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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

News More trouble for Biu as panel probes his reinstatement Sport Keshi undecided on Mikel’s invitation for Rwanda match Business Senate uncovers N1 trillion fraud in Budget 2012

P2 P24 P12


VOL. 7, NO. 2036 WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2012



Policeman dead as explosions rock Kaduna again

POLICEMAN was killed in fresh explosions in Kaduna yesterday, one week after soldiers foiled a suspected Boko Haram member’s attempt to bomb the Army’s 1 Division’s Dalet Barracks.

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

Two others were injured in the blasts. They have been taken to the hospital. The first explosion rocked the highly populated Ungwan Sarki, opposite

Kaduna State Transport Agency (KSTA) loading bay; the second occurred at another location about 500 metres away. The late policeman was said to have gone to check the content of a black

polythene bag left at a junction by unknown persons when it exploded, killing him instantly. Kaduna State Police Commissioner Ballah Magaji Nasarawa gave the name of the late policeman as Ser-

geant Sunday Badang of the anti-bomb unit. Nasarawa told reporters that following the incident, the police have introduced extra security measures to ensure the safety of lives and property.

He said: “Today 14th February, 2012 at about 1045hrs, and 1140hrs, respectively, there were two explosions that occurred at Ungwan Sarki bus stop in Kaduna. “The first Improvised ExContinued on page 2

‘Southwest integration achievable’ T By Emmanuel Oladesu and Eric Ikhilae

WO governors yesterday spoke on how the integration of Southwest can be achieved. They also called for total commitment by the people and their leaders. Governors Babatunde Fashola (Lagos) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) spoke in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, at the Legislature Summit on Southwest Integration organised by Vintage Press, publishers of The Nation and CEEDEE Resources. SEE It was the second day of the summit holding at the ALSO three-day Premier Hotel, Ibadan. PAGES Amosun asked his colleagues


Continued on page 2

•Mrs Laoye-Tomori

•Dr. Mamora

•Senator Lanlehin

•Prof. Williams

•Prof. Oyebode

Tearful villagers relive pupils’ death in storm How school-bound kids drowned in Monday’s Lagos morning disaster


•One of the sruvivors being consoled by his sister

HE mood was pensive and gloomy. Few words were spoken. The tense atmosphere was interrupted by sobs. As tears flowed freely, community leaders recounted how 10 pupils and two women died in a boat mishap during Monday morning’s storm in Lagos. It was at Ojota community in Otto Awori Local Council Development Area, a riverine rural community, in Lagos State. The Commissioner for Rural Development, Mr. Cornelius Ojelabi, visited the village yesterday to condole with families of the victims. Twenty-two primary school pupils

By Miriam Ndikanwu

of St. Mary’s Nursery and Primary School, Igbede-Ojo, and two women left Ojota community in a wooden boat heading for Igbede Village, another riverine community, that fateful Monday morning. Suddenly, the rainstorm came. The boat capsized, drowning the 10 pupils and two women. 12 other pupils survived. The victims are Mistura Hassan (9), Fausat Hassan (7), Michael Eniola (12), Tope Rufai, Ayisat Hassan, Afisat Hassan, Abigail Aminu, Oniru Muyibi, Nofisat Aminu, Aminat Tijani, Madam Hassan (wife of the

Baale of Ojota) and Madam Ibijoke, a resident of a neighbouring community. A member of the boat operators in Agbede-Ojo, who did not want his name in print, recounted the tragedy. He said the boat capsized when it was almost at shore. “It is very unfortunate; the boat was almost at the shore, but just a few metres away, the weather changed and the women asked the boat driver to move further so that they could stop at the nearby town to avoid the rain. One of the women panicked, she Continued on page 2




NEWS YOU, THE REPORTER Dear reader, here is an opportunity for you to join our team of reporters. You can send in stories and photographs, which you consider to be newsworthy. Our telephone number is 08082036515 (sms). The email is – Editor

Explosions rock Kaduna again Continued from page 1

•Journalist Sunmi Smart-Cole displaying his Life Achievement Award at the annual ThisDay awards, in Lagos ... on Monday. He is flanked by former United States President Bill Clinton and wife of Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Cherie.

Tearful villagers relive pupils’ death in storm Continued from page 1

attempted to stand up from the boat and immediately, the boat lost balance and with the heavy wind, it capsized. Everybody on board fell into the water. Some of the children died not because they could not swim, but because of the raging storm and wind. Some who could swim, survived. It is a very unfortunate incident and we have never witnessed such before now”. The operator said passengers of the boat did not wear life jackets. Ojelabi expressed regrets that none of the passengers wore life jacket. He said Governor Babatunde Fashola on learning of the incident, directed a team comprising himself, Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye and Special Adviser on Rural Development,

Mr. Babatunde Hunpe, among other government officials’ to pay condolence visits to families of the victims. “We were at the Executive Council meeting when we heard the news and the governor mandated us to come here and check the authenticity of the story. We came and reported back to the governor and he was really bitter about the loss of lives of innocent children who did not use life jackets. He asked us to come here again, first to commiserate with the families of the victims and then to see how we can forestall any future occurrence,” Ojelabi said. Ojelabi announced that Fashola had directed that an access road be constructed within two weeks to link Ojota Community with the Agbede-

Ojo area. The Ministry of Rural Development will also purchase three units of tricycles to convey the children to and from school. “For now, we will carry out the governor’s directive in the next 14 days, to ensure the safety of the pupils, until we are able to make a bridge to link the alternative schools in the area”, Ojelabi said. He warned the boat operators to ensure that passengers wear life jackets for every trip on the water. He said besides seizing the defaulters’ boats, they will also be prosecuted. Fashola expressed regrets over the impact of the natural disaster that destroyed property across the state. He inspected the stateowned Office of The Public Defender Building in Surulere which was billed for Continued on page 61

plosive Device (IED) exploded in a gutter near a parked 15seater Ford bus. No one was affected while the second explosion occurred when a police anti- bomb personnel, Sergeant Sunday Badang, was about to detonate it and the IED exploded. He was killed instantly. “The fragment affected two other persons near the scene. They were rushed to 44 Army Reference Hospital Kaduna for treatment and the victims are in stable condition. “The area was equally swept by the police Anti-Bomb Squad and no other explosive device was detected. Equally, we have beefed up security in the entire state and members of the public are hereby advised to report any suspicious object to security agencies and to avail us with credible information that will nip in the bud, these criminalities.” He released security hot lines for residents of the state to report any suspected movement or persons. The numbers are 08123822284, 07039675856 and 08081708671. Residents ran for dear life as the explosion shook nearby buildings. Traffic along the road was brought to a standstill. An eye witness told The Nation that shortly after the first explosion; a second polythene bag was discovered at another location about 500metres away. When The Nation visited the scene, the body of the late police officer was seen lying on the main road, while heavily armed security men cordoned off the area, causing heavy traffic hold-up. The major road on which the blast occurred links the city centre to the

More troubles for Biu as panel probes his recall From Yusuf Alli, Abuja


OW did embattled Commissioner of Police (CP) Zakari Biu get back into service after being away for 12 years? This is the poser the panel probing him and five others over the escape of a Boko Haram chieftain, Kabiru Abubakar Dikko Umar, aka Kabiru Sokoto, from police custody on January 16, is expected to unravel before concluding its assignment. Kabiru Sokoto has since been arrested. Biu and others are being tried by the Force Disciplinary Committee (FDC). The panel, it was learnt, has admitted in evidence the report of a committee raised by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Owoye Azazi, on Sokoto’s disappearance. Although Biu is insisting on his innocence, the FDC may look at how he returned to the police to determine whether he ought to be given such a “sensitive assignment” by former Inspector-General of Police (IG) Hafiz Ringim. It was learnt that after being rested for about 12 years, Biu should not have been given the assignment. Continued on page 61

northern part of the metropolis. Traders at the Ungwan Seriki market hurriedly closed their shops. Schools were also hurriedly closed, as panicstricken parents rushed to pick their children. Police spokesman Aminu Lawan confirmed the blast. He said: “Our officer was affected while trying to defuse the explosives; he lost his life in the process while attempting to detonate the explosives after the first bomb exploded. We have commenced a search of the entire area to ensure that another explosive is not planted around there while further investigation will be carried out”. Some youths in the area have promised to join forces with the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators, saying: “we

are not happy with the situation and we will assist the police in bringing out those linked with the blast once identified; we are tired of bomb explosions every now and then, killing innocent people”. Last Tuesday, a suicide bomber attempted to blow up the headquarters of the One Division of the Army in Kaduna. But he was shot dead by soldiers on guard while the vehicle exploded shattering the glass panes of a building. On Monday, a top government official and Director of Finance in the Ministry of Finance, Isuwa Kiforo, was shot at the Government House, when he refused to stop at the security check point and attempted to force his way into the place. Continued on page 61

Southwest integration achievable, say Fashola, Amosun at summit Continued from page 1

to create a united front and dismantle the artificial barriers reinforcing division and suspicion in the zone. He said the implementation of his administration’s five cardinal programmes of qualitative and affordable education, efficient healthcare delivery, agricultural production and industrialisation, urban renewal, rural infrastructural development and employment generation cannot be accomplished in isolation of the neighbouring states. Amosun, represented by his Acting Chief of Staff, Afolabi Salisu, acknowledged that his state is central to the initiative because it shares boundaries with Ondo, Oyo, Osun and Lagos. Amosun said: “We support fully the motion for integration in Ogun”. Fashola, who described the initiative as a core agenda for the region, pleaded for unity and understanding. He was represented by Commissioner for Information and Strategy Lateef Ibirogba. Lagos State Special Adviser on Regional Integration, Rev. Tunji Adebiyi, advised the legislators to enact laws that would make Yoruba lan-

guage a compulsory subject in the zone to prevent its extinction. Lauding The Nation for organising the summit, Amosun observed that the theme: “Achieving regional integration agenda for rapid growth”, was apt because it has re-awakened the region’s sense of history and compelled its people to re-invent its past pre-eminent achievements under the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Amosun said the historical resonance had become imperative because those laudable feats made the Southwest the envy of other regions. He lamented the creation of states, which led to the collapse of the region, giving expression to artificial boundaries and divisions in the Southwest. He said the situation was worsened by the elite and politicians, who have continued to stress the artificial geographical boundaries created for their selfish ends. He added: “The consequence is that the concept of state citizenship begins to take the fore front among the people. They begin to see themselves as people of one state or the other, rather than

as sub-units of the entity called the Yoruba nation. This comes with the challenge of intra-and-inter-state boundary disputes, which often lead to arson, loss of lives, displacement and attendant consequence of socioeconomic development on the people and region as a whole”. Amosun described the regional integration agenda as a ray of hope, pointing out that the initiative was made possible because the region now belongs to one big progressive family sharing the same ideology, orientation and strategies for development. This trend, he said, would make cooperation easy and possible, advising the government of the six Southwest states to create a united front for the implementation of the agenda. Amosun said: “We should take advantage of this united political affinity to drive the process and the like-minds in government should cooperate to break the yoke of artificial geographical values of the socio-economic development of the entire region. I see us re-enacting the glorious days of the Awolowo Southwestern Nigeria”. The governor reiterated his

administration’s commitment to bringing development to the doorsteps of the people through the implementation of progressive programmes, which, he acknowledged, cannot be executed in isolation of the neighbouring states. Osun State Deputy Governor Titi Laoye-Tomori asked the region to return to the cherished culture of “omoluabi”, adding that the values and virtues of integrity, hard work, and resourcefulness are ingredients of development. She said: “We should go back to our states and brace for the challenge. We should re-unite the Southwest through regional integration”. Ekiti State House of Assembly Speaker Dr. Wale Omirin identified legislative support as a critical element in the implementation of the agenda. He promised that legislators in the zone would not let the people down. He also said the onus is on the lawmakers to educate the people to secure their commitment. Omirin added: “We will support integration through legislative intervention by making enabling laws. We are coming together to set up the Southwest Legislative Forum.

We will enlighten our constituents on the importance of the initiative. Deputy Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly Adetunji Orisalade moved the motion for the adoption of Osun State Anthem as the regional anthem. He said: “The time to start integration is now. I move a motion that we start the integration by adopting the Osun State Anthem as the Yoruba anthem, so that our children should recite it in our schools”. Adebiyi, who seconded the motion, clarified that the anthem is the Afenifere anthem sung by Yoruba at home and abroad. He emphasised the need to preserve the Yoruba language, adding that speaking a foreign language is incompatible with the spirit of the agenda. Adebiyi said: “We should not neglect our language. All developed countries; France, Germany, Britain; have retained their languages. We should not turn our homes into English homes. We should promote Yoruba speaking. In Lagos, the House of Assembly discusses in Yoruba on Thursdays. Let the other states copy this. “We are not making progress because we are not

making use of our language. For Yoruba language not to fade away, our homes must make laws to the effect that Yoruba is made a compulsory subject in Southwest schools and one of the subjects they must pass before securing admission into our universities”. Adebiyi distinguished between constitution making and law making, submitting that the National Assembly cannot make a new constitution for Nigeria. He said, under the 1999 Constitution, it would be difficult for states to build railway and power facilities because they are under the Exclusive List. He called for a Sovereign National Conference to restructure the polity and make a peoples’ oriented constitution. Adebiyi added: “Our Houses of Assembly should pass a resolution for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference. This does not disturb the mandate of the elected officials. The outcome of the conference would be subjected to a referendum”. Fashola said: “This is a serious assignment. After the discussions here, action should follow. Lagos State is in support of this agenda in an atmosphere of regional unity within the federation”.

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






How to achieve regional integration, by Fayemi E

KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday asked the Southwest to brace for the challenges of regional integration, stressing that the initiative encompasses the comprehensive overhaul of all the critical sectors germane to the welfare of citizens. To achieve the agenda, he said the zone must re-focus its priorities in education, health, infrastructure, communication, agriculture, urban development, housing, energy, security, culture and tourism. Fayemi delivered a lecture entitled: “Strategies for regional integration for rapid growth” at the ongoing Legislative Summit on Integration at Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, organised by Vintage Press Limited, Publisher of The Nation. He was represented by Information Commissioner Funminiyi Afuye. The early morning session, which was chaired by Prof. Adebayo Williams, was witnessed by Osun State Deputy Governor Otunba Titi LaoyeTomori, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Rev. Tunji Adebiyi, Acting Chief of Staff to Ogun State governor, Afolabi Salisu, Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly Najim Salam, his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Wale Omirin, and Alhaji Yakubu Balogun. Fayemi said the collapse of regions into states and local governments displaced regional economies, giving rise to a bogus federal purse, from which subventions were then granted to states and councils. The governor observed that Southwest’s growth has been retarded by the lopsided federal arrangement, despite its huge natural endowments, human capital and other potentials. He added: “This present endeavour at the revival of regionalism is in the effort to restore the Southwest to its pride of place as an economic and developmental unit. Regional integration within the context of true federalism is important for the democratic growth of the Southwest and Nigeria”. Regionalism, Fayemi argued, seeks to enable the process of political, legal, economic, social and cultural cooperation among states as a way of rapidly boosting their growth and development. He noted that integration would enable the states in the zone to build consensus on major issues of common concern and facilitate a genuine process of political and economic cooperation for rapid growth and development. Fayemi emphasised that integration would also promote good governance, develop a common set of practices and development strategies for equitable development and create a platform for sharing resources and expertise across the region. He said the agenda would also hasten the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, job creation and creation of value. Fayemi also spoke on the process, saying: “For regional integration to be effective, the collaborating states in the Southwest need to have an agreed vision that includes collectively agreed goals of the transformative experience targeted; the identification of the unique selling points of each participating state, proper economic analysis of the compliments and contradictions that each state is bringing to the agreement. design and evaluation of the integration process and modalities for the evolution of the process”. He also stressed that issues of enabling infrastructure and develop-

The unfortunate slide in performance of our pupils in WASCE, NECO and JAMB examinations needs to be arrested. Therefore, a state of emergency on education has to be declared in the Southwest, which would not only comprise the rebuilding of academic, but also covational skills and competencies

By Emmanuel Oladesu

ment of competencies that would drive the integration in terms of human capacity should be agreed upon. Fayemi submitted that economic development is the first fundamental strategy for regional development, adding that this would enhance a high level of Gross Domestic product (GDP) and Human Capital Development Index by 2020. He added: “This is intended to enable a paradigm shift that will move the region away from a consumption-based model of economic operations relying basically on resource sharing and allocation to resource generation, growth and development, which are essential to a strategy-based model of development. This is construed as revitalising and advancing development in a manner in which it earlier evolved in the past.This will enable the shift in the macro-economic expenditure environment of the region from an essentially recurrent to a capital expenditure profile”. Fayemi called for regional self-sufficiency in power generation, including hydro-power generation, to drive developmental process through traditional and other sources, remarking that this is possible, if states comes together to invest heavily in independent powersub-sector. He explained that regional power plants can be developed and concentrated around industrial estates, educational institutions, markets, airports, seaports, and healthcare centres. He also advised Southwest governors to invest in employmentgenerating agricultural infrastructure through improved budgetary allocation, adding that this could lead to improved processing and storage. The governor said agricultural estates and agriculture market information should be established with the development of Farmers Development centres at the local and state levels. Fayemi alluded to the importance of human capital development through investment in a kind of education that would lead to acquisition of entrepreneurship skills. He said: “The unfortunate slide in performance of our pupils in WASCE, NECO and JAMB examinations needs to be arrested. Therefore,

a state of emergency on education has to be declared in the Southwest, which would not only comprise the rebuilding of academic, but also vocational skills and competencies. There is the necessity for re-evaluating the school curriculum and training of teachers on a regional scale, introduction of applied practical science to all students, the creation of a regional standard of inspectorate of education, and provision of intermediate computer skills to education.” The governor also said the region should develop a common strategy for the provision of higher education at the post-secondary level and a common database on educational planning and labour market information, adding that these should be updated periodically. He said: “The largely diminished capacity of universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions can be addressed through the the setting up of regional centres to address the educational deficiencies, especially in science and engineering.” On infrastructure development, Fayemi said: “A critical strategy for regional integration and rapid growth and economic advancement of the Southwest involves the development of vital infrastructure, including a multi-modal transportation system, a sufficient power generation and distribution, an effective information and communication technology architecture, urban development and adequate housing. All these would enhance governance and drive economic growth”. The governor submitted that road transportation across the zone can be developed through collaborations with the Federal Government, international financial institutions and private sector, adding that rural roads can be handled by the respective states. “On rail transportation, Southwest governments have to make a joint commitment and decision to create an integrated rail network that connects the whole region and links up with major commercial entry and exit points, such as air and sea ports. This can be achieved through negotiations with the federal government to construct rail lines in the region or through a pulling of resources together by our various states, private investors and international funding partners. “A highly viable rail loop that will serve the economic interests of the region would be the construction of a link from Benin to Lekki Lagoon, which will take course via Ogun and Ondo States, thereby opening up this whole axis and making the Epe corridor a major terminal for passengers and goods.” Fayemi urged the zone to ponder on the possibility of revitalising major power projects, including Olokola, Omotoso and Papalanto, stressing that huge crude oil deposits in Ogun and Ondo states can be explored as sources of fuel to service the power plants. He maintained that with the industrial and economic potentials of the region, power generation, which is the main driver of the economy, should be accorded great priority through the private/public partnership model of funding. On security, Fayemi said: “There is the need to develop the capacities for community policing and neighbourhood watch in the region, so that people from other parts do not take advantage of the liberal security outlook in the Southwest. Self-determination groups that serve as alternative vigilante movements necessary have to be re-oriented to upgrade the quality of their membership and activities”.

• Lagos State Commissioner for Information Lateef Ibirogba ...yesterday

• Mrs Funmi Wakama and Hon Bankole Olusola...yesterday

• Prof. Adesegun Banjo and Prof. (Mrs) Ogunsheye...yesterday

•Hon. Boluwade Kehinde and Hon. Segun Erinle...yesterday




Oyebode, Mamora seek devolution of powers to states By Eric Ikhiilae


Hon Hadijat Monsurat Sunmonu, Hon Tola Banjo and Hon Omirin Adewale

Hon Komolafe Babatunde, Waseeu Gbola Adebayo and Hon Ezekiel Adedibu Adeyemo

ENOWNED Law Professor Akin Oyebode and former member of the National Assembly Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora have stressed the urgent need for a modification of the nation’s constitution to allow more devolution of powers and freedom to the constituent states. This, they argued, will bring autonomy to the constituent units to determine their patterns of growth, a development that would aid regional integration and collaboration needed for national development. They contended that without such amendments, aimed at altering the nation’s current lopsided arrangement, the country’s growth will remain stunted. Both frowned at the current constitutional arrangement that allocates more areas of influence to the central at the detriment of the federating units. Oyebode and Mamora spoke in Ibadan, Oyo State yesterday while addressing the summit of legislators from the Southwest states and Edo State on regional integration. They stressed the importance of a legal framework to drive the desired regional integration, which realisation the Southwest and Edo states are working towards. Oyebode, in his paper entitled: “The Law as a tool for development” observed that the country operates a deformed federal system, where no pretence is made to observe the tenets of federalism. This, he attributed to the long years of military dictatorship and the imposition on the people, of constitutions which reflect unitary, military nuances and attitudes, resulting in a situation where the country’s mode of operation “is a mockery of true federalism and veritable example of passing off a dog for monkey.” Identifying the challenges that could hinder the quest for regional integration in view of the multifarious contradictions inherent in the Constitution, Oyebode said the realisation of the regional integration dream depends on the commitment and dedication of the political leaders in the Southwest. “It is on account of the skewed nature of Nigeria’s federalism that those at the forefront of regional integration must evince tremendous circumspection and ingenuity if they do not wish to play into the hands of those that do not wish them well. “It is quite obvious that Nigeria, as currently constituted, would hamstring and thwart all initiatives aimed at regional autonomy and collective self-reliance. Accordingly, every effort should be made immediately to redress the infelicities and rough edges of Nigeria’s federalism in order to give the country a new life. “The attractions of more devolution of powers, fiscal federalism and regional empowerment make a re-configuring of the present set-up a matter deserving of immediate and relentless pursuit,” he said. Stressing the importance of law to regional integration and development, Prof Oyebode urged the legislators from the Southwest and Edo to enact laws towards the realisation of the idea of integration. He urged those at the National Assembly to work with like minds from other parts of the country to realise the reformation of the country. “This explains the need to pay credence to the harnessing of law I realizing the laudable goal of regional integration, more so as without a legal framework, all actions pursuant thereto would jolly well amount to nothing,” he said. Mamora argued that to achieve integration and growth among the constituent states would be almost impossible under the extant constitutional arrangement. He noted the various provisions in the constitution that provide the centre with huge influence and powers at the expense of the states and local governments. He queried the justice in the practice where the Value Added Tax that ought to be administered by states is earned by the centre and shared among the federating states. This arrangement, he argued, allowed states that have outlawed alcohol consumption to benefit from VAT realised from alcohol consumed in other states. Mamoral said the job of realising regional integration lies with the lawmakers who should enact laws to aid the desired cooperation and collaboration among the states. “There are constitutional obstacles and impediments that we must surmount to make our journey to regional integration/development smooth and less chaotic. Constitutional amendment is inevitable if we must vigorously pursue the noble objectives of regional development. It calls for joint action by the state and national legislatures.

Hon Ogundele Gabriel Folorunso, Hon Olayinka Modupe Abeni and Hon Fatunbi Olajide Ayo

Dabiri-Erewa: true federalism ‘ll fast track integration By Emmanuel Oladesu


•Hon. Tola Banjo and Ekiti State House of Assembly Speaker Omirin Adewale PHOTOS: NIYI ADENIRAN, DAVID ADEJO AND ABIODUN WILLIAMS

OUSE of Representatives’ member Abike Dabiri-Erewa (Ikorodu Constituency) yesterday urged progressives in the country to intensify their clamour for true federalism, saying it would fast track regional integration in the Southwest. She objected to cosmetic federalism which permits over-concentration of powers in the Federal Government, to the detriment of then component units within the lopsided federation. The legislator said: “There is no alternative to true federalism. Southsouth was holding its meeting and there was no problem, but when Southwest is gathering, they are suspicious because development started here”. Dabiri-Erewa said: “If every region is permitted to develop at its own oace, it would engenger healthy competition.” She spoke on the constitution review in the House, pointing out that, when the Railway Acy of 1952 is amended, regions would certainly have opportunity to embark on regional rail project. Dabiri-Erewa urged Southwest governors and lawmakers to show courage and political will, saying they are crucial to the attainment of the agenda. She delivered a lecture entitled: “Legislative roles in effective implementation of integration agenda” at the legislative summit in Ibadan, Oyo State.




Musicians, actors pay tributes

Houston for burial on Saturday in New Jersey P OP star Whitney Houston’s funeral service will take place on Saturday at the church in Newark, New Jersey, where she sang as a child. It will be at the New Hope Baptist Church, a week after she died in her hotel room in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. The coroner’s office has now released the 48-year-old’s body to her family. It was flown from LA to her home state of New Jersey and then taken under police escort to the same funeral home which handled the funeral of her father John in 2003. The funeral home’s owner, Carolyn Whigham, confirmed the service’s venue, where mourners have left flowers, balloons and candles at the wrought-iron fence around the church. Houston ‘s family has also reportedly considered an additional farewell at an 18,000-seat arena. They are said to have discussed holding some form of commemoration at Newark’s Prudential Centre, which hosts college and professional sporting events. The church is located near an abandoned housing project and the train line leading to New York City. “She was an inspiration to everybody,” said Gregory Hanks, an actor who grew up in the neighbourhood and who placed a bouquet at the site. “I grew up listening to her as a little boy, and to hear her sing, you knew she was special,” he said. Fans have also gathered at the funeral home, playing Houston’s songs and light candles in her

memory. The pop star was under water and apparently unconscious when she was found in the bath by a member of her staff, and she had prescription drugs in her room, authorities said. A post-mortem has been carried out and officials said there were no indications of foul play and no obvious signs of trauma on her body. But it could take weeks for toxicology tests to establish her cause of death. LA deputy coroner Ed Winter confirmed there were bottles of prescription medicines in the singer’s room at the Beverly Hills hotel where she had been staying ahead of the Grammy Awards, but would not give details. “There weren’t a lot of prescription bottles. You probably have just as many prescription bottles in your medicine cabinet,” he said. The LA police commented after widespread speculation about how the star, who had a well-documented battle with drug and alcohol addiction, died. The entertainment website TMZ reported Houston did not die from drowning but a suspected “combination of Xanax and other prescription drugs mixed with alcohol”. It added that officials with the LA coroner’s office had told the singer’s family there was not enough water in her lungs “to lead to the conclusion that she drowned”. TMZ also claimed that some of the medicine bottles in the room appeared to be from the same pharmacy that was raided after


•The late Houston

Michael Jackson’s death. This has not been confirmed. Meanwhile, Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, was taken to an LA hospital by ambulance and later released. A source close to the family said she was treated for stress and anxiety.

The 18-year-old, who is Houston’s daughter from her tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, had accompanied her mother to several pre-Grammy Awards events. •Culled from yahoonews

RIBUTES have continued to pour in for Whitney Houston, who died in her hotel room last Saturday. Houston’s godmother, Aretha Franklin, said she was shocked by the death of Houston. She said: “I just can’t talk about it now. It’s stunning and unbelievable.” Popular songress Mariah Carey, who admitted being influenced by Houston, said: “She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth.” Veteran musician Lionel Richie said: “She was just a gift in voice …that voice was so pure and her life was so pure. That’s what I’m holding on to.” Simon Cowell, in his own tribute, said: “I am so sad to hear about Whitney. We have lost one of the greatest singers of all time.” Justin Bieber, in a message on twitter, said: “Just heard…so crazy. One of the greatest voices ever just passed…My prayers go out to her friends and family.” A celebrity reporter Perez Hilton described her death as tragic. Hilton said: “So tragic! Withney Houston has died.” Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez described her as one of teh greatest voices of the time. She said: “Such a loss. One of the greatest voices of our time, Sending out prayers to her family.” Showbiz personality Katy Perry said: “So devastating. We will always love you Whitney, R.I.P.” Barbra Streisand said: “She had everything… How sad her gifts could not bring her the same happiness they brought us.”

‘Regional integration not a political sloganeering’ SUN State Commissioner for Regional Integration Ajibola Bashiru yesterday asked the Southwest governors and lawmakers to demonstrate the will and capacity critical to the success of the agenda. He cautioned against reducing the initiative into a political sloganeering, urging them to back their oral commitment with concrete action. He spoke at the second session of the legislative summit held at Ibadan, Oyo State. The session was chaired by Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, who said that the integration agenda would enhance the dividends of democracy in the zone. Foremost legal scholar Prof. Akin Oyebode advised Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Edo and other states to appoint commissioners for integration, adding that there is need for structure and clearing house to begin the implementation of the initiative. Also, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora and Lagos State Special Adviser on Regional Integration Rev. Tunji Adebiyi directed attention to the limitation to the powers of the National Assembly to make peoples’ constitution for the country. Adebiyi explained that, while the legislators have the mandate to make laws for the country, they are handicapped to make constitution. Lanlehin said efforts were being made by National Assembly to review the constitution and not to


•Mamora, Adebiyi: we need national conference By Eric Ikhilae

make a new one, lending credence to the fact that the task of making a peoples’ constitution can only ne done by bodies outside the parliament put up by the ethnic nationalities. Osun State Speaker Salam said legislators and governors must cooperate together and work out the modalities that would shape intervention. Bashiru, a lawyer, said: “Regional integration should not be political sloganeering, but what will bring welfare to the people. Today, over 61 percent of Nigerians live below on one dollar per day. This should not be so. “Governors of the Southwest met last year and resolved to set up a steering committee to be inaugurated in march. State representatives ought to have been nominated. We can have regional cooperation from the elemental level, especially sports. The region can have one sport club”. The commissioner also said that infrastructural development is a priority, adding: “State governments can commence programmes that would integrate the zone economically. Osun State, for example is building a road from Orile-Owu to Ijebu-Igbo. This will open up the areas and boost economic activities”. Bashiru also emphasised re-

‘The 1999 Constitution is Decree 24 of 1999. it is an outdated constitution foisted by Abdulsalami. The Patriots described it as a fraudulent constitution that told a lie against itself. The National Assembly can amend it, but it cannot make a new constitution for Nigeria.’ gional rail transportation to aid agricultural growth and enhance economic growth. He stressed: “Iwo axis is known for wheat production. You cannot rely on road transportation in that area. before you transport crops from rural areas to cities, there are problems due to traffic snarl. farmers sell food crops cheaply and other crops get destroyed because of lack of access to road to market.

“Agriculture and education must be developed. I like what Governor Ajimobi said about one regional university, with other universities serving as its satellite campuses”. Foremost female professor, Adeotun Ogunseye, lamented that the military destroyed the regions when states were created. She said that the National Council of Women Societies, which she founded in 1952 to empower women and stimulate development, has been affected by the onslaught against regionalism. She said, although the society made impacts when it set up nurseries and owned a property in Shamanda, people from the north have hijacked it and excluded Southwest members frommits core leadership positions. Ogunseye said, since efforts are now on to revitalise it, governors of the zone should encoutage their state chapters to held the new reorganisation at the regional level. House of Assembly member from Ekiti State Ayodele Odu (Irepodun/ Ifelodun Constituency), cautioned the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) against going into slumber, explaining that conservative parties may do away with the agenda, if they displace the progressive party. He said the leaders of the party should ensure that they continue to cultivate the people so that ACN remain as the

ruling party. Oyebode advised the legislators to make legislative enactments to back the regional proposal in the interest of the generality of the people. However, he clarified that the national Assembly cannot make a new constitution for Nigeria. The university teacher said: “The 1999 Constitution is Decree 24 of 1999. it is an outdated constitution foisted by Abdulsalami. The Patriots described it as a fraudulent constitution that told a lie against itself. “The National Assembly can amend it, but it cannot make a new constitution for Nigeria. It is antihistorical to give the task to them. Constitution making is the job of a Constituent Assembly. Awolowo refused to be part of the 50 wise men in the Constitution Drafting Committee because it putting the cart before the horse. “We have 484 ethnic groups in Nigeria. We have to go back to basics. Awolowo said we cannot avoid a federal system. The military constitution is masquerading as a constitution. National Assembly is engaged in a temporary panel beating effort. But when a car is going through that too much, it is useless. Oyebode asked the remaining Southwest governors who have not appointed Integration commissioners to do so, stressing that it is a mark of seriousness. He said: “Lagos State should also be involved because it is the most important state in Nigeria and the region”.




Senators to agitators of National Conference: shelve the idea A GITATORS for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) were yesterday told to shelve the idea, because it can’t work. The Senate advised them to channel their grievances through the National Assembly. Chairman, Senate Committee on Media, Information and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe addressed reporters at the end of plenary. Abaribe urged those behind the call to appreciate the fact that there already exist elected representatives of the people. He noted that all Nigeri-

•‘Channel your views through National Assembly’

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

ans are either represented by a member of the House of Representatives or a Senator. He added that it was on record that the Senate does not shy away from discussing any matter under the sun. Abaribe insisted that Nigerians who have issues to discuss or those who desired

some amendments in the Constitution should channel such concerns through their elected representatives. He said: “We do not understand the position of those who want SNC.” The Senate spokesperson, however, noted that the upper chamber is not in any way against any group of people coming together to discuss issues they felt concerned about. He went on: “If you want anything discussed or any

amendment in the Constitution, the right vehicle is the NASS. “Olisa Agbakoba, an eminent lawyer has some amendments he wanted effected in the Constitution, he channelled it through me. “The bill has been read the first time.” Abaribe promised that the budget would be concluded before the Senate goes on its annual retreat next month. He said Senate President David Mark has given the

committees an order to submit the budget of their subcommittees to the appropriation committee for compilation. He said the whole process will be concluded next week to enable the Senate to nominate its conference members in case the need arise for the harmonisation of the budget between the Senate and the House of Representatives. On the purchase of vehicles for Senators, Abaribe said the transaction was the sole responsibility of the National Assembly Service Commission. He said he did not know whether the vehicles have been bought or not.

Flood: Lagos appoints resident engineers


HEAD of the rainy season, the Lagos State Government has named resident engineers and drainage maintenance officers for the 20 local government areas and the 37 local council development areas. Their mandate is to tackle flood related matters by making public their telephone numbers to receive complaints on blocked drains, discharge of wastes into the canals and other drainage challenges in their areas of jurisdiction. E n v i r o n m e n t Commissioner Tunji Bello, who dropped the hint, said the appointment of the engineers has demonstrated the seriousness of the government to tackle flood.

•Former Minister of Power and Steel, Wole Oyelese (left), High Chief Lekan Alabi, ace musician, Commander Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi and celebrator, Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola Alao at his 67th birthday celebration in Ibadan…yesterday

Increase in electricity tariff ‘ll not hurt the poor, says Power Minister •Fed Govt sources $1.5b from US NEXIM •Four power plants to be ready this year


HE Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, yesterday said the proposed 80 per cent increase in electricity tariff will not affect the poor and middle income earners. He also said four new power plants will be ready this year to boost the nation’s energy need which has peaked at 4,400MW. He, however, added that the Federal Government is sourcing $1.5billion for investors in the power sector to access. Nnaji, who made the disclosures at a forum organised by National Pilot newspaper, said the Federal Government will spend about N60billion to subsidise electricity this year. He said: “This year alone, approximately N60billion will be made available to make sure that the upper and rural dwellers averaged in terms of tariff increase. “In Nigeria today, the tariff for electricity is the second lowest in Africa other than Zambia which has the lowest. What we want is for Nigeria to be in the middle tariff wise. “So, whatever is the tariff increase, it is for the upper income earners, the lower income will not have the increase because there is subsidy in place for them. Even if the subsidy is eventually removed, there will be crosssubsidy that will ensure that the low income earners will not suffer.

US delegation urges public awareness


TRADE delegation made up of eight power companies and other financial service providers from the United States (U.S.) has expressed worry over what it called lack of public relation campaigns to herald the planned electricity tariff hike. Speaking in Abuja on Monday, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary, William Fitzgerald and head of the delegation at a meeting with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said that Nigerians desire better power supply even at a higher cost but it will be better if this information is properly channeled to avoid a replication of events that heralded the New Year. The Federal Government on January 1, removed subsidy on petrol, which raised the price of a litre from N65 to N97. Organised Labour and civil society groups responded with a 10-day strike which shut down the economy. The NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, noted that following disclosures that electricity tariffs will go up by 25 to 88 per cent in April, certain areas would experience this hike a lot earlier in what he described as a “pilot imFrom Yusuf Alli and Yomi Odunuga

“I can assure you that the poor will not feel significant effect in tariff increase. By the new system, the consumption in an area will determine the tariff that is paid. It is the amount of power sold that will determine this.” He also confirmed that four new power plants will come on stream this year with over 1,000mw to the National Grid.

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja plementation”. The trade delegation is in Nigeria to specifically determine if U.S. power developers would be able to invest in generating facilities and fuel supply to provide reliable and affordable electricity in Nigeria. Vice Chairman of the U.S. Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, Wanda Felton, said: “I just wonder if there is any possibility of employing a gradual communication strategy that perhaps does not wait until you’ve accomplished certain things, but outlines a timeline so that people can measure what you expect to accomplish against what you actually accomplish and that may build some goodwill” He called for the use of radio to disseminate the information due to its wide coverage and popularity in the country. Agreeing with the position of the delegation, Amadi noted that the agency was already thinking along these lines, adding that the sentiments by the group would serve as further impetus.

Nnaji said: “We inherited a generation of 2,800MW when we came on board but now we are talking of about 4,400MW even though I don’t want us to bandy figure but it comes from the recovery of capacities that are lying dormant. “With this, we have greatly stabilised on National Grid. We used to have 3 to4 whole system collapses every month. This year, we have not had any system collapse. In December, there was a partial

system collapse. “This year, we should be able to complete four plants with additional over 1,000 MW. Concerning investment in the power sector, Nnaji said: “We look at the future as being bright because the government has cleared the hurdles for private investment. “In October, we signed an MoU with US NEXIM for $1.5billion for investors to access. It is not a loan but it is a

facility which investors in the power sector can access. The General Electric came here and we are also developing an MoU with them for plants that will generate about 10,000MW. They are not building power plants, it is the private sector that will build but they will own equity. “On Monday, some senior officials of the US had audience with the President; they brought eight American companies that want to invest in power.” Replying a question, Nnaji said the government has no plan to sack electricity workers, who were redeployed from the headquarters in Abuja to 11 distribution companies nationwide. He added: “We are redeploying headquarters staff who are doing nothing to the government-owned companies and transferring their salaries and benefits to the same. How can anyone quarrel with that? Will Nigerians prefer somebody just sitting down doing nothing? In fact, the labour unions should be the first to protest against idleness. “We have to do things according to due process. Whatever is it we are doing, we are doing it according to the Power Sector Reform Act 2005. We are not sacking anybody. “Why will we need to pay these workers terminal benefits? They are not being severed.”

Housesummons Commissioner over rainstorm By Oziegbe Okoeki

DISTURBED by the havoc wreaked by the early morning rainstorm in Lagos on Monday, the House of Assembly has summoned the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello. Expectedly, the commissioner will tell the lawmakers his ministry’s preparedness to curtail the menace of heavy downpour in the state. Bello’s invitation was sequel to a motion moved on Monday under Matters of Urgent Public Importance during the plenary session by Gbolahan Yishawu, representing Eti-Osa Constituency II. Yishawu, who explained that the rain caused damages to lives and property, spoke of the need for the Ministry of the Environment to rise up to its responsibilities to avert future disasters. The lawmaker, however, sympathised with the family of the man killed by a mast that fell at Lekki, on the Island during the heavy downpour. The lawmakers said the weather forecast restated the prediction of heavy rains this year, reminding the government to do something to combat flooding in Lagos and its environs. They also resolved to organise a Town Hall meeting to educate their constituents on how to manage their drainages in order to combat flooding.

