Page 1

30 killed in Plateau attack

Newspaper of the Year

News Ajimobi gives N15m to workers P8 Sports Omeruo joins Middlesbrough P24 Business NLNG Train Seven to earn $2.5b P11

NEWS Page 66

•25 injured •40 houses razed

•Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

VOL. 9, NO. 2721 TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2014





•ALIVE AGAIN: Students of University of Ibadan leaving a lecture theatre on resumption after six months of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike…yesterday.

Cash crunch stalls work on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

APC to Federal Govt: you’re incompetent


HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has described as “a cruel irony” the accusation of inconsistency and double standards levelled against its leaders by the presidency, saying an incompetent and flip flopping administration has no moral authority to point an accusing finger at anyone, least of all the patriotic and respectable APC leadership. ‘’The Presidency is behaving like a punch-drunk boxer who, clearly dazed by a barrage of right-on-target punches Continued on page 4




OTORISTS will continue to face hardship on the everbusy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway – no thanks to a cash crunch that is threatening the Federal Government’s plan to rebuild the road. The Federal Government is

•Govt to concession road From Yusuf Alli, Abuja considering a fresh concession to investors to make the N167billion project a reality. In the proposed Public-Private Partnership (PPP), the

government will collaborate with investors, the Infrastructure Bank, Julius Berger Plc and Reynolds Construction Company Limited(RCC). Continued on page 4

Rivers High Court bombed Another set on fire PDP, APC in blame game



HE political crisis in Rivers State seems to be getting worse, with Sunday night’s bombing of the high court on Omoku Road in Ahoada, headquarters of Ahoada East Local Government Area. Besides, an explosive device was discovered yesterday within the court’s premises. Also yesterday, the Rivers High Court in Okehi, headquarters of Etche Local Government Area, was razed. Documents were burnt in the incident, which Council Chairman Reginald Okwuoma described as a deliberate act by the opposition to ensure the declaration of a state of emergency in the state. The Registrar of the Rivers High Court in Okehi, Ken Dappa, was


•Mild explosion at Deputy Governor’s Office •Explosions around Abonnema Wharf area •Justice Wali’s office and car park hit by explosions From Bisi Olaniyi and Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt

shocked by the burning of the court by yet unknown arsonists. He described the incident as “condemnable”. The main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Rivers chapter, accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of being behind the violence in the state, but PDP Chairman Felix Obuah blamed those he called government agents for the bomb blasts. The representative of Omuma/Etche

Constituency in the House of Representatives, Ogbonna Nwuke, who is a former Rivers Commissioner for Information, said attacks on courts’ premises were “senseless”, noting that enemies of democracy were at work. The Officer-in-Charge of the Bomb Squad of the Rivers Police Command, Taiwo Akingbeyin, and the command’s spokesman, Ahmad Muhammad, confirmed the “explosion” in the Ahoada court and the razing of the Etche court. They urged residents not to panic.

A senior member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), who would not want to be named, was at the Ahoaha court for his clients’ cases. He said the bomb “seriously damaged” a section of the court housing the secretariat of the NBA, Ahoada Branch. The lawyer also said that yesterday morning, a wrapped object, suspected to be another bomb, was discovered within the court’s premises. Joint Task Force (JTF) officers cordoned off the area as workers, lawyers and litigants scampered to safety. The court, presided over by Justice Charles Wali, who is handling the suit on the speakership of the state’s Assembly between Otelemaba Dan Amachree (who represents Asari-Toru Continued on page 4





Setbacks cast do

• Vicepresident Namadi Sambo (right) greeting the out-going Ambassador of China to Nigeria, Mr Deng Boqing, at the Presidential Villa ,Abuja ...yesterday. With them is the Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri.

•THE NEW AND THE OLD: National Youths Service Corps Director General Brig.-Gen. Johnson Olawumi (left) taking over from his predecessor, Brig.-Gen. Nnamdi Okore-Affia in Abuja... yesterday.

•From left: National Vice President, Association of Water-well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitionals (AWDROP), Mr Dayo Opeyemi; Executive Director, Business Development, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr Waheed Olagunju; Managing Director, Ms Evelyn Oputu and the President of the association, Mr Micheal Ale, after a meeting between BoI and the Executives of the association in Lagos... at the weekend.

•Chairman, Lagos State chapter, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji. Tajudeen Agbede (right) greeting the Branch Chairman, Ojodu chapter (NURTW), Mr. Tokunbo Seriki, during the re-accreditation of Lagos State commercial bus drivers, at the Lagos State Drivers Institute, Oshodi , Lagos...yesterday. With them is Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Drivers Institute, Mr. Oyedokun Peter Ayodeji. PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU

Can President Goodluck Jonathan wriggle out of the quagmire he has been boxed into by the opposition? The rope seems to have been tightly fixed on his neck with the series of unprecedented setbacks, reports AFP.


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is facing an uphill battle if he seeks re-election next year, after a series of unprecedented setbacks that have raised doubts about his political survival. The perceived damage to the 56year-old’s stock has led to questions about whether he can bounce back and whether his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could be heading for its first national electoral defeat. Last month, Nigeria’s former head of state Olusegun Obasanjo accused Mr Jonathan in a critical, 18-page open letter of failing to tackle widespread corruption and piracy as well as kidnapping and rampant oil theft. He even claimed that Mr Jonathan was training a private militia to silence critics on a political “hit list”. The dust had hardly settled on the resulting row when the PDP lost its parliamentary majority, as 37 lawmakers in the lower House of Representatives joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). Some PDP members of the upper house Senate are now expected to follow suit, handing a further potential advantage to the main opposition, just as parties gear up to hit the campaign trail. “I think he (Mr Jonathan) is a very weakened president at the moment,” said political analyst Clement Nwankwo, director of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, in the capital Abuja. “He’s been a failure and he really has to do a lot to win back popular support,” Mr Nwankwo told AFP. Political commentator Dapo Thomas suggested that with the PDP riven with in-fighting, it was now make or break time for Mr Jonathan. “He has to choose between the service of the party and the realisation of the damage of his own political ambition,” said Mr Thomas, from Lagos State University. “He has to drop one and allow the party mechanism to operate freely.” Mr Jonathan, a Christian from southern Bayelsa state, stepped up from vice-president to become acting head of state in February 2010 when Umaru Yar’Adua fell ill. He took over the top job after Yar’Adua’s death, going on to secure a popular mandate in the 2011 presidential elections. Mr Jonathan has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election in 2015. But he has been accused of ignoring an unwritten PDP rule that presidential candidates rotate between Nigeria’s mainly Muslim

•Dr. Jonathan

I think he (Mr Jonathan) is a very weakened president at the moment. He’s been a failure and he really has to do a lot to win back popular support

north and the Christian majority south. That issue is seen as a contributory factor to the defection of five high-profile state governors to the APC in November, which in turn prompted lawmakers to cross the floor. He is also widely seen as having failed to address major concerns about graft, inadequate development and poor infrastructure, and to end the bloody Islamist insurgency in northern Nigeria. The president vaunted his government’s achievements of sustained economic growth and job creation in his New Year’s message while the PDP denied it was irretrievably damaged. The recent defections were an example of democracy in action, said national publicity secretary Olisah Metuh, even as the APC hailed the apparent shift in the balance of power as a new dawn for Africa’s most populous nation. “We have seen movement on one side maybe in the last quarter of last year,” he added. “Let’s wait until April. Maybe the PDP will be larger that it was before. “In 2014, we are predicting that




st doubt on Jonathan’s political survival





Akpabio to Tambuwal: stop defection of PDP members

KWA Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio has urged the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, to stop further defections of members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the National Assembly to another political party. Akpabio spoke yesterday when Tambuwal visited him at the Governor’s Office, Uyo, the state capital. He said: “I know that in a political year like this, there are a lot of uncertainties but I assure you that as governors we will do our best to protect interest of our members in the National Assembly. “You must do everything humanly possible to avoid further defection of PDP members in the National Assembly. Even those that have defected, we want to implore you to do your best to convince them to come back because the umbrella is not torn, the umbrella can accommodate them and can still cover them very well.” Akpabio, however, called for continuity in

the PDP will be larger than it was before. Don’t forget that the PDP got the people elected. It’s a party that Nigerians love.” Mr Nwankwo acknowledged the opposition’s hand had been strengthened but said the defections were still no guarantee



the National Assembly for experience and speedy enactment of laws, arguing: “The turnover rate in the National Assembly has not been very encouraging. It does not allow for continuity. It does not allow for proper enactment of laws and it wipes out experience and this is of concern to the Governors. “I recall in 2007 when we came in, only 17 members who were there in 2003 made it back. We made strenuous efforts in 2011, but we ended up producing only 23 per cent and that is not good enough for our democracy. I am not saying people should stay for 40 years in the National Assembly, but we need experienced legislators so that the business of legislation would not have to be learnt in every session. Except where local zonings makes it impossible, we will do our best to give first timers in National Assembly automatic ticket to ensure continuity”, he stated. Governor Akpabio, who is also the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum commended the Speaker for his exemplary leadership and for the support given to the President, adding:

of electoral success and presidential power could yet help swing support back to the PDP. Nevertheless, he suggested the problems may have reached such a point that recovery was impossible, forcing Mr Jonathan to make way


“Let me thank Mr. Speaker for being able to navigate through the turbulence that we find in the National Assembly and for being able to keep pace with the development of the nation- going through the various appropriations

for another candidate. Mr Thomas said the longer the president failed to tackle the issue, the more damage it would do to the PDP. Mr Jonathan needed to rule out standing again as soon as possible

and approvals. “I know you are working under very difficult circumstance, but I must say that we are very proud of your leadership and we are very happy for the cohesive nature and the support that the National Assembly has continued to give to Mr. President. We want to urge you to continue to do your best to give the President and the Federal Government your support”, the governor added. Tambuwal had explained that he was in Uyo to consult the governor on issues that bother on national interest, commending Governor Akpabio for the development strides and for playing significant role in the stability of Akwa Ibom and the entire country. Tambuwal said: “During this short visit, though informal, I have been taken round the Government House and the executive chambers. I must say I am impressed by what I am seeing. This is quite unprecedented, and I am not aware of any state that has achieved this so far.”

and remove the party chairman Bamanga Tukur, who is seen as having been parachuted in as the president’s man, he added. “It’s better that he does it now so he can save the party,” said Mr Thomas, who lectures in interna-

tional relations and history. “I don’t see the party’s fortunes improving. I see continuous decline of the party because the defections are going to continue to be on the increase for as long as this disenchantment persists.”

Nigerians evacuated from CAR caution against ethnic, religious crises in Nigeria

OME Nigerians evacuated from the troubled Central African Republic (CAR) on yesterday in Abuja cautioned their fellow country men and women against causing ethnic and religious crises in the country. Some of the evacuees, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the Hajj Camp, Abuja, advised those who have grudges against their country to embrace peace. Mr Nwaojini Seth, an indigene of Anambra, said: “Crisis is an evil wind that blows nobody any good.God forbid for us to see what we saw in Bangui, in Nigeria! Who likes a bad thing? The whole streets of Bangui were turned into red with blood. We

do not wish that for Nigeria at all. “From what I saw and experienced in Bangui, I can say that you may know the beginning of ethno-religious crisis but you can’t predict its end. “The Balaka and the Seleka warring groups in CAR go from house to house killing one another and shooting indiscriminately. “My advice to militants is that they should stop killing innocent souls; they should stop because nobody has the right to take the life of an innocent soul created by God. “I pray that we don’t experience what we experienced in CAR in Nigeria. So let Boko Haram and the other militant groups stop killing innocent people in Nigeria.

