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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Arsonists burn church in Ilorin

President signs Budget 2013

•Showdown averted

NEWS Page 57


•Chairs, others carted away

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VOL. 8, NO. 2413 WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2013



APC won’t discriminate, says Tinubu after talks with Buhari

T •Tinubu

HE All Progressives Congress (APC) is open to all progressive-minded people who are interested in turning Nigeria’s fortune around, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said yesterday. According to him, the new-

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna and Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

ly formed party will not discriminate in its membership drive. The former Lagos governor spoke in Kaduna after a meeting with former Head of State Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. Gen. Buhari, the Congress

for Progressive Change (CPC) leader and Tinubu are driving the merger of political parties that have formed the APC. Also yesterday, the leader of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) merger committee, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, said four more political parties were interested in joining the

APC. Tinubu said all those who are genuinely interested in Nigeria’s progress and want to join the APC would be welcomed on board. He said that even if PDP National Chairman Bamanga Tukur wanted to join the APC, he would be welcomed.

The former governor, responding to a question on whether the APC was wooing some PDP governors, said: “If that is a strategy on our part, should I tell you? “The facts remain that we must talk to everybody and must woo them. If BamanContinued on page 60

Revealed: How Jonathan threatened PDP governors President insists Amaechi must go Akpabio: we’ll kick out ‘Judases’

Clinton: poverty fuels North’s violence



ORMER United States President Bill Clinton yesterday gave an insight into how Nigeria, given its abundant natural and human resources, can attain her full potential and bring development to the citizens. Clinton said Nigeria must strive to overcome her “three big challenges” - poor utilisation of oil money, bridging the widening gulf between the urban rich and the rural poor and making talented Nigerians stay in their country. The former US President spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, as a special guest of honour at the 18 th ThisDay Awards. Clinton said violence happens in the North with incredible poverty, compared to the more prosperous cities in the South.

From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja


RESH facts emerged yesterday on the President’s stormy meeting with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors at the Villa. President Goodluck Jonathan, who pointedly told the governors to ensure Rivers State Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi’s removal as the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) chairman, threatened to deploy the machinery of government against governors who did not align with him in his Amaechi-must-go quest. This was a prelude to the formation of the PDP Governor’s Forum and the subsequent election of its chairman. Amaechi and Akwa Ibom Governor Godswill Akpabio were asked to leave the room at the Presidential Villa, according to sources close to the meeting, which took place Monday night, before the proceedings. The sources, who pleaded not to be named because of what they described as the sensitivity of the matter, said besides treating the governors to video clips of Amaechi’s verbal attacks on him, President Jonathan listed three points of threat, which some of the governors saw as “blackmail”. The President threatened to deprive the governors of their: •security details; •access to funds from the excess crude account; and •refrain from appending his signature to the benchmark for the budget, which he signed yesterday. His words, which some of the governors saw as dictatorial, did not elicit an open response. The governors were mute. In spite of the threat, however, the governors did not all fall in line as the anti-AmaeContinued on page 4

From Ernest Nwokolo and Mariam Sanni, Abeokuta

He said the problems “appear to be rooted in religious differences”, but take root in poverty, which strong state and federal government agencies should tackle. According to him, the Boko Haram insurgence in the North could be traced to poverty, which is three times worse than what obtains in Lagos area. The former Governor of Arkansas, who said he has visited Nigeria four times, most of the time as guest of ThisDay events, added: “First of all, when I became the president, I made a list of the 10 most important countries in the world Continued on page 4

France won’t negotiate with Boko Haram


•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola rendering his account of stewardship in Ikeja...yesterday

Three Lagos ministries to work on Saturdays


RANCE will not negotiate with Boko Haram gunmen who have taken a French family of seven hostage, the country’s Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said yesterday. The three adults and four children were kidnapped in Cameroon’s far north, near the Nigerian border in Borno State, last week. In a video posted online on Monday, the gunmen threatened to Continued on page 4

•French President Hollande





Nigeria, others fulfil 70 •French in tough fight in northern Mali


• President, Dangote Group of Companies Alhaji Aliko Dangote (right), Managing Director, Access Bank Aigboje AigImokhuede (middle) and Chairman, Zenon Oil Femi Otedola at the Economic Management Team Meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa Abuja... yesterday. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN.

•Leader, Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (second right), National leader, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (second left), ACN Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (right)and former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy Dele Alake during Tinubu’s visit to Buhari in Kaduna...yesterday.

BOUT 70 percent of troops pledged by Nigeria and others to the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) have been deployed, it was learnt yesterday. Foreign Minister of Côte d’Ivoire Charles Koffi Diby made the disclosure at the opening of an extraordinary meeting of the Mediation and Security Council of ECOWAS Ministers in charge of foreign affairs and defence, in Abidjan on Monday. The minister said the priority was to expedite the deployment of the force to progressively take over from the 3,500 French forces who spearheaded the effort to flush out terrorists occupying the north of Mali. The minister, who is also the chair of the Council, stressed the need to protect Mali’s Tuareg population from reprisals by elements who accused them of affiliation with Islamists who briefly occupied the north of the country and terrorised the local population. He noted that it was also important to prevent northern Mali from becoming a sanctuary for terrorists. Minister Diby, who also hailed the adoption of a road map by Mali’s National Assembly for return to constitutional government, said it was a landmark development in the country’s political evolution to normalcy. The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, warned against complacency in the wake of the recovery of major towns previously occupied by the terrorists. He said:”We must not rest on our oars in the light of this positive development as the Council seeks to confront the multifarious challenges that require appropriate responses. “Indeed, the many issues we must turn our attention to are the definitive stability and security of the recovered areas, the long term conditions for maintaining the troops in the field, respect for international humanitarian law and human rights as well as preparing the concept of operations based on the realities on the ground.” With the recovery of previously occupied territory in the north of Mali, the ECOWAS Commission President said “we are now on the verge of a consolidation phase which is vital if we must contain the risks of a somewhat unbalanced war and thus safeguard the sustainability and credibility of our action, he said the support of the UN and international community was vital, not only in the prompt release of funds to AFISMA, but also

•Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike (left), Acting Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Prof. Charles Onocha (middle) and the Principal, Federal Government College (FGC), Warri, Mr. Abiodun Fabiyi, during the Minister's Inspection of the Federal Government Library Project in Warri, Delta State...on Monday.

•Arrested members of the Movement for Oneness (MUJAO), an Al-Qaeda offshoot. From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

in view of the need to increase resources and ensure the embrace of operations by the United Nations.” The one-day extraordinary meeting was convened to discuss the evolving situations in Mali and Guinea-Bissau and proposals for addressing them. France’s defense minister says French troops are involved in “very violent fighting” in the mountains of northern Mali, and that it’s too early to talk about a quick pullout from the West African country despite the growing cost of the intervention. Jean-Yves Le Drian said on France’s RTL radio Tuesday that the French intervention in Mali has cost more than •100 million ($133 million). French troops moved in Jan. 11 to help Mali’s weak military push back Islamist extremists. Le Drian said: “We are now at the heart of the conflict,” in protracted fighting in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains. While some have suggested starting a pullout of the 4,000-strong French force next month, Le Drian said he couldn’t talk about a quick withdrawal while the mountain fighting goes on. More evidence piles up that Boko Haram has been communicating with al Qaeda, particularly the branch in Mali. There were apparently Boko Haram members in Mali before French troops began clearing the Islamic terrorists out of northern Mali five weeks ago. The sources for this (captured documents and interrogations) also revealed a rift within Boko Haram. Many members are angry that the terror tactics have not produced much beyond a lot of mayhem and more Nigerians, particularly Moslems, who hate Boko Haram. That

How rebels get arms, by UN •Military retrieves weapons


• From left: The chief launcher, Mentor Magazine, Mr Soji Awogbade, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Justice Bola Ajibola, Prince Wole Sowole and the publisher of the magazine,Mr Olujimi Soetan, during its launch in Lagos.

IREARMS amassed during the war in Libya and corrupt officials selling or renting out their guns have helped arm the rebels in Mali, a UN report showed Monday, saying most of the weapons used in the conflict initially came from licit sources. In a report on transnational organised crime in West Africa, the UN said “the primary source of arms appears to be official state stocks”, channelled onto the region’s black market through theft and bribed law enforcement officials. The report also said that an estimated 10 000 to 20 000 firearms from Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenal in Libya may have made their way to west Africa, since up to “2 000 Tuareg mercenaries recently returned from Libya, carrying at least their own weapons.” The UN said the influx of firearms represents “a serious threat to stability in the region, a threat that appears to have been realised in northern Mali”. In terms of financing the rebel movements, the UN said it is particularly concerned by cocaine trafficking, saying there is a “possibility that trafficking through the region could provide income to non-state armed groups, especially the various rebel forces in the Sahel and the terrorist group al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb”. Malian authorities have showcased a weapons stockpile seized from fleeing Islamists militants in Gao. “What we have here, it’s indicative of an army, or groups that have the capacity of an army,” AFP quoted Gao commander Laurent Mariko as saying. The reclaimed weapons included M-16 assault rifles, Czech-made sniper rifles, Russian-made rockets and army uniforms.




per cent of troops pledged for Mali

•Members of MUJAO arrested in Gao tried...yesterday.

U.S. designates rebel leader ‘specially designated global terrorist’ HE United States yesterday designated a Malian rebel leader, Iyad ag Ghali, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. As a result of the designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Ghali has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with him or to his benefit. Iyad ag Ghali is the leader of Ansar al-Dine (AAD), an organisation operating in Mali which cooperates closely with al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation. Ghali created AAD in late 2011 because his effort to take over a secular Tuareg organisation failed due to his extremist views. Ghali has received backing from AQIM in AAD’s fight against Malian and French forces, most notably in the capture of the Malian towns of Agulhok, Tessalit, Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu, between January and April 2012. Before the French intervention in January 2013,


Malian citizens in towns that had been under AAD’s control who did not comply with AAD’s laws had faced harassment, torture, or execution. Ghali is also listed by the United Nations 1267/1989 al-Qa’ida Sanctions Committee. The UN listing requires all member states to implement an assets freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against Ghali. The UN action demonstrates international resolve in eliminating Ghali’s violent activities in Mali and the surrounding region. Before creating AAD, Ghali directed a 1990 rebellion against the Malian government by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MPLA). In 1991, he became the secretary general of an MPLA splinter group before becoming the Tuareg community’s leading negotiator with the Malian President’s office after the 1992 peace accords. In 1999 and 2003, he served as an intermediary in the release of western hostages held by the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (a precursor organiza-

is why calls for peace talks since last November have created public disputes between Boko Haram leaders and factions. While Boko Haram has been able to carry out hundreds of attacks in the last few years, some of them quite spectacu-

lar bombings or gun battles, the group is no closer to its goal of ruling the north, much less all of Nigeria. While quite violent and militant, Boko Haram is still a small group, with a few thousand members (of varying skill and dedication) and a

ECOWAS parliament hails France


HE Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has commended the leadership of the ECOWAS and France for the success recorded in the war against terror in Mali. He said Mali and Guinea Bissau were test cases for the survival of peace, democracy and integration in the sub-region. Ekweremadu, who is also the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, stressed that the Community Parliament would take legitimate steps to reinforce the quest for lasting peace, security, democracy, and good governance in the sub-region. He spoke at the opening of the First 2013 Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament on the Political Crisis in Mali and Guinea Bissau in Abuja yesterday. The Speaker said: “Terrorism anywhere is terrorism everywhere and a

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

threat to peace anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere. “I, therefore, wish to commend the government of France and the ECOWAS institution for doing the needful and for showing leadership and courage when it mattered most. “The Community Parliament will not spare any legitimate steps to reinforce the quest for lasting peace, security, democracy, and good governance in Mali and Guinea Bissau. ”We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that no part of this subregion is surrendered to nefarious and anti-democracy interests in whatever guise they may come.” The plenary also witnessed the swearing in of the maiden delegation of the Cote d’Ivoire to the Parliament. The Speaker expressed happiness that the vacuum created by the absence of Cote d’Ivoire in the


ANY Americans have heard of the city called Timbuktu. Many have probably even used the expression “from here to Timbuktu,” as a cliché to explain that something is very, very far away. Until recently, not many Americans would have answered quickly or even correctly when asked where the city is, or what country it is in. But front-page news events over the past weeks and months may have changed Americans’ awareness of the famous city of Timbuktu, and the northern African country of Mali. And it’s an awareness they cannot afford to lose. Preventing attacks on our soil and against Americans all over the world demands that we pay attention to developments in Mali, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan and other key – sometimes volatile – countries in northern Africa. And there are many other nations and regions that could threaten our security. While I am pleased at reports of being taken to where they would be US military and intelligence cooperaPHOTOS: AFP tion with France and other countries to aid the efforts to stop these extremists from their path of destruction in Mali, I remain as concerned as I was following a trip I made to northern African in 2005. Combating such a widespread, interrelated threat requires cooperation to proactively address and prevent terror. America cannot afford to address this national security priority as if it were a compartmentalized country-by-country threat. In 2005, as a US senator from Wisconsin and ranking member of the African Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I visited Mali and wrote about my visit in this publication. At the time, I wrote that, “if we want a less threatening future, we Americans need to get in the game, increase our diplomatic presence, listen to the people on the ground, and combine widespread, quick-impact development projects with long-term investments in fighting corruption and promoting the rule of law.” The Obama administration has certainly done a better job of reaching out to this region, and has a much better appreciation of the •Ghali transnational nature of the terrorist tion to AQIM). In 2006, Ghali took threat, particularly in Africa. Regretcommand of the rebel fighters re- tably, Washington is still struggling sponsible for attacks on military to free itself from the flawed policies that continue to undermine a more bases in Kidal, Mali. flexible and informed approach in our fight against that terrorist threat. few hundred thousand northerners The US should be even more enwho offer support. Judging from the gaged in Africa than we are now. Given the months-long struggle number of tips the police get and the subsequent raids on Boko Haram against Al Qaeda-allied fighters in hideouts, many northerners are not Mali and the tragic hostage situation in nearby Algeria, the need to “get in fans of the ultra violence. the game” is even truer today. We as Americans must become conversant with and respectful of the geography, the languages, the customs, and cultures of far-away places. We must not be taken by surprise again, sub-regional Parliament over the as we were on 9/11. years due to political crisis in the The region of northern Africa has country had been successfully filled. a rich past and has much to teach Ekweremadu, therefore, enjoined about the history of the world. Remembers of the Ivorian delegation ports of militants in Timbuktu torchto immediately go to work and con- ing 12th century manuscripts and tribute their quota to the integration, destroying ancient sites, such as the democratisation, and development tomb of a saint from the year 955, process in the sub-region. were particularly disheartening for Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Parlia- me, having had the opportunity to ment has elected two new Deputy see similar documents in person durSpeakers. Hon. Kaboure Alexis of ing my earlier visit. Burkina Faso replaced Hon. Sere While subsequent reports indicate Sereme Saran of the same country some of the historical documents as Second Deputy Speaker, while may have been saved, I was conHon. Simon Osei Mensah of Ghana cerned by these accounts, as the dereplaced his compatriot, Hon. struction of historical sites and docuMichael Nyaumu as the Fourth ments is eerily reminiscent of the Deputy Speaker. Taliban’s actions, just prior to the atThe First 2013 Extraordinary Ses- tacks of 9/11, when they destroyed sion will consider and adopt the re- the historic Bamiyan Buddha statues port of the Ad Hoc Committee on in Afghanistan. For our own safety, the Political Crisis in Mali and we must recognise the ominous sigGuinea Bissau nals terrorist groups send, to us and to each other, and understand the

•Evidence of Boko Haram’s link with al-Qaeda found

Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa ot.

Mali, Boko Haram and the U.S.

Boko Haram’s likely links to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and AQIM’s recent activities in Mali as well as Algeria, show the interconnected nature of the terrorist threat in the region

mobility of these jihadist fighters and their ideas in an increasingly connected world. Militant forces may have been driven out of Timbuktu temporarily when French and Malian soldiers arrived there last week, but the extremists didn’t just disappear – they may have just moved north or south to regroup and plan. All it takes is a quick look at a map of northern Africa to see the proximity of Nigeria and Algeria to Mali and the closeness of those countries to the important but volatile countries of Libya, Egypt, and Sudan. Less noticed, but just as alarming, are the frequent attacks in Nigeria by an Al Qaeda-linked group called Boko Haram, which reportedly killed 23 people last week. Just this week, there are reports that Boko Haram attackers have killed another eight people in a village in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno. Boko Haram’s likely links to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and AQIM’s recent activities in Mali as well as Algeria, show the interconnected nature of the terrorist threat in the region. Along with Al Shabaab in Somalia, as well as other affiliated groups, Africa has become a hotbed of terrorist group activity, and potentially poses an immediate threat to Europe and the United States. Again, a country-bycountry approach cannot hope to address this worldwide problem. The US must, of course, devote more resources to Africa, and other areas as well, that too many have viewed as being lower priority. But the US must also adopt a new way of thinking, not only about the nature of the terrorist threat, but how our country relates with others. Members of Congress, and not just members of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, need to see that having a better understanding of and becoming more engaged with Africa matters – and is very much in our national security interest. Most Americans suffer from a sort of attention deficit disorder when it comes to maintaining focus on foreign events that can directly affect our lives and future. The US must now launch a decade of outreach, learning, and forging new ties through strong programs of citizen diplomacy and foreign language education that will help Americans better understand the threats we face and the regions where they develop. To continue to play a leading role in the world and to be safe at home, we have to develop these abilities in government, education, and in the media. •Russ Feingold, a former three-term Democratic senator from Wisconsin, wrote the piece for The Christian Science Monitor.



NEWS France won’t negotiate with Boko Haram •From left: Teacher Emeritus and nonagenarian, Pa Dotun Oyewole; former President of the United States, Mr Bill Clinton; and Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; during the 18th Annual ThisDay Awards to celebrate Nigeria’s Best Teachers in Abeokuta ...yesterday

Clinton: poverty fuels North’s violence Continued from page 1

before the 21st century, Nigeria was one of them. I would say you have about three big challenges. You haven’t done very well with the oil money. “Secondly, you have to bring economic opportunities to the people. This is not a problem specific in Nigeria but almost every place in the world. Prosperity has always been concentrated in and around urban areas. “With all the political problems and religious problems of Boko Haram, the truth is poverty in the north is three times what is it in the Lagos area and to deal with that, you have to have both a powerful, stable local government and a national policy. “The third thing is there has to be a way to keep the natural and organisational ability that Nigerians exhibit. There are Nigerians who are very talented all over the world but the point is how to keep those people in Nigeria. So you have to empower people with capital and education so they can succeed in the town and the world.” Clinton arrived in Abeokuta around 12:20pm. He field-

ed questions from Nduka Obaigbena, Publisher of ThisDay, shortly after his 35 minutes remarks. Fifteen teachers received awards of N2m gifts each. They were drawn from primary schools, secondary schools and the universities. The teachers are: Mrs Victoria Jolayemi, Mrs Dorothy Ugwu, Mrs Christie Ade Ajayi, Rev. Father Angus Fraser, Chief Reuben Majekodunmi, Chief D.B.E Ossai, Mr Yakubu Dimka, Chief Dotun Oyewole, Mr John Adeaga, Bawa Mohammed Faskari, Hadiza Thani Mohammed, Prof. Iya Abubakar, Prof. Frank Ugiomoh, Prof. Michael Obadan and Prof. Eunice Nkiruka Uzodike. Others who got awards are Oba Otudeko, the Osile of Oke-Ona, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, former Sultan of Sokoto, Alh. Ibrahim Dasuki, Professor Laz Ekwueme and industrialist Alhaji Razaq Okoya. Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun and Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan got awards for developing education. Clinton lauded the awards conferred on the teachers and other categories of beneficia-

ries and said education, which is vital to survival of a nation, should be deployed to confront the challenges facing Nigeria, on the continent and the world. He noted that the world is experiencing a revolutionary time, full of positive and negative forces, particularly the Information Technology which he said should be used to empower the people, reduce inequality in income, improve access to education and healthcare. “The Information technology is good for people who can take advantage of it. I see this all over the world. Cell phones give farmers the access to information about crop prices and fish prices in Africa and Asia. It increases their income by reducing their ignorance. “ It is empowerment. People are using cell phones to have banking services for the first time. I see it even in the United States where people who thought they have no money to help others donate a billion dollars to Haiti during the earthquake because ordinary citizens use their cell phones to transfer to an account and they had a billion dollars. “It is in so many ways a great

time. It is an age where if we are sufficiently educated, we can be empowered but with enormous challenges.” At the ceremony were: Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, wife of Ogun State governor Mrs Olufunso Amosun, Vanguard publisher Sam Amuka-Pemu, former Ogun Governor Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, Akarigbo of Remoland; Oba Adeniyi Sonariwo, the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo and Olu of Ilaro and Paramount ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle. Others are the Ogun State Deputy governor, Prince Segun Adesegun, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa, the Chief Judge, Justice Olatokunbo Olopade, former World Bank Vice President (Africa) Dr. Oby Ezekwezili, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Yusuph Olaniyonu, former Speaker of Ogun House of Assembly, Tunji Egbetokun, his successor, Prince Suraj Adekunbi and Deputy, Tola Banjo.

Continued from page 1

kill them, unless authorities in Nigeria and Cameroon released militants held there. “We do not negotiate on that kind of basis, with this kind of groups,” Le Drian told RTL radio. “We will use all [other] possible means to ensure that these and other [French] hostages are freed. “We do not play this bidding game because that’s terrorism,” he said, deploring the fact that children were involved. The video, posted to YouTube and mentioned on a jihadist website, shows one of two French men reading a statement, with a woman in between them. Four children sit on the ground near them, flanked by two masked militants wearing camouflage uniforms and holding rifles. A masked militant in front says in the video that Boko Haram kidnapped the French hostages, a family of three adults and four children who were taken from outside a national park in Cameroon’s Far North Region on February 19. A black banner in the background, bearing the images of the Quran flanked by two Kalashnikov assault rifles, also resembles a symbol previously used by Boko Haram. The man says the kidnap-

pings came due to the French military intervention in northern Mali, where its troops have fought with Malian soldiers against Islamic extremists who took over the north in the months following a coup last year. The man also threatens the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments, calling on them to release their imprisoned members. “Let the French president know that he has launched war against Islam and we are fighting him everywhere,” the man says in Arabic. “Let him know that we are spread everywhere to save our brothers.” The man threatens to kill the French hostages if the group’s demands are not met. The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the video’s authenticity on Monday, though it shares similarities with some Boko Haram propaganda videos published in the past. However, in this video, the man speaks entirely in Arabic, while other Boko Haram videos have its leader Abu Bakr Shekau also speaking Hausa. Boko Haram has not published a video featuring hostages before. The video appears to have been filmed outside, as prayer mats hung in the background sway in a breeze.

Revealed: How Jonathan threatened PDP governors Continued from page 1

chi camp mustered only 16 governors, falling short of the 19 required for a simple majority to remove the chairman. “The opposition governors lined up behind Amaechi but Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa state supported the president. He was taken to a private bedroom, where he was persuaded to abandon Amaechi,” another source said. Also yesterday, Akpabio spoke of a looming implosion, treachery and emergence of Judases within the PDP necessitated the formation of the PDP Governors’ Forum. Akpabio, who was at the party’s national secretariat in

Abuja, accompanied by his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson, said the party was in a house cleansing mission. According to him, the challenges confronting the ruling party forced the leadership to look inwards and put its house in order, stressing that the party never envisaged such challenges in the 14 years of its existence. He said: “Today we are facing challenges. There is implosion in the party; there is treachery and we now have more Judases than disciples. What the PDP is doing is to cleanse its house. It is a moving train that will crush anyContinued on page 60

Jonathan signs Budget 2013 bill into law


IXTY eight days after the National Assembly passed the 2013 Appropriation Bill, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday signed the bill into law, in a major twist to the controversy over the financial plan. Before the Presidential action, there was tension as the House of Representatives. The lawmakers went into a two-hour closed-session where they decided to go tough by today should the President fail to sign the bill. President Jonathan on October 10, last year presented the bill which the National Assembly passed on December 20. Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati in confirmed that Dr. Jonathan had signed the bill. The statement titled: “President Jonathan assents to the 2013 Appropriation Bill”, hesaid: “Following consultations and an agreement between the Executive and the Legislature on the 2013 Appropriation Bill,

From Augustine Ehikioya, Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan today signed the bill into law. “President Jonathan wishes to reassure all Nigerians that the consultations have been in the best interest of the country, and in pursuit of understanding and mutual cooperation between both arms of government. “A part of the understanding reached with its leadership, the observations of the executive arm of government about the Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly will be further considered by the National Assembly through legislative action, to ensure effective and smooth implementation of the 2013 Appropriation Act in all aspects. “Te administration remains fully committed to the positive transformation of the country, and effective and efficient service delivery for the benefit of all citizens.

“Al Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government have therefore been directed to work very hard to ensure that all the services, projects and programmes contained in the budget are successfully delivered on schedule in spite of the slight delay in its enactment.” The President had withheld his assent due to what was described as ‘grey areas’ in the budget. The budget as passed by the National Assembly was said to be unrealistic, unimplementable and out of tune with the present economic realities. Present at the signing ceremony were Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President, David Mark, House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, National Assembly Presidential Liason Officer, Mrs Joy Emodi, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the budget office, Dr. Bright Okogu and

Minister of National Planning Commission, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman. Journalists were not allowed into the venue of the signing ceremony. Those who attended declined to speak to reporters. The budget was based on an assumption of a $79-per-barrel oil benchmark, higher than the $75-per-barrel proposed by Jonathan and up from $72 for last year’s budget. The global oil price is at almost the same level as a year ago. The budget assumes oil production of 2.53 million barrels per day, up slightly from 2.48 million bpd in the 2012 budget and at the top end of actual output this year. It also assumes that economic growth this year will be 6.5 per cent, inflation 9.5 per cent, and an exchange rate of N160 to the dollar. House Spokesman Zakari Mohammed told reporters after the closed-session that having passed the budget since

December, the country could no longer wait for the President to assent to the bill. President Jonathan sent a budget of N4.9.24 trillion to the National Assembly but the lawmakers passed N4.987 trillion leaving a difference of N63b. Some of the areas of disagreement on the bill are the carry over of the Capital component of the 2012 budget to April this year, quarterly briefing for the National Assembly by the Minister of Finance, and zero allocation forthe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) among others. The senate also explained the controversy over constituency projects. Senate spokesman Enyinnaya Abaribe said: “All issues have been resolved. “There is nothing like the National Assembly padding projects, that doesn’t happen and can never happen. “For those who are aware, there is always a specific amount of money and that does not equate to padding. Continued on page 60

•Dr. Jonathan

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



NEWS Three marketers re-arraigned

EFCC re-arraigns Akingbola


HE former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, and the General Manager, Tropix Security Limited, Bayo Dada, were yesterday re-arraigned before an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, for alleged theft of N30.09 billion, property of the bank. The two men were brought before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo on a 22-count charge of stealing and obtaining under false pretence, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Their re-arraignment followed the elevation of the trial judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru, to the Court of Appeal last November. Justice Abiru, at the first arraignment on May 31, 2011 struck out seven of the initial 29 charges preferred against the defendants and Mrs. Anthonia Akingbola, who was said to be at large. He struck out counts 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24 and 26, which all related to Akingbola’s wife, Anthonia. Akingbola is standing trial on 17 counts of stealing, Dada is arraigned on five counts of obtaining money under false pretence. The defendants pleaded not guilty to the offences, which the EFCC said contravened Section 390(7) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos, 2003, and Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act, 2006. Referring to the ruling by Abiru, counsel to EFCC, Godwin Obla, notified the court

By Precious Igbonwelundu

that only two defendants- Akingbola and Dada were being held since Abiru struck out the seven charges against Mrs. Akingbola. Obla told the court that the prosecution was willing to proceed with trial as the matter was of public concern. The judge, who observed that the matter was at the point of filing written addresses by the parties before his learned colleague was promoted, suggested that the parties should study and possibly adopt the previous proceedings so that the court could continue from where the former judge stopped. Citing sections 46 and 49 of the Evidence Act, Justice Onigbanjo said it was possible for the court to proceed from where the previous judge stopped, especially because the matter was already at the point of filing written addresses. Although the EFCC admitted the judge’s suggestion for an adoption of the previous proceedings, counsel to the defendants had their reservations. Counsel to Akingbola, Mike Igbokwe and Wale Olanipekun (SANs), said the defence team as currently constituted was different from the team that represented the defendants while the case was under Abiru. Igbokwe also drew the court’s attention to media publications in which the EFCC issued statements of the arrest and re-arraignment of the defendants. He said: “There have been reports on several instances by

By Precious Igbonwelundu


•Akingbola being escorted out of the court after his re-arraignment...yesterday

the EFCC and my client was detained yesterday without summon or hearing notice. We have been reporting to the commission as part of the bail requirement, but my client went there yesterday to report as usual and he was detained till this morning. “We are asking if the EFCC has the right to revoke the bail granted by the court. Even the reports, which referred to a statement issued by the EFCC, were prejudicial to fair hearing. “The EFCC should not be the complainant, prosecutor, persecutor and judge in the same case.” Obla said the two men were invited and interrogated on

another matter pending before a Federal High Court. He said he was aware that the EFCC had invited and interrogated the defendants for bridging orders of a Federal High Court restraining them from some attached property. Said he: “The detention of the duo was constitutional and was between 4:30pm and dawn. At no point were they unconstitutionally detained and my learned colleague would have raised the issue before the commencement of this matter, which we would have sorted out.” Justice Onigbanjo, however, interjected them and said that was not the matter before him. He told the defence to file a

formal application for contempt if it felt the prosecution had bridged court process. Counsel to Dada, Prof. Taiwo Oshipitan (SAN), said it was obvious the matter would have to commence de novo. He had earlier observed that since counts 15-18, 20, 22, 24 and 26 had been struck out because they related to Mrs. Akingbola, counts 27 and 28 of the former charge (now 20 and 21) against his client should be removed. He said: “Unless her name is removed, those charges cannot be read. If her name is featuring and it is a joint trial, the prosecution should produce her before the charges are read because she cannot be tried in absential.”

N500m debt recovery: Committee suspends SAN


HE Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Maryam Aloma Mukhtar, yesterday led the Legal Practitioners and Privileges Committee to suspend a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Ajibola Aribisala, pending the final disposition of a petition against him in a N500million debt recovery for Fidelity Bank Plc. Aribisala will lose the privileges he has been enjoying in court as a SAN. The committee took the decision after a two-hour session in Abuja where the petition against Aribisala was considered. According to sources, the CJN and the committee wielded the big stick as part of the ongoing reform of the nation’s Judiciary. It was learnt that Justice Mukhtar has vowed not to condone any act of misbe-

From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

haviour from the bench and the bar. Fidelity Bank Plc said it engaged Aribisala to recover a N500million debt, but he allegedly unilaterally deducted N163million as his fee without the knowledge of the bank. The bank also alleged that the debt was recovered in two tranches of N300million and N200million. The petition also claimed that when the first tranche of N300million was recovered, Aribisala allegedly kept the bank “in the dark” until it got to know of it from another source. A source said: “Despite that a counsel is entitled to his fee, there must be full disclosure, which Aribisala was alleged to have violated. “When the issue came up, the suspended SAN went to

•Awaits application for pardon from Aondoaaka

‘ Although

by now Aondoakaa ought to have finished serving his suspension, he still needs to write the committee to restore his SANship

court to stop any attempt to look into the complaints against him. “The Privileges Committee established a prima facie basis to conduct an investigation into the conduct of

Aribisala. It is on this premise that he has been suspended. The suspension is indefinite until the case is disposed of. “If it involves engaging anti-graft agencies, the Privileges Committee will do so to get to the root of the matter. “At the session, the CJN said she would not compromise on the ongoing reforms in the Judiciary. She said all SANs must be prepared to live above board or else they would face disciplinary action. “She told members of the committee that ‘the era of impunity is gone.”’ It was also learnt that the committee is awaiting an application from a former

Minister of Justice, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa, for a reprieve and restoration of his rank as a SAN. The source added: “Although by now Aondoakaa ought to have finished serving his suspension, he still needs to write the committee to restore his SANship. “We are awaiting his application. But he has comported himself well throughout the suspension.” Others at the session were the Deputy Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Mahmud Mohammed; the Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa; the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN); six chief judges representing each of the nation’s geopolitical zones and representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Maina’s suit: Judge warns Senate against delay


Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday warned parties in the suit by the Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Mr. Abdul-Rasheed Maina, to avoid delaying the proceedings. Justice Adamu Bello gave the warning while granting the application by the respondent’s counsel, Ken Ikonne, who sought an extension of time within which to file and serve a counter affidavit and written address out of time. Maina’s counsel Mahmud Abubakar Magaji (SAN) then

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

asked the court for a short adjournment to enable him respond to the counter affidavit and other processes filed by the respondents. “Anything that will be a ploy to delay proceedings should be dropped, so that this matter should be given expeditious hearing in the interest of all the parties,” Justice Bello said while granting the application brought before him by the counsel representing the Senate and other re-

spondents, Ken Ikonne. He adjourned the matter till March 5, for parties to adopt their written addresses. The respondents are Senate President David Mark, the Senate, the Clerk of the Senate, the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service and its chairman, Senator Aloysius Etok; and the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration and its chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya. Joined as a respondent in the suit is the Inspector

General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar. Maina was recently declared wanted by the Police Headquarters following an arrest warrant signed by Mark because he refused to honour the Senate’s invitation to defend himself for alleged pension fraud. In the substantive suit, Maina is seeking an order setting aside the warrant of arrest issued on Febraury 2, following a resolution by the Senate. He is pleading with the court to quash the purported report of the Senate

committee’s resolutions that led to the bench warrant. According to him, the action violated his fundamental right as guaranteed under Section 35(1) of the 1999 Constitution. Maina is praying the court to restrain the Senate from interfering with his official duties and from inviting him having completed and submitted their report without giving him a fair hearing. He is also asking for N100 billion as exemplary damages and N500,000 as general damages.

HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned before an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, three oil marketers for allegedly obtaining fraudulently, N789.6million from the Federal Government. Adamu Maula, George Ogbonna and Emmanuel Morah, the suspects, were brought before Justice Lateefat Okunnu on an eight-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence, forgery and altering. The three men, who were on October 5, last year arraigned before Justice Habeeb Abiru with their companies-Downstream Energy Sources Limited and Rocky Energy Limited, pleaded not guilty. Their re-arraignment followed the elevation of Abiru to the Court of Appeal. EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), at the re-arraignment, told the court of the development in the case. He told the court that the defendants, between March 2011 and January 2012 in Lagos, fraudulently obtained N789.6 million from the Federal Government. Jacobs said the men forged documents, including a bill of lading, certificate of quantity, certificate of origin and cargo manifest, which they used to facilitate the fraud. He said the defendants obtained the money from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 14.2 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from Europe. The alleged offences, Jacobs said, contravened sections 1(1)(2)(3) and 8 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2006, as well as sections 363 and 364 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos 2003. She adjourned the matter till May 8 for trial.

Books on Okunnu for launch


WO books will be launched today in honour of former Federal Commissioner for Works, Alhaji Femi Okunnu, who recently turned 80. The event will take place at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Lagos at 12 noon. The books are: Actors and Institution in the Development of Islam in Lagos and Torch Bearers of Islam in Lagos State. Former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is expected to chair the event, which will attract personalities from across all fields of human endeavours.

Police warn vehicle owners


HE Lagos State Police Command has warned owners of accident and abandoned vehicles parked at Alausa Police Station to remove them or lose them to members of the public through auction after 21 days. The vehicles are Grand Cherokee Jeep marked DZ117APP, Bedford Bus XU132 LND, Honda Civic RW754AAA, Honda Accord BC240FST, Mitsubishi Bus BC291EPE and Volve AZ580BDG.



CITYBEATS Girl, 18, dies after taking poison

CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

•Sister: 'No, she did not kill herself; she was attacked spiritually'


ID 18-year-old Deborah Adikibe kill herself just because her boyfriend jilted her? This is the riddle that her parents, relations and friends are still grappling with, one week after her death. Deborah allegedly committed suicide on February 18 when her boyfriend reportedly called it quits with her. The late Deborah was said to have taken a poisonous substance at her Adelaja Close, off Afari-Ogun Street, Oshodi, Lagos home, where she resided with her parents. Her relatives are said to be shocked that she could commit suicide over such a “trivial issue.” But another source claimed that she was “killed spiritually”. Some neighbours alleged that she was pregnant for her estranged lover, a pastor’s son, before their relationship hit the rocks; others said she killed herself because she could not live with the pains of being jilted. A source close to her told The Nation: “They were very close. Most times if her mother talked to her and she did not listen, she would invite the boy to come and talk to her. She loved him so much and could not stand the pain when he told her he was no longer interested in the relationship. “The boy got angry with her when he suspected that she was cheating on him. He accused her of dating someone else and therefore told her he was no longer interested in the affair. The late Deborah, after then, used to complain that she was tired of this life. She was not happy when he left her.” When asked for the boy’s name, the source said: “I won’t mention his name, but he is a pastor’s son and they also stay in Oshodi.” A girl, described as the late Deborah’s best friend, debunked allegations that she was pregnant and killed herself after all efforts to terminate the pregnancy failed. She said: “Deborah was my friend; she was not pregnant. She was just heart-broken and disturbed. Another thing that was bothering her was that her General Certificate of Examination (GCE) result was withheld while others’

‘I came back into the room and saw her holding GO 90. I asked her what she was doing with the insecticide since it was too early to fumigate the house ... I said 'I hope you are not thinking of killing yourself because I don't know what you are doing with GO 90 this afternoon'. She said she was going to drink it. So, I ran out to call our neighbours to come and help me that Deborah was drinking poison. That was how everybody came and we tried to give her palm oil and other things before taking her to the hospital’ By Precious Igbonwelundu

were released. “On Sunday, before she died, she came to my house and told me she wanted to go out for a walk. That was after church service. So, we walked round the streets and she was just feeling bad. She said she was just tired of staying in the house and needed to move around to free her mind. “I did not know she was just telling me goodbye. About two weeks before she died, I kept dreaming of her death. And each time I had the dream, I told my mother who always asked that we should pray over it, but that I should not tell her because it was not a good dream. “So, I did not tell her, but I always prayed God to spare her life. I am really shocked by her death. Throughout our Sunday walk, she never behaved as if she had something up her sleeves. I am really sad that we were together throughout on Sunday, but I did not know it would be our last moment together. I just hope I can get over it,” she said. When The Nation visited the bereaved parents’ home yesterday, it was learnt that they were yet to return from their Anambra State

•The late hometown where Deborah’s remains were interred. Her sister, Ify Adikibe, narrated the family’s last experience with her. She debunked the rumour that her younger sister died because of any man, insisting that Deborah and her lover were not separated. She said: “Since my sister’s death, we have heard so many terrifying things. We have heard that she died while trying to commit abortion; others say she killed herself because her boyfriend left her for another girl. “Some say she killed herself because my mother shouted at her for leaving the house on Sunday after church only to return at night. All these stories are disturbing because they are not true. Yes, Deborah drank insecticide (GO 90), but we strongly believe that what happened to her was spiritual. “She could not have killed herself for the boy because there are many men out there. Besides, he did not dump her. The boy was the first person I called after crying out to our neighbours for help when she drank the poison. “He came immediately and we gave her palm oil, olive oil and coconut water to neutralise the insecticide, but none of them

Deborah worked. We even took her to a private hospital around but we were referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja. “She was brought back home and she eventually gave up at exactly 11:30pm. She took the poison around 3pm and stopped breathing at 11:30pm.” Ify said most of the sympathisers including the late Deborah’s best friend had come to tell the family about their premonition of her death. “People have also come to tell us how they dreamt or saw vision that my sister would die. Some even said they saw it as far back as January, that she had been killed spiritually since January and that she was not in control of herself anymore. I believe my sister was killed. The Monday before she died, she did so many strange things, which she would ordinarily not do. The late Deborah was the kind of person who liked to hide her things. “In fact, she would hardly cook and dish food for people to eat. My mother had called us all on Sunday night to admonish us. She scolded the late Deborah for going out without telling anybody where she went after the Sunday

service and she apologised,” Ify said. “On Monday morning,” she added, “my younger sister, Chioma woke her up to prepare for work because Deborah worked with Amigos, but she said she was not going. She asked Chioma if she wanted her to go to work and die there. “When I entered the room, I saw her cling to the Bible. The late Deborah was not very prayerful; most times she declined joining us for morning devotion because she wanted to hurry out to work. So, when I saw her holding the Bible, I was a bit worried. She was very close to my father who, however, was not around. But I told her that she should not worry, that our father would return home that Monday. Surprisingly, she replied: “What is my business?” Ify also spoke her sister’s last moment, saying: “Earlier that Monday, the late Deborah, who would not allow anyone touch her things, woke up my mother and gave her many things to keep for her. “After that, she told me she wanted to drink tea and I made it for her and my uncle. They drank the tea together. Another strange thing she did was that she went to the kitchen, made food and served everybody; but she did not eat. “I was so surprised that I called my brother who was not at home to inform him that the late Deborah cooked and served everyone. My brother said, maybe she had decided to grow up and we were happy. I begged her to eat but she refused. She told me she was not hungry; that she was okay with the tea she had. “So, I went out to do other things, after several minutes, I came back into the room and saw her holding GO 90. I asked her what she was doing with the insecticide since it was too early to fumigate the house. She didn’t answer me. I said ‘I hope you are not thinking of killing yourself because I don’t know what you are doing with GO 90 this afternoon’. She said she was going to drink it. So, I ran out to call our neighbours to come and help me that the late Deborah was drinking poison. That was how everybody came and we tried to give her palm oil and other things before taking her to the hospital.” To underscore her claim that the late Deborah kill herself, Ify said “pastors who prayed for her before the tragedy occurred affirmed that she had been killed spiritually.”

German Embassy, group lift community


ESIDENTS of Lisa, an Ogun State suburb, have a reason to smile. The German Consulate General in Nigeria, in partnership with the Development Support Institute (DSI), has provided a water system for the community's health centre. The project was launched with fanfare, with Igunuko, a masquerade performing. The health centre had been operating without regular water supply since it was built. Ms. Sophia Stephan of the German Embassy said the community benefited from her country's small-scale fund to support projects identified by its partnering non-governmental organisations (NGOs). "The German government is interested in offering development support. We want to help build infrastructure in communities with clear needs of them as our funding capacity allows, and help improve education and health services," she said. The Baale of Lisa, High Chief Nojeem Odugbemi, urged the government to do more to develop the town where the

By Joseph Jibueze

Bellview Airlines Flight 210 crashed on October 22, 2005, killing all 117 passengers on board. He said: "Apart from the Lisa Memorial Arcade, the monument built in memory of the victims of the Bellview crash, there is no other government presence here in Lisa. "All development projects in Lisa today are done through selfhelp efforts, such as the health centre, a Police Station, the Lisa Model Market, the Palace and the Central Mosque. We appeal to the state government led by Senator Ibikunle Amosun to please come to our aid by partnering with us in our development strides. "We commend the efforts of the governor for all he has been able to achieve within these few months in office. He has started very well; so, we appeal to him to put Lisa in the scheme of things in Ogun State. The road that leads to Ijoko from Lisa is still crying for serious attention." The Baale of Alapandi, Chief Oluwafemi Akinyele urged the government to stop those he said, were threatening the town's peace.

•From left: High Chief Odugbemi, Andrew Rooney of the German Embassy and Mrs Odiadi while commissioning the water project "We have challenges here, especially with the road. When it rains, it's not passable. Another challenge is insecurity. The activities of land grabbers have put us under threat here and we want the government to look into it," he said.

The Amona of Lisa, Hon. Adeyinka Adefunliloye said the project was the first of its kind by the German Embassy and any NGO in the town. He urged them to do more, especially in the area of education. We also appeal to other NGOs to emulate DSI by

embarking on developmental projects that affect people's lives positively," he said. Also at the event was Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Special Duties, Dr Oluyemisi Ajibawo, who represented the state, and DSI's director, Mrs Jacqueline Odiadi.



CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999


Hope rises for infertile couples By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

A humanitarian organisation, the Fertility Treatment Support Foundation (FTSF), has begun its yearly free fertility treatment for infertile couples who could not afford the treatment fee. The foundation, hitherto known as EART Foundation, was established in 2008. The Medical Director of a partnering organisation, Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr Abayomi Ajayi, said one out of four couples is fertilitychallenged, thus the high demand for Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) solutions. He said: "The non-affordability of the treatment is a major problem for most fertility-challenged couples. The FTSF was born to keep their hopes alive. The FTSF, in partnership with Nordica, has over the years, provided free fertility treatment for 25 couples with diverse challenges. "Nordica is celebrating her 10th anniversary and to commemorate it, the FTSF has decided to pay for the treatment of three fertility-challenged couples to be undertaken at three clinics in Abuja, Asaba and Lagos.