Senate eulogises Aluko From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

THE Senate yesterday poured encomiums on renowned Economist, the late Prof. Sam Aluko, who died on February 7 at the age of 82 years. The Upper Chamber also observed a one minute silence in his honour and resolved to send a delegation to condole with his family, the government and people of Ekiti State. This followed a motion moved by Senator Anthony Adeniyi (Ekiti South) for the Senate to eulogise the late elderstatesman. Adeniyi said: “Aluko was a “foremost and understanding economist of our time.”

Three drug suspects held •Six deported from Spain By Kelvin Osa, Okunbor

OPERATIVES of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos have apprehended three Nigerians in connection with drug trafficking. The suspected drug traffickers tested positive to drug ingestion, while six others were yesterday deported from Spain for drug-related offences. The deportees, all male, who arrived in a chartered flight at about 4:50pm, were received and registered by anti-narcotic officials.



NEWS Oyo monarch deposed, replaced From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


HE Oyo State Government has deposed the Baale of Lanlate, Mr . Sunday Oladejo, and reinstated Chief Lateef Olagoke as the right candidate for the stool. A statement by the spokesman for the Ibarapa East Local Government Area, Mr Segun Adeyemo, said the removal of the former Baale was effected through a letter dated February 13 in which the state government declared that the appointment of Oladejo was unlawful, citing the abrogation of the report of a panel. The administration of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala had appointed Oladejo, based on the report of the Commission of Enquiry on the dispute. The letter, with reference number, CB141/169/1Vol.VIIT/155 was addressed to the former Baale. It was signed by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Peter Odetomi. The letter reads: “The deposition of Mr Sunday Bolawaye Oladejo as the Baale of Lanlate by Governor Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi is in exercise of the power conferred on His Excellency by Section 26 (1&3) of CAP 28 Chiefs Law of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000. “The former Baale was equally warned to henceforth cease from parading himself as the Baale of Lanlate and furthermore, he was directed to hand over all paraphernalia of office of Baale of Lanlate to the Chairman, Transition Committee, Ibarapa East Local Government, Lanre Olaosegba.”

One dies, 18 injured in Ogun accidents From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta


NE person was killed while 18 others sustained serious injuries in separate road accidents yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The victim was identified as Mr. Nureni Makinde. Doctors were battling to save the injured. Makinde, a father of three, died when the driver of a tanker lost control while negotiating a bend on the Oke–Sokori road. The trailer ran over Makinde, killing him on the spot. The driver of the truck, who attempted to flee the scene, was apprehended by operatives of the Traffic Compliance and Enforcement (TRACE) of the state. The other accident occurred at Kobape area on the Abeokuta– Sagamu Highway. It involved 18 students of the Tai Solarin University of Education (TSUED), Ijagun, who were travelling to the state capital in a bus. The bus lost control following alleged excessive speed. A tyre got burst tyre and the bus sommersaulted. The students were said to be going to Abeokuta to resume their protest on the state government’s decision to merge their institution with the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago– Iwoye. The President of the Students’ Union Government (SUG), Oyekanmi Abdullahi, said they planned to meet with the governor, the Commissioner for Education and the Chief Judge with a view to persuading them to have a rethink on the proposed merger. The injured students were rushed to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Idi Aba, Abeokuta.

Fashola lists dangers of borehole proliferation


ITH a warning on the dangers of borehole proliferation on the environment, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday inaugurated one million gallon-per-day-capacity World Bank-assisted Mini Water Works at Iponri. He said the State Water Corporation would soon address the environment risks inherent in the proliferation of boreholes. Fashola, who spoke at Iponri, said Lagos residents are better off with more water works than boreholes in individual homes, promising that the proliferation of boreholes would be addressed. He urged residents to continue to connect their homes to the mains for domestic water needs, assuring that his government will provide adequate water. Fashola said: “Let us continue to shut down those boreholes because they have long-term environmental impact and environmental damage to our state and our people.”

Assault on teacher: Oyo CP gets two-week ultimatum From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


HE Oyo State House Assembly yesterday gave the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Moses Onireti, a two-week ultimatum to brief it on the outcome of his investigation on the alleged shooting in a public school by men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). The shooting allegedly took place some weeks ago at the United Secondary School Ijokodo, Ibadan. The lawmakers had, last Thursday, issued a warrant of arrest on the NSC Comptroller in the state, Mr. Richard Oteri; Mr. Allyson Chukwuebuka, a Senior Secondary School (SSS) 3 pupil; his father, Mr. Emmanuel Allyson, a Customs officer and Allyson’s lawyer following their involvement in the assault of a school teacher, Mr. Gbenga Ogunleye. About 10 Customs officers reportedly stormed the school to beat up Ogunleye. At yesterday’s sitting, Customs spokesman Mr. Wale Adeniyi debunked the allegation that any shooting took place within the school premises, noting that Allyson, as an inspector, has no access to vehicles and guns. But the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Tokunbo Fayokun, accused the officers of being economical with the truth, saying from investigations so far,“there were reports of shooting by people in the vicinity and these officers came with vehicles and brought out a wheel spanner to beat up the teacher.”

Adeyemo, flanked on the left by Information Commissioner Bosun Oladele and Akintunde at the flag-off of the road projects in Oyo...yesterday

Oyo begins dredging of 23 rivers


N an apparent move to prevent a recurrence of the August 26, 2011 flood disaster, the Oyo State Government has approved the dredging of 23 rivers across the state. Besides, the state government has flagged off the rehabilitation of 50 roads. About N5 billion will be spent to rebuild the roads. The Commissioner for the Environment and Habitat, Mr. Wasiu Dauda, told reporters shortly after the state executive council meeting on Monday, that the dredging, expected to cost N133 million, begins next week. He listed the rivers to be dredged as Odo-Ona-Apata, Olororo, Olode, Ajibode, all in Ibadan and Odo-Ogba in Iseyin, among others. The official flag-off of the road reconstruction was performed yesterday in Oyo by Governor Abiola Ajimobi. Speaking at the ceremony held a few metres from the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the governor, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, said the projects were in fulfilment of his promise to the electorate. The roads, he said, have been carefully selected in all the senatorial zones to improve the transportation network in terms of commerce and the overall wellbeing of residents. Ajimobi noted that the rehabilitation programme was a testimony of his administration’s commitment to lift the living conditions in the Pacesetter State. The Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Yunus

• Awards 50 road contracts From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Akintunde, who spoke on the occasion, said the projects, awarded to different contractors, would be completed within three months. Akintunde said: “The projects were conceived to bring immediate relief in road transportation to the state by improving the conditions of roads in each of the zones, thereby increasing socio-economic activities of the areas and the entire state.’’ The governor, who had earlier visited the Oyo monarch, was praised for his efforts at improving the infrastructural base of the state. The Alaafin said: “I want to commend the governor for the vision towards the reconstruction of 50 roads in one fell swoop. This has never happened in the history of the state. “So far, Ajimobi has done very well in all aspects of his administration; he has kept faith with the people of this state and he has adhered strictly to the implementation of projects that have a direct impact on the people. “I am very impressed that he has not deviated from his electioneering promises. I want to call on the people to continue to support his government in its efforts to making life worth living for the masses.’’

Scores of LP, PDP members join Ondo ACN ORE than 1,000 members of the ruling Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Irele and Akoko Northeast in Ondo State yesterday defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Among the defectors are members of three prominent groups, including 75 PDP women leaders, 40 youths from the Sunshine Liberation Forum (SLF) and Gboroye Women in Politics. The Gboroye women were led by Mrs. Florence Ige Adekanle. They pledged allegiance to


From Damisi Ojo, Akure

the ACN. They hosted Mr. Saka Lawal, who visited Irele Local Government Segun Area, in the South Senatorial District. Lawal was a former adviser to Governor Segun Mimiko on Planning and Strategy. State party Chairman Mr. Olu Obajulaye said the former LP leaders in the council are excited by the massive mobilisation embarked upon by Lawal, since he joined the ACN a few weeks ago. According to him, the popularity of the ACN chieftain has endeared people from different political parties into the

foremost progressive party. Addressing the crowd, Lawal urged them to adopt four main principles in tackling the challenges ahead. He said: “First, you must pray and commit every of your desires into God’s hand as the battle is the Lord’s. Secondly, you must have faith that the ACN will be victorious. Thirdly, you must not harbour any fear. Finally, you must embark on a massive mobilisation, irrespective of political parties.” In Akoko Northeast, leaders of the LP, including the coordinator of Iroko 2013 platform in Orun Ward 1, Pastor

Tunde Akinola, defected to the ACN. Other defectors include: LP executive members Emmanuel Ayodele, Samuel Obanla, Kehinde Ojuolape and Abusioluwa Aliu, Layi Adalumo, Orimolade Dare (also known as Danda), Obawolu Saibu, Stephen Ajayi (also known as Olowoise), Ayo Afolabi, Sunday Omotoyinbo, Tinu Olanipekun, Olu Ajigeloye, Alhaji Agba Olookoba, Mrs. Ileola Sumisola Gold, Mrs. Obayan Asimi, Kolade Stephen, Fatai Ogundele (also known as 1010) and Mrs. Oluwemimo Adura.

Lagos Assembly warns tanker drivers against parking on bridges


ANKER drivers, who park indiscriminately on bridges and other unauthorised places in the Centre of Excellence, were warned yesterday to desist from such acts. Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Local Government Administration and Chieftaincy Affairs handed down the warning during their visit to the Apapa Local Government Area, as part of their oversight functions. Decrying the presence of the trucks on the Ijora-Apapa

By Oziegbe Okoeki

flyover, the lawmakers urged the state government to sanction erring drivers for failing to keep faith with the agreement between them and the government. Committee Chairman Moshood Olarenwaju Oshun, who spoke for his colleagues, said action should be taken against the tanker drivers, who park indiscriminately, especially on the bridges. He said the traffic challenges encountered by residents and workers should be blamed on the drivers, who

come into Lagos from other parts of the country to load fuel. His words: “We are using this opportunity to warn these tanker drivers to stop parking on bridges. “The bridges in Lagos are not meant for stationary vehicles like tankers that are also heavy. “If any of you here has a tanker, or you know anyone who has, please ensure you quickly warn him before the government wields the big stick. We cannot continue to condone their activities.” Council chair Ayodeji Jo-

seph said appeals to discourage the drivers were spurned. “They can’t continue to come from Abuja and other parts of the country to exploit us like they are currently exploiting the Niger Delta,” he said. The council chair said he was consulting with stakeholders and some investors on how to build a park that could accommodate about 250 tankers. “I am sure this would ease the traffic problems we have been faced with over the years,” he said.



NEWS Delta to draft military to Warri


HE Delta State Government yesterday said it would invite the military to contain the security challenge in Warri. Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay spoke at a ministerial press briefing in Asaba, the state capital. Ovuzourie said the government had concluded plans for the military to take over Warri streets and environs. The SSG said the situation

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

in the oil city and other parts of the state calls for a drastic solution so that peace can return to the area. He, however, advised the media and the public not to raise the alarm of the military’s presence. Macaulay said a Judicial Commission of Enquiry has been set up to probe the communal disturbance at Uzere in Isoko North.

Edo judicial workers’ strike persists From Osagie Otabor, Benin


•Dickson being congratulated by Justice Abiri...yesterday


Dickson sworn in as Bayelsa governor


AYELSA State Governor-elect Seriake Dickson and Deputy Governor-elect John Jonah were yesterday sworn in as governor and deputy governor. They took their oaths of office, administered by the Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, at the Peace Park, Yenagoa. Dickson announced free and compulsory education in primary and secondary schools. The governor said he would place more emphasis on human capital development, the building of education curriculum and development of Ijaw language. He said to back up his vision for open government and zero tolerance for corruption, revenues accruing to the state would be made public. He said: “The days of greed at the expense of our people are over. “I will work hard to block all leakages and sources of cor-


•Vows to tackle education, corruption, security From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

ruption, which have been the bane of our development. “We will rather use our common wealth to fund the construction of roads and free education.” He said some of his policies against corruption will affect and check the lifestyles of government officials, starting with himself. “I am aware that we will face resistance but we will always do what is right. “If Bayelsa fails, Ijaw nation also fails and, of course, the Niger Delta will fail. “We shall use such wealth to generate employment for our youths and to expand our economy. “Be prepared for a fundamental paradigm shift in the system of governance and in our lifestyles, particularly

public officials beginning with me. “I am aware we will face resistance and I will be misunderstood, we will always do what is right in your best interest. “To do nothing now about a corrupt and decadent system poses a clear and present danger to the very existence of our state. “It will be a great disservice to the Ijaw nation and this will not happen under my watch” “We will take the necessary decision, and actions however difficult, however controversial and painful. “Even when you have a different perspective, which you have a right to hold, be assured that the decisions will be in your best interest. And be assured, I will consult stakeholders regularly.” Dickson, who decried the

environmental activities of the oil companies, described their actions as environmental terrorism. “As much as we are willing to partner with corporate entities, we will insist on higher standard, responsible behaviour and citizenship. “Similarly, we will not condone irresponsible and criminal acts by people who damage our environment.” The event was attended by dignitaries, including former Governor Diepriye Alamieiyeseigha, Prof. Turner Isoun, Lawrence Ikpebu, Justice F. Tabai, Timi Alaibe, Numuipre Wills, Peremobowei Ebebi, Inatimi Spiff, Nestor Binabo. Others are Johnny Turner, Fred Agbedi, Mrs. Maria Ebikake, James Dugo and others.

Hearing in Akpabio’s, Udoedehe’s dispute on Monday

HE Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal yesterday adjourned hearing till Monday in the case between Governor Godswill Akpabio, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and two others. ACN governorship candidate John Akpanudoedehe and his running mate, Ime Umanah, are challenging the declaration of Akpabio and his deputy, Nsima Ekere, as winners of the April 26, last year, election. Justice Ayuba Kwajafa scolded counsel for their failure to abide by the tribunal’s earlier order that all applications must be in court before February 13. Justice Kwajafa, who ignored the application by Akpabio‘s counsel Duro Adeyele (SAN), said the tribunal would not tolerate any counsel flouting its order. His words: “We have made it clear that we want all papers in on or before February 13.

OURTS in Edo State remained shut yesterday as the indefinite strike by the state chapter of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSON) entered its fifth day. The judicial workers said they are protesting the nonimplementation of the N18, 000 minimum wage in line with the salary structure of the judicial service commission. The workers have vowed not to return to work until the basic salaries of officers on grades level seven to 17 be at par with their counterparts in other public service. They also seek adjustment for those who retired within the period of the non-implementation of the minimum wage. State Secretary of JUSON Uyi Ogieriakhi dismissed allegations that the strike was politically-motivated. “We are genuinely and sincerely doing what the mandate from our members said. It was the congress decision. “It was the congress which comprises the work force in the judiciary that took that decision and we are bound by it,” he said.

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

“Counsel must take this issue very seriously. We will not take it easy with any counsel flouting our order.” ACN’s lawyer Dapo Akinosun had complained that he could not reply the application by Akpabio’s lawyer because he was served late.

Justice Kwajafa pleaded with Akinosun to allow the tribunal stand the case down till 3pm but he did not accept. Akinosun said the respondent had, in their application, raised serious issues, which the petitioners would like to look at critically. Adeyele urged the tribunal to remove certain paragraphs in the petition.

The tribunal is expected to rule on the application for the continuation of inspection of electoral materials by the ACN on Monday. Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) O. Amunonye urged the court to dismiss ACN’s application for the inspection of electoral materials. He said the application ended with the “defunct” tribunal when ACN’s case was dismissed on technicalities.

Governor: Benin flood over soon



DO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has said erosion and flooding in Benin would soon be a thing of the past with the completion of the storm water project. The governor spoke yesterday when he inspected the 13feet deep channel being constructed on the New Lagos road to link the canal on Five

Junction to the canal on the Traditional Ground. Oshiomhole said: “I am satisfied with the on-going construction. It is a good work. “We have to re-claim the moat to enable us construct a canal here to serve as a receptacle for erosion coming from different points.” While assuring the people of government’s resolve to tackle erosion, he urged the construction firm to speed up the work. The Commissioner for Works, Francis Evbuomwan, said what is being done is the filling and compaction of the canal and when it is completed, it will act as a receptacle for flood water from different areas. “The flood water coming from Uselu is transmitted to Ikpoba River. It is about four metres deep and 25 metres wide,” he said.

Support for Oshiomhole


LDERS and leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)in Etsako Central Local Government of Edo State have passed a vote of confidence in Governor Adams Oshiomhole and endorsed him for a second tenure. In a communiqué at the end of a meeting and signed by Joseph Akhigbe Alemoh, M.Z. Inaboya and Andrew Omo Abu, the elders resolved that the governor deserved another tenure to consolidate his achievements. The forum also pledged the local government’s support to the realisation of the second tenure ambition of the governor by mobilising the people for the July election. The elders called on citizens of the state, Edo North and Etsako Central to vote for Oshiomhole.

Abubakar warns officers against corruption


HE Acting InspectorGeneral of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, yesterday warned officers against corruption. He said there is need for officers to show more commitment in policing the country. Abubakar spoke in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, for the inaguration of 50 vehicles for the formal take-off of the Quick Re-

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

sponse Squad. The Acting IG told officers that policing would not be business as usual. His words: “Having taken power as the IG, I realised the enormous challenge of policing this country. “We must re-double our efforts to change the denting and damaging image we have today. “There is need for us to go

back to the basis of policing in this country. So many things have been done unprofessional. That is why we are losing grip. “This is the service that used to be the best, but because of the attitude of some of us, we are losing grip. “This administration welcomes all of you who are willing to change. “The era of going for

courses for attendance is over. If you go on course, if you fail, we shall give you second chance, if you fail again, we shall dismiss you.” Abubakar said the command is making efforts in changing policing, but admitted that it was not going to be an easy task. The IGP said: “We are making efforts to change policing but it is not going to

be an easy task. “The era of corruption is over. You cannot train policemen in an environment that is not conducive. “I will not allow my officers to go on course and be using their money to buy water, food and other things.” He praised the Commissioner of Police, Solomon Arase, for arresting the security situation in the state.



NEWS Community petitions bishop From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

THE Umueri community in Anambra State has petitioned the Anglican Bishop of Niger West Diocese in Anambra East Local Government, Rev. A.O Nkwoka, to restore peace to the land. A crisis is brewing between Umueri and Aguleri communities, following the decision by the church to site the Niger West Bishop’s court in Aguleri. But the Umueri Anglican community said citing the Diocesan secretariat in Umueri would restore peace to the warring communities. The protest letter, which was written on February 4, was signed by Nwanyibe Igweagu.

Orji spends N4b in Aba

Ohanaeze faults Ojukwu’s widow


HE apex Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has faulted the statement credited to the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s widow, that the group has not visited the family since the demise of the Ikemba Nnewi. Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu made the allegation on Monday when members of the Conference of Democratic Scholars (CODES) and some members of Ohanaeze visited her. President-General of Ohanaeze Raph Uwechue yesterday said publishing negative things against Ohaneze Ndigbo is unfair, especially when Ndigbo are still mourning. He said when Ohanaeze visited the ancestral home of the late Ojukwu in Nnewi,

•Says we visited your late husband From Nwanosike Onu, Awka and Chris Oji, Enugu

the widow was still in London. Uwechue said the group had maintained close contact with Governor Peter Obi from the time Ojukwu was in the hospital till date. He said: “I want to set the records straight, we have visited the ancestral home of Ikemba and the traditional ruler of the area, Igwe Kenneth Orizu, to commiserate with the family and the community. ”Mrs Bianca Ojukwu was not in Nigeria, she was still in London. She was not at Ojukwu’s home at Nnewi when we went there.

“Again, Ohanaeze Ndigbo sent Raph Ndigwe to London to see Ojukwu and he reported back to the group. “I personally kept in touch with Governor Obi on behalf of the group when he was going to London to see Ojukwu and the governor confirmed that we talked. “And on the Igbo day celebration in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, the former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, delivered Ohanaeze’s message on the same issue. “Now how can somebody blame us? “Ohanaeze Ndigbo did what it should do concerning the illness and death of one of our own and I do not

think that this body erred in any way.” Uwechue said when Ojukwu died, the group’s present and past leaders visited his ancestral home with the exPresident- General, Dr. Dozie Ikedife. “Also, the Prof Joe Irukwu administration was represented by the former Secretary-General, Col Joe Achuzie (rtd). “The administration of Justice Eze Ozobu was represented by Joe Nwogu. “Therefore, publishing something negative against Ohanaeze Ndigbo is not fair and anybody making any form of statement should know that Ndigbo are in mourning,” Uwechue said.

From Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia

ABIA State Governor Theodore Orji has said his administration has spent N4 billion in rebuilding roads and other facilities in Aba. Orji said most of the state’s funds have been channelled into rebuilding Aba’s decayed structures, such as erosion, flood control, de-silting of drainages. Speaking with reporters after a three-hour inspection of roads and other projects, Orji said he visited Aba to see how work on the projects are going as he is tired of being deceived by his aides, who do not give him accurate information. The governor said he is happy with the pace of work in Aba. He noted that he is determined to leave a legacy that will stand the test of time. Orji said the government is building an overhead pedestrian bridge at the Aba-Owerri Road across the Abia Polytechnic.

From Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki


ARTIES have begun campaigns ahead of the rerun elections in three constituencies in Ebonyi State. The Appeal Court sitting in Enugu had, in December, nullified the election of the member representing Ohaukwu South State Constituency, Mrs. Mabel Aleke, Ikechukwu Ogbu, (Ishielu North State Constituency) and his counterpart from Ezza South State Constituency, Chris Usulor. They were members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). A PDP chieftain, Chike Igwe, said the party is preparing ahead of the elections. He said: “The party has started its campaigns in Ohaukwu, Ezza South and Ishielu local governments. “We are waiting for the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to announce the dates for the elections.” The State Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Jerry Obasi, said the party would participate in the rerun and is confident of victory.

Civil War exhibition opens From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

F •From right: Ndigwe, Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (Jnr), the leader of the Conference of Democratic Scholars (CODES), Tim Nwala, Mrs. Ojukwu and Jeo Nwogu when the group visited the widow PHOTO:OBI CLETUS

Anglican Primate visits Obi ANAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi has hosted the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rev Nicholas Okoh, at the Governor’s Lodge, Awka. Speaking with reporters yesterday, Okoh said Boko Haram members are doing themselves no good and encouraged them to embrace dialogue. “I am relaxed in Awka. We are feeling at home and we will have this standing committee meeting for five days. “Without the standing committee, the general synod which comes every three years would not materialise because the general synod ratifies what the standing committee does.” Major roads in Awka were yesterday closed as part of security measures for the meeting. Arthur Eze Avenue, which houses Emmaus House; the venue of the meeting, which also leads to the popular Eke Awka, Ziks Avenue and Unizik Junction, was cordoned off by security personnel. Only vehicles with passage card and individuals with pass cards were allowed in.

Ebonyi rerun: PDP, APGA begin campaign

•Former Chairman, Police Service Commission Simon Okeke (in red cap), Usman and Umeh...yesterday


Imo extends free education to undergraduates


MO State Government has extended its free education programme to undergraduates of indigenes in its college of education, polytechnic and university. Speaking in an address tagged: “State-of-Imo Address” at the Heroes’ Square, New Owerri, Governor Rochas Okorocha said the government would in the next academic session grant N100,000 bursary to students of the state university and N80,000 to students in the stateowned polytechnic.

From Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri

He said the reforms in the school system would also entail the monetisation of the free education, whereby secondary school pupils would be given N40,000 which they would partly use for their tuition fees and N25,000 to primary school pupils. Okorocha said schools would be granted autonomy to empower their management team

ORTY two years after the end of the Civil War, a national exhibition on the war has been inaugurated at Amichi, Anambra State. The exhibition was opened by Anambra State Governor Peter Obi yesterday. The Director-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Yusuf Usman, said the exhibition is dedicated to the millions of Nigerians, who died in the 30-month war. According to him, “this exhibition in Amichi is a celebration of the peaceful resolution of the war. “It cannot come at a better time when our dear country is yet again challenged by disenchanted centrifugal forces. “This exhibition is therefore meant to highlight the supremacy of peace and reconciliation over war, no matter its justification.” Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism Maja Umeh, who represented Obi, appealed to the Federal Government to declare the Ogbunike Cave, the Owerre Ezukala and the Agulu Lake as national monuments. Amichi was the town where the peace treaty that ended the war was signed. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited the place in 2006 and declared the house of the late Benjamin Atuchukwu, in whose home the documents were signed on January 13, 1970 to formally end the war, a national monument. It was backed by a law in the National Assembly in 2006.





If we do have an expansionary budget plus the fuel subsidy removal, I think the likelihood is more for an increase in interest rate than a cut. - Lamido Sanusi, CBN Governor

Onne Free Zone generates $5.4b

Mega station owners blame NNPC for fuel scarcity

• Creates 130,000 jobs, says Minister

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi Abuja

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt



ECURRING scarcity of petroleum products has been attributed to the laxity of National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Association of Mega Filling Stations Owners of Nigeria (AMSON) said NNPC retail unit should be held responsible. Chairman of the group, Wada Ashiga, spoke yesterday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee probing the management of subsidy regime. According to him, NNPC retail unit has not been able to ensure constant supply of all petroleum products to the NNPC affiliate stations across the country. He said Sthe failure of NNPC retail unit contravened the agreement between the two bodies. Ashiga said: “NNPC mega stations are only 37 located in state capitals while our affiliate stations are over 500 and we account for about 85 per cent of the total performance of the NNPC retail. “However, they engage in discriminatory supply of products at the detriment of our stations by over-supplying AGO and DPK to the 37 stations which account for only 15 per cent. This development gives rise to diversion of these products to black market”. In his prayers, Ashiga appealed that the profit margin of his association be upwardly reviewed to N10 per litre as well as stop the deduction of 10 percent of their commission and withholding tax. According to him, since petroleum products were dutyfree,government should stop the deduction of N3 million as re-branding cost should any member wants to pull out of the scheme.

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

-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -10.5% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $33.01b FOREX CFA 0.2958 EUR 206.9 £ 242.1 $ 156 ¥ 1.9179 SDR 238 RIYAL 40.472

• From left: Mr Oladapo Ogundeji, Chief Operating Officer, Digital Jewels Ltd; Ms Funke Opeke, MD/CEO, Main One Cable Company; Mrs Adedoyin Odunfa, MD/ CEO, Digital Jewels Ltd, and Mr Richard Amafunye, IT Manager, Skye Bank Plc at the 43rd Information Value Chain Breakfast Forum organised by Digital Jewels, in Lagos.

Jonathan seeks Senate’s approval for $7.9b loan P

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday sought the approval of the Senate to borrow $7,905,690,000,00 for funding major projects in the country. In a letter read by the Senate President, David Mark, Jonathan noted that the pipeline projects he intends to fund with the loan are at various stages of finalisation. As at September last year, Nigeria’s total debt stock was $40billion made up of external $5.63billion and domestic $5.3trillion or $34.4billion. This debt pro-

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Asst. Editor and Sanni Onogu (Abuja)

file, which is 19.6 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is still sustainable given the fact that the global standard for all countries that are in Nigeria’s peer group is that the total debt to GDP should be about 40 per cent. The president said the total external pipeline borrowing of $7,905,690,000 or $2.64 billion a year is the cumulative facilities offered by the World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB),

Islamic Development Bank, Exim Bank of China and India lines credits. Details of the pipeline projects were not disclosed in the letter by Mark, but sources said the projects covered by these loan facilities include power and general infrastructure development projects. Jonathan informed the lawmakers that a number of special initiatives were designed to put the economy back on track through growth and employment geared to the implementation of the

transformation agenda of government. He noted that some of projects have been designed to create employment opportunities to grow the economy. The president asked the Senate to note that the objectives of the projects conform with the transformation agenda of his administration and cuts across various sectors of the economy. He also asked the Senate to approve the list of pipeline projects for inclusion in the Medium Term (2012-2014) External Borrowing Plans of the Federal Government.

AMCON recovers N600b, says MD • Process for sale of new banks begins • ‘Cash-less banking working’


HE Asset Management Corporation of Nige ria (AMCON) has recovered N600 billion from the non-performing loans it bought from banks last year. Managing Director, AMCON, Mustapha ChikeObi, disclosed this yesterday at the end of the Bankers’ Committee meeting in Lagos. He said the corporation has so far, recovered N100 billion this year, and will achieve a target of N1 trillion by the end of this year. AMCON has invested N3.14 trillion ($19.6billion) in the purchase of non-performing loans and recapitalisation of banks. The AMCON boss warned debtors and other obligors to pay up as the corporation is prepared and ready to recover all its debts. “Debtors must pay what they owe. And they will pay. However, we are recovering debts at a faster rate than expected. We have recovered about N100 billion so

By Collins Nweze

far this year. Our target is to recover N1trillion this year,” he said. The AMCON boss also said the selling of the nationalised banks will start this month. According to him, the Corporation will engage the services of advisers to guide it on how to sale the banks, which will take between 12 and 18 months to be completed. The three nationalised banks are Main Street Bank (former Afribank Nigeria Plc), Keystone Bank (former Bank PHB Plc) and Enterprise Bank (former Springbank Plc). Chike-Obi assured that the Corporation will provide a level playing field, for both the local and international investors jostling for the banks. However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will have to approve any transaction involving the sale of any of the nationalised banks. He said several inves-

tors have indicated interest in buying the banks. Chike-Obi had last year hinted that AMCON will exit the three nationalised banks in 2013. The CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who chaired the Committee, also told reporters that the Cash-less Lagos project is working. He said the project was tested during the ‘Occupy Lagos’ protests that compelled depositors to use the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to provide the needed cash for those who live in Lagos. “Throughout the ‘Occupy Lagos’ protest, ATMs supplied cash to the people. It shows that the cash-less banking initiative is working. Lagos could have gone on for a week or two weeks more without any cash problem. That is what it is going to be when the project is introduced across the country,” he said. The Minister of Information and Communication

Technology (ICT), Mrs Omobola Johnson, also attended the meeting where she discussed with the apex bank and bank chief executive officers on how they can partner to make cash-less banking work. Sanusi said the apex bank and the banks will collaborate with the ICT Ministry to find ways to address infrastructure challenges that might affect the cash-less banking initiative. He said the target is to achieve financial inclusion, where people in the rural areas can benefit and be involved in banking. The Committee also agreed to empower women bankers into prominent positions in the industry. It reiterated the commitment of the CBN and banks to move women bankers to the leadership pyramid. It plans to set up a framework that will empower women into prominent positions in the banking sector and give them equal opportunity to climb the leadership ladder with their male counterparts.

HE Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, has revealed that the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Onne, Rivers State has generated about $5.4 billion for the Federal Government, with current investment of $4.8 billion, while over 130, 000 jobs have been created. He also stated that arrangements had been concluded to increase the production and patronage of locally-manufactured products, through the “Local Patronage Bill” that would soon be presented to the National Assembly. While responding to questions from reporters, shortly after a facility tour of the oil and gas free zone, Aganga stressed that Nigeria has the capacity to produce most of the items being imported into the country. He lamented that Nigeria had been losing huge foreign exchange, in view of the people’s inability to patronise locally-manufactured products. On the Federal Government’s determination to reverse the trend, the minister noted that the proposed bill was imperative, which would enable Nigeria to explore areas of comparative advantage, especially oil and gas industry, thereby saving huge revenue and creating more jobs for the teeming qualified youths.

Supreme Court accepts ExxonMobil’s staff application From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja


HE Supreme Court yesterday granted leave for the 860 aggrieved staff of ExxonMobil to file their reply brief outof-time. Justice Chukwuma Ene, who presided over the panel, held that the application would guarantee fair hearing of the main appeal. “The application is hereby granted and deemed to be filed and served,” he said. The 860 security guards have been challenging their employment status in Exxon Mobil for over 13 years. While the guards claimed that they were directly employed by the company and should be entitled to benefits accruing to other members of staff, ExxonMobil asserted that they were appointed as spy police and should depend on the Nigeria Police for their entitlements. The apex court had encouraged parties to settle out of court. But the Respondents counsel, Femi Falana, lamented that the appellant had frustrated all the steps taken to resolve the matter out of court.



BUSINESS NEWS Again, Senate summons Senate uncovers N1 trillion importers over fuel subsidy fraud in 2012 budget T T

HE Senate may have uncov ered over N1 trillion fraud in this year’s budget, its Committee on Appropriation said yesterday. The discovery followed alleged doctoring of the budget by some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). The MDAs were alleged to have smuggled some items into the budget to push it up from N4.7 trillion to over N5.7 trillion. Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation Senator Ahmed Maccido, in a statement yesterday, said over 40 per cent of projects seen in the budget were not captured in the original estimate presented to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan last year. Maccido said the new projects were sneaked into the budget by the MDAs.

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

The committee, he said, has resolved to jettison such unauthorised projects “because they are not captured in the original budget.” He insisted that the committee would subject the budget to thorough scrutiny to expunge all unauthorised projects. Maccido said: “The problem is that we are seeing projects that are not in the original version of the budget presented to us by President Jonathan. “A substantial part of the projects is smuggled into the budget by the MDAs. “Over 40 per cent of the projects in the budget are not in the original

budget. “The items so smuggled into the budget are over N1trillion. “So we are comparing the budget as originally presented by the President and the version presented by the MDAs. “Unless these projects are in the original budget, we are going to scrap them. It is no longer going to be business as usual. “These people are just smuggling in projects that are not in the budget. We are going to remove them.” Senate President David Mark has ordered the sub-committees to submit reports of the budget to the Appropriation Committee for final compilation.

NAHCO to cut 300 jobs


S part of its cost cutting measures, Nigerian Avia tion Company ( NAHCO) Plc plans to cut about 300 jobs, it was learnt yesterday. Part of the reasons for the job cuts has do with aligning operating costs with market realities, declining productivity of the affected personnel, age limit, poor attitude to work by staff as well as issues bordering on discipline and professionalism among its work force, a source hinted. Confirming the restructuring in NAHCO, one of the ground handling firms in the aviation sector, National President, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ( ATSSSAN), Comrade Benjamin Okewu, disclosed that the union was

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

already in talks with the management of NAHCO, to mitigate the effects of the job loss. It was learnt that the NAHCO management had started distributing letters of retrenchment to the affected staff, before the union intervened. A source hinted that both the union and management of the company are still holding talks on how best to effect the looming job loss. Sequel to the development, there is already palpable anxiety among staff of the company over who may be affected by the job loss, which is likely to have negative impact in the industry. Ground handling companies are said to be streamlining their operations to cut down on costs in the increasingly competitive air

transport industry. Spokesman of NAHCO, Mr Sanya Onoayoade, said: “There is nothing like sack.”He sent a short message service ( SMS), saying he was in a meeting. The SMS reads: “ I will call you later after the meeting. There is nothing like sack in NAHCO. But, of course, you know that the company about two years ago embarked on transformation to reposition, which entails infrastructure renewal and re-fleeting and retraining. There are also aviation standards expected of our staff and there are penalties for non - adherence.” Other workers in the industry also confirmed that their colleagues were served retrenchment letters.

HE Senate yesterday sum moned the Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc, Mr Wale Tinubu, to come and defend his allegation that unscrupulous marketers divert kerosene for aviation and road construction thereby leading to acute scarcity of the product. Also to appear before the committee is the Chairman of A-Z Oil Chief A.E Okafor whose company allegedly imported over seven cargoes of fuel last year without any fuel outlet and the executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). Chairman of the Joint Senate Committee investigating alleged shady deals in the payment of huge fuel subsidy to oil marketers in the Petroleum Downstream sector, Senator Magnus Abe, specifically called on Tinubu, who was absent

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Asst. Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

at the resumed hearing of the Committee in Abuja to “do everything to be here next week”. Tinubu had in a letter on behalf of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) to the Senate alleged the diversion of kerosene to the aviation and road construction sector. Meanwhile, three oil marketers Lumen Skies, Majope and Duport Marine Limited - all admitted before the committee that they had no outlet stations, trucks or storage stations, but got allocations from PPPRA to import fuel. The Managing Director of Duport Marine Limited, Mr Tosin Odusanya, admitted that his company was paid N3.5 billion in 2011 alone.

IPMAN suspends strike


HE Independent and Major Petroleum Marketers Asso ciation of Nigeria (IPMAN), Ilorin branch, has suspended its two-day strike, which almost paralysed commercial activities in the state. In a statement in Ilorin, Chairman of IPMAN, Alhaji Agbolade Jamiu Bolaji, announced that the association was suspending the strike as a result of fruitful discussions it had with the state governor on some issues raised by the association. “In a rare show of magnanimity and exemplary leadership, the governor has succeeded in an amicable resolution of our agitations and fears. We are, therefore, calling on our members to resume

sales immediately,”Agbolade said. Earlier, at a close door meeting between the state government and major stakeholders in the oil industry, Ahmed had appealed to the leadership of the IPMAN to end its on-going strike in the interest of the suffering masses. The meeting, which lasted over an hour at the instance of Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed, was the first major attempt by him to pacify IPMAN to resume lifting of fuel so as not to further inflict pains on the innocent people of the state. He advised IPMAN to put the interest of the masses at heart in resolving the on-going crisis, saying the people of the state were made to suffer for what they knew nothing about.




• GSM phones on display

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and banks are embarking on cost saving measures through mobile money. COLLINS NWEZE writes that the initiative, although demanding, will reduce the cost of banking operations and help move the unbanked into the banking system.

Mobile money: The unbanked’s bank A

T a time, it was hip to carry cash, loads of it. Today, the world is going cashless as new technologies are evolving to dispense cash. The use of mobile phones to send and receive money, buy recharge cards, pay subscription fees for DStv, pay electricity bills, use of Point of Sale (PoS) terminals to pay for goods and services are now the order of the day. Nigeria too has caught the bug. Apart from reducing the cost of their operations, banks are seeking cheaper and easier means of meeting customers’cash need. With a population of about 150 million, with 95.4 million said to be active phone subscribers, a lot can be achieved through mobile money. Mobile money, as phone banking is called, allows those with mobile phones to transfer and receive money on their phones at any time.MTN, Airtel and Globacom, among others are partnering with banks, fortifying their technology and backbones needed to achieve seamless and secured transactions. The product development units of banks are busy churning out e-payment products and services that will help drive the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cash-less Banking initiative. The language of banking is changing to e-transactions that not only come with a lot of convenience but are also cost effective. Last month, CBN introduced cash-less Lagos, which will play a key role in implementing the mobile money services.

Many banks are partnering telcos to implement the mobile money initiative. Stanbic IBTC Bank is partnering Globacom; GTBank is going with MTN, Globacom has a pact with United Bank for Africa (UBA). The initiatives are expected to deepen banking by drawing the unbanked or underbanked into the formal financial services sector, and also enable the economy to shift to more efficient and reliable modes of financial transactions.