“Let politicians stop threatening the government and peace-loving Nigerians because if there is crisis where do we run to,” he asked. Another evacuee, Malam Musa Mairo from Gombe, said that it would be unimaginable that Nigerians would run to other countries as refugees because they would overwhelm the population of such countries. “We should not even think it because we have the largest population in Africa. So, which country can accommodate a population of about 140 million people?” Mairo said most countries that were able to resolved their crises did so at a roundtable and “it is better that

Nigerians should resolve their disagreements through dialogue. Mr Raphael Udom, another evacuee from Imo, described the situation in CAR as “a very bad experience, which I don’t expect or wish for my country, Nigeria”. “The problem is religious – Muslims and Christians – but adherents of the two religions worship the same God. So, let nobody hide under religion to commit crime against their fellow brothers or sisters. “I know that we are having similar problem in some parts of the country, but I advise my fellow Nigerian brothers and sisters to give peace a chance,” he said. Mrs Jamila Alimi from Kwara,

noted that women and children were always the ones who suffer more during such crises. She appealed to men to always consider the plights of vulnerable groups before igniting crisis. Alimi said: “Crises are ignited by men and when it starts, the same men run away and abandon women and children to their fate. “Only God knows how many women and children have been killed in CAR since the crisis started about a month ago. So, let us forget that some people are Hausa, Ibo or Yoruba and let us see ourselves, first as human beings, and as brothers and sisters from the same country,” she said.



NEWS APC to Fed Govt: you’re incompetent Continued from page 1

from the opponent, ran to the ropes and started punching the air, when he should be thinking of a comeback strategy,’’ the party said in a statement in Lagos yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Sec-

•President Goodluck Jonathan speaking during the presentation of Queen’s Baton Relay of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at the Presidential Villa in Abuja...yesterday. With him are Vice President Namadi Sambo (second right), others (from left) are: Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mohammed Bala, Minister of Sport, Bolaji Abdullahi, Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim (behind Abdulahi), Minister of State FCT. Olajumoke Akinjide, Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri (behind Ms Akinjide) and Chief of Staff to the Presidkent Mike Oghiadomhe . PHOTO AKIN OLADOKUN.

Cash crunch stalls work on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Continued from page 1

About N23million has been voted in the 2014 Budget for the hiring of consultants on the PPP scheme. The government has also allocated N5billion to the rehabilitation of the Lagos-SagamuIbadan dual carriageway (Section 1) to make for the challenge it is facing on the reconstruction of the expressway. The recourse to concession is being kept under wraps by the government in what a source described as a back-door approach. The Federal Government, in November 2012, terminated the 25-year concession given to Dr. Wale Babalakin’s Bi-Courtney Limited for the construction and maintenance of the 105-kilometre Expressway. The expressway was concessioned to Bi-Courtney in 2009 at N89.53 billion for 25 years. Minister of Works Mike Onolememen said the agreement was revoked due to Bi-Courtney’s failure to adhere to its terms. In June last year, the Federal Government re-awarded the

reconstruction of the expressway to Julius Berger Plc and RCC. Last July, President Goodluck Jonathan launched the reconstruction at N167billion with a completion timeline of 48 months. But barely six months after the launch, the project has run into a hitch. Neither the Federal Government nor the construction firms can source funds to execute the project. A source, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “The government has no money to implement the project. “There are so many competing demands for the government. And the construction firms, who has been re-awarded the project, cannot finance it without necessary legal backing granting the concession to them. “The firms are also unprepared to take the risk to bear the cost without partnership or understanding with the government on how to recoup their investment. “When the government reawarded the contract to the two construction giants, it gave the

impression that it would finance it wholesale. “Even if the government now concedes the project to Julius Berger Plc and RCC, it would amount to a violation of the PPP law because there are laid down procedures. “For instance, the project ought to be advertised for competitive bidding by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC). “So, the PPP for Lagos-Ibadan Expressway would have become legally flawed from the beginning. “You can see that what the government should do first is what it is now doing. I think politics crept into the project and the government could not do its homework properly.” Section 2.1 of the Nigerian Public-Private Partnerships Manual reads: “The project is usually initiated by a Ministry, Department, and/or Agency (MDA) of the government. In select cases, the project could be initiated by the private sector as an Unsolicited Proposal under a transparent, competitive process which will also be managed by a MDA.

“The first step for the MDA is to develop a project concept to be approved by the National Planning Commission (for projects of the Federal Government) or other relevant state authorities. “The project concept will usually be based on a Pre-Feasibility study or Outline Business Case, and if it is approved, will allow the project to be included in the 15-year Master Plan (or National Implementation Plan for the Federal Government) which sets out the Government’s infrastructure investment strategy covering all forms of procurement, including projects that will be financed in whole or in part from the federal budget.” It was learnt that the Federal Government was contemplating reaching out to the ICRC Governing Board for a “bail out”. The board, which is headed by former Senate President Ken Nnamani, may receive the concession proposal this month. Other members of the board are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; the Coordinating Minister for the Economy Continued on page 67

retary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. ‘’This presidency is definitely dazed from its own failings, the collapse of the party that sired it and the opprobrium being poured on it daily by Nigerians who are grossly disappointed at its woeful performance and clear lack of direction. We are therefore not surprised that in addition to incompetence and cluelessness, it has now resorted to twisting facts,’’ it said. APC challenged the Presidency to tell Nigerians when the party called on President Jonathan to respond to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s scorching letter, as claimed by the Presidency on Monday. ‘’What we said, in our press release dated December 13, 2013 and titled: ‘APC to Jonathan: Don’t take Nigeria back to Abacha days’, was that President Jonathan should address the allegations that he has put 1,000 Nigerians on a ‘political watchlist’, in addition to training snipers at the same facility where Abacha’s killer squad was trained. ‘’Even then, our grouse about

the President’s letter is not that he should not have responded, but that he should have exhibited a high level of decorum in his response, bearing in mind that the Presidency is an institution that should not be dragged into the mud, while the President is only a tenant. ‘’In order to show clearly that the Presidency either did not understand our subsequent press statement on the lettergate or has decided to distort our stand, we hereby reproduce the relevant part of the second statement we issued on December 26, 2013, on the basis of which the Presidency has misfired: ‘The party said while it is not interested in joining the fray over the issues contained in the letters written by both men, the decision by the President to go personal in his reaction crossed the threshold of decency and brought the Presidency - and indeed the country - into disrepute. ‘’’It said in other climes, the President would have simply issued a terse response to such a letter denying the allegations that border on national security, if any; as well as saying the former President’s observations have been noted, and that the government would study them and then engage with the former President in private, while assuring that the ship of state is on course’.’’ Continued on page 67

Igbo leaders reject Okurounmu Panel’s report


MAJOR crisis of confidence has hit the planned National Conference, following yesterday’s insistence of Igbo leaders on a new constitution. Unless the Prof. Ben Nwabueze-led Igbo leaders of thought are persuaded, a credibility crisis is imminent for the conference, which is likely to begin before the end of March. The Igbo leaders of thought, after yesterday’s meeting in Enugu, rejected the proposal of the Presidential Advisory Committee, led by Senator Femi Okuroumu, which recommended the amendment of the constitution. They are also opposed to the proposed selection of delegates on the basis of sen-

From Chris Oji, Enugu

atorial zones or federal constituencies. The Igbo leaders, at the end of their third meeting, also gave an indication that they had initiated an action aimed at reconciling the various factions in the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, that the Igbo should not be divided at the conference, they said. The meeting was attended by prominent Igbo elders, including, Senator Anyim Ude, President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Enwo Igariwey, Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, Senator Offia Nwali, Dr Chu Okongwu, Chief Ben Obumselu, Dr Dozie Continued on page 67

APC, PDP in blame game over bombed Rivers High Court Continued from page 1

Constituency) and Evans Bipi (Ogu/Bolo, First Lady’s exdomestic aide), could not sit.

The judicial workers, litigants and lawyers, according to the lawyer, were asked to vacate the premises. On December 18, last year, Justice Wali’s office and car park were hit by explosion at 3 am. A guard on duty was missing, two days after the judge restrained the self-acclaimed speaker (Bipi) from parading himself as the Assembly’s helmsman. The motion on notice for interlocutory injunction was adjourned on December 16 till yesterday for hearing, but the court could not sit yesterday because of the explosion. The main opposition party, in an online statement by the Interim Publicity Secretary of the Rivers chapter, Chief Andy Nweye, titled: “APC condemns Extension of violence to the Judiciary by the PDP”, described as barbaric, the bombing of the Ahoada court. APC said: “We totally condemn the present resort to physical violence against the judiciary and officials of court in Rivers State by members of the PDP. “The extension of violence to the judiciary in Rivers State by the PDP and their agents start-


Bombs: Govt fingers Wike’s group, others

HE government of Rivers State yesterday accused members of the Grassroot Development Initiative (GDI), founded by Minister of Education Nyesom Wike of masterminding the bombings in some parts of the state since last December. Commissioner for Information and Technology Mrs. Ibim Seminitari made the allegation while addressing reporters in Port Harcourt, on the Sunday night explosion at the Ahoada High Court and the discovery of bombs at the Etche High Courts yesterday. Explosive suspected to be bomb early yesterday morning rocked part of the premises of Ahoada High court , in Ahoada East Local Government Area(LGA), destroying the building housing the secretariat of the state branch of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA). Ahoada High Court is being presided over by Justice Charles Wali, who last December issued an order of injunction to the self-acclaimed Speaker of the House of Assembly, Evans Bipi, to stop parading himed to assume a dangerous dimension, after Justice Wali of the Ahoada High Court granted an injunction on December 16, restraining the member representing Ogu/Bolo in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Evans Bipi, from parading himself as the Speaker of the Rivers State

From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

self as speaker. The matter was to be heard yesterday. The event reportedly took place about 2am. Also yesterday morning, fire ignited by unknown persons reportedly burnt files at the State High Court in Etche Local Government Area. The Police spokesman Ahmad K. Mohammad confirmed the incidents, which he said were being investigated. Mrs. Seminitari said the bombing of the Ahoada court premises and destruction of case files at Okehi were carried out by GDI members to destroy records of the matters involving Bipi, to stall proceedings of the matters before the courts. Bipi could not be reached for comments. His media Assistant Fred Ofem could also not be reached. According to Seminitari, there were f three bombs planted on the court premises. The one at the NBA secretariat exploded. The other two did not. They were later re-

House of Assembly. “A few hours later, the court building was bombed by suspected PDP members/agents. In the night of Sunday, January 5, elements suspected to be members of the PDP bombed an Ahoada High Court building. ”Less than a week earlier, the

moved by the Anti-Bomb Squad. The commissioner, who was accompanied to the conference by the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Worgu Boms, decried the attitude of the police, saying they failed in command led by Mbu, their duty of protecting lifes and property. She described Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu as “unprofessional”, “a politician”, who is not doing anything to protect residents. “We have confidence on the Nigerian Police, but we do not have confidence in the Police in Rivers State as headed by Mbu. We have undoubted confidence that the police are professionals, but Mbu is an unprofessional politician and is not protecting the people,” the commissioner said. Mrs. Seminitari said: “Early this morning we all woke up to stories of bomb in two places - the High Court at Ahoada and the court at Okehi in Etche Local Government Area. “We have further established in the two places as follows: in the case of Ahoada about 2:am, an explosion was heard around