Man 49 arraigned for alleged theft From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

•The charred remains of a Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) towing vehicle and a commercial bus, which got burnt at Iyana-Ipaja when LASTMA officials tried to tow the bus away after it was impounded for an alleged traffic offence. PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHAEL

Ogun Senator fixes collapsed bridge


EPRIEVE has come the way of residents of OdoPako in Ota, Ogun State, where a link bridge was destroyed by rain about two weeks ago. Senator Akin Odunsi, who represents Ogun West, has started to actualise his pledge to fix the bridge that links the community with Alagbado in Lagos State. Tragedy was averted penultimate Sunday when the bridge collapsed. It was gathered that a car was almost buried in

By Kunle Akinrinade

the rubble but for the immediate intervention of bystanders who rescued its occupants and pulled out the vehicle. Motorists and commuters have reportedly been going through tough times since the incident. A resident, Olayemi Salako, said: "The Bridge is the only one that links us with Alagbado and it fell after a midnight heavy rain. It

actually collapsed while a vehicle was on it; but for providence, the driver of the car would have died in the incident. We are grateful for the quick response of Senator Odunsi, who is sponsoring the repair work on the bridge." During a visit, Senator Odunsi said he was touched by the plight of residents, adding: "My intervention was borne out of the need for an emergency solution be-

cause the bridge remains a major artery to Lagos State. Work is ongoing to fix it and this is just a palliative intervention. The reconstruction of the bridge was included in my community project in the appropriation for last year. Unfortunately, because the figures that were allocated were not enough, the Federal Ministry of Works could not do anything. But this palliative repair is needed to make this road passable."

Government to inspect Ladipo Market today


HE Lagos State Ministry of the Environment will inspect Ladipo market today to assess the environmental rot and proffer holistic solution to all the problems plaguing the market. The President General of Ladipo Central Executive Auto Dealer Association, Mr. Ikechukwu Animalu, said this yesterday in a telephone chat with The Nation. The market was shut on Monday by the government after repeated complaints of environmental degradation and hooliganism. He said: "Government officials have obliged us to visit the market today to make necessary restructuring to mitigate the effects of the environmental degradation.

By Joseph Jibueze

"We hope that this restructuring will bring out new rules by which the traders would be compelled to abide, and the condition upon which the market will be reopened." The closure of the market bit harder yesterday as it stretched into second day. Traders still loitered around, hoping for quick resolution of the problems. Other support services providers, especially food-sellers, are complaining of loss of revenue and customers are complaining of the difficulty in getting spares elsewhere as Ladipo has become the de facto first point of call for spares of vehicles.

Resort promises luxury for patrons


OUPLES and leisure-loving people have been urged to sign up for Clear Essence California Spa and Wellness Resort's "Wine & Dance," holding on February 28. The event, according to the company's Marketing Manager, Nnenna Obioha, promises to be an "unforgettable evening of merriment, good music, assorted delicacies and complimentary wine." Obioha, in a statement, said the event is designed to assert the legendary William Purkey's philosophy of dance, love and song


as a fitting climax to February, the acclaimed month of love. The statement added that the event will include sumptuous dinner for interested couples at discounted rate and have guests entertained by musical classics from the 1960's to the 1990's. Obioha, therefore, enjoined interested guests to sign-up online and take advantage of the limited available spaces or promptly indicate their interest to attend to the event.

Minister donates N.6m to police officer

HE Minister of Police Affairs, Capt. Caleb Olubolade has made a N600, 000 donation to a gallant police officer, Inspector Jamiu Adekoya, who was wounded in a gun battle against armed robbers in Lagos. Adekoya was said to have miraculously survived the grim encounter. In a statement, the ministry's Chief Press Secretary, James Odaudu, said the gesture was in fulfilment of the ministry’s commitment to rewarding gallantry and dedication to duty. The statement said the donation was meant to help Adekoya's rehabilitation and encourage patriotic service among police officers.

PUBLIC NOTICE LIGHT HOUSE URBAN HOPE COMMUNITY INITIATIVE The above named Foundation has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission for registration in accordance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act No. 1 of 1990. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Dr. Patrick Oakum 2. Dr. Daniel D. Mwanmut 3. Rev. David Pofi 4. Dr Samuel D. Mutfwang AIMS AND OBJECTIVES ARE: 1. To raise hope for the urban poor in Nigeria 2. To assist churches and Christian leaders to develop a passion and vision for caring and sharing among the urban poor. Any objection thereto should be addressed to the Registrar General, Corporate AffairsCommission, Plot 420 Tigris Crescent, Off Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja within 28 days of this publication. CALEB MUTFWANG & CO. 2ND FLOOR, BAGUDU HOUSE, LL6AHMADU BELLO WAY, KADUNA

By Jude Isiguzo

The Minister said the donation was an immediate reward and promised that Adekoya, who was also honoured by The Sun newspapers recently for his deeds, would soon be recommended for higher recognition, adding that his medical needs would be borne by police authorities. Adekoya led a police patrol team that was attacked by heavily armed robbers in Lagos recently during which two of his colleagues were killed. Though fatally injured, he mustered the strength to fire a bullet that killed the escaping gang leader.

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FORTY-NINE-YEAR-OLD Jamiu Mohamed was yesterday arraigned for allegedly stealing 3000 litres of diesel, five motor batteries and a lorry-load of tyre rims, all valued at N295, 000. According to the charge sheet with number MAD/92C/2013, the accused committed the offence contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Cap 77 Vol. 1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990. Mohammed, who allegedly committed the offence at De Jewel Hotel Limited, Polytechnic Road, Ado-Ekiti, pleaded not guilty. The defence counsel, Chris Omokafe, applied for his bail, arguing that Jamiu would not jump bail if granted. Police prosecutor, Enabulele Curtis, however, opposed the bail application on the ground that the accused might jump the bail, given the facts at the disposal of the police. The accused was granted bail by Magistrate Patricia Ajibade in the sum off N60,000 with two sureties each in the sum of N40,000, and who must be resident within Ado-Ekiti Magisterial District. Ajibade explained that the offence is bailable, adding that the accused should not be denied his constitutional right.

Chatham House hosts Ihedioha HOUSE of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha will today in London, address Nigerians in the Diaspora and key foreign policy experts on the progress so far made on the ongoing constitution review process by the National Assembly. He was invited by Chatham House. A statement yesterday said the Ihedioha-led House Committee on Constitution Review had successfully sought and received the views of grassroots people in the amendment process in all 360 federal constituencies of the country. Expected to address the audience alongside the deputy speaker are: Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora; Dr. Robin Niblett, Director, Chatham House; Nigeria's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida; Robin Gwynn, Additional Director, Africa Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK; Dr. Titilola Banjoko, Nigeria Leadership Initiative, and Mr. Clement Nwankwo, Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre. Chatham House, home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, is a globally recognised independent centre for research, analysis and discussion of international affairs established since 1920.

Ogo Oluwa Kitan boss, Afolabi dies TRAGEDY struck the music industry yesterday, with the death of veteran music promoter, Chief Joseph Olayiwola of Ogo Oluwa Kitan Trading Company (OTC). He was 79. He was the promoter of juju music maestro, King Sunny Ade; the late legendary fuji musician, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister; Fatai Olowonyo Music, and Ayewa Gospel Music, among others. The late Afolabi, his family said, was hale and hearty on Sunday, but was rushed to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, early on Monday, where he died. His first son,

•The late Afolabi By AMIDU ARIJE

Mr Olurotimi Alade, said he died from heart failure. He is survived by wives and children.

AUCTION SALE The under listed Vehicles and other items will be sold by public Auction at the Nigeria Police Divisional Headquarters Umuebulu Rivers State after 21 days of this publication. 1. One Volkswagen Passat Car with Reg. No BC 109 EKJ 2. One Scrap BMW Car with Reg. No. DJ 11 LND 3. One hand saw blade 4. One Scrap electrical machine 5. One damaged falken motor type 6. 8 Scrap motorcycles and other Household items Signed: Chief Evans Nwachukwu and Son 17 Aba/PH Expressway Oyigbo.



NEWS We’ll sanction erring contractors, says Wike

London Police ‘accuse Nigerian of pouring acid on self’


INISTER of State for Education Nyesom Wike has said the Federal Government will sanction any contractor who fails to deliver the girl-child model schools. He urged consultants handling the projects across the country to submit status reports. Wike spoke at Oginibo, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State while inspecting the Special Girl-Child Model College on Monday. He said the reports of the consultants would form part of the process for the handing over of the schools. Wike said the consultants should specify fully completed projects and also spell out projects that require direct intervention from the Federal Government to facilitate hand-over to states. He said: “These reports would assist us in meting out sanctions to contractors who have failed to meet scheduled time-lines for project execution. “We shall also sanction

United Kingdom Met Police are probing the mysterious acid attack on a Nigerian


OLICE in the United Kingdom are looking at whether the appalling injuries suffered by a Nigerian acid-burn victim may have been self-inflicted. Naomi Oni, 20, sparked a UK-wide fundraising appeal after she was left scarred for life in an apparently random acid attack. But officers are now said to be considering the possibility Oni did it herself after they discovered she had researched acid attacks online before she was maimed at the end of last year. They are examining her laptop computer amid reports she looked up information on Katie Piper, the former model who has campaigned for facial disfigurement victims since she was scarred in an acid attack in 2008. Victoria’s Secret shop assistant Naomi claims a woman in a niqab threw the unidentified liquid over her as she walked home in Dagenham, east London, on December 30. She suffered full thickness burns to her face, arm, hand and leg and was blinded for

Professionals to partner govt By Nneka Nwaneri

TO enhance productivity, the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria has advocated the maximum utilisation of its skills and expertise. The body frowned at the government’s lack of faith in the association’s capabilities in handling advancement in various sectors of the economy, through constant engagement and policy dialogue It urged the government to have a rethink in its partnership with some foreign bodies. The President of the association, Hon Bala Ka’oje, said it has a pool of people who can handle the country’s problems. It called on government to set up hospitals of international standard and stop government officials and members of their families from flying abroad for treatment. “There is no area in medicine that we don’t have experts. We don’t lack the knowledge. The problem is remuneration and sustainable facilities. We the professionals are not given an enabling environment to give a guide. It is nothing complex but government has chosen to bring in investors rather than consult,” Ka’oje said.

two days. After spending nearly a month in hospital, she made an emotional plea for her alleged attacker to come forward. Naomi said: “I just want this person to come forward. How can they sleep at night knowing they have done this? “I have stopped hating them. I just feel sorry for them and I wonder what’s going on in their life to want to make someone else suffer like that.” But detectives have quizzed her family members on whether Oni could have hurt herself. Naomi’s law student student boyfriend Ato Owede, 23, said: “The police are not doing enough to catch the person. “I think they did ask her mum if she did this herself — that’s just crazy. They need to keep on investigating. “They’re concentrating on the wrong things at the moment in terms of her researching acid attacks and stuff like that. “They are just coming to a silly conclusion.” She previously told The

contractors proven to have failed to execute their contracts in line with approved specifications”. On the quality of work at the Oginibo Special GirlChild school, Wike regretted that though the projects was nearing completion, it had structural defects that must be addressed. Speaking at the sites of library projects at the Federal Government Girls College, Ibusa and Federal Government College, Warri, the minister urged the contractors to expedite action on their work to ensure they hand over the projects to government by the end of March. Delta State Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Mrs Pat Ejetoh, assured the minister that the board would participate in monitoring contractors handling the projects. The minister also visited the library project at the Federal Government Girls College, Benin, Edo State.

Nigeria will rise again, says el-Rufai


Sun: “The police haven’t been able to find anyone — they even asked my aunt if I had done it to myself, which really upset me. “Why would anyone do this to themselves?” She also appeared on ITV’s This Morning and has signed deal for another interview with Take a Break magazine.

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

The Met Police confirmed they had seized a number of items from Oni and said they were following a number of lines of inquiry. A spokesman said: “Inquiries are ongoing. “A number of items have been seized during the course of the investigation and they are being examined as part of ongoing inquiries.”


ORMER Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Malam Nasir el-Rufai and Latter Rain Assembly Pastor Tunde Bakare yesterday said the people who ruined Nigeria would soon be consumed by the wrath of God. el-Rufai said Nigeria would still rise, regardless of the damage people had done to it.

By Jeremiah Oke

He said there was a time when the government listened to the people. He said Nigerians needed the courage to speak out their minds, regardless of intimidation from any quarters. el-Rufai said he did not publish his book to dent anybody’s image but he did so to give Nigerians hope. The duo spoke at the presentation of “The Accidental Public Servant”, written by the former FCT minister at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. el-Rufai said: “Seventy-five per cent of Nigerians today were born 35 years ago when things were working in the country. When you send a letter to the government, you receive a reply. When you apply for a job, you will be shortlisted based on your discipline. But today, it is not so, and some of this generation of today can not believe this because nothing is working again. “When Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa and Awolowo were at the helms of affairs of this country, we had Nigeria that worked. Leaders are not God, they are human like us. You can do better if you are in that office. But before we can do this, we need education, dedi•President Goodluck Jonathan (second right), Vice-President Namadi Sambo (right), Senate President David Mark (left), cation, integrity, honesty and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Bamanga Tukur (second left) and House of Representatives Speaker commitment to this great naPHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN. Aminu Tambuwal during the PDP Board of Trustees’ meeting in Abuja. tion.”

Nigeria not better than countries at war, says Ajibola


IGERIA has not fared better than a country at war, former AttorneyGeneral and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN) said yesterday. He said corruption, with insecurity and backwardness as its side effects, is “the singular most cancerous malaise affecting the body-politic of our nation”. He spoke while delivering a lecture at a luncheon organised by the Metropolitan Club in Lagos. According to him, graft has permeated lives and made it impossible for the government

•Ex-Justice Minister speaks at Metropolitan Club lecture By Joseph Jibueze

to fix anything. “Sometimes, one is forced to wonder how much better we have fared than countries in a state of war,” Ajibola, also a former Judge of the International Court of Justice, said. He said Nigeria’s brand of corruption transcended stealing of public funds. Threats to national peace, Ajibola said, are fallouts of a festering tradition of greed and “galloping corruption with reckless impunity in high

places”. Criticising the judiciary, he said plea bargaining encourages massive public funds pilfering. He said: “Our pains as a nation are without doubt, self inflicted. “It beats my imagination to think that this is the same country where I served as AttorneyGeneral and Minister of Justice for more than six years without taking any salary and even employed two legal practitioners to work for the government in my office as minister

and paid them from my pocket.” Ajibola said Nigeria has sadly remained a net importer of petroleum products despite huge deposits of crude oil. “One is sad to see us carrying on as a nation that is bereft of any sense of shame. Indeed, what we are currently experiencing is corruption in absolute terms, and by that I mean the glaring deficit in enviable national character and general moral rectitude,” he said. On the way out, Ajibola believes the government should

provide for all and be fair to all and ensure that the educational system is made more functional and guided to address national needs and aspirations. He said:“We should be done with impunity and government arrogance. No section of the populace should be made to enjoy undue advantage over the others.” Among guests were Ambassador Dapo Fafowora, who anchored the event, President of the Metropolitan Club Chief Olu Akinkugbe, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Joseph Sanusi and former Federal Minister of Works Alhaji Femi Okunnu (SAN).



NEWS Ekiti monarch alleges threat to life

How Ondo poll was rigged, by Akeredolu T HE governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the October 20, 2012 election in Ondo State, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), yesterday told the Election Petition Tribunal that the poll was rigged. Akeredolu said exhibits P52A, P1H12 and P16G12, which include the voter’s register, showed that the election was characterised by fraud. He said the irregularities discovered in Isowopo, Akoko 01, Ward 08, Unit 12, were perpetrated in all units in the state. Akeredolu said his case and that of his party is clear, adding that the tribunal can only understand the case by going through the exhibits and relating them with the findings of the experts. He said there were cases of double registration, where voters appeared twice with different VIN numbers. The former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) said for example, Abdulai Idris appeared twice with different VIN numbers. He said invalid registrants, whose thumbprints were not captured, were allowed to vote in some units. Akeredolu, who was led in evidence by his counsel, Oluwole Aina, said his claims before the tribunal were as contained in his petition. He is challenging the declaration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko as winner of the election. Akeredolu, who was cross examined by the counsel to the first, second and third respondents, led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), was asked whether his agents were at all polling units in the state for the election. He said his agents were

From Damisi Ojo and Leke Akeredolu, Akure

chased away from most of the polling units, adding that ACN only had agents in few polling units. Akeredolu was also cross examined on the registration of his voter card and asked if he registered in Ondo State. He said he did not register in Ondo State in 2011, but transferred his voter’s card to Ondo State legally as stipulated in Section 13 of the Electoral Act. Akeredolu said he transferred his voter card from Jericho in Ibadan, where he was initially resident. Olanipekun asked if Akeredolu’s registration was part of the names injected into the 2012 voter’s register as analysed by a computer analyst yesterday. Akeredolu said the expert was specific in his presentation, adding that there were categories of voters injected those that might have come during the review of the voter’s register or transfer and those illegally injected. He said he fell under the category of those whose voter’s cards were transferred legally. When asked which party won in his unit, Akeredolu said ACN won his unit and the three local governments recorded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He said he accepted the result from Owo, Akoko Southwest and Odigbo local government areas because he felt he should accept it and not because there were no irregularities.

More knocks for Akinjide over comments


GROUP, the Asiwaju Grassroots Foundation (AGF), has condemned the comments of the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ms. Jumoke Akinjide, that the Oyo State Government has personalised relief materials meant for rainstorm victims. In a statement, AGF Coordinator Alhaji Folawiyo Bello said the activities of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Accord, if not checked, are capable of disrupting the peace in the state. He said the role of the opposition in any democracy is to keep the government on its toes and not to sponsor malicious publications or incite the people into violence. Bello said: “The governor does not want the materials to

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

fall into the wrong hands, but Ms. Akinjide raised a false alarm when she saw that the distribution would not be done the PDP way. “Rather than resort to cheap blackmail, the opposition should stop identifying with the populace only in times of crises.” A chieftain of the Action Congress Nigeria (ACN) in Oyo State, Alhaji Abass Oloko, warned Ms. Akinjide against causing crisis with her “unguarded” statements. Oloko urged the minister to support Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who “is achieving feats that the PDP was unable to achieve”. He urged the people to continue to support the Ajimobi administration.

Agbaje denies joining PDP


FENIFERE chieftain Mr. Jimi Agbaje has denied media reports that he has joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State. The former governorship candidate of the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA) dissociated himself from the report, saying it was the antics of “spin doctors”. He admitted that

By Emmanuel Oladesu

prominent Nigerians have been mounting pressure on him to join their parties, but he said he has not joined any party. Agbaje said: “I have not joined any party. Some people are spinning. People have been coming to me to join their parties, but I have not joined any party.”

Responding to a cross examination by counsel to one of the respondents, Akeredolu said the forensic expert’s analysis on multiple thumb printing did not materialise due to INEC’s inabilities. He alleged that INEC intentionally provided ballot papers that “were in crumb after two weeks”, adding that it was difficult, if not impossible, for any forensic expert to work on that. Akeredolu lamented that the highest injection of strange names into the voter’s register was in Owo, noting that it was a deliberate attempt to “dilute” his votes. At one of the stakeholders’ meetings organised by INEC



before the election, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Akin Orebiyi, said about 55 persons legally called for the transfer of their voter cards from within and outside the state. The hearing continues.

HE traditional ruler of After the invasion Iro-Ekiti, Oba Felix Adeniyi, yesterday gave of the palace, I kept reasons for his self-imposed receiving threatening exile. He alleged that some peo- text messages, which ple were after his life. led to my vacating the Oba Adeniyi told reporters in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, palace for another that gunmen invaded his palace town on July 3, last year and stole his From Sulaiman property. Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti Lamenting the porous security in Iro-Ekiti, he called for the creation of a police post. He said because Iro-Ekiti borders Ondo State it is difficult to curtail the activities of criminals. Oba Adeniyi said after the invasion of his palace, he went on self-imposed exile on August 20, last year, on the advice of his people. He said he would remain in exile until the town’s security improves. Oba Adeniyi said: “After the invasion of the palace, I kept receiving threatening text messages, which led to my vacating the palace for another town. The senders of the messages have continued demanding money and other gratification from me.”




Oyo N1.6b pension fraud: 10 persons remanded in prison

Osun increases workers’ car loan by 75 per cent SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has approved 75 per cent increase in the car refurbishing loan to civil servants. In a statement, Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning and Budget Dr. Wale Bolorunduro said the gesture showed the administration’s commitment to the welfare of workers . Bolorunduro said the review is the first since the state was created 22 years ago. He said Aregbesola recognises the role of workers in achieving his administration’s goals and would al-


From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

ways protect their interests. Bolorunduro said the review affects workers from Grade Levels 1 to 17. He said workers initially entitled to N100,000 would now get N170,000 and those on N200,000 are now to get N350,000. The commissioner said the loan would be repaid in 60 instalments within five years. He urged the workers to reciprocate the gesture by rededicating themselves their work.


N Ibadan Magistrate’s Court yesterday remanded 10 persons in Agodi Prisons for allegedly defrauding the Oyo State Government of N1.6 billion. The money belonged to the State Local Government Pension Board. The accused are Hakeem Muili, Alhaja Iyabo Giwa, Adeduntan Johnson, Oguntayo Banji, Adesina Jimoh, Johnson Bosede,

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

Adebiyi Olasumbo, Kareem Rasheed, Muili Adedamola and Salewa Adedeji. They were charged with conspiracy to steal, abuse of office and stealing of local government staff pension fund. All the accused pleaded not guilty. They were granted N2 mil-

lion bail each with two sureties in like sum. Each surety is to have a Certificate of Local Government Origin or landed property within the court’s jurisdiction or an account with a reputable bank in Oyo state or Certificate of Business Registration. The accused were remanded at Agodi Prisons when they could not meet the bail conditions.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Tijani Durosaro, adjourned the case till March 19. The state government discovered the fraud last August and invited the police to look into it. Chairman of the Board and the Local Government Service Commission Chief Lasisi Ayankojo said the fraud was responsible for the delay in the payment of the pension of retired teachers.

Alaafin intervenes in Erin-Ile/ Offa dispute HE Alaafin of Oyo,


Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111, has urged the people of Offa and Erin-Ile in Kwara State to resolve their boundary disputes and stop their perennial clashes. In a letter to the Kwara State Government and the traditional rulers of the warring communities, Oba Adeyemi regretted the wanton destruction of life and property in the clashes. He said it was painful that after many years of being together, the people of Offa and Erin-Ile could still resort to the use of arms and ammunition to settle their differences. Alaafin said: “The recent boundary dispute between Offa and Erin-Ile might have come and gone, but the sour taste it leaves in our mouths will remain for a long time. The pains are too intense to heal soon. “This is more so, when I remember the loss of life

and property suffered by both parties in the dispute. The pains become more agonising when viewed against the backdrop of the fraternal kinship between them as with other Yoruba communities. “It is on a very sad note that I recall the series of fratricidal and internecine wars that ravaged Yorubaland towards the end of the 19 th Century. The ravages encountered at the time made my illustrious great predecessor and grandfather, Oba Alowolodu Adeyemi 1, to invite the British for intervention and adjudication in disputes across the land.” Oba Adeyemi hailed the Kwara State Government for its prompt response to the crisis, adding that he is ready to intervene in the matter, if invited. He urged the state government to be impartial in settling the dispute.

Hunter shoots self in Ondo From Damisi Ojo, Akure

MIDDLE-aged hunter, Olanipekun Abiodun, yesterday shot himself in Arigidi Akoko, Ondo State. It was learnt that the late Abiodun and about 10 men went hunting at Agbaluku Forest around 10am. Sources said the late Abiodun accidentally shot himself while trying to reload his dane gun. They said he died immediately. It was gathered that the other hunters heard a gunshot and rushed to the scene, where they found the deceased rolling on the ground in a pool of his blood. Police spokesman Wole Ogodo, who confirmed the incident, said the other hunters fled after the incident. He said: “It is like a suicide case because the boy mistakenly shot himself while trying to reload his dane gun.” The remains of the deceased have been deposited at the mortuary of the State Specialist Hospital, Ikare Akoko.


Man, 26, remanded in prison


N Ekiti State Magistrate’s Court yesterday remanded Gbenga Adeniyi (26) in prison custody for alleged armed robbery. Adeniyi allegedly robbed Mr. Essu Lucky of N44,000 on December 19, last year. The incident allegedly occurred opposite the gate of the Ekiti State University (EKSU) in Ado-Ekiti. Adeniyi pleaded not guilty. The defence counsel, Temitope Onifade, applied for bail for the accused. Onifade said the two complainants had filed affidavits withdrawing the case. Police prosecutor Caleb Leramo opposed the bail application and applied for adjournment to enable him make a duplicate copy of the

case file to be sent to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution for legal advice. Magistrate Simeon Ojo reserved ruling on the bail application till tomorrow.

•From left: The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Ekiti State University (EKSU) Council, Prof. Akintunde Osuntokun; Guest Lecturer/Visitor to the University Governor Kayode Fayemi and EKSU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Patrick Aina, at a public lecture in Ado-Ekiti...yesterday.

Lagos civil servants to work on Saturdays


OME civil servants in Lagos will now work on Saturdays, starting from May 3. They will resume at 10am and close at 2pm. Those affected in the pilot scheme are workers in the ministries of Transport, Physical Planning and Urban Development and Land Bureau. Governor Babatunde Fashola announced this yesterday at LTV8 Blue Roof multipurpose hall while rendering an account of his stewardship to the people on his 2,100 days in office. The event was attended by the first Military Administrator of the state Brig.Gen. Mobolaji Johnson, former Governor Lateef Jakande and Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas. House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji was represented by the Chairman of the House Committee on Information and Strategy, Mr. Segun Ololade.

By Eric Ikhilae

Also present were former Commissioner for Finance Mr. Wale Edun; Commissioner for Environment Tunji Bello; Information Commissioner Lateef Ibirogba; Head of Service Adesegun Ogunlewe; Secretary to the State Government Mrs. Oluranti Adebule; top government officials; Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftains and traditional rulers, among others. Fashola said on Saturdays, workers at the Ministry of Transport would attend to issues relating to drivers’ training, drivers’ licence and traffic enforcement. Those in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development would deal with complaints on building permits and related matters, while those in Land Bureau would deal with land issues. The governor said the decision to commence the pilot

service was informed by some people’s desire to access such services, if they are made available on Saturdays. He said the Head of Service has been mandated to publish details of how it would work and the scope of work on Saturdays, except the last Saturday of every month, which is Sanitation Day. Fashola said the economy of Lagos is on the upbeat and the state is gaining the confidence of investors in financial stability and integrity. He said he was satisfied with the achievements of his administration, particularly in infrastructure provision, housing and road transportation, adding that transportation has witnessed immense transformation since the introduction of the Traffic Law. The governor said those accusing his administration of non-performance were obviously embarrassed by his performance because it has “exposed the inefficiency of the

Central Government they manage”. He said: “No state government in the country and certainly not their government at the centre has paid such diligent attention to the presentation of budgets and submission of its yearly report of implementation.” The governor said Nigerians would like to know how over N2 trillion of the Nation’s budget of about N4 trillion in 2011 ended up “enmeshed” in fraud. He faulted the on-going good governance tour of the Minister of Information, adding that his administration does not need a good governance tour to showcase its achievements. Fashola said: “Completed projects, such as the Ibeshe Road in Ikorodu, the Mother and Child Care Centres in Amuwo-Odofin and Alimosho, as well as the School of Nursing are examples of good governance.”

Ondo ACN decries ‘injection’ of fake names in voter’s register


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State yesterday expressed surprise at the revelation that over 164,072 strange names were injected into the voter’s register that was used to conduct the October 20, 2012, governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The revelation was made by computer analysts presented to the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in

•Group: Mimiko hasn’t fulfilled his promises From Damisi Ojo, Akure

Akure, the state capital, by ACN and its candidate, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN). In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Agbede, ACN said the magnitude of the electoral fraud allegedly committed by the Labour Party (LP) with the “help” of INEC shows LP’s desperation to cling to power at all costs.

It said: “The revelation by expert witnesses that 164,072 names were injected into the voter’s register has finally laid to rest the controversy surrounding how the voter’s registration of 1.5 million people by INEC in 2011 became over 1.6 million people during the October 2012 governorship election. “The whole world can now see that the much touted popularity of the LP and its

leaders in Ondo is a ruse.” Also yesterday, a group, the Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership (MGGEL), said the inauguration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko is temporary. In a statement by its State Coordinator, Mr. Kehinde Bello, MGGEL urged the Mimiko administration to reflect on its promises in 2009 and see how much it has failed the people.

It said the governor’s promise to create job opportunities has become a dream. MGGEL said even though the administration inherited billions of naira from the Chief Olusegun Agagu administration, it has not executed meaningful projects. It said the Arigidi Tomato Paste Industry, Okeluse Cement Factory, the Olokola Free-Trade Zone and multibillion naira water projects, which could have created jobs for youths, were abandoned.



NEWS Glo pre-order campaign for BlackBerry Z10 ends today


EADING telecommunications operator, Globacom, has announced that the pre-order period for the new Blackberry Z10 (BB Z10) on its network will end tomorrow. Its Marketing Co-ordinator, Niyi Olukoya, said subscribers can walk into any Gloworld or Glo zone outlet and prebook to get the device on priority basis before the end of the pre-booking campaign. Subscribers can also pre-book online by visiting and filling the pre-booking online form. With the development, subscribers thus have the chance to be among the first set of Blackberry users to own the latest Blackberry smartphone, which was launched in South Africa recently. The handset would be made available for N100,000 with a very convenient N3,000 monthly subscription fee. The BB Z10 offers a faster and smarter experience than other BB handsets in the market and is designed to continuously adapt to the subscriber’s personal and business requirements. The core hardware features of the Z10 include a 4.2inch display, dual-core 1.5-GHz processor, 8-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, microSD card support, and a removable battery. Olukoya said the decision to empower Glo subscribers with the latest BB smartphone is in line with the company’s long-standing tradition of availing its customers the latest telecommunications technology to smooth their social and business transactions. “In making this new smartphone available to our customers, we are ensuring they are among the first set of users of the handset. We are thus removing the digital divide and keeping at par with the rest of the world,” Olukoya said. The Z10 smartphone being launched in the Nigerian market by Globacom has a new messaging centre called BlackBerry Hub. Every type of message including email, text messages, instant messaging and social networking are funneled into the Hub, giving users one place to see absolutely all their messages.

Gunmen kill seven in Yobe


UNMEN have killed seven men, who were guarding a market in Kune, Yobe State, an official said yesterday. At least 26 people have been killed in several attacks by gunmen since Friday. “Yesterday, some people came

with guns and killed seven people and injured one person, we can’t tell if they are Boko Haram yet,” said Maina Gana, Kune Local Government Chairman. “The victims were part of a vigilance group, they were shot while guarding the town’s market.”

JTF releases tankers From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt


HE Joint Task Force (JTF) has released two petroleum tankers held on suspicion of illegal oil bunkering to their owners, Obioha Enekwa and Udoka Hyacinth. The trucks, marked Abia XB 105 MBA (Total) and Rivers XA 643 MHA (NNPC), were seized at Okirika, in Okirika Local Government of Rivers State. They were handed over to officials of Nigeria Civil Defence Corps for further investigation. The trucks were later absorbed of any complicity and were subsequently directed to be released to their owners. At the handing over, JTF’s spokesperson Chris Erondu said: “The trucks were seized on November 7, last year, by JTF troops. “They were held while trans-loading some petroleum products suspected to be AGO.”

Three kidnap suspects arrested in Enugu


HE Anti-Kidnap Unit of the Enugu State Police Command has arrested three robbery and kidnap suspects. The suspects, Onyema Ugwueze, Ejike Oduh and Sunday Simon Paul, were arrested at a relaxation park, where fake N500 notes were allegedly found on them. Police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu said interrogation of suspects revealed that Oduh belongs to a gang known as Dragon Lord and that his real name is Amos Anene Ezema. The suspect, he said, allegedly confessed to the killing of Sunday Elisha in Nsukka, a juju priest known as Ojenamuo and participated in the alleged kidnap of a cleric. Amaraizu said the suspects were helping the police with


By Eric Ikhilae

Justice Buba expressed displeasure that copies of the Daily Newswatch newspapers, which formed the subject of the case on which he is presiding, were being supplied to his office “unsolicited.” Shortly after the case was called, the judge turned to the lawyer representing Ibrahim and his company, NNL (the company publishing the newspaper), Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) and asked if he (Ayorinde) wants him (the judge) to continue to preside over the case. “Do you want me to conclude this case? I asked the question because after the last sitting, I found an unsolicited gift on my table. And when I opened it, I found two complimentary copies of Daily Newswatch of February 10 and 11, 2013. “My secretary told me she can identify the person that brought it. The issue here is, sending copies of the subject matter of a suit before me to me is not ordinary. It is not ordinary because a judge is also on trial over the case he is handling. “If any of the party is not

Bank robbery foiled From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri

THE police in Sapele, Sapele Local Government of Delta State, yesterday foiled a bank robbery, arresting some suspects. It was learnt that two of the suspects pretended to be motorcyclists and robbed their victim of N200,000. A source said the victim alerted the police and passersby who went after the robbers. Two locally made guns and the N200,000 were recovered from the suspects. The Divisional Police Officer, Kenneth Akugbue, who led the operation, assured residents that his men would flush out robbers in the area. From Chris Oji, Enugu and Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

their investigation. In Cross River State, the police have arrested a suspected member of a gang of car thieves in Calabar.


From Osagie Otabor, Benin


FFICIALS of the S t a n d a r d Organisation of Nigeria (SON) have sealed a fake cement depot in Benin. The owners were found to be repackaging Dangote Cement at the depot. Edo/Delta Coordinator of SON Akogun Ojo, who led the team, was amazed that the operators of the fake depot reopened the place after it was earlier sealed off. Ojo said: “We were preinformed and we went to seal off the makeshift warehouse. “We will be happy if people can give us useful information on the activities of these people.” He said investigation would determine whether other substances were added to the cement or whether consumers were shortchanged by reducing the quantity. The SON coordinator said the perpetrators would be prosecuted.

comfortable with me, such person should let me know and I will return the case file to the Chief Judge for re-assignment to another judge. I must however call on parties to refrain from doing things that will undermine the integrity of the court,” Justice Buba held in a brief ruling. The judge, had in an earlier ruling refused the plaintiffs’ application for interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants - NCL, GMML, Ibrahim and NNL- from publishing and selling to the public, the Daily Newswatch newspapers pending the determination of substantive suit. This was in spite of the plaintiffs’ argument that the new daily newspapers were being published solely by Ibrahim, through NNL, an organisation he allegedly established without the knowledge of other NCL’s shareholders and in which he purportedly allocated 90 per cent stake to himself, leaving 10 per cent for the parent company, NCL.

A statement by police spokesman John Umoh said the suspect was arrested after a failed attempt at snatching a car. According to the statement, two stolen vehicles were

recovered. It reads: “On February 23, at about 1110 hours, a one taxi driver, Daniel Okon, reported at the Federal Housing Police Station that four men hired him to take them somewhere. “On getting to a street in GRA 1, one of them brought out a locally-made pistol and ordered him out of the vehicle and they drove off. “He raised the alarm which attracted the police patrol team in the area. “The police pursued the robbers, leading to the arrest of one of them. “The car and a locally made pistol were recovered from the robber. “ Also recovered was the operation vehicle of the gang, a Mazda car, which was suspected to have been stolen.”

Edo Civil Service Commission dissolved

Fake cement depot closed

Dispute over Newswatch: Judge protests supply of unsolicited copies of newspaper HERE was a twist to the hearing of the case challenging businessman Jimoh Ibrahim’s acquisition of majority shareholding in Newswatch Communications Limited (NCL) yesterday. Justice Ibrahim Buba protested the supply of “unsolicited copies” of the company’s publications to his office. Minority shareholders and former directors of NCL, Nuhu Wada Aruwa and Prof Jibril Aminu had sued Ibrahim and three others, challenging the propriety of the process through which he (Ibrahim), used his company, Global Media Mirror Limited (GMML) to acquire majority shareholding in NCL. They also accused the Ibrahim-led management of systematically working to kill the company’s main product - Newswatch weekly magazine - and replace it with a daily newspaper - Daily Newswatch - published by a newly incorporated company – Newswatch Newspapers Limited (NNL) – an organisation in which GMML owns 90 per cent shareholding.

•‘Car thief’ held in Calabar


DO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has ratified the dissolution of the State Civil Service Commission by the House of Assembly. A statement by the Chief of Staff, Patrick Obahiagbon, said: “Governor Adams Oshiomhole has approved the dissolution of the State Civil Service Commission, consequent upon the

resolution of the House of Assembly. “The former chairman and members of the Civil Service Commission are hereby directed to hand over to all government property in their possession to Secretary to the State Government (SSG). “The governor wishes the chairman and members of the dissolved commission well in their future endeavours.”



NEWS Group: Jonathan can run


•From left: Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Utuama, SAN, Assistant Country Representative, UNICEF, Sara Nyanti and Dr. Adeniyi Olaleye when the UNICEF team visited the Deputy Governor in Asaba ... yesterday

Police chase kidnapped driver’s family T from Assembly HE police yesterday teargassed the family of a driver, Victor Igbinovia, at the two entrances of the Edo State House of Assembly. The family besieged the Assembly complex for the third day to protest the kidnap of Igbinovia on February 3 with his lawmaker-boss, Victor Edoror. Igbinovia and the lawmaker were abducted at Irrua, Esan

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Central Local Government Area. The lawmaker was released two weeks later but the driver’s whereabout is not yet known. Members of the family blocked the Assembly complex and prevented workers from

entering, until the police teargassed them. Some of the members prayed in front of the complex. Igbinovia’s wife and threeyear-old daughter were present at the protest. Edoror, in an interview, denied using his driver for rituals. He said the last he saw of him

was when the kidnappers took him (the driver) in another vehicle. The lawmaker said he heard two gunshots and the kidnappers told him they had shot Igbinovia. Edoror said he was yet to thank God for his release because Igbinovia has not been released. The kidnappers are yet to contact the lawmaker or Igbinovia’s family.

Minister opposes closure of embassies


INISTER of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, yesterday opposed the closure of some Nigerian embassies. But those behind the plan to shut some embassies claimed that such measure would create room and free money to fund existing ones. Ashiru who appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs insisted that the closure of embassies would not be favourable to Nigeria ‘s foreign policy objectives. The Matthew Nwagwu led committee raised the issue of poor funding facing most of the country’s foreign missions. The committee suggested that some less viable embas-

From: Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor

sies could be closed to free more funds to service others Members of the committee also raised the issue of poor state of the embassies including alleged inadequate consular services to Nigerians living abroad. Ashiru said that as a global player, Nigeria could not afford the mistake of shutting embassies. He said, “Don’t let anybody turn around and talk about closure missions. “It is a waste of funds. If I want to close down a mission, I will need money to do that. “We can close an embassy

today and another regime comes and wants it reopened and that also cost money.” The Minister suggested that the way out of the funding problem is to reduce the size of the embassies by shrinking the staff strength. He also suggested the use of local employees who would be on contract. He added that the ministry

is also considering “Smart Missions” that would be created in countries where more consular services would be needed. He said that the funds for setting up the “Smart Missions” were captured in the 2013 Budget. The Smart Missions, he said, would be established as soon as the budget is signed into law.

HEAD of 2015 presidential election, Izon Ikemi, a grassroots Ijaw group, has met in Lagos and deliberated on the state of the nation, especially as it affects the interest of the Ijaw, and agreed that President Goodluck Jonathan could contest the forthcoming presidential poll. In a statement signed by its President, Mr. Tony Uranta, the group reiterates President Jonathan’s right to contest for a second term in office as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, should he desire to exercise that constitutional right. The group urged the Federal Government to look into the claims of marginalisation by some ethnic nationalities. It reaffirmed support for calls for the creation of an additional state in the Southeast to correct the glaring imbalance that currently exists vis-à-vis the other geopolitical zones. It enjoined President Jonathan to expedite the jettisoning of all deadwood in his cabinet and other Federal Government MDAs that are not serving the common good of Nigerians. To realise these objectives, the group said it will immediately begin extensive


From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Esele, will lead some union leaders to the hearing. The TUC, at its NEC meeting in Benin City last weekend, called for a probe into the murder and frowned at the role played by the police in the investigation. Executive Director of African Network for Environment and Economic Justice David Ugolor confirmed Falana’s and Esele’s attendance. Ugolor, who was arrested and detained for 48 days for alleged implication in the murder, challenged the police to produce the video clips of


IX sailors, including a Russian, who were snatched off the coast of Bayelsa State, two weeks ago, have been released, the Russian Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The six sailors, on board the Armadah Tuah, were captured by pirates 70 km (42 miles) in the Brass region on February 17 were released on Monday, the ministry said.


say there is nothing to show in Edo is insincere, what about the road leading to his village? Is it not dualised? Can’t he see water flowing in his village at Ogbonna, right at his family house? “The two primary schools (Imaikene and Oboarekpe primary schools) in his village have been reconstructed with modern facilities. Can’t he see or feel? “The roads from Ekperi to

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday congratulated former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari on his 88th birthday. Jonathan, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, recalled Alhaji Shagari’s leadership during the nation’s Second Republic and his contributions to the growth and entrenchment of democracy in the country.


There were three Ukrainians, two Indians and a Russian on board. “All the hostages are now free and well and will soon return home,” the ministry said. No other details were provided, including whether any ransom was paid for their release. When the crew was taken, their captors demanded N200 million as ransom.

One dies, scores injured as thugs clash in Lagos

T least one person was killed and over 20 others injured in a clash involving rival gangs of miscreants in Orile-Iganmu area of

his parade identification and the cross examination of the suspect, Garuba Maisamari, who identified him. He alleged that investigation by him revealed that the police tortured and shot Maisamari and Moses Okoro three times before they implicated him in the murder. Ugolor said: “I challenge the police to produce the video clips of my parade and cross examination of Maisamari. “All the suspects are alive in Oko Prison to confirm my statement. I urge the Public Hearing to visit the Oko Prison to meet with the suspects to ascertain the truth of my revelation.”

Knocks for Edo PDP chair over tour GROUP, Edo is in Safe Hands, has accused the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Dan Orbih, of insincerity. A statement by the group’s coordinator, Washington Osa Osifo, said Orbih goofed when he said: “the Edo State Government had no project to showcase to the visiting Good Governance Team”. Osifo said: “For Orbih to

Jonathan greets Shagari at 88

Six abducted sailors released

Oyerinde: Falana, others for public hearing

UMAN rights activist and lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) will today lead civil society groups to the public hearing of the House of Representatives on the murder of the Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Olaitan Oyerinde. Oyerinde was murdered at his Benin City home on May 4, last year. The public hearing is sequel to a petition by the Conference of Non Government Organisation of Nigeria (CONGOS). Falana is the legal counsel of the civil society groups. The President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter

consultations with other Nigerians and foreign stakeholders in the Nigeria Project, including other ethnic nationalities such as the Oodua Peoples’ Congress, Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Forum, Middle Belt Union, Urhobo Progressive Union, Ijaw National Congress, MOSOP, elder statesmen, captains of industries, key public functionaries “and our brethren in the diaspora”, in addition to leaders of faith based organisations, multinational organisations, transnational bodies and the diplomatic corps.

Anegbete are almost completed and that means it is no longer a difficult terrain and yet he cannot attest to these projects. “We are not in a unitary system of government. The Adams Oshiomhole-led administration does not need the Federal Government to help showcase what it has achieved. “It is the people in Edo State who will determine that and not a group from Abuja.”

By Jude Isiguzo

Lagos State on Monday. The clash was allegedly triggered by the rivalry between thugs from Memudu and Savage streets. It was learnt that the thugs seized the opportunity to rob residents and vandalise vehicles parked on the roadside. The victim, whose identity could not be verified yesterday, was allegedly stabled several times. Contacted on the phone, Lagos State Police spokesperson Ngozi Braide confirmed the incident. Braide, who confirmed the arrest of five people, said the police were yet to ascertain the identity of the deceased. She said: “Around 9:45pm, some groups of thugs engaged in a supremacy battle in Coker area of Orile. Policemen rushed to the scene and on arrival, it was observed that the streets were littered with pebbles. Vehicles were vandalised. “On sighting the police, the hoodlums took to their heels. The body of a man (about 27 years), suspected to have participated in the fight, was seen on the ground. “Five suspects were arrested, while cutlasses and a locally made shot gun were recovered. The injured were later referred to hospitals and the body deposited at the Yaba General Hospital mortuary for autopsy. Normalcy has since returned, while policemen are still patrolling the area. Effort is being made to arrest the fleeing hoodlums.”