Benefits Head of Personal and Business Banking at Stanbic IBTC Bank Mr Obinnia Abajue said the adoption of mobile money services would enhance economic planning by unravelling the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) matrix, with a reduction in the cost of

cash handling and cost of funds, besides being convenient and secure. Abajue said: “Government and banks have been in the forefront of efforts seeking to channel the huge funds in the informal sector through the formal banking system to bolster economic development. Mobile money will fast-track this harmonisation and identify economically active people previously in the shadows of the huge informal cash economy, enabling them to have access to credit facilities.” Mobile money, he said, “will bring about transparency, improved remittances and economic activities across various sectors of the economy, both in urban and rural areas. To achieve this, it is imperative for the regulators, licensed operators and other stakeholders to embark on an awareness campaign to educate Nigerians about the ben-

‘Mobile money reduces cost of operation; it increases customer satisfaction because you can render personalised service. When transactions are electronic, they are easier to track and document. For the government, it helps in the area of taxation, budgeting, planning, accountability and improved government services’

efits of mobile money. This will drive its acceptance, and subsequently unravel its enormous benefits to the economy.” He said for a country with an estimated population of over 150 million and, which curiously, has less than 22 million bank accounts, such policies are not only good but necessary. “About 74 per cent of the adult Nigerian population, as it was revealed in recent surveys, has never been banked, while 85 per cent of adult females are completely unbanked. On the other hand, 61 per cent of the unbanked would like to have a bank account, according to the CBN data. Mobile money is the easiest way to win these accounts,” he said. Besides, about 73 per cent of adult Nigerians have no formal or informal access to finance and, therefore, are excluded from access to credit facilities. Even more astounding is that the unbanked money in the informal sector is estimated at N1.2 trillion. The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of GTBank Plc, Segun Agbaje, said Mobile Money will help mobilise funds from the unbanked and channel the funds to productive sectors of the economy where the funds are needed. Head Market Risk, Greenwhich, Babatunde Obaniyi, said this situation has impacted negatively on the country’s economic growth because access to financial services, and, indeed, overall financial development, is crucial to development and • Continued on page 14



ISSUES • Continued from page 13

poverty reduction. He said lack of access to formal financial services limits market exchanges, increases risk and limits opportunities to save. Without formal financial services, households rely on informal services that are associated with high transaction costs. Thus, increasing access to formal financial services to the majority of households remains an important policy goal, not just in Nigeria, but in all emerging markets. Analysts insist that ongoing reforms have generated opportunity provided by e-payment, especially mobile payment to enhance financial inclusion and facilitate Nigeria’s transformation from cash-based to a cashless economy. Figures released by the apex bank appear to support the case for significant reduction in cash-based transactions. CBN’s Deputy Director for Currency Operations, Mr Albert Ikmseedun said an all-time high loss of N192 billion will be incurred on cash management this year, if not checked. The figure, he said, stood at N114.5 billion in 2009, with N27.3 billion spent on cash-in-transit and N69 billion on cash processing. This trend, he said, underlined CBN’s policy on daily cash withdrawal limits, which pegged withdrawals at a daily cumulative limit of N150,000 for individuals and N1 million for corporate entities. Ikmseedun identified robbery, high cost of processing cash, revenue leakages, and inefficient treasury management as major drawbacks of a cash-based economy, noting: “If there is reduced cash in the system, banks will be able to compete favourably. There are so many alternative payment systems in Nigeria which are even more convenient and safe, but people are not using them,” he said. CBN Deputy Governor, Operations, Tunde Lemo, said: “The overriding vision (of mobile payment policy) is to achieve nationally utilised and internationally recognised payment systems. This regulatory framework is developed to conform to international best practices and standards. It is also a product of vigorous engagement and consultations with stakeholders.”

Mobile firms get licences The CBN has also issued operating licences to 11 mobile firms. The firms include: Fortis Money, UBA/Afripay, GTBank Mobile Money, Pagatech, eTranzact, Monetise, Eartholeum, Paycom, FET, Ecobank and Kudi. According to the CBN, the licence issued to the firms is not transferable as they are expected to renew it every two years. Besides, the CBN has also mandated the companies to submit monthly reports to the apex bank. To ensure adequate compliance with the regulatory framework, the CBN would conduct regular yearly accreditation with the mobile payment operators. The apex bank has also directed all the 11 successful firms to connect to the Central Switch immediately. Previously, the CBN had granted approval in principle to 16 operators in 2010 to roll out mobile money networks across the country, and further make financial services available to the over 80 million unbanked populations.

Major players in Africa Africa boasts of the world’s most successful mobile payment system.Though mobile money was first introduced in the Philippines in 2001, Kenya’s M-Pesa continues to be the most successful mobile money deployment globally, with over 700 million domestic and international money transfer transactions, accounting for $130 million revenues in 2010. A joint venture between Vodafone and Safaricom, M-Pesa transformed Kenya’s entire economic system. Its pervasiveness and wide acceptance has made Safaricom the biggest mobile money operator in East Africa. Today, the service provides mobile banking facilities to more than 70 per cent of the country’s adult population that use their mobile phones to pay taxi fares, wages of field workers, utility bills, get money out of ATMs without owning an ATM card or a traditional bank account. Also, Standard Bank Group operates mobile money services in various markets in Africa, including Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. Nigeria with an estimated population of over 150 million people is on the threshold of deploying mobile money with the potential to become Africa’s biggest mobile money market, in spite of late adoption of mobile business.

Mobile money: The unbanked’s bank,, Airtel website and any easy recharge vendors. Other telcom firms are also working out processes that will enable them key fully into the cash-less banking initiative. The CBN said it will deploy 375,000 PoS machines by the end of 2015. It also plans to attain a benchmark for PoS penetration of 2,200 PoS per 100,000 adults. Currently, the penetration is 13 PoS per 100,000 adults. Lemo said that cost of printing currency notes and high cost of cash management have added to banks’ cost of operation, which is indirectly transferred to customers. According to him, the use of cash has always led to lack of audit trail should things go wrong. “Use of cash encourages corruption and money laundering. Heavy reliance on cash transactions may also make terrorism thrive as audit trails are easily truncated once the cash leaves the system,” he said. He said electronic payment channels are increasingly becoming more acceptable as alternative means of payment because of the advancements in technology. For him, adopting and implementing the CBN policy on cash management would help reduce lending rates. Besides, financial inclusion of estimated 65 per cent of cash outside the banking system is also an added advantage. He said implementation has been drawn up to cover Point of Sale deployment, cash policy compliance framework, offsite automated teller machines and integrated communication campaign.

Experts’ view • CBN Governor Mallam Lamido Sanusi

• Ajao

Across Africa, mobile banking is projected to become a $22 billion industry by 2015, according to Juniper Research, a consultancy outfit, buoyed by soaring cell-phone use and growing financial services demand. Correspondingly, mobile network operators will earn $7.8 billion in direct and indirect revenues from serving a projected 364 million low income, unbanked people in about 147 countries who are projected to use financial services by 2012. Nigeria should take a cue from Europe if the country hopes to maximise benefits derivable from e-payment, Managing Director of E-Transact International Limited, Mr Valentine Obi, said, anchoring his position on the enormous opportunities embedded in the huge customer base which a cashless economy engenders. “Mobile money reduces cost of operation; it increases customer satisfaction because you can render personalised service. When transactions are electronic, they are easier to track and document. For the government, it helps in the area of taxation, budgeting, planning, accountability and improved government services,” he said. Obi said payments are made easier with mobile payment system. For instance, you can pay your utility bills through your mobile phone. With PHCN top up system of electricity payment, it is going to be a lot easier in a couple of months when you can actually pick up your mobile phone and pay for electricity bills especially for those using top up meter. Other services to be powered through this platform include accounts information and updates, alerts, bill payments, person-toperson transactions and remittances. In addition, even people without formal identification documents are availed basic services just by providing a name and a phone number.

cus more on getting people in rural areas involved in banking services. The Country Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, VISA Incorporated, Ade Ashaye, agreed that a lot of money in circulation is outside the banking systems adding that the Cash-less policy will help win more customers into the banking system. Financial inclusion is being widely pursued because there has always been problem on how to reach people that are far away from banks. But banks also developed products to capture this segment of the market. Also, electronic evidences can now be accepted in court based on the review of Evidence Act 2004. The new Evidence Act 2011, which has been signed into law, is expected to address some of the challenges in civil and criminal cases as they relate to admissibility of electronic evidence Cash-Less banking initiative. The new Evidence Act contains about 259 Sections and was developed to meet with contemporary demands on e-payment. One of the innovations in the new Act is the admissibility of computer generated evidence in court, which was lacking in the initial act. The Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Interbank-Settlement System (NIBSS), Niyi Ajao, said legislative process has been advanced to reflect new dimensions in the epayment systems being canvassed by the CBN. Also, to assist the e-payment platform is on-going review of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA). It is also expected that the legislation guiding the ebanking would be adjusted to address new threats in the industry.

Financial inclusion Cash-less banking initiatives will assist CBN initiative on financial inclusion. The Card Schemes,Visa Incorporates and MasterCard have reiterated the need to fo-

Infrastructure development Telecoms firms in the country have commenced implementation of the infrastructure support needed for seamless cash-less banking services. The CBN had engaged the services of MTN, Airtel and Globacom to bridge the infrastructure gap in the implementation of the policy. For instance, Airtel is already advising its customers to recharge their phones at ATMs, Point of Sales (PoS) terminal,

‘From the possibility of ordering and paying for seedlings by farmers in all remote villages across the country using GSM, to the promise of cutting down on the cost of loans to borrowers, the cash-less policy promises to be rewarding. The cash-less policy is expected to de-emphasise the use of cash and focus more on electronic banking products like ATMs, credit cards and other online payment modems’

Diverse views have been expressed since the apex bank unveiled the policy. Corporate governance expert Oladele Solanke said the interest created by the cash-less policy is an indication of its importance to the economic life of the people. “From the possibility of ordering and paying for seedlings by farmers in all remote villages across the country using GSM, to the promise of cutting down on the cost of loans to borrowers, the cash-less policy promises to be rewarding. “The cash-less policy is expected to deemphasise the use of cash and focus more on electronic banking products like ATMs, credit cards and other online payment modems,” he said. Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Bismarck Rewane said the greatest challenge facing the policy is infrastructure, especially availability of power. He said the high penetration rate of mobile phones will, within the next few years, make payments easier, and revolutionise the country’s financial and banking landscape. This will enable banks to innovate and earn new commissions from financial services, and increase their net banking revenue. Vice-Chairman, Integrated Cash Management Services Limited, Charles Nwodo Jnr said reducing the cost associated with cash transactions is acceptable. Speaking during a cash management seminar, Nwodo said while other central banks have only partial responsibility for the supply and management of cash, the CBN has made it its sole responsibility.

Hurdles ahead The CBN has accused the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of hindering the deployment of PoS terminals in the implementation of the cash-less policy. Lemo said the NCS constituted a roadblock to the apex bank’s target of deploying 40,000 PoS terminals by the end of last year. The CBN had set a target of 40,000 PoS terminals by the end of December last year for the “Cash-less Lagos” project to cater for settlement of transactions, alongside other electronic payment options. He said the NCS classifies PoS terminals as “cash registers” and so is demanding 20 per cent administrative charges on each terminal being imported by the commercial banks and co-ordinated by the CBN instead of the usual five per cent. The apex bank also accused telecoms companies of sending wrong signals to the public concerning the operations of Mobile Payment Scheme Operators, threatening to withdraw their licences if they fail to comply. Telcos, it said, are carrying out public media advertisement on behalf of Mobile Payments Scheme Operators, thereby sending wrong signals to the public and causing disaffection, among operators. Analysts insist that despite these challenges, cash-less banking initiative is needed to take Nigeria’s banking system to its desired position in Africa, and globally.







MONEY ‘Passage of new tax law enhances workers’ benefits’

CBN cautions merging banks over workers’ sack W T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has asked merging banks to exercise caution in laying off workers. Noting that some problems usually trail merger and acquisition, the CBN said it could only appeal to the banks to adopt moral suasion when it comes to workers retrenchment. CBN was reacting to the sack of no fewer than 3,000 workers by some banks. The affected workers are from the eight rescued banks acquired by some banks. Speaking to The Nation, the Deputy Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Mr Ibedu Onyebuchi Kevn said: “CBN cannot tell the banks not to sack their workers. The apex bank can only tell the banks to tread the path of caution to minimise the impact on the financial system. We can only advise the banks by a way of moral suasion so that the system would not be badly affected.” He said sacking of workers is unavoidable, arguing that the issue of merger and acquisitions across

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

the world has its own pains and gains. “There is no merger and acquisitions programme that would not result in loss of jobs. It depends on what the acquiring institutions want to do to their new entities. If they want to turn the new entities around, they would definitely get rid of the dead woods in the system. I think that is what the banks have done,” he said. According to him, the banks must have taken a lot of things into consideration before they embark on staff rationalisation. “I was told the banks conducted test and examinations for their workers before they decided to cut down their numbers. Those who passed were retained, while others were redeployed to where they would be useful. Those that were not amenable to change were asked to go,“ Kevn said. He said CBN has given all the entities involved in the merger and acquisition activities the opportunity to succeed, through its reforms package. He recalled that the banks

went through Transaction Implementation Agreement (TIA) through which they consummated their relationship, adding that such actions were made possible by the reforms. Kevn said CBN did not match make the merging of the banks, stressing that the apex bank was convinced that the acquiring banks have the financial muscle to buy over the troubled banks. “You would observe that CBN conducted a stress test for banks in 2009, the test revealed that some banks have negative capital positions. This made CBN to direct banks to have a minimum of 10 per cent capital adequacy ratio (CAR) to guarantee their existence. Banks that have below the 10 per cent benchmark were deemed not safe. Subsequently, the management of the banks were sacked and an interim board was employed to replace them. Intercontinental bank Plc, Oceanic Bank International Plc, Afribank Plc, Finbank Plc among others were in that position then,” Kevn said.

ORKERS have started benefiting from the signing into law of the Personal Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan. The law, according to tax experts, will increase taxpayers’ disposable income, which in turn, adds to consumption and capacity utilisation in the economy. Tax expert, Chukwuemeka Eze of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said the bill has consolidated relief allowance to ensure uniformity in the assessment of taxable persons and also simplify the process of arriving at the personal income tax payable by individuals. This replaces the various tax-free allowances and personal relief granted under the principal Act. The relief in view includes a personal allowance of N5,000 plus 20 per cent of earned income, with earned income defined as gross income in the main Act and basic salary under the PAYE regulations. This is as against N30,000 tax-free allowances per annum even as those earning below this amount still have to pay 0.5 per cent tax on their incomes. Other reliefs granted workers currently include N100,000 rent

By Collins Nweze subsidy, N15,000 transport allowance, N5,000 meal subsidy, N10,000 utility allowance, N6,000 entertainment allowance and leave grant to the tune of 10 per cent annual basic salary. These old reliefs do not make sense anymore. Also, the bill provided a better tax rate for income tax payers across the country. The new law ensures that workers have to pay tax at the rate of seven per cent on the first N300,000 of their annual salaries, 11 per cent on the next N300,000, 15 per cent on the next N500,000 and 19 per cent on the next N500,000. The following N1.6 million would be taxed at the rate of 21 per cent, on the next N3.2 million and above would attract 24 per cent. He said the passage of the bill is a very big improvement on the current regime, where workers are paying five per cent tax on their first N30,000 per annum, 10 per cent on the next N30,000 and thereafter the first and second instalments of N50,000 that follow are liable to tax valued at 15 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

Bank secures MasterCard licence


UARANTY Trust Bank Limited has acquired the licence to issue MasterCard debit cards in its Ghana subsidiary, GTBank (Ghana) Ltd. With this launch, the bank has rolled out a range of MasterCard products and services including card issuance and ATM activation. The General Manager of Guaranty Trust Bank (Ghana) Limited, Mr Jamiu Yusuf said in a statement that the launch of the MasterCard would offer ultimate convenience and financial control to its customers by combining worldwide acceptance and flexibility. “In our quest to provide alternative payment services to our customers and those who wish to do business with us, GTBank is issuing MasterCard debit cards across the country and this would be supported with a massive roll out of PoS to subscribing merchants,” he said. The product’s security features include a fraud monitoring system to protect card holders from fraud and data compromise by employing the use of Chip & PIN technology,” he added. Assuring customers of service support towards ensuring its smooth operations, Mrs Araba Ofori Group Head, Alternative Channels in Ghana, stated that, “GTBank would provide excellent customer and support service to ensure smooth operations and delivery of its MasterCard service.” The bank has deployed a wide network of ultra modern ATMs that offer real convenience of 24-hour accessibility at strategic locations across the country. All the ATMs accept MasterCard, Maestro, Visa and China Union Pay cards.

Old pension scheme inhibits reforms, says PenCom • Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer, Diamond Bank Plc, Abdulrahman Yinusa, at an event in Abuja.

New coins coming


OINS will soon stage a comeback, according to the Cen-tral Bank of Nigeria (CBN). But they will be repackaged and made more attractive. The plan is coming on the heels of the refusal of banks’ customers, traders, motorists and food vendors, among others to accept 50 kobo, N1 and N2 coins. CBN spokesman Mr Mohammed Abdullahi said the apex bank is adopting measures to make coins an attractive legal ,adding that the top echelon of the bank has been fine-tuning policies that would encourage the use of coins. He said: “CBN is making arrangements to make coins attractive. It is a decision Nigerians must abide with. I cannot say what strategies the management of CBN is putting in place to make coins appealing. It is a policy issue which I cannot speak on. All I know is that coins will regain acceptability

soon.” Earlier, the CBN’s Governor, Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said the paex bank will soon roll out measures that will increase the availability and general acceptability of coins as a medium of exchange in the country. Sanusi said efforts will be geared towards improving the image of the smallest denomination of the nation’s medium of exchange. He said the issue of re-packaging coins is an on-going process, adding that the issue goes through the presidency and the board of the CBN. He said CBN is aware that Nigerians want to use coins, stressing people would hear from apex bank soon. He said: “ Certainly, we are aware that Nigerians will like to see the use of coins and that is the reality. You will hear something from us in that respect in the next few weeks. It is an on-going process and obviously, these are things that go through the presidency and the

Board of the CBN. So, very soon you will hear something about coins.” It would be recall that CBN directed banks to pay two per cent of all withdrawals in coins to ensure availability in the system. Subsequently, it ordered banks last year not to accept coin deposits from the public until further notice, the essence of which was to encourage their circulation. But that has yielded little results. In the last two decades, CBN has carried out some reforms in the management of the local currency in naira and kobo. When the government of General Yakubu Gowon indigenised the currency, from the British pounds shilling, he introduced what came to be known as naira and kobo in 1973. The currency was greeted with acceptance by Nigerians. It automatically became the legal tender and was high in value against the United States dollar and the British pound sterling.


HE National Pension Commission (PenCom) has blamed the problems being encountered by the body on the old pension scheme. Commissioner, Inspectorate Division, National Pension Commission (PenCom), Musa Ibrahim made this known during the Senate public hearing on Investigation on Payment of Pension (Southwest Zone Lagos). He said part of the challenges was that the problems confronting the old pension scheme have not been fully resolved. “Issues such as bureaucracy, lack of funding will not just disappear until after some time,” he noted. Ibrahim said although the Pension Reform Act 2004 was instituted to correct the anomalies in the old scheme, but the challenges, which confronted the system for years would take time to be addressed. He distanced PenCom from any fraud in the sector, adding that with the Contributory Pension Scheme being implemented, it is difficult for the body to tamper with workers’ pension funds. “If there was no problem in the pension industry, there would be no need for the Pension Reform Act. But the Act does not extinguish the initial problems, but recognises them and they are being addressed,” he said. Ibrahim said regular payment of pensions will boost confidence in the sector, and that can only be done when the exact liability due

to pensioners is established, and verification done effectively. He said the investigations being done by the Senate to determine what went wrong in the industry is a welcome development. Also, Head Compliance and Enforcement PenCom, Mahammad Umar, had earlier hinted that the commission has concluded plans to commence issuance of compliance certificates to organisations bidding for contracts with government’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) from last month. He said the certificate would be renewable annually, adding that organisations requesting for compliance certificate must provide comprehensive evidence of compliance up to December 31. The Commission also hinted that it has employed recovery agents to compel the defaulting organisations to remit the outstanding contributions of their employees with interest. The commission said it would begin the recovery of outstanding contributions with interest from defaulting organisations in line with section 11(7) of the Pension Reform Act 2004. PenCom noted that it had employed various approaches to encourage the employers towards embracing voluntary compliance through public enlightenment, media campaign and collaboration with regulatory and professional bodies.







The ‘drum major’ in context

How come? •One million roundsof ammunition in the hands of a few robbers is too much to ignore


E consider as alarming the recent revelation by the Cross River State Police Command that it recovered, among others, over one million rounds of ammunition, locallymade pistols, assorted rifles and other types of military arms from a suspected robbery gang. The robbers were reportedly the ones that terrorised residents of Ugep and Obubra in Yakurr and Obubra local government areas of the state. Two suspected members of the gang and an alleged arms supplier were paraded alongside a recovered 14-seater ‘Joy Long’ bus belonging to an Anambra State Government-registered transport service company. The suspects paraded were Chukwuka Umoke (Ebonyi State), Leonard Azubuike(Imo State) and Michael Ogar (the suspected arms dealer)

‘The police authorities should also conduct internal scrutiny to see if its men are culpable in giving or hiring arms to armed robbers. The selfpurge of the police is absolutely necessary at this point in time. One million rounds of ammunition is large enough to wage a war or battle and since the police confirmed that such was found in the custody of a negligible number of armed robbers, then, we are still a long way from winning the battle against bandits’

from Cross River State. The robbery suspects were, according to excerpts from their alleged confession, in Ugep to rob the First Bank Plc branch in that area but did not succeed because of the ‘resistance put up by the policemen and some of the natives. Also, the robbers reportedly confessed that they had participated in four different robbery incidents in Ondo, Lagos, Cross River and Imo states. This shows that their injurious operations are spread across the country. The head of robbery unit in the state’s Criminal Investigation Department, Mr. Fidelis Alo, confirmed the incident. He also affirmed that some members of the gang, as well as an army sergeant attached to a military checkpoint around Amasiri/Afikpo junction in Ebonyi, and a policeman were killed during a gun battle The discovery of over a million rounds of ammunition and assorted guns is quite frightening in a country where insecurity has been on the increase over time. However, the country’s poor statistical record puts a question mark on the revelation. We are desirous of knowing the method used by the police to count the ammunition. Were they manually or digitally counted? Notwithstanding, we want to believe that, in the absence of any proof to the contrary, the police should be given the benefit of the doubt by being deemed not to be frivolous in dishing out scandalous ammunition figures. Something drastic has to be done to

ensure that sophisticated guns and ammunition do not get to the wrong hands in the country. Sadly, this has been the case in recent times and the situation seems to be defying official efforts to stop. If armed robbers can boast of such a colossal number of ammunition, what then will be in the illegal armoury of the outlawed Boko Haram Islamic sect, with the kind of destruction the group has been inflicting on the nation? This can only be imagined. The police revealed that the robbers confessed to getting their arms and ammunition from Niger Republic. We agree, but which other sources could the guns and ammunition have been sourced? The other time, it was a shipload of ammunition that was intercepted in Ghana on its way to Nigeria. Nothing has been heard again on the matter. We want the paraded armed robbery suspects to be further quizzed to glean more useful information regarding how they go about their nefarious activities. The police authorities should also conduct internal scrutiny to see if its men are culpable in giving or hiring arms to armed robbers. The self-purge of the police is absolutely necessary at this point in time. One million rounds of ammunition is large enough to wage a war or battle and since the police confirmed that such was found in the custody of a negligible number of armed robbers, then, we are still a long way from winning the battle against bandits. This should not be so. We need to thoroughly investigate the very root of illegal arms procurement in the nation.

Avoidable deaths •Nigeria must fix its medical facilities to prevent Nigerians from falling victims of quacks outside


ITH most of the specialist and referral hospitals in the country in decay, the elite Nigerian medical practitioners have since left our shores for greener pasture abroad, while those still at home are hampered by lack of medical equipment and refresher courses. The result is that many Nigerians who can afford it, now turn to India for help; unfortunately, many now die in the hands of quacks in that country who are cashing in on Nigerians’ misery to make a kill. This pestering sore has been brought to the fore by Abike Dabiri of the House of Representatives. Nigerians deserve to know the possible dangers as they search for help in India. While we lament the collapse of health facilities in Nigeria, we doubt whether death in foreign lands in the hands of swindlers is a way out. So, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Assembly, our embassy in India, the Indian High Commission in Nigeria and indeed India’s health management authorities should put in place a process to investigate these developments and find ways to check them. To underscore our embarrassing state of health facilities and management, many prominent Nigerians who passed on recently, all died outside the country. Here we are talking of Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Ambassador Matthew Mbu and

Professor Sam Aluko who all died in England where they went to seek medical attention. Also, Alhaji Abdulkadir Dantata, another eminent Nigerian died recently in a German hospital. Not long ago, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) died in an Indian hospital. No doubt, there are several other Nigerians who were privileged to seek for medical help outside the country, because they could afford it. We may need to emphasise that India has been able to lift its medical services through its dogged development of its human capital, which is why the world troops to the country for a comparatively cheap, but quality medical services. When compared to Nigeria, we are saddened that India, which got its own Independence in 1948 (12 years before we got ours in 1960) had no comparative advantage; yet 50 years after ours, India is years ahead of us, not only in medicine, but in many technological endeavours. One reason for the change in fortune is corruption. We know that Nigerians have been inundated over the years with efforts by successive governments to improve the health facilities in our hospitals. While huge sums have been expended in the award of contracts to procure modern equipment, many of our hospitals still lack basic medical equipment. Until recently, Nigeria had no functional

health insurance; even the National Health Insurance Scheme is yet to accommodate many Nigerians. The result is that life expectancy in the country is still less than 50 years, when many countries are already around the 70 years bracket. We urge the relevant authorities to give priority attention to a more robust health policy. While working at this, public awareness about what is obtainable in other countries should also be pursued. Governments at all levels should take seriously their constitutional responsibility to improve personnel and health facilities at primary, secondary and tertiary levels for the good of our country. Nigeria will definitely be better off if we can save the average $20,000 spent by every Nigerian that travels to India for medical care.

‘We may need to emphasise that India has been able to lift its medical services through its dogged development of its human capital, which is why the world troops to the country for a comparatively cheap, but quality medical services. ...Governments at all levels should take seriously their constitutional responsibility to improve personnel and health facilities at primary, secondary and tertiary levels for the good of our country’

T IS GRATIFYING and gladdening that the Interior Department has decided to fix the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial by restoring the civil rights leader’s “drum major” quote to the full, verbatim version of what Dr. King said, rather than a misleadingly edited fragment. Dr. King said in 1968: “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.” But the inscription on the monument unveiled last fall read only: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.” That wrongly made Dr. King sound, as poet Maya Angelou put it, “like an arrogant twit.” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has handled this deftly, taking on the matter personally, avoiding institutional defensiveness and emphasizing why it matters. The memorial is, he said, a “reminder of the continuing relevance of Dr. King’s dream of dignity, respect and justice for all. With a monument so powerful and timeless, it is especially important that all aspects of its words, design and meaning stay true to Dr. King’s life and legacy.” The decision to include the entire quote has preceded any announcement about how the correction will be etched into the granite Stone of Hope. The secretary quoted us a cost range of $150,000 to $600,000 — a cost that shouldn’t be borne by the government, since it seems to have acted in good faith, approving the original plans with the full quote. Private donations, especially from the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation, are a much fairer source. Not everyone is happy with the correction. Ed Jackson Jr., the project’s lead architect, told The Post’s Carol Morello that the change to make the memorial more accurately reflect Dr. King’s words will “deface” and “destroy the quality” of the monument. He laments that he had not been consulted for this decision. How ironic that last claim is: The poorly edited quote arose because Mr. Jackson unilaterally chose to edit out 37 of the 47 words from the original text without consulting the various entities authorized to approve the content of the monument. It is vital to remember that Dr. King’s point was about the perils of “the drum-major instinct” — the desire to seem important and get attention for oneself — and that the instinct should be secondary to the change one wants to make in the world. The difference between Dr. King’s quote and Mr. Jackson’s excerpt — a warning about the desire to boast, versus an actual boast — is precisely the lesson needed here. Luckily, we have all had a few months to ruminate on what King really said — and future memorial visitors will get the same chance. – Washington Post


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IR: Former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, is one of those politicians for whom gratitude is not in their dictionary. Folarin was the Senate Leader accused of the murder of the kingpin of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Oyo State, Eleweomo in the build-up to the 2011 elections. He had been involved in a running battle with his nemesis, Adebayo Alao-Akala, who though lacked respect in the estimation of lovers of democratic good, but usually thumped his chest that he was way out of the class of Folarin in touching the lives of the people. The Eleweomo murder indeed grabbed headlines. How could the Senate Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), selfconfessed largest party in Africa, be involved in such shameful brawl, to the extent of being fingered in the murder of a NURTW thug? But Alao-Akala would have known of such rationalization. Pronto, as the Americans say, he dragged Folarin by the helm of his flowing gown and tethered him by the Iyaganku, Ibadan customary court. Before anyone could say ‘what the heck’, the former Senate Leader had been remanded in the dreaded and notorious prison of Agodi. It was a sour period and a destiny somersault for a man who had thought that by the end of the election year of 2011, he would be superintending on the affairs of the state from the Agodi Government House. By the time the Ogbomosho General packed his wag and staff from the Agodi Government House, he had almost sealed the fate of the former Senate Leader. Not only did Alao-Akala ensure that Folarin was roundly defeated by



Folarin: biting the hand that fed him a woman who, aside her father’s name, was a practical green horn in politics, he ensured that Folarin was literally buried politically. But a greater challenge laid ahead in the possibility of Folarin being sent to prison. So he ran to the incoming government of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who felt that the former Senate President was being witchhunted for nothing. The new judiciary under the Ajimobi government promptly removed vendetta from the trial which thus set the colourless Senator free. On top of that, Ajimobi told him to bring a list of nominees to the about-to-beformed cabinet which he promptly


did. But like an Oliver Twist, Folarin wanted the world. He saw the new rapprochement from his PDP folk as an opportunity to rekindle his gubernatorial dream. So pronto, he chose to hobnob with the same people who wanted him to rot in Agodi, while those who rescued him from the hangman’s noose are now “idiots.” He said that much when the wine of “reconciliation” titivated him to high heavens. Shortly after, he attacked the ACN, the party that rescued him, in a newspaper publication, stating that the South West integrative agenda was bunkum as the party had not

performed in power. Talk about the former Senate Leader’s political desperation which bred this ingratitude to his benefactors. A case of Folarin’s dross stay at the Senate is visible for all to see. While at the Senate, a bridge which links his former house at Oluyole Estate in Ibadan to millions of residents got damaged. The community made representations to him to no avail. Not only did the distinguished Senator tell the community that he would soon pack out of the place and they should not bore him with their request, he left this bridge unattended to. It was Senator Ajimobi, as an aspirant, who

The facts about OGD’s church

IR: I wish to rebut the lies being peddled in the press by former Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State against the current governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. I am a resident of GRA Sagamu, so I am in a position to know the facts about the goings-on in that place. The fact is Otunba Gbenga Daniel blocked three access roads to GRA, including the one that leads to a school, thereby subjecting the powerless residents to harrowing hardships. These roads had been existing before Daniel’s church was built, yet

he denied residents the right of way and constituted what the lawyers would describe as public nuisance. The residents who had been reeling under the yoke complained bitterly to Governor Ibikunle Amosun to save their souls. We also went to the Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Land matters to present the injustices that have been meted to us by ex-Governor Daniel. Governor Amosun, on the advice of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, has done the right thing to restore the right of way to the residents. On the church Daniel built, the

public should be interested in these facts. First, Amosun did not demolish the church as being peddled by liars and mischief-makers. The church is there for anyone to see. The allocation of the GRA land in Sagamu had been done since 1979. Block 49, where Daniel church is located, has nine allotees. They all had done something on their lands except Plots 2 and 4 as at 2010. Revelations at the sittings of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Land matters and interactions with owners of the plots within and around Daniel’s church showed that allocation of land to the church was done

Another Nigerian paradox

IR: Recently, I visited Niger Republic through the boundary State, Kebbi. During few days I stayed, I went to a barber’s shop to cut my hair. There, I met few others who came for the same purpose. As it was about getting to my turn there was a power outage. The professional barber told us courteously to wait

repaired the bridge. Folarin, true to his words, has packed out of the neighbourhood for an eye-popping mansion at the GRA. More worrisome to his people is that the former Senate Leader did not bring a single developmental project to Oyo State during his eight year stint at the Senate. The same position he occupied in the Senate was what Senator Olusola Saraki held in the Second Republic which today has made him a cult hero and doyen of the Kwara people. The ACN challenges Folarin to point at a single project he brought to Ibadan as Senate Leader. This is why he has gone down in history as the most colourless occupant of that position and a Guinness Book of Records candidate as a man who rose to that awesome political height but who could not win the re-election primary of his party. • Hon Dauda Kolawole, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Publicity Secretary, Oyo State.

as power would soon be restored. True to his promise, before long, the power was restored. Ironically, Nigeria is the one supplying Niger Republic electricity. Why is Nigeria supplying what we don’t have? Nigeria is exporting power to Niger Republic and yet, we don’t have electricity to run our

industries and power is critical to every sector of the economy. We export cotton to other countries and import fabrics from China. If we put the cotton in our textile industries, they will produce and we will create job opportunities. We export crude oil and import petroleum products. Is that not irony? Not only ironic it is beyond

comprehension. Now, who will bail Nigeria out of this quagmire? The strong hope built on the promised fresh air during the 2011 presidential election is waning gradually. • Eyeke Solomon Eyeke. University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

in February 2010 while the church itself was registered in June 2010! Whereas the Bureau of Lands allocated Plots 8, 9 and 10 to the church, its C of O contains plots 2, 3, 4 and 9. I know the original owners of Plots 3 and 9 and they already had their C of Os before the trespass by Daniel. In effect, the church is standing on the properties of other people because the C of Os of these people were never revoked. What is more, the six structures of Daniel, including the church, were developed without building plan approvals. The church never got Land Use Clearance because its location is a residential area. Daniel used his power as governor to cow the civil servants who had issued demolition order on the church building. We saw all these illegalities in GRA between 2010 and 2011 before Daniel ceased to be governor. Now the game is over. This is a lesson not just for Daniel but for everyone in government. The day of reckoning is always by the corner. • Ayodele Salawu GRA Sagamu, Ogun State




Ban ‘1 year in office’ congrats; ‘Occupy Your Seat Protest’; ‘Wanted: Opposition Policy Adverts’


EFORE the one year in office congratulations frenzy with billions spent on adverts in the electronic and print media, reflect on what has Tony been achieved by govMarinho ernments at all levels. Exercise books, few textbooks, few potholes filled and a few street traders removed. Four years is not a long time in the political agenda but it is 365 days of suffering or benefit for the voters. Already a year will soon be over, 25% of this regime. What has happened in your city, village, community, street, road or your school to show that government is working near and for you? What has happened to your salary, pension, promotion, work prospects and, take-home pay to justify the employment of political office-holders in your country, your state and your LGA? Do a government checklist and twitter or BB or e-mail it around to friend and foe. Governance is about you, personally and not just about government officials. As a post-strike renewed Nigerian, do not go quietly into the night while government officials have a celebratory lunch and set off multimillion naira worth of fireworks display burning more of your money as you suffer in silence. Is the main sign of government in your area an arrogant siren blaring convoy every Sunday morning when there is no traffic to chase away? Are the people, the voting public, satisfied with the journey so far? Does that satisfaction, if any, justify a nationwide ‘Political Congratulations’ blitz of over 1000 pages in the newspapers of the media in April-May 2012? Each political advert in the newspapers will cost N3-500,000 totalling more than N3-500,000,000 of public money. On the electronic media, particular cable and TV stations a single advert can cost over N1 million on network TV and cable. Imagine just 100 such adverts costing N100m. What a waste. That money could better be spent ‘celebrating’ in a thousand better humanitarian ways to help the youth and empower the poor to also mark the one year in office with something positive.

Before this media delusional deluge in the name of 2012 democracy, can someone take out a nationwide court injunction against ‘public money’ being used for ‘congratulatory’ messages similar to how Prof Soyinka and others have been at the courts trying o declare the 1999 Constitution illegal? Can ICPC and EFCC please immediately, this week, inform governments and contractors that such congratulatory messages are an illegal, immoral and irresponsible use of public finances, a criminal offence and illegal budgetary expenditures for which a recovery of funds exercise will be undertaken? ICPC and EFCC should warn government beneficiary contractors using contract money for this purpose to also stop it. Perhaps we need to adopt the American and British ‘Political Policy Advert Strategy’ and have Nigeria’s opposition put out counter adverts telling the political story of the first one year from their side of the street. Imagine a number of counter adverts on the ‘phantom fuel subsidy’ on our roads and on our education system and its traumatic removal which as adversely affected the lives of every single Nigeria. Smart advert gurus should begin to develop this angle to the media agenda. Is it not strange that the fuel price hike is not even on the agenda at state governorship elections? The people must protest the high salaries and allowances of political office holders until we get a marked revision downwards. Let us propose that Occupy Nigeria and all other NGOs and civil society and you and me decide never to stand up when a politician entered the room as a ‘Protest Against High Allowances and Salaries of NASS and Other Political Office Holders’. The ‘Occupy Your Seat Protest’ could be very effective at public functions where public functionaries often come late and expect people to rise for them. Let us protest by staying stuck to our seats, except for maybe the President and Governor, if you like! We keep hearing it is no longer business as usual in politics. Well it should not be business as usual for the citizen. From now on the citizens should only stand up for politicians who are of proven worth and maybe not even for them. Nowadays people are standing up for chairmen of LGA councils. It is this syco-

phancy that allows politicians to grow wings and feel more important than they actually are and more important than their electorate. Silence is not consent to ‘phantom subsidy removal’. We must make the truth known so that repeated mistruths never become truth. Even a thief can make good ‘big man’ handouts or ‘palliatives’ with stolen money. That does not make the method of acquisition right. So even if government paves the streets with gold and constructs a second and third Niger Bridge, these do not make the ‘phantom subsidy removal’ right. The continuing revelations at the NASS NNPC and related matters probe confirm massive endemic fraud in oil. Take the discrepancies between measurement of fuel arrivals and landed loads of fuel. No one can guarantee functioning refineries which would eliminate corruption-prone imports. For years Nigerians have known that our outlets and loading bays have no or tampered-with meters to guarantee corruption. The GMD-NNPC spoke of vandalism. Do we not have an army? The billions mopped up contrast with the 70% poverty and still no text books and laboratory equipment in schools. Governments must increase the visible pace of work.

‘As a post-strike renewed Nigerian, do not go quietly into the night while government officials have a celebratory lunch and set off multimillion naira worth of fireworks display burning more of your money as you suffer in silence. Is the main sign of government in your area an arrogant siren blaring convoy every Sunday morning when there is no traffic to chase away?’

New IG: Fighting a tough battle!