PDP had widely circulated a press statement, signed by the PDP Chairman, Mr. Felix Obuah, claiming that the Governor of Rivers State was trying to use the same Ahoada High Court to protect the Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Chief Chidi Lloyd, a

Continued on page 67

claim that is vexatious, malicious and patent falsehood. “The Ahoada High Court complex has been cordoned off by the police, because of two objects confirmed by the police to be bombs, planted on the premises. These bombs have been planted by the PDP and its


agents, to prevent the sitting of the Ahoada High Court, for the hearing of arguments on interlocutory injunction barring Evans Bipi from perpetually paContinued on page 67

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




House: no plan to sack Deputy Speaker Ihedioha


HE House of Representatives has said there is no truth in reports that the All Peoples Congress (APC) wants to remove Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha on resumption from the Christmas/New Year break. Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, who was reported to be preparing to take over as deputy speaker, has distanced himself from such plan. In a statement yesterday by his Personal Research Assistant, Wasiu Olanrewaju-Smart, the Minority leader emphasised that he remained focused on his legislative duties. The lawmaker said issues about offices were left to the House as an institution. He, however, said Aminu Tambuwal would remain speaker, even if the APC took over the

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

leadership of the House. The statement reads: “Gbajabiamila remains focused on his legislative work and has repeatedly said the issue of offices will be resolved by the House as an institution as it is done in other legislatures all over the world. What to him is sancrosanct is that the Office of the Speaker remains intact.” On the purported moves to unseat the deputy speaker, the House has said it had no plan to do such to Ihedioha. The House explained that constitutional procedures would be adhered to as the APC prepare to officially take over the leadership of the House. The Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Information and Public Affairs, Victor Afam Ogene (APGA, Anambra), described the reports as a de-

‘The report that the Deputy Speaker will be removed when we resume is the handiwork of fifth columnists, who are trying to cause a crisis among members before resumption’ liberate attempt to cause crisis in the House. Referring to House rules and the constitution, Ogene said the deputy speaker could only be re-

moved through resignation, impeachment or death. According to him, a change in the majority party in the House cannot cause the officer to lose his seat. The lawmaker also noted that Ihedioha could retain his seat even he was not a member of the majority party. Ogene said: ”Resignation, death or impeachment are the only ways a vacancy can occur in the Office of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker or any other principal officer’s position.” The lawmaker cited Order 7 (2) of the House Rules, which states that while those of the majority leadership come from the party with majority members, the minority parties nominate Minority leader, Minority Whip, Deputy Minority Leader and deputy minority whip. For a vacancy to occur

among presiding officers, like the speaker and deputy speaker, Ogene said the person has to resign or be impeached by two-thirds of members, that is 240 members, He said: “The report that the Deputy Speaker will be removed when we resume is the handiwork of fifth columnists, who are trying to cause a crisis among members before resumption. “People should not forget that besides political affiliations, we all belong to a group called ‘House Project’, which saw to the emergence of the current House leadership. What will happen is a seamless transfer. “As soon as the party with the majority members notifies the speaker that its has the majority, which is the APC, the speaker crosschecks with the House clerk and the change is immediate.”

Fed Govt evacuates 1,424 Nigerians from Bangui


HE Federal Government has evacuated 1,424 Nigerians who took refuge at the Nigerian Embassy in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic (CAR). The evacuation followed the political crisis in the country. The Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Mohammad Sani-Sidi, gave the figure yesterday in Abuja in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He said although the Federal Government had brought home Nigerians, who took refuge at its embassy in Bangui, the evacuation would resume, if more Nigerians appeared. Sani-Sidi said the evacuees were interviewed and confirmed to be Nigerians before they were evacuated. NAN reports that SaniSidi received the last batch of 147 evacuees on Sunday night in Abuja. The first batch of 365 evacuees arrived at the Nnamdi Arzikiwe International Airport in Abuja on January 3. Two batches of 748 and 311 Nigerians were evacuated on January 4 and January 5, bringing the total number of returnees to 1,424. A screening conducted at the Nigerian embassy in Bangui before the evacuation revealed that the evacuees are from 22 states. They included Bauchi, Edo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Borno, Ekiti, and Anambra, Zamfara, FCT, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Abia, Enugu, Kano, Imo and Kaduna states. NEMA’s Deputy Director, Search and Rescue, Vincent Owan said Benue, Anambra, Delta, Abia, Edo and Bauchi states had collected their indigenes from the Hajj Camp where they were being accommodated.

•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (left) receiving gifts from some indigenes of the state and graduates of the Nigerian Navy Basic Training, Onne, River State, Kayode Olushola and Mudashiru Lukman, during their visit to the governor in Osogbo, Osun State capital.

Clark berates Obasanjo over open letter to Jonathan From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja


JAW leader Chief Edwin Clark yesterday berated former President Olusegun Obasanjo for writing an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan. Obasanjo, in a December 3, 2013 letter to Jonathan, raised several issues, including allegation that 1,000 Nigerians were under political watch. Snipers, the former President also alleged, might have been undergoing training to pounce on Jonathan’s political enemies. Obasanjo raised several national and personal issues in the open letter. Dr Jonathan had replied to the various issues the former President raised in the missive. But Clark, in a letter dated January 3 and obtained last night in Abuja by our correspondent, denied Obasanjo’s allegations. He described Obasanjo’s allegations as “mere diabolical concoction and a figment of his imagination”. The Ijaw chief also denied the allegation that Jonathan was surrounded by his kinsmen, saying they were among the plans to discredit Jonathan ahead of the 2015 general elections. Clerk said of Nigeria’s 64 ambassadors, only three were Ijaw, while no Ijaw man was a vice chancellor of any of the 36 federal universities. He said only Oronto Douglas is the Ijaw among the 18 advisers the Senate approved for Jonathan. According to him, Ijaw has three federal permanent secretaries out of 70, while there are two Ijaw ministers out of 42. Clark said corruption was worse under Obasanjo than it was under the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha.

FRSC: we’ll deploy ambulances in every 75km radius


HE Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has promised to deploy advanced life support ambulances in every 75kilometre radius of the nation’s highways to improve on rescue services. The move, it was learnt, would enable the FRSC to achieve the United Nations decade of action on road safety and the Accra Declaration, which seeks 50 per cent reduction in road traffic crashes and injuries. FRSC’s Corps Marshal and Chief Executive, Osita Chidoka, spoke yesterday in Abuja on the plan when he hosted a World Bank consultant, David Silock. The global bank’s consultant was at the national headquarters of the FRSC to appraise and review the Safe Corridor Project initiated by the bank. It is aimed at enhancing road safety

•World Bank consultant visits commission management in Nigeria. Chidoka said the Safe Corridor Project had stimulated positive outcomes on road safety management and traffic administration, such as the dedication of 10 per cent funding of road construction to the provision of road safety components to enhance safer road use. He explained that in line with the World Bank’s intervention, the FRSC had established an emergency ambulance scheme with rescue facilities and medical personnel. The ambulances are stationed at strategic locations of the highways to ensure prompt response to road crashes, the FRSC chief said. Chidoka said: “Sixteen additional unit commands were added to the Safe Corridor Project nationwide. Lessons

will be replicated on the 18 dedicated corridors. The green lines in the corridor map show the World Bank corridors while the yellow lines are the rest corridors, which we hope to connect to the World Bank safe corridors. “We are hoping to have 41 ambulances in all when the expected ambulances are brought in for the Safe Corridor Project. The lesson from the World Bank corridor will improve administration of road safety in the Nigeria and will also be useful for the National Road Safety Partnership (NRSP). Our goal is for every FRSC staff in the patrol rank to have advanced life support skill.” The Corps Marshal also said there were plans with the Petroleum Equalisation

Fund to train drivers of petroleum trucks under the Safe Load Scheme in Nigeria. According to him, last year was a defining period for the FRSC as an intelligence-led organisation. Among the corps’ achievements in 2013 was the transition to digital operation, such as the e-ticketing, new number plates, drivers’ licence and a database which linked road crashes to traffic offenders’ records. Chidoka said: “Aside from having an on-line platform for hospitals to report road crashes, the corps, in 2013, rescued the highest number of road crash victims, even in the face of increased motorisation in the country. This has been benchmarked as we record

the time of the report of a crash and the time of arrival at scene.” For 2014, he said the FRSC would improve its rescue services, real-time data generation on road crashes, actual analysis on road crash reduction and vehicle traffic count. Silock hailed the FRSC for the level of information and communication technology application it deployed in road safety management. The World Bank consultant noted that this had impacted positively on road culture in Nigeria. He said: “I will like to learn of the road traffic crash data on the Safe Corridor Project to see reduction in road crashes, injuries and deaths. The data is important to us as evidence that the Safe Corridor Project is working well in Nigeria.”



NEWS OneCard Nigeria appoints Chief Commercial Officer

•This picture released by the African Union (AU) shows Contingent Commander, Ehide (fourth right) and other members of the Formed Police Unit in Mogadishu welcoming some of the 70 officers on arrival in Mogadishu yesterday at Aden Adde International Airport. Seventy officers arrived yesterday to replace 70 officers who were leaving Mogadishu after completing their rotation. The AMISOM Police, which comprises Ugandan, Nigerian, Ghanaian, Sierra Leoneian police, has the mandate to provide mentoring and advisory support to SPF on basic police duties, such as human rights observation, crime prevention strategies, community policing, search procedures and investigations.

Health workers begin warning T strike Jan 15

HE Assembly of Health Care Professionals (AHCP) and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) have directed their members in primary health care centres (PHCs), general/specialists and teaching hospitals to begin a five-day warning strike from January 15 till January 21. The assembly said the action followed the request by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) that a surgeon-general for the federation be appointed. The position exists only in the United States, occupied by a care provider with military background on special assignments, often likened to the peace corps. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, to which the surgeon-general reports in the U.S., is junior to that of the minister of state for Health in Nigeria. The surgeon-general in the U.S. works with commissioned corps officers, who include over 6,700 uniformed health officers from various professions and serve around the world. The health care providers in JOHESU and the Assembly of Health Care Professionals, represented by their presidents, addressed reporters yesterday in Lagos. They said the appointment of a surgeon-general was unconstitutional and unlawful. President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Mr Olumide Akintayo, the spokesman of the bodies, said: “The government is advised to remember the consequences of the unlawful Medical Salary Scale (MSS) of the 1990s, which was the precursor to the industrial disharmony in the public service where different cadres of workers agitated for discriminatory and exclusive wages. “The move to appoint a surgeon-general will lead to demands for such by all cadres of workers and, therefore, makes the government vulnerable to strikes and shut-downs. “The warning strike is to enable the Federal Govern-

•Oppose appointment of surgeon-general

LUTH health workers continue strike


By Wale Adepoju

EDICAL treatment at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) was stalled yesterday, as the strike by the Joint House Unions and Associations (JHUA) of the teaching hospital entered the eighth day. The group is demanding a better welfare for its members. JHUA, which comprises the medical and health workers union (M and WHUN), Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospital Research and Allied Institutes (SSAUTHRAI), NonAccademic Staff Union (NASU) and National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), said the hospital was plagued by inadequate manpower and lack of consumables, among other materials, to work with. The union said its members were denied promotion by the hospital management, thereby leaving them stagnant on the same level for several years. JHUA said many of its members had been on the same level for over seven years, adding that management only promoted a few. “This year was worse in the history of the hospital,” the union said. It explained that the hospital had been advised to review this year’s promotion with a supplementary list to accommodate more workers. The union said workers, who were on duty for overtime, had not been receiving payment. JHUA said some workers were promoted from the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) 12 to 12. This, it added, meant that although such workers had been promoted but they would still be on Level 12. It said workers, who were promoted from CONHESS 9 to 10 in 2012, should be moved to Level 11 by virtue of a skipping circular, which approved a worker jumping Level 10 to move to Level 11. The Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof Akin Osibogun, could not be reached.