Uduaghan receives report on flood

Wamakko spends N3b on MDG projects

Community boosts varsity’s infrastructure








Page 17


Youths seek more inclusion in governance


•Idris Usman

OUTHS have expressed their dissatisfaction at being shut out of governance and decision-making in the country. They want to be more involved. Mr Idris Usman, a pro-democracy activist, said youths have been consistently ignored in the administration of the country in spite of the fact that they are capable and willing to contribute to the country’s growth. “Majority of youths in the country, if given the chance, are

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

more interested in contributing to their society and future than being involved in extreme behaviour,” he said. ”Young men and women across the geo-political regions of the federation are expecting to exert greater influence in shaping their societies. Yet, there are too few formal avenues and institutions for youths to expand their voice so that their activism may positively impact

on this country. That is the change we seek.” Usman is driving a new movement urging youths to get involved. Next month, young people from across the country will gather in Akure, Ondo State capital, for a national summit, a platform he inspired, to brainstorm and chart a course for the nation’s development. “Young people are at the heart of a process of political change and debate that will help define the future of Nigeria. That is what

National Youth Summit aims to achieve. Young people are emerging as agents of change in many states of the federation and they seek more participatory forms of government where they will not have to be 50 years old to be called youth leaders of any party or before they can have the opportunity to become governor at age 60, a time they should be retiring from active politics and concentrate on of•Continued on Page 45


T was a trying period for pupils, staff and management of Guardian Angel Nursery and Primary School, Abatete in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State. The two storey building housing their classrooms and other departments of the school was gutted by fire early this month. The situation was a hopeless one as pupils, staff and management were confused on how to salvage the situation. Teaching and learning came to a halt as there were no classrooms where academic activities could take place. While it seemed there was no immediate hope of rebuilding the school for normal academic activities to resume, Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi came to their rescue. Governor Obi, moved with pity at the level of destruction on the school, donated the sum of N10m to the school authorities to enable them to rebuild the school. Governor Obi presented the cheque during a visit to the school in the company of some top government officials. Property worth millions of Naira belonging to the school were gutted by an early morning fire. The fire, Newsextra gathered, was caused by candle light that caught some fabrics at they ground floor of the building. It later spread to rooms upstairs where some staff of the school some of who are expatriate Reverend Sisters were staying. The official residences of the Rev. Sisters of St Raphael, the proprietors of the school were also razed. Governor Obi was handy to restore the hope of the Reverend Sisters, the pupils and teaching staff.He expressed thanks to God that no life was lost in the incident. Obi said he was particularly dejected by the incident in view of the fact that the facilities involved were those used for the

•Governor Obi being conducted round the burnt school at Abatete by the Reverend Sisters

Bail out for burnt missionary institution Obi donates N10m for rebuilding School authorities grateful of his administration to continue From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

upbringing of children. He assured that he would assist the school authorities in rebuilding the school. While making the donation, Governor Obi said the gesture was

in fulfilment of his promise during his previous visit to the school to assess the level of destruction wrecked by the inferno. He assured that government would continue to support the school to enable it to complete the rebuilding of the burnt structures. He also restated the determination

to assist schools irrespective of their ownership status. He appealed to wealthy individuals and groups to join hands with government in its quest to rebuild the school. He thanked the school management for its relentless efforts and hard work in assisting the government to realise its vision on education.

The Headmistress of the school, Reverend Sister Maria Goretti Ngwuagu, who expressed her gratitude to Governor Obi for his kind gesture, noted that his prompt intervention has brought a lot of relief to the school. Reverend Sister Ngwuagu noted that the governor has remained responsive to the needs of the people. She assured the governor that the •Continued on Page 45



Sokoto spends N3b on MDG projects


HE Sokoto State government has said that it spent N3 billion to execute various Millennium Development Goals projects in its 23 local governments within three years . The state Commissioner for Local Governments, Alhaji Faruk Malami, told journalists in Sokoto that the projects were on health, water supply, women and youths empowerment . According to Malami, several hospitals and primary health centres have been rehabilitated and constructed, while others were equipped . “ Several other health facilities were also upgraded to the status of general hospitals and others were expanded . “ Assorted drugs and hospital equipment were also provided to several health facilities. Pregnant women and children under five years are also being provided with free

Sokoto drugs across the 23 local governments of the state.” Malami further said the measure was aimed

at reducing maternal and infant mortality across the state . “ The state government is committed to ensuring the attainment of the MDGs goals by the year 2015 in line with the efforts of the countries in the comity of nations.”


HE Bauchi State Ministry for Environment plans to establish three new markets within the metropolis. A Director in the Ministry, Alhaji Umar Abulkadir, stated that the measure was being taken to reduce congestion in market places. Abdulkadir said that the proposal, which was submitted few months ago, still awaited the approval of Governor Isa Yuguda. The director said the ministry intended to establish the facilities for trade in various commodities to make the environment conducive to members of the public. “Three new markets were proposed and we

NGO trains 200 female drop-outs


ARABA-BASED Non Governmental Organisation (NG0), Youth Progressive Association (YPA), has facilitated the enrolment of 200 female school drop-outs in schools across the state. The Chief Executive officer of the association, Mr. Boniface Koson, made this known in an interview with newsmen in Jalingo. “Our investigation has revealed that boys occupy 70 per cent of primary and secondary school enrolment in Taraba while the girls stood at 30 per cent.

Ogun partners stakeholders on health T

HE Ogun State government has said it will continue to work with stakeholders and other tiers of government in order to boost healthcare delivery service to the people. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, stated this while receiving members of a team led by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Isaac Adewole in Abeokuta. He assured that the government would also partner with the university to utilise the viable assets and take paediatric to the next level. The commissioner further said that there was need to set up a committee to make the partnership workable. Soyinka said that the Senator Ibikunle Amosun-led administration engages in public-private partnership to develop the health sector, revealing that one of such is the relationship with the Ministry of Health and the Federal Medical Centre. He also disclosed that a committee has been set up to explore avenues of collaboration with both governmental and non-governmental organisations. Earlier, Prof. Adewole said that his institu-

Bauchi to establish new markets


From Seun Oyelade

tion had been partnering with the state before now, adding that “by consummating our partnership with Ogun State government, we will offer first-class service delivery to the people.” According to him, the collaboration will result in a unique avenue where the state can have a fruitful relationship with the Federal Government for the benefit of the citizens. On why Ogun State was chosen for the partnership, especially on paediatric, he noted that the state has the facility and an enabling environment for it to work. “We recognise the key role of your ministry; we recognise the link beyond the original mandate. We will work out a relationship between us and also make our existing relationship to continue. We can also evolve a special programme with the ministry.

Taraba “It is in the light of this inequality that we deemed it fit to sponsor as many girls as possible to strike a balance,” Koson said. He said the NGO had already paid the school fees of the girls and would continue to provide learning materials for them. Koson said the NGO, funded by T. Y. Danjuma Foundation, was poised to balance the existing gap in school enrolment between males and females in the state.

KEBBI State Governor Saidu Dakingari has urged traditional rulers ,religious leaders and stakeholders to embark on campaign for Western and Islamic education.This, according to him, would move the state and country forward . The governor gave this advice at the 22nd closing ceremony of annual Quran recitation competition held at the Presidential Hall Birnin Kebbi.He stressed the need for



are waiting for the approval so that the traffic and other congestion will be reduced in market areas. “After the markets are set up, we intend to designate them to specific commodities and all the petty traders will also have their stalls to de-congest other markets.’’ The Chairman, Wunti Traders and Artisan Association, Alhaji Armayau Yahaya, said the existing markets needed expansion due to increase in the number of traders and other business transactions. He said that the leadership had written to the state government, proposing a site beside the Wunti market square but was yet to receive feedback.

•Governor Yuguda


HE Deputy Inspector-General of Police (A) Operations,Mr Suleiman Fakai, has urged the Kebbi Police Command to ensure proper cleaning of office premises

‘Western, Islamic education important’ Kebbi From; Khadijat Saidu

parents to educate their children and make them good ambassadors of the society. ‘’I’m impressed with the caliber of children I saw hear reading the Quran, people

should shun the notion that the Western education is not important”. Dakingari added that for the society to experience modern development both education are important and must work hand in hand, citing the teaching of the Quran on how human being was created and how the science offered a proof. He, therefore, urged them to practise both education for the improvement of knowledge and development of the society,saying: ‘’Quran entails full practice and guidance’’ He also called on women to come out en masse and get educated. The first male winner,Mahmud Mohammed Jega was awarded a motorcycle with N20,000 prize while Nusaiba Usman Maiyam the female winner, got an imported Italian Bed with N10,000 naira cash prize. Others got refridgerators. Speaking earlier,the chairman of the organising committee, Abdulahi Waziri Gwandu praised the efforts of the teachers and state government for supporting the programme while requesting for the construction of more Arabic schools in the state.

and barracks. The command’s Public Relations Officeri, Mr Chukwu Ikechukwu, told newsmen in Birnin Kebbi that the DIG was on an on-thespot assessment of police formations in line with directives of the Inspector-General, Mohammed Abubakar. Ikechukwu said the deputy inspector-general also inspected the command headquarters at Gwadangwaji and the barracks. He said the aim of the inspection was to assess and eventually upgrade police facilities to enhance performance. He added that Argungu Police Division and the Police Cottage Hospital were also inspected. “The Police DIG also addressed the men and officers of the command and urged them to ensure that their environment is always clean and healthy, stressing that the visit would be regular to ensure compliance.’’

•Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Wamakko(right) presenting a letter of appointment to Muhammad Bature Shinkafi as the new Head of Service of the state

Local govt advises Spelling Bee winners


INNERS of 2013 Spelling Bee Competition in Iru Victoria Island Local Council Development Area of Lagos State have been advised to study harder so they can emerge winners

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

who have been hit by water scarcity for so long. Also 20 youths were given scholarship awards, even as L. Adisa Primary Health Centre was renovated. Olaleye said the gesture was in appreciation of the support the people gave him during the election. He advised party leaders to always identify unemployed people within the party with a view to empowering them in order to reduce poverty in the society. One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Adisa Olutayo from Oketunu Ward 7 expressed gratitude to the lawmaker for his kindness.

• From left: Vice Chairman,Nigerian Institute of Public Relations Mr. Kunle Ogedengbe, Agege Council Manager, Mrs Adeola Sanya, the Chairman, Hon. Jubril Ayodeji, the NIPR Lagos state chapter chairman, Mr Jide Ologun and the Secretary of NIPR Lagos State Chapter, Prince Abiodun Olatunbosun at the NIPR courtesy visit to Agege Local Government Area


Police urge clean environment

Lawmaker remembers constituents HAIRMAN, House Committee on Budget and Appropriation in the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon Olusegun Olaleye, has distributed various gift items and cash worth over N5m to people in his constituency. This, he said, was in fulfilment of his pledge during his electioneering campaigns that he would reduce poverty by empowering people in the area. At a ceremony held on at Aderoyal Street, Mokola Ibadan, the lawmaker presented four electricity generating sets, one chest freezer and one motorcycle to traders and youths. In addition, the lawmaker who represents Ibadan North II State Constituency sank one borehole in Oketunu area, and renovated four boreholes for the benefit of residents of Obasa


•Members of Association of Property Investment and Commissioned Agents of Nigeria (APICAN), Oshodi branch, during the inauguration of its new executive council at the premises of the Oshodi/ Isolo Local Government secretariat.

Group canvasses council’s autonomy


O fewer than 2000 members of the National Union of Local Government Employees(NULGE) from South-West zone converged recently on Ibadan to canvass support for total autonomy of local governments in Nigeria. The South-West zone comprising Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and their host Oyo State met at the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), secretariat in Agodi, Ibadan on a sensitisation rally tagged: Get Angry and Fight Back: Local Government Autonomy for National Development, which was conducted from the NLC secretariat, Agodi gate bustop, Total garden, UCH and ended at the state House of Assembly. Earlier in his welcome address, the national president of NULGE, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleed said that local government governance had been compromised by the 36 states governors and underfunded by government He said there is need for the local government to be independent in order to make it stronger, focused and autonomous in all aspects. The NULGE boss pointed out that instead of creating more states, local governments should be strengthened by granting them autonomous power. “Although the creation of states will foster development in the country, their impact is hardly felt by those at the grassroots. When you talk about bringing governance closer to the people, I think that should be the responsibility of the local governments. The state government derives its allocation from the Federal Government and deals directly with

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

those under it, and I tell you, this is hardly ever enough for the local governments. Khaleed explained further:”The 36 state governors in Nigeria must identify with the position of the masses on local government autonomy through the nationwide constitution review process held all over the six geopolitical zones last year by the National Assembly and desist from toying with the right of over 160 million people” He described the position of the state governors on local government autonomy as unacceptable, anti-democratic and a disrespect for the fundamental human rights of the masses. Commenting on the stand of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) towards their agitation for council autonomy, NULGE president said NUT is one of their major stakeholders in the fight. He urged the teachers union to study what will be the benefit of the primary school teachers if total autonomy is given to the local governments in the country. He sought support for their cause and be given the opportunity to elect their leaders at the grassroots. The Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon Monsurat Sunmonu while receiving the NULGE members, assured them that their demands will form part of the discussion at the next meeting of speakers in Nigeria.


Council presents budget THE Chairman of Ayobo-Ipaja Local Council Development Areaof Lagos State, Hon. Yusuf Sakiru has presented a budget of N1.7 billion to the legislative arm.Out of this,about N20.7 million is to be internally generated. The council chief reviewed the previous budget and attempted modalities that could make the draft budget more workable. Some of its achievements last year were the provision of low latrine and mass grading of major streets within the council area, sinking of a borehole with 3.3KVA generating set at St. Georges U.N.A Primary School and St. Andrew and asphalting ofAjisafe Unity road which is on-going among others. The chairman promised to solve socioeconomic problems of adequate healthcare, renovation of schools, grading and construction of roads and environmental sanitation. In his remark, the Leader of the Legislative arm, Hon. Owolabi Oluwafemi, assured the council of its cooperation that would foster the desired development within the council. He pointed out that regular check would stimulate accountability and sustainable progress. Hon Bisi Yusuf, Chairman, House Committee on Transportation, Commerce and Industry who was an observer, congratulated the council leadership and enjoined them to work tirelessly to ensure that the budget is judiously implemented.

•Wife of the Chairman, Iru V.I. LCDA, Mrs Funmilayo Daramola presenting a gift to the winner of spelling bee competition, Bor Marvelous at the council secretariat recently

Honour for council chief


HE Chairman of Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area in Lagos State, Alhaji Owolabi Yisa, has been honoured with the best Humanitarian Service Award 2012. The award was given to him by Organisation for Non-Formal Education (ONEF) Nigeria. According to ONEF President, Alhaja Risikat Omolara, the award was given to him for his achievements in the area of health, education, environment and security. She said the chairman has done so much by providing quality education and free breast cancer/cervical screening for young and old women within the council. The chairman said his administration has recorded progress in many areas of development since it began its second term in office. He listed the achievements to include: construction of 120- seater hall to be used as Customary Court and Marriage Registry, construction of new road with inter-lock bricks stone and drainage at Alaguntan, construction of new drains at Modupe Young Street Thomas Estate, extension of secretariat and offices, regular sensitisation and mobilisation of the public on environmental cleanliness.

Yisa thanked the organisers for the award and promised to do more for the people of the council. He added that the award would motivate him to work harder.

By Risikat Ramoni

at the state level. . The successful candidates were Boi Marvelous from Victoria Island Senior Secondary School, Abubakar Waheed from Victoria Island Junior Secondary School and Joseph David, a Kuramo Primary School pupil. Hon. Abayomi Daramola gave the advice during the annual Spelling Bee competition held at the council secretariat last week. Daramola implored the teachers to assist the children by teaching them more so they can be useful to themselves and the society. He said the council procured all necessary equipment to aid students’ learning. In addition, the LCDA’s Supervisor for Education, Hon. Ezekiel Agbonyinu, urged parents to keep their children busy with books whenever they are at home. He noted that students prefer to watch television and play around instead of paying more attention to their studies. Wife of the Council Chairman, Mrs Funmilayo Daramola, applauded the effort of Senator Oluremi Tinubu for initiating and promoting the programme in all schools in the state. She urged the students to aspire to do better than their peers in all endeavours. During the award presentation, she urged the winners to study harder so they could compete favourably with their peers in other schools in the state. She also encouraged those who lost to keep trying more for next year competition. The winners, from senior and junior secondary schools as well as the primary schools unanimously agreed to study harder.

• Alhaji Yisa receiving the award from the President, Patriotic Foundation, Mrs. Yemisi Ige and Alhaja Omolara





Reassuring house cleaning • The NJC move to punish errant justices like Naron and Archibong bodes well


NDICATIONS are that Nigerians have not heard the last word on the highly contentious judgment given by Justice Abubakar Talba of the FCT High Court, Abuja, in the police pension case involving the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Mr. John Yusuf and others. The sentence handed down by Justice Talba - a two-year jail term, softened by the option of N250,000 fine for each of the three counts to which Yusuf pleaded guilty - was widely denounced as a slap on the wrist for the convict in the N32.8 billion scam. With the announcement that the National Judicial Council (NJC) has decided to probe the affair by setting up a Fact Finding Committee, the judiciary has sent a reassuring signal on its concern for professional ethics. Also, the NJC’s move against Justice C. E. Archibong of the Federal High Court, Lagos, and Justice T.D. Naron of the Plateau State High Court, who have been placed on suspension for unprofessional conduct, demonstrates a level of seriousness. The council also recommended the compulsory retirement of both judges. However, what this means is that they will probably enjoy retirement benefits, which is a cushion of sorts. If judges who might have benefited materially by perverting the course of justice get away with mere retirement, rather than dismissal, will this not amount to double profit for them? The NJC, chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, said it found out that “there were constant and regular voice calls and exchange of mms and sms (text) messages between Hon. Justice Naron and one of the lead counsel for one of the parties in the Osun State Gubernatorial Election Tribunal, contrary to the Code of Conduct for Judicial

Officers.” Justice Naron’s judgment in this case was eventually reversed by the Court of Appeal. Furthermore, NJC’s findings showed that Justice Archibong dismissed the grievous charges against an accused without taking his plea; refused to release the Certified True Copy of his ruling to the lawyers; issued a bench warrant on some officials of the Peoples Democratic Party for contempt even when the counsel who was directed by the court to serve them filed an affidavit that he had not been able to serve the contempt application, and made unfounded and caustic remarks on the professional competence of some Senior Advocates of Nigeria. Other grounds for his compulsory retirement were that he did not have a full grasp of the Law and procedure of the court; that he granted the leave sought for in the originating summons that had no written address of the parties and without hearing both parties in the originating summons, after he had earlier on overruled the preliminary objection. These punishments provide a fresh breath for the judiciary which has suffered negative publicity in recent times on account of bizarre judgments delivered by a number of judges, especially in political cases and matters of official corruption. The truth is that the judicial landscape was allowed to be overgrown with weeds, to the detriment of the judiciary’s function as the temple of justice. As a result, public confidence in this important arm of government dwindled. The society gazed helplessly at the spectacle of “billionaire judges” who allegedly sold justice to the highest bidder. It is however worrying that it took this long to address the petition against Justice Naron, which was lodged as far back as 2007. It is particularly noteworthy that the activities of Justice

Naron generated heat in the polity and the PDP government of Osun State under Olagunsoye Oyinlola preened over the disgraceful verdict of his court. Naron’s perverted stewardship kept the legitimate winner of the 2007 governorship election, Rauf Aregbesola, in the trenches of political and judicial warfare for close to a full term before justice rang sonorously. Meanwhile the imposter launched a regime of terror and deprivation. Naron and Achibong represented the worst of the judicial system. While we applaud the Chief Justice and his NJC team for its courage, the retirement cushion mitigates the severity of the evil the judges inflicted on judicial ethics and political sanity in the land. The NJC’s decision reminds us that perverted justice disenfranchises the people, who are true bellwether of justice.

‘These punishments provide a fresh breath for the judiciary which has suffered negative publicity in recent times on account of bizarre judgments delivered by a number of judges, especially in political cases and matters of official corruption. The truth is that the judicial landscape was allowed to be overgrown with weeds, to the detriment of the judiciary’s function as the temple of justice. As a result, public confidence in this important arm of government dwindled’

Again, this ghost of a worker • Yet another fairy tale as Federal Government supposedly exposes 45,000 ghosts on its payroll


T would seem like sardonic humour to state that there are more ghosts in Nigeria’s civil service than real workers; but that is the picture being painted by the ghost-busting Ministry of Finance in the past few years. In fact, going by recent records, it could well be said that Nigeria is a ghost country where nothing is what it seems. Mid-February, the Federal Executive Council had emerged from its weekly meeting to announce with so much flourish that it had discovered 45,000 ghost workers in 251 ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, where the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, had been deployed as at January this year. There are 321 MDAs under the federal service

‘It must be noted that this annual ghost story has become very wearisome and there is no gainsaying that it impacts negatively on the country’s image. We urge the government, if it truly seeks to exorcise the ghosts, to adopt some drastic actions like summary dismissals and prosecution of the top brass of any ghost-infested MDA. It must also revive the service procedures for tracking employment, keeping records and verifying pay rolls’

scheme yet to be audited. A simple extrapolation would paint a scary picture of a landscape brimming with multitudinous ghosts feeding from the treasury. It is also noteworthy that ghosts and tales of flitting wraiths abound across all the states and local council services. A keen enquirer needs only to poke a pointed stick at the payroll of any government establishment and these strange fellows would crawl out of the walls. The tale of ghosts cohabiting with civil servants in Nigeria dates back a long time but the Federal Ministry of Finance took up the task of exterminating this unseen vampire since 2006 through what was termed biometric capture of the Federal Government’s workers. But apart from big headlines of saddening discoveries and huge sums expended in the ghost trail, no economic purpose seems to have been served so far. In mid-2011, early in the life of this administration, the Federal Ministry of Finance had made a song about unearthing about 100,000 ghost workers in a few MDAs in a renewed biometric exercise designed to reduce the burgeoning recurrent expenditure in the federal budget which stood at 75 per cent. The ghost worker syndrome in Nigeria is disgraceful enough and must be rare in other climes; that the Ministry of Finance under its current leadership seems to mire what would have been a most laudable reform option is particularly troubling. In more serious societies, blatant criminal activities of this magnitude would have been confronted

with the required zest and stamped out long ago. But here, criminals in the system who fleece the country of billions of naira monthly are accommodated and treated with such levity suggesting that their activity might well be an orchestrated scam in which everyone is a partaker. The practice was that the Civil Service Commission and the Ministry of Establishment were the custodians of service personnel records, movements, remuneration schemes and salary structures. Where were these bodies when the service became ghostinfested? Who cross-checks, authorises and approves monthly salary payouts to thousands of non-existent workers? Who are the auditors and accounting officers of affected MDAs? It must be noted that this annual ghost story has become very wearisome and there is no gainsaying that it impacts negatively on the country’s image. We urge the government, if it truly seeks to exorcise the ghosts, to adopt some drastic actions like summary dismissals and prosecution of the top brass of any ghostinfested MDA. It must also revive the service procedures for tracking employment, keeping records and verifying pay rolls. Above all, the Federal Government must move quickly to put an end to this ingrained corruption, this shameful saga termed ghost workers, by fast-tracking and concluding the biometric capture of all civil servants as well as fully and expeditiously deploying the IPPIS in all MDAs.

PEPFAR’s glowing report card, 10 years later


IN THE HISTORY of global public health, there has been nothing quite like it. Since 2003, Congress has appropriated more than $38 billion for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR — the largest global health initiative ever undertaken focused on a single disease. Congress reauthorized the program for five years in 2008 and asked for a report card. Now, after four years of work, some 400 interviews and visits to 13 nations, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has provided a 678-page examination of this incredibly ambitious program. The verdict: PEPFAR has been “globally transformative,” a “lifeline” and credited around the world for “restoring hope” in the long, difficult struggle against HIV/AIDS, which has taken nearly 30 million lives over three decades. Furthermore, the program “has saved and improved the lives of millions.” It set big goals “and has met or surpassed many of them.” One small statistic speaks volumes: As of September, the U.S. government has supported antiretroviral treatment for more than 5 million men, women and children. This is a vast increase from a decade earlier. When the program began, there were plenty of doubts about whether HIV prevention, treatment and care could be scaled up in low- and moderate-income countries and make a difference. In the 10 years since, PEPFAR has demonstrated that it could be done. In the next decade, the challenge will be to sustain it, and much work remains. The epidemic is still being driven by new HIV infections — about 2.5 million worldwide in 2011, or 7,000 new infections per day. Treatment and care help those already afflicted, but prevention is the key to slowing the rate of new infections. Fortunately, research has produced both hope for new prevention techniques, such as a major clinical trial that proved antiretroviral drugs can help protect the sexual partners of an infected person, and success in reducing infection rates through circumcision. In the early years, PEPFAR’s prevention programs were considered too narrow. Now, the report notes, there has been a needed “evolution” toward broader efforts. The report calls for striking a balance between biomedical techniques that are known to be relatively effective, such as providing condoms and antiretroviral treatments, and efforts to change behavior, the effectiveness of which are less well documented. Another PEPFAR shift, already underway, is to move away from providing services directly — the kind of rapid action that brought such success in the early years — to helping countries fight HIV/AIDS on their own, in their existing health-care systems. Hard work is still ahead, and there may be fewer glowing report cards like this one. But Congress and the administration should take note: PEPFAR has changed millions of lives for the better and can do so in the next decade as well. Read more on this issue: Eugene Robinson: George W. Bush’s greatest legacy Robert C. Gallo: A PEPFAR for D.C. and Baltimore George W. Bush: Extend the success against AIDS to other diseases Daniel Tietz: Is AIDS still a priority? David Catania: What D.C. can teach the world about fighting HIV/AIDS - Washington Post

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IR: Nigeria experienced one of the world’s deadliest weather induced natural disasters in year 2012. The devastations of the flood was so much in areas along the river Niger banks that people were beginning to wonder if the Biblical time of Noah where flood was used to destroyed the earth was here again. In all, 27 states in the country were affected by the flood. There is no doubt that this singular occurrence had put to test our perceived physical planning initiatives, environmental management and planning policies, our prompt adherences to adverse weather warnings from relevant agencies as well as our collective readiness for natural disasters since they are ways the earth seems to bounce back when pushed to the walls by our dayto-day activities without any regard for replenishment. It is a reminder to all and sundry that climate change is surely here with us and urgent steps needed to be taken to mitigate its effects. Most importantly it is sort of wake-up call for us that we need to be on our toes anytime the rainy season begins to knock at the door. The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), a Federal government agency saddled with the mandate of forecasting weather, advising the government and in-


Planning for natural disasters forming the populace about weather issues deemed it fit to organise a pre –rainy season conference on weather issues where several issues bothering on the roles of meteorological information in risk and disaster management and its utilization for national development planning was discussed. Indeed all speakers at the conference were of the unanimous opinion that, timely weather information is required for planning in all sectors, most especially agriculture, water resources, construction and transportation sectors, with an admonition for NIMET to make extra efforts to ensure the accuracy of their predictions. They advocated for a government policy that will make it mandatory for every sector to make weather framework an integral part of their policies. It was also submitted that NIMET should make concerted efforts to take the information to the real people that needed the informa-

tion, that is, the common man on the street, farmers, transporters, traders and other important stakeholders rather than the government Perhaps, the most important question is what are the implications of the NIMET’s 2013 seasonal rainfall predictions? One, the prediction that most parts of the country will have normal rainfall amount indicates that, barring any abnormal rainfall in the Cameroon leading to the opening of their dams, states at the Niger banks would experience normal experiences they’ve been experiencing when there are normal rainfall. It should be expected that, aside the opening of the Cameroon Dam, every river, including the Niger, Benue and the Atlantic Ocean is likely to over-flow their banks during the raining season, this is assumed to be a normal situation known to the natives of these regions. Lagos and parts of Ogun state and other state capitals should

also expect normal floods arising from improper physical planning, blocked drainages and environmental demeanours. Two, to the farmers, early onset of rainfall in parts of Niger, Anambra, Delta, Northern Cross River, parts of Ogun and Ondo states means that the planting season is expected to commence earlier than usual while the cessation of rainfall earlier than usual in parts of Ondo, Delta and Cross River states means the farmers have to plant early enough to avoid shortage of rainfall. However, it should be remembered that these states are located along the coasts and the rain forests zones and thus receives high rainfall most times in excess of requirements for annual crops; early cessation of rainfall may therefore be a good omen for maize farmers in these zones. Disasters will definitely be averted while food security would be guaranteed if the right attitudes are adopted towards the

SOS to Governor Mimiko


IR: I wish to draw the attention of Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko to the deplorable condition of living on Agunbiade Avenue Street, opposite St. James’ Grammar School, Lipakala Junction, Rainbow, Ondo in Ondo West LGA. The condition of the road is very bad. For almost 30 years now, there have been recurrent problemsof flooding on this street due to the inability of easy flow of water whenever it rains - through the water channels, or drainages and also due to the narrow nature of

the bridge through where this water flows especially, the one at the main road beside Lipakala’s House on the main road along Adeyemi College Road, near St. James’ Grammar School, Ondo. About two years ago, the Mimiko-led administration made deliberate efforts to widen the channels through where the water flows. Unfortunately, this has not solved any of the perennial problems. This reason for this was that, when this water channel was done, it was abandoned without ad-

equate plan for it to be made into a proper water channels with walls and access roads for inhabitants of the streets where residents live. This has forced many residents and home owners to flee the area, which now look like ghost streets. The incessant flooding has made people to abandon these houses, and made the street look so much in despair with overgrown fields on the streets. The remaining residents on Agunbiade Avenue as well as the adjoining streets are now pleading with the state government to ur-

gently come to their aid. As stated earlier, the case has been on for a long time without any solution. In actual fact, an 80-year-old woman died inside her house a couple of years ago at night, due to flooding that caught her unawares in the middle of the night. The residents are now pleading with the government to come and finish the abandoned work they started and find a lasting solution to flooding in this area, before the whole street is wiped off. • Akinyele Akinkuolie, Ondo

weather information provided by NIMET. • Zannu Ajibola Emmanuel Nigerian Meteorological Agency, Abuja.

Ilaje youths deserve fruits of amnesty


IR: Ilaje land is an oil producing area of Ondo State. There are three kingdoms: the Ugbo, Mahin and Aheri/Etikan. As an oil producing area, the youths have been left unemployed due to the hazards caused by the oil exploitation and exploration in which both fishing and farming businesses have become a thing of the past. The federal as well as the state government have done their bits by considering the interests of the people especially by providing some jobs for the youths. However, it has become a nightmare as the leaders in the said areas have not been allowing the youths to taste the dividend of democracy as per the allotted jobs. The most recent is the issue of security of pipelines which came from the federal government. More than 5,000 jobs were allotted to Ilaje land but these were hijacked by our leaders who are in the corridors of power. They gave recognition only to militant groups – those who once carried arms against the government but ignored other groups. Amongst the latter group is Mahin coastal youth which was registered for the interest of the youths in Mahin Kingdom. Our worry is that the leaders are benefiting in quite a number of ways; so also the militant groups who are the sole beneficiaries of Amnesty Programme. We are confronted with questions such as; must youths be rebels before they could be heard? Must those who benefit from amnesty be allowed to hold the other youths down? Why should the group alone enjoy the benefits? Our dear President, the time has come to intervene in this matter so that peace can reign in Ilaje land of Ondo State. • Ebuteiwa Vincent&Egbukuyomi Segun Ilaje Land




Political crime of preventable suffering; El Rufai’s autobiography


HEN a government takes power it must take on responsibilities to the citizenry. In Nigeria political power is an end Tony in itself. The only activities advertised are Marinho self-perpetuating ‘re-election engineering’ supported by theft and accumulation of masses of public money to fill ‘war chests’ to execute a re-election project. This ‘politically legitimised’ but totally ‘criminally illegal’ budget diversion in the moral custody of the political class to personal and party war chests deprived the budget of functionality at every level of growth and development. Nigeria has suffered from the political roundabout of ‘winbudget-political theft-budget failure-election corruptionwin-budget-theft-budget failure etc’. This preoccupation of politics with self-perpetuation and unenlightened political self-interest has overridden our development as none of the 5, 10, 15 or 20 year development plans were seriously executed. The dichotomy of the North and South views on everything has also been a major drawback to sustained development. The best example is the abuse and misapplication of federalism to mean only a ‘skewed federal character’. This is an on-going 35 year hidden ‘Second Civil War’- with abandonment of basic honest sharing principles on the altar of warped principles, census, LGA and revenue figures and domination or dependency. The spin-off was the conservative versus progressive struggle, usually won by the powerful conservative elements of all ethnic groups. The cost of this stranglehold on Nigeria was a serious lack of three things- development, devolution of power and funds nationwide. This cost is reflected in Nigeria’s woeful showing in sports, electricity power supply, education, medical treatment, railways and abandonment of the well-entrenched colonial culture of building and road maintenance. Historically, the Public Works Department would mark a date in five years on the wall and it would return on that date to repaint the house. We abandoned that inherited colonial working civil service maintenance culture. Those

who sat at meetings which abandoned such maintenance strategies should be exposed. Note that UK spent over £22m pounds on citizens’ compensation claims for potholes. Little could be done by individual citizens and states to cancel out federal abdication of its national responsibility and abandonment and deliberate neglect of the railways or the failure of the national power grid or the bad roads. Of course all used and still use generators etc to substitute for power deprivation. This is preventable suffering. Nigeria would have saved trillions annually if no generators had ever been imported to substitute for a failed government. The grid would have been forced to grow at 1,000Mw per annum to 25-30,000Mw by now, short of the needed 100,000Mw but better than our 5,000Mw. Who pays for this ‘preventable suffering’? Every pothole and diversion for development must be studied to reduce ‘preventable suffering’. Remember the anguish at Ogere and Ore? All ‘Preventable Suffering’ is easily solved. Government is not God and must create solutions to prevent suffering even during construction. It is not necessary for citizens to suffer excessively for government development! Government should supervise and force contractors to take care of citizens during construction. Nigeria’s failure to develop railways, roads and power and cancel history from schools was no mistake but a deliberate punishable criminal conspiracy against Nigeria. It was deliberate government policy. Those civil servants, politicians and military adventurers who sat at Federal Executive Council and Ministerial Meetings vetoing power grid development, standard gauge railway line, East West roads, second Niger Bridge and history from the curriculum know each other. We want to know them before they get more misplaced national honours. Such people have no business lamenting ‘Nigeria Today’ or advising current governments on the ‘way forward’. All their lapses have paralysed the nation while countries with fewer resources have leapt ahead of us in almost every ranking except corruption and other negative areas. They should be exposed under the Freedom of Information Act and in properly informative biographies like the exciting new 627 page autobiography by Nasir El-Rufai titled ‘The Accidental Public Servant’. Agree or not with him, you should get a copy if

you are writing a biography or are hopeful for the future of Nigeria. Criminal politicians beware. We the people will get access, a la El-Rufia, to what you say and do, irresponsible or not, in governance and your deeds will appear in the public domain. Look at the recent sack of judges. Government is often people with greed and ambition with little vision. Government’s failure in railways made life a misery and a death trap. Government intentions to perpetuate the railway blight failed when its search for an international container port license for Lagos required railway evacuation of containers. The citizens made do with nothing in some parts while in progressive areas the citizens substituted for federal losses by investment of their resources in their children’s education. Happily a few of these areas are finally receiving attention mainly because the conservatives have finally agreed to be dragged into the 21st Century. But the pace is slow relative to need to compensate for ‘preventable suffering’. Recently we have seen some movement in solving these problems and serious attempts to achieve the MDGs but at what mega-cost and corruption? Inexplicably, simple mass action solutions like UBEC-led ‘Emergency Operation Textbooks, Science and Sports Equipment Boxes’ still elude millions of Nigerian students stuck in over 70,000 schools mostly unworthy of the simplest dictionary definition of ‘school’ –enlightened inspired teachers, teacher and child friendly school environment, books, books, books. Preventable suffering?

‘Nigeria would have saved trillions annually if no generators had ever been imported to substitute for a failed government. The grid would have been forced to grow at 1,000Mw per annum to 25-30,000Mw by now, short of the needed 100,000Mw but better than our 5,000Mw’

Ogun PDP: The Abuja ‘coup’


HERE has been an upbeat in the polity. From all indications, there is a looming volatile and combustible confusion that is capable of tearing into shreds the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the party that claims to be the biggest in Africa. There’s no doubt that the PDP is a party run by ‘big people’, which has offered too little to Nigerians in the last 14 years of democratic governance. Therefore, those who call the party an alliance of strange bedfellows may not be too wrong after all as most of the members seem to be united in only one accord – the love of the stomach and filthy lucre. Every now and again, the rumbles that tear through the soul of the party are far greater than a volcanic eruption with devastating consequences. I am sure, Bamanga Tukur, the national chairman of the party, cannot be sleeping with his two eyes closed at the moment. This is because some elements within the party cannot really come to terms with his style of administration. To them, he has come on board to ‘chop’ and not to offer any valuable legacy in leadership. For now, Tukur seems to have held the rampaging tempest trying to dislodge him from his post at bay. One moment, it is as if he would not survive yet another day in office; the next moment, he is on the offensive again, fighting real and imaginary enemies. By the last count, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the former national secretary of the party, and Bode Mustapha, the national auditor, have been yanked off their offices. If Oyinlola’s ouster

was through the instrumentality of the law, Mustapha’s case was quite curious, dramatic, intriguing and strange. The latter was the culmination of several subtle but treacherous moves aided and abetted by Tukur and his lackeys. In this latest chess game, Bode George, the discredited party chieftain who is going about with a moral baggage of an ex-convict, played a prominent role. George had, a fortnight ago, surreptitiously corralled chieftains of the party from the South-west into Abuja for a meeting with Tukur. Some of the leaders of the party who could read between the lines stayed away from that purposeless extravaganza. But others, who were goaded by vaulting ambitions and greed, could not smell any rat. They consequently rail-roaded their motley crowd of followers into the Golgotha that had been prepared for them in Abuja. What followed is the mass slaughter that was unleashed on the unsuspecting party faithful. Though the ‘family meeting’ was cloaked in the façade of a reconciliation gambit, those at the meeting were dumbfounded when they discovered that they had voluntarily walked into a booby trap set for them by Bode George and others. In one fell swoop, all the contending groups in Ogun State PDP - the Olusegun Obasanjo’s, Jubril Martins Kuye’s and Gbenga Daniel’s groups – were all deposited inside the trash can. The only man left standing is Buruji Kashamu, who, apparently, had a fore-knowledge of the tsunami. It was a well- orchestrated coup

‘In one fell swoop, all the contending groups in Ogun State PDP - the Olusegun Obasanjo’s, Jubril Martins Kuye’s and Gbenga Daniel’s groups – were all deposited inside the trash can’

d’état. A few hours to the Abuja parley, Tukur, through a top legal practitioner based in Abuja, went round the courts and withdrew all the pending cases instituted against Buruji’s group by one of the other groups. The dummy that was sold was that Buruji would follow suit and withdraw all his court cases to pave way for genuine reconciliation. But this was not to be. As soon as the other cases were withdrawn, Buruji became adamant and would not take part in such a charade. That action actually sent a danger signal to the other groups. But alas, it was damn too late in the day to do a rethink or a re-map of strategy. That was how the other contending groups were led to the slaughter slab. With power now fully in Buruji’s kitty, the businessman turned politician was said to have thoroughly lambasted Gbenga Daniel, the immediate past governor of Ogun State, who is widely believed to have contributed enormously to the streak of misfortune that has trailed the party in Ogun State in recent times. He was said to have pointedly told Daniel that he (Daniel) was an impostor having left the PDP in 2011 to pitch his tent with the Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN, the party he founded and funded to achieve a selfish motive. Daniel has been desperate to return to the PDP ever since because of the messy situation he found himself soon after the 2011 election. In that election, his favourite PPN came a miserable third behind the PDP and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, who came second and first respectively. Not even his attempt to ‘romance’ Kunle Amosun, the incumbent governor of the state, now his nemesis, had paid off. Instead, Daniel has been at the receiving end of a barrage of legal cocktails which have greatly unsettled him. He is, therefore, believed to be seeking sanctuary in

the PDP as one sure way to wriggle out of the political cobweb in which he has been trapped. During the campaign for the 2011 general election, Daniel had confidently boasted to whoever cared to listen, including President Goodluck Jonathan himself, that he was capable of winning the governorship election in Ogun State, through the PPN. At that time, his illusion was that he could win the election and then ‘decamp’ with his PPN followers almost immediately back to the PDP. By doing this, he was obviously infatuated with a false sense of superiority and unfounded popularity even at a time it was clear that his public rating had plummeted. It appeared that Jonathan and the party hierarchy in Abuja was sucked in by these vainglorious and delusive promises. This is apparent from events leading to the 2011 election. Daniel had so much sweet-tongued the president to toeing his line of thoughts that any contrary opinion expressed over the delicate position of the PDP in Ogun State election at that time was easily dismissed with a wave of the hand. Today, Daniel is like a fish out of water, hence his desperation for a reunion with Ogun PDP by all means. Unfortunately, in trying to reunite with the PDP in Ogun State, he is not willing to follow the laiddown procedure of the party -go back to his ward and rejoin the party. Perhaps, he believes that as a former chief executive of the state, it would be too demeaning for him to be subjected to such party procedures. He has not also helped matters by his blunt refusal to make up with those whom he had stepped or even crushed their toes during the 2011 general election. Above all, there is also this problem of trying to seize the control of the PDP in Ogun State, a move many of the stakeholders consider

Dele Agekameh insulting and outlandish. Apart from the kid’s gloves with which Mr. President, Tukur and the party hierarchy in Abuja are treating Daniel for reasons best known to them, some of the past governors of PDP, namely Segun Oni, Olusegun Agagu and Adebayo Alao-Akala, are also believed to be fronting for him and doing whatever is possible to bring him back to the fold. Of particular mention is Oni, who, as former vice-chairman of the party in the South-west, preoccupied himself with the task of bringing in the embattled former governor. Unfortunately, that solo effort has led to his sudden ouster from the exalted position. By now, all the powerful men of yesterday must have seen the nakedness of power. They are now like political lepers, courtesy of selfishness and greed. What is certain is that Tukur may have only scored a Pyrrhic victory as the South-west PDP, particularly Ogun PDP, gets further enmeshed and embroiled in internal wrangling. Until genuine reconciliation is effected, the crisis in Ogun State PDP is far from being over. In fact, it has just begun!

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COMMENTS ‘If we must keep winning, corruption must end at all levels. Infrastructure in stadia must be developed, maintained and renovated. Power must be constant and freedom of the coach must be guaranteed. Finally, irrelevant superstructure such as the N4 billion for African first ladies peace mission, must be protested. Enough of squandermania!’