OHAMMED Abubakar, the new Inspector-General of Police, is not unaware of the enormous responsibility his new appointment has placed on his shoulders. Perhaps, this is why he has painted a clear, sorry picture of the Nigeria Police Force by literarily describing it as a security outfit that cannot secure itself. At a meeting with Deputy Commissioners of Police, DCPs, from all police formations at the Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja, last Tuesday, Abubakar lamented the decadence in the force, stressing that the security agency is where it is today because it has abandoned its modus operandi. The IGP noted that it is shameful that today’s police cannot secure itself but would rather rely on soldiers for its security. While reprimanding the officers, the IG said most of the DCPs are just figure heads at the Commands or their formations. He took them down memory lane from when he was a DCP to Commissioner of Police and said he was able to assert himself in those positions of authority. He reiterated what he told the CPs at an earlier meeting that they would be responsible for crimes committed in their states and that the DCPs were not exempted from this responsibility, since they are next to the CPs and are there to make sure that security is provided in those states. The IGP told the DCPs that they should assist their commissioners to bring back the lost glory of the agency and categorically stated that

the time for “tea party in the force was over”. He warned them against taking bribe, as this and other such vices drag the name of the force in the mud. Some of the bad acts he listed are, police involvement in land cases, arbitrary arrests, civil cases, long detention of suspects, and undue privileges accorded to some suspects. Finally, the IGP noted that the reformations he intends to carry out in the Police Force will cut across all segments of the Police. It is a good thing that the new IG has been making consultations since he was appointed a few weeks ago. In spite of the set back he recorded by the unfortunate loss of his wife soon after his appointment, he has been talking tough. To many watchers of events in Nigeria, especially as far as the police is concerned, there is hardly any magic Abubakar can spring up in order to change the system which many Nigerians see as rotten as it is maggoty. In his address to the DCPs, he has clearly identified some of the problems of the police. He spoke about the fact that policemen no longer abide by the rules and regulations guiding their activities. That is indiscipline. What will Nigerians or the taxpayers expect from a bunch of people in uniform who are not disciplined? For those of us who are close to the police, we know that as they say, “you cannot give what you don’t have”. The indiscipline in the police permeates all the strata of the organisation, from top to the bottom. That is why there are

‘The indiscipline in the police permeates all the strata of the organisation, from top to the bottom. That is why there are cliques everywhere in the police’.

cliques everywhere in the police. These cliques are the sacred cows who are often pampered by the superiors. It does not matter whether they come to work or not. Whenever they are identified anywhere in police formations, they are treated as untouchables. Abubakar’s lamentation that the police could no longer secure itself and have had to transfer the burden on soldiers has been there for a very long time in the name of “joint police/military patrols”. As hoodlums are becoming more and more sophisticated in terms of weaponry, strategy and dare-devilry, the policemen have long adopted a system of voting with their feet whenever the hoodlums come calling. To paraphrase a famous writer: “since the hunter has learnt to aim properly at his target, the birds too have learnt not to perch any longer”. At least, if the bird is not stationary, how will the hunter take a pot shot at it? Nothing can be more shameful than the bombing of Police Headquarters in Abuja last year. The ease with which that operation was carried out left many Nigerians wondering whether we actually have policemen or they are just Boys’ Scouts in police uniform. The disgraced IG, Hafiz Ringim, had read out the riot act to Boko Haram sect members barely 48 hours earlier. Instead of replying him through the media or any other form, the sect simply took the war to the Police Headquarters. Ringim only escaped by a whisker. It is as if even if you give some policemen the best of equipment to withstand the onslaught of these hoodlums, they would rather prefer to secure their head. That brings me to equipping the police. Yes, it is true that our policemen are not properly kitted to perform their roles in the society. But every year,

huge amount of money is voted for the organisation. There exists nowadays a “special trust fund” for the police which is under the office of the Vice President. Last year, within a period of three or four months, I think between March and June, the fund had about N25 billion. Shortly after, the fund was drawn down by about N22b, ostensibly to equip the service, leaving a miserable balance in the vault. Now, if I may ask: How was this money expended? Where is the equipment? The bitter truth is that a large chunk of the money went into the private pockets of some privileged officers in the police hierarchy as well as some handpicked contractors who are mostly conduit pipes through which money, huge sums, are regularly squandered. The officers involved in this perennial rackets don’t care about what happens to the junior ranks who are left at the mercy of rampaging hoodlums. If Abubakar talks about some DCPs becoming figure heads in their commands, it may not be by choice. Apart from putting them in charge of operations without a final say, what are the other duties assigned to the DCPs. The way the force operates, I mean the command-and-obey structure, does not actually leave room for a cocktail of ideas where everybody is free to air his or her views. In that situation, there wouldn’t be room for superior arguments to thrive far and above pedestrian ones. So, one thing to do in this regard is to allow for a free-flow of information without any officer reading meanings to any good intention spearheaded by his subordinate. This way, “mumus”, as Abubakar called them, will rise above their docility. On the issue of bribe taking, dabbling into land cases, civil matters

Dele Agekameh and other vices, I am sure Abubakar may not win that war. Bribe and police are Siamese twins. Even if you pay policemen 10 times what they are earning now, they will still take bribe. That is why you have arbitrary arrests, long detention of suspects, suspects’ disappearance from custody and all that. It is all about money changing hands. However, as CP Lagos and later AIG Zone 2, where I observed him at close quarters, Abubakar gave a good account of himself. Many a time he embarked on patrols with his men at night. A few others before him also did so but what is spectacular about him is that he is diligent, always rewards hard work and excellence. And if there will be punishment for misdemeanours henceforth, Abubakar must be prepared to reward outstanding performance among his officers. However, some people say he is a religious fundamentalist. I do not believe that. He is a model of a true Nigerian as his friends and aides cut across various religious tribal or ethnic groups. That is the simple truth! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)



EDITORIAL/OPINION FROM THE CELL PHONE Re: ‘Tower of Babel that cost Sylva his job’. Isn’t it shamefully ludicrous that of all the basic necessities of life for a predominantly hapless rural people, governments will be quarrelling over the building of a hotel? Regarding what is between Sylva and the president, think about Obasanjo and Daniel relationship after 2007 and you won’t be far from the ‘arithmetic’. For me,I wish Jonathan good luck and Sylva, the best of luck. Abi, wetin be my own? From Kayode, A. Abeokuta.

• Sylva

For Dare Olatunji Thanks for the good work, it is still a tug of war not only Kogi state but Nigeria. God is in control. From Olu, Okene I am using this medium to plead with PDP, the like of President Jonathan, Senate President, David Mark and Sambo to leave Kogi people alone to do their own things their own way. From Mr. Abu A. Dekina, Kogi state. Re: “The mess in Kogi”. Our laws must be made of elastic whereby it can be eminently stretched from Lagos to Kafanchan without breaking it! Talk about ‘family solution’ visa-viz constitutional government, you will agree with me that our brand of democracy is government of the minority by the minority for the majority! More constitutional ‘breakthroughs’ will be unleashed on Nigerians in the days ahead. From Kayode A., Abeokuta. Mr. Dare, thanks for the piece written on back page of The Nation today, it is all a charade they will pay for all the injustices. Why does INEC conduct an election when there is pending case in court? To me, the Speaker is my Governor today until the court decide otherwise. Thanks. From Mallam Shaibu, Kogi East Olatunji, you are well done, keep your analysis to yourself, Wada has been destined to be Governor by God; nothing can put it assunder. Anonymous Are you surprised that all this mess is occurring in the state? This has started when our people deliberately sold our future for a peanut. From Abayomi, Kabba, Kogi state. Re: “The mess in Kogi”. I have not seen anything wrong in swearing in Wada in the midst of others where election had not taken place. Let us for once be objective. What had Jega done again to have been co-opted into PDP family? If ACN had won and sworn in in Kogi, would you be saying the same thing? Please be objective in all. From Lanre Oseni, Lagos. I read your article in The Nation Newspaper of February 7, 2012 and I am happy with it. But one thing is certain, however PDP tried to mess this country with their family issue as they said, God in His infinite mercy save us from their grip via judiciary. From Haruna Okene. “The mess in Kogi” is the usual act in Nigeria where PDP is the ruling party. Remember in Anambra, a governor was abducted, overthrown, and molested, and the mess was handled in the usual family way. While Nigeria, under IBB was described as “a country of anything goes” by a top hierarchy of the regime.since all who govern Nigeria are members of the hard-core capitalist. The masses will continue to suffer till a welfarist take his turn at the Presidency. The Kogi mess, like other mess in other places will be settled by the courts that does its works according to the dictates of the book of justice. We are watching them, those who settled fuel subsidy to disfavour Nigerians, and whose total income from being a principal officers of government is enough to care for their entire community will meet their judgement soonest. From ADEYCorsim, Oshodi Lagos For Segun Gbadegesin It is quite sorrowful for the so called PDP large family that undermined the constitution of our country irrespective of the position of everybody, nobody is above the law. Anonymous Prof. Segun, I will not stop disturbing you until you tell us your admirers, the

whereabout of your good friend Opalaba. All we are saying is “give us Opalaba”. From Pastor Esan Ajibola JP, Academy road, Ibadan. Sir, I have just finished reading your piece titled “Who needs restructuring?” I must say it is a good one because, at this point of our national life, there is a need to constantly sound the alarm on the subject of restructuring the nation. More grease to your elbow sir. Pastor Wale Edo Governor assumed office in November 2008, and we have known since last year that elections will hold in July this year. Please, when is Gubernatorial election coming up in Ondo State? The Governor came in Novembner 2009. Anonymous Re: “Who need restructuring?” I wish you see what Lord Lugard said about your race, I would have engaged you on your piece. From Ladan Hashim, Kebi state Don’t you think that the Supreme Court removed Governors now running for second term are all inelegible? As the court reasoned, at the end of the day they would have spent more than the maximum eight years allowed by the constitution . PDP go destroy this country. From Manfred Sunday Going by the way ACN distance herself from the appointment of Ribadu, it goes further to tell that ACN seems to have interest in the party more than the Nigeria that houses the party. From Okam Thomas Okem, PortHarcourt Beautiful piece: “Who needs restructuring?” Sir, I hope they will listen.The wind they sowed is reaching whirlwind dimensions at an amazing speed. The Biafran Leopard. Anonymous For a very long time, I have had the feeling that monies were being stolen by officials of pension funds. This is a confirmation. Contributors to the pension scheme should prepare for other alternative palliatives as they are in for a rude shock when they are due for their pension. From Bamigboye Kayode, Jos We need very stringent laws and measures against misappropriation and embezzlement. We would never tame official corruption as long as people can retire and go home in peace to enjoy their entire loot or part of it. From Oluwakayode, Jos “Who needs restructuring?” If we want to attempt an answer to this beatiful question, let us first of all know what Federalism and Unitary Systems mean. A federal state is one where governmental power is divided among the constituent authorities. In other words, authority is divided between the central government and the various components. But in Nigeria, power is concentrated in the hand of the central government. That is Unitary System. The states should be completely autonomous but, this is not so. Why? We have completely derailed in our thinking and we are not ready to adjust. All we are interested in is power. The rivalry over power is doing a lot of damages to our oneness and has therefore put us at a tight corner where we have found it difficult to move along as we wish. There is no doubt about it, we all need to restructure if we want our political developments to increase at a very fast rate like we have it before when the former three regions were developing at their own pace. The United States, from where Nigeria copied her system of government operates true federalism. All the 53 states are autonomous, and also have their own Police Force to enforce state laws. The central government does not have a National Police Force but only nine Federal Agencies with full police powers. At 52 years as an independent state, we are still grappling with challenges as a free nation. So, sovereign conference to discuss these challenges is the answer. From Prince Adewumi Agunloye. I really really enjoy your write-ups and always look forward to read more of your column. May your ink never run dry!

Anonymous For Gbenga Omotosho Good morning Gbenga, I would like you journalists to remind the new police chief to print cash receipts for his officers and men. Why? Last month I went to bail a neighbour and I was asked to pay N50,000. I haggled the price down to 20,000 or so. I even paid it but no receipt was issued to me. Please hide my number. From Makurdi, Benue state Ribadu should play down on poltics and consider the national interrest first by sanitizing the industry. Anonymous Ribadu’s return is a welcome one. We may for once try to bury our differences to move our dear nation forward. If we do not get involved, Nigeria will be run by the same old selfish and self-centred individuuals. Ride on Ribadu. From Wing Commander IW Bassi(rtd). Ribadu is the right person to clear the messy and rotten situations in Nigeria oil industry. He should go after Tax defaluters in oil sector, if necessary, put them in jail after opening court arraignment. Anonymous The israelites are known to swap one soldier for nine hundred Palestinians or more how many Hausa/Fulani can go for one Soyinka, editor tell me? Remember Boko Haram. From Uche Lawson, Aba Gbenga, your February 9 write-up was good and racy. But a correction: it was Donald Duke, not Imoke that midwifed Calabar fest. He did that with Tinapa project and I and others were at radio house Abuja then. You may revisit Tinapa to see how politics kills a bright idea pronto! From Emmanuel Okezie Al-Mustapha still has the Supreme Court to decide if he deserves to die. If all public servants could do their jobs with such exemplary and committed zeal, Nigeria would be greater. All of you gloating over his death sentence are either unrepentant atheist(s) or sadist(s). The cruelty shown the man in 14 years is worse than a life-time of misdeeds. Your pious, pontifical attitude is oppressively annoying! Anure M. I., Kaduna. “The mess in Kogi”. Your back page release on the topic above on February 7 refers. The truth is that those at the corridor of power (PDP) are toying with the lives of the good people of Kogi state. With the Supreme Court’s verdict, it means that Ibro seized the power since 29th May, 2011. If that is the case, it simply means that everything done by him since then were null and void. Ibro “presided over” the primary that brought in Wada. He apointed delegates to that primary. By implications, it means that that primary and the subsequent election were invalid. From James Upahi It would have been better for Ribadu to remain as hero than to accept that office, because, it might be a trap. Anonymous Politics aside, it is a national assignment, Mallam Ribadu will not dissapoint Nigerians. From Ademola Adeosun, Ota Ogun state By this appointment, Government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has identified some rear genes in the opposition, Ribadu, Olisa and others should see their appointments into this Task Force as a call to National service, they can fight this cabal. God shall guide them. From Dan ACN picked Ribadu as its presidential candidate in the last general election but failed to vote for him in the South West. Please leave him alone, he understands who you people are. Anonymous ... and Ribadu returns... Leave Ribadu alone. You are always a pessimistic writer. You never see anything good in any idea of the leaders of this country. From Elder John. Re: “Two governors and other stories”. To me, Kogi’s case is settled as Wada actually won the election, duly conducted by INEC. In Nigeria, if you close eyes over your own right, you will be on your own, period!

• Jonathan

Wada’s case was completely different from four other states. I doubted if President Jonathan contested the AU presidency. International magazines would have debunked the lie. Hamza al-Mustapha deserved the judgement. To avert the penalty will involve divine intervention of Allah. Governor hardly denies his utterances. He really did not say what he was alleged of. We thank God for ending the ASUU strike. Anonymous Temporarily, both sides should act realistically! For Bayelsa guber tussle, it is ‘dog eats dog’. They will settle in future. Finally, we should hail the return of Ribadu as he is my likeable man. What votes did ACN give him in Lagos, home of ACN? ACN should apologise to that man if they really made him their presidential candidate! From Lanre Oseni, Lagos For Tunji Adegboyega RE: ‘Tower of Babel that cost Sylva his job’. Tunji, you conveniently forgot that while former President Umaru Yar’Adua was incapacitated by terminal illness, Sylva was the arrow-head of a group of governors who stood against the mantle of president being handed over to the then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan. What can be more treacherous than working against your own town’s man who nominated and made you the governor of Bayelsa after his own tenure? Also, there are two entities you as a person cannot fight; that is God and the Federal Government. If you are in doubt, then ask exGovernor Alamieyeseigha of his experience with Obasanjo. Sylva is the architect of his own misfortune. Anonymous. Re: ‘Tower of Babel that cost Sylva his job’. Isn’t it shamefully ludicrous that of all the basic necessities of life for a predominantly hapless rural people, governments will be quarrelling over the building of a hotel? Regarding what is between Sylva and the president, think about Obasanjo and Daniel relationship after 2007 and you won’t be far from the ‘arithmetic’. For me,I wish Jonathan good luck and Sylva, the best of luck. Abi, wetin be my own? From Kayode, A. Abeokuta. Tunji, your write-up on Jonathan parting of ways was as disgusting to us Bayelsans. For five solid years the only bridge that would have decongested the state capital, Ikoli Bridge, was abandoned out of spite simply because Goodluck Jonathan started it. The less than 1 km stretch of road that would’ve opened up the only modern market in Yenagoa was also strangely abandoned by Sylva. What about the electrification of Yenagoa environsObogoro-Akaba-Famgbe- which already have high tension cables installed in the 1980s? What about the white elephant Phase 2 Swali Market Extension awarded for billions of naira that was shoddily executed, now decaying and lying waste? To say that Sylva failed monumentally would be an understatement. Anonymous. IBB shot himself in the leg; he told us lies about Abiola. We knew the truth later. Our Otueke man is doing the same thing to Sylva. Again, we’ll soon know the truth. From Valentine, Abuja. Yes, it is the case of the kettle calling the pot black. Jonathan did not perform as the Governor of Bayelsa. Also, we are yet to see anything he can point to as his achievement since he became the president. From Alhaji Adeboye Lawal, Felele, Ibadan. Iromimi is a whirligig, not hyacinth! The former is a beetle that dances on the water; the latter is a water plant. The beetle is guilty of gyration as charged! Anonymous.




Suswam seeks collaboration on development

Plateau trains staff on budgeting

Okorocha canvasses dialogue over Boko Haram









Page 25

Community projects get N350m boost



ATSINA State Government has embarked on various rural development projects in over 270 communities. This is in a bid to facilitate the rural transformation programme of the state government. The projects will be executed through its parastatals, Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) in collaboration with the World Bank with a takeoff grant of N350m. The General Manager of CSDP, Alhaji Salisu Musa Yar’adua dis-

From Isah Idris, Katsina

closed this to journalists immediately after the annual budget defence in Katsina recently. He stated that out of the sum, the state government will contribute a counterpart fund of N100m while the World Bank contributes the remaining N250m. Alhaji Yar’adua noted that 270 communities had applied to benefit from the project out of which only 17 have submitted their community development plans (CDPs).

He further said that various projects ranging from sinking of boreholes, construction of health centres and feeder roads, among others, in 13 communities that meet up their required 10 per cent funding contributions are already at various stages of completion. Yar’adua explained that CSDP/ World Bank programme operates on an elastic budget so that, any community that applies, submits community development plan and has the capacity to meet its required 10 per cent funding contri-

bution will definitely benefit from the development projects. In a related development, the state has commenced sale of grains to its farmers in order to achieve a bumper harvest this year. Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema who launched the sale of the products assured the people of his administration’s commitment to reduce poverty through people-oriented policies. About 30,000 bags of assorted •Continued on Page 26


ORRIED by the poor infrastructural facilities and the decrepit state of the education sector, the Jigawa State Government has put in place machinery aimed at revitalising its education system. It is therefore upbeat that before long, the state would begin to exert its influence on all sectors of the Nigerian economy as a result of government’s ongoing manpower development. The state government’s avowed commitment to reposition the sector manifests in dedication to physical development at all levels of education. This, observers say, was a clear indication of the direction of the leadership of the state as it moves to realise its target of positioning its younger generation for global challenge in engineering, medicine, information and communication technology (ICT) and sciences. “This is a deliberate policy that was well-designed and carefully entrenched to be sustained. I say it is a deliberate policy because it has been institutionalised so that its sustenance cannot be questioned,” Prof. Haruna Wakili, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology said. Disturbed by the dismal state of the education sector in the state, the administration of Governor Sule Lamido embarked on an ambitious rejuvenation of the infrastructure and superstructure of its education which is being aggressively pursued. Not only are schools located in the cities and local government headquarters being rehabilitated and expanded, those in the interior are equally being given top attention. A visit to Zakware Primary School in the interior of Kiyawa Local Government Area and the Model Boarding Primary School Kila Gwaram, among others, attest to the determination of the state government to provide quality education for her children irrespective of their location. It was discovered that schools in the interior were not only expanded, rehabilitated or renovated, they were also provided with atmosphere conducive to

•Male pupils waiting for meal at MBPS, Kila

Jigawa tackles decay in education Builds seven model boarding schools Learning: Free, compulsory for girl-child Provides no-cost food for pupils From Dele Anofi, Abuja

proper teaching and learning. All the schools in the interior were provided with furniture and qualified instruc-

tors. Alhaji Sani Abdullahi, the chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), explained that the leadership of the state was instrumental to the monumental

strides the state has recorded in the development of education. He said the state was one of the few that were up-to-date in the payment of its counterpart funds for a federal grant for Universal Basic Education (UBE), in

addition to investing hundreds of millions of Naira in its efforts to reposition primary and secondary education in the state. He said: “The only thing I can attribute these modest futuristic developments to is the direction of the leadership of the state where transparency and accountability have been brought to bear in our activities. “To buttress that point, local and •Continued on Page 26



•An ongoing project at Lafiya Primary School, in the interior of Buji

Jigawa tackles decay in education •Continued from Page 25 international intervention programmes were not only distinctly executed and delivered but efforts were also made to distinguish one programme or project from the other. This is in order to avoid confusion and fraud. That is transparency and accountability at work. These are verifiable assertions because the leadership of the state would not have anything less.” Besides, Abdullahi disclosed that the touted developments are open to verification, saying: “This is not a matter of deception. This administration has a target that its impact on education must be felt in the interior or most remote parts of the state as well, if not more. With all modesty, these assertions are open to verification. One just needs to go into our hinterland and see for oneself. Veer off major roads to most towns and villages to see if these assertions were

not true.” The SUBEB chairman maintained that the efforts of the agency were on the mandate of the governor who expressed his concern over the state of education. “To ensure that every child in the state has access to quality education, the governor ensures that the SUBEB is provided with the wherewithal to succeed in its assignment. Education at all levels is free for the girl-child in this state. “The conventional education is well strengthened to make education attractive to our children. The state boasts seven model primary boarding schools, spread across the state; we also have a world-class academy for gifted children in science which is located in Birnin Kudu. “You are aware that the issue of Almajiris who roam the streets was a serious issue in the time past. We are proud to say that our robust approach towards improving education in the

•Alhaji Abdullahi

state informed the trend becoming something in the trashcan of history. “Today, you hardly can find a group of these kids on the streets of Dutse scavenging for food. The same goes for other towns and villages. The target is to get all these boys off the street, wherever they are,” Abdullahi said. Continuing, Abdullahi said: “The state, in collaboration with an inter-

national organisation established the two Tsangaya Schools in the state. The sprawling edifices cater for the Almajiris that were selected from their various local schools to be enclosed in one learning environment. “In addition, it was also discovered that the local or traditional Islamic education schools, where these young boys and girls get their Quranic education were identified throughout the state and provided with qualified teachers. “The idea behind this innovation is not to endanger the traditional setting of the education but to make it productive and competitive. The teachers we sent to those schools will, in addition to the normal Quranic teachings, impact the knowledge of Islamic Science, the Hadith and other Islamic jurisdictions in the youngsters. “By the time they are through with learning the precept of the Quran, they become better informed human kinds. Under the programme, these schools are also provided with certain incentives like food and other sundries so that the urge to go out

Community projects get N350m boost •Continued from Page 25 grains comprising millet, maize and sorghum were sold to the farmers. Governor Shema, who launched the products at Kaita area of the Katsina State, urged the officers involved to have the fear of God by selling the products at 50 per cent discount of its market price. The products, he said, should be sold at every polling unit in each of the 34 local government areas of the state, even as he emphasised equal consideration for women. Addressing the people, the Deputy

•From left: Wife of Governor of Lagos Dame Abimbola Fashola; Deputy Governor Mrs Adejoke OrelopeAdefulire and Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Oluranti Adebule during the closing ceremony of a seminar organised by DFID in conjunction with office of the Deputy Governor for women politician in PHOTO: TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO South-west at Golden Tulip Hotel, Amuwo –Odofin, Lagos

looking for food or hand outs is eliminated. “Ours is a reference point for the development of education in the North. With all humility, even the Federal Government is impressed with some of our initiatives which they are trying to replicate nationwide.” Abdullahi, who pointed out that the state, could not afford to lag behind in a world that is technologicallydriven, noted that Jigawa State was lucky to have a leadership that realises that education is the bedrock of development. “It is simple; if you have a vision that was dear to your heart, you will probably, one way or the other, pass that message down to your sub-ordinates. That is exactly what is happening in this state at this time. “Governor Lamido has made clear his intention and I think it was not difficult for his team and those saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the dreams are realised to identify with the vision; knowing that at the end, it is for the common good of the state,” Abdulahi added.

Governor and chairman of the Sales and Distribution Committee Mr Garba Abdullahi Faskari pledged to justify the confidence reposed in him. He therefore urged members of his committee to exhibit utmost sincerity and fear of God in sales of the products and to ensure that selflessness remained their watch words. Faskari advised the people to appreciate and reciprocate government’s gesture by continuous support for the laudable policies and programmes of the state government.



Suswam urges collaboration in development From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi



ENUE State Governor Gabriel Suswam has expressed his dissatisfaction over lack of commitment on the part of members of Makurdi Club 1930 to the development of the state. Governor Suswam, who spoke during the Patron’s Night of the Club, said members who are elite of the state, have failed to live up to their responsibilities in developing the state. “Most members of the Club oc-

cupy key positions in the state. They are the think-tank of government in the past and even currently. They are seen as strategists but unfortunately, they have not translated this into tangible development of the state,” he said. Suswam, however, regretted that the members are divided along primordial and political lines, noting that “this has, in the long run, retarded the development of the state. These elite have only succeeded in ensuring that the state does not make progress. Even if you do not like the person in power, God has ordained me to be governor and after four years, I will be addressed as former Governor. Join hands with me to develop Benue. “Imagine a state created since 1976; we cannot be proud of it. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. What legacies are we bequeathing to our children? Are they those of hatred, malice and acrimony? We should stop sabotaging government’s efforts in developing the state. We have played politics for too long. Let us try something new,” Suswam advised.

He, however, assured that his government will not be deterred by the barrage of criticisms against it, especially from the opposition but will continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people. “I will not relent in embarking on people-oriented programmes.

I will not misappropriate public funds. There must be a paradigm shift in the state,” he said. Continuing, he said:” Some of you in Makurdi 1930 Club do not think of how to contribute to the development of Benue State. Rather, you plot how Suswam administration would fail,” she

said. Makurdi Club 1930 is a recreation centre which has mostly senior civil servants as members, and its common feature is Swange music (a popular Tiv dance), food and drinks served with bush meat and fish pepper soup .

‘Don’t patronise fake medical personnel’


R. Ademola Onakomaiya, secretary of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Health and Human Services Secretariat, has warned the public against patronising fake medical personnel in some hospitals. Dr Onakomaiya gave the advice in Abuja while briefing journalists on the activities of quacks in the medical profession when he paraded suspected fake medical personnel at the secretariat in Abuja. He noted that most people posing as medical personnel were quacks; especially in private hospitals. The secretary further said that through the Private Health Establishment Registration and Monitoring Committee, the secretariat was monitoring and regulating the activities of private healthcare pro-

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

viders in the FCT. He added that it was in the course of duty that the secretarial staff discovered an unqualified medical care provider in a private hospital in Kubwa. “The 45-year-old man who was parading himself as an optometrist in a hospital was apprehended by our monitoring team. “He had locked himself in the clinic office on hearing that officers from FCT were around. “In the course of interrogation, he gave conflicting information about himself. “He first stated that he was trained in France, while his curriculum vitae showed that he studied

in Abia State University,’’ he said. Onakomaiya said that such unqualified people practice for selfgain, endangering people’s lives in the process, even as he said their activities should be curtailed. He called on the media and other stakeholders to sensitise the public on the dangers of patronising quacks. He also urged the public to report any form of unethical practice by any health institution to the secretariat for necessary disciplinary action The secretary disclosed that the phoney optometrist would remain in police custody while the secretariat’s legal department would liaise with the police for proper investigation and sanctions.


HIEF Olusola Benson of the popular Benson family in Ikorodu, has reiterated his call for the creation of another state out of the present Lagos State. Chief Benson stated this at a Town Hall meeting held penultimate weekend at G & G Event Centre, Agbowa in Epe Local Government Area. He added that instead of calling for the creation of Lagoon and New Lagos states, it would be better demand the creation of Lagoon State. sThe meeting was chaired by Chief Babasola Thomas, a prince of Agbowa Kingdom. The group is seeking for creation of new state that will comprise Kosofe, Ikorodu, Epe, Apapa, Eti-Osa, Ibeju Lekki and Somolu out of the present Lagos State. It said Lagos was the only state in Nigeria that was not considered when new states were created by past military administrations. Citing old Kano State, which had same population as Lagos, the group said Jigawa State was carved out of Kano State. Claiming that Lagoon State, if created, would be economically and educationally viable, the chairman of the movement, Chief Benson said the new state would have in its domain the Apapa port, the University of Lagos, Ikorodu campuses of Lagos State University and Polytechnic, and industries in Ikorodu. Notable chiefs from the sleepy Agbowa town and other parts gathered at the meeting, which was the maiden assembly of the movement. The Yeye Oba of Agbowa, Chief Margret Adeyemo, who expressed personal opinion, said: “I was one of those contacted two years ago to measure the performance of Governor Babatunde Fashola. I scored him high because he performed creditably well.” She continued: “But I made a point that the local governments in Lagos are too large and I think this was why

•Community members at the meeting

Group makes case for Lagoon State By Wale Ajetunmobi

Tinubu administration created more local governments in the form of local council development areas (LCDA). But instead of creating more local governments or LCDAs, let the

Instead of creating more local governments or LCDAs, let the state be split into two so that development can reach the grassroots…The movement should not pursue the state creation agenda with force...The group should engage the authority especially the Lagos State Government in constructive discussion

state be split into two so that development can reach the grassroots.” She further advised that the movement should not pursue the state creation agenda with force, saying the group should engage the authority especially the Lagos State Government in constructive discussion. The Chief Imam of Agbowa, Alhaji Bello, who commended the members of the movement, said the meeting was to sensitise the people of the seven cities on the need to join the call for the creation of Lagoon State. Chief Benson said that Lagos State, due to its exploding population, is disadvantaged according to the present sharing formula. He said: “When all the states were 12, they all had one-twelfth allocation; when the states were 19, they all had one-nineteenth and when we have 36 states, they all had 1/36. Lagos State has been shortchanged since

1976 and if, therefore, Lagos is divided into two, our Federal allocation will be doubled.” He said the matter had been taken to the National Assembly and Lagos House of Assembly, saying the group was awaiting formal invitation from

the lawmakers. The Balogun of Agbowa, Chief Oludayo Adesanya, former chairman of Epe Local Government Area, Chief Arowojobe, Colonel A. Adenuga (rtd), and Lisa of Agbowa are some of the high chiefs present at the meeting.



Council spends N89m on electricity T

Jang donates to displaced Yobe natives

HE Chairman of Birniwa Local Government Area of Jigawa State , Alhaji Aliyu Diginsa, has said that N89 million was spent on rural electrification projects in the area. Diginsa made the disclosure in Birniwa in an interview with journalists He explained that the first phase of the electrification project cost N35 million while N54 million was spent on the second phase. The chairman listed the benefiting communities as Kanya, Kubula, Maisu, Yarda, Krikalago, Kofa and Kanuriya, pointing out that before his assumption of office, no

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos



LATEAU State Governor Jonah David Jang has presented relief materials worth N8.2million to more than 400 internally displaced persons from the Yobe violence. Over 200 families, natives of Yobe State, are taking refuse in Jos, the Plateau State capital following their alleged displacement by

agents of Boko Haram in Yobe State last month. Presenting the relief materials on behalf of the governor, state Commissioner for Environment, Mrs. Serah Yusuf said: “The items include 100 pieces of mattresses, 100 bags of rice, 80 bags of maize, 100 pieces of wrapper, 250 pieces of blankets, 15 bags of Garri, 20 Jerry Cans of 25-litre each of vegetable and palm oil. “The state governor has also directed the state water board to provide five water tanks of 3, 000 litre capacity at the camp for the water needs of the displaced. The water tank is to be refilled on daily bases. “The governor has also made available, 100 nylon mats, 250 pieces of pillow, 10 bags of 50kg sugar, 10 cartons each of Royco cube, washing soap and toilet soap, as well as 10 bags each of salt, tissue paper and matches, she said. According Mrs Yusuf, “The state Governor Jonah Jang said that the gesture was aimed at alleviating the sufferings of the people at the camp pending when they would secure better

Kwara to build 6,000 housing units


HE Kwara State government is to build 6,000 housing units in the next three years, Mr Salihu Suleiman, General Manager of the state’s Housing Corporation, has said. Suleiman told newsmen in Ilorin that five private developers had so far been identified for the scheme. He explained that the project would be executed under the Public Private Partnership Initiative, saying that the private developers had already been screened by the corporation. Suleiman, who was in company of Alhaji Abiodun Baraje, the Special Assistant to the state governor on Housing and Urban Matters, said that the first set of 2,000 housing units under the programme, should be ready before the end of the year. The state government, he added, had promised to provide cheap and sustainable houses

Kwara for the people. He said that Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed had directed each local government chairman in the state to make available to the corporation a minimum of 50 hectares of land for the housing project. The general manager noted that the corporation, established in 2010 by the immediate past administration, was tasked with the responsibility of accelerating the process of providing affordable housing units. He pointed out that the housing units would be available for both the lower and higher income groups across the state. “We have all the professionals required for building standard houses in this corporation,’’ he said.

Jos accommodation. “Government would have wished that the displaced persons are in their home state in the comfort of their houses particularly the children and the women. “The children will be affected psychologically because they are suddenly in a different environment from what they are used to. They will also start looking for schools and this will affect their education.” Governor Jang expressed hope that the displaced persons would return to Yobe State as soon as peace returned to the state. The governor advised Nigerians to learn to live in peace, love and tolerate one another irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliations. Earlier, spokesman of the displaced families, Rev. Abu Sule, thanked the people and government of Plateau State for providing them with accommodation, food, drugs and other humanitarian assistance since their arrival in Jos. “Hoodlums were entering our houses and killing us secretly in Yobe. So we decided to leave so as to give future to our children in an environment where they can live in peace and worship God. “We came individually to Jos but COCIN and ECWA Churches accommodated us even though we are not from Plateau. More than 20 families are being accommodated in individual houses out of about 400 families,” he said. In his remark, the COCIN President, Rev. Soja Bewarang, explained that he had mandated all the Church members who were being killed to leave Yobe so as to save their lives.


Wale Fadare, thanked the family for the donation,saying it was timely as it came when church was in dire need of one. Prof Fadare in his homily, described the deceased as very prayerful. She never missed the morning and evening prayer sessions to the extent that people nicknamed her Iya Aladura. He urged the deceased’s children and all members to emulate her character . The handing over ceremony was witnessed by Messrs Oludayo Ojewole, Lawrence Ojewole, Reuben Ojewole, Richard Ojewole, Mrs Jubianah Oluwayemisi Oke and Mr Banji Oyewole, an official of the church.

• Representative of Wife of Bauchi State Governor, Mrs Hope Egwu presenting exercise books to the Emir of Dass, Alhaji Umar Bilyaminu during her visit to the Emir

Plateau trains workers on budgeting skills


LATEAU state governor Jonah David Jang has stated that his government will depend largely on its civil service if he must carry out effective reform in all the economic sector of the state. Jang stated this in address during a threeday capacity building workshop on budgeting, research and planning for directors of finance at the local government level. Governor Jang, who was represented by the

•From left: Mr. Oludayo Ojewole, Reuben Ojewole, Mrs Wumi Ojewole and Mr Oke during the church service

Jos From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

Permanent Secretary Local Government Service Commission, Mrs. Julie Anpe said, “The reforms at local government level will not succeed unless workers in strategic offices are made to acquire the necessary skills in area of budgeting, Planning and documentation”. According to Jang, “The success of any government depends on proper budgeting and adequate plan, which is why government thought it wise to organized this workshop for these category of officers at local government level. “It is my expectation that at the end of the workshop, new skills will be acquired and these workers will also train their subordinate on the principles of budgeting, planning and documentation. He urged participants to make use of the opportunity to enhance their skills and increase their capacity. Facilitator of the workshop who is the Chief Executive officer of Olive Edge Consulting Nigeria Ltd Mr. Kopep Dabugat in his welcome address noted that government at all level has challenges in budget preparation, planning and documentation saying that will be solved at the end of the three day training.


PLEA has gone to the Lagos State Safety Commission to reopen the shut Industrial Metalizing and Packaging Company Limited (IMPCO), at FataiAtere Road, Matori, Lagos. The company was shut last Wednesday over the commission’s safety procedure. IMPCO’s Marketing Manager, Mr. Mike Ekweonu, said safety issue has been a priority of the company. He said production rooms are ventilated, machines pasted with hazards signs and posters placed strategically where they should be. Ekweonu, who said he had been in the company in the last 27 years, explained that the death of Miss Okon, a packer with the company, was an abnormal accident never witnessed in the history of the organisation. ‘Machines are operated by trained/technical personnel who are qualified in the relevant fields. I started working in this company in 1987 and never has such accident occurred. There is an emergency ambulance available in case of the unexpected happenings and there is also an in-plant clinic on ground to treat any member of staff, apart from the fact that the company puts some grade A hospitals on retainership. What happened is a mystery and pray that the deceased rests in peace,’ he said. He pleaded with Mrs. Dominga Odebunmi, the Director-General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, and the leader of the team that carried out inspection on the company to revisit ‘our factory and re-open it, so that other measures recommended can be fully implemented.’ The Maintenance Manager, Samuel Akindayo, also said it is a mystery that the late Miss Okon could have been involved in such an accident with the machine. He said the machines of the company are maintained and in perfect condition.

Govt to monitor ministries •From Right: Member, House of Representatives, Hon Raphael Nomiye; Chairman, Ilaje Local Government Area, Prince Banji Okunomo and his Ese-Odo counterpart Hon Akinwunmi Sowore during the Thanksgiving service for Dr Benson Enukuomehin at Civic Centre, Igbokoda, Ondo State

NCDMB chief urges local participation


HE newly appointed Ondo State Zonal Coordinator for Nigerian Content and Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Prince Abayomi Akinrutan has promised to use his experience to create the enabling environment for the growth of the oil and gas industry. Speaking to reporters in Akure, he said environmental factor was necessary for the development of the industry and being a key play in the sector, he was quite familiar with its challenges. Akinrutan, who is the Managing Director of FEBSON International Hotels and Mall, Abuja and one of the directors, Obat Oil and Gas stressed that NCDMB will ensure efficient implementation of its programmes in the zone. He said it was very important to ensure that local industries participate in the upstream and downstream sector. He maintained that since one of the aims of NCDMB is to increase stakeholders’ impact, the zone would take advantage of the consultative forum to link other sectors whose involvement would be of immense benefits. He said: “As part of the measures of developing local capacity, there is the need to entrench enlightenment and awareness programmes. This will come about by promoting good education, training, research and development.” The Zonal Coordinator further highlighted

Jigawa village had electricity, apart from Birniwa Town. Digins said that his administration had also spent N260 million to construct 33 motorised water projects in the area, putting the cost of each at N7.6 million. The chairman urged the people to support his administration to get more dividends of democracy.

•Governor Lamido

Workers plead with govt over shut firm

Family donates pumping machine HE family of late Chief Ezekiel Ojewole of Ojuolape Street, Modakeke, Osun State, has donated a water pumping machine to Oyejide Oloyede Memorial Anglican Church, Oke Bode, Modakeke. The machine was donated during the outing and thanksgiving service for a prominent member of the church, Mrs Rebecca Mojirola Ojewole. Mrs Rebecca Ojewole, 78, answered the call of God in her Abeja Olowu residence at Modakeke. Spokesman of the family, Mr Oludayo Ojewole, said the family considered the water pumping machine necessary, in remembrance of their late mother. Receiving the machine, the vicar of the church cum senior lecturer, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Venerable (Prof)


By Kayode Alfred and Musa Odorshimokhe

that the Nigerian Content Act was instrumental to the establishing NCDMB which had set the platform for the deregulation of the oil and gas. Akinrutan said: “The board has commenced operations to realise the aspiration of the Federal Government to increase indigenous participation in the oil and gas which has boosted the industry’s contributions to the growth of our National Gross Domestic Product.” He stated that its major mandate which involves monitoring of performance,and which would ensure compliance with standard set by the government, would be the focal point of the zone. Abayomi who is the son of Oba Fredrick Obateru Akinrutan, the Olugbo of Ugbo, further advised those politicising his appointment to retrace their steps and work harmoniously with government in order bring devel•Prince Akinrutan opment to the area.