By Oyeyemi GbengaMustapha and Wale Adepoju

ment, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, to redress the prayers and grievances as reflected in this position paper which shall be made available to the government. “In the event that the government does not enter into dialogue within two weeks of this notice, we shall begin a nationwide strike.” The spokesman said: “We also desire the circulation of the approval of consultancy status for some cadres of health workers and the payment of arrears to honorary consultants appointed by the boards of management of hospitals, which were arbitrarily stopped on the directive of the Minister of Health, since December 15, 2010.

“Our demand is in line with due process, as dictated by the pronouncement of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in July 2013 and the agreement between the representatives of JOHESU and representatives of government in August. “We demand the release of official circulars to enforce the decision of the National Industrial Court that some cadres of health workers be allowed to skip CONHESS 10. The Federal Government/Presidency must direct the boards of management of hospitals to enforce this directive. “There must be a presidential directive compelling the Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to approve reasonable and respectable allowances, as

well as emoluments for health workers, as indicated in the agreement with the government since December 2009.” The spokesman listed some alleged cases of injustice in the Health sector which must be addressed, including “an amendment of the extremely obnoxious Act 10 of 1985, which laid the foundation for oppression in the sector through appointments unduly skewed in favour of doctors. “Redressing the wretched output of the National Health Insurance Scheme, which has provided cover for less than three of the citizenry in 15 years under the poor management of doctors who have been appointed executive secretaries in the last eight years...” Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) has also threatened to begin a strike, if the Federal Government appoints a surgeon-general. In a statement by its President Felix Faniran and Secretary Obinna Ogbonna, NUAHP said the nation should prepare for an industrial unrest from other health care workers, should the government create the post. It said appointing a surgeon-general was a bad idea because “it would lead to agitation by other health care professionals.” Leaders of various unions in Health urged influential Nigerians to prevail on the government to redress the impending crises in the sector. They included the Chairman, Joint Health Sector, Comrade Wabba Ayuba; President, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Abdulrafiu Adeniji; President, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria/Chairman, Assembly of Health Care Professional Associations, Dr Godswill C. Okara; President, Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy, Taiwo Oyewunmi; President, Association of Radiographers of Nigeria, Dr Mark Okeji and President, Health Information Managers Association of Nigeria, Wole Ajayi.

OneCard Nigeria, a fast moving consumer goods company that provides top-up solutions on multiple platforms for various services ranging from mobile phones, toll fees, pay television and fuel cards nationwide, has announced the appointment of Taiwo Ogunkanmi as Chief Commercial Officer. A statement by the Company Secretary, Mr. Ade Oyebanji, said the appointment represented another major stride in the quest by the firm towards being a major player in the Fast-Moving Consumable Goods (FMCG) sector of Nigeria’s economy. This is a further fulfillment of the company’s intention to play big in the FMCG sector in Nigeria using highly innovative solutions simplified to deliver convenience to users. This has informed our decision to search for the best



hands available in marketplace that can match our intentions. We believe that Ogunkanmi fits the bill and hence our decision to bring him on board,” Oyebanji said. Ogunkanmi was appointed based on his wealth of experience in the marketing and commercial segments of the information technology, banking and telecommunications industries in the country.

Warning for vehicle owners

HE Lagos and Ogun State Police Commands have warned owners of vehicles abandoned at Owode Onirin, Ipakodo-Ikorodu and Ago Okota police stations to remove them or lose them to the public through auctions 21 days after this publication. The vehicles are: Peugeot 406 TDU100AA, Honda Accord EJ712SMK, Honda Accord MUS564QA, Toyota DX BG575MK, Faragon bus YE653KJA and Toyota Camry LX418AAA

Army hails synergy among security agencies


From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

HE General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Adebayor Olaniyi, has hailed the collaboration among security agencies. He said this had led to a reduction in kidnapping, oil theft and piracy, especially in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states. The Army chief spoke yesterday in Calabar, Cross River State, after inaugurating projects executed by the outgoing Commander, 13 Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Okwudili Azinta. Olaniyi emphasised that the cardinal principle of war was cooperation. He said: “I must commend the cooperation of the Armed Forces as well as other security agencies, such as the police, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian Customs Service. The cooperation has been unprecedented. They have been wonderful. “Most of the achievements we have recorded are because of this cooperation.”

U.S. to deploy security adviser in Nigeria


HE successful provision of $1.2 billion in Nigerian-assistance programmes requires attention to the security of United States mission and contractor personnel, the Barack Obama administration has said. Increased safety is critical to workers travelling in the Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria, where majority of U.S. aid is targeted, according a government planning document that WND located via routine database research. The administration wants to extend that umbrella of protection to aid recipients, too. To assess and address those security needs, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will deploy a private contractor-adviser to Nigeria. This action corresponds with other shifts in U.S. policy in Nigeria, especially the administration’s delayed decision to designate the Islamist radical group, Boko Haram, as a terrorist organisation. The U.S. Department of State late last year approved the terrorist designation in

response to congressional pressure. The administration initially was resistant to the notion that Muslim attacks on Nigerian Christians were religiously-motivated. Indeed, USAID dismissed claims of persecution as “a misunderstanding,” relegating the violence – which includes the mass slaughter of worshippers sitting in church – to an outgrowth of tribal and land disputes, as WND reported in 2012. As government and contractor staff continue to face danger from terrorists and civil unrest, USAID now acknowledges “the need to enhance its security profile/ operations,” according to a personal services contract solicitation. The agency deems it critical to coordinate with U.S. regional security offices in Abuja and Lagos. The new Security Liaison Specialist will be tasked with heightening USAID communications and actions among these U.S. government entities and their “implementing partners,” or IPs, which includes contractors as well as aid recipients.





Fayemi assures workers of improved package

KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has assured workers of improved welfare. He spoke yesterday during unscheduled visits to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at the State Secretariat and the Governor’s Office in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. Fayemi said workers contributed to the state’s growth last year and deserve the best

working conditions in the new year. Describing workers as “the engine room of the government”, he said his visit was to thank them for their hard work and encourage them to do more. The governor shook hands with the workers and carried the babies of some, who were about taking their children to the creche at the Secretariat. He was accompanied by

•’We’re on a collective rescue mission’

the Head of Service, Bunmi Famosaya; the Special Adviser, Governor’s Office, Biodun Akin-Fasae; and the Senior Special Assistant on Policy and Strategy, Biodun Omoleye. Fayemi said: “This is the first full week of the year, even though work started last Thursday. Generally speak-

ing, most people will not get back to work until the first full week of the year. So the visit is my way of thanking our workers for their hard work and admonishing them to contribute more to the state this year. “We are on a collective rescue mission and the governor alone, no matter the

weight of his office, cannot make a change. He needs the support of all workers, both at the state and local government levels, so that the developmental changes we want can be made.” He said the visit gave him an opportunity to assess the working conditions of workers, adding that uncompleted

Lagos gets eight permanent secretaries

Igbajo ‘not for Oduduwa state’


HE Igbajo Community in Boluwaduro Local Government Area of Osun State has renounced its intention to be part of the proposed Oduduwa State. The decision was taken at an emergency meeting in Igbajo yesterday. In a statement by Chief Olajide Oyewole (Otun of Igbajo); Chief Rex Ajibodu (Sobaloju of Igbajo); Chief M.I. Aboaba; Chief S.O. Awomolo (SAN) (Asiwaju of Igbajoland); Mr. Akin Majaro (Igbajo Development Association President); Dr. Ademola Onifade; Chief Tunde Omikunle (Loogunloosamu of Igbajoland); Mr. Akanmu Ogundeji and Prince Gboyega Famodun, the community hinged its decision on the need to step up its contributions to Osun’s development without distraction. The statement has the town’s overwhelming support, according to a statement by High Chief Omikunle.

Ondo tertiary institutions resume From Damisi Ojo, Akure


HE four tertiary institutions in Ondo State yesterday resumed academic activities, following the calling off of the almost six months strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). When The Nation visited the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), students were seen moving about the campus. A 400-level Mechanical Engineering student, Mayowa Egunjobi, said he was happy to be back in school.


•From right: Fayemi, Omoleye and Akin-Fasae at the State Secretariat...yesterday.


Ekiti APC gets interim executive

HE Interim National Vice-Chairman (Southwest) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, inaugurated yesterday the Ekiti State APC Interim Executive Committee. The ceremony was held in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The five-man committee is chaired by Chief Olajide Awe. Other members are Mr. Abiodun Ogunleye (Secretary); Alhaji Azeez Awolokun (Treasurer); Mrs. Nike Olaosebikan (Public Relations Officer) and Chief Dele Falusi (Organising Secretary). The committee will be in office pending the holding of

congresses at the ward, local government and state levels, where substantive executives would be elected. Governor Kayode Fayemi described the constitution of the committee as “another critical point in the making of a party formed to rescue Nigerians from a journey without maps and a directionless movement”. Fayemi said the committee will guide the Registration Committee, which would be sent from the National Secretariat to oversee the registration of members in the next two weeks. He said the registration of members was important to

Amosun assures ex-servicemen of better welfare


GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun has assured exservicemen in the state of better welfare. He said their services to the nation will not be taken for granted. Amosun spoke yesterday in his office in Abeokuta, the state capital, while inaugurating the 2014 Armed Forces Day Emblem. He said the annual celebration was more than a remembrance, but a way of saying “thank you” to those who played significant roles in uniting Nigeria. The governor said appreciating the ex-servicemen should go beyond words, adding that many of them were killed or injured while serving the nation. He praised the state chap-

buildings abandoned by his predecessor at the secretariat would be completed this year to provide adequate office space for workers. Fayemi said the secretariat would be fenced to enhance security and assured workers of prompt salary payment. Famosaya thanked Fayemi for making workers’ welfare a priority.

ter of the Legion for taking care of the families of its deceased members, assuring that the government will continue to care for those alive as well as the families of the dead. Amosun said: “As a government, we will continue to take care of those who are still alive and will not relent in remembering the dead. We will assist ex-servicemen and will not take your services for granted.” Hailing the Armed Forces for various peacekeeping missions across Africa, the governor thanked serving officers for ensuring that Nigeria is “united and protected”. Amosun launched the emblem with N1 million and pledged to donate a brand new bus to the Legion

strengthen the party and prepare for the governorship poll. Fayemi said: “This is critical because the governorship election will hold in June and the earlier this exercise is completed the better for us. We want it wrapped up before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) blows the whistle in March, which is about 90 days before the election. “We are happy that Ekiti State is the first place where the interim executive has been put in place and this EXCO will take charge of the party, pending the holding of congresses at the ward, local

government and state levels before the national congress.” He expressed satisfaction that the party has successfully integrated members of the three legacy parties that merged into APC. Fayemi urged members to work harder to improve the party, adding that APC has created unit level in its constitution to give the party grassroots appeal. Adebayo described the role of the committee as advisory, urging it to assist the registration panel that will be coming from the party’s national secretariat to succeed in its assignment.

