejoices with Mrs Mercy Orji, first lady of Abia, God’s own State, on being crowned Most Valuable Governor’s Wife (MVGW for short), the lucky governor being His Excellency Theodore Orji. I am taking great liberties here, for this congratulatory advertisement does not actually mention her by name. Doing so, someone knowledgeable in such matters tells me, might be construed as carrying familiarity too far. Instead the advertisement, signed by Cosmos Nuke, Chief of Staff to the governor, refers to her as “Ochendo Global,” and as “Osinulomaranma,” the adoring titles the people of the state have conferred on her in grateful appreciation of her personal munificence. We learn from the copy that the award is a “fair and just authentication” of the “inspiring values” she exhibits. These values include compassion, magnanimity, a good heart and untainted love for the needy, not forgetting the raison d’être for the award — being a Most Valuable Wife to the Governor Orji, aforementioned. It is in the second congratulatory advertisement signed by Mrs Adanma Iheuwe who has the double-barrelled title of Permanent Secretary and Executive Secretary of the Abia State Planning Commission, that we actually learn the real name of Her Excellency the Most Valuable Governor’s Wife. We also learn that the distinction being cel-

RIPPLES NO BIG DEAL TF MY MAN CHEATS ON ME, says Nollywood actress

OLATUNJI DARE

AT HOME ABROAD olatunji.dare@thenationonlineng.net

Annals of awards and coronations

•The First Lady and governors’wives at an event

ebrated was conferred on Her Excellency by the “independent” Organising Team for the Most Valuable Governor’s Wife, and that the crowning took place at the prestigious Abuja Sheraton and Towers. Why in Abuja where Her Excellency, despite her impressive credentials, is not a household name? Why not in the State capital Umuahia, where a mammoth crowd of her admirers could join in the celebrations, with a day designated a public holiday for that purpose? The choice of Abuja for the consecration was strategic, it can now be revealed. Going by the fine print in the congratulatory advertisement, Abia’s first lady was crowned the Most Valuable Governor’s Wife only for the South-east geo-political zone, a region of intense and pervasive rivalry. In Nigeria’s other five geo-political zones, you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief. There is no imputation whatsoever that the first ladies in those zones are anything less than Most Valuable. All is calm on those fronts, unless the organisers of the Most Valuable Governor’s Wife decide to nationalise

the award. In that case I can see the police moving in swiftly to pre-empt the award ceremony in the interest of law and order and peace and stability, or a court of competent jurisdiction issuing a perpetual injunction prohibiting such an event. But imagine the turmoil that would have eventuated if the MVGW event had been staged in Umuahia. Stalwarts from the camps which lost out, sponsored or freelance, would have converged on the city to disrupt the ceremony and smash things up into the bargain from sheer envy. Do not for a moment mistake the apparent calm in the gubernatorial mansions in Awka, Abakaliki, Enugu and Owerri for resignation or acceptance, however. A great deal of seething is going on behind those high walls and the opulent splendour they protect. The first ladies, an unimpeachable source tells me, have jointly and severally declared that they regard the title in question as a gratuitous assault on their honour, and that it must be avenged immediately. Their discomfiture is understandable. In fact, it has to be said to their credit that they have displayed admirable restraint under grave provocation. The contest was not advertised. The criteria for winning were not spelled out, leaving the public to engage in idle and malicious speculation as to why the four first ladies were adjudged less than Most Valuable. I do not envy the first husbands. But what can they do? Organise their own version of the independent Abuja event and have their first ladies proclaimed Most Valuable Governor’s Wife? That would be four Most Valuable Governor’s Wives too many. Pretend that the award did not happen? But it did, and deny-