HE Kwara State government is to embark on monitoring and evaluation of all ministries and extra-ministerial departments to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the public service.


Church holds youth week The National Holy Ghost Church of Christ International, 37/41, Omolade Alafia Street, Awofadu Bus stop Pedro Road, Palmgrove, Lagos, began its annual youth week yesterday. The event ends on Sunday February 19. It runs from 2pm to 6pm daily and 8am to 12noon on Sunday. Speaking on the programme, the host who is also the District Minister, Rev Moses N Albert, said that it is an annual event of the youth of the district headquarters of the ministry where youths come together for enlightenment and exchange of ideas. The week also presents participants with lessons about how to face challenges of life. Rev Albert said further: “ This programme is set aside also to define your purpose, asking why God brings me into this generation at a time like this. It is to look at life holistically and determ”. Lecturers expected include Mr Nnabike Nwosu, a legal practitioner and Miss Kikelomo Oduntayo.

The State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed dropped the hint at a meeting with all permanent secretaries in the state’s civil service held at the Government House, Ilorin. Alhaji Ahmed, who stressed the need for periodic monitoring and evaluation to ascertain the prospects and problems of each ministry, directed all ministries to set medium term target for which they shall be assessed. He urged the permanent secretaries to collaborate and cooperate with their commissioners for enhanced productivity and establish cordial relationship with their subordinates. “As career officers of your various ministries and parastatals, I advise you to be in tune with your Commissioners, who are the political heads and avoid being at loggerhead with them, as only a harmonious working relationship can assist the state government to achieve the desired level of development”, the governor said. Every desk officer, he said, will henceforth be held responsible and accountable for his action or inaction, warning that it will no longer be business as usual. Alhaji Ahmed also told the career officers that promotion will now be tied to productivity as against length of service or maximum number of years on a particular grade level, insisting that “the old system is anachronistic; it is totally unacceptable because it cannot produce effective result”. He, therefore, enjoined them to bring their experiences and administrative acumen to bear in governance in the true spirit of collective responsibility so that we all can take our dear state to the next level.

Lagos This position was corroborated by Mr Samuel Odumuyiwa, a supervisor, who challenged ‘anyone who claims to have lost anyone who was working in the company to come out and say so. “The factory is well maintained in line with laid down regulations/requirements and relevant governmental bodies visit from time to time to conduct their statutory inspections and there has been no need for sanction or closure of the company. What happened was purely

inadvertent and did not warrant shutting down the company”.’ The supervisor, who had been with the company for 21 years, said, ‘With the benefit of having worked in other plastic companies in the past, I can testify that IMPCO has one of the best conditions of service and safe work environment. All the production machines are in top condition with maintenance carried out regularly and the welfare of the employees is not taken for granted; every member of staff has an insurance cover. It is necessary to note that the company is feeding over 700 families “.

Gombe to fight drug abuse


HE Care-taker Chairman of Akko Local Government Council in Gombe State,Alhaji Baba Sarkin Fulani, has called on the people of the area especially youths to stay away from drugs as they are harmful to them and the society while giving relevant agency the free hand to execute its operations without fear or favour.

Foundation renovates NYSC lodge


HE Abubakar Kogi Memorial Foundation, an NGO based in Suru Local Government Area in Kebbi State, has spent N1 million to renovate the NYSC lodge in the area. The Secretary of the foundation, Alhaji Faruku Kigo, told journalists Tuesday in Dakingari that the gesture was in recognition of the role played by corps members to improve education in the area. He said the lodge was repainted while mattresses, tables and chairs were provided. “The NYSC members have been of great support to education, especially teaching in primary, JSS an SSS in our area. “The foundation procured and issued 62 JAMB forms, worth N338,000 to assist students to gain admission into tertiary institutions and that the scheme would be sustained.” Kigo advised indigenes of the area to ensure that they benefited from the foundation in their quest for education, in addition to what was offered by the state and local governments.

Gombe From Vincent Ekhoragbon, Gombe

Fulani gave this charge while presenting a vehicle to the Area Command of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency,Alhaji Muhammad Mu’awuya Alkali. Alhaji Fulani explained that the vehicle was part of the local government’s contribution towards enhancing the effective performance of the agency in the area.

Police warn vehicle owners The Lagos State Police Command has warned owners of vehicles parked at t he following places to remove immediately or forfeit same through auction. Area ‘D’Mushin Toyota Camry – 752 LSD Volkswagen Bus XN 361 SMK Apapa Division Mistubishi Lancer AS 279 FST One man life crain E 289 EPE Volkswagen Santana – BG 408 MUS Volkswagen Fanagon Bus XH 278 KTU Mazda bus X 161 KSF Pedro Police Station Mercedes Benz C Class GP 596 KJA (accidented) V. Boot Mercedes Benz BJ 337 KRD Daewoo Espeno AJ 198 LND

•From right: Action Congress of Nigeria Lagos Women Leader ,Hon Toun Adeniran; wife of Chairman, Itire-Ikate Local Council Development Area, Alhaja Ashabi Bamgbola and Mrs Olabisi Giwa during the Fidau of Mrs Muhibat Bayewu at Alaka Estate, Lagos




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Buses’ loss, trains’ gain


Four win $100,000 peace prize Three years after, Ife – Page 31

treasures return – Page 33

SS-Cole bags Legend Award – Page 36



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They came with their luggage. Men, women and children waited patiently under the sun to board a train to Iddo terminus, Lagos. Many of them went for the train because of the hike in bus fares, following the removal of petrol subsidy. Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME was on a ride to Iddo.

Buses’ loss, trains’ gain •Railway increases train trips from eight to 12 per day


OR two hours, scores of commuters at Agbado,a community in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State, waited patiently for the arrival of a train, from Iddo,

Lagos. Unmindful of the sun, they chatted while waitingfor the arrival of the Ijoko bound train. “I hope it will not be like the other day I waited for hours before the train arrived,” a market woman with a basket of load, said to no one in particular. Others turned to look at one another, shrugging their shoulders and resigning to fate. “I am ready to wait. I can’t afford the exorbitant fares bus drivers charge these days since the fuel subsidy removal. In fact, I am not in a hurry because am going to the market to buy few things and hope to return with the afternoon trip at 2pm,” Mrs. Ebere Eze said. During the long wait, the passengers chatted endlessly. It was either a recall of a train breakdown or why the corporation did not provide a waiting lounge at the station for passengers. But, one recurring question was, when will the train arrive? Yet, in the midst of their complaints, the cheap fare of N150, safety and absence of heavy traffic remained the attraction for them. “It is my fault. If not that I missed the early morning trip, I would have no business waiting here for this long. In fact, I should have been in Lagos by now,” a middle-age man who got to the station by 8.30am said. Time was 9.50am. It was a Friday and traders who use the setback on the rail as shops and kiosks had started setting up their wares. Some commuters left in frustration to catch the next bus going to Ijaiye bus-stop on the Abeokuta Expressway. The crowd that kept increasing by the minute comprised market women, artisans, workers, children and hawkers. Most of the commuters were heading for Yaba, Ebute Metta and Oyingbo in Lagos. As the train sounded its last warning alarm before pulling up, there was a mild drama at the entrances of the train. Some young men who were prevented by officials of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, attempted to board the train on its way to Ijoko and return without paying for the ticket. Reason: The commuters were not sure of getting seats on the train on its return from Ijoko as the coaches would have been filled to capacity. According to a regular passenger on the train, that mild drama is a daily scene since the fuel subsidy removal last month. One hour after, the train arrived at Agbado from Ijoko almost filled to capacity. For the next five minutes, it was survival of the fittest as passengers scrambled to get into the eight coaches that have 90 seats each. Getting access into the train was as horrible as remaining in them. The situation in the train was not different from that of the yellow Molue buses: overloading, long queue of standing passengers, an army of hawkers and beggars who all struggle for space in the congested coaches. At intervals, checkers moved round to punch tickets and maintain some order. The 105-minute, ride would have been pleasure but for the aforementioned hitches. In a chat, the District Public Relations

•Passenger on the roof top of a moving train.


•Passengers rushing for tickets at Agbado station

Officer, Mr Muyiwa Adekanmbi, said the introduction of the four trips of intermediate trains as additional services between Iddo and Ijoko was in response to the increase in demand by commuters. He said the corporation is capable of increasing its trains to meet the passengers demands. He, however, noted that the corporation needed more coaches to do that. The Federal Government, he said, plans to bring in diesel multiple trains to boost the existing ones as part of the palliatives for the subsidy removal. He said in 2010, 25 new locomotive engines were procured by the government for the corporation. These engines, he said, are self diagnostic and require little manual maintenance unlike the old ones. Apart from the Iddo to Ijoko route, Adekanmbi said the Lagos to Ilorin route


has been improved with additional trip on Tuesday to complement the Friday trip. “By April, the Lagos to Kano express will begin,” he added. On the menace created by some passengers who climb on the roof-top of the trains, Adekanmbi said the management would not relent in its efforts to stop the act, which he said, is tantamount to attempting suicide. He said offenders are tried and jailed as a way of deterring others. “At a time the management erected barriers on the roof-top of the trains to discourage this act. But they still beat the barrier to get to the roof. So, the management then decided to raid the trains and arrest defaulters. The surprising thing is that some of these passengers have tickets, he said.

Safe and cheap as rail transportation is, its popularity has continued to dim, no thanks to several factors. But NRC’s current management seems ready to do things differently, especially in enlightening the young ones about rail transport. “We run excursion trains every month for students as a way of enlightening the young ones about rail transportation. We carry hundreds of school children from Idddo to Agbado. Unfortunately, in Lagos, the rail passes only one route as such not many Lagosians will experience its services. So, that can explain why there is low awareness about train among Lagosians who don’t live around this only route. However, the corporation is doing all within its resources to bring rail transport to limelight,” Adekanmbi explained. Plans are afoot to develop park and ride facility at most of the stations to provide safety for car owners who chose to ride on the train. Since January 30, the Lagos District mass transit trains record about 14,000 passengers as against 9,000 before the subsidy removal. This increase in passengers on the mass transit services may not be unconnected with the subsidy removal. Commuters on these routes are going for trains which are cheaper and safer means of transportation. Until the last nationwide protest against subsidy removal, the Lagos District of NRC only provided eight trips per day in its mass transit train services. But on January 30, it introduced additional four trips to complement the existing trips. The addition was in a January 26 memo by the District Superintendent, Lagos District, Ebute-Metta Junction to all stations in the district. NRC also increased from one to two the Iddo to Ilorin trip. The areas covered include Iddo, Apapa, Iganmu, Ebute-Metta Junction, Yaba, Mushin, Oshodi, Sogunle, Ikeja, Agege, Iju Agbado, Itoki and Ijoko. The Federal Government bought 1,600 buses during the nationwide protest against subsidy removal to cushion commuters hardship. Nigerians have yet to see the buses on the roads.



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•Ezeaguka (right) receiving an award from Rev. Father Edeh


OUR philanthropists have won this year’s prestigious $100,000 Madonna International Charity Peace Award. The presentation was held at Elele, in Rivers State. The recipients, who are nationals of the Republic of Togo, Cameroon, and the Kingdom of Cambodia are Mr Christopher Ezeaguka, Mr Njoku Alloysius Bibum and wife, Margaret, Madame Ngo Djob Catharine and Lenaghoin Hoy, a Buddhist from Cambodia in Asia. The award was instituted by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel M.P. Edeh in 2006 to address peace in the society. Through this award, Edeh reaches out to the society. Ezeaguka, a resident of Lome (Togo), bagged the 2011 Charity Peace Award for his grassroots charity that has given hope to many children. Ezeaguka has been paying the fees of indigent nursery and primary school pupils. This gesture triggered many parents and guardians whose children and wards are of school age to send them to him. The number of children to cater for has increased, hence the award, to enable him to cope with this project. The second recipient is Mr Bibum of Southern Cameroon and his wife Mrs. Magaret Anne Bibum, a Briton origin. The couple

Four win $100,000 peace prize From Chris Oji, Enugu founded Buea School for deaf and dumb in South west Region of Cameroon. They met each other at the school for the deaf and dumb in England and later got married. As a gratitude to God for the opportunity to study in United Kingdom, Mr and Mrs Bibum Aloysius opened a special centre for the deaf and dumb in Cameroon. Initially, they were using their home because the number was small, but as the number kept increasing and there arose the need for a bigger accommodation, the population increased following the acquisition of a bigger accommodation. Consequently, the family decided to widen their horizon by buying a piece of land where they finally built a school for the deaf and dumb with full residential and educational facilities. Above all, beneficiaries are on schol-

arship. The third recipient was Madame Catharine, the founder of St Amille Marie Handicapped Centre in Cameroon. Although she is a trained community development officer, her inspiration about starting a home for the destitute and the handicapped children was aroused around 2004 when her daughter had a cardiac problem which led her to a successful surgery in Milan, Italy with the spiritual and financial assistance of a charitable group, With that experience driven by this wonderful gesture and love for mankind, she thought she could contribute to the improvement on the conditions in which some of these children live, especially the disabled who most of the time can hardly make both ends meet. The centre was founded on the April 13, 2004 immediately after the successful surgery of her daughter with the aim that the handi-

capped children improve on their living conditions and, moreover, to create sustainable development opportunities for the under privileged and disadvantaged handicapped youth and also to promote self-reliance. The centre is named after her daughter. This is why Madonna Institute finds her worthy of 2011 charity peace award. The fourth recipient, Hoy (a Buddhist) from Cambodia (Asia) hit the Charity Peace Award 2011 for his effort to bring together, cater for, and restore the hope to live to many dispersed, motherless children and orphans abandoned to fate by the natural calamity (tsunami) that engulfed the Cambodian Kingdom over these months, wiping away thousands of families, and leaving many children helplessly floating on the ocean for days. This great effort which started like a temporary relief to the victims, quickly transformed into a mustardtree project, that has not only effected positively on the immediate condition of the victims but has more so given rise to charity that has put many of them on the way to holistic self actualisation. In giving the prestigious Madonna International Charity Peace Award to Mr Hoy, a proved that to attain peace is very possible in our modern world if charity is enthroned through practical and effective doing of charity and promotion of its doers.

iRep Film festival opens in March


HIS year’s edition of the I-Represent International Documentary Film Festival will hold from March 22 to 25, at Terrakulture, Lagos, at 10am. The festival is conceptualised on the framework: Africa in Self-Conversation and it will explore the theme: Democracy and Culture – The documentary film intervention. Director of Institute of African Studies, Paris, France, Prof. Jean Paul Colleyn, will deliver the keynote speech at the festival. Also speaking are luminaries with vast knowledge and relevant experience in filmmaking and the media. They include Alhaji Adegboyega •Mba

Arulogun, Tunde Kelani, Emeka Mba, John Momoh, and other personalities, whose contributions have affected filmmaking. Following the unprecedented mass action that attended the January 1, 2012, removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government, a new sense of participation in governance is evolving in Africa. It is thus increasingly becoming important to explore opportunities open to African filmmakers to bring better understanding and approaches to participatory democracy as a part of African political culture through the medium of documentary films. The scope of the festival will cover such ar-

eas as democracy and demonstrations, new media technology and participatory democracy, and the potential of the Nigerian films to explore and exploit the documentary format in its production virtues. A key sub-theme in the iREP Documentary Film Festival is: Is Nollywood documentary? This will feature a conversation among filmmakers and their publics on the potentials of Nollywood films to embrace the Documentary ethics in its operation and outputs. A key area of discourse will also be the need to explore the production and distribution potentials and schemes of Nollywood towards achieving documentary objectives.



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Life is brief but fascinating By Habib Akewusola.

I was in need of sweet potatoes and Rich tomatoes, I visited the market square. So many people with different Scents. Tents all over, in different Paints. Goods are purchased in sets. You must pay before collect. I noticed, despite the crowd There’s convience Quantity of goods still at Large lengths. Mans wants has no rest, With various races on the earth. In this square there’s no friend, I am here just to quench my taste. Don’t loiter, Buy what you need first, That should be your quest In avoiding regrets. We must all go home to rest, Against sunset.

Rest in no pain Darkness stroke the first day, We translated it, child’s play, He had to resit a full new Day We described it mare fairytale. Young Kane begins his vain It rained to shame, This another day washing away All in the same frame. Third day, I had to pray I understand daylight Most pass through bilnd night. Sunlight accommodate huge fans, The only quality time to farm. Moonlight is for the wise Not with closed eyes. Favor could be destroyed Cause shine just left the Compound. My heart begins to mourn My cloths has been stolen Off the rope. I see middle of the sky Deep in black night, How would I do it right? The night comes without Sight and moves in a straight File. Vanity is sand, I have to prove that before I run out of time, I just clean my ways by daylight And check my faith at night.

•British singer, Adele won six awards at this years Grammy...SEE story on page 33

German-Swiss love for The Sandman


T was an eventful evening with a double-edge when the Embassies of the Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland in Nigeria jointly hosted the cream of the society. The event, organised as a German-speaking evening with a cultural content featured a fictionalised story of a Nigerian child and a film, The Sandman. Screened for the enjoyment of guests, and as part of the activities to promote the German language, the film called attention to one of the more popular European languages as well as made the event a soul-searching one, especially with its obvious exploration of the humanity of everyone. The Sandman directed by Peter Luisi, was shot in Switzerland, and starred Fabian Krüger as Benno and Irene Brügger as Sandra; it had Swiss-German and German as the spoken language, while it had English subtitles. From the onset, the audience was given the orientation that Benno, the lead character, was as ordinary as any other man on the street. He had a menial job dealing in rare stamps, and he ripped off people who inherited rare stamps but hardly realised the value of what they brought to the shop that Benno ran with two other men. He had an attractive girlfriend, but he lived a floor above a coffee shop run by a not-so-attractive Sandra who was a singer, and who had been preparing herself for a local talent show. Both did not like each other, and Benno made it worse because he belittled Sandra, talked down her talent as a singer and harmed her confidence each time he came to her shop for a cup of coffee. There were glimpses into dream world where both lived happily together as lovers, Benno as a music conductor, Sandra as an orchestra singer, but in real life, they were neither. There came the crisis that tipped Benno’s world upside down; he woke up from a dream and found sand on his bed one day.

By Tunji Ajibade This became the unavoidable, irrevocable challenge that set the movement of the story into motion. Escalation of the crisis was in the harmony of both his external world and his internal world that was upset; he went everywhere losing sand, and he lost more when he was insincere, when he said ‘yes’ while he meant ‘no,’ when he praised Sandra that he didn’t like, praised her coffee that he hated, said she was talented when he didn’t mean it, or told his business partners lies. He knew he was losing life by losing sand, and he also lost weight, so he went about in search of help. At a part he said to Sandra whom he had always treated with disdain: “I am losing sand,” and to which, when she realised the seriousness of the problem is, “You need help.” Although Benno arrived at the discovery that led to change, ultimately, Sandra played a part, and so did a psychic, Dimitri, who mentioned that Benno’s problem might have its origin in his dreams – dreams he had regularly and in which he was a music conductor, and Sandra a singer – and he also mentioned Beethoven’s ninth and last symphony. This piece, apart from several other interpretations, has been summarised by some to mean “quest for freedom,” and, creation in the beginning that was chaotic, but from which order eventually emerged. One strange thing was that the sand from Benno could make those who sniffed it sleep, and whoever he had contact with it in dream also experienced the dream with him. And so much of the comedy part of the story came when the protagonist chose to get away with some of his deceptions by making his victim sniff the sand; he too sniffed it like hard drug to send himself back into the realm of dreams as way of escaping his misery. There was a point when Benno had to face up to the deceptive aspect of himself, realise that he some-

what made himself a debased being when he refused to be honest, failed to be his real self. Beyond Benno, the Sandman, there was a larger message for every human being as to the need to live up to the truth at all time, and that it is the more important thing even when it hurts one directly, or others. Speaking earlier at the event, the German Ambassador in Nigeria, Mrs Dorothee Jantzke-Wenzel, noted that part of the reason for the event was to encourage the speaking of the German language, and she went on to debunk what she regarded as myths about the language. She pointed out that the German is not difficult to learn, and she stressed the advantages of learning to speak it. The Swiss Ambassador, Dr Andreas Baum, also addressed the audience that included members of the diplomatic community and prominent Nigerians. The Deputy Head of Mission at the German embassy, Mathias Veltin, as well as First Secretary, Attaché for Economic and Development Affairs, Sophia Armanski, threw light on the strong, and long-standing cultural relationship between Germany and Switzerland as well as significance of Beethoven’s ninth symphony that was much a part of The Sandman’s storyline. One of the attendees, the Director of South Korean Cultural Centre in Nigeria, Mr Jeong Sun Suh, described The Sandman as “profound,” while he admitted that it was one film that would take a while for anyone who watched it to digest. The event also included the reading of the fictional biography of Najim, an imagined Nigerian baby. The story was about the life of this seventh billionth inhabitant of the world as conceived by a German-speaking Swiss newspaper. Najim’s life covers many surprising events in a world gradually turning upside down. •Ajibade writes in from Abuja



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Three years after, Ife treasures return

Thought Pyramid hosts environmental art


BOUT three years after their involvment in a travelling exhibition entitled: Dynasty and Divinity: Ife art in ancient Nigeria, across America and Europe, 109 priceless cultural works of Ife have been returned to the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Lagos. Receiving the treasures in Lagos, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, said it is heart-warming to witness the return. The objects, include sculptures, vessels depicting human, animal and other worldly subjects varying in size from nearly life size to tiny figurines. On December 17, 2007, a contract was signed between the NCMM and the Museum of African Art to lend these works for exhibition in Europe and America. The first phase of the exhibition was held in Santader Madrid, in Spain in 2009 from where it moved to London and finally three different locations in America; Houston, Richmond and Indianapolis. He disclosed that the Federal Executive Council has approved the establishment of a modern National Museum in Abuja that can house some of these collections. “The Nigerian Institute of Architects has submitted several designs for consideration. It is in anticipation of the celebration of Nigeria’s hundred years, which will witness the funding of a monument resort,” the minister said. Duke noted that contrary to rumours making the round, the tourism development fund has only been approved in principle adding that the fund is not available yet for disbursement. He explained that the

•One of the Ife artefacts that were returned from USA

By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)

N5billion fund was initiated during the tenure of Frank Ogbuewu as minister, which should be benefitting from certain percentages of sales from air tickets, bed space in hotels, among others. He stressed that the provisos for the sourcing of the fund are not yet approved. “President Goodluck Jonathan has approved that the fund should be sourced from the private sector. This, in effect, means that we still must go to the National Assembly to present the proposal. We are going to identify foundations and partners that will help develop this,” he said. Reacting to claims that the $200million intervention funds for the creative industry was a fluke, the minster dismissed this as untrue, saying that the Managing Director of Nigerian Exim Bank confirmed that the bank is about distributing the funds to applicants who met the requirements. “The fund is not a fluke. However, it is not a free fund as there must be collateral from those who will benefit from it. Active players in the industry should engage

the bank for the fund,” he added. Director-General of NCMM, Mallam Yusuf Abdallah Usman, described the collaboration between the commission and the foreign partners as not only an opportunity to share experience but also to acquire new skills and expertise in conserving and presenting cultural heritage. He noted that this could be enhanced by appropriate funding from the government and support from the media for the protection of the nation’s cultural property. He disclosed that for now, the returned treasures would not go into the commission but would be displayed in an exhibition for Nigerians to savour. Registrar, Museum of African Art, Amanda Thompson, who was part of the team that accompanied the works to Nigeria, described the works as among the greatest works in the world of art. According to her, the five year project has brought the works to the attention of the world, illuminating Nigeria’s history and artistic achievement. “The exhibition was also important in demonstrating how so many extraordinary works of African art are still in the care of museums on the African continent,” Thompson said.

Jos feast of theatre opens


HE yearly Jos Festival of Theatre will hold between, February 25 and March 2. The festival, which will feature five plays, is being supported by the Embassy of the United States of America with logistic support by the Alliance Francaise, Jos. It is also billed to coincide with the yearly African-American History Month of February, which is set aside to celebrate the achievements of African-Americans in all fields of endeavour. The festival is featuring two American playwrights – Lonne Elder III and Barrie Stavis – whose plays Ceremonies in Dark Old Men and The Man Who Never Died explore issues of human relationships and struggle with the daily vicissitudes of life. It will also feature plays by Dr.Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba whose play Bargain Hunting is being directed by Dr. Emman Emeasealu of the University of Port Harcourt and it is a play that explores the politics and household squabbles about inheritance and heirlooms. The Nigerian-British playwright, Oladipo Agboluaje is also featuring in the festival with his play For One Night Only – a migration fantasy is billed to appeal to youths who have been bitten by the migration bug. The landmark play of the festival is Emeka Nwabueze’s explicit

•A scene from Madmen

adaptation of the Chinua Achebe novel, Arrow of God which he has christened When The Arrow Rebounds. This is a play that explores what happens when the communal spirit of community is violated and the consequences at both the individual and community levels. The performances will run alongside workshops in arts management, which will explore modern techniques of running arts organisations both at the sustenance, programmatic and administrative levels using as a model the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, Directing workshops based on

script to the stage and for those who do not want to engage in the academic side of the theatre, there will be Salsa dance workshops facilitated by the award winning Salsa dancer, Victor Bassey and the medical doctor Salsa dancer, Dr. Clement Ekere. Two new directors will be introduced during the one week festival – they are Osasogie Efe Guobadia, a final year undergraduate of the Nigerian Film Institute who is directing Ceremonies In Dark Old Men and Leon Echa, a graduate of Theatre Arts of the University of Jos, who is directing For One Night Only.

Environmental Art: Awareness tool for social change will open at the Thought Pyramid, Wuse II, Abuja tomorrow. It is organised by the gallery in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States of America. IICD will kick off the Clean ‘N’ Green Naija Project with a workshop for artists The event becomes relevant when one recalls the inter-relationship between man and environment. “Man and his environment has for long been inter-dependent on each other. Man has served as keeper of his environment, he has lived, built and explored his immediate environment directly or indirectly in the past ages, as he seeks to appreciate and sustain himself, achieve his needs as he lives through each age and time, sometimes forgetting that man is a cosmografia del minor mondo (cosmography of the microcosm)…meaning, man is the balance of the earth and that whatever he does will affect the earth.”

Adele sweeps six Grammy Awards •World of music pauses to remember Whitney Houston


DELE showcased her voice at show with first live performance since surgery. It was a night of triumph and sadness in Los Angeles as two vocal titans ruled the evening. Brit singer Adele swept the board at the Grammy Awards making a triumphant return to the world stage on the night the music industry paused to pay tribute to tragic singer Whitney Houston. The Londoner won SIX Grammy Awards, including the big categories like Record of the Year and Song of the Year for Rolling In the Deep and Album of the Year for her smash hit 21. The ceremony opened on a sombre note as host, hip-hop star LL Cool J led the starstudded audience in the Staples Center in prayer in honour of the 48-year-old singer who died suddenly on Saturday afternoon. Dressed in a black tuxedo, the rapper looked on the verge of tears as he said: ‘There is no way around this. We’ve had a death in our family. ‘So at least, for me, the only thing that feels right is to start with a prayer for the woman that we love, for our fallen sister Whitney Houston.’ The rapper – whose real name is James Todd Smith – said: ‘Heavenly Father, we thank you for sharing our sister Whitney with us. ‘Though she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed to have been touched by her beautiful spirit.’ The rapper-turned-actor’s tribute continued as the show’s producers reminded the crowd of one of the multi-Grammy Awardwinners. Although she had been dead just over 24 hours Houston’s peers gave her a standing ovation after watching her sing her hit I Will Always Love You on video taken from a previous ceremony. He then said: ‘Whitney, we will always love you.’ The host refused to get too sad and took the opportunity to welcome Adele’s return to the music community just months after vocal surgery threatened to end her career. ‘Adele,’ he said. ‘Welcome back.’ Adele was triumphant in her first performance since vocal cord surgery forced the cancellation of a tour and months of vocal rest. As the world wondered whether her voice would still soar, she answered with her performance of her hit Rolling in the Deep and received a rousing standing ovation from the crowd.

• Continued on page 34



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

Magazine for all mothers


T last, here is a gender-specific magazine for a gender-specific class! Most newsstands in Nigerian cities and towns have

their own sheaf of all-women magazines for readers to choose from. For instance, there is Genevieve, Today’s Woman, Everywoman, Woman’s World and dozens more. But none of them is devoted entirely to celebrating working mothers as Working Moms Africa hopes to do. Judging by the content of this maiden edition, it is a welcome addition to the more popular publications on and about women. Genevieve and Today’s Woman belong to a class of their own. Both of them are published by famous Nigerian women, Mrs Irabor and Adesuwa Oyenukwe. Mary Ikoku, publisher of WMA, is no less famous. A public relations consultant, who was once media aide to former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, she has since nursed an ambition to publish not just an all-female magazine, but one that will take a holistic view of a certain class of women. This is what she has done with WMA. It is commendable. In case you were ever in doubt as to the aim of this specialised publication, the publisher clears your doubt from the onset. “Are you in the habit of rushing to work and equally rushing home because there is so much to do both at home and at the office?” she pointedly observes in the editor’s page. “Do you sometimes wish that you could be in two or three places all at once?” Most married working mothers in Lagos and elsewhere in Nigeria where traffic is perennially choked will answer a definite yes to those questions. But beyond that is the content of the magazine itself. Three quarters of the


Working Moms Africa


The Access Media, Lagos


Mike Jimoh



stories and articles are about working mothers: their day-to-day activities, how they balance their professional and private lives, their hopes and dreams. More important, the women cut across all classes. Thus, there is a cover story on Funmi Gbemudu, a renowned architect and first among equal of the known female architects and builders in Nigeria. Contrasting that is a piece on an otherwise unremarkable roadside bean-cake seller. In-between are snappy sketches of middleclass women, all of them working

mothers. How do working mothers really juggle between their careers and spousal duties without as much failing in either? That question is answered by a number of women interviewed by the publisher herself in “Walking the tight rope.” They are quite revealing. Take, for instance, Nina Archi’s counsel to working mothers. An employee of an oil and engineering company in Lagos, she insists that working moms should “do as much preparation the night before so in the morning you just need to dress up and take off.” For Amaka Victor Nwosisi, who works with a leading telecommunications company, she says that “the fact that my children (four boys) can look up to me and learn from my experiences motivates me to work.” There are many more of such mother talk to engage readers. Like most women mags, WMA has sections on women-related topics such as health, fitness, style and fashion, even nutrition. Grace Eessen’s sisterly advice to working mothers to consider themselves first is not as selfish as you might think. First love, so it goes, is self love. With that in mind, readers can better appreciate Eessen’s take on motherhood. “Moms being what we are, want to give it all, making sure the home is functioning properly; kids are ok and daddy too,” she writes in her Mom 2 Mom page. “Meals are planned, cooked at the right time laundry is done and ironed properly. We eat after everyone has, go to bed after everyone does and wake up first…But if you truly love your kids and I am sure you do, do them a favour and put yourself first. It is only when you give attention to you that you can give more to your kids and husband too.” Another plus for this first edition is the array of columnists, experts, if you like, readers will come across. Dr. Akinyemi Olaleye is a consultant obstretician and gynaecologist. Expectedly, he writes on abnormal uterine bleeding. Funmi Adeniran, a fitness counsellor, focusses on fitness, a growing concern among African women especially

Adele sweeps six Grammy Awards

Take up life’s challenge


AKE up the challenge, is an inspirational, pocket size book written by Kenneth A. King and published in Lagos by Precious connections. It contains 101 pages with eight chapters. No one has any excuse to give for not becoming what God destined him or her to be in life. It is an act of irresponsibility to shift blames or dodge from one’s responsibility. Excuse is always a snare don’t be trapped by it. Always take up life’s challenge and manage it well. Every well managed challenge can always change one’s story. This makes up part of the introduction for the book. In the chapter one, the author states that; challenges are good and should be desired as it makes a person better. When correctly managed challenges results to building, refining or making a person better and not bitter. He gave some personal principles that always guide him through the storms of life as; taking everything that happens to him as a challenge, learning to put the past behind, controlling situations and not letting situations control him, turning every situation to an advantage, maintaining a life of principle, discipline and focus. Worry and its effects is what the author stressed in chapter two. He noted that worry wearies, worry worsens, worry wears out, worry weakens on’s drive and does not win one any trophy rather causes one to whine. He quoted the lyrics of an English singer which goes thus; “Everyone lives with some trouble but when you worry, you make


Take up the challenge


Kenneth A. King


Chinyere Abiaziem


Precious connections



it double.” King pointed out in the third chapter, that defeat starts from the mind before it showfaces on the physical. Giving in to defeat by getting discouraged or quitting in the face of temporary failure(s) does no good as it rips one of being remembered or being included in the list of achievers. Addressing primarily the disabled or the physically challenged, stating that disability is never a disadvantage. He gave the major reason why many of them end up in frustration as; not taking sufficient time to discover their purpose. This makes up the central message of chapter four. Every idea, King emphasised in chapter five, has the potential of success. The beginning of great fortunes is idea. A person’s idea may not work initially but work after countless number of trials. Every idea when adequately adequately translates into money. Self-discipline is crucial in achieving one’s dream, turning one’s vision into a mission and putting one’s mission on motion. This forms the crux of chapter six.

while the problem of indecision is decisively tackled by Nelda Chioma Efughi. Even male spouses get their say as well, as they recount their experiences of coping with working partners. And then, there is the kiddy corner, this time funny things youngsters do. In a way, it brings to mind the one time popular programme, Kids Say, anchored by African American comedian Bill Cosby. WMA is not just about the lighter things that concern women or children. There is serious stuff, too. Dr. Goomsu Afiong Obasi is sure to have a lot of working mothers thinking in her contribution entitled: “The Remake of the Postmodern Woman.” What is the role of women – married or not – in a post-modern, global village? If you think WMA is all about women, you’ll be wrong. A male contributor tells readers of his experiences as a single father, taking care of his only child at home and doing school run. And talking about kids, several pages are devoted to them. There is a useful article on child depression, a rare topic for discussion in a Nigerian publication. For a magazine that boasts coverage of issues on African women, coming out four times a year is somewhat insufficient, considering the enormity of challenges/ problems womenfolk in Africa face daily. Also, there are no interviews on women from the rest of the continent. Where is stuff on women in the horn of Africa? What about their counterparts in other parts of the continent – east, west and south Africa? There is a gnawing feeling that Working Moms Africa should really have been Working Moms Nigeria. Even so, WMA will have a shelf-assured life on any coffee table in most homes. Besides, this first edition is sure to hold readers attention for long, far longer than existing magazines of similar genre. For one, there are several publications on and about women as there are different shades of mascara. While a few hold and rivet your attention as an elegantly dressed beautiful woman walking down the street, some are as forgettable as a dowdy dowager since past her prime. With this edition, WMA will not lose its readership anytime soon.

• Continued from page33

Citing Helen killer and some biblical characters, King in chapter seven pointed out that in every mess or misfortune lies the opportunity of making or rewriting history. The last chapter was used by the author to buttress the points made in the preceding chapters. The need to show courage in unpleasant situations, confrontations, debunking defeat, putting ideas to work and achieving set goals. The book contains relevant and inspiring quotes with good graphical quality.

The song also won her one of the night’s most prestigious awards, Song of the Year, as well as one for Best Pop Solo Performance. ‘I can’t believe I’m getting emotional already,’ she said after picking up the latter award. ‘And seeing as it’s a vocal performance, I need to thank my doctors, I suppose, who brought my voice back.’ The singer got up throughout the night as she won award after award. In total she won six – in every single category in which she was nominated making her tie with Beyonce to become the only female artist in Grammy Award history to win the most gongs in a single night. The chirpy Londoner kept the glitzy crowd laughing with her down-to-earth comments, even commenting on her runny nose as she scooped her award for Album of the Year. After thanking her mum, she giggled: ‘Oh, a little bit of snot.’ She also lovingly thanked respected producer Rick Rubin and new boyfriend Simon Konecki. The night’s other big winners, the Foo Fighters walked away with five Grammy Awards, notably winning for Best hard Rock/ Metal Performance for White Limo and Best Rock Performance for Walk. Front man David Grohl was thrilled with the recognition and noted that they made their album Wasting Light in a garage. She also lovingly thanked respected producer Rick Rubin and new boyfriend Simon Konecki. The night’s other big winners, the Foo Fighters walked away with five Grammy Awards, notably winning for Best hard Rock/ Metal Performance for White Limo and Best Rock Performance for Walk.



The Midweek Magazine


What value Nigeria?


MAN hurries off to a nearby Aladura church, barefooted and clad in a long white tunic. He moves briskly past a rusty piece of corrugated roofing sheet near a clogged gutter filled with putrid water, discarded plastics, and myriad debris. The rains are early this year, but a country does not need a rain gauge to measure her values. Nations evaluate their standards through the meters with which hale citizens honour the ailing and the dead. In the gutter gathers a cesspool of values with which one may judge this urban landscape, as the drizzling rain keeps a steady rhythm on the rusty sheet of corrugated roofing metal. With his right hand, the man lifts his tunic to prevent it from dragging along and getting soiled by the red clay on which his shoeless feet plod. With his left fingers he tightly pinches his nose together to prevent the obnoxious stench wafting from the corrugated sheet from offending his olfactory senses. By the side of the road in plain view of all passers-by, lying face up only inches away from the footpath is the body of a stark naked young woman, hardly concealed by the corrugated roofing sheet. Her bosoms have been crudely scraped off, and the open wound entertain a buzzing choir of aphids. Hush but laboriously busy, an army of maggots swarm while houseflies spread a creamy layer of toxic enzymes over her nude flesh. Other members of the Aladura church hurry past the rotting corpse. As if theatrically cued, each lifts his or her white tunic with one hand, and pinches the nose with the other. Noises of prayers and praise songs to God blend with the cadaverous stench in a homogenous assault on the sensory organs. The tasteless potpourri forms a seamless mélange of urban values in the Egbeda metropolis of mainland Lagos. No audible bell tolls the passing of this hapless woman concealed in plain sight within this fogged landscape. Little wonder that Abiodun Olaku renders many of his metropolitan Lagos landscapes and other urban vistas in fogged and hazy colorations. As an artist of inimitable values and lucid vision, his senses are not mere somatic feelers that reach helplessly for the macabre or morbid. He carefully measures his canvases with spotlights highlighting his penchant for using luminosity as ethical metaphors. But to a Nigeria that stills leaves her corpses unredeemed by the roadside until they bloat, burst, and rot, Olaku brings a redemptive vision of a landscape that appears foggy, yet pregnant with hope and spotty lights of optimism. Olaku is about the most accomplished master of the illuminated landscape in Nigerian art. Two years before the country gained her independence from colonial rule in 1960, Olaku was born in Lagos during the festive season between Yuletide and New Year celebrations, hence the name Abiodun—a child born during festivals. His parents sent him to the Alafia Institute, the most prestigious private school in Ibadan at that time. Chief Mrs. Bolarinwa, who later became the Iyalode of Ibadan, founded the school and ran it under strict Christian rules, strong moral standard, and keen principles of cleanliness as being next to Godliness. But the school, located in Mokola, is in Ibadan, a city notorious for its filthy streets, foul gutters, unplanned compounds, potholed motorways, and noisy downtown. While commuting to and fro school for the ten years during which he lived in Ibadan, Olaku could not but notice the chaos characterizing this city that has had the distinction of producing the first university and the first television station in Africa.