HE Lagos State government has appointed four permanent secretaries and four tutorsgeneral. The permanent secretaries are Mr. Olujimi Hotonu; Mrs. Oluwatoyin Onikoyi; Mrs. Jokotola OjosipeOgundimu and Mr. Michael Dawodu. The tutors-general are Mrs. Florence Ogunfidodo; Mr. Yinka Olaniyi; Mrs. Margaret Solarin and Dr. Olukayode Oguntimehin. This brings the number of permanent secretaries in the state’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to 54. Swearing in the new appointees at the Lagos House, Ikeja, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola urged them to be of good conduct. He said they were appointed on merit after passing examinations and interviews, adding: “Interestingly, their performance addressed the gender issue. We have four women and four men. I am sure our women can compete. This process has demonstrated that.” Speaking for the appointees, Oguntimehin assured the governor that they would discharge their responsibilities effectively. The event was witnessed by many dignitaries, including a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice George Oguntade.

Ex-FRSC chief decries state of Akoko roads



before the 2014 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration. He urged corporate organisations and individuals to support the legion. Chairman, Nigeria Legion, Ogun State chapter, Tosin Sunday Oshunsi assured the government of the Legion’s support.

ORMER Corps Marshal/ Chief Executive of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Dr. Olu Agunloye has decried the deplorable state of the IkareAjowa road in Akoko, Ondo State. Agunloye, a chieftain of the Labour Party (LP), said the road has been under construction since the tenure of the late former Governor Olusegun Agagu, which is over 10 years ago. He threatened to sue the contractors handling the project. Agunloye said: “This road is in a very deplorable condition. Its current state is dangerous. It combines incessant dangers from road traffic crashes with serious health hazards arising from inhaling heavy dusts, which may lead to acute health conditions in the short run or

We have noted that it may be correct, as most people say, that the government has been insensitive about this road and the plight of the people... From Damisi Ojo, Akure

lung cancer in the long run. “It is also hazardous to nonroad users as well, especially children and the elderly, who inhale heavy doses of dusts daily from their bedrooms. The road, especially from ImoArigidi to Ikaram is not vehicle worthy or people-worthy by public safety standards. “The dusty road has not only painted floors, bedrooms, wardrobes and drawers brown in several homes; it has sent several of our people to

hospitals and some to early graves. “The situation has become significantly tragic for the ImoArigidi, Erusu, Ibaram, Iyani and Ikaram communitie, as many residents have died of asthma and bronchitis. “It is wrong of the contractor to open up the entire stretch to dust for over a year, irrespective of whether or not the government is aware of its careless but dangerous action. “We have noted that it may be correct, as most people say, that the government has been insensitive about this road and the plight of the people, but the construction company has not shown any professionalism and is liable in the face of the law. “I wonder how the neglect got to this level and what the government expects the people of Akoko to do. It is indeed embarrassing!”




Ajimobi splashes N15.6m on workers •Car assembly plant for Oyo


HE inter-faith prayer service heralding the New Year turned into a prize giving event yesterday as Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi doled out N15.6 million cash gifts to civil servants. The service was held at the Car Park of the Governor’s Office in Ibadan, the state capital. Ajimobi, who said he was happy with the conduct of the civil servants, their dressing and dedication to duty in the past year, donated N10 million to those (civil servants), who turned up for the service. He donated N5 million to workers of the State Water Corporation for beating the deadline for the rehabilitation of the Asejire Water-

•Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi (middle); his deputy, Otunba Moses Alake-Adeyemo (second right); Majority Leader, House of Assembly, Oyeniyi Akande (left); Oyo State Chief Judge, Justice Badejoko Adeniji (second left), and State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief Akin Oke at the Inter-religious prayer session...yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ILESANMI From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

works. Ajimobi said the project has resulted in regular water supply in Ibadan and its environs. He gave N250,000 to an official of the State Printing Press, Mrs. Margaret Olatoun Oluwafemi, and N250,000 to other workers of the company for printing the service programme well.

The governor gave N100,000 to Mr. Oyelola Okunlola of the Office of the Surveyor-General for appearing well-dressed at the occasion. He said the donations were from his personal purse, adding that he will always appreciate quality. Ajimobi said: “I am a man of quality. I urge you never to settle for less, but to always have a positive attitude to serv-

ice. You must also inculcate it into your children.” On the proposed salary review, he said a committee would be constituted this month to look into it. The governor urged workers to redouble their efforts towards improving the Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR). He said a car assembly plant will soon begin operation in Ibadan, adding that this will

Court restrains police, SSS, NDLEA from arresting Ogun PDP chieftain J USTICE Okong Abang of the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, yesterday restrained the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and the State Security Services (SSS) from arresting a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Prince Buruji Kashamu, on the basis of a petition written against him. Justice Abang restrained the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel from prosecuting the applicants. He awarded N50,000 cost against Daniel. In an originating motion, Kashamu sought a declaration that the allegations contained in a petition dated December 18, 2009, by a group, the Concerned Citizens of Ogun State, to the police, SSS, Customs and NDLEA are false. In the petition, the group

The findings made in this case are based on peculiar facts and circumstances. The court expected Daniel to come forward and prove the allegations made by him against the applicant, but that is not the case. By Joseph Jibueze

alleged that Kashamu was investigated by the United States (U.S.) FBI for narcotic smuggling and related offences; was indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. and was declared a fugitive by a U.S. Federal High Court. The applicant said the allegations were subjects of previous investigation by the International Police (Interpol) and litigation in competent courts, where he was exonerated. Kashamu said the allegations were “rehashed” by his

political opponents, allegedly led by Daniel, “in a maliciously contrived attempt to breach his fundamental right to liberty and freedom of association”. He said the petition was written to instigate the first to fifth respondents to arrest, detain and humiliate him “through malicious criminal prosecution” and to neutralise him “as a perceived threat to the sixth respondent’s (Daniel’s) political designs in Ogun State.” Justice Abang held that going by the facts before him, there was no evidence

that the applicant committed any of the offences mentioned in “the ill-motivated” petition. He said: “I think the court can restrain the first to fifth defendants from acting on the petition, which may lead to the violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement.” Justice Abang said his restraining of the police was an exception to the principle that the force cannot be restrained from carrying out its constitutional responsibility. He said: “The findings made in this case are based on peculiar facts and circumstances. The court expected Daniel to come forward and prove the allegations made by him against the applicant, but that is not the case. “Upon being served the court processes, Daniel briefed a counsel that appeared in court once and abandoned the proceeding. I think the suit of the applicant deserves to succeed.”

make brand new cars affordable for civil servants. Ajimobi said the construction of low cost houses is ongoing to provide affordable housing for civil servants. He said many government guest houses in the GRA were being reconstructed into luxury apartments and would be sold to residents. In their sermons, Dr. Segun Olatunji, a pastor of the Re-

deemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), and Sheikh Ahmad Rufai, the Chief Imam of the Government House Mosque, urged civil servants to support the government and be committed to their work. They called for unity among members of the political class to ensure the success of the Ajimobi administration.

‘How I was brutalised by the police in Ibadan’

•Command: it was a minor disagreement


From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

MAN, Mr. Hakeem Abidemi Akanni, yesterday narrated how he was allegedly brutalised by mobile policemen stationed at the entrance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Depot in Apata, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on New Year’s Day. Akanni urged the Commissioner of Police to investigate the incident. Speaking with reporters in Ibadan, he said he and a young man, simply identified as Toyosi, were “beaten up” because they appealed to the policemen to stop beating a 68-year-old man simply identified as Baba Ikotun. It was gathered that Baba Ikotun, a retired banker, drew the anger of the policemen when he urinated close to an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) stationed at the entrance of the NNPC depot. Akanni said: “When I saw the policemen beating the old man, I appealed to them to stop. I asked the man what his offence was and he told me he urinated close to the APC. I rebuked the man and told him he allowed himself to be beaten by the policemen despite his old age. One of the policemen heard this statement and ordered that I should be forced to mop the urine with my cloth. “I was mercilessly beaten and made to mop up the urine with my cloth. Toyosi and I were later saved by the arrival of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Apata Police Station.” Police spokesperson Olabisi Ilobanafor said there was “just a minor disagreement” between the policemen and the people involved. She said Baba Ikotun disrespected the police force by urinating close to the APC and urged Nigerians to always respect government organisations, especially law enforcement agencies.

Youths lynch man for killing teenager in Ekiti


•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (right) being decorated with the 2014 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem by the Chairman, Nigeria Legion, Ogun State chapter, Tosin Sunday Oshunsi, at the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta... yesterday. (Story on page 7)

RATE youths in Ise-Ekiti have lynched a man, simply identified as Austin, for killing his landlord’s teenage daughter. It was learnt that the late Austin, who was said to be in his late 30s, threatened to shoot his landlord’s daughter with his brother’s gun, if she dared him. Sources said the girl dared him and he shot her in the neck. She died instantly. The incident happened at Oke-Ijomu on Sunday evening. Youths in the community apprehended Austin, a trader, and set him ablaze in front of the palace. It was gathered that the youths attacked the Division-

•Motorcyclist dies in road crash From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

al Police Officer (DPO) of Ise Police Station, who attempted to rescue Austin. The DPO is recuperating at an undisclosed hospital. Austin’s charred remains and that of his victim have been deposited at a mortuary in the town. When The Nation visited the town yesterday, many residents declined comments on the incident. Human and vehicular movement was scanty. Also on Sunday, a commercial motorcyclist was hit by a black Mercedes Sport Utility

Vehicle (SUV) adjacent to the State Teaching Hospital in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. He died. The driver ran away. The motorcyclist, who was in his late 20s, was riding a bike marked JER2950A Ekiti. He was carrying a passenger and going towards Adebayo Road when the SUV hit his motorcycle and ran over him. Sympathisers contacted the authorities of the State Hospital, who sent an ambulance to the scene to convey the victim to the hospital. Doctors struggled to save him, but he died 10 minutes

after he arrived at the hospital. His identity remains unknown. The motorcyclist’s passenger, Mr. Boluwaji Akinde, said: “He picked me at Okesa and we were going to Adebayo. After Danke Eatery, I noticed that the vehicle behind us was getting too close. I informed the motorcyclist and jumped off the bike, but he was not lucky as the SUV ran over him. I sustained injuries in my leg as you can see. The SUV driver did not even stop. He sped off. Police spokesman Victor Olu-Babayemi said he would address journalists on both incidents today.