• Obasanjo

For Gbenga Omotoso Corrigendum: it was actually soldiers who were killed in Odi and not policemen. Thank you! Anonymous The landmark judgment of Odi genocide is a victory for democracy. No matter how provoked, nobody has an inalienable right to take away the life of another. I pray that cases such as the Ogoni massacre and Jos’ should also be visited. Obasanjo should be tried for committing crimes against humanity. From Henry Kobo, Port Harcourt “After AFCON” remains our perculiarity of corruption, oil doom, Boko Haram, presidential wastages, turn-coat voice of masses, among other characteristics of a perculiar nation with perculiar people and perculiar happenstances. From Alhaji ADEYCorsim, Oshodi, Lagos Obasanjo should have let the matter die down because policemen are lambs kept for daily sacrifice in Nigeria. May God deliver them from the claws of the blood-thirsty ritualists. Anonymous It is a big disgrace to Nigerians for our leaders to lack manners and understanding to resolve issues among them. What legacy are they leaving when venomous words are exchanged? They should learn how to check their utterances as many Nigerians are looking up to them in the country. From Gideon Lama Kallah Please, add minister of almanjiries and beggars so that Professor Rufai and Wike can face education. Also, minister of potholes; minister of combating darkness through importation of generators to assist minister of Please Hold Candle Now (PHCN); minister of health (abroad) to cater for government officials who cannot go to our hospitals; minister of implementation to ensure government policies are actually implemented; minister of uniforms to ensure all students wear the same uniform (Osun style). Kudos! Anonymous Good day, Sir. Writing you this time is a pleasure. If and only if the High Court verdict on Odi massacre would have been the final judgment then, it could have saved costs instead of appealing and appealing. In other words, justice is on the way, whether the devil likes it or not. Furthermore, Odi, Zaki Biam or Benue and Biafrans massacre were all done by the same person. Does it mean that these people were cows or flies? “kakaka-kokoko and BOMB BOMB” everywhere is a proof of genocide. Hence, the third law of motion, according to Newton, is that action equals to reaction. So, Obasanjo’s acts should be condemned in totallity and he should tender an unreserved apology to the people and Nigeria at large. Finally, the security men should be properly cautioned because they were the ones who incited the community before they reacted just like what some policemen at Eneka in Port Harcourt are doing. From Sunny lgiri, Port Harcourt The Zaki Biam people in Benue State should also go to court to seek redress. Obasanjo should be sent to The Hague to face trial for genocide, it is overdue. From Nnamdi O. What are you talking about? Obasanjo deserves praise and respect from Nigerians, always! Now, it was when Baba called for a positive coherent nation that President Goodluck Jonathan could wake up from his slumber. Obasanjo will leave long to advise future leaders. Amen. Regards. From CSamanja Awodi, Ilorin, Kwara State

My brother, you will never cease to amuse me. Your thoughts on the new cabinet is a master piece. Let me quickly add that you will be appointed one day for optimal efficiency. From Ayo Apelogun, Ilesha To me, Obasanjo acted promptly on the Odi issue unlike the President. Compare the disgrace Boko Haram gave Nigeria in the comity of nations to the Odi episode. You know Nigerian economy is down because of insecurity. The President ought to resign. From Tunde Joe Kalamu Re: Thoughts on a new cabinet. The cabinet members and Mr. President are doing their best because they are only going at a slow pace. You journalists dislike hard and harsh leaders. Are you not blaming Obasanjo for Odi killings now? Are you not sad about Boko Haram destructions? Let us all embrace cassava bread to avert foreign exchange leakage! The recent N37.6 billion judgment, to me, was sentimental of Justice Akanbi. We need to be honest, period! From Lanre Oseni I am happy to be a Nigerian because of the everyday drama I see and hear. A fortnight ago, Boko Haram declared ceasefire, only for the sect to turn around, after some days, to kill some health workers in Kano. Where is our President and his cabinet members? Actually, to reduce terrorism in this country, there should be a minister of defence and also a minister of terrorism so that the minister of defence can have time for other things. Like what the President did by bringing Doyin Okupe to assist Abati in attacking anyone they believe is not loyal to the President. The following ministers and their portfolios: Ita Okon Bassey, minister of Science and Technology and a minister of Research to assist her; Zainab I. Kuchi, minister of Power and a minister of Mega Watt to assist her; Musa Muhammed Saada, minister of Mines and Steel. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Dockyard, Apapa, Lagos The Odi verdict is excellent and perfect; it will serve as a major signal to those of them in power to begin to have respect for the sanctity of human life and to be civil in all their actions against the people. Anonymous Indeed, the court’s verdict on Odi killing is an eye opener to our leaders who have arrogated powers to themselves and have no respect for human beings. Obasanjo must be probed if we have a conscience. In fact, the judgment is a sign of new and better things to come. Thanks! From Charles Obasanjo, Jonathan and the Odi verdict. What are the people of Zaki Biam of Benue waiting for? Go to court, demand for N100 billion, too. Anonymous This will surely sound nice to the poor natives who lost their loved ones and properties in the Odi military operation. Also, the case of Zaki Biam in Benue State in which Dr. Alexander Gaadi took the Federal Government to court and won should be revisited with the hope that the Federal Government will begin to respect court orders. From Ahembe Enoch, Makurdi Thoughts on a new cabinet seems a deliberate attempt to make a jest at the former shoe-less boy’s effort to find jobs for the boys. I hope they are intimidated by your exposure, and not go ahead with a bogus executive council. Many readers will surely fail the poser in the last paragraph of your article. I could not get any right. From Alhaji ADEYCorsim, Oshodi, Lagos The late Mohammed Yusuf and members of his Islamist sect murdered 38 police officers, countless civilians and burnt dozens of churches before he was killed. He who goes to equity should do so with clean hands. From Patrick Oguejiofor, Abuja Boko Haram believes in the archaic wisdom that ‘might is right’ because its leadership is populated by half-educated people. The Odis are incomparable as, to them, wisdom is superior to might. Perhaps Boko Haram will now take their cue from Odi people. Anonymous

For Olatunji Dare Sir, history repeats itself. The fact is a testimony to human stupidity. All past administrations in the country left office in disgrace as a result of treasury looting. Again, the PDP, today, is a house of excesses; each latest fraudulent act must out-do the one before. Why? Nigerian politicians should not find it impossible to learn from the age-old recorded experiences of the past. Or are they impervious to doing good? From Adegoke O. O., Ikhin, Edo State Stephen Keshi and his coaching crew achieved success in the just-concluded AFCON 20l3, where the bookmakers wrote them off. Thereafter, can the success be sustained in future competition? The largesse from the President to the players and coaching crew is well deserved and appreciable. From Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia Abia State Thanks, for your well-concieved write-up. My fear is that the gift splash has now exposed the boys to the risk of kidnapping. The home-based are now sure targets. This goes to show how empty our so-called leaders are. May God help us. Anonymous The idea of a merger by political parties is good if they will allow it to work; personal interest must not come in. We don’t want Igbo or Yoruba or Hausa or Nupe president. What we want is President of Nigeria, who will shape Nigeria, a marketable candidate. The people that are troubling us in Nigeria are not up to one million. We should be able to put ourselves together and fight them to a stand still before we think of sharing any positions or else…. A more strategic planning will give us easy ride in 2015. From Prince Ade Ademeso A progressive agenda. APC should be cautious or else PDP will infiltrate and disorganise it. The masses should be courageous enough to make a change by voting in another party. One who knows one road does not know road. Unless one tastes different dishes he cannot tell the tasty one. PDP cannot fight corruption. The masses should try to understand and vote in APC. Their governors have shown sufficient evidence in their states that they are well informed to uplift Nigeria. Thank you, for your write-up. From Peter Chukwudum Re: After AFCON: Getting back to the basics. The team had won the Nations Cup for Nigeria, no doubt. It has done Nigeria proud. It has enlivened our hope in sports. However, I see the boys doing their own aspect of Nigeria. To me, they were overpampered, with those pecuniary and materialistic rewards! What do we give the CBN Governor, his team and his staff, who brought the general price level to nine per cent from 12 per cent? What do we give a policeman who was able to apprehend a thief, a criminal? A little pat on the back. The awards/rewards showered on Super Eagles would in future spoil them. Anonymous If we must keep winning, corruption must end at all levels. Infrastructure in stadia must be developed, maintained and renovated. Power must be constant and freedom of the coach must be guaranteed. Finally, irrelevant superstructure such as the N4 billion for African first ladies peace mission, must be protested. Enough of squandermania! From Lanre Oseni Is it possible for this goverment to do anything right? Olatunji Dare should be given the opportunity to rule this country. Actually, he is the messiah Nigeria has been waiting for. Anonymous I have been trying to find the right words to describe the skill, the intelligence, the mastery of thought employed in crafting, After AFCON: Getting back to basics by one of the most brilliant minds Africa has ever produced - veteran journalist and sage Professor Olatunji Dare, a unique material for the building of a new Nigerian nation. But, alas, Nigeria has

• Keshi become a pleasure palace of incomparable banality and things have fallen apart before our eyes and the centre can no longer hold. Without doubt, he has said the minds of millions of oppressed Nigerians put in the cooler not only by the political elite, but, also, by their docility due to illiteracy. Their literacy spells trouble for their elite oppressors. To be literate would mean they will know their rights, demand for it, and become too hot for their oppressors to handle. From John Jimoh, Ijebu-Ode Great writing, doctor. I had resisted sending you a well-deserved commendation these years. For me, this week’s column is a masterpiece and mother of every opinion article in recent times. Thanks for your robust weekly engagement. From Sylvester Sir, no amount of cash gift is enough to thank the Super Eagles players for doing Nigerians proud in South Africa. Though I have reservation on Keshi’s selection process; a good coach no doubt, we would have had many Mbas if more domestic players, such as Reuben, Egwueke, Henry Uche, Papa Idris and others had featured in AFCON 2013. Keshi is a good coach but, he can improve in the areas aforesaid, just like President Jonathan must improve in goverance in the areas of transparency, cabinet selection, welfare package and the building of critical institutions for the triumph of his people- driven transformative agenda. Anonymous After AFCON: Getting back to basics. Thank you for the brilliant piece. Our leaders love chasing shadows. Why are they not talking about revamping Ajaokuta Steel? building more dams to generate more power? building more refineries? overhauling our health system and agriculture? In a nation where the life expectancy has been reduced to the lowest ebb, leaders cannot afford to be insensitive. Our leaders will be shocked the day Nigeria catches fire. Anonymous

For Segun Gbadegesin Sir,you should help us to tell APC to give us a formidable and vibrant opposition party. From Feyi Akeeb Kareem “An Olu Omo at 6”’ is surely a historical perspective of a man who was in the genuine struggle that led to the exit of military rule. Sir, you cannot retire now and allow the wrong representation of the Yoruba nation. Given, your age, the likes of Mr Otubusin and others are urgently needed at the National Assembly to make things really work for Nigeria. From Alhaji ADEYCorsim, Oshodi, Lagos Sir, permit me to say you are simply special; a rare jewel and, indeed, the one that this pervasive generation can look up to as a role model. Though I have been reading your columns but, sincerely, I am captivated by this particular one “An Olu Omo @ 60”. The choice of words fit perfectly, the language is simple, the style is a free style with an indepth description. Truly, I am impressed. Wishing you the very best life offers. From Saliu David Kasim, 400 level Mass Comm, Kogi State University, Anyigba I commend your write-up on my cousin, Olu Otubusin as he turns 60. God bless you. From Dr. Omolaraeni Awokoya-Adadevoh Re: An Olu Omo @ 60. I join you in congratulating Olu Omo Olu Otubusin on his 60th birthday. I do not know him but the encomiums you poured on him showed that he is worth his salt. Whoever does good would one day get the reward. That is a lesson for us all. Many happy returns to Otubusin. From Lanre Oseni.





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Mission to repatriate stolen Benin artefacts

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They were stolen over 116 years ago and taken to Europe. These over 3,000 pieces of bronze were looted from the old Benin Empire during the 1897 British Punitive Expedition. Today, these priceless bronze works are trapped behind glass walls in European galleries and museums. Hope for their return rose last week as some representatives of European museums met with their Nigerian counterparts and officials of the Benin Royal palace on the issue. Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME reports.

Mission to repatriate stolen Benin artefacts


OW can Nigeria reclaim its looted bronze works taken to Europe over a century ago? By repatriation or persuasion? A seasoned copyright law consultant, Prof Folarin Shyllon opted for persuasion. Ruling out the adoption of litigation in the battle for the reparation of these priceless objects in foreign galleries and museums, he said the country’s best bet should be dialogue and diplomacy. He warned that if this fails, litigation would be a “complicated matter” because the two conventions (UNESCO 1970 and UNIDROIT 1995) to which Nigeria is a signatory, lack retroactive powers in pursuit of restitution. He said any illegality committed in respect of looting Nigeria’s cultural properties before the signing of the conventions is not covered by the laws. “Again, a country must be a party to such conventions to make it liable to the laws. You cannot force a country to submit to your demand if such country is not a signatory to the conventions,” he said. Shyllon spoke in Benin City, the Edo State capital last week at the end of a meeting between some six museum professionals in Europe, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) and representatives of the court of Benin. A seven-point agenda was reached at the meeting, which will lead to the display of these cultural properties in Nigeria soon. These include developing a data bank by the collaborating institutions on Benin art collections in their holdings in form of a digital archive of electronic and hard copies and that all collaborating institutions upon request shall have right of producing free of charge photographs of Benin art objects in the collection of collaborating institutions particularly for scholarly purposes. The Benin plan of action said workers of the collaborating institutions shall have access to Benin collections in their holdings in accordance with the existing procedures of the institutions. “That the National Commission for Museums and Monuments shall improve the university education of its staff working on the collections and on this basis collaborating institutions will assist in securing support for internship and scholarship for post graduate studies on the Benin collections; •that collaborating institutions shall assist with expertise in the establishment of a conservation laboratory; that collaborating institutions shall assist the National Commission for Museums and Monuments in developing its library and archive facilities; •that the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and collaborating museums shall create an enabling environment for an increased exchange of touring/travelling exhibitions for the Benin art objects and other traditions where the European and Nigerian museum experts will work together in the planning and execution of such exhibitions,” the statement added. Other topical issues listed for discussion at the next meeting included the issue of fake Benin art objects on international art markets and its consequences for museums, 1970 UNESCO convention and the publication of their inventories. Earlier, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke urged the foreign museum experts to reconsider the injustice that led to the uprooting of these cultural icons notwithstanding the huddles placed on the way by various conventions and applicable international laws that govern repatriation of heritage objects. He said ‘we must explore opportunities at voluntary repatriation’ as there are many instances of such repatriation. “In 2001, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin returned parts of the Philippeon monument to Greece. Den-

•Duke (standing) speaking at the event

‘We have to start from somewhere. In the past, there was no such significant dialogue, but now, we are listening to each other on the need to return the objects to Nigeria. On whether we have the facility to store the objects, some people forget that the objects left here in the first place and were in safe custody then’

•FESTAC head

MONUMENT mark returned the Codex Regius and the Flateyjarbok to Iceland. Ethiopia too has successfully effected the return of one of its national religious treasure, the 1700 years old Axum Obelisk from Italy, after a 70year stay in Rome,” the minister said. NCMM D i r e c t o r - G e n e r a l , M r Y u s u f A b d a l l a h Usman said the meeting as would provide Nigeria the data base of the size and type of Benin bronzes in foreign museums’ collections. “We have to start from somewhere. In the past, there was no such sig-

nificant dialogue, but now, we are listening to each other on the need to return the objects to Nigeria. On whether we have the facility to store the objects, some people forget that the objects left here in the first place and were in safe custody then,” he said. Usman recalled that the first meeting on the Benin bronzes held in December 2010 in Vienna Austria, established the framework for the dialogue and second meeting held in Berlin, Germany in October 2011. Ever since the battle for the restitution began, none of the requests for the objects yielded positive results. “For instance, in 2000, Prince Edun Akenzua appeared before the British House of Commons requesting for the repatriation of the works. In 2008, two letters were written by Prince Edun Akenzua, to no avail, to the trustees and the Director of the Art Institute of Chicago. It was only in 1938 that some form of repatriation was made to the Benin monarchy. Part of the regalia of Oba Ovonramwen found in a private collection in the UK was returned to Oba Akenzua 11,” according to a report. The foreign museum experts who were at the meeting were Dr. Micheal Barret and Dr. Lotten Gustafsson-Reinius representing the National Museum of Ethnography of the Museums of World Culture Stockholm, Sweden, Silvia Dolz of Museum for Volkerkunde, Dresden, Germany, Dr. Peter Junge of Ethnologisches Museum-Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany, Dr. Barbara Plankensteiner of Museum fur Volkerkunde, Vienna, Austria and D. Annette Schmidt representing the National Museum of Ethnology of the Netherlands. Representing the Royal Benin Palace were the Enogie of Obazuwa, Prince Edun Egharese Akenzua, Esere of Benin, Chief Stanley Obamwonyi.



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‘I value being bei a Nigerian in i the US’


S-BASED Nigerian art scholar, Nnenna Okore is one artist who thrives in doing the unfamiliar. The former chair at the Art Department, North Park University, Chicago, United States believes strongly in thinking outside the box rather than getting fixated to the old tradition of creating art. She said Nigerian artists should think out of the box in the use of materials and tools, noting that there should be a shift in thinking about art creation. “However, I do not condemn the traditional way of doing arts. It is the foundation but we need to push the boundaries and other ways of interpreting the works. Nnenna who is inspired by the fluidity, freedom and flow of fabric says she finds the contrast inherent in the hard and soft nature of clay and fabric intriguing. “I stiffen the fabric, soften the clay to achieve the contrast,” she says. In her Sterling Bank sponsored solo art exhibition, FLOW held at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos recently, Nnenna demonstrates her love for fabric and its role in human life. Her recent works on display mirror the fluidity of life using fond materials such as clay, papers, twine, jute bags and fabric, which are transformed into intricate sculpture and installations through repetitive and labour-intensive techniques. In a chat with The Nation in Lagos, the recipient of the 2012/2013 Fulbright scholar award who is currently teaching at the University of Lagos said she does not create works of art because she wants


ECOND, the eastern leadership was spared when others were brutally wasted. Third, the head of state Major-General Aguyi-Ironsi, an Igbo, didn’t try and execute the coup plotters as was the practice if it were a pure military affair. (Ojukwu told Suzanne Cronje, the British-South African author that he asked Aguyi-Ironsi to take over and told him how to unite the army behind him. That was the reason he made him the governor of Eastern Region.) Four, when Awolowo, Bola Ige, Anthony Enahoro, Lateef Jakande, etc were imprisoned for sedition, they served their terms in Calabar away from their regions as was the normal practice. When Wole Soyinka was imprisoned for activities at the beginning of the civil war, he was sent to faraway Kaduna and Jos prisons but the ring leaders of coup plotters were moved from Lagos back to the Eastern Region, among their people on the advice of Ojukwu. Five, during the Aburi negotiations, why was full reprieve for the coup plotters put on the table? Six, a freed Nzeogwu by April 1967 before the secession joined in training recruits in Abakaliki for the inevitable war with Nigeria. He later died on the Nsukka front fighting for Biafra. Yet that was Achebe’s Hausa-speaking, kaftan-wearing Kaduna man, who is Igbo in name only. It was an Igbo coup. (The same repackaging was attempted for the invasion and occupation of the Midwest. It was called liberation of the Midwest from Hausa-Fulani domination when it was simply another Igbo coup for Igbo ends planned in Enugu albeit headed by a Yoruba, Colonel Victor Banjo) The January coup didn’t foment a much more viscera response in Western Region since their assassinated political leader was part of the corrupt, troublesome, election-rigging class. To Westerners, the coup was good riddance to bad rubbish. However to the Northerners who were feudal in their social organization and Hobbesian in their consciousness, it was different matter. Sir Ahmadu Bello, the slain Sardauna of Sokoto was their all in all; he was the heir to the powerful Sokoto Caliphate and descendant of Usman dan Fodio. More than Azikiwe and Awolowo, Sardauna was the most powerful politician in Nigeria (pg 46). Murdering him was murdering the pride of a people. Achebe chooses to ignore this perspective and more importantly was the fact that Igbos in the North were widely taunting their hosts on the loss of their leaders with Rex Lawson’s


•Nnenna’s work By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor Arts

VISUAL ART to sell. “I simply create works of art because the spirit moves me to do so. Sale is secondary to me. It is not a priority that I sell my work. When I make my art, am not bound by form or structure,” she adds. Nnenna, who earned a BA degree in painting from UNN with a first class in 1999, said it is a great privilege to be shown around the globe since leaving Nigeria.

She is ever grateful to Prof El Anatsui for his support especially in her early years at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She describes El Anatsui as a great source of motivation, saying that working with him has been very gratifying. But, today how does her present installations, mixed media and sculptural pieces affect her painting skill? “My painting sensibility is still alive. The choice of colours, material application and finishing are all still intact. I still can do

Achebe and the moral obligation to be intelligent (2) From Damola Awoyokun

LITERATURE song “Ewu Ne Ba Akwa” (Goats are crying) and others celebrating “Igbo power”, the “January Victory.” Posters, stickers, postcards, cartoons displaying the murdered Sardauna begging Nzeogwu at the gates of heaven or Balewa burning outright in pits of hell, or Nzeogwu standing St George-like on Sardauna the defeated dragon began to show up across Northern towns and cities. These provocations were so pervasive that they warranted the promulgation of Decree 40 of 1966 banning them. The Igbos didn’t stop. Azikiwe is more honest than Achebe. In his pamphlet, The Origins of the Civil War, he writes: “…some Ibo elements who were domiciled in Northern Nigeria taunted Northerners by defaming their leaders through means of records or songs or pictures. They also published pamphlets and postcards which displayed a peculiar representation of certain Northerners, living or dead, in a manner likely to provoke disaffection.” It was these images and songs that eventually led to the so-called pogroms/ethnic-cleansing/genocide not the coup. The coup was in January, the pogroms started late in May, and the provocations were in between. However Igbos in the East did not sit idly by. They started the massacre of innocent Northerners in their midst. Achebe chose to ignore this account since it doesn’t serve his agenda so we return to Azikiwe: “Between August and September 1966, either by chance or by design, hundreds of Hausa, Fulani, Nupe and Igallaspeaking peoples of Northern Nigeria origin residing in the Eastern Nigeria were abducted and massacred in Aba, Abakaliki, Enugu, Onitsha and Port Harcourt.” It is important to note that these Northerners never published nor circulated irreverent or taunting pictures of Eastern leaders unlike the Igbos of the North, they were just massacred for being Northerners. The government of Eastern Region did not stop these massacres. Neither did the Igbo intellectuals. Ojukwu, the military administrator even made a radio broadcast saying that he

can no longer guarantee the security of nonEastern Nigerians in the East, Easterners who did not return to Igboland would be looked on as traitors. This was when Professor Sam Aluko who was the head of Economics department at University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a personal friend of Ojukwu fled back to the West. Azikiwe continues in his book: “Eyewitnesses gave on-the-spot accounts of corpses floating in the Imo River and River Niger. [Faraway]Radio Cotonou broadcast this macabre news, which was suppressed by Enugu Radio. Then Radio Kaduna relayed it and this sparked off the massacres of September – October 1966 [in the North]”. Achebe, like Enugu Radio, suppressed this information and goes on to pivot the ‘pogrom’ on the fact that Igbos were resented because they were the most superior, most successful tribe in the country. He claims they were “the dominant tribe(pg 233)” “led the nation in virtually every sector – politics, education, commerce, and the arts(pg 66),” which included having two vice chancellors in Yoruba land; they the Igbos are the folkloric “leopard, the wise and peaceful king of the animals (pg177),” they “spearheaded”(pg 97) the struggle to free Nigeria from colonial rule: “This group, the Igbo, that gave the colonizing British so many headaches and then literarily drove them out of Nigeria was now an open target, scapegoats for the failings and grievances of colonial and post-independent Nigeria(pg 67).” An Igboman, Achebe writes, has “an unquestioned advantage over his compatriots…Unlike the Hausa/Fulani he was unhindered by a wary religion, and unlike the Yoruba he was unhampered by traditional hierarchies…Although the Yoruba had a huge historical head start, the Igbo wiped out their handicap in one fantastic burst of energy in the twenty years between1930 to1950 (pg 74).” Beside the fact that this has a language consistent with white supremacist literature, Achebe, to demonstrate he is not partial or a chauvinist, based himself on a 17 page report by Paul Anber in Journal of Modern African Studies entitled “Modernisation and Political Disintegration: Nigeria and the Ibos.”

portraiture because remember I do teach in class,” she says. On her experiences since leaving for the US for further studies, Nnenna says she value deeply to be a Nigerian in the US and she is proud of it. She, however, observes that African artists have not been well represented in global art shows partly because they have not spotlighted themselves enough. According to her, ‘we need to do more ourselves rather than looking up to others. I feel we are making our mark.’ Despite the negative image of Nigeria abroad, Nnenna is very close to her roots and sees the environment very inspiring. “Until you travel out, you do not appreciate those things we take for granted, which are inspiring to me. I miss the Nigerian environment so much. It is refreshing to be here and everywhere I look, I get refreshing feelings,” she says. I looked up the 1967 journal. Curiously this ‘scholar’ was designated as “a member of staff of one the Nigerian Universities.” Why would a scholar hide his place of work in a journal? I checked the essays and book reviews in all the 196 issues of Journal of Modern African Studies from Volume 1 issue 1 of January 1963 to the last issue Volume 49 November 2011, there was nowhere a piece was published and the designation of the scholar vague or hidden. Also this Paul Anber never published any piece before and after this article in this or any other journal. I wanted to start checking the academic staff list of the five universities in Nigeria then until I realized again that it says “he is a staff of Nigerian university;” I would have to check the names of janitors and cleaners, and other non-academic staff too. The truth is Paul Anber is a fake name under which someone else or a group of people possibly Igbo is masquerading. And he/they never used this name again for any other piece or books. So that this ruse would not be found out was the reason he/they hid his/their university. And this piece like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion has been the cornerstone of books and widely quoted by other journals over a period 45 years. It is the cornerstone of the chapter A History Of Ethnic Tension And Resentment which Achebe used to skew the motive for Igbo people’s maltreatment from the fallout of January 1966 coup and the inflammatory provocations they published to resentment for being allegedly the most successful and dominant tribe in Nigeria. Had Achebe not been overdosing on rabid Igbo nationalism, he would have had his chest-beating ethnic bombasts inflected by a deeper and more sobering analysis of the Nigerian situation in the next essay in the Journal, “The Inevitability of Instability” by a real and existing Professor James O’Connell, an Irish priest and professor of government in a real and existing institution: Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. O’ Connell argues that the lack of constitutionalism and disregard for rule of law fuel psychology of insecurities in all ethnic groups. He fingers as an inevitable cause of our national instability, Nigerians’ “failure to find an identity and loyalty beyond their primordial communities that lead them constantly to choose their fellow workers, political and administrative, from the same community, ignoring considerations of merit.” •Awoyokun, a Structural and Marine Engineer in London, is also the Executive Editor of Pwc Review.



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•Nigeria’s delegation at the carnival


Nigeria, Trinidad strengthen cultural relations at carnival

HE active participation of a large contingent of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) at last edition of the Abuja Carnival was a demonstration of the fact that relations between the Caribbean country and Nigeria are growing fast. Known for their carnival tradition, which spans centuries, the interest of T&T in the Nigerian carnivals points to the huge potentials this cultural product holds for Nigeria and her people. Determined to consolidate on the gains of the relations, which have risen in profile in the last two years, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, led a Nigerian delegation to the T&T capital, Port of Spain, to participate in the 2013 Carnival. And participation in this sense refers not only to joining in the revelry and ambience of celebration and culture showcase, it was also an avenue to discuss serious issues relating to the organisation and growth of carnivals globally and the specifics of the ongoing collaboration between Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago in that area. Thus, the Nigerian delegation engaged officials of the Culture Division of the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism and stakeholders in carnival business and organisations with a view to gaining deeper insights into carnivals and their socio-economic impacts around the world. Interestingly, Nigeria is not alone in this pursuit as government officials from Kenya and Uganda were also in Trinidad and Tobago for the same purpose. Kenya for instance, is planning her 50 th Independence anniversary and has decided to hold a big carnival as part of the celebrations with the intention of holding an annual national carnival afterwards. The same goes for Uganda whose artiste and singer, Angela Katatumba, (also at the meeting) was invited to participate in the carnival and even sing the national anthem of Trinidad and Tobago. Such is the importance that some African countries now attach to carnivals which, apart from the huge economic prospects they offer, are also a platform for cultural showcase and propagation of national unity. At the meeting chaired by the Trinidadian Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas, issues such as content, packaging, ownership, sponsorship, technical collaboration and cooperation were dominant. It was observed that any cultural product or feature that ignites the passion of the people should determine the contents of any car-

Carnival experts from Nigeria were at the Trinidad and Tobago carnival where they serve as adjudicators, reports DR.TAIWO OLEDEKUN TOURISM nival. For instance, calypso music has been used as the engine room of the T&T carnival for ages because that is what the people are passionate about. At every corner and any time during the carnival, this brand of music, which has become the identity of the Caribbean around the world, is blared on huge sound systems with old and young Trinidadians swinging and jumping to the sounds. Carnival officials in Trinidad who have witnessed the Abuja, Calabar and Port Harcourt carnivals identified cultural staples such as the Durbar and the Boat Regatta as items that can be used to drive carnivals in Nigeria. On the issue of ownership, participants agreed that carnivals are owned by the people and called for concerted efforts to ensure the active participation of all categories of citizens in the process. One way of achieving this is to propagate the idea of using carnivals as a means of preservation of cultural identities and not a mere cultural activity. This approach has been a huge success in Trinidad and Tobago as all regions of the country as well as every neighborhood in the regions participate actively in the carnival with activities peculiar to these regions. For example, the Nigerian delegation witnessed spectacular display of Traditional Mas (Masquerades) on Cipero Street in San Fernando

and on Waterloo Main Road in Carapichaima as well as a vivacious display of energetic dances and colours at the Paramin Blue Devil Festival on the hilly neighborhood of Paramin. At every turn during the carnival, the participation of the people is total as the whole country is connected to that moment of national unity in an atmosphere of flamboyant cultural expression. Sponsorship is a challenge to sustainability of carnivals all over the world but the meeting observed while this may be slow in coming, sponsors will eventually buy into the process as the carnival grows and mass participation improves. According to the Chairman of National Carnival Development Foundation T&T, the carnival did not attract private sponsorship immediately but merchants started to fund it in the 19th century when they noticed that sales went up during the event. The meeting also agreed that Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago have been benefiting from technical cooperation and collaborations between the two countries. The exchange of carnival experts from both countries has continued as carnival officials from Cross Rivers State were on ground to serve as adjudicators on the invitation of the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago. This is an indication that the synergy initiated by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke, is yielding en-

‘Sponsorship is a challenge to sustainability of carnivals all over the world but the meeting observed while this may be slow in coming, sponsors will eventually buy into the process as the carnival grows and mass participation improves. According to the Chairman of National Carnival Development Foundation T&T, the carnival did not attract private sponsorship immediately but merchants started to fund it in the 19th century when they noticed that sales went up during the event’

couraging results not only for the Federal Government but also for states where carnival is gaining popularity and contributing to the economy. The Minister did not stop at expressing his happiness with the gains of the collaboration and the level of talks on the issue of carnivals in the last one year, he also praised the progress being made with the establishment of the Nigeria- Trinidad Joint Commission which as an offshoot of the cultural relations between the two countries. The purpose of the Joint Commission is to widen relations and explore other areas of partnership and collaboration for the benefit of citizens of both countries. The inaugural roundtable of the Joint Commission was held in Port of Spain in 2012 while the second edition is scheduled to hold in Abuja about the second quarter of 2013. The Nigerian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago indicated that preparations were in progress towards the meeting. In addition to the participation of citizens in the carnival process, the patronage of international tourists is also important. And armed with flyers and other promotional materials of Abuja Carnival, Artistic Director of Abuja Carnival, Prof Rasaki Ojo-Bakare seized the opportunity of every event during the visit to distribute the materials inviting the world to the 2013 edition. The Calabar and Port Harcourt Carnivals were also promoted. In all, it was a fruitful outing for Nigeria with useful policy guidelines coming from officials of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation and its parastatals including the Director of Culture, Mr George Uffot , Deputy Director (External ) Mrs Dayo Keshi and Senior Special Assistant( Technical and Special Duties) to the Minister, Mrs Chika Balogun. Also on the Nigerian delegation were Special Assistant to Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Ferdinand Agu, DG CBAAC, Prof. Tunde Babawale, DG NCAC, Mr M.M Maidugu, DG NCMM, Yusuf Abdalah, DG NGA, Abdulahi Muku, Executive Secretary NICO, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma DG NIHOTOUR, Dr Munzali Dantata and Artistic Director, National Troupe of Nigeria, Martin Adaji. Others are DG Rivers State Carnival, Sam Dede and the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism as well as carnival officials from Cross River State. •Dr. Oladokun is Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation.





Forecasts Niger Insurance Gross Premium - N2.73b Profit after tax - N212.95m Mutual Benefits Gross Premium - N2b Profit - N885.633m Regency Alliance Gross Premium – N812.596m Profit after tax – N256.437m Learn Africa Turnover - N1.06b Profit after tax - N58.336m Total Nigeria Turnover - N46.676 b Profit after tax - N942.1m MRS Oil Nigeria Turnover - N51.20b Profit after tax - N712 m Eterna Turnover - N27.64b Profit after tax - N563.834m Okomu Oil Palm Turnover - N2.667b Profit after tax - N1.044b Stanbic/IBTC Bank Net operating income N16.805b Profit after tax - N2.737b ASL Turnover - N1.084b Profit after tax - N101.355m GT Assurance Gross Premium - N3.892b Profit after tax - N710.62m Cornerstone Insurance Gross Premium - N1.223b Profit after tax - N80.01m Oasis Insurance Gross Premium N562.500m Profit after tax - N79.868m African Alliance INS Gross Premium - N1.215b Profit after tax - N107.213m Berger Paints Turnover - N976.303m Profit after tax - N88.258m SCOA Nigeria Turnover - N835.0m Profit after tax - N18.200m Dangote Sugar Refinery Turnover - N38.251b Profit after tax - N3.49b Studio Press Nig. Turnover - N3.375b Profit after tax - N20.422m Julius Berger Nig. Turnover - N80.125b Profit after tax - N2.55b Intercontinental Wapic Ins Gross Premium - N1.41b Profit after tax - N250.450m Equity Assurance Gross Premium - N2.45b Profit after tax - N287.283m Standard Alliance Insurance Gross Premium - N2.142b Profit after tax - N475.964m Continental Reinsurance Gross Premium - N6.917b Profit after tax - N805m PRESCO Turnover - N2.60b Profit after tax - N800.9m RT Briscoe Turnover - N4.553b

NLNG is one of the biggest success stories in our country. From what I am told, the company has invested $13 billion so far since inception, and has become a pacesetter in terms of revenue generation for the government. -Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga

July date for cash-less in six states intact, says CBN T HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will not change the July date set for the launch of the cash-less projects in Abuja, Abia, Anambra, Rivers, Ogun and Kano states. Speaking to The Nation on Monday, the Director of Communication, CBN, Mr Ugochukwu Okoroafor, said efforts were being made to ensure that the date does not change. He said the apex bank is making arrangements to provide the necessary infrastructure for the take-off of

By Akinola Ajibade

the cash-less initiatives in these states. He said efforts would be made to ensure that necessary facilities for the programme are deployed soon. He said: “On the issue of facilities, CBN will ensure that Point of Sales (PoT) terminals are deployed in the six states before July. This is

because we want to ensure smooth running of the project and ensure that the idea is practicable as much as possible. We have no doubt that the initiative would work in those states, the way it happened in Lagos,” He said the cash-less programme would be made a national project, after the launch in six states in July.

“We are expanding the issue of cash-less economy programmes in Nigeria. Very soon, we would go national to reduce the rate at which cash is being used for transactions. We are encouraged by the success recorded in Lagos, and, therefore, decided to add six more states. We hope to achieve success in the six states; thereafter, we would launch across the country,”

he added. According to him, the CBN so much believes in the practicability of the cash-less programme in the country, and has fashioned out plans to make it work. This, he said, informed the decision to phase the implementation of the project. CBN had earlier fixed July 1, last year for the launch of the cash-less projects in the six states. But due to some problems, it shifted the date to January 1, and later July this year.

‘Net loans to private sector rises by 3%’ By Akinola Ajibade


ET loans to the private sector increased by three per cent, FBN Capital Limited has said. The firm in statement entitled: Annual loan growth negligible, made available to The Nation, said the loans from the banking system (including the private sector contracted by one per cent last month. It said: “The negligible rate of loan growth is surprising on the surface when we recall that GDP growth is marginally over seven per cent on year to year basis. We could legitimately query both data series but we could also comment on the phenomenon of the “disconnect,” i.e. the continuing robust growth of the economy since the twin bailouts of the banks in 2009 with support from sectors enjoying limited access to credit.” The financial advisory firm said the deposit money banks provided more than 65 per cent of total credit to the private sector, noting that the balance consists of obligations to the CBN, notably the bad debts of the banks initially exchanged for bonds issued by the Assets Management Company of Nigeria(AMCON). According to the firm, the banks have preferred to take the safe and healthy returns from holding Federal Government’s paper, instead of lending to the private sector. “ We are not convinced that the yield compression of 600 basis points on FGN bonds and Treasury Bills will prove a game changer. There are no large sectors where the banks have the credit skills to expand their loan books rapidly,” it added.

Why CBN cut lending risk to states, councils

- P 30

•From left: Sub-Saharan African Regional Leader, GE Oil and Gas, Marco Caccavale; Group Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe; Founder, Foreign Investment Networks (FIN), Olayinka Fayomi and Managing Director, Saipem, Vito Testaguzza, at the 13 th Nigeria Oil and Gas conference at Nicon Hilton Luxury Hotel, Abuja.


‘N900b lost on Nigerian waters yearly’

BOUT N900billion is lost yearly to sea piracy, investigation have revealed. Piracy and other illegal activities on the waters are major sources of revenue leakage in the country. Sources at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said the country loses 150,000 barrels of crude oil daily to oil thieves, amounting to about N2.5 billion daily, and over N900 billion yearly. Piracy on the nation’s coast and in the Gulf of Guinea, the source said, is on the rise. “There have been at least five attacks on our waters this month,” he said. Last year, the source said there were reports that powerful ship owners in Europe and America might push for more discriminatory shipping tariffs for cargo coming to Nigeria. This followed the verdict of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), which placed

By Oluwakemi Dauda

the country second on world’s piracy hotspots list after war-torn Somalia. The IMB, he said, also believes there are more incidences of piracy in the country’s waters than were reported. Early last year, the source said, there were reports of a ship captain and his chief engineer who were killed by armed robbers off the coast of Lagos. About three weeks later, a Russian ship was reportedly attacked in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and its captain kidnapped. Earlier, MT Abu Dhabi Star, a ship containing 50,000 metric tonnes of natural gas, was hijacked by pirates off the coast of the country for over eight hours before the Nigerian Navy rescued its Indian crew along with the product. “On March 22, 2012, there was an attack on a Nigerian flag chemical tanker 80 nau-

Cost of cash movement to hit N232.1b in 2013 - P31

tical miles south of Brass in which a speedboat carrying 10 armed pirates was deployed from a fishing essel. On August 4, 2012, pirates suspected to be Nigerians attacked a Dutch oil boat, killing two Nigerian naval guards and kidnapping four foreigners. “On August 31, 2012, a supertanker, MT Energy Centurion, was attacked by pirates offshore Lome, Togo and 3,000 metric tonnes of crude oi8l were stoken and siphoned into a vessel before the Nigerian Navy came to rescue the crew,” he said. In August last year, he said, Captain Romeo Itima, Managing Director of Global West Vessel Specialist Limited (GWVSL) lost his life while he and his team were in pursuit of suspected oil thieves in Escravos area of the Warri Pilotage District. It was reported that the GWVSL

team was trailing the suspected oil thieves who opened fire on them. Besides, an indigenous tanker vessel, MT More Prosperity, belonging to the President of the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) was highjacked by pirates offshore Lagos recently. Speaking with The Nation, ISAN Prsident and Chief Executive Officer of Morlap Shipping Company Limited, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, said MT Prosperity was chattered to load 15000mt of diesel offshore Lagos for discharge in Lome, Togo before it was jijacked. Deputy Director, Public Affairs, NIMASA, Hajia Lami Tumaka, told The Nation that the agency arrested and detained a vessel, MT BEE, last year, with 17,000 tonnes of petroleum products onboard as at the time of detention.

OTC bonds, treasury bills attract 21tr -P 32




Why CBN cut lending risk to states, councils, MDAs by 100% T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) raised the risk of banks’ lending to states, local governments, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by 100 per cent because of their failure to exercise due diligence during such trasactions, it has emerged. The CBN is also worried by corruption in the process, sources said. The banks, it was learnt, found public sector lending quite attractive because of their ability to levy excessive fees on such transactions and also get the states to keep the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) account with them. Some banks were said to have failed to properly document their loans to states, leading to defaults and restructuring in many cases after a regime change. In a letter to banks and discount houses, Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Mrs Tokunbo Martins informed banks of the hike in the risk weight assigned to direct lending to the public sector from 100 to 200 per cent. She said investments in the Federal Government’s bonds would continue to attract zero per cent risk weight. States bonds, that meet the eligibility criteria in the Guidelines for Granting Liquidity Status for State Government Bonds would continue to be risk weighted at 20 per cent. “Where the exposure to any industry economic sector (as defined by the International Standard Industrial Classification of Economic

Banks get guidelines


ANKS have been urged by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to consider environmental and social policies in their decision-making and lending. This is in line with the Sustainable Banking Practice being promoted by the banking watchdog. The sustainable banking practice, Special Adviser to the CBN governor, A’sha Mahmood, said, aims at minimising or mitigating the negative impacts of financial institutions’ operations on the environment and local communities in which they operate. It captures the Nigerian sustainable banking principle on agric, power and the oil and gas sectors. According to the regulator, for the successful implementation of the principles, the institutions would be required to develop a Stories by Collins Nweze

Sector as issued by the CBN) is in excess of 20 per cent of the total credit facilities of a bank, the risk weight of the entire portfolio shall be 150 per cent. Total exposure to a particular industry would include off-balance sheet engagements in which the bank takes the credit risk,” she said. The review of risk weights assigned to some identified exposures is without prejudice to the risk management control functions

management approach that balances the environments and social (E&S) risks identified with the opportunities to be exploited through their business activities. “The adoption of the principles will not only help banks in mitigating the E & S risks associated with their business operation and those of their clients, but also help them to achieve greater efficiencies and better position them to take advantage of opportunities in the global market place where environmental and social issues are becoming increasingly important. “They will also enjoy higher productivity, higher staff morale, lower turnover and absenteeism due to strong employee relations and workplace practices. The CBN would need to provide the strucput in place by banks and discount houses to mitigate credit concentration risks, she said. Mrs Martins said the recent banking crisis highlighted several weaknesses in the system, key of which was the excessive concentration of credit in the asset portfolios of banks. “Past experience revealed concentrations across products, business lines, and legal entities. The management of concentrations, or pools of exposures, whose collective performance may potentially

tural mechanism to encourage consistent and widespread implementation of the principles and develop its institutional capacity to support the banks in their implementation of the principles,” it added. Noting that the process of developing the sustainable banking principles and guidelines has so far been driven by the banks, the apex bank assured that it will create the enabling environment for banks to succeed in their implementation of the principles. The CBN has also recently set new rules for lending to the agricultural sector of the economy. This resolution stemmed from the reports from banks and discount house, which indicated that lending to the subsector remains a high-risk, which should be followed with caution. affect a bank negatively, needs to be properly managed through the establishment of sound risk management processes,” she said. “Without prejudice to the risk management control functions put in place by banks and discount houses to mitigate credit concentration risks, the CBN, in line with its risk-based supervisory review process has reviewed the risk weights assigned to some identified exposures. The risk weight assigned to direct lending to local governments, states, ministries, Departments and

•CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido

Agencies of Governments (MDAs) is increased from 100 per cent to 200 per cent,” she said. A senior banker with a first generation bank who craved anonymity, defended banks on the matter, saying there is nothing wrong in lending to the public sector. But, he said, when a bank fails to recover the loans before the tenure of the current regime expires, the priority of a new government will not be loans repayment. This, he said, is why a lot of public sector loans are not performing. “Banks are always reminded of the history of non-performing public sector credits, and are therefore strongly advised to exercise caution and set a more conservative threshold to avoid the mistakes of the past. This follows the CBN’s earlier directive to banks to limit loans to the public sector to 10 per cent of their overall credit portfolios, an apparent effort to divert more funds to the private sector,” he said. Already, banks are said to be lobbying CBN to relax the policy limiting their credit exposure to public sector.

‘Poor product knowledge hampers customer services’


•From left: Head, Media and Public Relations, National Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Reuben Muoka; Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Communications, Hon. Oyetunde Ojo; an NCC Commissioner, Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi and Director, Human Capital and Infrastructure Group, Mr Dave Imoko, during an inspection of the Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) being built by NCC, at Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.

Bankers blame fraud on non-professionals


ANKERS have identified the factor responsible for fraud in their industry. According to them, fraud persists because of non-professionals accupying sensitive positions. A member of the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Deji Olanrewaju, said the dearth of professionals “is a major factor for lapses in the sector.” He said: “It is instructive to note that when we are talking about professional bankers, we are not many in this country. No fewer than 4,500 are professionally qualified as core bankers in this country. So, if you are talking about professionalism in the banking

By Akinola Ajibade

industry, which has been our focal point. These problems arose as a result of people who are not professionals occupying sensitive positions. He added: “There are certain key areas that should not be handled by non-professionals. But unfortunately, over the years, just miniatures of people that have been working in the banking industry are professionals. That is why we are making concerted efforts now to make sure that our rules are amended so that unless you are a chartered member of this institute, you cannot even work in a bank.” Olarenwaju said due to lack of professionals, some workers are

unknowingly creating rooms for fraud. This, he said, is evident by the ways and manners they gather information on transactions conducted in their branches. Immediate past Chairman CIBN, Lagos Chapter, Mr Bayo Olugbemi said when sensitive positions such as audit and risk management are occupied by unqualified personal, the tendency to commit fraud is high. Olugbemi said risk management is crucial to the growth of the industry, stressing that there is a mismatch of activities when half baked personnel are employed. He said the highest number of fraudlent practices in the industry are attributed to poor workforce, advising the banks to employ only competent hands to foster growth.

OOR product knowledge among bank staff is affect ing the quality of service, Managing Director, SPNS Consulting, Debo Adebayo, has said. Quoting results of a research on four banks which showed that many workers lack knowledge of letters of credit, foreign currency transfers and benefits of savings products, he said his team also looked at the banks’ processes, including Turn Around Time and error rates. He regretted that many banks do not spend enough time educating their workers on the basic benefits of their products. He said the research is a lineup of activities for the company’s 10th anniversary celebration, adding that his team carried out life transactions and audio visuals in many of the banks’ branches where they gathered information on their services and product

knowledge. Adebayo said his team decided to follow up on the banks’ customer services because of the benefits of such to the overall satisfaction of the customers. “We know that service is critical to the overall success of banks and satisfaction of their customers. We have been engaged in service measurement and mystery shopping where it was discovered the state of customer services in many of the banks,” he said. Also, Head Project Team, Service Quality Monitoring, SPNS Consulting, Ayideji Omonaye, said when customers enter into a bank, there are always expectations. He said there is need to ensure uniform quality service, regreting that many of the banks are providing generic services, making it difficult for them to really captivate their customers. He explained that when an in-

CITN woos governors on revenue job


HE Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CITN) is discussing with governors to appoint its members as head of their internal revenue services. CITN President, Sunday Jegede, said such appointment is about putting round pegs in round holes, and achieving professionalism. He regretted that in some states, tax administrators are not being fairly treated, leading to loss of revenues that would have been channeled into productive ventures. The CITN boss said the Court of Appeal verdict, that only CITN members can act as tax practitioners and administrators indicated that the governors must engage the institute’s members in handling

revenues and tax issues. He said Section 19 of CITN Act empowers the institute and its members to be solely responsible for these duties. The CITN boss said taxation has a way of complementing government revenue drive, and making more resources available to provide social amenities for the people. He added that taxation can be deployed into key sectors of the economy such as power, agriculture, real sector and creation of jobs to reduce growing unemployment rate in the country. The CITN boss said resources from taxation will complement oil revenue, to solve critical problems confronting the country.




Cost of cash movement to hit N232.1b in 2013 T

HE cost of moving cash in the financial system is likely to reach N232.1 billion this year, the Managing Director of Accenture Nigeria, Mr Niyi Yusuf, has said. Speaking during a stakeholders’ forum on cashless economy in Lagos, Yusuf said the cost of the exercise was N205.6 billion last year. He said: “The cost of moving cash around is steadily increasing. It was N141.5 billion in 2009, N127.4 billion in 2010, N182.6 billion in 2011, N205.6 billion in 2012, and N232.1 billion in 2013. To reduce the cost of moving cash around, there is the need to embrace the cashless economy initiative fully,” This, he said, resulted in an increased cost of banking services and operations. He said the country remains a largely cash-based economy with cash payments contributing 80 per cent of retail and commercial trans-

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

actions. The cash-less policy, he said, would in the short-medium term, have limited impact from infrastructure and change management readiness perspective. Yusuf said there are opportunities to reduce cost of cash management in the long-term, advising the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), banks, customers among other stakeholders to help in making the cashless project a reality. He said a holistic approach is required to make the cashless economy idea work, arguing that it must not be left in the hands of the government only. According to him, a cashless system would promote financial inclusion, reduce economic crimes, reduce cost of managing cash, lead to adequate budgeting and taxation, and promote economic

growth. He listed factors to make cashless sustainable to include broad-based consultation among the stakeholders, realistic phasing and timing of deployment infrastructures such as Point of Sales (PoS) terminals among others. “There must be a multistakeholder and multi-industry approach to drive financial inclusion, integration between government and private sector initiatives, appropriate dispute resolution mechanism and financial ‘Ombudsman’ to manage various cases arising from the operations of cashless initiatives, and strong efforts to drive consumers’ awareness and education,” he added. He said Nigerians would embrace cashless economy agenda with time, because it is the only way of preventing the risks associated with movement and using of cash for transactions.