•Urban scape by Abiodun Olaku

•Okobaba by Abiodun Olaku

By Moyo Okediji The University of Ibadan minted the first Nobel laureate in African literature, in addition to literary and artistic luminaries including Chinua Achebe, Agbo Folarin, John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo, and Niyi Osundare. As an undergraduate, J.P. Clarke penned the most evocative poetic epithet to Ibadan, in a stuttering stanza centered on the city: “Ibadan, running splash of rust and gold-flung and scattered among seven hills like broken china in the sun.” Since Olaku left the city in 1968 to complete his primary education in Lagos, the Ibadan landscape—engrained indelibly in his mind—has only exploded into a gigantic monstrosity and unbridled filth. Abimbola Adelakun, the novelist who, in her masterpiece “Under the Brown Rusted Roofs,” most vividly painted the landscape of Ibadan with words, said, “The problem of filth in Ibadan is largely that of waste management. The city administrators have not learnt the art of planned disposal of waste. What makes Ibadan’s filthiness more pronounced than other similar places in Nigeria is probably her history and antecedents….”

Olaku witnessed the deterioration of the city into chaos and lawlessness in 1965 with the “Operation Wetie” during which political hooligans burnt innumerable buildings, vehicles, and people. As a child he shared living experience of the city with Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, the then Premier of the Western Region, who was gunned down during the military coup of January 15, 1966. As the chaos that started in Ibadan metastasised to every part of the country, it culminated in the collapse of Nigeria into a civil war in 1967. Olaku left Ibadan in 1968. The road from Ibadan to Lagos is a dualdirection expressway that has degenerated into a virtual deathtrap. Potholes fragment the roads frequently corrugated by the weight of monstrous 16-wheel trailers moving goods to and fro the ports of Lagos, the major seaport of Nigeria. Some of these trailers pack by the roadsides, partially blocking the express road and damming the flow of traffic. The expressway daily witnesses ghastly road accidents and is a den for bloodthirsty highway robbers who kill and maim travellers both at night and broad daylight. Travellers often have to free accident victims trapped in car crashes, separate the dead from the dying, before rushing bleeding

‘The road from Ibadan to Lagos is a dual-direction expressway that has degenerated into a virtual deathtrap. Potholes fragment the roads frequently corrugated by the weight of monstrous 16-wheel trailers moving goods to and fro the ports of Lagos, the major seaport of Nigeria’

survivors to ill-equipped and overcrowded emergency clinics. From Ibadan to Lagos, bloated and rotting cadavers of no known identities litter spots on the roads, with wild animals and birds devouring the corpses. When Olaku moved to Lagos in 1968, there was no dual-carriage express road connecting Ibadan.The narrow road between the two most populous cities in black Africa was also relatively safer. Even now, the natural landscapes on the road are stunningly beautiful. Travellers enjoy the vista of a verdant growth of tall trees vying for the attention of the sun, along dramatic skylines of towering palm trees adorning the firmament. They raise their foliage like an array of asterisks loaded into a dense passage. Sellers and hawkers line the streets, offering boiled or roasted corn, bush meat, crafts, and organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables. The capital city of Nigeria when Olaku relocated to the metropolitan centre, Lagos offered Olaku better opportunities, especially in terms of his preparation as an artist. In 1970, he was admitted to the Baptist Academy, a college equipped with facilities for art studies in a country when, at that time, most schools were characterized by the avoidance of that subject. Olaku paid attention to art education, and his passion was for painting. Art pupils in Baptists Academy practised still-life studies, imaginative compositions, and landscape painting, Olaku’s favorite genre. Nobody was totally surprised Olaku decided to study art at the prestigious Yaba College of Technology, where he honed his talent into an instrument of keen observation and vivid expression. But the question that has always faced him is a timeless puzzle for many landscape artists trapped in a schizophrenic topography. On the one hand is the Nigeria of the Victoria Island and Lekki Township, where the standard of living, the architecture, and display of affluence matches the best experiences from the richest parts of the world. On the other hand is the terrain of Maroko, Ajegunle, and Oworonsoki, crippled by poverty, chaos, and debris piled around slum dwellings. Complicating matters is his vivid and photographic recollection of his childhood in the filthy metropolis of Ibadan. Olaku accepts both parts of Nigeria, but not with the hopeless submission of the camera. His work is idealistic rather than merely realistic. He tames the use of light as his allegorical accomplice for musical and poetic compositions that balance natural lights and artificial illuminations. His spotlights, often reflected on murky water surfaces, speak of hope even in forlorn circumstances. The result is a rhythmic choreography of orchestrated luminosity that offers values of light to a sightless and stumbling Nigeria, a sovereign groping for vanishing values.

•Okediji writes in from Texas, USA



The Midweek Magazine


SS-Cole bags Legend Award By Seyi Odewale


OR the veteran ace photo journalist, Sunmi Smart-Cole, Sunday, February 4, was a day he would remember for good; his industry and hard work were recognised in Lagos. It was at an event organised by Gbemisola Oluwole at the launch of her magazine, Royal Damask. It held at the Lagoon Restaurant, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos. Tagged: Xmass in January, the event according to Gbemisola, as she is fondly called, was two-fold: to honour people whose efforts in events planning industry are hardly rewarded and appreciated and launch her magazine, dedicated to the industry. Seventeen categories of awards were given to deserving corporate bodies and individuals for their contributions to the industry. Some of the categories were: Corporate Event Sponsor; Events Venue, won by Balmoral and Legend Awards, won by Sunmi Smart-Cole. Sunmi contested with other known personalities such as Ohi Alegbe; Peter Obe and the late Danjuma Mohammed. Other categories were the best event security company, won by K Square; Events Organisers; Event Planners of the year; Best Make-Over and best Cocktails among others. When asked by The Nation about how he felt with the award, Smart-Cole said he was elated that his industry was being recognised. He praised the organiser of the event for her effort at recognising him and others whose efforts had always gone unappreciated and unnoticed. Chairman of the occasion, which was anchored by the ace stand-up comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka the First, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, commended

•From left Rasheed Gbadamosi, Sunmi Smart-Cole and Oluwale Gbemisola at the award in Lagos. PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA

the initiative of the organiser and wished it was sustained. Other dignitaries at the event included the former Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) newscaster, Modele Sharafa-Yusuf; Mrs Bola Akingbuyi; Mrs

Book that tells of ‘Awo’ in Tinubu



WELEE Publishing Ventures, Lagos has released two books, Progressive Governance in Nigeria: So far, so good and Nigeria’s Electoral Journey: No Basis for Celebration, written by its Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sina Awelewa. The books are scheduled for launch in March. Since history stands as a record of events, whether past or present, it will, however, be a great justice to document every detail that crosses the pathway of Nigeria’s politics and her politicians. It was that intellectual force that propelled the author, Awelewa, a prolific writer, journalist and businessman to go to the press with his well-researched facts about personalities that have had or having certain

roles to play in the progressive development of Nigeria’s politics. In his 141-page book, entitled, Progressive Governance in Nigeria: So far, so good, Awelewa, author of Anti-Corruption War: The Last Hope of a Nation in Distress, started with critical examination on the history of Nigeria with special reference to how “irresponsible and irresponsive leadership and bad governance” has deplorably wasted her abundant natural and human resources after 50 years of independence. He carefully x-rayed the roles of great patriots like the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Mallam Aminu Kano and a host of others. The author uses the book to bring a clearer picture of the collapse of the Second Republic into the memory of all. His focus on the leadership style and achievements of former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom he described as “a Leader of our Time” speaks volumes about the untold story of the politician. The book reveals some of the attributes that make Tinubu a true leader including his mission, vision and reactions to criticism and rule of law. It traces the political genealogy of the late Awolowo to Tinubu and identifies the rare attribute of excellence in the acclaimed Yoruba leader. The book claims that since the exit of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, no politician has had much influence on progressive politics in Nigeria than Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described as the pillar of progressive politics in Nigeria. It also discusses in detail, the contributions of other progressive governors like Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Babatunde Fashola, Lagos; Peter Obi, Anambra; Rauf Aregbesola, Osun; Segun Mimiko, Ondo; Adam Oshiomole, Edo and Ibrahim Shekarau, Kano, in the progressive train of Nigeria’s politics. The emphasis of the author is primarily on the exemplary intellectual prowess in these politicians, who belong to different political parties and the unique strategies they explored in changing the status of the people and the state under their supervision. The second book, Nigeria’s Electoral Journey: No Basis for Celebration, establishes facts why Nigeria’s electoral journey has been an exercise in futility. The 106-page potable book with fully researched materials itemised various electoral umpires in Nigeria since independence; electoral reform agenda; electoral process in Jonathan/Jega era among others. It also debates how free, fair and credible were the 2011 general elections. However, the book maintains that, despite all odds, 2011 elections do not call for celebration yet. The book proffers viable solutions to the numerous electoral failures in Nigeria. Awelewa has a foundation, Sina Awelewa Foundation, which is 10 years old in humanitarianism.

Nadir Bello; Mr Afolabi Otunfowora; Subu Owokoniran; Olumide Oteniya and a host of others. On the band stand was Capital F.E.M.I, Gbenga Adeyinka’s kid brother, who thrilled guests with his hit track, “I’ve got money.”


Elizabeth Taylor auctions raise $183m


AINTINGS, jewelry and fashions belonging to the late Elizabeth Taylor have sold for more than $183 million, with all of the more than 1,800 items on offer snapped up, Christie’s auction house said Thursday. Christie’s said 1,817 lots were sold at a series of auctions in New York and London, some at 50 times their pre-sale estimates. The most expensive was Vincent van Gogh’s landscape “Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Remy,” which once hung in the living room of Taylor’s Bel Air home. It sold for 10.1 million pounds ($16 million), including the buyer’s premium. The daughter of a London art dealer, Taylor amassed a substantial collection of 19th and 20th century art, including works by Edgar Degas and Auguste Renoir. Hollywood legend Taylor — whose films included “Cleopatra,” ‘’Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” — died in March aged 79, and Christie’s has been selling her belongings on behalf of the Elizabeth Taylor Trust. New York sales of jewelry, fashion and memorabilia in December raised more than $156 million, with a buyer paying $8.8 million for a 33.19-carat diamond ring given to Taylor by actor Richard Burton, whom she married twice. A sale of 38 paintings in London on Tuesday and Wednesday raised an additional 15.6 million pounds ($24.6 million). “The global outpouring of affection and admiration for Elizabeth Taylor from fans and collectors alike has been amazing for us to witness,” said Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas. •Culled from AP



Lawmaker provides Medicare for constituents


N his determined effort to control the sickle cell anaemia in his constituency, the Deputy Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Leyii Kwanee has called on all stakeholders involved in the management of diseases to make concerted efforts towards their eradication. Kwanee, who spoke in Port Harcourt recently while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lagos-based Nemeith International Pharmaceutical Plc decried a situation where the rural people are not, enlightened enough on the disease as they regard it as a witchcraft mystery rather than as a hereditary disease that kills very fast. The deputy speaker, who represents Khana Constituency 11 in the House therefore called for an enlightenment campaign to educate people on the dangers of the disease, even as he advised prospective couples to always check their genotype before marriage to avoid cases of sickle cell anaemia. He also said that he signed the MoU to provide relief and succour for many families and children in Ogoni land and beyond who are suffering from the ailment, adding that by subsidising the drugs, the disease could be managed. “Many sufferers of sickle cell anaemia are usually poor and ignorant and therefore lack the wherewithal to procure the drugs which are expensive,” said the lawmaker who pointed out that the programme was aimed at complementing, in a little way, the health programmes of the state governor, Chibuike Amaechi in addressing rural healthcare needs. Kwanee also said that “this is one of my numerous healthcare


HE Federal Government has unveiled plans to partner with the Ondo State Government towards boosting its valuechain cassava production. The partnership, which was jointly signed during Governor Mimiko’s courtesy visit to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Abuja, was aimed at realising the agricultural transformation agenda (ATA) of the Federal Government. While the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina represented

From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

programmes aimed at touching the lives of the rural people. More than 1, 000 people benefited from a free medical healthcare services provided by my constituency office in conjunction with World Outreach Missions, USA and Ogoni Christian Fellowship, last year.”

In his speech, the Managing Director of Neimeth, Mr. Emmanuel Ekunno, said that the company was inspired by the idea of collaborating with Kwanee’s Constituency Office in reducing the burden of sickle cell on the constituents. He praised the efforts of the Deputy Speaker in ensuring healthy life of the Ogoni, particularly at this time the United Na-

More than 1,000 people benefitted from a free medical healthcare services provided by my constituency office in conjunction with World Outreach Missions, USA and Ogoni Christian Fellowship, last year

tions Environmental Programme (UNEP) report emphasised on degradation of the environment and its consequent health implications. In a goodwill message, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, who was represented by Dr. Nnesochi Offor, the Director of Medical Services, Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board, commended the Deputy Speaker for the project. He enjoined other members to emulate him by assisting in improving the health of the people. “I wish to congratulate the Deputy Speaker for this step he has taken to improve the lives of those that are suffering from sickle cell disease in his constituency,” the commissioner stated.

•Governor Amaechi

Government plans social welfare policy


N a bid to curb the rising danger inherent in street begging perpetrated by destitute and Almajiris, street children and hawking by teenagers in the country, the Federal Government has concluded plans to evolve a social welfare policy that will ensure the welfare and development of persons with disability, orphans and vulnerable children, the elderly and other helpless Nigerians is to be developed for the country. The new policy is expected to provide a comprehensive social welfare package that will make the less-privileged people comparatively comfortable. The policy is part of the resolutions of the 14th regular meeting of the National Council on Women Affairs and Social Development held in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

capital recently. The meeting was held to fast track progress, resolve grey areas and take decisions on issues and concerns emanating from that sector by way of executing meaningful policies and programmes, and execute projects that are aimed at improving the lives of women, children, persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups in the country. The meeting, which was chaired by the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina and declared open by the state governor Kayode Fayemi, also urged the 36 state governments and the FCT to speed up the domestication of the United

Nations (UN) Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities so as to reduce poverty and improve their standards of living. Similarly, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development were mandated to develop guidelines to facilitate networking, settlement and repatriation of street beggars and destitute, even as state governments were enjoined to properly fund their various rehabilitation centres and other activities of persons with disabilities in order to ensure their well-being. The forum also called on the ministry to revive the promotion and exhibition of products made by persons with disabilities as well as provide guidelines for the operations of day-care centres for the elderly.

It further advised the 22 states that passed the Child Rights Law to develop mechanism for effective implementation of the legislation. Mindful of the theme of this year’s meeting which is “Promoting Peace and Enhancing Security to Address the Special Needs of Vulnerable Groups, Especially Women, Children, the Elderly, Persons with Disabilities and the Displaced,” the council approved the replication of the commemoration of the World Peace Day on the September 21 in all the states of the federation to educate Nigerian children on the importance of peace and social cohesion. It also decided that the virtue of peaceful co-existence in line with global efforts on peace should be inculcated in the children.

Fed Govt partners Ondo on cassava production From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

the Federal Government, the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko signed on behalf of his state. In his remark, Adesina disclosed that with 34 million metric tons of cassava produced annually, Nigeria has remained the largest producer of cassava in the world but accounted for zero per cent in terms

of added value. He said the Federal Government would be partnering with states on a particular value-chain to turn cassava into money-making crop for farmers, noting that Ondo State has a comparative advantage in terms of cassava production. He said: “The agreement is meant to facilitate market outlet for one million tons of cassava harvested from 71, 000 hectares of land in the state. It will be used in pro-

•General Manager, Osun Waste Management Agency, Alhaji Ganiyu Oyeladun (second right) and Special Adviser to Osun State Governor on Environmenttal Sanitation, Hon. Bola Ilori, monitoring the clearing of refuge, during the environmental sanitation exercise in Osogbo

ducing dry chips, garri, lafun, fufu, ethanol, starch, and sweetener value chains. “We are working with the states on a particular value-chain where the state has comparative advantage. In the case of cassava, Ondo State has huge advantage. It is one of the 10 largest producers of cassava in the country. It produces 2.4m metric tons of cassava roots. It is also the home of three large cassava firms in this country. It also has 11 SMEs producing large cassava processes. “Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world; producing 34 million metric tons of cassava per year but in terms of value added globally, we account for zero per cent. Take a look at other countries like Thailand that accounts for only 10 per cent of production and 80 per cent of global value.” Despite the high produce, the minister attributed poor marketing as one of the reasons the crop failed to contribute to the nation’s economy. As part of Agricultural Rural Transformation Action Plan, the ministry has decided to roll out derivatives of cassava ranging from cassava flour, ethanol, starch,

and cassava chips. In his remark, Governor Mimiko said that there was need for the partnership because the Ondo State has enormous potential capable of reviving agriculture in the state. He said the government has devised measures to reposition agriculture, pursue food security as well as provide sustainable raw materials for the sector. The governor added that the state was able to provide employment opportunity for over 1,000 graduates through its Agriculture Business City aimed towards reviving the state’s agricultural sector. He said: “For us in Ondo State, we have always had this agenda and we have put efforts on ground to revive the agricultural sector. We have the right principle and with your passion, we hope to have a good agreement with you.” He urged the minister to facilitate the visit of the Oil Palm and Rice Value-chain Committee to the state, stressing that Ondo State is capable of boosting the sector through the crops. He commended the minister for his passion and vision in his bid to transform the sector.

The agreement is meant to facilitate market outlet for one million tons of cassava harvested from 71, 000 hectares of land in the state. It will be used in producing dry chips, garri, lafun, fufu, ethanol, starch, and sweetener value chains…We are working with the states on a particular value-chain where the state has comparative advantage



Groups donate equipment to institutions


HE Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) have donated equipment worth millions of Naira to technical institutions in the country. The gesture was intended to ensure a backup manpower development plan that will certify Nigerians’ competencies and skills that will help in realising the country’s vision to be among the top 20 developed economies by the year 2020. The two organisations have developed a model on technical and vocational education. They would want the Federal Government to take the model as example so as to develop a bigger plan that will ensure that graduates will have the requisite knowledge and skills that will enable them to be employable in the labour market. The Director-General, (ITF) Mr. Longmas Wapmuk disclosed this during the inauguration of a mechanical craft workshop complex

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

built by ITF and NECA at the Technical College Orozo Abuja. He stated that the two organisations have been on this for two years. He said: “We want to develop technical and vocational education in the country. Our decision was informed by our discovery that inadequate equipping of the technical workshop in schools is becoming a challenge. “We identified two institutions, Yaba College of Technology Lagos, and the Technical School Orozo in Abuja and decided to supply them with the equipment to create efficiency and easy learning of their work. “When they brought the equipment, the space was inadequate; so we decided to build a workshop for them so that the equipment could be properly installed,” he stressed. The Director-General (NECA), Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo main-

tained that “what the two agencies are trying to do is just a drop in the ocean, because it is still not enough to go round Nigeria, stating that the government should note this success initiative and develop a bigger plan that will make Nigeria to reap the benefits of a developing country on the path of its vision of 20:2020. Oshinowo advised that there should be less rhetoric in the country’s quest for technological advancement, stating that concrete action should be taken. Let the government start working the talk in terms of concrete plans and finances. “What we have seen in the past are more of rhetoric, more of we will, without any concrete action by those who should actually be driving these plans. We are calling on the Federal Government to move away from the path of rhetoric and move on to the path of execution of some of those things for which plans have been made.


HE Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Agbe Utuama (SAN), has urged the physically challenged persons to be productive in order to fast-track the economic development of the state. Prof. Utuama, who gave the advice at a kitchen/cottage industries scheme programme organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the Office of the Executive Assistant to Delta State Governor on physically challenged persons, said that there is ability in disability. He further stated that the programme was part of the state government’s commitments to ensuring skill acquisition for the people. Utuama stated that the empowerment programme was geared towards enhancing an economy that could be built without oil. He, however, enjoined the beneficiaries to make good use of the empowerment grant so as to make their lives more meaning-

Wake-up call for the physicallychallenged From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

ful, adding that the state government would continue to make the physically-challenged persons self- reliant through skill acquisition. Earlier, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Kingsley Emu said that the event was a special programme put together by the state governor to support the physically-challenged persons in the state. A beneficiary, Mr. Ofili Nkemakonam, praised the state government for its laudable efforts towards improving the lives of persons living with disabilities.


OT many people present in the Badagry Town Hall knew that penultimate Saturday was her birthday. And rather than be engaged in revelry and merry-making that usually characterise such a day, Hon. Rafeequat Arinola Onabamiro, representing Badagry Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, was involved in another kind of celebration. It was giving back to her constituency. For some unemployed youths in the Constituency, the day spelt a new beginning as the youth, popularly known as ‘Area Boys’ were empowered by the lawmaker. The gesture, which took place during the second Town Hall dialogue of Hon. Onabamiro, had in attendance the Akran of Badagry, His Royal Majesty (HRM), De-Wheno Aholu Menu-Toyi, the chief Imam of Badagry Division, His Eminence, Alhaji Sheikh Abd’Hakeem Uwais Akewusola II, chairman, Badagry Central Local Council Development Area, Hon. Husitode Dosu, chairman Badagry West Local Council Development Area, Hon. Hontonyon Bamgbose, chairman, Olorunda Local Council Development Area, Hon. Abudu Amida, other dignitaries as well as constituency members. Right from the entrance, scores of youths wearing T-shirts emblazoned with Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) were noticeable, making it glaring that a high-powered meeting was slated. Onabamiro, who was inaugurated as member, House of Representatives on June 5, 2011, had promised, during her campaigns, to have a quarterly town hall meeting with her constituents. This, she said, was to have constant communication between her constituency and the House of Representatives. And at the first town hall meeting which was held in Badagry in September 30 and October 2, 2011 with elders and members of the party, she resolved to do something about youth unemployment in her constituency which has become a national predicament. According to the lawmaker, she had horrible experiences with the ‘Area Boys’ during her campaign periods. “They broke my windshield,” she said. “They held me to ransom and I was not able to move. If I give them

•The three buses donated to the youth

Lawmaker empowers youths By Joe Agbro Jr

money, they would dictate how much they want.” So, at that first Town Hall meeting, Onabamiro said she had a motherly discussion with them. “I told them that I wanted them to have a changed life.” Onabamiro said she told them to think of a means of livelihood and she would assist them. After their meeting, the youth, numbering 70 from the three zones (Badagry Central LCDA, Badagry West LCDA, and Oloruda LCDA) which make up her constituency, came back to tell her

If you have children who are not doing well, it is better to face them and make them turn around…And if these boys could have a changed life, they could be change agents in the society

that they wanted 18-seater buses to be used for commercial transportation. Hence, penultimate Saturday, the unemployed youths had their wish granted as Hon. Onabamiro made true her promise of assistance by donating three 18-seater buses to them. Presenting the keys to representatives of the youth, Onabamiro urged them to lead more productive lives. According to the lawmaker, the donation was borne out of the need to get them off the streets. She said: “Even before I decided to go into politics, anytime I came here (Badagry), it used to pain me very much to see youths as early as 10: 00 in the morning playing draughts and Ayo. That is not the kind of life that able-bodied men should be living at this time and age. They should be gainfully employed.” Onabamiro, who said she would never do a programme for the people unless they are involved, said the buses were what the youth asked for. “That is when the project would be meaningful,” she said.

“If I sink a borehole somewhere, that may not be what they want. They may have water everywhere.” In addition to the buses, one of the boys who learnt how to give people hair cut also received barbing kits as well as a generating set to open a barbing salon. Asked why the programme was being targeted at the “Area Boys,” Onabamiro, who is a Muslim, made a Biblical allusion to the story of the shepherd who lost one out of 100 sheep but left the 99 to look for it. “If you have children who are not doing well, it is better to face them and make them turn around,” And if these boys could have a changed life, they could be change agents in the society,” she said. Onabamiro also involved the youth in projects by encouraging them to register the vehicle themselves. She also advised them to put the proceeds accruable from the vehicle in the first six months into a savings account to enable them to buy more vehicles. The lawmaker also said there were plans to address the needs of other

•Hon. Onabamiro members of the constituency like children and widows. Onabamiro, who is also a member of the ad-hoc Constitutional Review Committee in the House of Representatives also used the meeting to sensitise the people of Badagry on the need to make any input which will be forwarded to the House.



Nigeria is not a terrorist country. Suicide bombing and unnecessary bloodshed are alien to our culture; and that’s exactly why all of us should come together to seek a permanent solution to this madness


MO State Governor, Rochas Okorocha has said that Nigeria would overcome the security threat posed by the Boko Haram insurgency through dialogue between government, religious and traditional rulers and other stakeholders. Governor Okorocha, who stated this when he interacted with government, religious, community, and political leaders in Gombe and Bauchi states, said the activities of the Boko Haram sect should not be politicised but should be confronted collectively by all stakeholders to save the nation from an imminent collapse. Speaking earlier in Gombe, Governor Okorocha said: “Nigeria is not a terrorist country. Suicide bombing and unnecessary bloodshed are alien to our culture; and that’s exactly why all of us should come together to seek a permanent solution to this madness. The attack is neither targeted at Christians nor Muslims, rather at the country by a group of disgruntled elements that is poised to destabilise Nigeria. “Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba have remained as one in the entity called Nigeria and we as leaders should not allow sentiments to divide us.” Governor Okorocha explained that his visit to northern states was to re-awake the spirit of oneness and build a bridge of peace among diverse ethnic groups in the country. “I am here to build a bridge of peace and strengthen the unity that has existed between the Igbo, Hausa, Christians and Muslims. The rumour peddled by some people asking the Igbo to leave northern states should be dismissed,” he said. In Bauchi, Governor Okorocha maintained that dialogue and effective communication between the leaders and the people would go a long way in addressing the challenges which the country is experiencing. “I am in Bauchi to stress the need for peace to reign in Nigeria. We must not allow religious sentiments to divide us. The senseless and unwarranted killing of in-


N furtherance of its avowed commitment to reduce poverty and improve the dignity of the poor through the provision of micro-finance services and products to them, the Enugu Catholic Diocese-owned Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro-Finance Bank (UPMFB) has given out a total of N263, 680,000 micro-credit funds to a total of 3,860 people in the diocese in 2011. Among the beneficiaries of the




Boko Haram: Okorocha canvasses dialogue From Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri

nocent Nigerians by this wicked group should be condemned by everyone as both Christianity and Islam do not preach violence. The unity and peace of Nigeria as an indivisible entity should not be compromised in whichever way,” Governor Okorocha said. He added that though tension had pervaded the Southeast states over the killings in the north, the state governments have worked hard to ensure that there was no reprisal attack in the East. In their separate speeches, governors of Gombe and Bauchi states praised the

peace initiative of Governor Okorocha which they acknowledged would go a long way in dousing the tension in the country. Governor Dakwambo of Gombe State added that his administration had ensured that peace reigned in the state by relating closely with all the religious groups, including those who are not indigenous to the state whom he said have stake in his government. Also in his speech, Governor Isah Yuguda of Bauchi State said his counterpart from Imo State has demonstrated a unique move which other governors would emulate in order to promote a united Nigeria. He described the unwarranted killings

as the handiwork of agents of doom whose mission is to destabilise the country. Governor Yuguda stated that his administration does not discriminate against any group or religion, adding that the status of those who are not indigenous to the state has been abolished in Bauchi State. Governor Okorocha, however, inspected some ongoing projects in Bauchi State and inaugurated a road named after him by Governor Isa Yuguda. The governor was accompanied on the trip by Chairman Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Samuel Ohiri, Special Adviser to the governor on Political Affairs, Nze P.C. Onuoha and other top government officials.

N263.68m credit facility for rural poor From Chris Oji, Enugu

approximately N264 micro-credit facility were a total of 2,108 poor women who received a total of N167, 800,000 to either engage in new micro or small enterprises or to enhance their various businesses

that are already in place. Manager in charge of the Credit Department of Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro-Finance Bank, Mr. Ikechukwu Ngene, disclosed this while presenting the bank’s 2011 performance. This was contained in a release signed by the bank’s Public/Media Relations Officer, Sir

Abuchi Anueyiagu. Mr. Ngene observed that the performance was an indication of Umuchinemere Pro-credit MicroFinance Bank’s relentless efforts to reduce poverty in the society. The credit manager, who disclosed that the information he provided was derived from his department’s records at the end of the 2011 financial year ended December 31, said it was an indication that the bank did well and was able to empower the 2,108 poor women with a total of N167, 800,000 to engage in meaningful micro and small enterprises to improve their wellbeing. Umuchinemere Pro-credit MicroFinance Bank is championing the cause of improving the lot of the poor, especially women, since available information show that women participation in development in Nigeria has been very low due to inadequate access to credit. According to him, the bank mobilised a total of 4,280 clients last year and disbursed a total of

N81.4m as micro-credit facility to a total of 827 beneficiaries in the last quarter of the year under review. Mr. Ngene, who disclosed that UPMFB is meeting its desired goal in micro-credit disbursement, said the bank was aiming to disburse a total of N120m in the first quarter of 2012. He advised the beneficiaries of the bank’s credit facility to always ensure they make good and prudent management of the funds and to effect repayment of the loans promptly. Chairman of the bank who is also a Catholic Prelate, Rev. Prof. Obiora Ike said micro-finance policy was a veritable tool to bring about needed change for development, pointing out that gender inequalities in developing countries impede economic growth, saying that Nigeria was no exception. On the whole, Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro-Finance Bank disbursed a total of N644, 800,000 loans in 2011.

Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro-Finance Bank is championing the cause of improving the lot of the poor, especially women, since available information show that women participation in development in Nigeria has been very low due to inadequate access to credit •Borno State Governor Shetima (middle) inspecting a project at the Customs Bridge, Maiduguri





Did the Abia State government alter the 2012 budget with a view to defrauding the people? Leaders of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) spoke with Correspondent UGOCHUKWU EKE on the controversy.

Abia govt, opposition parties in war of words


UDGET is about figures. Experts have said that it is the outlay of government business for a given year. In Abia State, like the other 35 states, Governor Theodore Orji has presented his budget proposal to the state House of Assembly. He intends to expend N122,390,433,920 for the 2012 fiscal year before the state House of Assembly before the end last year. This has, however, provoked virulent criticisms across the political divided. Two political parties have described it as a bundle of fraud. The governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Reagan Ufomba, said that when the two sides of the budget - the recurrent and capital expenditures - are added up, it throws up a different figure. He attributed the ‘error’ to an attempt to either defraud the state or that the budget planners do not know simple arithmetic. The state Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Cassidy Agbai, saw something wrong with the decision “to keep throwing back the issue of moribund industries that have either been sold or leased out”. It smells of fraud, he said. However, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Don Ubani, described the comments as the normal song people hear from those who lose elections. Reacting to the contention that different figures came up when the capital and recurrent expenditures are added. Ubani said it was sheer human error and should not be attributed to intend to defraud the state.

•Gov Orji

• Umeh

‘They may have forgotten that the over 450 political appointees specially recruited for election are no longer on their pay-roll. This should automatically impact positively on over-head and personnel costs. Conspicuously missing in the budget was loan repayments. Especially, the N10 billion that was borrowed in the week of April governorship election’ Ufomba, however, explained: “The deficit budget of Transformation 2012 presented by the Abia State Government to the State Assembly recently, is to say the least, a jumble of conjectures and misplaced priorities which, therefore, remains unrealisable. “The first noticeable lie in the budget is the disparity in the budgeted figures between capital and recurrent expenditures. If you add up their own figures in the budget you get N121.073 billion as against budgeted figure of N122 billion. “Next in my line of question is the exact economic focus or policy of this government as it relates to investment? Do they have business being in business or not? Are they regulating or deregulating? Are they investing or divesting?

“It is a pity that instead of a reduction in recurrent expenditure, we saw an increase of over 24.8 per cent or over N11 billion. Don’t forget that non-indigent workers serving in the state civil service had been weeded off, though unreasonably and unacceptably to me.” The APGA candidate also said: “They may have forgotten that the over 450 political appointees specially recruited for purposes of election are no longer in their payroll. This should automatically impact positively on over-head and personnel costs. Conspicuously missing in the budget was loan repayments. Especially, the N10 billion that was borrowed in the week of April governorship election. “Our total projected income from

•Deputy Governor of Ondo State Alhaji Ali Olanusi flanked by immediate past representative of Ondo State on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Governing Board Dr Benson Enikuomehin and his wife Bosede during the thanksgiving service for Enikuomehin at Civic Centre, Igbokoda, Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State...Sunday. = PHOTO: TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO.

Federation Account is N58 billion, and you spend N56 billion or 99 per cent on recurrent; how and where do you get the funding for all the capital projects in the budget? Even with the projected, unrealistic IGR of N22 billion, an increase of over 400 per cent from last year’s figure, government cannot fund the budget as presented. “I also wish to state unequivocally that most of the projects in the budget are either frivolous, valueless, unrealistic or unrealizable. What do we need a Heliport for instead of a cargo airport? Why not join forces with those pushing for an amendment of the NRC Act so that we can invest in railways and motorable roads? ”To my mind, the heliport is a selfish luxury which the people of Abia neither need nor can afford at this time. How can you revamp Golden Guinea Breweries, which is privately owned and government is not a majority shareholder? I also did not see appropriation for a repurchase of shares from investors in the budget if the plan is to take it over.” Similarly, Ufomba queried the plan to locate a cement company in Arodwukwu. He queried” “How can you build a cement plant in Arochukwu when licence has been issued to a private company by the Federal Government in whose care rests issues of all solid minerals? Is the government investing or divesting? The whole thing sounds more like a political campaign speech. A budget is supposed to be a clear, specific, unambiguous statement of projects, income and expenditure. “If total projected income is about N80 to N100 billion why budget N122 billion? You can see that anything erected on this bud-

get cannot stand.” Ufomba also took a critical look at the performance of the 2011 budget. In his view, “the performance of the 2011 budget, using their own figures, simple arithmetic shows that if a government budgets N105billion and spends N30billion, performance cannot be “over 60 per cent” as contained in the budget speech but less than 27 per cent. The budget did not disclose accurate figures of all that accrued to the state in 2011. “Looking at the figures of income and expenditure, especially with the reduction of about 50 per cent in the projected subsidy income to the state, a jumble of misplaced priorities, inconsistent policies of government. Agbai said that when a government keeps budgeting for moribund companies like the Golden Guinea Brewery and the Aba Textile Mill which have been either sold or leased out, it means that the government is not serious. He said that the budget is fraud and a calculated attempt to defraud the state, stressing that the Golden Guinea Brewery which was budgeted for last year is still in this year’s budget, while Abatex which has been sold to a private company is now being used as a drug warehouse. The ANPP chairman said that the entire budget will never be realised as it has a lot of loopholes through which the government or its agents hope to defraud the people. However, Ubani said that for the opposition parties to describe the Budget of Transformation as fraud shows that they have decided to live in the past or refused to be in tune with the realities of time. Ubani noted that if there is arithmetic inaccuracy which is a human error, “any broad minded person should not label it fraud. He said, for any serious minded person to attribute it to fraud, one must know the intent of the act.” He said: “If one wants to write 7+5 which should give 12 and ended up writing 11, it is a typographical error, and therefore does not mean fraud, the opposition parties in the state should come to terms with the situation on ground as the state needs peace and equity”. He said that the budget is very clear as it is aimed at moving the state forward, adding that the state government is determined to revive the Golden Guinea despite what anybody or group of people may say. The Commissioner noted that reviving the Brewery will attract a lot of benefits to the state, apart from its economic and social impact, pointing out that jobs will be created, crime rate will reduce and there will be increase in the internally generated revenue of the state and the local government councils involved. Ubani explained that there are some issues surrounding the Brewery which the state governor, Theodore Orji is trying to resolve, which is why it keeps reoccurring in the state budget, adding that it shows that the state government has the interest of the people of the state at heart, “and there is no law that says that any government property that may have been sold which is recoverable should not be recovered”.




The President sleeps in Govt House again


HILE having face-off with former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, the Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area-born President Goodluck Jonathan avoided visiting his home state, much less sleep at the Creek Haven (Government House), Yenagoa. With the emergence of the Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Chief Nestor Binabo, as Acting Governor, Jonathan was at Bayelsa’s seat of power on Friday, where he passed the night, before moving to his hometown on Saturday to vote. From Port Harcourt International Airport, the President flew in a chopper and landed inside the Government House, Yenagoa, where he was given VIP treatment, as a worthy son of the state.

First mother not left out The mother of President Goodluck Jonathan, Madam Eunice, accompanied his son to participate in Saturday’s governorship election at their Otuoke hometown in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, while the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, was not left out, as she exercised her franchise in the small community where the President grew up without wearing shoes. The small community now hosts a federal university. The First Lady also fully complied with protocol, to avoid embarrassment from journalists, who would not hesitate to publish/broadcast her mistakes.

Timi Alaibe still a force to reckon with A former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, is still a force to reckon with in the state’s political firmament. He remains highly influential. He was initially the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), before returning to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ended up as Chairman of Henry Seriake Dickson’s Campaign Caucus. While monitoring the election on Saturday, The Nation was at Alaibe’s Opokuma hometown in Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, with the state Chairman of the party, Deacon James Dorgu, in the ex-NDDC chief’s house around 11:20 am, while accreditation of voters was ongoing. As a mark of respect for Alaibe, the chairman had to accompany the party strongman to the polling unit near his house for accreditation, along with many other chieftains of the ruling party and other eminent personalities, amid tight security. The former NDDC boss, had earlier been described by a cleric as a tree that can make a forest.

From Bisi Olaniyi, Yenagoa

Acting Governor in forced loyalty It is an open secret that the Acting Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Nestor Binabo, is a core loyalist of former Governor Timipre Sylva. The points was not lost on party enthusiasts when Binabo skipped the name of Henry Seriake Dickson in his order of protocol while speaking at the flag-off of the party’s campaign at Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa, with President Goodluck Jonathan in attendance. Having clearly seen the handwriting on the wall and with the emergence of Dickson as the winner of the peaceful election, Binabo decided to make a U-turn, perhaps to avoid being removed as Speaker, when he returns to the House of Assembly, after inauguration of the new governor. The acting governor later joined Dickson in some of the campaigns and at times flew in the same helicopter, thereby shifting loyalty, probably against his wish, in an attempt to be politically relevant and to prevent being humiliated, through impeachment or recall.

Ogobiri youths threaten mayhem over cash Hundreds of youths of Ogobiri, near Amassoma, the base of the Niger Delta University (NDU), in Southern Ijaw LGA of Bayelsa State did not pretend about the fact that they needed quick cash, in spite of the presence of journalists, who were in the community to monitor the election. Some of the youths, who were drunk as early as 10 am and openly smoked cigarettes and Indian hemp, were threatening fire and brimstone, over alleged attempt to shortchange them in sharing election money, declaring that they would not accept N70,000 offered by their leader, having allegedly confirmed that N1 million was meant for their community, which was denied by the leader.