CITYBEATS LINE: 08023247888

Suspected highway robber held E

IGHT days ago, as a free man, he led his gang on a mission. His dreaded five-man armed robbery gang attacked passengers in a Lagos-bound luxury bus belonging to GC Okoli Transport Company on its way from Sagamu in Ogun State. Today, he is in the net of the Lagos State Special AntiRobbery Squad (SARS), which caught him while others fled. The suspect, Mmaduabuchi Ibe (37), a sculptor, was paraded yesterday by the Lagos State Police Command's spokesperson, Ngozi Braide, a Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP), who said he was

By Jude Isiguzo and Ebele Boniface

arrested in one of the vehicles snatched by his gang at Sagamu. Braide said the suspect was wearing a fake bullet proof vest when he was caught. She said the operatives were still on the trail of the fleeing suspects, noting that Ibe would be charged to court after investigations. Ibe said poverty and frustration led him into robbery, explaining: "I met members of my gang, Monday, IK, Sunday and Miracle, at Oyingbo where we slept under the bridge in a nearby smoking joint. After narrating to them my problems

and frustrations and how I left Ghana for Senegal to look for job, how things became worse and how I returned to Nigeria. They told me they had a job and asked me to drive them. It was Sunday and IK that wore the bullet-proof vest made of polythene." Ibe revealed that the gang attacked two commercial buses at Sagamu on the New Year Eve, but said they did not get anything from the first bus because the whole passengers ran into the bush. In the second bus, he said they "captured" seven passengers and dispossessed them of money and phone sets. However, he said not get a kobo because the loot

was yet to be shared when he was arrested. He urged Commissioner of Police Umar Manko to forgive him because they only operated with wooden guns that were mere toys. He said he would help the police to arrest his accomplices and other criminals in Oyingbo if released and allowed to join the police. Officer-in-Charge of SARS, Abba Kyari, a Superintendent of Police (SP), said the suspect was correct that their bullet-proof vests and guns were made in Nigeria, but said it is incredible that they could intimidate passengers with polythenemade bullet-proof vests and toy guns.

NDLEA finds 9.2kg drug in palm oil

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

• Giade


HE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has aborted a plot to export 9.2 kilogrammes of methamphetamine concealed inside palm oil to South Africa. The discovery was made during the screening of cargoes on a South African Airline flight at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

A taxi driver, who brought the consignment, was arrested by the anti-narcotic officials. NDLEA commander at the Lagos Airport, Mr Hamza Umar, said: "A taxi driver, Okwuokei Peter, has been arrested for attempting to export 9.2kilogrammes of methamphetamine to South Africa. The drug was packed in 41 parcels and hidden inside a gallon containing palm oil," Umar stated. The suspect, in his statement, said: "I thought I was doing one of my passengers a favour; little did I know that it would land me in a big trouble. He called me and asked me to collect a gallon of palm oil from somebody. When I got to an estate junction as directed by him, a young man walked up to me and asked if I was Peter; I said 'yes.' Then, he gave me the gallon of sealed palm oil. At the airport, it was found to

contain drugs during search. In fact, I am speechless, confused and frustrated." Peter, who hails from Delta State, lives in Lagos with his wife and four children. Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade urged the public to shun drug trafficking. "Ignorance is not an excuse under the Act. If you are not sure that consignment is drug-


Yes, I deal in narcotics, man tells court


25-year-old man, Kunle Adetoso, yesterday pleaded guilty to dealing in banned narcotic during his arraignment at the Federal High Court in Lagos. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) charged him with a one-count offence of deal-

By Joseph Jibueze

ing in 320 grammes of cannabis sativa, a banned substance with similar effects as heroine and cocaine. The prosecutor, Orji Kalu, said Adetoso committed the offence on September 23 last year in the Agbado Oja, Ifako Area of Lagos.

free, then do not take it for export; otherwise you are liable. People must be cautious," Giade stated. He added: "Section 11, subsection 'B' of the NDLEA Act states that anybody who, without lawful authority export, transports or otherwise traffic the drug popularly known as cocaine, LSD heroine or any other similar drugs, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Advice for expectant mothers

HE Chairman of Mushin Local Government in Lagos State, Hon Olatunde Adepitan has urged expectant mothers to patronise the Primary Health care Centre (PHC) closest to them for antenatal care. He spoke when he visited the Omodigbo PHC in the area to present gifts to the 1st

The offence, he said, contravenes Section 11 (C) of the NDLEA Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation 2004. Justice Okon Abang ordered that Adetoso be remanded in prison custody after he pleaded guilty. He adjourned till March 13 "for a summary review of the facts of the case."


baby delivered at the centre in the New Year. Adepitan said the medical personnel at the centre were qualified, experienced and gentle with the patients, pointing out the fact that they all attended universities as those in General Hospitals and private hospitals. He assured expectant mothers of safe delivery at the centres. Adepitan said advised parents of babies delivered in his domain early in the year to start some businessed with which they could cater for the welfare of their babies. He praised the mothers for considering the PHC suitable for the delivery of their babies and urged the medical personnel to be more friendly with pregnant women.

• L-R: Hon Adefunmilayo Tejuosho; District Chairman, Inner Wheel Club, Mrs Olanrewaju Olomofe-Kufeji; District Secretary, Mrs Sunbo Osunbayo; President, Inner Wheel Club of Isolo, Lagos, Mrs Ronke Solomon; Mrs Yinka Ayanwale and Alhaja Nike Ajadi, during the club’s empowerment programme and distribution of food items to the less-privileged ... at the weekend.

• Ibe... yesterday


'Benefits of Lagos Countdown'

AGOS State Government has said its recent annual year-end crossover festival tagged, Lagos Countdown 2013, offered bounteous economic benefits to the people and the event’s corporate sponsors. Managing Director, Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA), Mr. George Noah, said it was not just about promoting entertainment, but exploring its benefits, which include the promotion of commerce. He added that countdown was also a creative platform by the state government to empower the people through the development of small and medium enterprises and job creation, stressing that over 1,000 youths were engaged last year through various activities at the Countdown Vil-

By Tonia 'Diyan

lage. Noah said: "When looked at dispassionately, the Lagos Countdown offers enormous value-chain benefits, from the employment of sales personnel at the beer village to the engagement of activation and communication agencies by sponsors and providers of other services. Every part of the event is an avenue to engage the youth more productively. This is why we encourage small business owners to be part of the Countdown." Among the corporate sponsors of the festival were: Nigerian Breweries Plc, Dangote Group, Zenith Bank, Airtel, Samsung, Hyundai Motors, 7-Up Bottling Company Plc, Mikano and Forte Oil.

Cleric seeks jobs for youths


ASSIVE unemployment has made youths in the country to become elements of destabilisation and threat to socio-economic peace as more of them are now used by unscrupulous politicians to cause mayhem in the country. Archbishop Magnus Atilade, who said this at the 13thBiennial Graduation Ceremony at the Nigeria Opportunities Industrialisation Centres (NOIC), Lagos, lamented the factors encouraging youth unemployment, saying it is dangerous to the society. "This massive unemployment among the youth and the unpalatable economic situation in the country have reached a devastating peak, leading to Boko Haram, kidnapping, assassination, ritual killing, armed robbery, advanced fee fraud and internet crimes with the youths actively involved in the social and moral vices," Atilade said He bemoaned the wastage of the nation's wealth through high-level corruption among politicians, saying if government at the federal, state and local levels would reinvest in the youth, peace and tranquility would abound in the nation with

By Paul Oluwakoya

improved economy. About 1,000 youths graduated from the institute with training in marketable vocations in line with their educational backgrounds. The institute's Executive Director, Mr Kehinde Abiola, urged the Federal Government and other stakeholders to partner with NOIC to tackle the lingering unemployment problem in the country. He said NOIC is "about impacting marketable skills that will enable young people acquire self employed jobs skills and be self-reliant, live meaningful lives and also employ others. “We are appealing for assistance from governments at all levels, corporate organisations and concerned stakeholders to join us to put an end to the issue of unemployment in Nigeria within the shortest possible time." To ensure that the trainees do not lose sight of their goals, a national revolution scheme, he said, was set up to give loans to its graduate trainees to enable them set up their businesses while the NOIC officials follow up the business with regular visits and organising seminars and workshops.




Basketmouth goofs I T was not a fun weekend for top rated comedian, Bright Okpocha, alias Basketmouth, as what started as a harmless joke has turned out to be a hot subject on the Internet. Basketmouth had posted a joke at the weekend on his Facebook about the dating styles of white girls and African girls. According to him, while a white girl’s date ends with sex on the third outing, a typical African girl’s date ends with rape on the ninth outing after heavy spending by the guy. Irked by the piece, social media enthusiasts besieged the comedian’s wall, requesting a retraction. Following the outburst of emotions by critics, the comedian issued what could best be described as an insulting apology: “Ok, guys, I’m sorry about the rape joke. I won’t crack such jokes again. I’ll just stick to jokes about men being able to marry underage girls in Nigeria,” he stated. Unfortunately, this further fuelled the outrage, causing angry fans to besiege the Twitter handle of Globacom, his paymaster, with complaints. Though it would appear that those for and against the joke were evenly split, it was Barbara Mhangami, a writer and blogger, who took Baskemouth to the cleaners. According to Mhangami, “rape is a sick, vile and criminal act and making light of this scourge that has everyone of us who has a vagina living with fear is cruel and hateful. “Would your joke be funny if your mother, your sister, your aunt or your daughter had been raped? If your daughter or your sister had come home with blood running down her legs because some brute had seen her, not as a human being with feelings and a physical body that hurts and bleeds, but as a ves-

•BasketMouth By Ovwe Medeme

sel for his lust, his rage, his disrespect and his misogyny?” she asked. Overwhelmed by the furore that greeted his post, the comedian became rather remorseful, saying: “I would never in a thousand lifetimes encourage rape. I broadcasted (sic) a joke that many clearly misunderstood and have found offensive and I sincerely apologise. The intention, however, was to highlight an unfortunate trend and the ridiculously flawed comparison between money and the worth of a woman.” However, he has since pulled down the offensive post.

Ghanaian minister hails Nadia Buari over new movie


OP Ghanaian actress Nadia Buari recently premiered her first movie, titled: Diary of Imogen Brown, to wide acclaim. The premiere, which held across three regions of Ghana, attracted a lot of dignitaries, including Collins Dauda, minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing. T h e mi n i s t e r r e p o r t e d l y sent a congratulatory message to Nadia Buari and Nigerian-born actor Jim Iyke for what he described as “their wonderful performances in the movie.” Dauda, after examining the theme of the movie, which talks about the effect of hard drugs consumption, assured Buari and Iyke of his presence at the premiere. He stated that although he is not a fan of movie premieres, he did not regret attending the event because the movie ends on a didactic note. Diary of Imogen Brown features Soraya Mensah, Heba Khaled, Kevin Boateng,

Dupe Ayinla-Olasunkanmi

Prince Mingles, Beatrice Dadson, Jim Iyke and Nadia Buari.


Soul E weds Abuja-based lover


OPULAR soul singer Emmanuel Okose, last Thursday, got married to his Abuja-based lover of many years, Petula Delinda, in Delta State. It will be recalled that the Abia State-born singer, famously known as Soul E, broke up with his ex-wife, Queen Ure, some years ago. His marriage to Ure, an exbanker, crashed over what the couple described as “irreconcilable differences.” Interestingly, a few years ago when the story of his secret love affair and plans to walk down the aisle with Petula broke, Soul E denied ever knowing who the banker was. It was also learnt the couple had, three weeks ago, been joined at the Ikoyi Marriage Registry, Lagos State. In an attempt to put to rest the speculation that he was once married to Ure, who is considered to be much older than he is, Soul E reportedly said: “This is my first and final marriage.”