Banking gets good IFRS rating THE Nigerian banking industry has been rated high in the area of compliance with the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS). A consultant on Financial Reporting Council on IFRS, Mr Uwadiae Oduware, made this known in Lagos. Speaking on IFRS Adoption in Nigeria: Optimising the gains of global investment climate, Oduware said the industry got five in the ranking done by by FRC recently. He said: “In the Industry Compliance Ranking done recently, banking got five, multinationals - the oil and gas got four, multinationals( Other sectors) three, Insurance two, manufacturing two, Consumer Business two, Pension funds two, Construction two, and Telecommunication and Technology one.” He said the ranking was done across the sectors, adding that it aimed at monitoring the level of compliance to IFRS in the country. Oduware said the need to know the level of IFRS adoption is necessary, in view of the importance attached to IFRS globally. He advised companies that are yet to fully comply with the IFRS provisions to do so.

MfBs to harmonise IT processes THE National Association of Microfinance banks (Southwest region) will soon embark on the unification of their Information and Technology ((IT) process, its Chairman, Mr Olufemi Babajide, has said. Unfolding his agenda for the year in Lagos, Babajide said plans are on-going to ensure that the banks harmonise their softwares to improve service delivery. He said the banks located in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states are using over 300 software, adding that there would be synergy in their operations when they unify their IT processes. He said their counterparts in Ghana are using one software to spur growth in the banking sub –sector, stressing that the idea would reduce operational inefficiency in the country. According to him, it would be difficult for some of the banks to function if they do not adapt to the new technological devices being deployed in the industry. He said: “We are not ready to take chances again because we know the damages, which bad technology can do to banking activities. We have resolved to improve the IT operations in the banks.”

‘How to reduce lending rates’

•Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, Solomon Adeola (right); Accountant-General of Federation, Jonas Otunla; Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu and Committee Clerk, Patrick Giwa, during the NNPC chief appearance before the panel at National Assembly, Abuja. PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

‘Why retail bond trading isn’t attractive’


HY has retail bond trading not been attractive, several weeks after it was introduced to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)? According to experts, poor awareness, investors’ inability to get fair values on investment when leaving the market, attractions from the stock market, among others, prevent individuals from investing in the market. The market has been selling less than N10 million worth of bonds to retail investors daily since February 1, when NSE began trading on the instrument. Before now, bonds were being sold at wholesale rates, with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Discount Houses serving as the Primary Market Dealers. The need to deepen the market, make it more participatory, and improve government’s fiscal programmes made the Debt Management Office (DMO) to initiate retail bond investment. It appointed Stanbic/IBTC Plc as the sole government broker to sell the instrument. But the instrument is yet to attract enough patronage. For instance, investors bought 510,000 units of the fixed-income instruments valued at N600, 000 in 31 deals on February 1.

At the close of trading on February 15, investors purchased 5,560 units in 22 deals valued at N6.9million. On February 19, 6,040 units in 19 deals valued at N7.7million were sold . Managing Director, BGL Securities Limited, Mr Sunday Adebola said the volumes of bonds trading at the retail segment of the market were insignificant. This, he said, had been the trend since trading began on the instrument in February. He said investors have low perception of the instrument, and are reluctant to invest in it. He said: “When you check the list of symbols traded on bonds at the retail window, you would observe that less than N10 million bonds are being sold on daily basis. There are different series of Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) retail bonds. Bonds have different maturity periods. Prominent among the bonds that are being patronised are FG 9B2017S2 and FG9B2019S1. The awareness level is poor, hence the refusal of investors to buy the bonds.” He said though retail bond transaction is at infancy stage, the patronage is still very low considering the fact that investors are looking for means of diversifying their portfolios to reduce risks. He said the process of exiting the

bonds market is cumbersome, unlike the stock market where investors can enter and exit at will, depending on their motives for making such investments. This, he said, may make some people to look for investments with a flexible and easier mode of exit. A former General Manager, Heritage Investments and Securities Limited, Mr Tayo Bello, said also investors are not likely to get fair values when they are exiting the bonds market. He said there is a timeline for investing and getting results in bonds, adding that investors exiting the market before maturity dates would not get full value for their investment. “Once you are exiting the bonds market before the maturity periods, either as retail or wholesale investors, you are doing so at discounted rates. This means that investors would get lower returns on their investments. Besides, the rates of investing in retail bonds are a little bit higher and this may prevent some investors from going into it,” he added. He said the stock market is bouncing back as confirmed by the increase in the market capitalisation and All-Share Index among other market indices. Besides, he said retail investors may prefer equities to bonds.

THE cost of lending by banks can be reduced if banks can share some of their key infrastructure that increase their cost of operations, analysts have said. Chief Risk Officer, Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank), Emmanuel Abolo, said the cost of lending always rise in line with banks’ cost of operation, and that shared-services is the viable means of reducing such costs. Speaking at the Nigeria Development and Finance Forum in Lagos, Abolo said though banks think of supporting entrepreneurs, but the cost of lending has been a major roadblock. He said by sharing key infrastructure and cooperating with one another, banks in the continent will have their cost reduced drastically. Analysts insist banks need to share services in terms of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) usage. In many cases the machines are mounted too closely, with basic infrastructure repeated in all the cases. By sharing and networking the infrastructure, the banks will save a huge fund, which could reduce cost of credit. Also, the mistrust and cut throat competition that exist in the industry is even affecting cooperation in terms of loan syndication which is also a viable means of reducing cost of banking operation and volume of risk in each transaction.

NEXIM recovers N1.3b loans THE Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM) recovered N1.3 billion nonperforming loans (NPLs) from debtors last year, its Managing Director, Roberts Orya, has said. The amount, he said, reduced its non-performing loans to the barest minimum, adding that loan recovery remains a major challenge in the banking sector. He disclosed that the success achieved by the management of NEXIM during the 2012 operational year was due to sustained aggressive measures put in place to recover the delinquent loans.” “The alarming decline in the quality of risk assets of the bank’s total loan portfolio as at August 20, 2009 was N14.6 billion out of which 72 per cent was non-performing and within that category N10.03 billion or 69.05 was classified as completely lost,” he explained. The NEXIM boss: “The various initiatives embarked upon by the management had positively impacted on the bank’s operations by turning around its fortunes and making it a profit-making organisation.” These initiatives he added resulted: “In the impressive performance in year 2010 with an audited profit of N189.00 million as against the loss of N5.460 billion incurred in 2009.” Orya said the audited accounts of the last two years were being computed, stressing : “The bank has been able to leverage on its balance sheet to secure lines of credit from institutions like the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim), The Export-Import Bank of India while it has collaboration arrangements with United States Export-Import Bank and other EXIM Banks.” In the last two years Orya stated that NEXIM has: ”Supported Nigerian exporters mainly the small and medium enterprises (SME’s) with some engaged in Greenfield projects, to the tune of N23.33 billion and issued guarantees valued at $27.3 million between 2009 and August 2012.” These interventions he said are: “In our target sectors with high growth potential of manufacturing, agro - processing, solid minerals and services. With the turnaround of the Bank’s performance, management will ensure an appreciable return on the equity investment of the shareholders.” Accordingly, a dividend for the 2010 financial year performance was declared and paid, which was the first time since year 2003 when dividend was last paid. Orya explained that as part of the transformation agenda, the management has been transforming the Bank’s human capital with the engagement of highly skilled and motivated personnel in the various departments.





OTC bond, treasury bills attract N21tr

RANSACTIONS have risen slightly on the Over-the Counter (OTC) market for fixed-income securities, but investors tended to shuffle more towards short-term instruments than medium to long-term securities. Transactional analysis of the OTC market for bonds and treasury bills in 2012 showed that total value of transactions rose by 11.8 per cent to N21.02 trillion as against N18.8 trillion recorded the previous year. The increase in value of transactions was, however, due to improved stakes on short-term treasury bills, which continued to account for the larger percentage of

Stories by Taofik Salako

transactions on the fixed-income OTC market. Trading data provided by the Central Securities and Securities Clearing System (CSCS) showed that treasury bills accounted for 66.2 per cent of total transaction value in 2012 as against 57.5 per cent in previous year. Turnover value for treasury bills rose by 22 per cent in 2012 to N13.92 trillion compared with N10.81 trillion recorded in 2011. Turnover value for bonds, mainly Nigeria’s sovereign bonds, dropped by 13 per cent to N 7.10

trillion as against N7.99 trillion posted in 2011. Further analysis similarly showed declines in turnover volume and number of deals for bonds in contrast with increases in number of deals and turnover volume for treasury bills, completing a demand-supply pulls in favour of treasury bills. A total of 7.35 billion bond units were cleared and settled in 2012 as against 8.95 billion bond units traded in 2011, representing a drop 22 per cent. Turnover volume on the treasury bills rose by 24 per cent to 14.70 billion units in 2012 compared with

11.16 billion units in 2011. Also, total number of deals on sovereign bonds dropped 44,822 in 2012 in contrast with 65,319 deals struck in 2011, indicating a decline of about 46 per cent. On the other hand, total number of deals on treasury bills rose by 24 per cent to 58,091 deals in 2012 as against 44,360 deals that were cleared in 2011. Market analysts attributed the shift towards treasury bills to the liquidity needs, noting that investors preferred to hold short-tenor securities that can quickly be

Unilever, Guinness, Nestle, others make margin list


•From left: Executive Director, Market Operations Technology, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Adeolu Bajomo; Convener, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) Nigeria, Mrs. Margaret Adetutu Adeleke; Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr Oscar Onyema and Coordinator, CECP, Nigeria, Dr. Kin J Egwuonwu ringing the opening bell in commemoration of the International Corporate Philanthropy Day in Lagos ... on Monday.


AJOR fast moving consumer goods companies (FMCGs), multinationals and downstream petroleum companies, are among companies that would be allowed for margin lending in the Nigerian capital market under the new regulatory regime that limits companies which shares could be used for margin lending. The Nation’s investigation showed that several companies drawn from the food and beverages, breweries, building materials, construction and petroleum-marketing sectors among others would form the initial consideration for margin lending. Companies under consideration for the margin list by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to latest check, included Unilever Nigeria, Guinness Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries, UAC of Nigeria (UACN), PZ Cussons Nigeria, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria, Lafarge Wapco Cement Nigeria, Dangote Cement and Presco Plc.

Listing’s test of our strength, says Registrar

HE recent landmark listing of African prudential Registrars (APR) Plc as the first share registration company to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) underscored the strengths of the company as a leader in its business segment. Managing Director, African prudential Registrars (APR) Plc, Mr Peter Ashade, said the listing of the company provided a unique test to appraise its fundamentals and business structure, which were affirmed to meet the stringent standards for listed companies. According to him, being the only registrar listed on the stock exchange gives APR a level of accountability and openness that far

exceeds its competitors. He noted that the process of listing a company is rigorous and as such, the listing of APR sets its apart from other competitors. “Not every company can withstand the scrutiny required by the listing process. It requires visible accounting, proper systems and ongoing processes to meet the standards,” Ashade said. He added that the company would leverage on the additional surveillance and opportunities provided by the listing to continue to provide clients with products and services that justify their confidence. He pointed out that APR’s consistent use of innovation to drive its business has resulted in sus-

tained growth of its shareholders fund from N1.6 billion in 2010 to N2.3 billion in 2012, and a 35.4 per cent compound yearly growth rate. According to him, APR is rated as Nigeria’s number one corporate registrar for innovative use of technology to improve its services. The company was the first in the share registration business to deploy an e-stock software application. He noted that in 2008, APR had pioneered an online e-share registration service receive which proved a major turning point for the business and ensured a higher level of convenience for clients. The simple innovation, he pointed out, shifted the paradigm of manual share register adminis-

tration and brought it to the fingertips of shareholders and clients. He said the company recorded an increase of 100 per cent in profit before tax last year, assuring that it would continue to delight shareholders with better performance. Formerly known as UBA Registrars, APR was spun off from the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group) and it has authorised and fully paid share capital of N500 million. Its shares are held by several local and international investors, the most prominent of which is Heirs Holdings, the pan-African investment company with long term, strategic interests in key economic sectors that generate social wealth.

UPDC REIT projects N16b dividend, 10% average yield


NVESTORS in the UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust (UPDC REIT) would receive about N15.64 billion in cash distributions over a five-year period, the fund manager has said. The Board of FSDH Asset Management Limited (FAML), the fund manager to UPDC REIT, indicated an average yearly dividend yield of 10.1 per cent, equivalent to about N3.13 billion over a five-year period. According to forecasts made by directors of the fund manager, UPDC REIT is expected to pool total income of N21.85 billion within the five-year period between this year and 2017 while profit before tax would be about N20.32 billion within the same period. With net profit after tax expected at N17.40 billion over the period,

investors in UPDC REIT would receive total cash dividends of N15.64 billion. UPDC REIT, a collective investment scheme being sponsored by the UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) Plc, is offering three billion ordinary units of N10 each at N10 each through an initial public offering (IPO). Minimum subscription is 10,000 and thereafter in multiples of 1,000 units. The offer, which opened on February 19, 2013, closes on March 28. The fund manager said N2.36 billion would be distributed as dividends for the year ending December 31, 2013 and this would increase to N2.55 billion, N2.99 billion, N3.29 billion and N4.45 billion in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Dividend per unit is projected at 79 kobo for 2013 and would subse-

quently improve to 85 kobo, N1, N1.10 and N1.49 in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. With these, dividend yield would be 8.7 per cent in the year and increase consecutively to 9.3 per cent, 10.8 per cent, 11.7 per cent and 15.7 per cent in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. According to the forecasts, profit after tax is estimated at N2.62 billion in the year and this would increase to N2.84 billion, N3.32 billion, N3.36 billion and N4.97 billion in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively. Profit before tax is projected at N3.74 billion in 2013 and it is estimated to slowed down to N3.26 billion in 2014 and subsequently improved consecutively to N3.76 billion, N4.12 billion and N5.44 billion in 2015,

monetised to meet emerging financing needs. Investment advisor and economist, Sterling Capital Markets, Sewa Wusu, said general preference for fixed-income securities was due to the low-risk nature of the assets class. He noted that both Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTBs) and Federal Government’s bonds are sovereign issues with almost no risks, which enabled investors and fund managers to use them as hedging instruments against more volatile securities such as equities.

2016 and 2017. The fund manager said total income from the collection of real estate assets could be N3.99 billion in 2013. This is, however, expected to drop to N3.52 billion in 2014. Total income is estimated at N4.09 billion in 2015 and then to N4.47 billion and N5.79 billion in 2016 and 2017. The UPDC REIT seeks to invest a maximum of 75 per cent in real estate, 25 per cent in real estate related assets and 10 per cent in liquid assets and cash. The fund manager added that it would optimise opportunities in the buoyant outlook for real estate i n d u s t r y a n d t h e p r i m e locations of the assets to be acquired by the collective investment scheme to ensure good returns to unitholders.

Other are Cadbury Nigeria, Okomu Oil Palm, Julius Berger Nigeria, Seven-Up Bottling Company, Dangote Sugar Refinery, Vitafoam Nigeria, and Ashaka Cement, Berger Paints, CAP, Oando, Conoil, Total Nigeria, Mobil Oil Nigeria, University press and Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (Nahco), among others. None of the companies quoted on the second-tier market, otherwise known as alternative securities market, of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) could make the margin list due to what a source described as their lack of technical and fundamental strengths to meet liquidity and resilience for margin lending. Also, banks would be initially excluded from the margin list while prospective listings such as companies making debut through initial public offerings would not be considered for margin loans. The margin list technically refers to list of approved companies, whose shares could be used for margin lending. A source said SEC would continuously update and review the margin list to ensure that companies on the list meet the requisite criteria for margin lending. This is geared towards managing risks associated with the activities of borrowing funds for share purchase. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and SEC had in 2010 jointly issued 26-rule guidelines on margin lending. The guidelines provide rules for the administration of margin activities from the shared perspective of regulators and operators. Rule 22 of the guidelines on margin lending stipulates criteria for the margin list, which include 12-month trading history, three month trading volume, 10 day trading volume, a minimum price of 75 kobo and capitalisation banks from margin list and also IPOs from marginbased funds. SEC at the weekend indicated it was finalising arrangements to release the margin list. The apex capital market regulator stated that the margin list would be made up of securities that have the highest trading profile in the market. “The market’s recent rally is generating calls for liquidity. SEC recognises that provision of liquidity should be done in a manner that is consistent with the principles spelt out in the guidelines and administered in a fashion that sustains the upswing while foreclosing the risk of contagion,” SEC stated. The apex capital market regulator noted that the margin list and proactive surveillance mechanism were in line with its objective of migrating to risk-based approach to market regulation and oversight.




Investors await banks’ results, dividend I

NVESTORS and market pundits are eagerly awaiting the release of the audited report and accounts and dividend recommendations of banks for the year ended December 31, 2012. Banks are expected to stream in their audited reports and dividend recommendations as from this weekend and most of them are expected to have released their earnings reports by the end of March. Banks operate a uniform business year, which runs concurrently with the 12-month Gregorian calendar year. The business year thus terminates on December 31. Post-listing rules at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) require that quoted companies should submit their reports, not later than three months after the end of the business year. Managing Director, MBC Securities, Mr Toyin Ayoade, said the earnings reports and dividend recommendations of banks could be decisive for the market direction. He said the market expected banks’ earnings report to trickle in ‘any moment from now’ and the general outlook of the results would set the trend for the market at the stock market. According to him, if the banks’ results are good, the market would likely see a relatively strong renewed trend of bullish run but in the event the results generally fall below expectations, they may trigger a bearish market. Ayoade described the swings to negative as a temporary lull due to profit-taking transactions and portfolio adjustments noting that the market’s fundamentals remain strong and positive. Investment advisors at FSDH Merchant Bank Limited said “the expectation of good end-year results and corporate actions would influence market activities, as investors position themselves for the earnings season.” According to analysts, although the market would still swing between uptrend and downtrend due to profit-taking activities, there is still upside potential for the market due to anticipation of results of Zenith Bank, Access Bank, FBN Holdings Ouaranty Trust Bank and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) among others. Most analysts expected banks to report impressive earnings for 2012 based on the third quarter reports. Nigerian banks grossed N1.85 trillion in the third quarter, a hefty 59.6 per cent on N1.16 trillion recorded in the second quarter but their top-line earnings were still 33.2 per cent short of the industry’s net assets. The Nation’s Intelligence Report showed that banks’ net earnings improved by 45.4 per cent while industry’s shareholders’ funds increased slightly by 6.7 per cent. The report covered all quoted banks, excluding the troubled

Stories by Taofik Salako

Wema Bank, which has been in default of periodic release of results. The least impact bank, Wema Bank’s results will not change the industry’s figures. Industry’s average return on equity improved from 10.05 per cent in the second quarter to 13.7 per cent in the third quarter, a doubledigit position that underlines the fundamental attractiveness of banks’ shares. Six banks performed above industry’s average return on equity. Notwithstanding the substantial growth in gross earnings, banks were still relatively under performing their innate capability with top-line earnings just twothirds of shareholders’ funds. Total industry’s profit after tax stood at N378.52 billion while shareholders’ funds wasN2.76 trillion compared with N260.27 trillion and N2.59 trillion recorded respectively in the second quarter. The earnings of quoted banks are significantly important to the Nigerian stock market, where they dominated the capitalisation and activity charts. Banking subsector accounts for more than two-quarters of market capitalisation and to a large extent, dictate overall market situation. Nearly all banks witnessed increase in key performance indices of top-line earnings, net earnings and net assets but the income structure and bottom-line still reflected the overt caution in an industry just recovering from a devastating assets bubbles and balance sheet impairment. Most analysts expect banks to further consolidate their performances in the fourth quarter, although cautions remain about the lightning bolts that had characterised some previous fourth quarter results. Bank-by-bank analysis showed that First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Plc maintained the lead with the largest top-line earnings and net profit after tax. Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) has the second largest top-line but ranked fifth in net profit while Zenith Bank has the third largest gross income but the second largest profit after tax. United Bank for Africa (UBA) posted the fourth highest gross income while Access Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank ranked fifth and sixth. Diamond Bank moved up to the N100 billion and above bracket to occupy the seventh position. Guaranty Trust Bank was the best-return bank with the highest return on equity of 23.40 per cent while Unity Bank closed the table with 6.76 per cent. UBA posted the second best return on equity of 18.52 per cent. In net assets, Zenith Bank led the industry with N421.31 billion. It was trailed by FirstBank of Nigeria with N414.08 billion. ETI placed third with N305.13 billion.

GTB ranked fourth at N269.37 billion while Access Bank, Union Bank of Nigeria and UBA recorded N241.30 billion, N212.55 billion and N211 billion. Analysts at Renaissance Capital said the third quarter earnings for banks provided relatively reliable window to pre-


shares of 50 kobo each while Elf would contribute about 55.96 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to form the majority equity holding of TRM in Total Nigeria. TRM would subsequently issue shares to both Total SA and Elf in consideration for their contributions to the transaction shares. With more than 500 retail outlets, five Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) bottling plants, three lubricant blending plants, four aviation depots and many other facilities, Total Nigeria is the leading oil-marketing company. Total Nigeria had witnessed im-

characterised the fourth quarter of 2011 is negligible under the current scenario. On the basis of this, analysts at Renaissance Capital reviewed upward 2012 full-year forecasts for several banks while adjusting their investment values for most of the banks.

•From left: President, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA), Dr AbdulAlimi Bello; former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and Vice Chancellor, Veritas University, Prof. Mike Kwanashie, at the 34th Kaduna Internatinal Trade Fair Seminar in Kaduna ... on Monday

Lotus Capital plans new mutual funds


OTUS Capital Limited, the fund manager of Lotus Capital Halal Investment Fund,

is considering floating new public funds as it urges investors in its premier fund to have longterm outlook of between five to 10 years. In an investment update obtained by The Nation, the firm said the new funds would be tailored to meet the specific needs of different segments of investors. It noted that the new funds would provide opportunities for investors whose profiles could not fit into the long-term nature of the Halal Fund and further diversify the investors’ base of the company. According to the company, investors in Halal Fund, which was launched in 2008, should have minimum waiting period of five to 10 years as the value of the investments could fluctuate within a short-term framework. Lotus Capital stated that it had changed its investment management strategies to preserve investors’ funds and ensure competitive returns pointing at 14 per cent

Total cedes Total Nigeria to new core investor OTAL S.A., the majority core investor in Total Nigeria Plc, has formed a new company in conjunction with Elf Aquitance to hold the majority shareholding in Total Nigeria Plc. The internal reorganisation involved contribution of shares by both Total SA and Elf Aquitance to a new holding company- Total Raffinage Marketing (TRM) which will subsequently become the majority core investor in Total Nigeria Plc. Under the terms of the restructuring, Total Nigeria would contribute 153.6 million ordinary

view possible earnings and returns for the full year. They noted that though the fourth quarter had gained notoriety for last-minute adjustments to provisions charges, operating costs and tax rates, the risk of a repeat of such substantial provisions and adjustments that

pressive performance in recent period with strong growths in turnover and profitability. Interim report for the third quarter ended September 30, 2012 showed that sales rose by 28 per cent from N129.75 billion in 2011 to N166.39 billion in 2012. Profit before tax stood at N5.67 billion in third quarter 2012 compared with N4.1 billion in corresponding period of 2011, indicating an increase of 38 per cent. Profit after tax rose by 45 per cent to N3.72 billion in 2012 as against N2.57 billion in comparable period of 2011.

appreciation between December 2011 and February 2013 as indicative of the success of the new strategy. “To ensure adequate diversification and manage our risk exposure, we have also identified viable real estate and selected asset-backed investments which we believe will enhance the performance of the Hala Fund in the medium term,” the fund manager stated. The fund manager blamed the performance of the mutual fund, which is 83 kobo as against its initial public offering price of N1, on the meltdown in the stock market. The Halal Fund is an ethical collective investment scheme. Meanwhile, recent analysis showed that an average investor whose beliefs constrain him from investing in certain groups of stocks can still make better returns than investors with unrestricted investment portfolios Year-to-date return analysis dated December 10, 2012 showed that ethical investor earns more than 10 percentage points above average return for general investor while investors in highly capitalised stocks and consumer goods companies are also likely to earn more than average return by portfolios that mirror the entire market. Investors in insurance and oil and gas sectors continue to feel the pains of the recession, with double-digit negative returns. Official data from the NSE indicates that the stock market opened trading on the day with average year-to-date return of 28.66 per cent. The NSE has six group indices including indices for the 30 most capitalised stocks, banking subsector, insurance subsector, oil and gas subsector, consumer goods subsector and ethical stocks. Ethical stocks under the NSELotus Islamic Index (NSE-Lotus II) opened the day with the high-

est year-to-date return of 38.98 per cent. The NSE 30 Index, which tracks the 30 most capitalised stocks, opened with a return of 37.10 per cent while consumer good index indicated year-to-date return of 36.71 per cent. The banking sector index showed a return of 13.82 per cent. However, oil and gas index opened trading with a return of -30.81 per cent while insurance stocks showed year-to-date yield of -18.60 per cent. The NSE Lotus II is the first index created to track the performance of Shari’ah compliant equities on the NSE and also the first index to be developed in collaboration with local partners. It was developed by the NSE in conjunction with Lotus Capital Limited. The NSE Lotus II excludes stocks in industries such as alcohol, interest-based financial services, tobacco, arms and ammunitions, gambling, piggery and other businesses regarded by Muslims’ laws as unlawful. The NSE Lotus II was introduced to increase the breadth of the market and create an important benchmark for investments as the alternative non-interest investment space widens. The Exchange had reasoned that NSE Lotus II would serve as an important diversification tool for ethically minded investors and portfolio managers both locally and from around the world, who seek to profitably invest in emerging African equities market. It is also expected to serve as a general benchmark for ‘ethical’ funds and also basis for creating Mirror Funds, Index Funds, Exchange Traded Funds, Index options and other instruments, which would broaden the range of financial instruments being traded on the NSE.




Global ranking: FirstBank, others raise the bar


HE recent ranking released by The Banker Magazine and Brand Finance in the United Kingdom, announcing three Nigerian banks –FirstBank of Nigeria Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc in the top 500 ranking, with a combined brand value $574 million (N90.7 billion), out of the total global banking brand value of $860.7 billion, reaffirms the success of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reform programme. It also shows that there has been lots of improvement in the status of Nigerian banks among its peers in the international financial community. Only Nigeria and South Africa are the African countries that made the top 50 banks by total brand value among the countries of the world. As published in the current edition of The Banker Magazine of the Financial Times Group London, First Bank emerged top in Nigeria and it was closely followed by Guaranty Trust Bank and Zenith Bank while United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), which made the ranking last year did not make the list. First Bank also emerged number one banking brand in Nigeria last year among the four banks that made the 2012 ranking. According to a statement from the publication, First Bank came top among the Nigerian banks as number 414 in the world followed by Guaranty Trust Bank - number 415 whereas Zenith Bank was ranked 454. Brand Finance Plc is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy with support for business needs in different areas including technical valuations for accounting, tax and legal purposes ; valuations in support of commercial transactions (acquisitions, divestments, licensing and joint ventures) involving different forms of intellectual property; and valuations as part of a wider mandate to deliver value-based marketing strategy and tracking, thereby bridging the gap between marketing and finance. For the ranking, Brand Finance employed the methodology of discounted cash flow technique to discount estimated future royalties at an appropriate rate to arrive at a net present value of a bank’s trademark and associated intellectual property which is the brand value that is used in the ranking. The process according to the magazine’s Editor, Brian Caplen had five steps. These are getting the brand-specific financial and revenue data before segmenting the revenue into retail banking, commercial banking, wholesale/investment banking, insurance, asset management and credit cards streams; model the market to identify market demand and the position of individual banks in the context of all other market competitors; establish the royalty rate for each bank; calculate the discount rate specific to each bank, taking account of its size, geographical presence, reputation, gearing and brand rating; and discount future royalty stream to a net present value which brings about the brand value.

By Collins Nweze

First Bank led the pack in Nigeria with a brand value of $201 million while the totality of the value of the three Nigerian banks that made the Top 500 World Banking Brands is $574 million. They however, collectively did the country proud as the nation was among the World’s Top 50 by Total Brand Value. On a global scale, Caplen said the total global banking brand value of $860.7 billion are the highest they have ever been and are nearly double the level in 2009 during the worst of the financial crisis. He added that bankers are now more aware of the importance of brand to their business and how it needs to be both invested in and protected. Brand Finance chief executive, David Haigh noted that the 2013 results show that globally the banking crisis is nearly over as both brand ratings and values are rising. The top ten bank brands in the world are in the United States of America (USA), Europe and Asia. The 2013 number one bank brand in the world is Well Fargo of the USA. It was followed Chase (USA), HSBC (UK), Bank of America and Citi (both from the USA), Satander (Spain), ICBC (China), American Express (US), BNP Paribas (France) and China Construction Bank (China). This was not the first time First Bank is being listed among the top 500 global banks. It also emerged as the “Best Banking Group in Nigeria” by World Finance Banking Awards, “Best Financial Reporting Company” by Africa Investor, “Most Innovative Bank in Africa” by African Banker Awards,” Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards among others. The bank has taken effective measures to mitigate risks associated with financial transactions in all ramifications. It has achieved certifications in ISO27001 Information Security Management Systems, ISO38500 IT Governance and BS25999 Business Continuity Management Systems. Performance FirstBank has demonstrated visible growth in terms of revenue, profits, capital and assets. The bank posted profits of N43 billion in 2010 increasing its year on year profits by 230 per cent. As Nigeria’s banking industry slowly rebounded after the last financial crisis, FirstBank grew competitively in all financial indices and consolidated on its position as the leading financial powerhouse in the country. Deposit liabilities of the bank increased from N1.346 trillion in 2009 to N1.45 trillion in 2010 while loans and advances also grew by six per cent despite the contraction of credit within the banking sector in 2010. FirstBank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio grew from 15.8 per cent in 2009 to 20.35 per cent in 2010, while its returns to shareholders increased from 1.57 per cent in 2009 to 9.81 per cent in 2010. Product development In repositioning the bank for enhanced per-

• FirstBank CEO, Bisi Onasanya

formance, Mr. Onasanya has ensured the implementation of a new operating model by realigning the bank’s market facing business units from a geographic focus to a customer segmented approach. This was meant to deepen its understanding of each customer segment. This has enhanced the lender’s ability to design products and services to meet customers’ needs, improved relationship management and increased share of its customers’ wallet. The current leadership is also standardising the quality of service across the bank’s various touch points. Also, to serve customers better and extend the bank’s branch network to the unbanked population, he approved the increase of its branch network from 611 branches in 2010 to 652 branches in 2011, maintaining the bank’s leadership position in number of branches within the country. Industry leadership Under the GMD’s leadership, FirstBank has retained its market leadership and preserved its heritage by guaranteeing superior and sustainable returns to shareholders. The bank has instilled continuous confidence in its customers by supporting growth of operating communities and keeping to the corporate governance rules. There has also been increased market penetration – growth in terms of clients and regions/countries where they operate through branches, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), innovative kiosk among others. The bank’s client base grew in 2010 reflecting the trust the financial community reposes in it as a bank that balances short-term growth with its longterm positive outlook.

Diversification/Mobile money services FirstBank financial services as provided in 11 subsidiaries of the bank span across Commercial Banking, Investment Banking & Asset Management, Insurance, Pension Funds, Trusteeship and Private Equity. As a full spectrum financial services provider, the bank’s product mix has been designed to cater for the needs of its diverse client base and currently, FirstBank is a key investor in the evolving mobile money market in the country. The bank has signed agreements with three major telecommunication companies to enable present and potential customers have access to a wide range of financial services through their mobile phones. FirstBank’s world class Information Technology infrastructure is also well positioned to drive its portfolio of e-business products notably with the launch of its bespoke VISA Card products, makeover of Internet Banking portal and the growing usage of the cash deposit ATMs and mobile banking facility. In e-business, the bank has innovated a bioonly card to protect senior citizens and the uneducated from fraudulent use of their cards while promoting financial inclusion. The bank recently launched FirstInstant Account targeted at low income customers in our quest to deepen financial inclusion across Nigeria. Partnerships/Financing advantage FirstBank has been a key partner to Africa’s growth through its robust partnership with public and private players. In 2011, the bank consolidated its position as a key player by brokering several deals along structured finance and financial advisory units especially in its Institutional Banking Group Business Unit. The lender increase in NigerDock facility to $70 million from $29 million for the Total Ofon II project; $60 million Term Loan to Oando Plc. for refinancing and development of oil field and structuring of $36.4 million Letter of Credit and structuring of $166 million Letter of Credit to Conoil Plc. for Oil trading. There were also crude oil export line facility to Delany Petroleum Corporation for $115 million; provision of $50 million working capital loan for Septa Energy; establishment of $21.4 million Letter of Credit to Airtel Nigeria among others. Furthermore, the bank retains its market leadership and preserves its heritage by guaranteeing superior and sustainable returns to our shareholders, instilling continuous confidence in its customers, supporting growth of our operating communities and keeping to corporate governance rules. FirstBank’s compelling reputation for stability and growth over its 118-year history coupled with balance sheet strength, strong liquidity/ cash position, wide and strategic branch network, robust retail market share puts the bank on a sound footing among competitors.

States to issue two ISPOs for bonds, says PenCom


TATES intending to access funds from the bond market will be required to issue two Irrevocable Standing Payment Orders (ISPOs) instead of one, as was previously required, The Nation has learnt. The National Pension Commission (PenCom) took the step to carry state governments and ensure the success of the contributory pension scheme. The President, Pension Fund Administrators, Dave Udeanu, told The Nation that the decision is one of steps taken by the pension industry regulator, PenCom, to ensure that state governments key into the contributory pension scheme as the only way to ensure that their workers will not suffer after retirement. He said PenCom has issued a circular, informing state governments of the development. “While one of the ISPO is for the direct deduction of the bond, the second is to ensure that the workers’pension deductions are also taken care of at source from the state’s monthly allocation,” he explained. He said the idea is to avoid a situation where states will take the bond when it is successful, and make payment of their pensions. The PFA helmsman explained that the idea is to ensure that as the bond repay-

Stories by Uyoatta Eshiet

ment is taken care of, the pension payment of the workers is also factored in, as this is the only hope the workers have when they retire. This is to avoid a situation where retirees would face unnecessary hassles. Udeanu said that is why the idea of a second ISPO for pension deductions

from source is a must for any state government’s bond to succeed. “Ordinarily, it would have been just an ISPO for the bond repayment, there must be a second ISPO for workers pension payment before any state government bond is successful. “What it means is that once a state raises money from the bond market, the payment of pension for its workers will

no longer be at the discretion of the state, as the money will be deducted at the source by the CBN and credited to the Pension Fund Accounts of the workers. It is such a strong requirement; it is meant to ensure that there is absolute financial discipline,’’ he said. Udeanu said both PenCom and the PFAs are looking at investment of the pension funds.

NCRIB to bar non-registered brokers


NY broker that is not registered with the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) will not be allowed to practise, the President of the Council, Mrs. Laide Osijo, has said. Also, unregistered brokerage firms will not be certified by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). She said the body has set next month as deadline for brokers to register. Mrs. Osijo, while addressing the media, last week, said the council would publish names of brokers that have been certified by the umbrella body to operate in compliance within the law, adding that the decision was in tandem with the NCRIB Act on registration of brokers. She said the NCRIB Act provides that a broker must first register with NCRIB before being licensed to practice by NAICOM.

She said the registration insurance brokers would go a long way in eliminating charlatans from the broking profession, adding that the Council is working with the NAICOM to harmonise the list of registered and certified insurance brokers. She said NAICOM has issued a circular to brokers operating with NAICOM licence, but without NCRIB registration certificates to update their records with the brokers’ body. NCRIB has forwarded written circulars to all those affected to comply with the directive in their own interest, or risk being exposed when the list of certified brokers is published. The Council’s chief regretted that some companies flouted the provision in the NCRIB Act, warning that the council would no longer tolerate a violation of its enabling law. The Assistant General Manager, Technical, Relics Insurance Brokers, Festus Alikwe, has

advised insurance broking firms that have not renewed their registration with NCRIB to do so. He said this was part of the reformation that has helped the sector, urging that every operator should abide by the enabling laws and rules issued by the Council. Alikwe said the reforms in the industry were aimed at placing the sector in the same level with what obtains in other advanced nations. He said as a result of the various reform taking place in the industry, insurance firms are able to pay claims promptly, unlike what obtained before the various reform initiatives. “It is wrong for any practising broker to flout the operational guidelines of the regulator. Their efforts so far have been a great boost to the industry,” he said.




Ice cream making is viable N IGERIANS love ice cream. This explains why the market is awash with different ice cream brands. With the concept of frozen yoghurt becoming popular, many national and international brands are springing up to satisfy the cravings of ice cream fans. With the myriad of flavours and a variety of ice creams, these parlours have become the most suitable low cost business concept. The high growth of ice cream and frozen novelty segments have created business opportunities for people who want to venture into the sector. Managing Director, Okey General Agencies, Mr Bernard Ajiroghene, said starting an ice business is a good investment. He said there are opportunities in retailing and ice cream vending businesses. He is looking for businessmen and women who are enthusiastic and goal-oriented to become part of the ice cream business. The business has grown with the development of new opportunities. Trends indicate that there is an upward trend in the consumption of ice-creams. What is more noticeable is that icecreams are slowly becoming an all-season product and not merely a dry treat. Factors, such as rapid urbanisation, rising incomes and changing lifestyles have encouraged the growth of the industry. Ajiroghene said one can start with N10,000 and run the business on part-time. He said producers can get returns on their investment in few months. Good operating locations for an ice cream stand include mall food courts, beach areas, or small storefronts on main streets. In addition, an ice cream stand can also be operated on a mobile basis by converting an enclosed trailer or delivery van into an ice cream stand. A mobile ice cream stand has many benefits as opposed to a fixed location because one can transport the business to areas where demand is greatest for the product. The profit potential is outstanding, and it’s not uncommon for an established ice cream stand to generate profits in


Stories by Daniel Essiet

excess of N5,000 daily, according to him. Some customers are willing to pay a little more for quality ice cream, and this has helped operators maintain their margins. New product development plays a huge role in the continued success of the ice cream business. New flavours profiles and ingredients, betterfor-you products and new packaging concepts are important. One does not really need to have special equipment to turn out a little homemade ice cream. A metal ice tray or container and a freezer will suffice. To create new ice cream entrepreneurs, Ajiroghene said he is partnering with the Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN) to train Nigerians on how to make money from ice cream and yoghurt business. During the training, prospective entrepreneurs will see how fresh and delicious ice cream is made and enjoy a good product. Customers want ice cream offered fresh daily. More than two-thirds of the ingredients used in making the products are locally sourced. These days, there are customers who want natural ice creams. Such products contain no artificial flavours, preservatives or stabilisers, only fresh fruit pulp or dry fruits. With the hot temperature, the weather has played its part in keeping customers coming back for more. Right now, there are all kinds of gadgets for making ice cream at home. They are fun to use and one can come up with some creative combinations. Ajiroghene said opening an ice cream business is lucrative. The strategy is having a devoted cliental and winning taste test. The target is scoop shops, restaurants, food service and wholesale accounts. A lot of small operators are eyeing growth opportunities, thanks to funds to purchase new freezer units and point of sale materials for outlets. Small operators are increasing their retail outlets. Each new outlet requires an investment in freezers

•Ice cream

and point of sale materials. Ice Cream is an example of a viable business with strong potential for growth both nationally and internationally. From push carts to parlours, many Nigerians have built their ice cream empire. He said there is a market for Nigeria to manually produce litres of ice cream daily. Like most success stories that are laced with phases of initial struggle, his story was full hardship at the beginning. Another issue that bothers producers is the prevalence of a bad players who offer very low quality products at cheaper rates. Other factors that pose challenges

to the growth of the industry, include lack of cold storage chains, irregular supply of electricity and poor infrastructure for storage and transportation. It is a matter of concern for the industry that the storage problem chain is poor. This obstacle hits the industry hard since an ice-cream is a perishable product. Erratic and poor electricity supply is also another problem. The massive consumer market and the anticipated strong economic growth over the next few years augur well for the ice cream industry. It is becoming more apparent that the future of the ice cream industry will be shaped by the organised retail sectors.

Making palm kernel cracking plant T

HE oil palm tree grows in the coastal belt of Nigeria. It varies in depth from 100 to 150 miles and a riverine belt, which follows the valleys of the Niger and Benue rivers for a distance of about 450 miles from the sea. Naturally, production of palm kernel oil usually occurs along these locations. The main palm oil producing states in Nigeria includes Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Cross River, Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Rivers. The market for palm and palm kernel oil is national. With a population of over one 160 million and an estimated national population growth rate of 5.7 per cent per year, an average economic growth rate of 3.5 per cent per year in the past five years, Nigeria has a large market for edible oil. It is believed that no part of the oil palm tree is useless. It is the only tree from which can be sourced a variety of products that include palm oil, kernel oil, kernel meal, shells, planks, fronds, palm leaves and sweep-

By Edwin Agbaike

ing broom, etc. The investor can choose to have a cracking machine or source the raw material from other cracking centres around. The other machinery required include the expeller and storage tanks with heaters. During production, the shells can be used as fuels and for road construction. Though the market is not well developed in the country, the palm kernel nut obtained is crushed and processed to yield palm kernel oil and cake. Produce buyers as well as direct end users go to rural areas to buy this products from peasant producers, who use the old method (stone versus stone) to crack, hence their inability to meet demand. Demand for palm kernels is on the increase and is by far higher than supply. Products of this industry could be sold either directly to the palm oil millers or in the open market where produce buyers abound. The process involved in palm

NTERNATIONAL trade and cooperation have become a key driver of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) success, according to an in-depth and wide-ranging DHL Express study by IHS, the leading global source of information and analytics. The macro-economic analysis and survey of 410 SME directors in G7 and BRICM economies reveals that SMEs engaged in international markets are twice as likely to be successful as those that only operate domestically. Of the SMEs surveyed, 26 per cent of the firms that were trading internationally significantly outperformed their market, in contrast to only 13 per cent of those with operations only in their home country. SMEs cited the key benefits of this international approach as the access to new markets that it provides them with, as well as access to know-how and technology and diversification of their products or services. The results are true for SMEs Africa, which are being recognised as drivers of economic growth in these countries. While no verified data is available around the number of SMEs operating on the continent, they make up over 90 per cent of business in countries, such as Ghana and South Africa, and are an important area of development in Nigeria. “The results of this study are, reflected in the outlook for SMEs in Africa,” the Managing Director for DHL Express Nigeria, Randy Buday, said. “The possibilities opened up by new technologies, the Internet, and modern transportation means that there are many foreign trade opportunities out there for Nigeria businesses. With thorough research and a well-defined strategy, local SMEs can successfully expand into new markets, compete with larger companies, and use their size and nimbleness to their own advantage,”

kernel production is so simplified that any investor could master them within a few hours. These include loading of uncracked kernel into the hopper where they are automatically cracked (98 per cent efficiency levels) and discharge for evacuation to the sieving section for separation, blowing, bagging and ready for the sale. The required machine is cracking and automatic separator. A locally fabricated one line machinery cost about N750,000. The plant being considered is on cracking 12 bags of palm nuts (made of 50 kg bags) working on a one shift of eight hours/day. Thus, the plant is capable of producing 3,000 bags cracked palm nuts per year of 250 days. This gives about 180 tons of cracked kernels. A ton of cracked kernels is selling at N126,000. Revenue per year is about N22.68 million. It is estimated that 60 per cent of total revenue is cost of procuring the uncracked nuts; this gives a gross profit of N9.07 million. An investor that is able to acquire two plants will automatically double

the above estimated revenues. The viability of this project is not in doubt considering its high turnover and envisaged profit margin. This project can attract finance from the banks, where individuals or corporate bodies are assisted with funds ranging from N500,000 to over N50 million. A well-packaged feasibility report is a pre-requisite to securing finance for the project. This can be provided on request. For details on how to implement this project or any other, please contact Kris-Ed Brilliant Limited. 395, Borno Way, Harbert Macualy Road, Sabo-Yaba, Lagos State. Tel. Nos. 08098525122; 08023381900. E-mail:

Start up quote “Nothing works better than improving your product” Joel Spolsky Co-founder,Stack Exchange

NDE trains 50


HE National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has trained 50 vulnerable persons on skills acquisition in Jagawa State, its state Director , Mallam Muhammad Sambo, has said. He said in Dutse, the state capital that the group would be trained under NDE’s Vocational Skills Development Scheme (VSDS). He said the training was designed to assist youths, women and the vulnerable persons to engage in activities that would improve their lives. During the three-month programme, participants would be exposed to tailoring, knitting, shoe, pomade, soap and beads-making and curry processing. Sambo said the trainees would get N2,000 each as a monthly allowance, adding that N1.5 million would be disbursed to them as resettlement packages after the programme. A participant, Mallam Bilyaminu Umar, who is physically challenged, said he enrolled in the programme as a trader cobbler. He said the training would help him in seeking a means of livelihood rather than begging on the streets. He commended the Federal Government for the initiative and called on other wellmeaning Nigerians to help the vulnerable. A widow, Mrs Rabi Ismail, who enrolled as a trainee in knitting, said the programme would assist her in sending her six children to school. Sambo praised Governor Sule Lamido for allocating 30 hectares of land to the directorate. He said public works and houses would be constructed on the land.