HARDBALL

OLAKUNLE ABIMBOLA

ing it explicitly or implicitly will only make the disaffected first ladies in the zone angrier. Declare the award bogus, the handiwork of a band of racketeers with an eye for the main chance? But that would smack of sour grapes. Create an award that covers a wider region? But even in an enlarged zone, there can be only one Most Valuable Governor’s Wife. What kind of enlargement anyway? You could not include the South-south without provoking the wrath of the state governors there. Nor could you reach deep across the Niger or the Benue Niger without courting a civil war by another name. Nor are the governors of Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo likely to be buoyed by reports now circulating that another independent organisation in Abuja has virtually completed arrangements for a ceremony at which the Most Valuable Governor’s Wife’s Husband in the Southeast will be crowned, to complement the Most Valuable Governor’s Wife award. You can expect the four first husbands who lose out in this race to be just as resentful and implacable as the first four ladies who lost out in the earlier race, with terrible consequences for good governance in the zone. And who knows what those merchants of awards will do next. Personally, I will not be surprised if planning for the Most Valuable African First Lady has already reached an advanced stage in Abuja, current headquarters of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, with the Organised Private Sector expected to foot the bill, and Herself Mama Peace the prohibitive favourite, unless the contest is fixed. In a city famous for gaudy celebration, the conferment will be the mother of all ceremonies, and a fitting climax to the Great Nigerian Centennial. Now this, just in: Sons and daughters of the historic town of Fugar, in the Etsako Central Local government Area of Edo State, at home and abroad, have unanimously resolved to send a message congratulating Dr Goodluck Jonathan on dismissing their disobliging and undutiful son, Mike Ogadiomhe, from the exalted post of the President’s Chief of Staff, and pledging their total, unconditional and unalloyed support, as they used to say back when politics was colourful and cool, for his laudable Transformation Agenda. Ogadiomhe’s sin? They said he ate alone, unlike their great son, the late and much-lamented Okhai Mike Akhigbe. Watch out for the congratulatory advertisements in the more influential newspapers. •For comments, send SMS to 08111813080

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

For Oghiadomhe who makes people jubilate

C

HIEF Mike Oghiadomhe is no mean a personage. Indeed, he could easily pass for a great man if you judged greatness by a man’s influence, positions held and his vast means. On these scores, CMO (we will have to stick to his initials here because as you can see Oghiadomhe creates irritating spatio-temporal challenges for a writer) is actually a great man. For the uninitiated, CMO is the recently sacked/resigned Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan. The Fugar, Edo State born gentleman was deputy governor of Edo State for eight years (1999 - 2007). Going by this rich track record in public service, we can safely extrapolate that CMO must be extremely rich if not affluent. But why have the travails, the rise and fall of CMO and his material accumulations become an object of fascination to Hardball? Well, apart from the fact that Nigerians may never know whether CMO took a walk or was axed, numerous interesting side-bars have emerged from his exit from the gilded and much-coveted office. No, we are not talking about the many allegations of tales LUCKY MAN, Madam has given you FREE REINS flying about in the wake of his exit. The

allegations of inefficiency and other procedural finagling are of no interest to us. So what is so spectacular about CMO and how is his fall different from all other recently resigned/sacked ministers’? It is the small matter of people everywhere jubilating about CMO’s ouster as if they just won a raffle bonanza. According to the news which broke early last week, the staff at the Presidency where he was the chief were said to have broken into loud jubilation upon hearing that he had fallen. If you thought that may have been as a result of perhaps a strict disciplinary regime of his which often does not sit well with subordinates, wait until you read this. In far-away Fugar, CMO’s hometown, the news of his fall from grace was said to have sent residents into a wild jubilation. Let us take this quote from Vanguard newspaper in order to properly situate what may be described as CMO’s epitasis: “Youths and the elderly (of Fugar) were observed drinking and celebrating his alleged sack. One of the men who informed that he was a school mate of Chief Oghiadomhe, said: “I don’t take alcohol, but today I had to drink. This

man rose to power through our son (Rear Admiral Mike) Akhigbe, but he got there and abandoned everybody, including the man that made him…”” There is a lesson here for every man of power today to learn. It is better captured by the Yoruba saying to the effect that, “humanity is my clothing”. Made plain, it is an evocation that says it is always about the people; people, people and people. The people in your household, the people in your office, the people in your village, your neighbourhood, your church/ mosque, your ward, your town, etc., always, a worthy life is that which is lived for the people, starting with the ones around you. CMO apparently never learnt that lesson, which explains why he lost in his ward in the last Edo gubernatorial election; which may explain why he will never win an election in Edo State; which explains why everyone around him is happy about his downfall. We all must learn that lesson here that power, influence and great wealth are nothing, if they are not deployed to the benefit of humanity.

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The Nation Feb 18, 2014