Politics of the senatorial district Even before the announcement of the final result of the election, majority of Bayelsans were optimistic that the standard bearer of PDP, Henry Seriake Dickson, whose emergence Ben Murray-Bruce described as coronation, would be thrown up as the winner, with Kemela Okara of ACN, who protested against Dickson’s declaration, asked to wait for another time. Since the creation of Bayelsa state on October 1, 1996, the Bayelsa West Senatorial District, comprising Sagbama and Ekeremor LGAs, where Dickson hails from (Sagbama council), has never produced the governor. The pioneer civilian governor of Bayelsa

•President Jonathan


state, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, is from Amassoma, Southern Ijaw LGA in Bayelsa Central while Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Chief Timipre Sylva are both from Bayelsa East.

still being detained, even after governorship election, with family calling for his unconditional release. The arrested Chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Mr. Tiwei Orunimighe, is being detained by the police, even as the governorship election is over, indicating that “man pass man.” The detained chairman is a staunch supporter of Sylva, while the council’s ViceChairman, Aya Felix Bourney, is a loyalist of Dickson. Orunimighe was arrested by the police on Wednesday, over penultimate Friday’s fracas at Oporoma, the Southern Ijaw council’s headquarters, with his family members now calling for his unconditional release. In the skirmish during the PDP campaign rally, the Southern Ijaw LG’s Supervisory Councillor for Agriculture and Economic Planning, Mr. Ebiseye Orumo, lost his life and five others were seriously injured and hospitalised. The council chairman’s younger brother, Paul Ebifaghe Orunimighe, who stated that the LG boss was being witch-hunted, noted that his brother was on a visit to Ghana, but invited by Bayelsa’s Acting Governor, Chief Nestor Binabo, and Dickson, to attend the Oporoma rally. On arrival at the rally venue about 2:30 pm, having flown into the country, Paul said Orunimighe found the vice-chairman (Aya Felix Bourney) already sitted on the seat provided for the council chairman, while all entreaties to get him to vacate the seat yielded no fruit, leading to the commotion. In spite of his influence, the Southern Ijaw LG chairman is still a guest of the police at their headquarters in Yenagoa, which may be a tip of the iceberg of the fate that may befall any errant Bayelsa politician and others.

... And Odi came alive with governorship election Remember Odi? The community came to national reckoning under the Obasanjo administration when it was levelled by the military. Odi in Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, came alive during the election, with the people completely putting behind them the destruction of the ancient community by soldiers in 1999. New buildings are now springing up as students of the Federal Government College in the community learning in a peaceful atmosphere.

Richard-Kpodoh relocates to Dubai Chief Perekeme Richard-Kpodoh, the allpowerfull Special Adviser on Security to Sylva, who was publishing “embarrassing” advertorials against President Goodluck Jonathan and Henry Seriake Dickson for about three months, decided to relocate to Dubai in the United Arab Emirate (UAE), even before he was sacked by the state’s Acting Governor, Chief Nestor Binabo. Sylva too, according to unconfirmed reports, is out of the country, along with his wife, Alanyingi, while most of his aides still in the country refused to participate in the poll, to protest the alleged maltreatment of their boss, with President Jonathan insisting that the former governor’s performance was poor. Man pass man, as arrested LG chairman is

‘Appeal Court ‘ll do justice in Ogbaru rep tussle’


GROUP, Ogbaru Stakeholders Forum (OSF), has expressed confidence in the ability of the Court of Appeal to resolve the logjam over who represents the area in the House of Representatives. The forum, in a statement, said the Vice-Chairman of the House on Media, Victor Ogene, won the election. The Election Petition Tribunal last week nullified Ogene’s election. The forum said: “On behalf of the leadership and generality of members of the Ogbaru Stakeholders Forum, a registered, non-partisan civil society group based in Ogbaru Federal Constituency of Anambra State, we wish to decry the judicial ambush which took place in Awka, Anambra State on Thursday, February 9, 2012. “The petitioner, Hon. Chukwuka Wilfred Onyema was never - and still is not - the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the said election, hence in his petition, he joined the PDP as 2nd Respondent. The Election Petition Tribunal is not a place to determine pre-election issues like candidature of po-

Yobe SIEC gears up for LG elections


By Olukorede Yishau

litical parties. Instructively, till date, the said Hon. Onyema is still locked in litigation (a case he instituted) over the issue with the rightful PDP candidate who contested the elections, Hon. Sunday Nwafili, in suit No: FHC/AWK/ CS/247/2011, pending at the Federal High Court, Awka.” The group added: “ All Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) documents used in the conduct of the said election has the petitioner listed as candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). These include Certified True Copies (CTC) of INEC’s Final List of Candidates and Form EC8E (i), used for declaration of result, amongst others. “At the conclusion of pre-hearing session, the Tribunal formulated only a single issue for determination: “Whether INEC was right in cancelling the result of Ogwu Ikpele ward”. “The National Assembly election held on April 9th ,2011 was cancelled by INEC in Ogwu Ikpele

•Justice Dahiru Musdapher (CJN)

ward due to a multiplicity of reasons, including physical attack on the Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO), non-collation of results into Forms EC8B (i) and EC8C (i) - ward and local government collation forms - as well as hijack of electoral materials.” The group urged the Court of Appeal, to which Ogene has appealed, to ensure the former editor of The Source keeps the seat.

OLLOWING the pronouncement of Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam that local government elections in the state will hold by the second quarter of the year, activities have kicked off at the state Independent Electoral Commission. Yobe state YSIEC boss, Mohammed Jauro Abdu told newsmen in Damaturu that his commission is ever ready to conduct an election. “As far as the next election is concern, we have gone very far. I say far because, the most sensitive area of the election which is the voters register has been taken care off. My voters register is already ready. The only thing next sensitive is just the printing of the ballots papers which is not a big deal at all. “I can conduct an election even this time if am called upon. Almost everything is ready. We are only waiting for a day to be fixed for the election and we will go

From Duku JOEL, Damaturu

ahead with the election without hitches Isha Allah”, Jauro informed. Our correspondent observed that YIEC has built a new annex complex comprising of the office of the Chairman and all the permanent members and a conference room furnished to test, while that commission’s store has also been fortified for maximum security of all election materials. It would be recalled that the Yobe state Independent Electoral Commission conducted the local government election which saw the expiration of the tenure of the elected chairman in August last year. Consequently, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam announced at the swearing in of the caretaker chairmen in October 2011 that the LG elections would be held in the middle of this year.














Life as a specialty cake designer T HE specialty cake design industry has flourished in recent years. Thanks to extravagant weddings, fashionable frosted treats and couture confections. The cakes are not only delicious but are also art pieces in themselves. One of the designers pushing the change’s, Mrs Rebecca George, Director of Berry Nas Cakes, whose products cake lovers see as inspirational designs. Her company, founded in Calabar, specialises in the design and creation of a special cakes and desserts for all occasions. Given strong consumer demand for specialty cakes, new entrants into the industry are increasing. To compete, one needs to make cakes look as professional as possible. For this reason, Mrs. George provides new entrants training in all aspects of the industry, from sugar craft to marzipan techniques to enable them compete in an increasingly packed marketplace. She said one needs at least N100,000 to start the business. New entrants need an oven, some sets of baking tools and equipment that one may have at home. If one decides to open a bigger baking business however, one will need more and bigger equipment to accommodate more clients. Her clientele are Nigerians. They are in Lagos, Enugu, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states. She said the business is her passion and this motivates her to continue to grow as an entrepreneur and as a businesswoman. From glamorously detailed

Stories by Daniel Essiet

cakes to shoe-shaped ones, Director of Berry Nas cakes said specialty cakes are designed based on events and the increasing budgets of designconscious brides and bridegrooms. On challenges, she said rising operating costs is affecting the industry. Currently, Mrs. George is dealing with flour costs, dairy, eggs and other ingredients following upward trend. On the surface, the situation looks dire, but fortunately for the industry, people always need to eat, and some parts of the industry even benefit from the poor economy. She said she can not bring down standards with growing consumer sophistication. Mrs. George has a portfolio of accolades to show for her efforts. Her largest business accomplishments include making a number of jaw-droppingly beautiful specialty cakes. Big families chose her for their special occasions because of her experience, creative style and beautifullycrafted handmade cakes. Mrs. George has created multi-layered traditional fruit cakes, decorated with cream and white icing, and followed a strong floral theme. Combining her artistic skills and business acumen, she focuses on melding together artistic cake decorating, sugarart skills and simplified, timesaving techniques essential for successful production and profitability. Like any business, hard work and good organisational skills has helped her business to flourish. She

•A shirt shape cake

works very long hours to hit delivery times spot on. Mrs. George has always made it a priority to attend industry events, to increase her scope of knowledge, including purchasing and sourcing of materials and nutritional science behind ingredients. Mrs. George is not bothered that there is strong emphasis on fresh, mouth-watering and innovative bakery produce. Most importantly, the industry is filled with leaders who are always moving, thinking and

•Mrs George

capitalising on new opportunities. For her, making cakes isn’t all butter icing, but keeping ones head above water in the industry and a certain amount of artistic flair. Mrs. George is a source of motivation to those who may want to become authorities in cake business. For her, it is not all about developing new products, but focusing on developing products that have an insulating competitive advantage so she can be ahead of the market.

‘Shoe industry yet to recover from Kano bomb blasts’


HE local shoe industry in Kano, which also suffered a massive set back due to the recent Boko Haram bomb attacks, is still affected by low sales. A cross section of industry stake holders said in Kano that the persistent drop in sales since the bombing has caused a sharp drop in production. One of the local shoe makers at the city’s Wambai market,

Malam Haruna Adamu, said they were only managing the situation as sales had dropped to the lowest ebb. “Most of our customers are from the neighboring countries. Now, with the news of bomb blasts here and there as well as the imposed curfew, people are scared of coming to Kano, honestly.” Another shoe maker, Malam Yunusa Muhammad, said he

learnt shoe making so as to be economically independent, but with the current situation in Kano, he had to temporarily opt out as no sales were forth coming. “Imagine a person running a business from where he makes about N300,000 in a week, just from orders which people place to get the shoes to countries like Cameroun, Niger and Chad. “But now, he realises about

SMEDAN, stakeholders to launch payment scheme

• SMEDAN DG Muhammad Nadada Umar,


MEMORANDUM of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment and implementation of a payment guarantee scheme, has been signed by the Small and Medium Enterprises De-

velopment Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and TSX Advisory Limited, in Abuja. Earlier, SMEDAN had met with stakeholders of the scheme made up of private and public sector institutions/regulatory agencies to facilitate stakeholder ownership of the scheme. Present at the meeting were representatives of Interswitch, TSX Advisory Limited as well as representatives of the National Planning Commission, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Abuja Securities and Commodities Exchange Commission. Also expected to be part of the scheme are the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Consumer Protection

Council (CPC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Speaking during a presentation of the scheme at the SMEDAN Headquarters, the TSX Representative, Mr Charles Ifedi, said that SMEDAN’s support of the scheme was critical to improve the performance of SMEs in the country. He added that TSX, established to carry on strategy, business development and debt factoring and project management for SMEs would support SMEDAN’s mission of closing the financial gaps that were not covered by small and medium enterprises credit guarantee schemes (SMECGS).

N3,000 in a week or so.” Ujudud Bala, another shoe maker, said that customers within the state were not forthcoming either because of the curfew and people’s tight schedules. Kano is the centre of the shoe industry of the North because of the hides and skin sector. Shoe repair provides jobs for a lot of youths. There are a large number of Hausa apprentice


HE Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) has appointed a new council to run its affairs in the next two years. According to a statement signed by its Executive Secretary,Eke Ubiji,the association elected Alhaji Ibrahim Gasau President. Other members of the council include Dr Lizzy Okereke,Deputy President(Finance and Administration); Prince ‘Degun Agboade, Deputy President(South);Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed, Deputy President( North) and Alhaji Abdul Yerima, Zonal Vice President(North West. The council has Hajia Maryam Ibrahim, Zonal Vice President( North East); Tokunbo Talabi, Zonal Vice President (South West ); Dr Ann Ugbo, Zonal Vice-President (South-south); Prince Marcel Nlemigbo, Zonal Vice-President (South East) and P.Izundu (Union

workers in the leatherworks. Dozens of graduates of the shoe making craft have moved from the state to other places across the country .Beautiful designs, ranging from sandals, easywear slippers, or shoes are made by the local cobblers in the city. Funny enough, more and more women are also venturing into the shoe-making and shoe care craft, and are reaping huge profits from it.

NASME elects new executive Bank Plc) Treasurer. Kingsley Anaroke is Publicity Secretary, Ayo Akinsomi, Representative of the private sector, Mr Obiora Madu, Representative of the private sector; Emmanuel Onoje (Bank of Industry), Legal Adviser, Mrs Shola David–Borha (Stanbic IBTC bank), Financial secretary; John Aboh (Oceanic Bank), Representative of Financial institution, Mr B. Adamu (Central Bank ) Representative of Financial institution; Assoc. Prof Longmas Wapnuk (Industrial Trust Fund) Representative of Public sector; Chief Moses Makinde, Chairman, Board of Trustees and Dr Ike Abugu, immediate past President.




INVESTORS New dispute resolution model coming HE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is making fundamental changes to capital market dispute resolution and enforcement mechanisms under a new dispute resolution framework billed to become part of the market’s rules and regulations. A copy of the new dispute management framework currently undergoing draft exposure to key stakeholders and obtained by The Nation indicated fundamental shifts in scale of preference for dispute resolution, constitution of adjudicatory committee and the enforcement actions. The new complaints management framework is expected to be promulgated into the body of capital market’s rules and regulations in March 2012. Already, SEC has indicated that it would make necessary amendments to existing rules and regulations to accommodate the changes. As against existing practice whereby SEC can order restitution to investor or disgorgement of illegal profit by operator, the , SEC could only censure, fine or suspend a wrongdoer under the new framework and investors would only be able to recover their losses only through arbitration and court processes. The commission based this shift on the lack of necessary institutional supports to enforce any order for recovery investor’s losses. Besides, the new framework also made dramatic changes to the composition and roles of the Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC). The APC was first established as an internal administrative committee of SEC in 2000 and it has jurisdiction over all disputes in the market. The APC consists of the Director-General of SEC, who presides over the committee, members of the board of SEC, directors in the operations departments of SEC and observers who are representatives of trade associations in the market including the stock brokers, registrars, trustees and issuing houses among others. But under the new framework, the


•SEC prioritises mediation Stories by Taofik Salako

APC shall be constituted as an independent panel with membership drawn from retired capital market operators, lawyers and ex-capital market regulators. Serving members of the board of SEC would not be appointed to the APC. The new scale of dispute resolution favours internal resolution by all operators and places mediation above all other means.

According to the new framework, it’s only when the commission is convinced that mediation has failed that it would advise parties to go for arbitration or litigation at the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST). In line with the mediation option, SEC is already working to have a formal Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system in conjunction with the Institute of Chartered Mediators and

Conciliators, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and Capital Market Solicitors Association. According to the commission, it will identify, train and document a pool of mediators and arbitrators from which disputants may choose whenever disputes arise All capital market operators including registrars and stockbrokers, quoted companies and Self-Regulatory Organisations, such as Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Abuja Securities and Commodities Exchange (ASCE) are expected to

have an in-house complaints resolution mechanism based on standards to be set by the commission. Any market operator without existing dispute resolution mechanism or where such existing mechanism falls short of acceptable best practices, is expected to submit a proposal on the strategy and timeline for the implementation of the new framework. The existence of an internal dispute resolution mechanism by all operators would enable them to manage complaints.

•Divisional Head, e-Banking and RetailProducts, UBA Plc, Mr Luqman Balogun presenting a cheque of $10,000 to the star prize winner of UBA-Western Union’s ‘Bumper Cash Harvest’ Promo, Mrs Juliana Onuoha, at UBA House in Lagos

Firms suspend equities, shift to debt issue


ANY of the companies are suspending their plans for supplementary equity issues and opting for full debt or quasidebt offers to raise the much-needed capital as investors’apathy continues to undermine the viability of the primary equity market. Investigation showed that many firms who had earlier indicated interests or secured initial approvals to float new equity issues have suspended the plan due to what they described as unfavourable situation at the primary market. Earlier, no fewer than 11 companies had indicated interests in raising some N250 billion in new equity funds including companies such as RT

Briscoe, DN Meyer, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN), May and Baker Nigeria and Fidson Healthcare. Many of the companies had intimated shareholders of the necessity of accessing new funds while many have started and completed some key steps in the new issue process. CCNN had secured shareholders’ approval to raise N45 billion in new supplementary issue. Sources said capital raisings by quoted companies said most have shelved new equity issues as initial feedbacks from investors and pause of the market did not provide assurance for successful equity issuance.

The inability to access new equity funds has forced several companies to modify their growth plans and source for new funds through the debt market, which was relatively costlier and oftentimes unsupportive of longterm growth plan. Chairman, Crusader (Nigeria) Plc, Prof. Monsur Kenku, whose company had planned to raise about N3.6 billion in new equity funds through rights issue, said the difficult situation at the capital market frustrated the return of the company to raise additional equity funds. According to him, the company discovered that investors’ appetite for equity investments has been generally weak with little or no activity in the

primary equity market. “An anticipated return to the market for additional equity funding on the expectation of a quick market recovery has proved impossible,” Kenku said. Crusader has struggled to surmount successive losses that arose from its inability to source required equity funds to pursue its growth plan. Crusader was forced to adopt a quasi-debt instrument last month as application list for its N2.26 billion zero coupon unsecured subordinated irredeemable convertible debenture stock opened. The debenture was done by way of rights issue. A debenture denotes a debt obligation sold by an organisation or

the certificate evidencing such indebtedness. Usually, a long-term instrument, debenture is subject to the terms of issuance but mostly all debentures are secured with stated maturity date as well as specified fixed returns like bonds. Debentures can be classified, according to their convertibility to other forms of securities, especially equities. Thus, there are convertible and non-convertible debentures. Convertible debentures confer on the debenture holders the right to opt to convert their holdings to shares or demand for payment in cash whenever the issuer decides to call in the debentures for redemption or simply settlement.

NSE, Morgan Stanley hold Investors’ clinic


HE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Morgan Stanley, a global institutional securities and wealth management firm, would expose retail investors to strategies to manage their portfolios at an investors’ clinic today.

The clinic would be attended top retail investors from dealing member firms who would share their investment experiences on how to properly structure investment portfolios. The event is one of the new in-

vestor education initiatives designed by the NSE to address the prevailing low investor confidence issue in the market. Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr Oscar Onyema, said that the Exchange developed this initiative in

recognition of the need to have a local retail investor base with a good understanding of how to make sound investment decisions. According to him, the investors’clinic will help in educating investors about portfolio di-

versification principles and the risks and rewards associated with investing in the market. Stockbrokers will also be exposed to ways of helping them restructure their portfolios to enable them make informed investment decisions.




Calculating the new personal income tax T

AXPAYERS heaved a sigh of relief when the news of the amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act (“PITA”) spread across the country. The announcement came after a prolonged wait as the Bill was passed by the immediate past sixth Assembly. The House of Representatives passed the Bill on May 25, 2011 while the Senate passed it on June 1, 2011. The news of the President’s assent to the Bill to amend the Personal Income Tax Act’, Cap. P8 LFN 2004 was made public on Tuesday, December 13, 2011, during the presentation of the 2012 Budget proposal by the President to a joint session of the National Assembly. Expectedly, the Personal Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2011 (hereafter referred to as “PITAM”) has generated some reactions, including differing views on some of the controversial aspects. As soon as PITAM was made public, it was discovered that the date of assent by the President was June 14, 2011. Till date, it is unclear why taxpayers have to wait for six months before the news of the signed PITAM became public. Curiously enough, before the President’s assent, there were agi-

By Yomi Olugbenro

tations and appeals from Taxpayers for its signing. For example, one national newspaper published on October 28, 2011, reported that Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) appealed to the President to sign the Personal Income Tax (Amendment) Bill into law without further delay. Some commentators have mentioned that the indicated date of assent helps to avoid a breach of Section 58 of the 1999 Constitution which requires the President to signify his assent or the withholding of his assent within thirty (30) days of a Bill being presented to him. Another point is that, it may have been impossible for the president to assent to the bill at any period later than June 2011 which signified the end of the sixth National Assembly. The legislative rule that was then applicable is to the effect that any Bill that could not be passed at the end of a session of a particular Assembly would go through a fresh legislative process when a new Assembly is inaugurated. Thankfully, Taxpayers do not need to suffer a second round of

the waiting game as the President has done justice to the Bill. The new Assembly has also modified its rule which now allows a new Assembly to continue the consideration of Bills that could not be completed during a legislative cycle. By virtue of its new Order 111, which dwells on the handling of pending Bills at the end of a legislative cycle, a Bill could now survive beyond the lifespan of a particular legislative cycle. One of the fundamental changes introduced by PITAM is the introduction of a new Consolidated Relief Allowance (CRA) which replaced the old Personal Relief. We will deal with the controversy around the computation of CRA in this edition and discuss other controversies in the days ahead. Based on the old law, personal relief is N5,000 plus 20 per cent of earned income. Section 5 of PITAM which amended Section 33 of the Principal Act (PITA) replaced the old basis for computing personal relief with the new CRA. Section 5(a) of PITAM provides that “there shall be allowed a consolidation relief allowance of N200,000 subject to a minimum of one per cent of gross income whichever is higher plus 20 per cent of the gross



income and the balance shall be taxed in accordance with the income table in the Sixth Schedule to the Act”. The general understanding from this provision is that in computing CRA, Taxpayers would claim the higher of N200,000 or one per cent of gross income and then add such to 20 per cent of the gross income. Put in another way, for Taxpayers with gross income in excess of N20m, CRA would be computed as 21 per cent while for those with lower gross income it would be N200,000 plus one per cent of gross income. However, the provision of the new Sixth Schedule appears to be in conflict with the analysis above. Paragraph one of the sixth Schedule stated that CRA shall be granted on income “at flat rate of N200,000 plus 20 per cent of gross income”. This confusion was also repeated in paragraph 3 of the Sixth Schedule where the basis for computing CRA was stated as “N200,000 plus 20 per cent of gross income”. While opinions are divided on the correct basis for calculating CRA with an equal share on both sides, it is perhaps easy to predict the direction towards which the Tax Authorities may move. They would prefer that the

controversies be resolved in favour of the provisions in the Sixth Schedule. However, taxpayers (especially those with the current or anticipated annual income in excess of N20million) will pray to have the phrase “or one per cent of gross income which is higher” to be retained. While I am not a legal practitioner, I understand from my various discussions with lawyers on the foregoing issue that the provisions of a Schedule to an Act cannot override the provisions in the main body of the Act. This is trite law. Consequently, any inconsistency between the provisions of the main Act and its accompanying Schedule would have to be resolved in favour of the former. To that extent, I will pitch my tent with the provisions of Section 5(a) of PITA. By that provision, CRA is to be computed as “N200,000 subject to a minimum of one per cent of gross income whichever is higher, plus 20 per cent of the gross income.” •Yomi Olugbenro is a Senior Tax Manager with Akintola Williams Deloitte a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. He is Fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) and a member of the Indirect tax faculty of CITN.


NCR vs Omatek: Between peripheral and substance


HE computer industry in Nigeria is highly fragmented with several small and midsized companies competing for both private and public contracts. Innovation, after-sales services and customer relations are the key words to survive in the industry. NCR (Nigeria) Plc and Omatek Ventures Plc are the only two quoted computer-marketing companies. With nearly 62 years, NCR is one of the oldest companies in Nigeria and also one of the longstanding stocks on the stock market having been listed 32 years ago. NCR is a subsidiary of NCR USA, which holds 60 per cent equity stake. Omatek, a comparatively young and wholly indigenous company, was incorporated in 1998 and listed in 2008. The performances of both NCR and Omatek, however, showed a declining industry characterised by reduction in sales and profitability as well as returns to stakeholders. Although the degrees of the slowdown varied, the two companies witnessed significant declines in all key indices in the immediate past year. NCR appeared to be more resilient and resistant to the downtrend. Sales Generation Both companies recorded significant declines in sales in the immediate past year. NCR’s turnover dropped by about 53 per cent while Omatek’s sales incomes decreased by 39 per cent. The industry-wide decline in sales reflected the economic recession, which has greatly reduced the perception of computers and computer media as lifestyle items while cash-strapped companies would rather opt for maintenance rather than scrapping used computers and retooling with new ones. The booming market for used computers has also adversely affected franchisees like NCR and Omatek. Profitability Rising costs amidst declining sales created irresistible pressures on profitability in the computermarketing industry. Omatek’s pretax profit dropped by 68 per cent in the immediate past year just as average profit per unit of sales halved from 21 per cent to 11 per cent. With these, net profit nosed


Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity







2010 % -52.8

2009 %

Average % -26.4 0 -3.5 0 38.75 -11.8 33.15 90.35


2009 % -39.2

Average %

-7.0 52.7 -23.6 31.1 65.6

24.8 35.2 115.1

Pre-tax profit margin (NCR)

down by 65 per cent. NCR’ profit before tax equally dropped by seven per cent while net profit after tax declined by 24 per cent. However, NCR surprisingly recorded a stronger underlying profit-making capacity with average profit per unit of sales increasing from 25 per cent to 53 per cent, indicating a two-year average margin of about 39 per cent. Actual Returns

Both companies witnessed declines in their returns but NCR still sustained substantial underlying return in addition to ability to pay cash dividend. Omatek, which is the larger of the two companies in terms of balance sheet size, returned 1.2 per cent on total assets in 2010 as against 3.7 per cent in 2009. This represents average return of about 2.5 per cent. Actual return to shareholders melted to

Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity

-68.2 11.1 -65.1 1.2 1.5

21.1 3.7 4.6


% -19.6 0.00 -34.1 0 16.1 -32.55 2.45 3.05

Pre-tax profit margin (Omatek)

1.5 per cent as against 4.6 per cent. On the other hand, NCR returned 31 per cent on total assets in 2010 as against 35 per cent in 2009. Return on equity also slumped from 115 per cent to 66 per cent. Average return on assets however still stood at 33 per cent while average return on equity was about 90.4 per cent in recent years. The Bottom-line The computer-marketing indus-

try definitely needs to break the lull in sales to provide linchpins for sustainable profitability. The nearmonotonous product offering in the industry has done little to engender niche and competitive innovations. Computer-marketing companies would need to grow the retail market as complement to the intermittent public sector contracts. They need to debug their sales and marketing strategies to find new ways of selling same products.






Indices rise by 0.4 %



AINS recorded mostly in blue chip stocks halted the five days bearish trend in equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) yesterday as more people took advantage of low prices of stocks to take positions in stocks. Specifically, the All-Share Index rose by 0.41 per cent to close at 20,667.00 points as against the decline by 0.19 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 20,583.61 points. Also, market capitalisation appreciated by N26.3 billion to close at N6.51 trillion, in contrast to the dip by N12.6 billion recorded in the preceding day to close at N6.48 trillion. First Bank Plc led the gainers’ table with 50 kobo or five per cent to close at N10.50 per share, followed by Eterna Oil

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

Plc with 15 kobo or 4.84 per cent to close at N3.25 per share. Golden Insurance Plc gained three kobo or 4.76 per cent to close at 66 kobo per share, while Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc added 20 kobo or 4.43 per cent to close at N4.71 per share. On the flip side, Total Nigeria Plc shed N9.50 or five per cent to close at N180.50 per share, while CAP Plc lost 72 kobo or 4.97 per cent to close at N13.78 per share. Julius Berger Plc dropped by N1.21 or 4.97 per cent to close at N23.16 per share, while NAHCO Plc dipped by 38 kobo or 4.94 per cent to close at N7.38 per share. The Financial Services sec-

tor led the equities volume with 799.63 million shares valued at N2.00 billion exchanged in 2,183 deals, compared with 230.20 million shares worth N893.3m traded in 1,764 deals the preceding day. The volume recorded in the sector was driven by transactions in the shares of United Bank for Africa Plc, First Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc. A total of 860.28 million shares worth N2.56 billion were exchanged in 3,784 deals, compared to 252.19 million shares valued at N1.39 billion exchanged in 3,123 deals the preceding day. Meanwhile, Transnational Corporation Plc has changed its sub-sector from hospitality to conglomerates. In a notice to the Exchange yesterday, the company said, on the revising of its terms of Oil License agreement with its partners, - SacOil Holdings Limited and Energy Equity Resources, the company have been moved from hospitality sector to conglomerates.





IFRS: Banks mull modalities for common framework


EPOSIT Money Banks (DMBs) are working out modalities that will harmonise their accounting system in line with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) mandate for their 2012 reports. The Managing Director, Standard Chartered Bank, Mrs. Bola Adesola, who confirmed the development at the Bankers’ Committee meeting yesterday, said the adopting a common framework will make it easier for the banks to have a unified accounting assessment. The Nation leant that banks that adopted the IFRS, which requires disclosure on a range of issues including risk management measures and changes in accounting policy want to ensure that their results for this year are compliant with the international guidelines. Already, First Bank, Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank among others have adopted the IFRS. A December 31 common financial yearend was also introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure even comparison of results within the banking sector. Nigeria’s minimum reporting standards only demand quarterly publication of gross earnings, pretax profit and net profit, leaving analysts with little on which to gauge future trends for the business or make international comparisons. Chairman, IFRS Interpretations Committee, at the International Accounting Standard Board (IASB), Bob Garnett had advised Nigerian banks to step up their processes of compliance because of adverse implications of default. Garnet who spoke at IFRS Conference in Lagos said that accounting has become risky than it was before the introduction of IFRS. He

By Collins Nweze

explained that the global knowledge and expertise reduces the risks of getting things wrong, adding that

cial services sector. He stated that the adoption of the IFRS will enhance transparency and improve reporting standards that would help prevent or reduce sys-

the adoption of the model will further enhance transparency and facilitate the restoration of investors’ confidence in the on-going efforts to sanitise and rebuild the finan-

temic risks. He said that investment in infrastructure is also key in ensuring that foreign direct investment (FDI) is attracted into the economy.

NAICOM moves to check insurers’ risks


HE National Insurance Com mission (NAICOM) has directed insurers and reinsurers to establish basis for measuring the impact the risks on their investments. A statement from NAICOM, said this was contained in the industry’s guideline on developing a risk management frame work. The guideline sets minimum standard required from insurers and reinsurere by which they can provide a reasonable assurance to the NAICOM, policyholders, shareholders and other stakeholders that the risks to which they are exposed are being soundly and prudently managed. Insurers by virtue of the investments are exposed to stock market, exchange rates and other market risks. The statement advised all insurers to establish a basis for measuring and calculating the probability of loss and

delegation, suitability of employee, compliance culture, human resource practice, employee remuneration, quality of training and outsourcing staff arrangement. “Companies’ policies should also cover process and systems issues to address areas such as measures for preventing system failure, measures to comply with regulatory requirements, measures for business continuity, internal and external documentation process and review, dependency and reliability of information technology systems, quality of information technology support and main-

By Chuks Udo Okonta

possible impact on the company’s capital resources caused by adverse changes in the price of stock and shares, property, exchange rates and other market conditions that are relevant. It said companies were mandated to have investment limits and diversify assets to prevent overconcentration and overexposure to any particular market. Besides they have to establish a system for conducting due diligence on the credit worthiness of any party to which they have credit exposure and also set limits of credit exposure and should have a process for monitoring and controlling such exposure. “Companies should have policies that cover risk that may arise from staffing issues, for example, failure to address areas such as reporting line,

Enterprise Bank staff embrace performance-based pay


TAFF of Enterprise Bank Lim ited (EBL) have embraced the recently introduced performance based compensation system, which makes it possible for hardworking and outstanding staff to earn more money than their pay at the end of every month. A statement from Head of Corporate Communication, Enterprise Bank, Olusola Longe–Okenimkpe, said the performance model, has offered about 140 staff whose performance fell below the satisfactory level an option to resign their appointments. Those who embrace resignation option she said, will be fully paid their entitlements. She said majority of the staff are pleased with the newly introduced performance based compensation

Access Bank rewards customers


CCESS Bank Plc has rewarded lucky winners in line with its advertised Valentine promise to its customers. Each lucky customer was credited with the sum of N250, 000. The gesture was designed to encourage customer loyalty across its 305 branches nationwide. Under the scheme, 610 lucky customers of the bank were selected to enjoy an all-expense paid trip for two nights in a luxury hotel anywhere in the country. The customers were credited over the weekend of Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 February 2012. A statement from the bank said it

tenance, information technology security confidentiality, data integrity and authorised access. Companies should assess their vulnerability to operational risks and prioritise their actions accordingly,” the statement said. It also urged insurers to put in place a robust control environment, which must include documented policies and procedures, which incorporate appropriate checks and balances and a risk register, which identifies potential and actual operational risks and controls are put in place to mitigate those risks.

has remained at the forefront of industry particularly in the area of customer service. “Access Bank has pioneered numerous customer service initiatives that have elevated the practice of banking in Nigeria thus affirming its description as a customer focused financial services institution. “Recently, the bank enhanced the features of its online banking solution, Access Online, to deliver added value to customers as the country enters into the age of a cash-less economy with the commencement of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cash-less project in Lagos,” the statement said.

system, because it offers opportunity for increased performance-based earnings. Longe-Okenimkpe added that an appreciable number of staff whose performance were initially average are now stars, surpassing their targets and earning substantial salaries above their base pay. She explained that the new business model is not meant to reduce the staff strength but to expose under performers who are contributing little or nothing to the bottom line. Enterprise Bank has achieved significant improvements largely driven by its well motivated work force, and is well focused on attaining growth on all indices, for the benefit of all stakeholders, she added.


Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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




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

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80


7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 5-02-2012 “ 6-02-2012


O/PRICE 10.00 3.10 0.63 4.51 1.15 0.69 0.50 0.50 2.40 3.20

C/PRI CE 10.50 3.25 0.66 4.71 1.20 0.72 0.52 0.52 2.48 3.30

CHANGE 0.50 0.15 0.03 0.20 0.05 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.08 0.10


O/PRICE 190.00 14.50 24.37 7.70 4.30 9.50 1.29 1.72 0.67 1.57

C/PRICE 180.50 13.78 23.16 7.32 4.09 9.04 1.23 1.64 0.64 1.50


Offered ($) Demanded ($)



Sold ($)

Rate (N)


















Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %




















Bureau de Change 152.0000 (S/N)




Parallel Market






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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%





July ’11

Dec ’11





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 10.3%

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 121.47 98.43 0.76 1.04 0.88 1,642.73 8.24 1.39 1.87 7,329.39 193.00

9.08 1.00 121.33 97.65 0.73 1.04 0.87 1,635.25 7.84 1.33 1.80 7,142.17 191.08


CHANGE 9.50 0.72 1.21 0.38 0.21 0.46 0.06 0.08 0.03 0.07


NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 23 Dec 2011 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 24, Dec, 2011 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%




04 July, 2011

07, Dec, 2011












NEWS Kogi Assembly sacks principal officers From Mohammed Bashir, Lokoja


HE Kogi State House of Assembly yesterday sacked two principal officers for alleged gross misconduct. They are Alhaji Suleiman Muhammed Babadoko representing Lokoja 1 Constituency (Chief Whip) and Hajiya Habibat Muhammed Deen representing Ankpa 1 Constituency (Deputy Chief Whip). Their removal, The Nation learnt, is not unconnected with their alleged duplicity in the recent governorship crisis. In a letter written by the Speaker and signed by 16 of the 24 members, the two officers were accused of gross misconduct, character assassination and smearing of reputation. It added that the two members were working at cross purposes with the overall goal and resolve of the House. The letter, which was read on the floor of the House by the Speaker, demanded that the two legislators be replaced as they were no longer fit to continue to hold positions. The members also requested that the two lawmakers be replaced by Alhaji Saidu Akawu Salihu representing Kogi Constituency as Chief Whip and Damian Abdul Adejoh representing Olamoboro Constituency as Deputy Chief whip. The motion for their removal was moved by a member representing Mopa-Muro Constituency, Michael Folusho Daniel and seconded by Musa Idoko representing Idah Constituency.

Kano reviews curfew


ANO State Government yesterday reviewed the dawn to dusk curfew imposed on the state, following the insurgency of the Boko Haram sect. According to a statement signed by the Governor’s Director of Communications and Strategy, Baba Halilu Dantiye, the decision was taken following an improvement in the security situation. “As a result of the improvement regarding the security challenges in Kano State, the government and security agencies have deemed it necessary to review the existing curfew imposed on the state. “The curfew will now start from 10pm to 6am. However, this does not apply to

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

motorcyclists whose curfew starts from 6pm and ends at 6am. It is hoped that the people will continue to cooperate with security operatives in their effort to restore peace to the state. “Government wishes to implore the citizenry to continue to offer prayers in mosques, churches and places of business for a lasting peace and prosperity in our state,” the statement said. The Nation reports that most commercial motorcyclists in the state are not happy with the situation. “But there is nothing they can do because hoodlums use motorbikes to perpetrate evil during rushing hours,” said a security source.

Retirement age: ASUU draws battle T with UNILORIN HE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is challenging the management of the University of Ilorin’s (UNILORIN’s) claim that it mooted the idea of retiring university professors at 70. ASUU’s position came a few weeks after it called off a two-month strike. The 70year retirement age was one of the high points of the strike. UNILORIN, in an editorial in its weekly bulletin, had argued that rather than ASUU, the credit for the new retirement age should go to its Vice-Chancellor, Professor Isaq Oloyede, whom it claimed was the first to have made the demand in 2009. But ASUU is contesting this, saying the school authority lied. A statement signed by the Ilorin Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Dr. P.A. Enikanoselu, on behalf of the National

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

President, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, said there were recorded evidences to show that the matter was part of the minutes of the negotiation meeting between government and the teachers held on September 13, 2007. The UNILORIN editorial had, in its January 23 edition, said: “Contrary to what many people know, the “struggle” for this new retirement age is only apparent but not real. This is one demand that had been granted before one of the staff unions started to make it part of the re-negotiated 2006 agreement towards the end of 2009. At that point, clamouring for a 70-year retirement age amounted only to preaching to the converted.

“The first person to advocate the 70-year retirement age for university teachers is Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The credit therefore first goes to Mr. President. If any other person or entity can lay claim to the victory, it is the ViceChancellor of the University of Ilorin or his university. This is not a gratuitous assertion and the Internet has made research easy for anyone in doubt. “While the suggestion of the then Vice-President in Abuja got buried in the reports of other national issues gushing out in torrents, the idea resonated well in the national consciousness when the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oloyede, while addressing the 37th meeting of the Committee of Deans of Post-

graduate Schools in Nigerian Universities (CDPGS) at the University of Ilorin on March 11, 2009 made a call for what has now become law, exactly as he proposed it, in an address he called “The Way Forward.” In Awuzie’s words: “This statement is not only false but provocative,” adding: “This conclusion is particularly provocative, not only because ASUU and the Federal Government had reached agreement on this issue before the date of the UNILORIN speech, but also because the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Oloyede, is a well known opponent of ASUU struggles. For the university to try to claim credit for aspects of the struggle after victory has been won through the union’s struggles is the height of provocation and insensitivity.”

Research institutes’ workers adamant on strike From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan


HE Joint Research and Allied Institutions Sector Unions in the country yesterday vowed in Ibadan, Oyo State, not to call off the strike until the Federal Government implements the 2011 agreement with the unions. The 2011 agreement provides, among others, the payment of one year arrears on the 53.37 per cent salary increase, payment of the Research and Allied Institutions’ allowances, extension of the retirement age of 65 years and 70 years for workers in the sector, funding of research and allied institutions and establishment of the National Research and Technology Development fund. The union began an indefinite strike on Monday after a 14day ultimatum to the Federal Government on January 30. The Chairman of the union, Federal Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan chapter, Dr. Omokafe Ugboogu, said the ultimatum served on the Federal Government expired on Monday. Ugboogu said the union is not ready to rescind its decision until the government grants its requests. The workers, who took to the streets on Monday in protest of the non-implementation of government’s pledge to research institutes across the country since 2009, described the government’s action as a betrayal of trust.