Self-assessment can drive tax growth in 2013


ANY tax jurisdictions rely on self-assessment as the major means of tax collection; it has become a tax modern administration trend. Indeed, it is a measure of how upto-date a tax authority is. By way of definition, it is a tax regime whereby the taxpayer is granted the right, by law, to compute his own tax liability, pays the tax due (at a designated bank, as is the case in Nigeria) and produces evidence of tax paid to the Tax Office, at the time of filing tax returns, on due date. On the part of the tax authority, it accepts the tax returns as filed, subject to completeness, and carry out audit in due course. Very much unlike an administrative assessment were the tax authority raises an assessment where a taxpayer has failed to file returns and pay taxes due on or before the due date or where there is an understatement of tax in the returns filed. With the taxpayer’s assumption of the role of assessing self, an obligation arises for the tax authority to ensure that the taxpayer understands the procedures involved in tax administration and how to compute tax liabilities and complete tax returns (if the option is self-service). In addition to taxpayer enablement, it is the responsibility of the tax authority to ensure compliance with all tax administration processes especially accuracy of declarations made and the timeliness of tax returns. In Nigeria, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) introduced the self assessment regime in 1992 following the enactment of the appropriate law in 1991. The FIRS Board in exercise of the powers conferred on it by Section 61 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 with the approval of the Minister of Finance gazetted a Regulation dated 19 December 2011 modifying the processes and procedures for self assessment returns. The Regulations cover tax returns under the Companies Income Tax Act (CITA), Education Tax Act (ETA), Petroleum Profit Tax Act (PPTA), Personal Income Tax Act (PITA), National Information Technology Development Act (NITDA), and Value Added Tax Act (VATA). However, the method has not been as successful as envisaged. Many will argue that risk-based audit, which is a major feature of self-assessment has not been not been fully optimised. It assists in risk identification, analysis, assessment, evaluation and prioritisation, with the predetermined risk ratios drawn from a risk framework, every tax return is subjected to risk analysis and assessment. This, in itself, is a departure from the government assessment of best of judgment where time and capacity impeded 100 per cent audit. Under risk-based audit, resources

•Ag. Executive Chairman, FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Mohammed Mashi

‘The adoption of self-assessment principles reflects a desire to move away from in-house administrative assessment procedures in favour of more comprehensive and targeted approaches to provide help to taxpayers, and to the verification of tax liabilities’ By Frank Obaro

are applied to areas of risk in the order of the weight attached. Fundamentally, automation of the filing process will encourage tax payers to file their returns independently instead of using the outdated administrative assessment or best of judgment. In this regard, the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) project being undertaken by the FIRS will play a key role. FIRS will need to fully exploit technology to endear efficiency in the process of self-assessment. Also for the benefits of self-assessment to be fully optimised a more robust mechanism whereby compliance checks are conducted through risk-based case selection for audit; In which case, all tax returns have equal chance of being selected for audit. This approach is a demonstration of transparency in tax administration and is expected to encourage self disclosure and clearer disclosure benchmarks also need be to put in place. Another key driver will be to have a strong Audit and Compliance department that can ensure the validity of disclosure. Using the Australian Tax Office (ATO) as a case study of the self-assessment sys-

tem, the claims a taxpayer makes in their tax return are accepted by the (ATO), usually without adjustment, and an assessment notice is issued. Even though we may initially accept the tax return, the return may still be subject to further review. To ensure the integrity of the tax system, the law provides the ATO with a period where it may review a return (and make sure all income has been included) and may increase or decrease the amount of tax payable. The ATO has powers to amend an assessment up to two years (or four years for taxpayers with more complex tax affairs) after tax become due and payable under the assessment. Where anti-avoidance provisions apply, the period is four years. Where the avoidance is due to fraud or evasion, there is no time limit on amending the assessment. If the FIRS can push such laws through it will certainly ensure and endear voluntary and honest filing of returns. Generally speaking, the adoption of selfassessment principles reflects a desire to move away from in-house administrative assessment procedures in favour of more comprehensive and targeted approaches to providing help to taxpayers, and to the systemic verification of reported tax liabilities through risk-based desk and field audits and computerised matching of income reports. In countries where selfassessment has been adopted, it has generally been initiated with the objective of improving overall compliance with the laws and increasing operational efficiency by collection of tax revenue on time, streamlining the system of returns processing and reducing the incidence of disputed assessments. Self-assessment, ultimately, reduces administrative costs for tax authorities and aided by modern technology, most economies have adopted the principle to drive down cost and ensure timeliness in filling return and Nigeria can benefit from this trending revenue collection system. Self-assessment also reduces the discretionary powers of tax officials and reduces opportunities for corruption. However, self-assessment needs to be properly regulated and implemented, with transparent rules, an automated reporting process, and penalties for noncompliance and risk-based assessment procedures for audit procedures. Also, the FIRS need to embark on media sensitisation campaigns to achieve a change in behaviour of both taxpayers and tax officials in favour of a taxpaying culture through strict application of sanctions. This way, non-compliance will be dealt with timely and will be deterred. Internal and external stakeholders’ engagements will key in implementation and success of self-assessment regime.



The Midweek Magazine Joseph Oyewale Ijaodola: Exit of a legal ‘Iroko’



DIDN’T train under him as a lawyer; neither did I have the luxury of any close interaction with this extraordinary Nigerian but anyone who matters in the legal profession in the country would definitely have met or heard of his reputation largely because of his intimidating profile, brilliance, character, integrity and reputation. He had traversed the legal landscape like a colossus. His is a household name in Kwara State and the rest of the old Northern Nigeria where he had a reputation as one of the leading lights of the legal profession. He was a damn good lawyer. I refer to no other person than Joseph Oyewale Ijaodola, who passed on at the University of Ife Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) on February 14, 2013. Relaying the sad news to me via a Short Message Service (SMS), Seun Ijaodola, the deceased’s son and a lawyer undertaking pupilage in my chambers wrote: On my way to Offa sir, Daddy is dead. I was shocked beyond belief. So Ijaodola, that great, brilliant and extraordinary lawyer is no more! I thought aloud, dejected and confused at the same time. What a life! Indeed, for many years when he held sway, when you mention a lawyer in the Kwara Bar, the name that readily came to mind was “Ijaodola”. Who was Prince Joseph Oyewale Ijaodola? According to a book entitled: “A gentleman of the Bar”, written in his honour by Carrot Publishers, Prince Joseph Oyewale Ijaodola was born on September 2, 1936 into the family of the late Pa Prince Jacob Irinoye Adegboye, alias Ijaodola, a direct son of Oba Adeboye Atoloyetele, the late Olofa of Offa and the late Mrs. Comfort Ojuolape Adegboye at Agbe compound in the ancient town of Offa, in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State. Suffice to add that at the announcement of the birth of this perfect gift from the heavenly father, there was a shout of joy in the royal compound of the Adegboyes. His parents were members of the Anglican Communion of St. Mark’s Church, Offa, until 1940 when they joined his paternal grandmother’s cousin, Pa. Nathaniel Olawoyin to co-found Iyeru-Okin Church, Offa. The church was in 1941 renamed Iyeru Okin African Church, Offa. His late parents were blessed with four children - Madam Sarah Olayonu Olatundun; Prince Joseph Oyewale Ijaodola; Prince Samuel Oyeyemi Ijaodola; and Mrs. Bolanle Kolawole. The late Prince Ijaodola attended Iyeru Okin African Church Primary School, Offa. While in Standard V, after the pupils had spent some six weeks in the school, information came that the school was not yet approved to present candidates for the First School Leaving Certificate Examination which they were to sit for in 1951. This development led to his transfer in 1949 to Ogidiri African Church School, Offa, for his Standard V and Standard VI between January 1950 and December 1951. The author narrates: “Meanwhile, an incident happened when he was in Standard V. His father was so poor that he could not afford 20 Shillings 9 Pence to buy new school uniform for him, pay for his harvest and the term’s tuition. So, he was advised to withdraw from school in 1950. Oyewale became depressed and could not fathom the pain of repeating Standard V in 1951 on account of lack of money. To him, it was better to die than looking at the class-mates he was better off academically becoming his seniors. Since it meant that he would have to lose a session for non-payment of his fees. He, therefore, resorted to calling it quit with this world by embarking on hunger strike for three days. On the fourth day, however, one of his cousins - Mrs. Veronica Bamgbose, who lived in Jebba, came to Ilorin for an assignment and decided to visit Oyewale’s mother. She found him dying and shouted at Oyewale’s mother: “Mama, your child is so sick like this in a town where there is hospital and you kept him under your roof. If he should die, you will have yourself to blame.” Then Oyewale’s mother burst into tears and told her that he was not sick but wanted to kill himself by refusing to eat because his father could not pay his school fees. Madam Veronica, who was supposed to return that evening, waited to discuss the issue with her aunt’s husband. When Prince Irinoye arrived at home, she advised him to sell anything he could sell to enable him pay Oyewale’s tuition. Prince Irinoye, joined by his wife and Oyewale burst into tears. Because the farm produce, which he eventually decided to sell, were meant to supplement his one pound monthly salary that he earned at Offa Grammar School for family upkeep. The farm products were sold for seven shillings and three pence. Indeed, the family situation was so rough and pathetic. “I’ve seen a lot in my life but I thank God for it all because they were worthy experiences that prepared me for life challenges.” As a brilliant and vibrant young pupil of Iyeru-Okin African Church School, Offa and Ogidiri African Church School, Offa, it was not surprising that Oyewale came first at the Schools’ Local Common Examination (LCE) held in December 1951. Upon completion of his primary education, Oyewale Ijadola was admitted into Keffi Government Secondary School, Kaduna Junction (Government College, Keffi now in Nasarawa State). In the school, he developed a good writing skill and as the best

•The late Ijaodola

Wahab Shittu, scholar and frontline lawyer, remembers a legal icon who died on February 14 TRIBUTE pupil in English Language in his class, he was appointed the new president of the Debating Society between January and December 1957. He was also the founding editor of the College’s newspaper The Echo between March and December 1957. He sat for the West African Examination Council School Certificate Examination (WASCE) in December 1957 and came out with Grade II with a a pass in English Language. That confirmed the saying that examination, after all, may not be the true test of one’s ability. He got the disappointment in the WASCE result particularly in English Language with equanimity and regarded it as a challenge to brace for the future. He took to the advice of his cousin, Mr. R.A.K. Osundun (now a retired Ambassador) to read privately for Cambridge Higher School Certificate and London University GCE Advanced Level and to enroll for the GCE Ordinary Level in English. He also studied privately for the London University Inter-LL.B Degree examination of June 1960. Courses he enrolled for at Higher School Certificate Level were Mathematics, Economics and Public Affairs in 1958 and GCE Advance Level Mathematics, Government and Economics of January 1959. To his credit, he came out in flying colours in all the examinations. Although he failed the LL.B Final Part I examination he took in June 1961, he later won the Northern Nigerian Government Scholarship to pursue the Bar Final Examination in London (Lincoln’s Inn). So, in December 1961 he joined the Holborn College, London and completed the LL.B Degree of the University of London as an external student in June 1963 and the Bar Final examination in September, 1963. And on 24th November, 1964, he was called to the English Bar… He enrolled as an occasional student of the University College, London, in October 1963 and completed his Masters in Law Degree (LL.M) in September 1965. He was the first Northern Nigerian to hold a post-graduate degree in Law. Oyewale returned to the country immediately after his Master’s Degree Examination in September 1965 for the mandatory three-month course at the Nigerian Law School from September to December 1965. He was enrolled as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on January 21, 1966. In 1966, the late Oyewale registered as an external student at the University of London for his Doctorate Degree (Ph.D). During the course of his studies, he did a research on the Land Law of Northern Nigeria for his thesis. He was instructed by his External Supervisor and Examiner, Prof. T.O. Elias, to amend some chapters and re-submit within six months. But he refused on the ground that doing so would amount to the abandonment of his view on the matter and that action was what denied him his doctorate degree in Law.” He worked briefly at the Northern State Ministry of Justice, Kaduna and later joined the Faculty of Law of the Ahmadu

‘An incident happened when he was in Standard V. His father was so poor that he could not afford 20 Shillings 9 Pence to buy new school uniform for him, pay for his harvest and the term’s tuition. So, he was advised to withdraw from school in 1950’

Bello University, Institute of Administration, Zaria on June1, 1966 as a teacher. At ABU, he taught 300-level LL.B students in Law of Equity and the 200-level in Landlord and Family Law. He also taught the final year Engineering Degree students in Engineering Law and Local Government students in Local Government Law. He was the Examination officer of the Faculty of Law for four years. The book narrated further: “Prince Joseph Oyewale Ijaodola has a number of publications to his credit. He published eight articles in reputable law journals, four of which were in the Nigerian Law Journal, whose general editor was Prof T.O Elias. He also took active participation at Nigeria Law Teachers’ Conference and delivered a paper at the 1968 edition of the conference in Ile-Ife. His paper entitled: “The Creation of States in Nigeria: An opportunity for amending the law of land tenure of the former Northern Region” was published in a revised form in the Law and Society of ABU Vol: 4. 1970. In the article, he recommended that the policy of Northern Nigeria nationalisation of land be extended to the whole country. It was this view that the Land Use Committee set-up by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1977 accepted and which later became the bed-rock of Nigeria’s Land Use Decree No. 6 of 1978. In May 1976, he was invited to serve as an external examiner to the Law Faculty of ABU, the service he rendered for four years between 1976 and 1979. He was so outstanding that he was offered a second term in September 1979. He, however, rejected the offer because his private legal practice was being adversely affected by it. Some of his students at ABU were: Justice I.A. Salami, President of the Federal Court of Appeal; Justice Fola Gbadeyan Rtd.; former Chief Judge of Kwara State, Justice Elelu Habeeb; former Chief Judge of Kwara State, Justice E.A. Adegbite; Dr. Aliyu Salman, SAN; Chief P.A.O. Olorunnisola ,SAN; Chief Tunji Arosanyin; and Dr. Wole Aje. They included: R.D. Oloye; S. A. Bello; Chief Solomon S.D. Lar; the former Governor of Plateau State; Justice Umaru Ali Eri; former Chief Justice of Kogi State; Justices Ibiwoye; Orilonise of the Kwara State Judiciary; Mahmud Mohammed; I.T. Muhammad; J.O. Ogebe; M.S. Muntaka-Commassie; J.A. Fabiyi all of the Supreme Court to mention just a few.” The late Prince had a distinguished and highly rewarding legal practice winning over 90 per cent of all the cases he handled between January 1973 till he took the fianl bow on February 14. In his own words, he analysed some of his landmark cases in the book “A Gentleman of the Bar” as; • Gadanga V. A.G. Kwara State Case No. KWS/39/74. It was the first time in Northern Nigeria where anybody successfully challenged a government acquisition in the region. We also won it at the Supreme Court 229/76 in December 1976. •National Bank of Nigeria V. J.A. Haastrup & Sons & Attorney-General, Kwara State, Suit No. KWS/24/73. This was the first case in which interest was awarded against a government was garnished. •Aliu Bello & 13 Ors. V. A.G Oyo State (1986) 12 SCI. This was the first case in Nigeria in which the Supreme Court empanelled a Full Court in a purely civil matter and invited the Federal Attorney-General and the State Attorney-General as amici crae. I successfully showed that fatal accident cases include any form of negligent that causes the death of a person and not motor accident cases only and that the Latin maxim of “ubi jus, ibi remedium” applied in Nigeria as in Roman Law. • Samuel Adigun V. I.O Ayinde, 2. Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Federal Civil Service Commission (1993) 11 SGNJ 1. This was a case which exhausted my industry professionally. The courts were in agreement that my client’s case was caught by Section 2 of Public Officers Protection Law of Niger State but the Supreme Court; the Hon. Justice A.G. Karibu-Whyte, JSC opined: “I think the 2nd and 3rd respondents should review the case with special Sympathy in the interest of the public and the morale of serving officers, and pay to the plaintiff whatever is due to him.” Two chieftaincy suits deserve special mention. They are: Chief R.B. Buremoh V. Chief Maliki Adeniyi Esa & 8 Ors (1990) 4 SCNJ 1 and Yusuf Amuda V. Alhaji Abdulkadiri & Ors (1997) 3 SCNJ 266. In both cases we lost at the High Court and at the Court of Appeal but won at the Supreme Court. • It appears the largest land case I handled was the Adogo land case, formerly in Kwara State, but now in Kogi State Salihu Okino & Ors. Vs. Obanabiru & 4 Ors (1999) 11-12 SCNJ. My clients won at the Lokoja Upper Area Court but lost at the Kwara State High Court and the Court of Appeal, Kaduna, but finally won at the Supreme Court. • Three other cases deserve special mention because they raised substantial issues of Law. They are: Ogunbiyi Asanlu V. Ajide Arabe (1980) 5-7 SC 78 doctrine of definitive certainty; E.E.N.C. V. A.G. Kaduna State (1987)3 SCNJ 13 and Ezekiel Adedayo V. Alhaji Yakubu Babalola & Ors. (1995) 7 SCNJ 306, doctrine of issue estoppel.” He also handled several election petitions and may have handled several other briefs gratuitously. These gratuitous include all Offa communal matters, all political and religious cases and all capital offences cases. As a result of his distinguished practice, he received several accolades from several of his colleagues at the Bar and on the Bench. The late Chief F.R.A Williams once told him: “You are • Continued on page 40



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N his fascinating book titled ‘Sacred Economics’, published in 2011, Charles Epstein refers to a Ladakhi peasant woman interviewed in Helen Norberg-Hodge’s film, Ancient Futures. Describing her city-dwelling sister, the peasant woman says in the film: “She has a rice cooker, a car, a telephone – all kinds of time-saving devices. Yet when I visit her, she is always so busy we barely have time to talk”. Charles Epstein believes this is a dilemma of our contemporary world. There has been a phenomenal advancement in communications, information and transportation technology. We boast that the aeroplane, internet, mobile telephone, sundry digital gadgets, Satellite television etc have turned our vast world into a global hamlet. Yet, we are more alienated from each other as individuals and communities than ever before. There seems to be less and less time for the individual to achieve his goals and aspirations in a world that gets increasingly busier by the day. Of course, the management of time is only one of the issues addressed by Epstein, a Mathematics and Philosophy graduate from Yale University who writes with refreshing, often startling, insights about civilisation, consciousness, money and human cultural evolution. While we will take a more detailed look at his remarkable book some other time, we will focus today on the question of time. Epstein believes that one of the problems we confront in our contemporary culture is what he calls the ‘monetisation of time’. Time, like almost everything else in capitalist society has become a commodity, which is valued in monetary terms. Thus, he notes the popular notion that ‘time is money’ – a notion which leads to such expressions in modern society as ‘I cannot afford the time’. The ‘monetisation of money’, according to Epstein, “is a phenomenon with roots deeper than our money system, for it depends on the prior quantification of time. An animal or a child has “all the time in the world”. The same was true for Stone Age peoples, who usually had very loose concepts of time and rarely were in a hurry. Primitive languages often lacked tenses, and sometimes even lacked words for “yesterday” or “tomorrow”. The comparative nonchalance primitive people had toward time, is still apparent today in rural, more traditional parts of the world. Life moves

Where has all the time gone? faster in the big city, where we are always in a hurry because time is scarce. But in the past, we experienced time as abundant”. Epstein points out that “Time is life’ and “To be truly rich is to have sovereignty over our own time’. The scarcity of time in our sophisticated, modern world as compared with its seeming abundance in earlier, more sedate periods is the reason why the individual in our contemporary culture is always in a hurry. But if Epstein is right and time is too scarce in today’s world for the individual to achieve all that he plans to do, how do we explain the enormous amounts of time expended today on sports, music, television reality shows and other forms of leisure and entertainment. Is the preoccupation with entertainment and the amounts of time and money spent on such

activities an indication that modern man, despite his scientific accomplishments is all too easily bored and needs to be constantly distracted? Just imagine the amount of time that millions of people spend watching a reality TV show like ‘Big Brother Africa’, in which a number of adults simply fool around in a house under the glare of countless cameras recording the most intimate details of their lives. Or just imagine how much time millions spend across the world watching the British, Spanish, Italian or other soccer leagues. Can we really complain of a scarcity of time in a culture that allows its squandering by millions on activities of dubious humanitarian value? It would appear that centuries before Epstein, thinkers had been preoccupied with the question of time and the notion that it is too short for the majority of mankind to fulfil

‘The scarcity of time in our sophisticated, modern world as compared with its seeming abundance in earlier, more sedate periods is the reason why the individual in our contemporary culture is always in a hurry. But if Epstein is right and time is too scarce in today’s world for the individual to achieve all that he plans to do, how do we explain the enormous amounts of time expended today on sports, music, television reality shows and other forms of leisure and entertainment’

Teenager thrills with book


WELVE-YEAR-OLD Glory Osandatuwa, has released her new book of short stories entitled: Jacky The Hardworking Spider. The book was unveiled in Warri, Delta State where she received praises for her effort. The event, which was held at Great Hall, Chevron Recreation Centre on February 16, drew dignitaries, including wife of Delta State Governor Mrs Sheila Roli Uduaghan; former Chairman of Warri South Local Government Area, Hon. Matthew Mofe Edema; Elder Theo Odigie (JP); the Chaplain of Warri Kingdom, Dr Mark Erumi, among others. The book was reviewed by the Managing Director of Flomat Books Limited, Dr Tony Akpokene. He said with the talent the author displayed in her book, she has the potential of growing to be like Chinua Achebe and Chmamanda Ngozi Adichie.


By Evelyn Osagie

According to the reviewer, each chapter has at the end a section on morals and a set of comprehension questions drawn up for its readers. “It also contains a mini glossary of words and a ‘do you know?’ session that explains concepts that may be new to other young minds,” he said. He praised her parents, Mr and Mrs Jolomi Osandatuwa for discovering her talent, urging other parents to do same. A literary scholar, author and promoter of children’s literature, Pastor Ulisanmi Edukugho, said Glory’s work is one of the many exciting collections of children’s literature in Warri held great promises. According to him, Glory is fortunate to have parents who recognised her talent and are nurturing and developing it. Glory is a JSS Two pupil of Preston International School, Akure, Ondo State.

Life In My City creates Lagos zone


HE yearlyLife In My City Arts Festival (LIMCAF), which holds in Enugu, has created a zonal centre of the national youth art competition for Lagos. Also, there will be a special Lagos zonal exhibition of the best entries from Lagos area at a venue to be announced later. This was announced at a brief meeting of the festival’s friends and stakeholders including art editors, artists, photographers and officials at the Alliance Francaise Centre in Yaba, Lagos recently. The Artistic Director of the festival, Mr Ayo Adewunmi, said that the organisers had since recognised that Lagos as art capital of the nation must be given the pride of place it deserved in the festival which had not been possible before now. This, he said, is as a

result of logistic challenges in Alliance Francaise in Lagos. He disclosed that Alliance Francaise Nigeria provides the logistic framework for the festival and has been doing this since the inception of the festival in 2007. Mr. Adewunmi explained that a situation whereby entries by artists in Lagos had to be taken to Ibadan for adjudication and exhibition was detrimental to the growth of the festival. He expressed gratitude to the Director, Alliance Francaise, Lagos, who is also Delegate General of the Alliance Francaise network in Nigeria Madam Christine Deuve for making the new arrangement possible. The theme for this year’s competition according to Mr. Adewunmi is ‘Out of the

Frame/Out of the Box’ which gives the young people much more room than in the past to express themselves. He also announced the 1st of July as the deadline for entries this year. Life In My City was founded in Enugu in 2006 by Chief Executive of Rocana Nigeria, Chief Robert Oji. The first edition of the festival was held in 2007. LIMCAF was founded to contribute significantly to the economic empowerment of the youth through art and also to provide opportunity for young people to make meaningful statements on issues of significance within their living environment. Ultimately the organisers hope to establish a thriving art international tourism destination in Enugu to compliment current efforts in this regard in Lagos and Abuja.

their aspirations in a normal lifetime. For instance, I have just been reading an essay titled “On the Shortness of Life” written by Seneca, the Roman Stoic philosopher, dramatist and statesman who lived between 4 BC and 65 AD. He was as equally concerned as Epstein on the relationship between man and time. This is an essay I wish I had read much earlier in life. It is a work, which parents and teachers ought to read and discuss with their teenagers in particular so that they grasp the essence of time early enough in their lives. Virtually every sentence in this essay is a quotable quote. Seneca disagrees with Aristotle’s view that nature is unfair because it indulges animals with far longer existences than human beings who have a much shorter lifespan even though ‘born to a great and extensive destiny’. Seneca’s central thesis is that ‘Life is long if you know how to use it well’. In his words “Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed before we knew it was passing”. Seneca would no doubt frown at most of the activities that ‘steal’ the time and, therefore, the life of most people in our contemporary culture. He denounces the greed for wealth, the mindless ambition for power, the devotion to frivolities, the lure of wine or the snare of lust all of which he sees, so to speak, as draining life out of time. In his words “Assuredly your lives even if they last more than a thousand years, will shrink into the tiniest span: those vices will swallow up any space of time. The actual time you have – which reason can prolong though it naturally passes quickly – inevitably escapes you rapidly: for you do not grasp it or hold it back or try to delay that swiftest of all things, but you let it slip away as though it were something superfluous and replaceable”. Let us end this short reflection with another gem of wisdom from Seneca: “You are living as if destined to live forever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply – though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last”.

Group supports police on clean environment By Adeola Ogunlade


O complement government’s effort in ensuring a clean and healthy environment in Lagos, a nongovernmental organisation, Save Environment and Health Organisation (SEHO) has donated six wooden toilet and five drum-like waste bins, shovels, brooms to the Police Officers Wife Association (POWA), Ikeja Police Barracks, Lagos. The event was attended by market women, market leaders, Lagos State Waste Management representatives, and environmental health and law enforcement officers from the Lagos State Ministry of Environment. The project, which cost about N200, 000, according to SEHO National Coordinator, Bela Ako, was meant to help waste management within the market. She said development in any society is a shared responsibility of government and other stakeholders that should be coordinated, consistent, result-orientated and sustainable. “We discovered that our community need intensive care and the environment need to be taken care of in the interest of the women and children who are prone to disease and sicknesses that can be avoided through proper hygiene”, she said. Ako noted that Lagos can be cleaner if its citizens constantly keep their environment clean through proper waste disposal, cleaning of gutters, and active participation in sanitation exercise in the state, adding that for a cleaner environment, government should seek partnership with the private sector and more. She said: “State government should work in partnership with other professionals, experts and organisation toward putting in place machinery that would help prevent occurrence or manage effectively the various environmental hazard ravaging the world, resulting from poor waste and environmental management.”



The Midweek Magazine From scratchee to U S A L V I freedom T R A



Lagos monitors night clubs for safety By Miriam Ekene-Okoro


AGOS State government has started monitoring night clubs to ensure that they comply with safety regulations. Director-General of Lagos State Safety Commission (LSSC), Mrs Dominga Odebunmi said the fire in a Brazillian night club, which claimed many lives made it imperative. Mrs Odebunmi said during the compliance monitoring and enforcement (CME) of 19 nightclubs and entertainment outlets, only one was found to be safe. She called on club owners and managers place the label “SAFE” at escape routes, adding that mechanical ventilation should also be provided as part of safety measures. Explaining that inadequate knowledge is the cause of such incident, she said workers in night clubs are required to attend LSSC Entertainment Safety Training, which will count in the premises and operation ranking certification. She said organisations that fail to comply with the directives risk closure. Mrs Odebunmi said Regional Approved and Safety Agents (ASA) registered with the Commission were ready to assist club owners and managers that require information on how to ensure Proper Safety Standards and Procedures at their night clubs or entertainment outlets.


FTER about 16 years of romance with scratchee technique, United States-based Nigerian artist, Pita Ohiwerei, is exploring new frontiers for freedom and experimentation. Ohiwerei, who is in the country, will use his solo art exhibition, Allow, holding at the Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos on March 17 to showcase his new works. The exhibition, which was to have held last years, was deferred, because the artists inability to secure exhibition at the Terra Kulture. The Auchi Polytechnic-trained artist said Allow, which will run till March 12 will feature new works that share same philosophy and theme as those done in scratchee technique. “Until now, I work within the box. But today, my works entail freedom in theme and techniques. Again, I am getting tired of my old technique; hence my desire to explore new grounds, especially in mixed media,” he said. According to him, time has come to break the rules of painting, which include perspective, balance, proportion, colour scheme among others. Painting at this level, he said, is all about being oneself and free to express one’s inner feelings. And for these new set of paintings, they are about feelings and emotions. Asked if fulfilled practising art in Diaspora, he said no artist would be satisfied because life is a continuum and he sees progress. He admitted that living in the US has changed his colour and theme to an extent. “I paint landscape from Europe and US because my clientele is diverse. My Black collectors for example will not buy any figure depicting a white person and vice versa. However, servicing them, allows me to expand my scope,” he said in a chat in Lagos. To him, art is sweet music and he uses colour as therapeutic medium. Little wonder that he chooses to create art that makes people happy in the midst of problems. “My art is not for social activism like Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s music. Unlike most of his contemporaries in the Diaspora, Ohiwerei frequent Nigeria to hold exhibitions despite the increasing demand for his works in Europe and America. Reason: “Everything about my art starts from here. I come to Nigeria of-

•One of Ohiwerei’s paintings

Elechi Amadi, wife co-author three books

By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor Arts

VISUAL ART ten to connect my friends and collectors. I have lots of friends and artists here. Each time I visit, I leave with lots of energy. It is a rejuvenation time for me.” His last solo exhibition titled, Simple Pleasures was held at Terra Kulture in October 2006. Ohiwerei though still enjoying painting, will be experimenting on installation and mixed media at the forth-coming Harmattan Art workshop holding at the Niger Delta Cultural Centre in AgbarhoOttor, in Delta state. For him to accept a commissioned job like portraiture, his client must not dictate for him on how to produce such works. Some of his clients include former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala, and former vice president Atiku Abubakar. “My client cannot dictate to me what to do in a portraiture work. My distortion of the image in portraiture is what intrigues my clients. Portraiture is not about copying what is in photograph but representing the image,” Ohiwerei said.

From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt



Allow, which will feature 15 pieces of oil paintings and few drawings and mixed media is being supported by Access Bank Plc.

Rainbow club for centenary celebration

‘Why we treasure human capital’


OURISM, Culture and National Orientation Minister, Chief Edem Duke has reiterated the present administration’s commitment to human capital development, which he said, is strategic to the socio-economic development of the nation. Chief Duke, who was represented by the director of tourism in the ministry, Mr Johnson Odekina, said human capital development is targeted at ensuring that the nation’s human resources are knowledgeable, skilled and productive. He spoke at the National Institute for Cultural Orientation’s matriculation ceremony for 70 diploma and post graduate diploma students at the weekend in Lagos. “It is gratifying that our sector, culture, tourism and national orientation has been identified as one of the key sectors with great potentials to realise the growth and development aspirations of the nation. It is, therefore, imperative that human capacity, which is critical in fostering the desired transformation, are trained and retrained continuously to cope with the rapid changing global environment,” he added. Executive Secretary of NICO, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma said NICO Training School programme is affiliated to the Nasarawa State University and hoped that the subsequent matriculation ceremonies would be with the full participation of the university, as all issues relating to the affiliation would have been consummated. The NICO Training School has since

By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)

TRAINING inception trained 234 cultural officers from the federal, states and local government levels. He disclosed that the permanent site of the training school in Kuje Area Council, FCT, is near completion, adding that the school would witness increased participation of candidates, especially cultural workers from the Northern part of the country. Vice Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Prof. Shamsudeen Amali described the ceremony as a historic moment because the world today is being ruled by art and culture. “For the first time we have an institute dedicated to training of young ones in culture. Not that universities and Polytechnics are not teaching arts and culture, but this institute is carrying out orientation of the workers…Matriculation ceremonies are vital aspects of the academic culture. And being the only institute charged with the important role of training of public officers on the rich Nigerian arts and culture, the institution is comparable to none of its kind in the country,” he said. Prof. Amali stated that the university has begun the process of affiliating the training school to the university as it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NICO in 2012.

ENOWNED author, Captain Elechi Amadi and wife Priye have coauthored three books, which they said would add value to academic work in and outside Nigeria. The works were unveiled at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. They are: Kayadara, a collection of Yoruba stories, Un Homme Adverti a Fulani story translated into French and The Simplified Literature Handbook. Amadi said the books “have all it takes to unite Nigeria and enhance understanding of languages if not for poor reading culture. ”One thing about the books is that it is a credit to academia and valued materials that could enhance unity of Nigeria through understanding of ethnic languages.” The authors’ 20-year old daughter, Ogechi sang a love poem in honour of her parents, saying: “My mother was able to flow in line with my father’s spirit because the first love is still alive in them.” The presentation attracted literary scholars from far and near; a cake was also cut by the authors.

•From left: Mrs Nwanodi, Mrs Kalango and President Jonathan


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has said the World Book Capital City nomination won by the Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt, would be an important part of Nigeria’s centenary celebration. The president spoke when the Trustees and Patrons of the Rainbow Book Club (RBC), led by its founder, Mrs. Koko Kalango, visisted him in Abuja. The delegation was at Aso Rock to present to the President a copy of the organisation’s coffee table book, Nigerian Literature: A Coat of Many Colours, which he graciously wrote the forward. The book is a pictorial anthology of 50 Nigerian Writers, the first of its kind in the nation’s history. Representatives of the RBC on this occasion were Mrs. Judith Nwanodi, Mr Lindsay Barrett, Rev. Dr. W.D.C. Wokoma, Hon. Dr. Wale Okediran and Ms Adaobi

Nwaubani. The President commended the work of the Rainbow Book Club in encouraging development through reading. He committed his support for the PH WBC 2014 project as well as the production of an expanded version of the book to cover 100 authors for Nigeria’s centenary celebration. In her address, Koko Kalango reminiscence how as a teenager, in 1983, she had won the Mobil National Essay Competition; open to secondary school finalists across the nation on the topic: What Can I do for my country? She said at the time she had no idea that this question would one day drive her to champion a national reading campaign. When Kalango founded the Rainbow Book Club, over 7 years ago, she organised reading lessons, set up book clubs and ran a mobile library for children in rural communities of Bonny Island. Kalango further added, “The World Book Capital (WBC) nomination coming to us is also a testimonial of the impact of Mr. President’s Bring Back the Book project. With education taking the priority in Mr. President’s 2013 budget, this recognition comes at the right time - we can use books and reading as a tool for change.” Every year, following a competitive bid, UNESCO designates a city World Book Capital in ‘acknowledgement of the best programme dedicated to books and reading.’



The Midweek Magazine


PHOTO OF THE WEEK Performance by the Ajegunle House of Poetry at the Splendid Literature and Culture Foundation presentation at Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja. PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN

Joseph Oyewale Ijaodola: Exit of a legal ‘Iroko’ • Continued from page 37

the only lawyer in the North we know.” Chief Richard Akinjide referred to him as “the dogged fighter” and Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) called him “the gentleman of the Bar”. Dr. Aliyu Salman, SAN, remarked: “Prince J.O. Ijaodola is the only Nigerian living lecturer that I know I have. He was my lecturer in the Faculty of Law in Ahmadu Bello University in 1965. He taught me the Law of Equity. The second Nigerian lecturer was the late Prof Funsho Daramola. He was teaching International Law. Prince Ijaodola was a good lecturer. He was strict. During the holiday he had a wedding at Osogbo. As soon as we resumed, there was a test on Equity. I was not happy with the marks I scored and I complained to Justice Salami of my low marks. I blamed my low marks on Equity lecturer’s wedding which I attended at Osogbo. But Justice Salami defended the lecturer and said the marks were not because I attended the lecturer’s wedding. I believed that Mr. Ijaodola was fair to me on the marks given. When Prince Ijaodola came into the legal practice, one good thing about the late Prince is that he did not just oppose applications just for the fun of it. He never opposed to the best of my knowledge any application for leave to appeal or to ask for an extension of time to appeal. His cogent reason was that an appellant has constitutional right to appeal and he did not see any good reason to oppose such application. He was always cracking jokes. One day, after many years as senior apostle, I jokingly asked when he would have promotion. He replied that sooner than later he would be promoted. He later became a spiritual father. I owe a lot to him. More than half of the cases I submitted in 1987 when I was to be considered a senior advocate were cases where the Prince was counsel either representing the

appellant or the respondent. When a counsel from Saraa Chambers was strenuously opposing the late lawyer, he reminded the young counsel that he was his father’s teacher and that the father never gave him trouble. The young lawyer had to reply, congratulating the senior lawyer, but reminding him: “You were never my teacher”. He could mildly boast that he had a High Court Judge, the chairman of Ilorin NBA and very many respected senior laywers as some of the pupils from his Ileri-Oluwa Law Office. Many of us are modestly proud of him because he always appreciated good gesture. He once asked me to thank two senior lawyers who gave him a big gift and I did. R.A. Lawal-Rabana, SAN once wrote of him: “Prince J.O. Ijaodola is my godfather in the legal profession. I had my pupilage under him between 1984 and 1986. The two years I spent with him shaped my career. He was very strict on time, he made it a rule that we must be in court by 8am. This practice, according to him, will make you settle down, go through your file and to be well composed before the trial judge comes in. This practice I found useful in later years of my practice. Although strict and a disciplinarian, he was very kind and compassionate. Between 1983 and 1986, he gave all lawyers who worked with him a car loan of N10,000 each for which all of us brought new cars. In a rare display of selflessness, which I am yet to see anywhere, while we rode in our new cars, our “Oga” rode in a Toyota Hiace Bus and will always sit at the front seat of the bus. He also had a block of six flats close to the office for lawyers who preferred low-cost accommodation. I found him very rigid to a fault. He was always brief and precise in his pleadings and brief writing which always made him to run into trouble with some of the courts. Notwithstanding the criticism, he never changed. Judging from the products that passed through

him, most of whom are legal luminaries today, there is no doubt that the late Prince was a father and mentor in the legal profession. His lawyers were seen all over the courts in the old Kwara State which comprises Okene and some other cities in the present Kogi State. If ten cases were listed at the Court of Appeal, in the then Kaduna Division, the 10 would come from J.O. Ijaodola & Co. Baba, no doubt contributed so much to the legal profession in Kwara State. Though he was not conferred with the SAN’s rank, he was very glad when I became one. He was happy to have produced a SAN. He was also very religious and of high moral standard. He was popularly known and referred to as “Baba Aladura” which means prayer warrior. He single-handedly built a church for God. He was also a great father and a loving husband. I recall my last encounter with this legal colossus. I had given my word to see him at Offa on phone but I never got round to deliver on that promise until he died. He, however, shocked me when he sent his son (Seun) to me to begin his pupilage in my chambers. At the resumption of duties, the young lad brought good tidings to me from Baba. Those good news included two new suits and copies of the book written in his honour entitled: “A gentleman of the Bar”. It was a biography of a courageous prince, spiritual father, teacher and a legal luminary. The book became a ready source of material for me in writing this tribute. Perhaps, he wanted me to write a tribute in his honour or follow some of his admirable principles in my legal career. Whatever were his reasons for sending to me those precious gifts, I would not know. But one thing is certain; it is that I have long been a silent admirer of the enigma that was the deceased. It was this admiration and the pain of his death that led me to pass on the message of his demise to Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, during


a proceeding before a Judge of the Federal High Court sometime last week. It was a very shocking and devastating news to Olanipekun, who later narrated to me how the late Ijaodola positively touched the lives of lawyers who worked under him and how the deceased had generously granted car loans to these lawyers, a gesture that was applauded by the generality of the Kwara chapter of the NBA. What Olanipekun, however did not disclose to me but which I found out from other sources was that he (Olanipekun) and Yusuf Ali, also SAN, jointly contributed N700,000 each and a car gift to the late Ijaodola, in appreciation of his services to the Bar. Anyone searching for a honest Nigerian will have found one in him. He once declared: “I have never given or received any bribe, directly and/or indirectly. I am in total peace with my creator to whom I am finally accountable.” Indeed, how many Nigerians can lay such claim to being at peace with their creator? Adieu Prince Joseph Oyewale Ijaodola! A lawyer’s lawyer. Omo iyeru Okin, Olofa mojo, Sun re o! We are all proud of you.

“I think he is [the player of the year]. He's such a super talent, this season we've seen him in another level, he's made a difference every game. He is a tremendous talent and has been at a tremendous level this season, with outstanding quality and motivation. When you see him keep on trying the way he did tonight in the last minute, it exemplifies the talent that he is.” Tottenham manager, Andre Villas-Boas recommending winger, Gareth Bale for his Yeoman’s effort at improving the team’s Wednesday, February 27, 2013 fortunes in recent times.



for Player of the Year



OTTENHAM manager Andre VillasBoas has backed Gareth Bale to grab Player of the Year after the winger's stunning last-gasp winner in his side's 3-2 win over West Ham. Bale's 30-yard strike in the 90th minute took his tally for the season to 15 Premier League goals and moved the north London club up to third in the table in the race for Champions League football next season. Villas-Boas hailed Bale's recent

displays - he has scored eight goals in his last six appearances for Spurs - and backed the Welshman to be named the league's best player at the end-of-season awards. “I think he is [the player of the year],” said Villas-Boas after the game. "He's such a super talent, this season we've seen him in another level, he's made a difference every game." “He is a tremendous talent and has been at a tremendous level this season, with outstanding quality and motivation. “When you see him keep on trying the way he did tonight in the last minute, it exemplifies the talent that he is.”

Guardiola 'to make Suarez first purchase’


PAIN' S E l Confidencial claims that incoming B a y e r n M u n i c h manager Pep Guardiola has m a d e Liverpool striker Luis Suarez his top target for the summer. Guardiola, who will take over at Bayern this summer when Jupp

Vidic close to ‘full recovery'

Heynckes retires, had been widely Suarez's recent public statements assumed to want to raid former club dedicating himself to Liverpool will Barcelona when he begins his new job. be put to the test. But instead it is the Uruguayan, whose touch and movement are apparently much admired by Guardiola. The rumour has the tinge of truth about it - particularly when you consider that Guardiola's brother, Pere Guardiola, just so happens to be Suarez's agent. It's also hard to see why anyone •Suarez wouldn't want Suarez, given his outrageous talent - so it seems that


ANCHESTER UNITED captain Nemanja Vidic is feeling good about the progress he is making as he continues on the road to recovery from his knee problems. Vidic suffered cruciate ligament damage in his right knee in United's Champions League group game against Basle in December 2011 which sidelined him for the remainder of that season. Then, after playing in the Red Devils' opening five matches of the current campaign, the Serbian centre-back underwent surgery on the same knee in September. He returned to action in December and has featured in 10 of United's last 16 fixtures in all competitions, starting nine of those. Regarding his fitness, the 31-year-old said: "I had problems with my knee and I was so long without football. It is difficult now we are playing Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday." He continued: "I have had to think whether it is good for me to play or not. Sometimes I will get a reaction and sometimes I won't. This is normal. Since I came back I have had to see if I can get through the two or three months. Then I will be fine. "It is not a long-term thing. It is the normal procedure after the kind of op I had. After I'd had surgery I knew we'd then have to manage the knee and then after that it would be normal again. "It is all dependent on the individual. But it should be soon. After every game I am feeling better and that is a good sign. It was just swelling sometimes after matches. There was no pain, it was just a reaction as the knee got used to the work again. It is a normal thing. I have played twice in five days now and it has been good.”

clash in training J

OHN TERRY and Rafa Benitez had a training-ground bust-up on Monday in front of shocked players and staff. The Chelsea • Benitez captain and interim manager clashed just before training at the club's Cobham complex. Benitez called the players into a circle to discuss Sunday's damaging loss to Manchester City. He expressed his dismay at the 2-0 reverse and he performance of the team and he asked the players for their reaction to the loss. Terry, who was dropped for the game, spoke out and the discussion quickly escalated into a row between the pair. A witness said: “It all kicked off between JT and Benitez as their frustrations over Sunday boiled over into a big bustup.” This high-profile clash between the pair comes after The Sun apologised for incorrectly reporting that Benitez and Terry had allegedly rowed in the dressing room in the wake of Chelsea's 3-2 defeat at Newcastle recently. It is an alarming development as the Stamford Bridge side's form continues to falter. A win at City would have seen them pushing for second place but now they are in a fight to finish in the top four. Tottenham's win over West Ham last night lifted them above the Blues into third.

• Terry

Nadal skips Indian Wells and Miami

R •Vidic

AFAEL NADAL has opted to miss the first Masters 1000 events of the season in Indian Wells and Miami as his troubles with a persistent knee injury continue. The 11-time grand slam champion, who plays the third tournament of his comeback after seven months on the sidelines in Acapulco this week, has

decided to play only on clay courts between now and the French Open in May, according to Spanish sports daily Marca. Nadal reached the final of the VTR Open in Chile and won the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo earlier in February, but admitted that the tendinitis in his left knee was still

causing him discomfort. "It's better and I've been able to compete but it's still bothering me," he said on his arrival in Mexico. "It's better on some days and worse on others, which isn't ideal for someone like me, because my idea of competing is based on giving it all at all times."