•Soul E with wife

Susan Peters goes into music


•Walker in Fast and Furious

Leeway for Paul Walker’s character


EARS that producers of the Fast and Furious series may replicate the agonising death of the film’s protagonist, Paul Walker, in the next instalment, has been allayed. Production house Universal studios has announced that the character of police officer Brian O’Connor, played by the deceased, rather than being killed, will be retired in the seventh instalment. Walker died in a tragic auto crash in November at the age of 40. Fans of the popular actor have been worried over rumours that the producers of the street-racing movie franchise may want to re-enact the death of the actor to achieve a dramatic effect. But many believe that if that happens, it will offend the sensibility of Walker’s fans. Since his fatal accident, writers, including Chris Morgan, have been busy revising the script for the new film and planning how to rework scenes already shot. Walker had filmed a considerable number of his scenes prior to his death, but many remain incomplete. Although the sequel was planned for release this year, it has been put back to April 2015. Hollywood Reporter claims

that writer Chris Morgan is working on a script to incorporate a footage shot by Paul before his death into a coherent story. A statement by Universal Studios says: “Paul Walker’s Fast and Furious character, Brian O’Conner, won’t be killed off for Fast and Furious 7. The plan is to “retire” O’Conner and give the character a proper send off in the wake of Walker’s tragic death on November 30.” The statement added that director James Wan will use existing footage of Walker, who died in a car crash, while screenwriter Chris Morgan will add additional scenes to patch O’Conner’s exit over. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County coroner released a new autopsy report on January 3, detailing how speed was the main cause of the crash of the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, resulting in the deaths of Walker and his friend, Roger Rodas. The vehicle travelled more than 100 mph before the vehicle lost control, hit a tree and a light post, spun around, hitting another tree before bursting into flames in Santa Clarita, California. “It appeared the vehicle almost split in half,” the report said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

By Ovwe Medeme

FTER many years of entertaining her fans on TV and in home movies, actress Susan Peters has now launched her musical career. Consequently, the beautiful actress has swelled the ranks of top Nollywood actresses that have ventured into music. Some of the screen queens, who delved into music, are Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde, Tonto Dikeh, Anita Joseph and Jennifer Eliogu. Though it is not certain if Peters will dump acting for her new love, she is said to be recording at an undisclosed location. Peters, according to close aides, has not only kicked off her music career, she would drop her debut single soon.

•Susan Peters






Tin Can Island Port earns N240b revenue


HE Tin Can Island Port Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) realised N240.16 billion revenue in 2013. The Public Relations Officer of the Command, Chris Osunkwo,told the News Agency of Nigeria that the revenue was higher by N33.74 billion, or 16.35 per cent over the N206.412 billion recorded in 2012. He said as a vehicle port, the revenue came mainly from import duties paid on vehicles, levies paid on common external tariff , sugar, wheat flour, wheat grain and bulk goods, adding that the revenue generated from these items in December amounted to N20.06 billion. He attributed the increase in revenue to digitalisation and automation of the NCS operations at the port. Osunkwo also traced the increase in revenue to motivation and hard work of officers, whom he said, struggled to achieve the desired goals. He said initially the Command was sceptical that the introduction of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) would create hiccups and cause reduction in revenue, saying that the introduction of PAAR, has eliminated all forms of delay in clearing of goods. He said any importers, or agents who lays claim to being delayed today in the port do not understand the new PAAR method. “It enables an importer to clear goods faster because the person would have processed his document electronically or on-line before the arrival of the cargo,’’ he said. The public relations officer said that the officers at the Tin Can Island port were motivated to work harder because of government’s circular on the introduction of PAAR to take care of all exigencies

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

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

Train Seven’ll earn $2.5b revenue, says NLNG chief T HE Nigeria Liquefied and Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited’s planned Train Seven will yield $2.5 billion in revenues for the country and further help to reduce flared gas and the associated environment degradation when it becomes operational, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Babs Omotowa, has said. Omotowa, who spoke through the Manager, Technical Services, Joseph Alagoa, yesterday during a ceremony to mark the casting off of its 3000th cargo in Bonny, Rivers State, said the benefits that would come with the operation of Train seven explains why the shareholders, including the Federal Government and other stakeholders should support the realisation of the project. He said: “Part of the next phase of our company’s

• 3000th cargo sails to Turkey today

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

growth programme is the addition of the seventh train to the existing six train infrastructure. When achieved, this will enable NLNG to add eight million metric tonnes of LNG to its current production capacity and that will increase our total output production to 30 metric tonnes per annum. “This is potentially capable of mopping up and exporting some more of the flared gas and will yield additional estimated revenue of $2.5 billion. Train seven is an enterprise, which all shareholders and stakeholders should support and pursue with vigour because the out-

come will be good for Nigeria, the business and the environment.” Alagoa, said NLNG has helped in the national effort to diversify the country’s revenue base especially through the monetisation of hitherto flared gas during crude oil exploration. He said: “The NLNG since the commencement of full operation in 1999, has generated about $53 billion for the stakeholders within the first 10 years. “The Federal Government has also earned more than $9 billion as dividend within this period of 10 years. Before the commencement of operation, 95 per cent of 2.5 billion cubic feet of associ-

ated gas that was produced by oil companies operating was flared. This trend has changed, he said, adding that NLNG currently has converted over four trillion cubic feet of associated gas to LNG and natural gas liquid (NGL) for both export and domestic usage. He said in doing this, the company has positively impacted on the country’s gas flaring schedules, thereby helping to improve the environment, while at the same time converting various wasted resources into wealth for the nation. The 3000th cargo, which begins its sail to Turkey today, is expected to arrive on 19th, saying that the NLNG boss

is already there to ensure all necessary preparations are in place for the receipt of the cargo. He said: “Nigeria LNG has successfully recorded the loading of its 3000th cargo and this is a commendable milestone that is worthy of celebration. Added to this fact, this cargo will be delivered on the 19th of this month to Botas, one of our buyers in Turkey by one of our vessels – LNG Lokoja. Also 95 per cent of the staff on this vessel are Nigerians, an indication of our aggressive pursuit of technology transfer and Nigerianisation.” Incorporated in 1989, Nigeria LNG, Alagoa said, has a networth of more than $24 billion and remains the single biggest private sector investment in sub-Saharan Africa with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, Elf and Agip as shareholders.

• From left: Corps Marshal & Chief Executive of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC),Osita Chidoka, Unit Manager, Road Sector Development Team David Silcock and Ag. Director/Unit Manager, Road Sector Development Team, Engr. Ishaq Mohammed, during a mission visit by World Bank Consultant on the Safe Corridor Project to FRSC.


‘TCN targets 20,000MW capacity in five years’

HE Transmission Com pany of Nigeria (TCN) is working towards increasing Nigeria’s generating capacity to 20,000 megawatts in the next four years, the Chief Executive Officer, Mack Kast, has said. “Right now, we have say a capacity of 5,000MW. What we envisage is that in about five years time, we will be able to evacuate four times or not more than that,” he said. Enumerating the challenges in the power sector to the newly engaged 522 engineers from the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria ( NAPTIN) in Abuja, he explained that the electricity distribution companies were handed over to private owners with a high hope for sufficient power supply. He said the challenge is for the transmission sub-sector to stay ahead of the generation capacity in order to meet the customers’ demand for steady power supply. He said: “We cannot do this alone. We cannot do with the existing complementary

•Disengages 500 workers From John Ofikhenua, Abuja and Akinola Ajibade

staff, we have to move forward. In moving forward, we have to build the transmission sector to stay ahead of the generation capacity that has been delivered. “Right now, the generation is privatised as at November one. With that it is expected to build and generate more capacity. If they build more capacity, we have to be in a position to evacuate that capacity to the users downstream, to the distribution companies downstream. We are the critical sector linking the two. “So our biggest challenge is to be able to stay ahead of the two, as I said in terms of generation from where they may be to the distribution companies, the customers, wherever they may be lurking. “The people in this areas do not really care. What they want is steady supply of

power at a competitive price. So that is where we come in to make sure that we can meet that demand. And to do that it takes a lot of tremendous work.” Kast urged the staff that what lies ahead of them is not just their jobs, but the opportunity to boost Nigeria’s economy, adding that with an expanded growth, there will be many more employment opportunities. He said with an expanded economic growth, the government will have an expanded tax base and consequently higher tax collections. The Director-General, NAPTIN. Reuben Okeke, said the TCN could have engaged graduates from elsewhere but the graduates engaged from the institute have a clear mandate, adding that the challenge in the power sector is wheeling capacity and total collapse in the system. “Right now, we cannot say

that the system is okay because the way system collapses are happening is more than we can tolerate,” he said. Meanwhile, TCN has disengaged about 500 workers to reposition the sector for growth, its Assistant General Manager, Transmission services, Mrs Biodun Afolabi, has said. Speaking during the flag off of a two -week orientation course for the newly employed engineers in Lagos, Mrs. Afolabi said the allegation that the company has sacked 50 per cent of its workforce is not true. She said the organisation’s goal is to provide a good workforce for the sector. ‘’It is not that we intend to sack 50 per cent of the workforce. We have carried out the retrenchment exercise, and it only affected less than 500 staff. Those affected are the aged and people with one illness or the other and whose productivity has been adjudged low.’’ She said the development would make the sector better, stronger and competitive,

adding that the goal is to improve the power transmission system. She said the engineers will from time to time receive training that would bring the best out of them, stressing that the sector requires an up-todate and highly competent workforce for growth. Supervisors, Mrs. Afolabi said, have been assigned to put the workers through when they resume at their various positing units across the country. She said the transformation from the National Electric Power Authority(NEPA) to Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN) to the Transmission Company of Nigeria(TCN) has been steady, adding that the workers would pass through different training levels. She refuted the claims that engineers would be paid three months after they start work. ‘’Nigeria is improving everyday. With the introduction of e-payment services, We hope that the new staff would get their salary at the end of the month.’’ He added.