Reps query Defence Minister over helicopter purchase From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja


HE House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement yesterday questioned the Minister of Defence, Haliru Bello, over the contract for the purchase of four fairly used 332 C1/B1 helicopters worth 65 million Euros. The contract, which was with the French government, was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and awarded on August 4 last year. The Jumoke Okoya-Thomas-headed committee, during an interactive session with the ministry at the National Assembly, also took the minister to task over the maintenance contract for two C-130H aircraft (NAF 912 and the NAF 918) with the American Government worth N2.8 billion. While the compendium from the Bureau of Public Procurement shows that the purchase of the helicopters from France has been processed and paid for, the minister said the contract was cancelled and that the ministry never took delivery of the helicopters.

•Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (right) interacting with some of the complainants during his tour of the new headquarters of the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) built by the government in Surulere, Lagos…yesterday PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

Police arrest suspected thugs, robbers


HE police in Sokoto yesterday confirmed the death of one person and the arrest of 40 suspected thugs following a clash by supporters of opposition parties at campaign rallies in Gudu and Rabah local governments. The command said three suspected armed robbers were arrested. The robbers were said to have carried out operations in a house at Old Airport Road, Sokoto and a filling station in Dogon Daji town, Tambawal Local Government. A locally-made pistol was recovered during the first operation, with N234, 000 out of N3.5 million stolen; while N248, 760 was recovered from one Umaru who operated at the filling station. Two guns were recovered from the scene of the clash in Gudu Local Government. Briefing reporters at the police command, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Baba Adisa Bolanta, said two people, Abubakar Balle and one Abubakar have been arrested in connection with the clash that left one person dead. “The thugs were arrested in Gudu during the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) cam-

•One confirmed dead From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

paign.” According to him, the two suspects are currently in the police custody. He said a similar attack was carried out on the chairman of Rabah Local Government, adding: “Campaign offices on the Western Bypass and Kano Road were also raided and arrests were made by our men.” Bolanta said:”We want to rid the state of thuggery and

other criminal acts, especially at this critical moment when the governorship election is near.” The police commissioner said men of the command raided some kiosks used by hoodlums as offices on Ahmadu Bello Way where arrests were made and dangerous weapons and substances recovered. He said the command has concluded plans to deploy 5,000 police officers to maintain peace during the governorship election holding on

Saturday. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has recruited 11,000 ad hoc workers for the election. Muhammad Musa, Sokoto INEC Public Relations Officer, told reporters yesterday that arrangements to dispatch sensitive and nonsensitive materials have been concluded, adding that “by Friday evening all sensitive materials will be despatched to the various centres for distribution to the wards for use on Saturday at the polling units.”

Youths disrupt activities at Auchi Poly


OUTHS from the Auchi community in Estako West Local Government of Edo State yesterday disrupted academic activities at the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi. The youths, under the aegis of Auchi Youth for Change, said they were protesting the reappointment of Dr. Phillpa Idogho as the Rector of the institution. Sources told The Nation that the youths stormed the polytechnic with placards despite attempts by the security personnel to stop them. The sources said the lecturers quickly stopped lectures and students were asked to go back to their hostels to avert clash between them and the youths. According to the sources, the youths said

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

the process that led to the reappointment of Idogho was flawed and that the institution’s host community, Auchi, does not benefit in terms of admission and employment. The Public Relations Officer, Mr. Mustapha Oshiobugie, confirmed the protest, but said the students were advised not to confront the protesters. Oshiobugie, who declared that there was ‘no vacancy’ for the position of a Rector, said the protesters were sponsored. He said: “The incumbent Rector has not done anything to warrant the protest. Sponsored youths from Auchi came to disrupt academic activities. The management told the students not to confront the youths, to avert crisis.”







NEWS Court grants Oni leave on Justice Salami From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

•The lawyers collecting their certificates…yesterday

Why Bar, Bench must work in synergy, by CJN


HE Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Dahiru Musdapher yesterday advised lawyers against unduly raising the hope of their clients when they have a bad case. He said lawyers must know when to drop a case and pursue reconciliation in the interest of their clients. The attitude, he lamented, is casting aspersion on the profession. The CJN spoke at the call to the Nigerian Bar of 3479 candidates that passed the 2011 Nigerian Law School (NLS) examination in August. The Body of Benchers chaired by the CJN, approved the candidates after a meeting in Abuja. NLS Director General Dr. Tahir Mamman said 14 made First Class, Second Class Upper-244, Second Class Lower-1042 while 2179 got pass. Citing a survey of staff/students conducted three years ago, Mamman lamented that “there is a serious dearth of qualified academic manpower. The quality of physical strictures is generally poor and library resources are grossly inadequate. It is, therefore, worrying that proprietors are rushing into law programmes in the first phase of the university’s life. “The Council of Legal Education will be firm and insist that requirements must be adhered to and faculties will not be allowed to start unless expressly approved by it. “We are also urging the National Universities Commission to resist the temptation to give approval for law at the early stage of the establishment of a university”.

Ogun PDP leaders prepare for congresses


OTABLE leaders of the Chief Dayo Soremiled Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday converged on the Ota, Ogun State home of its pioneer Chairman and former Chairman of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Senator Ayo Otegbola, where he was inaugurated as the party’s Grand Patron. At the meeting were the Leader of the party, Dr. Doyin Okupe; Chairman of the Elders Council, Chief Zaccheaus Oyekunle; the leader of the party in Ogun East and its financier, Prince Buruji Kashamu; the Chairman of the Elders Council in Ogun East Senatorial District, Alhaji Agboola Alausa; his counterparts in Ogun West and Central senatorial districts, Alhaji Aliu Ajibode and Chief Dayo Abatan. Others were the three senatorial chairmen in Ogun East, West and Central; the State Secretary, Chief ‘Pegba Otemolu; Women Leader; Alhaja Adenike Odutola; Chief Ladi Adebutu Kessington; Alhaja Mujidat Oluaye; Alhaji Bankole Wonkuho; Capt. Musa Borokini; Chief Titus Olusoji Eweje; Wale Egunleti, Hon. Segun Bata, Hon. Jelili Akingbade; Semiu Babatunde, Chief Babatunde Fadun, Chief Dele Odulaja and Otunba Tunde Olowu.

•Musdapher warns lawyers against desperation From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

Advising lawyers, Justice Musdapher said: “As a legal practitioner, you have a duty to consult with your clients on all matters. You must be honest and always advise your clients properly. You must not unduly raise your clients’ chances of success and should remain professional and dispassionate. Today, clients demand success and lawyers often get subdued into a position where they guarantee success before they can secure a brief. “Another receding practice is graciously throwing in the towel when one realises that pursuing a case is not in the best interest of his client, the court or the society. A responsible practitioner must know when to exchange his litigation cloak for that of a conciliator. The duty of a lawyer is not just to advocate or litigate but to ensure also that alternatives to dispute resolution are pursued for the sustainment of peace and harmony. He went on: “Additionally, as ministers in the temple of Justice, it is never enough to protect solely the interest of your client. We must strive to attain justice above all and not derail its course even if it is not in the favour of our client or participate in sharp practices. I urge you not to worry as posterity will judge you positively and will certainly not deter clients from beating the path to your door. This will go a long way

in fostering a healthy relationship with the courts.”. “The courts cannot function optimally without the cooperation of the Bar. The Bench and the Bar must work in synergy in the interest of justice, as any act of a legal practitioner which ridicules or seeks to diminish the dignity and integrity of the court does not only reduce public confidence in the judicial process but also calls into question our ability to do justice. “To perform your professional task with competence, I encourage you to participate diligently in worthwhile continuing professional education programmes. Read widely and continue to update your knowledge of the law-statute and case law in Nigeria and other comparable jurisdictions”, he said. The CJN added that he was working with “both foreign and domestic consultants to guarantee that our resultant policies are effective and not mono-dimensional. In addition, experienced and reputable resource persons have been contacted to provide support to the constitutional amendment process that we believe is crucial to institutionalise the independence of the judiciary”. Members of the Body of Benchers at the event include Chief Idowu Sofola, SAN, (Vice Chairman), Attorney General of Ogun State, Oluwemimo Ogunde (SAN), Alhaji Tajudeen Oladoja; former NBA President, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), Damian Dodo (SAN) and Lawal Rabana (SAN).

Fed Govt, Taraba, firm sign $40m rice project


HE Federal Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will on Friday at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton, Abuja sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Taraba State Government and Dominion Rice Integrated Farms Limited on the state’s proposed 30, 000 hectares rice project. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development , Dr. Akinwunmi

Adesina, in a statement in Abuja yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Haruna Mathew, said the MoU is a culmination of investment drive in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), by directly building on Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda. Dominion Rice and Integrated Farms is the sister company of Dominion Farms Ltd. of Kenya, where it is the largest producer of

rice in that nation. This is a fully integrated farm which, begins with high quality certified seed production, production of crops, all the way through to processing and marketing of the final products including packaged milled rice, cereals, and animal feeds. The products are of world class quality. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Taraba State Governor Danbaba Suntai, Minister of Finance and Co-

ordinating Minister for the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Minister for Water Resources, Sarah Reng Ochekpe, Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, members of the National Assembly, Taraba State traditional rulers, youths and members of Organised Private Sector (OPS) will attend the ceremony. Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina will sign on behalf of the Federal Government.

Bayelsa governorship poll a charade, says ACN T

HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday described last Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State as a choreographed charade. It slammed Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for being part of the sham. In a statement in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also criticised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and President Goodluck Jonathan for acting out a prepared script that has done more to thwart democracy than further it. It wondered why INEC would not have just raised up the hand of PDP candidate Seriake Dickson as the affirmed winner, instead of wasting huge public resources to conduct what has now turned out to be a blight on the country’s

democratic process and a travesty of fairness and justice. ACN warned that if the role of INEC in the Bayelsa ‘election’ is a pointer to the new direction of the electoral body, then it may well be throttling down the road to the abyss sooner than anyone had expected under its present leadership. The party said: ‘’First, as always, the PDP - the largest conglomeration of strangest bedfellows in the world, masquerading as a political party thwarted its own constitution in shamelessly dancing to the discordant and deceptive tunes of a vengeance-seeking President. ‘’Then, the President of the

largest black nation on earth failed to rise above personal anger and base considerations, even when bombarded with entreaties by many, including his predecessors, to allow the democratic process to take its course instead of decreeing who will and who will not be governor. ‘’Finally, an agency funded from the public treasury and mandated to rise above partisanship lent itself to be used in the show of shame, in which one candidate won over 400,000 votes and the closest rival barely managed to cobble 20,000 votes together. Never in the history of elections in these climes, even with our warped standards, have we seen such a farce,’’ ACN said.

FRSC decorates four Deputy Corps Marshal From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

•Slams PDP, INEC

By Nneka Nwaneri

An Abuja High Court has granted leave to the ousted Ekiti State Governor, Segun Oni to apply for an order of Mandamus to compel the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Justice Minister, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), to begin prosecution of the suspended President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Isa Ayo Salami. Justice Peter Affen sitting in Bwari granted the exparte order after listening to his counsel, Mr. Olusegun Ilori. “It is in the interest of justice, fair-play and the rule of law to prosecute the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, for giving false evidence as the prosecution borders on an issue of national interest, public concern, social justice and equality before the law.” citing the case of Fawehinmi vs Akilu, and Abraham Adesanya v President, Federal Republic of Nigeria Justice Affen, who noted that the leave for Mandamus was not “granted merely for the asking” said he exercised his discretion to grant the leave in view of it’s” public interest nature”. Before adjourning till March 8, the Judge ordered the applicant to serve the AGF within 14 days. In the Motion Ex-parte, Oni sought an order of the court granting leave to him to apply for an Order of Mandamus directing the AGF to institute Criminal Proceedings against Justice Salami “for giving false evidence contrary to Sections 156, 157 and 158 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of The Federal Capital Territory.” Alternatively, he asked for an order of the court directing the AGF to issue “a fiat to the Applicant to institute Criminal Proceedings against Justice Salami.” He stated 26 grounds upon which the Order of Mandamus was being sought, and supported the application with a three-paragraph statement of facts as well as a three-paragraph verifying affidavit he personally deposed to.

•Mohammed The party said the unfortunate fallout of the Bayelsa mess is the fact that it did a lot to hurt the standing of the President, and diminished him in the eyes of the citizens. ‘’The President who had said he knew nothing of the fate that befell his erstwhile governor suddenly made a 360 degree turnaround, at the launch of Dickson’s campaign, to bare his fang, while celebrating stone throwing as a way of dealing with those who have failed to deliver the dividends of democracy!”

TO boost the morale of its officers, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) yesterday promoted four on the rank of Assistant Corp Marshal (ACM) to the rank of Deputy Corps Marshal (DCM). At the event, the Corps Marshal and Chief Executive, Mr. Osita Chidoka said the elevation was done to strengthen the leadership of the Corps and reposition it towards meeting its corporate goals. According to him, the four officers, including Adei Abu, Eloka Anyaoku, Danjuma Aliyu Garba and Hamisu Haruna got the promotion after passing written and oral interviews conducted by two non-FRSC professors.



FOREIGN NEWS Lioness kills South Africa zoo keeper


LIONESS has attacked and killed a 65-yearold South African zoo keeper at a farm owned by Johannesburg Zoo. Joe Ramanata, who had worked for the zoo for more than 40 years, was taken to hospital but was declared dead on arrival, the zoo said. “He was either feeding or cleaning an enclosure when

he was attacked by a lioness,” zoo spokeswoman, Letta Madlala, told the AFP news agency. The 11-year-old lioness was tranquilised after the incident. Ms Madlala said zoo managers planned to meet and decide on the fate of the lioness, AP news agency report.

Tearful villagers relive pupils’ death in storm Contnued from page 2

inauguration yesterday, but postponed following the damage done to it by the storm. He said the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), is currently evaluating the effect of the rainstorm. The government, he said, would act on its findings as soon as the agency completes its assignment. His words: “Let me first express sympathy to all those who are victims of that storm. From the report that I have received, the damage came not so much from the water but from the high storm that blew off roofs and stalls. I will like to thank the various local government chairmen where these incidents occurred. I have been briefed regularly about the impact in the various local government and the steps the various local governments have taken in terms of resettlement, relocation and provision of reliefs. “The LASEMA is also going round in evaluating and getting back to us. Whatever remains undone at the local level, we will respond on much more wholesome scale after collation. In fact, this building would have been handed over today but a section of the roof came off but they had to fix it over night. “We are in unusual time, in terms of weather. We are having changing patterns of weather when you begin to witness rainfall in January and February. The knowledge that we have about rainy season is June and July so, it means also that we must change our ways. “From what I see today in Europe, clearly you see that it is winter area but the winter is so extreme. Just yesterday I was monitoring Ukraine; over 110 people have died there. People are losing their limbs. Some people are being amputated to keep them alive because of the impact. We cannot expect as part of this world, on this same planet to be immune from this unusual weather pattern. I expect, therefore, we will see very heavy rain fall later in the year. Allaying the fears of the residents, he said officials of the Ministry of Environment had begun opening all the canals and channels to ensure that no matter how severe the weather is, the impact is easily mitigated. He urged the residents to desist from dumping refuse in the drainage channels and canals currently being de-silted by the government to avert excessive flooding when the rainfall intensifies.

More trouble for Biu as panel probes his recall Contnued from page 2

It was also gathered that because of his alleged insubordination to former President Olusegun Obasanjo during the General’s interrogation for a 1995 phantom coup, Biu should not have been reabsorbed. A top police source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The FDC is continuing with its investigation of Biu and others but it may be a comprehensive one. There are many gaps to be filled in the ongoing probe. “The CP has told the panel that he is innocent of all the allegations because he was not in Abaji where Kabiru Sokoto escape. “Biu said he did his best to ask ‘tested’ policemen to take the suspect to Abaji to search his residence. But as a leader, he has to account for what happened, especially the steps he took immediately the incident happened.” Responding to a question, the source said: “The ongoing probe is not just only about punishment, it may as well cover the procedural error committed by ex-IG Ringim in managing the arrest of Kabiru Sokoto. The police would have to learn some lessons from this incident. “Ideally, when Kabiru Sokoto was picked up on January 14 at the Borno Governor’s Lodge, he should have been in the custody of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) instead of Zone 7 Police Command. “The FCID has been keeping Boko Haram suspects without any history of cell or jail break. The panel will want to ascertain how Zone 7; Biu and his team got involved in the Kabiru Sokoto saga.” Another source added that Biu’s reinstatement into the Police is a major issue that the panel may consider. The source said: “Ordinarily when an officer is rested for 12 years whether due to court process or disciplinary matter, he or she cannot be re-integrated into the Police because he would have lost touch. “As a police officer, he was allegedly ‘harsh’ in handling exPresident Obasanjo while interrogating him during the phantom coup of 1995. He was rude to a General. “This antecedent did not encourage ex-Presidents Obasanjo and Umaru Yar’Adua to reabsorb Biu into the Police. “But because he was a classmate of Ringim, the former IG decided to re-instate Biu on compassionate ground to enable him retire this month. “But Ringim could have prevailed on the Police Service Commission to reinstate Biu and retire him accordingly. Before his reinstatement, Biu was assumed to have ‘lost touch’ with the service that was facing the task of combating terrorism. “I think he was not equipped enough to manage the task of fighting the Boko Haram menace.”

Uganda police shut down meeting of gay activists


GANDA cabinet minister has raided a workshop for gay activists and tried to arrest the organiser, a Ugandan paper and United Kingdombased rights group have said. Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo said the gathering was “illegal” and ordered delegates out of the hotel near the capital. It comes days after an MP retabled a controversial antigay bill. It proposes increasing the penalties in Uganda for

homosexual acts, which are illegal, from 14 years in jail to life. David Bahati, the MP behind the proposed legislation, says a clause proposing the death penalty will be dropped. The bill was first introduced in 2009 but never debated. It originally said those found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality” - defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a “serial offender” - would face the death penalty.

In a statement last week, the government defended its right to debate the anti-gay bill but said the draft legislation did not have official backing. The workshop was organised by Freedom and Roam Uganda, an organisation founded by prominent Uganda gay rights activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, at a hotel in Entebbe 40km (25 miles) from the capital, Kampala, Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper reports. “I have closed this conference because it’s

illegal. We do not accept homosexuality in Uganda. So go back home,” the paper quotes Mr Lokodo as saying. According to UK-based rights group Amnesty International, Mr Lokodo said if the activists did not leave immediately he would use force against them. The minister also ordered the arrest of Ms Nabagesera , who was given the prestigious Martin Ennals rights award last year for her work fighting homophobia in Uganda, but she fled the hotel.

IFP leader Buthelezi tackles Zuma on corruption



ARNING that corruption was on the verge of making South Africa dysfunctional, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi told President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday that he was shying away from tackling it. “Corruption is the bane of

PUBLIC NOTICE BABALOLA I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Moboluwape Tomilola Babalola, now wish to be known and be addressed as Mrs Moboluwape Tomilola Adebiyi. All former documents remains valid. General public should take note. OGU I formerly known and addressed as MISS OGU AGATHA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS EAKYN AGATHA. All former documents remain valid. NASSARAWA STATE UNIVERSITY, NYSC, FCTA and the general public should please take note. ANNI I formerly known and addressed as IKEME ANNI, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS IKEME DUMEBI KACHIKWU. All former documents remain valid and the general public should please take note. TAYO I formerly known and addressed as MISS TAYO BRIDGET, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ILENIKHENA BRIDGET. All former documents remain valid and the general public should please take note. ISIOHIA I formerly known and addressed as MISS ISIOHIA AMARACHI JULIET, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS UCHENNA AMARACHI JULIET. All former documents remain valid and the general public should please take note. GBUUGA I formerly known and addressed as MISS MAUREEN IENGEMDOO GBUUGA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS MAUREEN IENGEMDOO OCHAGLA. All former documents remain valid and the general public should please take note. OGUNBODE I formerly known and addressed as MISS OGUNBODE TINUOLA FLORENCE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ADEDOYIN TINUOLA FLORENCE. All former documents remain valid and the general public should please take note. EKNADE I formerly known and addressed as JOSEPHINE EKNADE, now wish to be known and addressed as ZAINAB SHERIF. All former documents remain valid and the general public should please take note.

our country,” he said during debate in the National Assembly on last week’s State of the Nation address. Buthelezi described corruption as a fundamental threat to South Africa’s constitutional democracy. “Yet, sir, you shy away from this issue.” He said a measure of Zuma’s leadership could be taken less by what the president had said than by what he had not said. “How can we embrace hope when our leadership refuses to acknowledge the many problems confronting our country, or the causes that lie at their root? Year after year, the State of the Nation address shifts, without ever addressing previous failures.” Buthelezi said it was an “unspoken fact” that

corruption had resulted in the axing of two ministers Sicelo Shiceka and Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde. “The national police commissioner, Mr Bheki Cele, is still suspended pending an investigation into corruption. “The Speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, Ms Peggy Nkonyeni, and MEC Mr Mike Mabuyakhulu are facing corruption charges in court,” he said. Two of the nine provinces had “all but collapsed” and the administration of the state was “in shambles”. “Limpopo has been rendered bankrupt through corrupt activities and five of its departments have been taken over by national government.” “In the Eastern Cape, the

education system has completely collapsed due to maladministration and corruption, forcing national government to intervene.” In Gauteng, the provincial government had sought help from the National Treasury for its health department, which was on the verge of collapse. The Free State had sought help after discovering financial mismanagement and non-compliance in supply chain processes in its police roads and transport department. “How, Mr President, do we explain the contamination of public service and commercial interests? It is fatal and yet pursued relentlessly from the lowest to the highest levels of government.




Martins suffers Europa League defeat N

IGERIAN striker Obafemi Martins could not lift Rubin Kazan of Russia yesterday as they fell 1-0 at home to Olympiakos of Greece in the Europa League last-16 first-leg clash at Olimpiyskiy stadion

Luzhniki. Rubin coach Kurban Berdyev sent on Martins into the match in the 81st minute to replace Haedo Valdéz in a bid to grab a late equaliser but could find no way through as Olympiakos held on for the

victory. Roy Carroll was the hero for Olympiakos as he came off the bench to make his debut and came on to save a penalty to protect the victory for an advantage ahead the second leg in Greece.

David Fuster put the visitors ahead in the 71st minute with a rising shot after the Rubin defense failed to clear a corner. The Russians looked set to equalise two minutes later, however, after goalkeeper Balazs Megyeri was sent off for

a foul on Gokdeniz Karadeniz. But the 34-year-old Carroll, who joined Olympiakos last month, came on to save Bebras Natcho's penalty, and the 10man Greek side held on to take a big advantage into the return leg at home on February 23.

Minister to flag off ECOWAS cycling tour today



HE Supervising Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, is scheduled to flag off the 2nd ECOWAS Cycling Tour this morning in Lagos. The Nigerian leg of the ECOWAS Tour, is to begin right in front of the National Stadium in Lagos and will terminate in Cotonou, Benin Republic. All of yesterday, all the participating 15 countries were putting finishing touches to their preparations. According to secretary of the Cycling Federation of Nigeria (CFN), Mrs Thecla

Opara, all was now set to have a very successful race, beginning with the Lagos leg. “The Sports Minister is expected to flag off the race on Wednesday morning at 9 am. We have concluded all security arrangements to ensure smooth movement for the cyclists and their accompanying officials. The Road Safety Corps, the police and the LASTMA officials are all going to be involved to ensure a smooth race,” observed the cycling federation scribe yesterday while reviewing plans for a successful event. She said that this first leg

which is going to terminate after a gruelling 120kms promises to be full of excitement. “This year, the road race kicks off from Lagos and terminates on the first day after 120kms at CotonouOuidah border where a motorised transfer would be made. As usual, the race shall be conducted in four stages with three motorised transfers at designated spots. Once it flags off, the competitors are in for a gruelling four days of racing against time and overall winners would only emerge on the 19th of February 2012 when the race terminates in

Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire,” stressed Mrs Opara. Each competing country is here in Lagos with a maximum of 11 persons per delegation of four cyclists, one mechanic, a coach or technical director, a doctor, a representative of the cycling federation, and head of delegation. National cycling teams from the following member states are in attendance: Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Others include The Gambia and Guinea Bissau.

Emenike faces three years in jail


MMANUEL Emenike could face up to three

years in jail if he is convicted of match fixing in Turkey. The former Fenerbahce ace is one of 14 players being investigated for match fixing. The 24-year-old forward then on the payroll of Karabükspor is accused of faking injury before the game against league champions Fenerbahce, an allegation that Karabükspor have denied vehemently, saying Emenike was injured a week before the game and that there is a doctor's certificate to back their claims. Ninety-three persons are under suspicion in the match fixing claims including the President of Fenerbahce, Aziz Yildirim. The lawsuit against the accused began in Istanbul on Tuesday.

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RESULTS Leverkusen 1-3 Barcelona Lyon 1-0 Apoel




Taiwo on tour of Portugal with QPR N

IGERIAN defender Taye Taiwo will today jets out with his English Premier League club, Queens Park Rangers

(QPR) on training tour of Algarve, Portugal. QPR took advantage of their two-week break by flying to the Algarve for a

warm-weather training camp. The Mark Hughes led squad do not have match this weekend following last month's FA Cup exit and the club boss decided to take the squad away for a week. The club were unable to train at their Harlington headquarters during the cold snap and spent most of last week at Loftus Road. "We're going to Portugal to get some work done because we're struggling at our training ground. We have had to train at the stadium and we need to give that a break. "It will give us the opportunity to have a couple of sessions a day and have a real understanding of what type of personalities we have and how they react to situations," Hughes stated.

Olsson expecting big finish from Osaze •Taiwo

Yak now worth N2b, insists Blackburn boss


LACKBURN Rovers manager Steve Kean reckons a striker like Yakubu Aiyegbeni is now worth £10 million. Kean has been speaking about the impact the Nigerian has made since he moved to Ewood Park. Aiyegbeni needed only 15 minutes to score on his return from a three-match suspension on Saturday and help Rovers to a crucial 3-2 win over relegation rivals QPR. Rovers snapped up the 29year-old for only £1.5m from Everton in August but the forward has now netted 14 times for his new club this season. He argues that the Yak and Newcastle United striker Demba Ba have been the bargain buys of the season and he hopes the former’s goals will help Rovers preserve their topflight status. “I think it’s probably been the

Yak and Demba Ba,” the Rovers boss said when asked which players he felt offered the most value for money. When you add together what those two have cost in comparison to some other strikers, then they have been the bargains of the season. “Both have done really well. The mark of a goal scorer is his goal ratio, it’s not really how many games but how many chances does he get to score goals? If you look back at the goals the Yak’s scored this season, he’s not missed too many. He’s missed a few but normally when he gets a chance he hits the target. “His chances to goal ratio would be right amongst the best. I would certainly think for him and Demba Ba it would be very hard to get change out of tens of millions. That’s what people who put the ball in the back of the net cost.”


EST BROM defender Jonas Olsson is hoping striker Peter Odemwingie's weekend hat-trick against Wolves will kick his season into top gear. Odemwingie netted 15 times in his debut season and played a major role in the Baggies surviving in the Barclays Premier League. But he had struggled with injuries and a loss of form during the current campaign until his treble against Wolves which sealed the fate of manager Mick McCarthy. Olsson said: "I know how frustrating it is for a striker when he is struggling a bit with scoring goals. "Everyone knows Peter has got it in him. It was great for him to get the hat-trick and maybe he will kick on now and keep scoring. "When he is on form, he is one of the best strikers in the league. Scoring 15 goals for us last season was fantastic. It is one thing doing that for a Manchester United or an Arsenal but scoring 15 goals for West Brom is a top performance."

Athletics coach discovers new talent in Adenuga


OP athletics coach in Nigeria, Uruemu Adu has discovered another young budding talent that could replace the ageing sprint stars. The new talent, Victor OgoOluwa Adenuga, a SS2 student of Deregoes Private Academy, Lagos was toast of athletics pundit when he clinched three gold and one silver in the school's recent inter-house sport. Adenuga, who said Olympic champions Usain Bolt is his role model picked gold in 100m, 200m and high jump, while the silver medal came from table tennis. The five metres plus tall athlete said, though, he did not take sports seriously as he only regards

it as leisure. But coach Adu noted that the talents exhibited by Adenuga is not what any coach can just overlook as he has potential to make Nigeria great. "As a footballer who decide to go into athleticsand make such mark, with good training he is capable of of becoming great. As a 15 year old boy, he still has a lot to offer with proper monitoring. The coach added: Between 15 and 21 years, he has a lot to offer. Because during the 7 years period as a student, he will have a lot to learn which could ginger him to becoming a great star," coach Adu noted.

Adenuga, son of Apostle Paul Taiwo Adenuga, General Overseer of Faith Revival Apostolic Church, was also among the three students selected by Deregoes Academy to represent Nigeria in a science competion in Texas, USA in May, 2012 said the decision to take sports as a profession lies on the shoulders of his parents as his plan is to combine his education with pastoral work. "He is a convenant child who is destined to do the work of God.But we will continue to encourage so that that he canrach his greatness. To us, we will put everything to God's presence to decide on his destiny," Victor's father, Apostle Adenuga stressed.



‘To do nothing now about a corrupt and decadent system poses a clear and present danger to the very existence of our state. It will be a great disservice to the Ijaw nation and this will not happen under my watch’ SERIAKE DICKSON

VOL.7 NO.2036



CONOMISTS, speaking generally, are notorious for their equivocation. This notoriety is said to have prompted Harry Truman’s now famous exasperation with two-handed economists. “Give me a one-handed economist”, the 33rd American president said, in apparent frustration. “All my economists say ‘on one hand . . . on the other!’” Not only are economists notorious for their equivocation. They are arguably even more notorious for often complicating simple and straightforward issues. This vice is said to have made another American president, Ronald Reagan, describe economists as “people who see something work in practice and wonder if it will work in theory”. Professor Samuel Adepoju Aluko, who passed away at 82 on February 7, was definitely no Truman’s equivocator or Reagan’s obscurantist; few people, whatever their profession, speak as bluntly and as simply the way he did. In what was obviously an understatement about his blunt mannerism, he said in a press interview, “I generally put my case in a graphic manner so that people can understand”. This was in one of his numerous press interviews, perhaps his most definitive, in The News weekly newsmagazine (October 9, 2000) in which he reviewed 40 years of economic management in Nigeria. As an economist, and even about his politics, the man never left anyone in any doubt as to where he stood on any issue. Aluko, you may recall, became famous as Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s economic adviser during the First Republic. He probably became even more famous, some would say notorious, as an economic adviser of sorts to General Sani Abacha as the chairman of the National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC). In between, he served in the same role for Chief Adekunle Ajasin, the first elected governor of Ondo State. At a time when the politics of this country was being dangerously tribalised, it was most interesting, if not refreshing, to watch Aluko buck the trend among Nigerian public figures of retreating into their ethnic cocoons as they grew older. He did this by denouncing not Afenifere as such, but its politics. Speaking in the defunct Country weekly newspaper (May 20, 2000) about the supreme Yoruba cultural association, he said he did not believe in ethnic organisations. “I don’t believe in these ethnic organisations,” he said. “It is like going backward. How can I, a professor be talking about Yoruba nation? What of my students who are not Yoruba? . . . If you narrow down yourself with a caucus, you are finished. You cannot see clearly”. To illustrate the danger of the ethnicisation of our politics, he spoke of how a leading bishop in Yorubaland once used ethnic sentiments to whip up hatred against Chief M. K. O. Abiola, the late presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was annulled by military president, General Ibrahim Babangida. Once, he said, the Bishop of Akure “led us

People and Politics By MOHAMMED HARUNA

Aluko: The man who called a spade by its name

•The late Aluko

into a procession in Akure that it was Abiola who went and sank a ship that was bringing bibles and Christian hymnbooks to Nigeria. We demonstrated in Akure against Abiola in those days. Yet, the same bishop became one of the greatest advocates of Abiola after June 12 because he was Yoruba. So you should see what ethnicity does”. When The News asked him if he would support the Sovereign National Conference as the much-touted cure-all for the country’s ills, he was dismissive of it as he was of Afenifere’s politics. “When we have a parliament?” he retorted, obviously rhetorically. “We elected these people. If we don’t like them, next time we elect different people. You can’t have two sovereign authorities.” If the man was blunt in his opinion about the country’s politics, he was even more so about the management of the country’s economy. Take, for example, his views about why the country’s huge budgets in the first three years of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency hardly made a dent on poverty in

the country. There were economists and other analysts like those at the Central Bank of Nigeria who said the problem was that governments had injected too much money into the system causing inflation which, in turn, destroyed economic value. Rubbish, said Aluko. “Money,” he told the rested Comet, (July 8, 2000), “does not cause inflation. It is the lack of production that causes inflation. Not because there is too much money, but because (too) much money is spent on useless non-productive things . . . If you produce more goods and services, you can even be spending more money and prices would be falling”. The problem of our economy, said Aluko, was that the ratio of our recurrent expenditure to capital expenditure was simply too high. “In the First Republic,” he told The Comet several days before his interview with The News, “it used to be about 30 per cent to 70 per cent for capital. Today it has reversed. So we are now spending the money for jamboree, going around the world and so on and so forth”. Not only was the ratio of recurrent to capital expenditures heavily skewed against the latter, he said, we did not even manage either of the two well. One consequence of this mismanagement, he said, was that our debt burden had gotten only heavier and heavier, in spite of Obasanjo’s then famous, some will say infamous, globetrotting in search of debt relief and foreign investments. As we all know, the former president eventually secured the debt relief which triggered a lot of celebration, especially in government circles. Yet it was unlikely that Aluko was ever impressed, not least because he never believed the debts were genuine, to begin with. “My committee (the NEIC),” he said in The News interview, “produced evidence for General Abacha, that out of the money borrowed by Nigeria, at least $7 billion did not reach Nigeria. All we borrowed from 1979 to 1999 was about $27 billion. We have paid $38 billion, we are still owing $29 billion. What type of arithmetic is that?” Not only did the man doubt the genuineness of our debts, he never believed we should’ve gone borrowing, in the first place. “I keep on saying that the foreign exchange



IRST was the arrest of Abu Qaqa, the Boko Haram spokesman whom the terrorist sect operating in the Northeast and Northwest of Nigeria call Abu Dardaa. But whether he is Abu Qaqa or Abu Dardaa, there is no denying the vantage position the arrested militant occupies in the sect. Then there was also the arrest of the main suspect in the Madalla Christmas Day bombing, Kabiru Sokoto. He had once been arrested but escaped, taking down with him the reputations and careers of two top police officers, the Inspector-General of Police himself, Hafiz Ringim, and Zakari Biu, a reinstated police commissioner. Both arrests have thrilled both the government and the people of Nigeria, especially those who still think Nigeria can best fulfil its manifest destiny as one country. For the government, the two arrests have yielded invaluable information on the membership, funding and tactics of Boko Haram, the Islamist sect Nigeria’s Muslim leaders have long and repeatedly disowned. Niger-

•For comments, send SMS to 08054502909

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Treasure-trove from Boko Haram

ia’s intelligence community has shared with the media only information on the sect that would not jeopardise their operations, but has left us tantalising titbits on their sociology, such as seedy details on who marries whom, and how even among bank robbing Boko Haram members honour has appeared irretrievably lost. Security operatives are ecstatic about what they have learnt about the sect, and they seemed anxious to see the end of the northern militants. But some of the sect’s leaders have given the country warnings ominous enough to dampen the enthusiasm of security operatives. Irrespective of the number of sect members arrested or its leaders killed, Boko Haram leaders swore defiantly, the fight would continue because they have the appetite for a long, grisly war. It is a warning and defiance intelligence operatives should take seriously. The exulting State Security

we earn in a year”, Aluko told The Country (May 20, 2000) “is more than what India and Pakistan put together earn in a year. India is almost a billion people. Pakistan is 127 million in population and so the two put together are about 10 times our population. Yet they don’t earn the foreign exchange we earn. If we can manage our resources well, we can pay $5 billion every year on our debt and it would not affect our internal economic progress at all”. Meantime, said Aluko, government must, however, simply stop borrowing, particularly from abroad, if only because a substantial proportion of what was borrowed was often stolen. It must have pained the man that his wise words simply fell on deaf (government) ears; no sooner had we secured the much celebrated debt relief than we started borrowing big time from abroad. This, however, was not surprising, given the reckless manner in which the Federal Government ran down the excess oil revenue account meant for rainy days and the no less reckless way it ran down our foreign reserve. Today, as far as foreign loans are concerned, it seems we are fast heading back to where we came from before our Paris Club debt relief. In one of his more recent interviews in Daily Trust (April 11, 2010), the late economist, whose creed was and remained state capitalism till he died, denounced the country’s apparent submission to the so-called Washington consensus of deregulation, liberalisation and rationalisation of labour, etc. “In the 1950s, 60s, 70s and early 80s,” he said, “we had development plans. That was the five-year development plans. We gave it up. We started depending on market. And market forces brought about private greed. We have no reason to be there.” He said he was, however, happy that governments at all levels, it seemed, were beginning to return to the good old development plans. He hoped they would, he said, continue along that path. That his was, however, a forlorn hope was soon made obvious by the unannounced New Year gift of petrol subsidy withdrawal the Federal Government shocked Nigerians with last month. The veteran economist has not only left behind a legacy of straight and simple talk. He has sired and nurtured at least two offsprings anyone would be proud of as a father Gbenga, a former leading senator in the current dispensation, and Bolaji, a prolific and brilliant all round blogger, and now the ViceChancellor of the new Federal University, Otueke, home of President Goodluck Jonathan in Bayelsa State. Professor Sam Adepoju Aluko may be gone forever, but he has left a worthy legacy behind in some of his children and in his ideas, personal integrity, humility and forthrightness that will keep his memory alive among Nigerians for a long, long time, if not for ever.

Service (SSS) operatives know what it has cost them to get so far in the campaign, and they can appreciate more than any other security arm what nightmare returning to square one would mean. The arrest of Boko Haram leaders, as significant as it is, is merely one admittedly laudable event in an unplanned government offensive. Too many mistakes were made in the early years of the war. First was the extra-judicial murder of the sect’s former leader, Mohammed Yusuf. This was followed by the embarrassing vacillation of President Goodluck Jonathan who oscillated between fiery push against the sect one day and mournful desire to negotiate the next day. A third mistake was the equivalent of the United States military scheme of rendition, in which a captured militant was transferred to another jurisdiction. In the Nigerian case, arrested militants were sent back to their traditional chiefs for rehabilita-

tion instead of facing the law. Then finally, there was the indiscriminate offensive against the sect, a mistake that is still being repeated even now. If the ongoing offensive and mopping up of remnants of the sect are managed as poorly as they had been executed in the past, the war will enter a difficult stage of attrition. The government must not lose sight of the tragedy involved in the killings and general destruction that have laid many parts of the Northeast and Northwest waste and crippled their economies. The killings and stagnated economies could become a tragedy that reinforces itself if the government gets carried away and continues to use disproportionate force against both lawbreakers and innocent citizens. The war must be waged intelligently and scientifically, and when it is won, the federal and state governments must urgently address the poverty in a large swathe of the North that has made the Boko Haram terror machine acquire such venomous efficiency.

Published and printed by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025,Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor Daily:01-8962807, Marketing: 01-8155547 . Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Tel: 07028105302. E-mail: Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

The Nation February 15, 2012  

The Nation February 15, 2012

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