ANAMBRA POLITICS Can power shift from the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in this year’s governorship election in Anambra State? Group Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU writes on the political career of the ACN contender , Senator Chris Ngige, and his chances at the forth-coming polls. Victim of judicial coup

Can Ngige succeed Obi? H

‘Ngige will not lack the resources to oil his campaign machinery. As a senator, he is a rallying point at home. Many people also believe that his party has better programmes. Ngige’s political base is expected to be enlarged in the state with the birth of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The polarisation of APGA may also be to the advantage of the APC in the state, if succession battles weakens the ruling party’

OW far can Senator Chris Ngige, medical doctor and chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) go in Anambra State, as he joins this year’s governorship race? Since 2006, when he was deposed by the Court of Appeal, he has been nursing the ambition to return to the Government House. His supporters are also soaring daily. This attests to the fact that the senator from Anambra Central Senatorial District is not weak in personality and popularity. However, observers contend that the race will not be a walk over for any governorship candidate.

Contenders and pretenders In recent times, many governorship aspirants on the platforms of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) have invaded the slippery political field drumming support for their ambition. Some of them are serious contenders. others are pretenders merely seeking for relevance. Instructively, no chieftain of the ACN has declared interest. This has lent credence to the belief that the party is united behind the candidature of the former governor, Ngige. The governorship aspirants itching to succeed the outgoing governor, Mr. Peter Obi, include Senator Andy Uba, former Central Bank Governor Charles Soludo, House of Representatives member Hon. Uche Ekwunife, former Information Minister Prof. Dora Akiyuli, former federal legislator Emma Anosike and Chief Akachukwu Nwamkpo. Others are prominent businessman Dr. Obinna Uzor, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, a journalist and federal legislator Afam Ogere, and Secretary to Government Mr. Osekola Obase. The majority of the contenders are from the APGA. They hope to profit from the power of incumbency wielded by the governor. However, the ruling party is engulfed with three crises. The first is that the governor is said to be championing zoning of the governorship and backing his SSG for the number one seat. Also, the party is being distracted by the protracted leadership tussles rocking it. Besides, the party is polarised by the merger proposal involving a section of the organisation. Both APGA and ACN have not succeeded in wiping out the PDP from the state. Relying on the federal might, the PDP, whose arrow head is Senator Uba, is seriously mobilising supporters for another epic battle. Uba’s ego had been bruised in the past, when he was deposed by the court barely a month in the saddle as the governor. But like Ngige, his confidence was restored, following his election into the Senate. Also, like Ngige, he is a top contender.

Ngige’s third attempt But eyes are on Ngige, whose popularity has not waned, since he left power seven years ago. This is because the anti-PDP sentiments as a rigging machine has not fizzle out. The indigenes are also seized by nostalgic feelings. Although he was a governor by default, he erected lasting legacies, which were acknowledged by Obi and other Anambra leaders. Reflecting on his tenure as governor, Ngige said that he served the state without blemish. “The roads I constructed are everlasting. I served with diligence and sense of purpose. I can confidently walk on the streets unmo-

• Senator Ngige

lested and without an escort. I wanted to solve a lot of problems in the state”, he told reporters in Lagos. Senator Ngige is on a familiar terrain. His supporters believe that he is known and tested. Today, he is the only flagbearer whose candidature will not be challenged by party colleagues. His party is known for time-tested philosophy and people-friendly programmes. It is a united platform not assailed by the peculiar internal squabbles that undermine political parties during electioneering. In the past, Senator Ngige tasted the bitter pill. While in the saddle, he faced the odds. But, he did not flee from the battle. He was beaten, but not dazed.While the godfathers who installed him beat the drum of war, he ran to the people through the moral and pseudo-populist route, calling attention in a ceaseless manner to the ravaging marauders itching to pillage the treasury. Ngige triumphed initially in the first leg of the battle. But,he kissed the dust during the second phase of the battle. The court legitimately deposed him as an impostor governor who entered the State House through the back door. Today, it is debatable now whether historians can list him as a past governor because, as the court ruled, he did not win the election.

Failed second attempt When he recontested in 2010 for the governorship, he had become more popular. Those who sympathised with him did so because of his achievements in office. He had successfully converted his tragedy into a massive goodwill. In this second coming of Ngige, the forces against him were also formidable. Obi, who wanted a second term, became his first political foe. Apart from the advantage of incumbency in 2009, the governor was equally perceived as a good candidate aptly recommended by his moral antecedents and belief in prudent management. He had kept corruption at bay and fought the infrastructure battle in all the sectors. Obi has shunned ostentatious lifestyles and endowed the office with honour. He predictably defeated both Ngige and Soludo, the political upstart catapulted into the critical race by the intrigues in the PDP.

Battle against godfathers Ngige may have been toughened by his past battles. He retains the memory of horror and tragedy as a governor held hostage in 2005 by his erstwhile godfather, Eselu Chris Uba, who

had parted ways with him. When the heat was turned on him, he described Uba and his allies as the Goliaths of Nigeria, which ,he, the David of Anambra State, would be strengthened by God to defeat. Consequently, he was swallowed by the big storm that threatened to abort his career. It was a long siege and the tribunal verdict, which ousted him from office, positioned him very far from political safety. With the Bible in his right hand, he took refuge in God. As he explored a religious dimension to the political battle he waged, he dare the local philistines who dragged him to the Okija shrine without public knowledge. Had he faced his senatorial pursuit initially, he would have the spared the ordeal of becoming a puppet governor tossed around by Uba and his foot soldiers for reneging on the unwritten agreement on fat returns on political investment. Anambra state is poor. So, when the benefactor, a politician with a business sense, came to demand for his cumulative loot, the governor was defiant. Ngige could not frantically deny the unofficial pact. But,he was torn between loyalty to the state and his godfather. On the day of his inauguration, he sworn before the people to protect the lean treasury from the prime eyes of the looters. But, he had earlier assured the godfather to deliver the purse to him and the devil was the principal witness. The dilemma was which one should take precedent between loyalty to the few financial backers who bankrolled his election bill and the poor masses who voted in anticipation of a new lease of life. The diminutive politician pulled the rug off the feet of his sponsors. His wits and force of character compensated for his physical minus. He rallied the people, but the fold was divided. Ngige stood his ground, insisting that the N3billion allegedly demanded for by the godfather was outrageous. The lending process was unknown to the people. If it is granted, the implementation of the state budget may be crippled. When the war finally broke out, Ngige became the first security officer who was boxed into insecurity. The governor was abducted on July 10, 2003.The act of perfidy was supervised by the police under the guise that Ngige had resigned from office. Nigerians decried the kidnapping. Thereafter, he moved swiftly to consolidate his position. His axe fell on his deputy,Chris Odey, and the speaker of the House of Assembly, Euchara Azodo. They lost their portfolios. The deputy was sacked, while the speaker was impeached.

The next hurdle was the court order by Justice Stanley Nnaji asking Ngige to vacate office because he had resigned. Sudedenly, he was left in the cold again. His orderlies were withdrawn .For 10 months, he relied on hired muscle men for protection. At a time, his life was in danger. Ngige was no more save in the state he was elected to govern. He was forced to flee to Governor James Ibori for refuge,accompanied by the local militants he had recruited as security aides. His fate hung in the balance until the former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, restored his security. Justice Nnaji later had to answer questions before the national Judicial council(NJC) for wrongful dismissal of the governor. The next phase of the battle came on November 10,2004.The State House was razed by thugs allegedly loyal to the godfathers. In flames too were the State Radio and office of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC). The state was in chaos for nearly a week. The Federal Government was indifferent, until the public criticisms force the reluctant former President and Inspector General to restore order into the state of pandemonium. Ngige regained recognition as a Chief Executive, but his feet were shaking in the party. He was sent out of the Federal Executive Committee meeting of the party in Abuja. It was ironic because he had been a leader of the party from the inception. In the pre-2003 period, he was an ex-officio member of the national PDP. Later, he and his godfather were expelled. But in a dramatic manner, Uba re-emerged as a member of the Board of Trustees(BOT). The last straw that broke the back of the camel was the nullification Ngige’s victory by the court. He lost power, but he retained his respect among the people he served faithfully, despite the distractions.

Defection to progressive camp Ngige dumped the PDP and emerged as a progressive missioner in Anambra politics. “AC offers the cardinal programmes of free education, free health, affordable housing, integrated rural development and full employment. This is why it is better”, he once told party supporters during his last senatorial campaigns. In that senatorial election, he defeated his APGA challenger, Akuyili. In the Senate, he has not been a bench warmer. He has contributed to debates on the floor. In the Upper House, he is accorded the respect befitting an elder. The politician has also added value to the ACN. Unlike those who defected to the party and later returned to the PDP, he has been consistent in the ACN. Today, he is one of the ACN leaders driving the merger.

Can he make a difference in polls? Senator Ngige is not required by the law to resign his seat as a governorship candidate. He is an Abuja politician with a formidable grassroots support. Recently, he organised an empowerment programme for the people of the state. Ngige declared that, at this stage, the acquisition of wealth is not a priority for him, but the welfare of the state. His philanthropic activities have endeared more people to him. Many of them recalled that, as the governor, he fought corruption and channeled the state’s scarce resources to its development. Observers contend that Ngige will not lack the resources to oil his campaign machinery. As a senator, he is a rallying point at home. Many people also believe that his party has better programmes. Ngige’s political base is expected to be enlarged in the state with the birth of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The polarisation of APGA may also be to the advantage of the APC in the state, if succession battles weakens the ruling party.



POLITICS ‘Progressives will liberate Nigeria’

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi spoke with reporters on the defects of the constitution review by the National Assembly. To him, the public hearing on the amendment is a road show, reports EMMANUEL OLADESU


ORMER Kano State Governor Ibrahim Shekarau has said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will liberate the country from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He allayed the fear that the merger will collapse because of power sharing, assuring that the APC leaders are ready to make sacrifices in the national interest. Shekarau told reporters in Kano, the state capital, that Nigerians were eager to vote for a progressive party in 2015 because the PDP has failed them in the last 14 years. The former governor spoke at a ceremony marking the declaration of Hon. Kawu Sumaila for the governorship. The aspirant hailed the leadership qualities of the former governor, stressing that members of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) have confidence in him. Kawu said that the APC will form the next government in Kano, urging the people to support the new platform. At the event, ANPP members passed a vote of confidence on the merger process and Shekarau’s contributions to the effort. The former governor told the party faithful that only the combined forces of parties opposed to the PDP can dislodge the party from power. He said: “The merged parties; the ANPP, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance; are equal partners. Collectively, they will work as one team. At the merger talks, each of the four political parties had 21 members to form the 84-member committee. “Nigerians need not fear for the outcome of this merger plan as we will not disappoint the electorate because we have realised that PDP’s oppression, misrule and mismanagement of nation’s resources should not continue. “What we need from the teeming masses is their collective prayers and votes, and their determination to end the 14 years of misrule. It is just as matter of patience.” Sumaila described the PDP administration as a disaster, urging Nigerians to wake up from their slumber. He lamented that the ruling party has turned the country to a personal enterprise, thereby subjecting the masses to abject poverty. He said: “The APC will surely bring to an end the era of the retrogressive cabal in the PDP who are bent on milking the resources of the nation to the detriment of millions of innocent Nigerian”. • Kawu

APC woos PDP governors


S the civil war in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) festers, the governors involved in the merger talks have continued to woo their PDP counterparts for the new party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Sources said that the APC zonal coordinators have been visiting their counterparts, persuading them to jump ship and team up with the progressive leaders to dislodge PDP in 2015 polls. The governors being targetted are also being persuaded to give the conditions for their defection or collaboration with the APC, the source added. Apart from the exchange of text messages, the governors on the two divides also meet at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum meeting and social events. A Southwest PDP leader, who spoke with The Nation, said that the national leadership is worried by the APC tactics. He said: “The leaders of the political parties that formed the APC are capitalising on the crisis in the PDP to snatch our governors. It is easy to target governors who are ending their second term, but the PDP is rising to the challenge.”

ARG objects to minister’s tour


HE Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has objected to the ‘Good Governance Tour’ by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, saying that it is a waste of time and resources. The group lamented that the minister of a federal government that has performed poorly is leading a jamboree visit to the states. ARG said in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, that there is no basis for the tour. He added: “This Tour is nothing but a waste of tax-payers’ resources. It is yet another demonstration of the profligacy already associated with this government. It smacks of the usual aggrandisement. From all intents and purposes, it is obvious that the minister and his co-travellers are enjoying themselves at the expense of Nigerians. “It is our belief that the minister should mobilise his colleagues in the cabinet and other government functionaries to provide data, facts and figures on the qualitative impact of the programmes of the Jonathan Administration on Nigerians. That would be more verifiable than this charade called ‘Good Governance Tour’. “The question is: where is this administration’s overall performance scorecard in the critical sectors? From the available data, the lot of Nigerians remains within the low range in terms of Human Development Index (HDI) and other qualitative indices of performance. “Specifically, in the Southwest states, we are at a loss as to which federal projects the minister will like to showcase. Is it the deteriorating state of infrastructure in the region, including the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Shagamu-Ore Expressway, Ilesa-Akure-Owo Road, and other abandoned federal projects littering the region. The other day, a big show was made of the construction of the Okerete International Market in Shaki, Oyo State, for which nothing has been heard about it, almost two years after. “How would Mr. Maku have defended the skewed and unfavourable allocation of projects in the region, an ongoing practice that has become the trademark of the Jonathan Administration? ARG advised the minister to stop deceiving Nigerians because his boss has nothing to show as achievements to Nigerians. Famoriyo added: “The sectors; education, health, energy, rail, roads and other sectors, remain parlous, and more than 70 per cent wallow in poverty. He should stop wasting the tax-payers’ money on an unnecessary junketing across the land, which at the end of the day is a meaningless jamboree.”

‘Constitution review is window dressing’ • Fayemi


ANY Nigerians have expressed reservations about the constitution amendment by the National Assembly. Opinion of the stakeholders is divided. The Senate President, David Mark, has said that the legislature has the power to review the constitution. But other stakeholders are of the view that what Nigeria needs now is a peoples constitution, instead of the review of the flawed 1999 Constitution. Ekti State Governor Kayode Fayemi is among leaders who have frowned at the way and manner the public hearings on the review were conducted by the National Assembly. In his assessment, the process was not people-driven. Therefore, it is not appropriate. He wondered why people failed to learn from history. “When the last constitution review process got halted at the altar of third term or no third term, many of the issues that Nigerians were passionate about were lost in the process of that debate”, he recalled. Judging by his background, the governor, like many Nigerians, is worried by the faulty structure of the Nigerian state. Thus, he opposed those opposing devolution of powers to the component units of the federation. “Many feel that the federalism that we claim to practice is fake and that ownership is not in the hands of the Nigerian people and that whatever we are going to do, we will ensure that we focus on that”, he told reporters. Other core issues that ought to shape the amendment include state police, principles of derivation, and revenue allocation formula. The governor acknowledged the disagreement triggered by state police. But he pointed out that the same feud is not assailing the call for decentralisation. Fayemi said public hearings on the review process looked like a road show because of the manner of approach. The governor frowned at the stiff opposition to the clamour for referendum at the end of the process. He doubted if that gap can be bridged by the claim by the House of Representatives that it has held 360 mini-conferences across the federal constituencies. He criticised the so-called mini-conferences, saying that legislators took a short-cut route. “If you

saw the way and manner that went, it was really not a people-driven process and it is going to be very difficult to collate the results of that exercise, if we can call it an exercise at all. As a matter of fact, there are those who feel that what happened at the zonal level, driven by the Senate, was much more robust and authentic. And even at that, it is still not a product of the people”, he maintained. Fayemi, who holds a doctorate degree in Political Science, berated the antagonists of referendum. He explained that, although there is nowhere in the British Constitution where a referendum is said to be the defining and ultimate determination of any issue, but when a matter becomes critical, the referendum is always the process used in unlocking a gridlock. “Even, in the most recent America presidential election, there were almost a 100 issues in some states; samesex marriage, the use of cannabis, abortion, death penalty and other series of issues that are local to a particular state that we didn’t talk about because the main issue was the election. I think we just have to be honest with ourselves. What is this country called Nigeria? And who are we, the inhabitants of Nigeria? Are we subjects or are we truly citizens with right and responsibilities? To a large extent, we are being treated as if we are subjects to some people that we have no control over and I think the essence of democracy is to let the people take ownership”, he added. Fayemi maintained that the current process cannot produce a popular and laudable outcome worthy of overwhelming acceptable. However, he conceded that “whatever it produces will be the result of elite consensus rather than the people’s wish”. The governor cautioned against the elite gang-up, warning that the thinking in some quarters that any deal by the Presidency, governors and National Assembly could resemble the popular wish contradicted the popular clamour for real national dialogue among the people of Nigeria and process of mass mobilisation. On the front burner is the state creation. At issue is their viability and financial implications. Lending his voice, the governor submitted that it is counter-productive to create states that would not be viable. Instead of state creation, Fayemi said: “We should be moving towards regional compact. I think we are seriously at risk as state because very few states are viable on their own. That is the fact and when people make the comparison, they don’t just stop as if that

is a game of number. “If you take Akwa Ibom and Ekiti states, what Akwa Ibom gets in a year from the Federal Government, Ekiti State does not even get 10 per cent of it. Ekiti State gets about N36billion a year and yet, if you compare N36 billion to about N400 billion, you will understand what I mean. But, it is not the fault of the person that collects N400 billion. I think what is fundamentally wrong is that the sharing nature of this federation is what undermines and leads to this relentless yearning for state creation because you feel that, once a state is created, your share will come”. The way out, said Fayemi, is to allow the states to control their resources and contribute to the federation purse, adding “that there must however, be a decision on what represents an irreducible minimum that we must contribute as taxes to the federal coffers, which in turn get shared to states that are not endowed as others”. Shedding light on this alternative, he added: “I think what we need is for regions to gain control and manage their resources and then for the federation to have an equalisation fund that enables us to cater for the weak. This will do two things. It will make us more innovative and creative. It would ensure that states like Ekiti or Ondo where proceeds from cocoa were used in developing the whole of the Western Nigeria, take agriculture more seriously because we have no choice. And I still believe that our greatest resource is the human capital that we have rather than this over-dependence on oil and all sorts of mineral resources that are wasting assets. So, I think state creation is not the solution, regional compact is the way to go”. Given the political diversity of Nigeria and its peculiar brand of politics, would such a policy of controlling resources by states and remitting percentages to the Federation Account work? Fayemi said it could be possible, if it is premised on collective resolve. But he said problem may still continue to rear its head because there is no transparency in the way the nation’s funds are being managed”. “That is why we need AccountantGeneral of the Federation, to handle the nation’s finances and the Accountant-General of the Federal Government that will handle that of the central government. However, the present situation whereby one person performs the two roles does not encourage transparency in the way the federation funds are being handled”, he added.

•From left: Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi presenting a talking drum to the German Ambassador in Nigeria, Mrs Dority Wenzel (middle), and her husband, Prof. Dieter Wenzel (right), when they visited him in Ibadan.



Youths seek more inclusion in governance •Continued from Page 13

fering ideas to upcoming ones. Through the expansion of civil society and the rise of local social and environmental movements, young men and women can be mobilised to exert greater influence in shaping this country positively. We have seen a few examples and we know that, given the right atmosphere, we shall help bring back the glory.” Usman believes the youth have a crucial role to play in reshaping the country by ridding it of unnecessary dichotomies and bitter politics. He said: “We want to move the country to such a level where the future will be much more important to everyone everywhere, where we will no longer settle for the same divisions and distractions and drama that pass for politics today. We want to see genuine inclusion of young people in government. We want to engender politics of commonsense and innovation,


EMBERS of the House of Representatives have said that Climate Change could become a profitable alternative source of revenue for Nigeria if the new National Policy on Climate Change is well implemented. The lawmakers, however, warned that lack of awareness on the part of both Nigerians and implementing agencies may negate the importance of the new policy. The policy document was presented to the House Committee on Climate Change by the Minister of

•Nigerian youths

politics of shared sacrifice and shared prosperity. Yes, there are those who will continue to tell us that we can’t do this, that we can’t have what we’re looking for, that we can’t have what we

want; that we’re peddling false hopes. They may even go to the extent of changing the constitution, but...all they need to understand is the strength of our population and of course they should

look back to January 3, 2012, the fuel subsidy protests... “Young people are coming together to make a massive collective demand to be part of a future in which justice, democratic

values and politics once again matter, where the politics of unchecked individualism, and the collapse of long-term planning for the social good will be bygone.”

‘Climate change will be revenue earner’ From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafiya. While receiving the document, chairman of the committee, Eziuche Ubani expressed his delight that Nigeria is set on a positive path on tackling any uncom-

We can make money from carbon tax, carbon sales, and this is infinite. Apart from keeping our environment healthy, the country would also be making money from climate change

plimentary impacts of climate change on the environment and other sectors of the economy. He, however, advised that action should not stop at the presentation of the document. He said: “We need to keep in mind that a policy framework is just but one leg of the tripod that holds national climate change governance system. “The rest are the institutional framework as well as broad-based legal framework that specify responsibilities of the Nigerian state and its agencies to combat adverse climate change and also set up structures to maximise opportunities of climate change.” Examining the policy document, the committee stated that littoral communities require more attention as their environment has been severely impacted by climate change. In addition, the committee noted

that the policy might amount to nothing if not properly implemented. “Implementation is always the problem of comprehensive documents like this. But if well implemented, Nigeria stands to gain a lot from it. “For instance, we can make money from carbon tax, carbon sales, and this is infinite. Apart from keeping our environment healthy, the country would also be making money from climate change. “But, if we don’t have the structure, it may be impossible for money to be made from afforestation. We can get carbon zinc which we can exchange for carbon allowance; that is for those who emit to come and buy.

Bail out for burnt institution •Continued from Page 13

school authorities will continue to support his administration through prayers. Also speaking, Reverend Father Ignatius Okeke of Most Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church, Abatete said the governor‘s intervention had consoled them, even as he commended the high level of success recorded in government partnership with the church in promoting education, health as well as other sectors of the economy. While conducting Governor Obi round the

•Chairman, Ikeja Local Government Area, Hon Wale Odunlami explains a point to residents during the last environmental sanitation exercise. With him are some of the council officials.

“With this document, if we invest in renewable energy, Nigeria can become a net exporter because we have a lot of sun here with which we can produce solar variables. The opportunities are enormous. It may not be immediate but the expanding opportunities are huge,” the chairman said. He, however, stressed the need for all parties involved in the execution of the policy to be adequately informed of and willing to carry out their roles. “Massive awareness campaign is required. Each agency must know what is expected of it and when, while the rest of Nigerians must also be in the know of what climate change entails, what the government is doing and what is expected of them,” he added.

premises, Rev. Sister Ngwuagu lamented that they lost everything, including their documents, clothes and other household materials. She thanked Governor Obi for his prompt response to the incident. A lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Rev. Fr. Celestine Mbaegbu condoled with the Reverend Sisters. He pointed out that God is really working in the state through Governor Obi. He stated that government’s partnership with the Church is working effectively, even as he commended Governor Obi’s humane approach to governance.



Uduaghan receives report on flood


ELTA State governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan might have had an inkling of the floods that ravaged Delta State and other parts of the country last year. This much came to the fore when the Technical Committee on Flood Impact Assessment set up by the state government submitted its report to the governor in Asaba, the Delta State capital. Governor Uduaghan, just before the devastating floods, sent an executive bill to the state’s legislature for a State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for consideration. While presenting the bill to establish the agency to Governor Uduaghan for his assent by the Technical Committee on Flood Impact As-

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

sessment, the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly Victor Ochei said: “The governor sent a Bill to establish the State Emergency Management Agency before the flood crisis. It was as if he had a premonition of the impending crisis that had brought great pain and destruction in our state. The bill is in recognition of the need to handle expediently and efficiently natural or unexpected crisis in the state. The agency will be empowered to carry out such task effectively. “While the legislature was still deliberating on the bill, the floods struck with devastating consequences.” Uduaghan, who signed the bill into law at the occasion, cautioned that the state was yet to get off the hook, stressing that it was in recognition of this fear that the state initiated the bill to address flood issues and other natural disasters in future. He further stated that he never envisaged that last year’s flooding would be of such magnitude. He assured people of the state that his administration has put measures on ground to avert future occurrence. The technical report which was presented by Prof. Chris Orubu puts the

estimate for the reconstruction of infrastructure and resettlement of victims at N10b. He revealed that 231 communities in 12 local government areas were affected by the floods. Besides, he said that 220 primary schools and 84 secondary schools were damaged, 357 fish farms destroyed, while 753 market stores were affected. Prof. Orubu, who described the flood as the worst in the last 50 years, said the cost of road maintenance was not accommodated in the report. He, however, recommended immediate fumigation and construction of deep well water in the villages affected by the flood. Prof. Orubu further recommended the supply of farm implements and machines to farmers. The committee also srecommended improved weather forecasting system to ensure accuracy in predictions as well as cross-country management of rivers to check flooding. Orubu, who said the committee’s report was divided into short and long-term periods, stated that the committee was optimistic that when all natural water channels were opened up, flooding in the state would be minimised.

The governor sent a Bill to establish the State Emergency Management Agency before the flood crisis. It was as if he had a premonition of the impending crisis that had brought great pain and destruction in our state •Victor Ochei


WARA State government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Health Insurance Fund of Holland for expansion of the state’s community health programme. The pact aims at ensuring the extension of the programme which began in Shonga in 2007 to at least 60 per cent of the people. The event, which took place in Abuja had in attendance Governor AbdulFatai Ahmed, the Emir of Shonga, Haliru Yaya and the delegation of the Dutch government led by Mr. Kees Storm, who is chairman

Chairman of the Technical Committee and Vice-Chancellor, Delta State University (DELSU) Abraka, Prof. Eric Arubayi who, in his remarks earlier, said more mud houses were destroyed during the flood disaster. He requested the state government to establish a database that would vividly capture the full extent of the flood disaster. He regretted that while the committee was preparing its report, some people made attempts to influence the committee’s report negatively. He said members of the committee resisted such attempts by a group bent on mischief. It finally came up with an objective report which he said even though was technical in nature, was simplified for the understanding of all those who would come across it. Receiving the report, Governor Uduaghan appealed to the Federal Government, corporate organisations and individuals to assist the state to enable it to contend with the enormous problems the flood disaster caused it. He stated that it would be difficult for the state to raise N10b for the reconstruction of infrastructure and resettlement of flood victims. He promised to send the report to the Alhaji Aliko Dangote-led National Committee on Flood Disaster as well as the National Emergency Management Agency for study. He, however, assured that his administration would work in collaboration with the state House of Assembly to raise more funds to deal with the situation. He said: “This problem is enormous for the state to handle alone. It is not going to be easy for the state to raise N10b for the reconstruction of infrastructures. “The Federal Government gave us N500m grant. We have not touched the money as we have been spend-

•Governor Uduaghan ing funds from our coffers.” Explaining that the state had put measures in place to check flood recurrence, Governor Uduaghan said: “We are going to remove all structures blocking all waterways and any building permit on natural waterways will be revoked and the building pulled down. Government will also sanction the officer responsible.” The governor hinted that the Federal Government was planning to construct two buffer dams in the country as measures to check future flood disasters; especially to accommodate floods from dams opened by neighbouring countries. He said: “As measures to check future flood disaster, the Federal Government plans to construct two dams to check flooding in the country; especially the kind of flood that came from dams opened by neighbouring counties.” Speaking further, he noted that a lot of measures have been put in place by the state and federal governments to ensure that the country would not suffer from such devastating effects of flood in the future. Membership of the Prof. Arubayi led-committee was drawn from the departments at the state-owned university (DELSU).

Kwara signs pact on healthcare delivery From Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja

Health Insurance Fund of Holland. Speaking at the event, Governor Ahmed said the signing of the MoU indicates the resolve of his administration to ensure quality health for the people, even as he added that it will not only usher in an expansion of the programme but will also have

a positive impact on education and agriculture which are among the key points of development agenda of the state. He said health, human capital and infrastructural development are the three important areas of concern of his administration. The governor further said that five general hospitals in the state are being renovated, adding that they

•Governor Ahmed (left); exchanging note with Mr Storm during the signing the event. With them is Chairperson, Hygeia Mrs Fola Olaoye at Kwara Lodge Asokoro, Abuja

would be inaugurated in the first quarter of this year. He maintained that Ilorin General Hospital, when completed, would be a reference point in the country. He said: “We are trying to expand health delivery system to our people; especially where our capacity to access has been an issue. You recognise that the current economic level of Nigerians has been a bit low and we need to jump-start some of these things to enable them to have access to the basic things that ordinarily should be accessible to them, one of which is healthcare delivery. “You notice that in some of these hospitals, people have not been able to access adequate healthcare because of the high rate of poverty among the people who could not afford N1, 000 for medical treatment. So, we’re trying to bring the cost as low as N300. “We are committed to ensuring that people do not travel more than 500 metres to access healthcare facilities in the state,” he said. According to him, health personnel would be recruited in the next few months and the supply of equipment has been made available through funds made accessible by the millennium development programme in

the state. He said the signing of the pact was at an auspicious time, adding that “with a strong health system, we will be creating a strong workforce. He noted that “healthy people is key to a wealthy nation.” Governor Ahmed disclosed that the programme would run from 2013 to 2017, adding that funds for it will be sorted out in the next three weeks. “This will be a strong factor to carry out the expansion of the programme to 60 per cent,” he said. Contributing, Mr. Kees Storm, who spoke on behalf of the delegation that included partners like Hygeia and Farm Access, said there was need for commitment on the part of both parties in order to successfully drive the programme. He said: “We’re going to write history and we are signing this MoU to bring health and wealth to the people of Kwara State. But making the funds available requires a lot of commitment. We are committed and enthusiastic about it as we have come to sign the MoU for the benefit of 60 per cent of the Kwara people. There is commitment from Kwara State and there is commitment on our side as well.”



The burden of developing higher education in Nigeria should not be left for government alone…Investment in education is much more rewarding than investment in any social or political business


S part of its contributions to the infrastructural development of Kwararafa University, the Wukari Community of Taraba State has built and donated a 250-sitting capacity multi-purpose hall and an ultramodern gate. The projects were executed through the Kwararafa University Development Forum (KUDF) and the Waziris of Wukari, in collaboration with the institution’s management. These were among other projects inaugurated by the institution’s management as part of its matriculation ceremonies. 186 students matriculated for this academic year. The 186 students that matriculated are indigenous to Taraba, Benue, Adamawa and other states of the six geo-political zones of the country. The Vice-Chancellor of the institution Prof. Yakubu Aboki Ochefu disclosed this in his speech during the matriculation ceremony. Prof. Ochefu further said that the Kwararafa University has completed arrangements to hold its first convocation later in the year, even as he added that the institution had graduated no fewer than three sets of students who had completed their National Youth Service assignments. He said: “Before the end of the current academic session, the university will relocate part of its academic and administrative operations to its permanent site at Hyuku, which is about five kilometres from the temporary site.” In his paper entitled: “Community Involvement in the Development of University Education,” the guest speaker and Registrar, Taraba State University, Jalingo, Dr. John Danjuma advised that the burden of developing higher education in Nigeria should not be left for government alone.

•From left: Prof. Ochefu and a representative of Aku-Uka (in cultural attire) during the event

Community boosts varsity’s infrastructure From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

“Investment in education is much more rewarding than investment in any social or political business,” said Danjuma who also made a donation of N50, 000 to the university’s development fund-raising scheme. Danjuma urged the institution to impact positively on the lives of the people.

Before the event, students of the university’s General Studies Department had enlivened the community through a carnival-like festival which focused on Nigerian peoples and their cultures. The festival featured Nigerians’ traditional regalia, foods, music, drama and dance. The cultures of Jukun, Tiv, Idoma, Fulani, Yoruba, Hausa, Biron and Igbo, among others, were on display to depict the country’s unity in diversity.

Prof. Ochefu observed that constant staging of such cultural events could enable the transition of cultural values from the older generation to the younger ones. He advised the students to “uphold these cultural values. They will help you in life.” Newsextra gathered that the Kwararafa University was licensed by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in 2005. It thus became the first university in Taraba

State, second privately-owned university in the North-East and third in Northern Nigeria. Among the dignitaries that attended the all-important event were chairman of Wukari Local Government Area Hon. Danzumi Agbu, member of the Taraba State House of Assembly Hon. Josiah Sabo Kente and a representative of the Chairman of Taraba State Council of Traditional Rulers the Aku-Uka Dr. Shekarau Angyu.

to HIV-negative children. While responding to some questions from the participants, Sambo stated that though cure for HIV and AIDS has not been discovered, there are, however, available drugs that

could reduce the effect of the virus and boost immunity level of those living with the virus to live normal life. Earlier in his address, the Executive Chairperson of YOSACA Hajiya Farida Mamudo, who was repre-

sented by Garba Saleh, Director of Personnel in the agency, noted that the clerics are integral partners in the fight against the pandemic. She urged them to spread the message in their various places of worship.

Clerics back pre-marriage HIV/AIDS test


LERICS in Yobe State have called on parents to ensure that their children undergo pre-marriage HIV and AIDS test. The religious leaders also advised heads of mosques and churches to ensure that HIV and AIDS test results of the would-be couples are authentic before final marriage rites are conducted by Imams and Pastors in their places of worship. The clerics, who were drawn from Muslim and Christian communities by the Yobe State Agency for the Control of AIDS (YOSACA), noted that such measure would help in reducing the rate of HIV infection among new couples as well as mitigate the spread of the dreaded virus among the people. Speaking on the occasion, a consultant on HIV and AIDS Abdulkadir Sambo urged religious leaders to intensify campaign on the need for pregnant women to be allowed to go for ante-natal care to ensure safe delivery. According to him, Yobe State government is providing free medical care for pregnant women and chil-

•Some of the clerics at a meeting From Duku Joel, Damaturu

dren less than five years, adding that HIV-positive mothers who attend ante-natal care normally give birth














Market sheds N63b


•Transcorp plans 13b rights issue


HE Nigerian equities market closed yesterday on a negative note, sustaining the downtrend that had opened the week. The main index at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) - the All Share Index (ASI) declined by 0.58 per cent to close at 33,613.87 points as against its opening index of 33,811.08 points. It had opened the week with a drop of 0.25 per cent. The decline pushed the average year-to-date return on equities downward to 19.71 per cent. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities dropped from N10.819 trillion to N10.756 trillion. While there were more losers than gainers, the decline was orchestrated by losses by several highly capitalised stocks including Dangote Cement, UAC of Nigeria, Cadbury Nigeria, PZ Cussons Nigeria and Flour Mills of Nigeria. Dangote Cement, the most capitalised stock in the market led the decliners with a loss of N5 to close N155. PZ Cussons followed with a drop of N2.50 to close at N38. UACN lost N1.50 to close at N48.50 while MRS Oil and Gas declined by N1.45 to close at N27.55. On the upside, Nigerian Breweries Plc led the gainers with a gain of N2.80 to close at N164. Presco followed with a

By Taofik Salako

gain of N2.01 to close at N22.13 while Ashaka Cement added N1.49 to close at N23.49 per share. Turnover stood at 473.21 million shares worth N3.95 billion Meanwhile, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc has indicated its intention to raise new equity funds from its existing shareholders through the issuance of 13 billion new ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. In a notice to the investing public yesterday, the board of Transcorp indicated that the conglomerate plans to increase its authorised share capital to create headroom for the supplementary issue. The company plans to increase its authorised share capital from N18 billion to N22.55 billion ordinary through the creation of 9 billion new ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. Transcorp currently has 25.81 billion ordinary shares outstanding on the NSE. The board of directors indicated that shareholders of the company would meet on Thursday March 28, 2013 to consider and approve the resolutions on the increase in authorised share capital and to empower the board to float a rights issue “in such proportion, at such time, for such con-

sideration and upon such terms and conditions as the directors may deem fit.” Besides the volume of shares for the rights issue, other details such as price, proportion of allotment and qualification date are yet to be determined. Transcorp had traded at a high of N1.96 this year, which had slipped to N1.81 per share yesterday. The conglomerate’s market consideration floated between a high and low range of N1.42 and 50 kobo in 2012, before closing the year at N1.05 per share. Transcorp’s share price rose by 9.70 per cent yesterday as the news filtered into the market. It was the most active stock with a turnover of 67.91 million shares valued at N122.32 million in 275 deals. Interim report and accounts of Transcorp for the period ended September 30, 2012 had shown that the conglomerate continued to optimise its profitability. Profit before tax stood at N1.7 billion in September 2012 as against N922.7 million recorded in comparable period of 2011. Profit after tax stood at N1.50 billion in 2012 compared with a net loss N77.22 million in comparable period of 2011. The conglomerate’s operating expenses dropped from N778 million in 2011 to N689.7 million in 2012 as it continued to reap from cost optimisation strategy. Total assets grew by 19.44 per cent from N23.32 billion in 2011 to N27.85 billion in 2012. Turnover stood at 473.21 million shares worth N3.95 billion in 6261.




MONEY LINK Fidelity to fund factory

CBN issues KYC strategy for banks


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday outlined the implementation strategy for banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) on its three tiered Know Your Customer (KYC) policy. In a circular to banks and OFIs, CBN Acting Director, Financial Policy and Regulation, Nwaoha I.T, said banks are to commence full implementation of the policy on July 1 and should conduct onsite compliance monitoring to ascertain the take-off stage. He said the new directive follows earlier circular introducing the policy for adoption by financial institutions under its regulatory purview. Nwaoha explained that there

•Execution begins July Stories by Collins Nweze

was need for proper implementation of the policy to ensure its success as an improved KYC regime would not only promote financial inclusion, but increase the effectiveness of its requirements. It will also improve the quality of KYC information obtained by the financial institutions from their customers. “We have observed that the laudable policy would produce lasting result if it is properly implemented and monitored timely from its inception,” he said. The CBN director said the strategy ensures that CBN car-

ries out certain commitment to demonstrate its seriousness to the project while the financial institutions comply with the various provisions of the guidelines while putting in place the required infrastructure. He said the financial institutions are expected to undertake a detailed evaluation of the policy with a view to determining how best to implement it. Also, CBN and banks are expected to undertake mass public awareness campaign, particularly in the rural and sub-urban areas as such would promote wide acceptance of the policy.

Part of the implementation strategy also entails deployment of required resources to achieve the objective even as banks are expected to have robust, effective and efficient anti-money laundering solutions with screening tools in place that will monitor the various thresholds.


sistency. He reiterated that certificate of commendation to well-deserving government agencies would serve as a lesson to agencies that have over the years shown reluctance in complying with this statutory obligation to the nation. The Committee had earlier requested all revenue generating agencies to ensure total remittances of all outstanding funds and to show evidence of remittance of 25 per cent of gross earnings along with receipts from Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.


HE Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has said that its members can practice taxation unhindered without being members of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN). In a statement, ICAN President, Adedoyin Idowu Owolabi said the Appeal Court judgment on February 15 between the institute and CITN does not mean that its members cannot practice taxation. “To set the records straight, we wish to state that the court’s judgment did not restrain ICAN members who are not CITN members from practising taxation in Nigeria,” he said. He said a declaration that it is illegal for any ICAN member who is not a member of CITN “to practice or hold himself out to practice as a tax administrator or practitioner for or in expectation of reward in Nigeria” was set aside. Also set aside was an order

The CBN Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor, said that those who had been accusing the bank of not complying with the extant laws on the issue of revenue remittance were doing so out of ignorance. He said the testimony of the Finance Committee had further vindicated the CBN and shown that it had always carried out its responsibilities according to the law, adding that the banking watchdog had remitted its operating surplus even when it is not strictly a revenue generating agency.


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

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m



Price Loss 2754.67 447.80


INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012



O/PRICE 2.20 20.12 1.65 22.00 17.58 3.66 3.90 1.03 1.66 1.04

C/PRICE 2.42 22.13 1.81 23.49 18.45 3.84 4.09 1.08 1.74 1.09

CHANGE 0.22 2.01 0.16 1.49 0.87 0.18 0.19 0.05 0.08 0.05


O/PRICE 0.80 2.60 0.99 0.89 40.50 16.00 29.00 10.57 0.61 2.45

C/PRICE 0.72 2.35 0.90 0.81 38.00 15.12 27.55 10.05 0.58 2.33

Current Before

2-7-12 27-6-12




C u r r e n t CUV Start After %


147.6000 239.4810

149.7100 244.0123

150.7100 245.6422

-2.11 -2.57

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


















July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days


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


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

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


CHANGE 0.08 0.25 0.09 0.08 2.50 0.88 1.45 0.52 0.03 0.12

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8


LOSERS AS AT 26-2-13



Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate

restraining members of the ICAN who are not members of CITN from practicing, representing or holding themselves out as tax administrators or practitioners. However, a declaration that taxation is legally recognized in Nigeria as a profession separate and distinct from the accountancy profession and that CITN is vested with power to regulate and control the practice of taxation in all its ramifications to the exclusion of ICAN or any other professional body or institution in Nigeria was upheld. Also, the court upheld that it is unlawful for ICAN to forestall or impede the CITN’s efforts to regulate tax practice. CITN President, John Jegede had last week said only CITN members can act as tax practitioners and administrators in line with Section 19 of CITN Act. He said such practice would ensure professionalism in the industry.



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

• CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido

Accountants can practice taxation, says ICAN

National Assembly praises apex bank over remittances

HE Chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Finance, Dr. AbdulMumin Jibrin, has extolled the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for prompt and consistent remittance of operating surpluses into the Federal Government treasury. In a statement, the CBN said Jibrin spoke at the public hearing on 2009 to 2012 Federal Government Independent Revenue Generation held on Monday at the National Assembly. He said plans are underway to bestow award of recognition on the CBN for such con-


IDELITY Bank Plc is financing the multi-million naira aluminum can project in Aba, South East Nigeria. In a statement, the lender said the factory, which will soon be ready, will take-off with an initial production capacity of 1.2 billion cans per annum. This, it said, surpasses the Agbara Can Manufacturing Factory that took off with an initial production capacity of 600 million cans per year, thus making the new plant the largest aluminum can factory in Africa. Managing Director and Chief Executive, Fidelity Bank Plc, Reginald Ihejiahi who made this known last weekend, explained that the financing options adopted by the bank were largely driven by its commitment to the development of the economy. “We are a bank operating in an emerging market and we believe that the industrial sector remains the heart of banking in such markets,” he said. “When we opened Agbara Can manufacturing factory constructed by GZ Industries and which was commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010, it started with 600 million cans per annum, but the second phase of its development took its production to 900 million cans and later to 1.2 billion. However, the Aba Can manufacturing company which is nearing completion will take off from the first day with 1.2 billion production capacity.”

Offer Price

Bid Price


9.08 1.00 136.89 146.64 0.78 1.13 1.00 100.00 1,000.00 1,753.94 13.95 1.33 1.80 10,305.95



Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833







Reps condemn killing of varsity students


HE House of Representatives yesterday condemned the killing of some students in Nasarawa State University, Kebbi. While urging the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar and other security agents to take steps to forestall further breakdown of law and order in the affected areas, the House mandated its Committees on Army, Security and Police Affairs to carry out an investigation into the incident and report within two weeks. The House urged the Nasarawa State Government to take steps to ensure security of life and property in the affected areas. The resolution of the House followed the adoption by Kingsley Chinda (Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency). While presenting the motion, entitled: ‘Killing of students of the Nasarawa State University by men of the Nigerian Army’, the lawmaker, who spoke after the House had observed a minute silence in honour of the slain students, said the recent killing of some students of the Nasarawa State University, who embarked on a peaceful demonstration to protest the non-pro-

Jonathan urged to sack COAS


GROUP, the Masses’ United Against Rights Violation and Crimes Against Humanity (MASURVCAH), has decried the alleged killing of four Nasarawa State University, Keffi students by soldiers. The group, in a statement signed by its Secretary-General, Comrade Mark Adebayo, said: “In another dastardly, cold-blooded murder spree, it was reported in all the media today (yesterday) that four students of the Nasarawa State University were shot dead yesterday (February 25) by rampaging soldiers. The students were embarking on a legitimate protest against the inhuman conditions of their campus when soldiers swooped on them, opened fire and shot dead four students. Many of them were injured with fears that the casualty figure may rise. “Security operatives in this country have remained unprofessional, uncivilised and trigger-happy. While they are incompetent in handling security challenges in the land – they are incapable of tackling armed robbers and terrorist insurgents – they unleash terror on the innocent and harmless members of the society. They are ruled by a killand-go crude mentality that poses danger to the development of civilised culture and democratic values. “If truly it was the governor that called in soldiers to kill unarmed students, then he is no longer fit to be governor in a democratic setting. We hereby call for his immediate resignation or impeachment by the House of Assembly. We urge President Goodluck From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

vision of water and electricity in their campus by

Jonathan to remove the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, with immediate effect and order the arrest and prosecution of the killer- soldiers and their superior officers, who ordered the shooting. This is the time President Jonathan must prove to Nigerians that he can defend our fundamental human rights and protect us. “The Vice-Chancellor must be dismissed from service because it is his incompetence and criminal insensitivity to students’ welfare that caused this tragedy. We call on Nigerian students, the activist community, parents, religious leaders, opinion moulders and leaders of conscience to rise up in a united voice, condemn this crime against humanity and take actions to ensure that it does not go unpunished. We call for four-day mass protests in all campuses and streets of Nigeria to expose to the world the atrocities committed by the soldiers we pay to protect us. “We have often said security agencies in Nigeria require total overhauling in terms of training and professionalism, especially with regard to respect for human rights. Rights violations in this country, including extra-judicial killings, have moved from incessant to pandemic. Any individual, who cannot guarantee our rights as Nigerians within our own country is not fit to rule us. “We commiserate with Nigerian students, the parents of the slain students and their friends on this avoidable tragedy. May their souls never rest until they have avenged their premature death.”

the authorities, was condemnable. He said the soldiers, who were drafted in to bring the

situation under control, “began shooting sporadically, beating up and manhandling as well as throwing

tear gas canisters indiscriminately at the students.” According to him, “the deployment of police or military men armed with live ammunition to university campuses in the guise of quelling students’ protests is wrong and unacceptable. “The present case is one too many in cases of extra judicial killings by men of the Nigeria Police and the Armed Forces that daily take place on university campuses and several parts of the country against defenceless, innocent students and citizens and is condemnable.” Chinda said the incident has created tension in the university community as many people were reported to have deserted their homes for fear of attacks by men of the Nigerian Army and/or reprisal by the students. The lawmaker said the situation is generating illfeelings and bad blood between the university students and the Nigerian Army and if not checked, could lead to an escalation of the violence. The motion was unanimously adopted as members condemned the deployment of soldiers to quell a peaceful protest by students.

Kuku greets Akpabio


RESIDENTIAL Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs and Chairman of the Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku has congratulated Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio on his appointment as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum. He described the governor as a man of solid pedigree, uncommon achiever and worthy torch-bearer for the ruling party, urging him to justify the confidence reposed in him. In a letter to Akpabio, Kuku said: “Your election as the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum is a clear attestation to the already established fact that you are clearly one of the few most performing governors in the country, not just within the PDP fold, but in the entire country. “Please keep up the good work and may God Almighty imbue you with even greater wisdom and bless you with long life, good health and other requisite qualities that you will need to discharge equitably your latest responsibilities to our great party and the nation at large. The presidential adviser urged Akpabio to bring to bear his world-class administrative and political acumen to bear on the coordination of the PDP governors. He said that, given Akpabio’s legendary reputation as a sincere, forthright and loyal party man, he would relentlessly and tenaciously assist President Goodluck Jonathan to attain the desired goals. Kuku added: “On my part as a fellow loyal party man ,I shall not hesitate to offer Your Excellency any assistance or advice that is within my powers and competences as an individual or within the mandate of the office I occupy”.

Protest in Bauchi over kidnap of foreigners From Austine Tsenzughul Bauchi

YOUTHS at Jama’are in Jama’are Local Government Area of Bauchi State yesterday protested the kidnap of Setraco Company workers. They appealed to the Federal Government, Bauchi State Government and security agencies to fish out the abductors of the foreigners. The youth carried placards. One of them reads: ‘Jama’are youths call for the release of seven foreigners abducted’. They went to the Emir’s palace and delivered their letter of protest. The youth decried the kidnap, saying: “Setraco Company has created job opportunities for over 400 indigenes of Jama’are and 300 from other states, thereby reducing hardship and criminal activities associated with unemployment.”

Man ‘defrauds’ church of N3.1m From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia

A 52-year-old man, Moses Inobeme, has been arrested for allegedly duping a Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lafia of N3.1million. The man, according to the police, presented himself to the church as a civil engineer, who could help procure a parcel of land for the church. He was said to have relocated from the town after collecting the over N3 million with his family, and was reportedly living in Plateau State. He was also said to have earlier presented himself before the church, pretending to be a first-time visitor with the intention of worshipping at the church, only to turn up with a land business proposal. Inobeme allegedly deceived the pastor into believing that the land, adjacent to the church, had been consented by the owner to be sold, which he offered could be done by him. Police spokesman Michael Ada, who confirmed the arrest of the suspect by the Criminal Investigation Department in Lafia, said the case was undergoing investigation and the suspect would soon appear in court.

Kano police arrest suspects •Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (left) and the Chief Executive Officer of Alleghery Country, Mr. Rich Fitzgerald, exchanging pleasantries after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), during the governor’s working visit to Harvard.


Wada arrives in Lokoja

OVERNOR Idris Wada yesterday arrived in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, after two months of medical treatment in Abuja. The governor, who arrived at 4:25 pm, moved to the podi-

From Muhammad Bashir, Lokoja

um to address a crowd, who came to welcome him at the Government House in Lokoja. He was involved in an accident last December 28 on the

Ajaokuta Road. His Aide- deCamp (ADC) Idris Mohammed died in the auto crash. The governor walked into the Government House without the aid of crutches or walking stick. He wore an im-

maculate white dress (Agbada) and addressed the crowd. Wada thanked the people for their support during his travail and apologised for arriving a few minutes before the appointed time.

Arsonists set church ablaze in Ilorin


NIDENTIFIED arsonists yesterday allegedly torched the Prayer, Faith and Miracle Ministry Church located at Asa Dam area, Ilorin, Kwara State capital. The arsonists were said to have attacked the church, also known as Ori-Oke Majemu Ag-

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

bara, about 12:30am. None of the church members or security guard was around. The suspected arsonists burnt musical instruments and the public address system kept in the church, but spared the Bible and portraits of Jesus

Christ, which they removed to the front of the church. About three months ago, a branch of the Living Faith Church was burnt. The state Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) accused a renowned university lecturer as the mastermind. The arsonists also report-

edly carted away about 400 plastic chairs. The Pastor, Paul Adekeye, said the building had been badly burnt before they became aware and invited fire fighters to put out the fire. He said they have reported the matter to the police and the Department of Security Service.

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

THE Kano State Police Command has arrested suspects in connection with the killing of the Commanding Officer, Mopol 9 Hotoro, Superintendent Dahiru Ibrahim Majiya, by unknown gunmen on Monday night in his home. Moments after he was shot dead, police detectives were drafted to cordon off the area. Later, some suspects were arrested and are undergoing interrogation and screening. Speaking to reporters in Kano yesterday, Police Commissioner Musa Daura said the Command would investigate the matter and fish out the perpetrators. The remains of Majiya, the elder brother of the Kano State Police Command (PPRO), Magaji Musa Majiya, have been buried at the Tarauni Cemetery, Kano amidst tears and wailing by friends and family.




NNPC begins work to stop vandals from Arepo


HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has begun work at the Arepo community in Ogun State to stop vandals from tampering with its pipelines. The Arepo axis became a haven for the vandals, having recorded three grave incidents between December last year and January this year. Speaking during his inspection visit to the site yesterday, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Andrew Yakubu said the corporation with the full backing of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, is undertaking a project that would make it difficult for vandals to access NNPC’s pipelines. He said the corporation currently loses about N600 million worth of fuel to vandals through the Arepo axis while the entire cost of the preventive project is about N1.2 billion. The project includes the clearing of bushes along the

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

pipelines’ right of way, which is being handled by the Nigerian army. The horizontal and directional drilling that would enable the pipes to be buried deep below the surface, he explained, is being handled by Enikkom and Kaztech Nigeria Limited. The project is expected to be completed within the next three months. Yakubu said the NNPC’s project has the full support of the Chief of Army Staff, adding that the army had been with the corporation in other notorious axis such Aba, Warri and Benin where it has right of ways. He called on community leaders, local and state governments and all the stakeholders that are within the right of way of NNPC assets that serve the country with petroleum products to key in and buy into the project targeted at debilitating the vandals. “With this all of us will benefit and it will be a win-win situation for the country and all the stakeholders,” he added.

The project, he said, would run from Atlas Cove through to Ibadan, where the System 2B pipeline which also passed through Arepo, has right of way. “We will lay completely new pipes because there would be a change in configuration. The horizontal directional drilling is a new technology that will lay the pipes far away from the surface, which will make it difficult for people to access the pipe,” he added. The Managing Director of Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Prince Haruna Momoh, said that the NNPC has all it takes to ensure that every filling station in the country has products year round but the actions of vandals have militated against the company’s goals. He said: “We have infrastructure on ground. The PPMC is holding for the NNPC a total of 258 various sizes of petroleum products storage tanks nationwide with a total holding capacity 2.6 billion litres.

Low capital base hinders FMBN’s for collecting and managing ow capital base of the Federal Mortgage Bank performance the National Housing Fund (NHF).


of Nigeria (FMBN) has been a constraint to its effective performance, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Amal Pepple has said. The Minister said the bank has been operating at a loss for years until the leadership of the current Managing Director, Gimba Ya’ukumo. Ms. Pepple, who spoke while inaugurating a new board for the bank yesterday in Abuja, identified the need for selected members of the board to remit their outstand-

From Olugbenga Adanikin and Jane Maha, Abuja

ing share capitals for its smooth operations. She said the low capital base of the bank is a constraint to its effective performance. This is an area of concern which needs to be urgently addressed.” The eight-member board is chaired by Chief Olabisi Ogunjobi. She praised the bank for operating thus far without a fullfledged board, stressing that it was able to develop a transparent electronic system used

The platform, according to her was linked with the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) of the public service. She however urged the Board to develop alternative funding mechanisms and seek better investment opportunities. “You are expected to work with relevant stakeholders for sustainable housing delivery, especially affordable low-cost housing, social housing and cooperative housing,” she added.

NAPEP releases N48m to Kogi flood victims


VER three thousand flood victims in Kogi State, got some cash grants ranging from N30,000N50,000, amounting to over N48 million to enable them begin the process of rebuilding their lives which was devastated by last year’s massive floods. This is part of the post emergency relief programme packaged by the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) which was flagged off by the state’s Governor, Captain Idris Wada. Senior Special Assistant to the President and National Coordinator, NAPEP, Mukhtar Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, said this is part of the Programme’s social Safety net programme to cater for the internally dis-

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

placed persons during the last flooding, adding that the gesture would be extended to other states where the floods dealt heavy blow and caused serious dislocation to the livelihood of people. He said: “The 2012 flooding was a huge blow to many families who lost their homes, property and livelihoods within a very short period of time, thus making it impossible to survive without government assistance. NAPEP as the agency for poverty reduction, is committed to the rehabilitation and the resettlement of the poor including those adversely affected by natural and human disasters.” Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof

Olugbemiro Jegede, Wada expressed gratitude to NAPEP and the Federal Government for this critical intervention, adding that the inundation by floods has badly impacted on the people of Kogi state. He reminded the beneficiaries of the recent NIMET weather forecast, that this year’s rainfall was going to be slightly higher than that of 2012 indicating that people should heed the warnings to forestall disaster. In his address, the Senior Special Assistant to Kogi State Governor on Disaster Management, retired AVM Gabriel Abdul, thanked NAPEP for standing by the victims, promising a proper monitoring exercise on the recipients of the grants.

Firm’s N30b real estate equity for sale ACN Property Development Company Plc (UPDC),is deepening the real estate market by inviting the public to invest in its N30 billion Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). The Chairman, UPDC, Larry Ephraim Ettah, who stated this at the unveiling of a N1.5 billion Grandville Estate in Ikeja, over the weekend, said the organisation is offering a window of opportunity to the public to invest in REIT, which is offering three mil-


By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst. Editor

lion units at N10 per unit. Ettah, said an investor in the REIT would automatically become a part-owner of a diversified real estate portfolio with high growth potential, as all properties listed in the REITH are prime, located in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt , Calabar and Aba. He said the firm is collaborating with the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) in building Recy-

cling Banks in selected locations in parts of the state, adding that the facility is available not only for residents of their estates, but also for their neigbours who share in the organisations desire to build an environmentally responsible society. The Managing Director, UPDC Mr. Hakeem Ogunniran, said their understanding of the dynamics of the real estate market has positioned the company to offer the best in terms of products and services.

Nigeria’s losing ground in changing oil world, say analysts IGERIA will earn less for its oil and struggle to replace reserves unless it can end years of industry stagnation, at a time its biggest customer is becoming self-sufficient and African rivals are boosting supplies, Reuters news analysts, have said. A domestic energy boom in the United States has already sharply cut demand for Nigerian oil, while legal uncertainty, political wrangling, corruption and insecurity plague an oil industry which is still Africa’s biggest. In addition, rivals on the continent - both East and West are fast catching up, and hungry for returns to boost their smaller economies they are tempting foreign oil and gas companies with better terms and fewer bottlenecks than Nigeria. “Nigeria has multiple problems in its oil game - it has failed to meet reserve growth and production targets for many years ... while competition grows worldwide,” said Duncan Clarke, Head of African oil experts Global Pacific & Partners. “High crude prices have shielded Nigeria of late - but this may not last forever, and its reputation as the proverbial Land-of-No-Tomorrow continues.” With oil accounting for around 80 percent of government revenue and 95 percent of foreign exchange reserves, Africa’s second largest economy is vulnerable to any negative shifts in oil and gas prices and demand. The U.S. accounted for 35 percent of oil exports from Nigeria in 2011. But it imported around 40 percent less last year, taking purchases from Nigeria to their lowest in over 20 years, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), a U.S. government agency. This drop in demand has already resulted in Nigerian barrels selling for around 40 cents lower than its official selling


price and left dozens of cargoes unsold and rolled over to future months, according to research by Africa’s Ecobank. Asia demand “Nigeria must make increased efforts to capture more of the rapidly growing Asian market,” said Kayode Akindele, partner at Lagosbased financial adviser 46 Parallels. “A big issue is that the growing East African oil and gas industry will prove to be a serious competitor, especially given its proximity to key Asian markets compared to Nigeria.” There have been around 70 discoveries in sub-Saharan Africa in the last five years with the majority coming in East African countries like Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique. Around 250 trillion cubic feet of natural gas may lie off those three countries alone, the US Geological Survey estimates. Several East African LNG plants are expected to come online in the next 5 years, while Nigeria with similar gas reserves has stalled a new LNG project for the last 8 years, seeing oil major partners Chevron and Conoco give up stakes. Shell has sold onshore oil blocks in Nigeria but is seeking to expand elsewhere in Africa. West African neighbor Ghana recently became an oil producer. “There is a finite amount of money to be invested by oil and gas majors in the short to medium term, and Nigeria needs a slice of that cake,” Mutiu Sunmonu, Shell’s Nigeria country head, told an investor conference last week. “The competitive landscape has changed, Nigeria cannot afford to miss the boat.” Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke looked to ease concerns last week when she told bankers and oil firms that Nigeria was entering “a new dawn to boost investment and production.”

Old promises Alison-Madueke said Nigeria would fix its ailing refineries, expand oil and gas output, tackle insecurity in the Niger Delta and ensure the passage of a landmark energy law, which would make it competitive with rival producers. The Minister made similar promises when she took office in 2010 but many targets have been missed. Nigeria loses $6 billion annually to crude theft, offshore piracy is on the rise and oil majors say it’s operating costs are among the most expensive globally. Energy consultants, Wood Mackenzie forecast Nigeria’s oil production could drop by 20 per cent by 2020 because years of delay to a Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) have blocked tens of billions of dollars in exploration investment. Oil majors say they can’t invest in major new projects until the PIB is passed and if it is passed as it stands with higher taxes, then new investment will be deterred. The Chinese have some interest in Nigeria through Addax, owned by Sinopec, which has said it wants to buy more onshore fields. Two Nigerian oil firms last week said they did not think the PIB will ever become law because of vested interests blocking progress and an insurmountable gulf between oil firms, lawmakers and the oil ministry over terms. Nigeria state oil firm NNPC is at the centre of the country’s energy business, but is blighted by underfunding and corruption, according to several government probes. But around half of sub-Saharan oil output still comes from Nigeria and oil firms say it could comfortably double crude production and unlock the world’s ninth-largest gas reserves, if AlisonMadueke comes good on her promises.



FOREIGN NEWS ICC prosecutors say no objection to Kenyans’ trial delay


ROSECUTORS at the International Criminal Court say they do not object to delaying the start of the trials of four prominent Kenyans charged with orchestrating post-election violence in 2007-2008. Two of the suspects, Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former education minister William Ruto are running mates in next week’s presidential elections. The prosecutors’ comment, in

written filings posted on the court’s website, makes it likely the trials that had been scheduled to start in April will be pushed back until the summer. Defense lawyers had complained that they had not been given enough time to prepare because prosecutors had not disclosed all their evidence. Court spokesman Fadi El Abdallah told The Associated Press on Tuesday that judges have not yet decided whether to delay the trials.

Tibetan monks self-immolate in anti-China protest


WO Tibetan monks in their early 20s set themselves on fire in protest against Chinese rule near dozens of pilgrims who had gathered for prayers to mark the end of the Tibetan New Year festival, a Tibet rights group said. Both died. A third monk was taken to a hospital after setting himself alight in a separate incident, another group reported. His condition and whereabouts weren’t immediately known. The self-immolations bring the total reported since 2009 to 107. One of the monks, Tsesung Kyab, self-immolated Monday outside a temple in Luqu county in northwestern Gansu province while the other, Phagmo Dundrup, set himself ablaze Sunday at a monastery in neighboring Qinghai province, the Washington, D.C.-based International Campaign for Tibet reported. It said large numbers of religious pilgrims had gathered at both monasteries for prayer ceremonies to commemorate the end of the Tibetan new year festival, Losar. The group said it received images of the self-immolation in Luqu in which pilgrims watched as Tsesung Kyab burned. The third monk, Sandhag, set himself on fire in the main street in the town of Aba in an ethnically Tibetan area of Sichuan province on Monday morning, according to London-based Free Tibet. Police extinguished the flames and took Sandhag to a hospital, the group said. A resident of the local Dhupu monastery, he has since been moved to another unknown location, it said. Last week, two Tibetan teenagers set themselves on fire in a double self-immolation in Aba prefecture, Tibet rights advocacy groups said. Seventeen-year-old Richen and his childhood friend Sonam Dargye, 18, were among the youngest to have died in the fiery protests.


Benedict to be called ‘Emeritus Pope’


OPE Benedict XVI will be known as “emeritus pope” in his retirement and will continue to wear a white cassock, the Vatican announced Tuesday, again fueling concerns about potential conflicts arising from having both a reigning and a retired pope. The pope’s title and what he would wear have been a major source of speculation ever since Benedict stunned the world and announced he would resign on Thursday, the first pontiff to do so in 600 years. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Benedict himself had made the decision in consultation with others, settling on “Your Holiness Benedict XVI” and either emeritus pope or emeritus Roman pontiff.

•Now to wear white Lombardi said he didn’t know why Benedict had decided to drop his other main title: bishop of Rome. In the two weeks since Benedict’s resignation announcement, Vatican officials had suggested that Benedict would likely resume wearing the traditional black garb of a cleric and would use the title “emeritus bishop of Rome” so as to not create confusion with the future pope. Benedict’s decision to call himself emeritus pope and to keep wearing white is sure to fan concern voiced privately by some cardinals about the awkward reality of having two popes, both living within the Vatican walls.

Adding to the concern is that Benedict’s trusted secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, will be serving both pontiffs living with Benedict at the monastery inside the Vatican and keeping his day job as prefect of the new pope’s household. Asked about the potential conflicts, Lombardi was defensive, saying the decisions had been clearly reasoned and were likely chosen for the sake of simplicity. “I believe it was well thought out,” he said. Benedict himself has made clear he is retiring to a lifetime of prayer and meditation “hidden from the world.” However, he still will be very present in

•Centenarian marathon runner Fauja Singh, 101, who hails from Beas Pind in Jalandhar, India, waves after a 10kilometre race, held as part of the annual Hong Kong Marathon in Hong Kong PHOTO:AP/VINCENT YU

Violence rages near historic Syria mosque

OMBAT raged near a historic mosque in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Tuesday while anti-government activists reported fresh clashes near a police academy west of the city. According to The Associated Press the fighting near the Umayyad Mosque in the walled Old City of Aleppo threatened to further damage the 12th century structure, part of which was burned during clashes last year. Since July 2012, government forces and rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad have been fighting over Aleppo, the country’s largest city and a major prize in the civil war. While rebels have gradually expanded the turf under their control, fighting has left much of the city, considered one of Syria’s most beautiful, in ruins. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday that rebels clashed with government forces near the Umayyad Mosque amid intense gunfire and explosions. Syria’s state news agency said “terrorists” had detonated explosives near the mosque’s south wall, causing “material damages” to the wall and the nearby area. Assad’s regime refers to the opposition as “terrorists.” The mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Aleppo, dates to the 12th century and sits near a medieval covered market in Aleppo’s walled city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mosque was heavily damaged in October, 2012, and a fire torched the market the month before. Also Tuesday, activists reported fresh fighting near the police academy that has become a key government military installation west of the city. The Observatory said the two sides were shelling each other’s positions while the government carried out airstrikes in the area. Video posted online in recent days shows rebel groups firing homemade rockets and mortars at the academy and blasting it with captured tanks. The videos appeared genuine and corresponded with other Associated Press reporting.

Egypt’s main opposition to boycott polls


GYPT’S main opposition coalition announced on Tuesday it will boycott upcoming parliamentary elections, a decision likely to deepen the nation’s political crisis and worsen an already troubled economy. The announcement by the liberal and secular National Salvation Front was announced in a televised news conference just hours ahead of the start of a “national dialogue” called for by President


purely civilian, asserting it needs enriched uranium to make medical isotopes. Since 2010, Iran has been enriching uranium to a level of 20%, an important technological step towards being able to produce more highly enriched weapons-grade material. During the opening threehour session, Baroness Catherine Ashton - the lead negotiator for the world powers - presented what’s described as a revised offer to Iran. The proposal is thought to repeat an earlier demand to stop uranium enrichment and to shut down an underground enrichment facility near the city of Qom.

Mohammed Morsi to find ways to ensure the “transparency” and “integrity” of the vote. Leading front member Sameh Ashour, who also heads Egypt’s lawyers’ union, announced the decision and said the front was also boycotting Tuesday’s dialogue. “We tell Morsi” ‘dialogue with yourself. Dialogue with your party’,” he said. “The Egyptian people will not accept a dialogue that is imposed.” Called by Morsi last week-

end, the elections will start in April and be staggered over a two-month period. Egypt’s last legislature was elected in late 2011 and early 2012 but was dissolved by a court ruling in June, leaving the then-ruling military with legislative powers. Morsi took over the powers in August, then passed them in December to the Islamist-dominated upper chamber known as the Shura Council. The opposition has been calling on Morsi to defuse the

nation’s political crisis before calling for elections to prevent the country from plunging deeper into chaos. It wants a “neutral” government to replace the one led by Islamist Hesham Kandil, and for steps to be taken to ensure the independence of the judiciary. The opposition also objects to an election law that was adopted this month by the Shura Council, arguing that it favored the Islamists, particularly Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

‘Blind Sheik’ will kill Americans, says “He will kill Americans,” said FBI informant officials to have him transferred Salem. “He will kill anyone who back to the nation to serve the

‘Iran nuclear crisis talk ‘Useful’

ORLD powers have been holding talks with Iran over its controversial nuclear programme. A Western official said Tuesday’s talks in the Kazakh city of Almaty had been “useful” and the sides would meet again on Wednesday. The discussions are the first since talks in July 2012 ended without a breakthrough. Negotiators from Iran are meeting counterparts from the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany - the P5+1. International powers suspect Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons - a charge Iran strongly denies. Iran insists its purposes are

the tiny Vatican city-state, where his new home is right next door to the Vatican Radio and has a lovely view of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. While he will no longer wear his trademark red shoes, Benedict has taken a liking to a pair of hand-crafted brown loafers made for him by artisans in Leon, Mexico, and given to him during his 2012 visit. He will wear those in retirement, Lombardi said. Lombardi also elaborated on the College of Cardinals meetings that will take place after the papacy becomes vacant - crucial gatherings in which cardinals will discuss the problems facing the church and set a date for the start of the conclave to elect Benedict’s successor.

•Abdel Rahman


N FBI informant, who has helped catch some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, is coming out of witness protection to warn that a terrorist sheik in prison remains a significant threat to the United States. Emad Salem is urging the U.S. to keep the ailing 74-year-old sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, often known as the Blind Sheik, behind bars and to not transfer him, even as governments overseas continue to press for his release.

disputes what he says with a fatwa.” Salem, a one-time Egyptian military officer, had warned officials about the looming 1993 World Trade Center bombing, but his warnings were ignored after a lie-detector test was inconclusive and he said he would never testify at any trial. After the bombing, Salem agreed to become an FBI informant and managed to become the sheik’s personal assistant and bodyguard. Salem was able to record the sheik ordering the killing of Americans during his time in Jersey City, N.J., and

Brooklyn, N.Y. Salem was also able to link the sheik to the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. Six people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in that first attack. Now Salem is concerned about the mounting pressure on the U.S. from Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and other Mideastern government leaders to get Rahman out of American custody. In one letter dated Feb. 26, 2008, the justice minister of Qatar relayed a request from Rahman’s family asking U.S.

rest of his sentence. They said they wanted to be able to visit him more easily, according to the letter by Qatar Attorney General Dr. Ali Bin Fetais Al Marri. More recently, on this 20th anniversary week of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Rahman’s sons wrote on their family website that “America will pay a terrible price” if he is not released soon. “The rain begins with one drop. America should expect more violent reactions if it does not release the sheik,” the sons wrote on the website.

Pistorius plans own service for Steenkamp


SCAR Pistorius is planning a personal memorial service for Reeva Steenkamp, the 29-year-old model he shot at his home on Valentine’s Day. The service was planned for late Tuesday at the Pretoria home of his uncle Arnold, where the Olympic athlete has been staying since he

was released on bail awaiting trial on a premeditated murder charge. Pistorius’ reputation management firm said Pistorius had specifically requested the service ‘’as he remains in deep mourning for the loss of his partner Reeva,” whom he says he shot by accident assuming an intruder had entered his home on Feb. 14.




ICPC uncovers sexual harassment, 49 other corrupt practices in varsities


HE Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Ekpo Nta, yesterday said sexual harassment tops more than 50 corrupt practices identified in Nigerian universities. He also said operators of more than 20 illegal universities in the country will soon be arrested and prosecuted. Nta spoke at a briefing in Abuja at the presentation of a pilot study on the ongoing ICPC comprehensive Systems Study and Review of Nigerian Universities, being done in collaboration with the National Universities Commission (NUC). The Study Review panel, headed by NUC’s former Executive Secretary, Prof. Peter Okebukola, also had a commissioner in ICPC, Prof. Olu Aina as one of the members. Nta listed over 50 corrupt practices being perpetuated in the universities. Some of the corrupt practices are non-adherence to the carrying capacity of the National Universities Commission (NUC); non-adherence to rules and regulations guiding admission; political interference in the

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

admission process of the University; inadequate funding which encourages Universities to engage in over enrolment of students in order to generate IGR to run the Institution; lack of proper monitoring and the absence of punitive measures taken against the University by NUC; sale of examination questions and other examination-related information; gratification and inducement to manipulate award of marks/ grades; swapping of grades; writing of examination by proxy; direct cheating in examination; and delay in the release of results Others are delay of students from graduating due to poor record keeping and deliberate victimisation by officials; manipulation of internal examination processes; delay in take-off of lectures and non-completion of syllabus by lecturers; nonadherence to students/lecturer ratio results in over-crowding of classes; lack of commitment to work by the lecturers; continued defiance by institutions of the ban on satellite programmes/campuses by NUC The list also includes frequent strike action by staff and

students interrupting the academic calendar; sales of lecture notes, hand-outs and textbooks; non-provision of adequate and appropriate practical apparatus; late opening and early closing of library Stealing and mutilation of library books; inadequate/irrelevant (outdated) textbooks; inadequate reading tables and chairs; corruption in the allocation of official bed spaces in student hostels by the managers; influencing of allocation by students engaging in gratification and bribery of staff; sale of examination questions and other examination-related information The ICPC chairman said: “Sexual harassment seems to rank extremely very high among corrupt practices uncovered in our universities. Our report is based on the quantum of petitions we have received on this corrupt practice. We are emphasising this because sexual harassment has to do with the immediate challenge we need to address. “We have uncovered many corrupt practices in our universities. “You will be surprised to find out that even the allocation of

space has become a racket in some universities we have looked into.” Nta spoke on what informed how ICPC and NUC decided to go for the system review He said: “Based on intelligence, petitions, complaints and public comments against the University system in Nigeria , ICPC invoked its statutory mandate derived from Section 6 (b-d) of its enabling law to undertake a comprehensive Systems Study and Review of Nigerian Universities. Systems’ Study and Review is one of the activities of the Commission designed to actualize the preventive mandate of the Commission. “The University Systems Study and Review is a factfinding and problem-solving strategy that involves the examination of current policies, practices, procedures, behaviours and systems of public bodies to determine if they aid corruption and to what extent they are prone to do so. “The report of such exercise is expected to be reviewed with the institution/agency involved for implementation.

APC won’t discriminate in membership drive, says Tinubu Continued from page 1

ga Tukur is interested, we will invite him and talk to him. The APC is a party to stay with, work with and to share the vision of eliminating corruption, ineptitude in governance and lack of employment for our people. “If you are threatened by lack of security, enter an APC, if you have persistent headache, use APC”. He added: “I am here just to consult with Gen. Buhari on the new party that has come to be and look at the various other options for a one-man-onevote in the country. “The merger will definitely work out this time around. I have been very consistent in saying that it is only through a

strong determination and commitment and the sacrifice of the people that we will succeed. “It is not only about us as individuals. There are lots of speculations going on this time around and they have even chosen our presidential candidate for us and all of that. “It was a banner headline in Nigeria Tribune. Let me say that it is the story of people who are already afraid and scared of the unity of purpose that is coming up in the country. In essence, we are all committed to democratic principles and values for this country and to rescue the nation. “To do that, we must be a united body and ready to rescue the nation with one mission, vision and one single commitment to alleviate the

problems of the masses. It is not about individual; it is not about Gen. Buhari. “If he wants money from the government, he will always get it. But he stands for the truth and the cause of the masses and the redemption of our democratic values, justice and progress. “These are the things that we need to harness the opportunity that is here in this country to get it moving and moving forward, but not in the manner it has been going for the past 16 years.” National Chairman of ANPP Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu said the APC would clearly show that there is a difference between the ruling party and the progressive coalition party. “When the 2015 contest

comes in, it will be between the conservatives and the progressives and when the people make their views known, it will be clear which of the two they prefer,” he said. He said the ANPP was committed to ensuring that all major opposition parties work together. Onu assured Nigerians that once the APC is registered, the party would not disappoint them, adding that it will protect the interest of the ordinary man. “We will put the interest of ordinary Nigerians in the affairs of governance,” he said, because this is what has been causing problems in the country’s governance. Shekarau, who presented the progress report, explained that

Revealed: How Jonathan threatened PDP governors Continued from page 4

one that stands in the way. “We will put our heads together in the PDP Governors’ Forum to promote the unity and progress of the party. We will not be fighting the government because we will be working in solidarity of the party. “The formation of the Forum is to look inwards and project the party and the government. We are doing self cleansing. We can assure everyone that the Forum is not above the National Working Committee of the party. The Forum is subordinate to the party.” Akpabio declared that the PDP was not in a hurry to vacate governance at the national level, stressing that the new Forum would present a formidable bloc within the larger Nigeria Governors’ Forum. He dismissed insinuations that the PDP Governors’ Forum was meant to weaken the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, saying that it would rather strengthen and hasten its activities. PDP National Chairman

Bamanga Tukur said with Akpanio’s emergence as the chairman of the new Forum, he could now sleep peacefully at night and even serve his siesta. Apparently reliving his ordeal in the hands of the Governors’ Forum, Tukur described the latest development as a repackaging of the PDP for the 2015 elections. “With a repackaged PDP as you can now see, the implication is that it will enable us mobilise our members ahead of the 2015 general elections and face elections and win. “No doubt, with Chief Tony Anenih as the chairman of our party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Governor Godswill Akpabio as the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and I as the national chairman, definitely the sky is our limit,” Tukur stated. The PDP chairman predicted a two-party system with the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2015 elections, saying the elections will be a straight fight between the APC and the PDP.

Jonathan signs Budget 2013 Continued from page 4

“What we do in constituency project is that there is a specific fund kept aside so that

•Gen. Buhari

the ANPP committee was set up on October 6 to carry out the assignment of ensuring the rebuilding of the party structure at the state and local council offices.

members of National Assembly can also bring things to their various constituencies. “When there is announcement that people should bring their projects, it is also within a particular volume of fund and it is expended by various ministries. “So, I don’t think that whatever problem they had with the budget had anything to do with constituency projects,” he said. Abaribe said there is the tendency for Nigerians to think that when constituency projects are mentioned, that Senators or members of House of Representatives are given funds to spend. “What happens is that Senators are given a list of projects by the Executive and these projects are in specific areas. “It is either in education or in terms of health or water and when they put the particular area they want, the different ministries, departments or agencies go ahead to award their contracts,” he said.





No regrets turning down Nigeria —Shittu M

ILLWALL defender Danny Shittu has declared he has no regrets turning down Nigeria’s invitation on their way to winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa earlier this month. Coach Stephen Keshi had called up the 32 year-old defender, who played in the Super Eagles’ 2010 World Cup squad, for final camping in Faro, Portugal, but it was turned down. He also played at the 2008 and 2010 editions of the AFCON in Ghana and Angola. Nigeria went on to win their

third African title with a team of 17 debutants at the tournament. “Maybe if I were 20 or 21, I would have regrets. But there have been a lot of decisions in my life where it's either turned out good, but I won’t say bad. Even if I had known that Nigeria [would] win the Nations Cup,” Shittu told “At that time, it was the best decision for me to stay. Up till today I still don’t regret making that decision. Obviously players who maybe wouldn’t have played if I was there got to play. “And who knows, I could have played and we may not have won

•Danny Shittu

it. So I always believe that everything happens for a reason. “A lot of things have happened (in football and out of football) since Nigeria won the tournament, which has made me realize that it was a good reason for me to stay. So I’m happy for the players and the country.” Shittu chose to stay with his clubside in order to help them in their FA Cup campaign as well as in the Championship. He also claims to have stayed behind in order to care for his children. “I’m a father of four kids and have a lot of personal commitment with family, children, and other things outside of football as well, which wouldn’t have made it right for me to have just left then and gone to the Nations Cup for six weeks. “Besides, I had not been involved with Nigeria for a long time before that. I was not involved with the qualifications and stuff like that. You know, leading up to this tournament, my life had been kind of different. “So for me to have left these things all of a sudden to get back to playing with Nigeria again wasn’t right for me to do at that time,” Shittu said.

Golden Eaglets build up for international friendly


HEAD of two international friendly matches against Botswana on March 3 and 5, the Golden Eaglets will tackle Bob Osim Academy at the famous Saint Patrick College in Ikot Ansa; Calabar on WednesdayFebruary 27.The practice match will kick off at 4pm prompt. Last year, the Golden Eaglets won 11 and drew one out of 12 practice matches and Wednesday’s game is certainly a rematch against Bob Osim Academy that suffered a 5-1 defeat in the hands of Coach Manu Garba (MFR) boys. Meanwhile, injured goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar has been given a clean bill of health and has since resumed full training with his teammates. Adamu has been sidelined for

•Tackle Bob Osim Academy on Wednesday almost a month due to injuries sustained in an auto crash on his way to camp alongside defender Friday Njengo, early this month but his recovery rate has been incredibly steady and swift. Dr. Deji Olarinoye, the team's doctor, said Adamu is now in good medical condition hence the clearance to resume in earnest and the lad has been participating fully in all aspects of training including the strenuous endurance test. Golden Eaglets goalkeepers’ coach, Emeka Amadi, said Adamu's return to full training is commendable, given the trauma he experienced:"I'm very impressed with the fitness level of Adamu since he joined

us in training," noted Amadi, Nigerian goalkeeper at the 1989 Under-20 World Cup in Saudi Arabia."Hardly can you notice that he has not been training for some time now and this is really good news to the team.” Adamu, who kept a clean slate in the 6-0 spanking of Niger in Calabar last September, is now in contention along with three other goalkeepers in camp. In a related development, Golden Eaglets’ Dr. Olarinoye who was at the National Hospital in Abuja over the weekend to ascertain the current condition of Njengo informed that the defender is still under strict medical observation.

Ronaldo shines as Real stun Barca to reach Copa del Rey final


RISTIANO Ronaldo starred as counterattacking Real


Madrid dismantled Barcelona 3-1 at the Nou Camp to reach the Copa del

Rey final, sealing a 4-2 victory over the two legs. Ronaldo scored a first-half penalty, then a second just before the hour to leave the Liga leaders with a huge task. And Raphael Varane, who struck in the first leg, added a header to all but kill off the tie. Barcelona dominated possession but were dominated everywhere else, with Lionel Messi conspicuous by his absence in a rare poor game. The hosts did add a super goal in the 89th minute, Jordi Alba tucking away Andres Iniesta’s through ball on the volley, but as well taken as it was, it represented scant consolation. Real Madrid go into their 38th Copa del Rey final, where they will face either Atletico Madrid or Sevilla, depending on the result of their second leg tie on Wednesday.







‘Nigeria would have saved trillions annually if no generators had ever been imported to substitute for a failed government. ’ VOL.8 NO.2,413



AST Wednesday, the bellicose Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, dismissed as “diversionary,” a declaration by the Niger State Governor, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu, that in the run up to the 2011 elections President Goodluck Jonathan “signed” an agreement with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors to serve for only one term. Governor Aliyu made the declaration the weekend before in a phone-in programme, ‘Guest of the Week’, on Liberty Radio, a Kaduna based private FM radio station. It is apparent that the governor made the declaration against the background of clear indications so far that the President will re-contest for his job in 2015, come rain or shine. “I recall that at the time he was going to declare for the 2011 election,” the governor said, “all the PDP governors were brought together to ensure that we were all in the same frame of mind. And I recall that some of us said given the circumstance of the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua and given the PDP zoning arrangement, it was expected that the North was to produce the president for a number of years. “I recall that at that discussion it was agreed that Jonathan would only serve for one term of four years and we all SIGNED the agreement...I think we are all gentlemen enough so when the time comes, we will all come together and see what is the right thing to do.” (Emphasis mine). These were the remarks Okupe has since dismissed as diversionary - and a diversion which he said his principal is determined to resist with every ounce of his strength. The president, he said, is simply too pre-occupied with his commitment to transform Nigeria into a land flowing with milk and honey to allow himself to be dragged into the campaigns for the next presidential election. “We,” Okupe said, “wish to state categorically that this is neither the time nor the season to begin electioneering campaign...and so President Goodluck Jonathan will not jump the gun. Mr President will stoutly resist any disguised or open attempt to drag him into any debates, arguments or political discussions relating to a presidential election in 2015. The President considers this an invidious attempt to sway him from his chosen pursuit of the set out constituents of the transformation agenda which form the basis upon which Nigerians overwhelmingly elected him to steer the ship of the nation in 2011.” When the celebrated journalist and novelist, George Orwell, said in his famous essay, ‘Politics and the English Language’, published in 1946, that “Political speech and

People and Politics By MOHAMMED H ARUNA

Jonathan and 2015: Okupe’s pure wind

•Okupe writing are largely the defence of the indefensible,” he could not, of course, have had your typical Nigerian politician in mind, much less a 21st century Nigerian presidential spokesman. But if he did, he couldn’t have been more spot-on in his dismissal of political speech as a lot of bull. “Political language,” he said in the essay, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Anyone living in Nigerian in recent times, even if he were half blind – except, of course, if he is Okupe and his likes - can see that the presidential spokesman’s attempt to rebut Governor Aliyu couldn’t have been more disingenuous. Few statements, if any, could have been worded to make barefaced lies

sound truthful, murder respectable and pure wind appear solid. To begin with, most disinterested Nigerians and close foreign observers of Nigeria know that President Jonathan was never “overwhelmingly elected” in April 2011. On the contrary, it is pretty obvious he was overwhelmingly rigged into office, beginning with the dubious PDP primaries, all the way through the manipulation of religion and ethnicity and the abuse of state’s fiscal power and its instruments of violence to square or squash dissent, to finally getting the courts to dismiss opposition rejection of the results on legal technicalities. Second, even Okupe knows that his principal has been anything but single-minded in his pursuit of his Transformation Agenda, which, in any case, was an unaffordable shopping list rather than a set of coherent and achievable objectives. If the President has been single-minded in the pursuit of his campaign promises, incoherent and unrealistic as they were, the country would have been a lot better today than it was in April 2011. The truth, assuming the likes of Okupe care for one, is that if anyone is guilty of diverting the president’s attention from his job, it is the man himself, certainly more than anyone else. This much is obvious from his single-minded determination last year to replace the “recalcitrant” Timipre Sylva with the loyal Seriake Dickson as the governor of his home state, Bayelsa, and hunt Sylva down into oblivion. It was also obvious from his single-minded determination to impose the loyal Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as chairman of the PDP, even after the gentleman had been roundly rejected by his immediate North-Eastern constituency to which the job had been zoned. No less diversionary is his self-inflicted current face-off with Governor Rotimi



Amaechi of Rivers State whose crime, it seems, is that, like not a few two-term governors, he is suspected of harbouring presidential ambition. At least twice last week the President tried, but failed, to remove Amaechi as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum. Before then his self-appointed godfather, Chief Edwin Clark, had taken out a two-part full page adverts in several newspapers to rant and rave at the Forum for its imagined antipathy towards his godson. Chances are those adverts did not cost the old man one kobo. What all this suggests is that the President is single-mindedly determined not to let anything or anyone whatsoever to get in the way of his second-term, some would say third-term, presidential ambition, having been sworn into the office twice already. If anything has been diverting his attention from doing his job, it is this single-minded focus on 2015. So it is really disingenuous for Okupe to accuse Governor Aliyu, or for that matter anyone else, of trying to divert the President from carrying out his transformation agenda. The governor apparently did not lie when he said the President signed a deal with the PDP governors to serve for only one term on his own steam. The proof that Aliyu spoke the truth, at least for once, given his reputation as a public officer who talks and equivocates too much, is crystal clear from the egregious response to his claim by friends of the president which in effect says, “So what if the President signed a deal?” Politicians everywhere do deals often with no intention to keep them. But only in Nigeria do they sign and seal deals with no intention whatsoever to honour them. Worse still, it is only in Nigeria that a politician can look you straight in the eyes and accuse you of diverting his attention from doing his job for simply reminding him that he has not kept his word. The surprise in all this, therefore, is not that the President signed a deal apparently with no intention to honour it. It is not even that his spokesman will attempt to make a lie look truthful or make murder look respectable or give pure wind the appearance of solidity. The surprise is that even after the President and his estranged benefactor, former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, categorically denied the zoning and power rotation deal in PDP, Governor Aliyu would still talk about the President’s word as a gentleman being his honour in spite of all the indications so far that the man would rather Nigeria breaks up than honour his word not to contest the next presidential election. •For comments, send SMS to 08023211188

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Governors’ Forum crisis: Not a fine moment for Nigerian character


HE photograph on the front page of this newspaper yesterday spoke volumes. It showed Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State addressing the press on a dreary night in Abuja. But it was obvious he was emotionally drained. He had endured more than one week of intense jockeying for relevance in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), with some of his colleagues intriguing ruthlessly for his post, or at least trying to get him off his perch. Behind him, almost behind his ears, was Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, the man who continues to menace Amaechi and haunt his shadows so much that it must take extraordinary nerves for both gentlemen to stand in the same room. In the photograph, however, Akpabio displays unearthly calmness, with a mechanical grin trying to break on his face. Also in the photograph, and behind Amaechi to the right, was Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, a man

who has managed by the force of his eloquence and the strength of his conviction to carve some political and national relevance. He has stood rock-solid behind Amaechi, even as the Rivers governor is buffeted by enemies. In the same photograph, Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State, stood distractingly beside Amaechi. The governors were all emerging from a meeting in which some 16 of them attempted to unhorse Amaechi from the NGF chairmanship. The coup failed, and the battle has been postponed till May. Earlier, however, President Goodluck Jonathan had corralled a few governors led by Akpabio to form the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum. To cut to the chase, everyone knows, in spite of Akpabio’s doublespeak, that the new Forum is designed to balkanise the NGF for spurning Jonathan’s cajolery and blandishments. There are many issues surrounding the NGF that discomfit the public, such as

its unconstitutional overbearingness. But beyond all those issues, however, and even beyond the reasons that precipitated the presidential conspiracy against the Forum, is the disturbing impression a few of the governors have given to the world of their character. It is doubtful whether Amaechi would have attracted so much opposition and earned the intense enmity of the presidency had he been more restrained, less candid as a politician, more reflective as a person, and disarmingly more diplomatic. But he can at least take solace in the fact that with all his impetuousness, he is not shifty and his conscience is not for hire. Rivers may find his NGF politics a distraction, and even wonder whether they elected him to engage in interminable political jousting, but they will shrug their shoulders and say, well, he can call his soul his own, if nothing else. So far, nothing substantially untoward has been done by the pro-Jonathan group other than their engaging puerility. The

group is doubtless entitled to pursue its own interests and fight its enemies, whether real or phantom. But by offering himself as head of the Jonathan army, and for a crusade of such enormous dubiousness, Akpabio managed to give the impression he is for hire, and his conscience as elastic as they come. Recall that in the photograph briefly analysed above, Hardball said he detected a forced grin on the Akwa Ibom governor’s face. Well, that kind of painful expression often indicates unbearable turbulence in the heart of a man full of both surrender and betrayal. Akwa Ibomites will revel in their appreciation of Akpabio’s great developmental projects, for the man is hardworking and focused, and take pride in his eloquence, for he is also a gifted public speaker with confident gait. But it is doubtful whether they would not marvel at how cheaply their governor had lent himself to be used by Jonathan, and also wonder whether it is always the case that brilliance must be compromised by lack of character.

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. Port Harcourt Office: 12/14, Njemanze Street, Mile 1, Diobu, PH. 08023595790. WEBSITE: E-mail: ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

The Nation February 27, 2013  

The Nation February 27, 2013

The Nation February 27, 2013  

The Nation February 27, 2013