BUSINESS NEWS Flight Schedule

‘Women occupy 70 % of farm labour’

MONDAY - FRIDAY LAGOS – ABUJA Departure Arrival 1. Aero 06.50 08.10 2. Associated 07.00 09.30 3. Air Nigeria 07.00 08.20 4. IRS 07.00 08.20 5. Dana 07.02 08.22 6. Arik 07.15 08.15 7. Chanchangi 07.15 8. Air Nigeria 08.15 09.35 9. Dana 08.10 09.20 10. Aero 08.45 10.05 11. Arik 09.15 10.15 12. Chanchangi 10.00 11.00 13. IRS 11.15 12.35 14. Dana 12.06 12.26 15. Aero 12.20 13.30 16. Air Nigeria 13.25 14.45 17. Chanchangi 13.30 14.30 18. Arik 13.45 14.45 19. IRS 14.00 15.20 20. Aero 14.10 15.30 21. Air Nigeria 14.50 16.10 22. Dana 15.30 16.50 23. Chanchangi 15.30 16.30 24. Arik 15.50 16.50 25. Aero 16.00 17.20 26. IRS 16.30 17.50 27. Arik 16.50 17.50 28. Dana 17.10 18.30 29. Chanchangi 17.30 18.30 30. Air Nigeria 17.35 18.55 31. Air Nigeria (T/TH) 18.30 19.50 32. Arik 18.45 19.45 33. Aero 19.20 20.40 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

LAGOS – BENIN Arik 07.30 Associated 08.30 Aero 10.50 Arik 11.45 Associated 13.00 Aero 14.25 Arik 15.30 Associated 16.00

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

1. Arik 2. Aero 1. 2. 3. 4.

LAGOS – CALABAR 07.30 11.20 12.50 16.00 LAGOS – JOS 10.55 11.15

LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10

08.30 09.10 11.50 12.45 13.40 15.20 16.30 16.40 08.50 12.40 14.10 17.20 12.15 12.45 09.10 11.00 11.10 16.20

From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja


• Jonathan and Mr. Denq Boqing

Jonathan seeks Chinese investments in agric, others A PPLAUDING the increasing investments from China in the past three years, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday called for more inputs in the agricultural and other sectors. He made the call while receiving China’s out-going Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Denq Boqing, at the Presidential Villa. According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan noted that one-third of the volume of trade between Africa and China currently takes place with Nigeria. He praised China’s support for the

LAGOS – OWERRI Aero 07.30 Arik 07.30 Air Nigeria 13.40 Arik 14.00 Arik 16.30

08.40 08.40 14.55 15.10 17.40

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

LAGOS – WARRI 08.15 11.50 11.55 14.55

09.1 12.50 12.55 15.55

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

LAGOS – KANO Air Nigeria 07.10 IRS 08.00 Dana 08.10 Arik 12.20 IRS 14.00 IRS 18.15

08.50 09.45 09.40 14.00 15.45 19.55

LAGOS – OWERRI 07.20 14.00 16.30

08.30 15.10 17.40

LAGOS – UYO 10.35


1. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik 1. Dana

LAGOS – MAIDUGURI 1. IRS 11.15 13.15 2. Arik 15.50 18.00 LAGOS – ILORIN 1. Overland 07.15 2. Arik (M/T/TH/F) 17.30

08.00 18.00

LAGOS – ABUJA SAT/SUN Arik 7.15; 10.20; 2.20; 5.20pm – 7.30; 9.15; 10.20; 2.20; 4.50; 6.45 Aero 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 – 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 Air Nigeria 08.15; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30 – 08.15; 13.30; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30

rehabilitation of Nigeria’s transportation infrastructure and the development of Nigeria’s water and power sectors, stressing that the mutually-beneficial bilateral relations between Nigeria and China will be further enhanced in the coming years. He called for greater investment from China in Nigeria’s agricultural sector and other sectors where Chinese expertise can help

Customs seizes N73m smuggled rice in Cross River

LAGOS – PORT HARCOURT (CIVIL) 1. Aero 07.15 08.35 2. Arik 07.15 08.35 3. Arik 09.00 10.20 4. Dana 09.27 10.40 5. Aero 10.50 12.30 6. Arik 11.40 13.00 7. Air Nigeria 12.00 13.10 8. IRS 13.30 15.00 9. Arik 14.00 15.20 10. Dana 15.03 16.20 11. Air Nigeria 16.00 17.10 12. Arik 16.10 17.30 13. Aero 16.15 17.30 14. Arik 17.10 18.30 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

to develop Nigeria’s potentials. He specially praised the out-going Ambassador for working very hard to boost trade and economic relations between both countries during his tenure in Nigeria. Mr. Boqing, who served in Nigeria for three years, said his most fulfilling assignment was facilitating President Jonathan’s state visit to China last year. He assured the President that he will continue to work for the expansion of the cordial relationship between China and Nigeria wherever he finds himself.

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

• Dikko


EN of the Nigeria Customs Service in Cross River State in collaboration with other security agencies at the weekend seized 7, 623 smuggled bags of rice at the Ikang Beach in Bakassi local government area. The rice is suspected to have come from Cameroon. Area Controller, Bamidele Akande, said in Calabar yesterday

that the duty paid value of the seized rice was N72, 634, 565. 20. Akande who is in charge of Akwa Ibom, Cross River and the Calabar Free Trade Zone Command, however said no arrests were made. He said his men successfully carried out the operation at Ikang having monitored the situation for about week on intelligence report. He said no casualties were recorded as not even a single shot was fired in the operation. He said he had to get the Navy, the Army, Department of State Services, the Police, and Civil Defence Corps to form a coalition to handle the situation at the weekend. He said the smuggled rice came in a boat which also had armed men

but due to the overwhelming force of their joint team, were subdued. However none of them were arrested. He said investigations would begin immediately to get those who were behind the illegal business. If anyone was found culpable, he said such would be prosecuted before the seized goods would be disposed of following the court’s order. “You can imagine the danger this would have caused the economy if it had entered the market. We would continue to discharge our duties to the best of our abilities to stamp out illegalities and also protect the genuine importers. This is a hard lesson to the smugglers,” he said. Akande said they surpassed their target of N6.1 billion to generate N9.7 billion in 2013.

OPEC’s crude exports to drop amidst winter lull


HE Organisation of Petro leum Exporting Countries will cut crude shipments through mid-January amid a lull in winter demand in the Northern Hemisphere, according to tanker tracker Oil Movements. OPEC, supplier of about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will reduce sailings by 410,000 barrels a day, or 1.7 percent, to 23.65 million barrels in the four weeks to Jan. 18, the researcher said today in a report. That compares with 24.06 million in the period to Dec. 21. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador. “It’s just a pause in the winter cycle,” Oil Movements

founder Roy Mason said by phone from Halifax,England. “There is a second winter peak in sailings to come early next month.” Global oil demand typically climbs during the fourth quarter, with rising consumption of heating fuels during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Brent futures traded near $107 a barrel in London today after losing 0.3 percent in 2013. Middle Eastern exports will decrease 1.7 percent to 17.3 million barrels a day in the month to Jan. 18, compared with 17.6 million in the previous period, according to Oil Movements. The figures include non-OPEC

nations Oman and Yemen. Crude on board tankers will drop 0.6 percent to 485.2 million barrels through Jan. 18 from 488.17 million in the previous period, data from Oil Movements show. The researcher calculates volumes by tallying tanker bookings and excludes crude held on vessels for storage. OPEC’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. The group will next meet on June 11 at its headquarters in Vienna.

BOUT 70 per cent of farm la bourers are women, Deputy Director, Youth and Gender Department, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. KarimaBabangida, has said. Babangida said despite women’s immense contribution to agricultural productivity, less than 20 percent of them have access to agricultural financing. She Spoke during an exclusive interview with The Nation yesterday in Abuja. She said: “Nigerian women contribute to 70 per cent of agriculture labour, 60 per cent to agriculture processing and 50 per cent to animal husbandry, less than 20 per cent of them have access to productive resources.” She emphasised need to support women to ensure they have timely access to subsidised farm inputs at affordable rate. She said the present administration is striving to empower the women and mainstream them into the various value chains. “With all their contribution to agriculture, they have less than 20 percent access to productive resources. Some of those resources include access to land, finance, credit and women currently have less than two per cent access to credit,” she added. However, Mrs. Babangida noted that the NIRSAL was part of federal government’s intervention to address the situation. She said the Micro and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Fund, initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN would be beneficial to the women. “This fund which has a capital base of about N2 billion, 60 percent of this fund is going for women empowerment. That is a big plus for Nigerian women and agriculture as a whole,” she added. She urged the federal government to partner tates and local councils to create initiative that will promote infrastructural development as well as job creation to reduce rural-urban migration. Speaking on the department’s contribution to women empowerment, she said:“Within the last 15 months, we have captured over 15, 000 youths to participate in agribusiness. We cannot say we have been able to solve youth employment in Nigeria, but with the meagre resources, we have been able to do our best,” she added.

European shares steady early


UROPEAN shares steadied in early trade on Monday, with investors looking ahead to data on the region’s services sector after comparable numbers from China pointed to a sharp slowdown in growth there. Reuters said the data due includes Germany’s services PMI, seen at 54, and France’s services PMI, seen at 47.4. At 0809 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.1 percent at 1,311.50 points, while the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.1 percent at 3,072.56 points. China’s HSBC/Markit Economics services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped to 50.9 in December, its lowest since August 2011, from 52.5 in November, adding to data showing the world’s secondbiggest economy lost steam in late 2013. Shares in Telecom Italia fell 1.3 percent after Telefonica denied being part of a vehicle studying a potential joint offer for Brazilian wireless operator TIM Brasil, a unit of the Italian group.








Sustaining fuel supply in 2014 Despite oil theft and pipeline vandalism in 2013, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources sustained products supply. There is need to maintain the tempo in 2014, writes EMEKA UGWUANYI, Assistant Editor


•Minister of Power Prof Chinedu Nebo

•Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Commission, Sam Amadi •


Why power failure may persist


HY have the 14 successor-companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) not been pulling their weight since taking over the utility’s assets two months ago? It is because of the rising cost of gas needed to power the thermal plants and the unresolved labour issues inherited by the firms, say some experts. The Nation learnt that many of the firms cannot meet their gas demands because the products’ commercial price under the Federal Government’s domestic gas supply obligations will rise from $1.80million British thermal unit(mbtu) to about $2mbtu this year. Sources close to West Gas Limited (formerly Eko Electricity Distribution Company Limited), who pleaded anonymity, said gas was a major problem in the industry. A source said the companies could not get enough gas for operations, thereby crippling efforts to improve electricity supply. According to the source, power supply will improve when the gas

By Stories by Akinola Ajibade

supply challenge is resolved. The Chief Executive Officer, Seven Energy International Limited, Philip Ihenacho, said the cost of production and transportation of gas to the power plants was huge, lamenting that the development has impacted negatively on the operations of the firms. He said: ‘’The production and transportation of gas to power plants come with attendant problems. It is difficult selling gas to power firms at $1.8mbtu when you add up the cost of transportation and tariff. Given the harsh operating environment, gas cannot be sold for less than $2 or $2.5mbtu. “This means the firms are required to pay above the commercial gas price of $1.8mbtu before they can operate well. Failure to pay the required amount of money for gas, means that they would not be able to access the product for improved electricity supply. Collocation is another prob-

lem in the industry.The power plants are situated miles away from gas sources. “The cost of taking gas to power plants is cheaper, if the plant is not far. But the reverse is the case in Nigeria.’’ He said multiple gas plants are required to improve electricity generation in the country. Former President, Senior Staff Association of PHCN, Godwin Ihenacho, said the failure to locate the power plants close to gas supply was a problem in the industry. He said: “For instance, the Escravos Gas Project in Delta State is far from Omotosho and Papanlato power plants in Ondo and Ogun states. Based on this, the plants are unable to get enough gas for operations.’’ The government’s inability to resolve labour issues, he said, would affect the companies’ performance of the companies. He also said some workers had yet to receive their entitlements, adding that these workers were ready to frustrate the reform programme.

Stakeholders fret over sale of Shell’s $2b assets


HE sale of some assets of the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) for $2billion because of crude oil theft will affect the country, some stakeholders have said. Shell intends to sell its $30billion assets and it has sold $2billion of them, leaving $28billion. President, Petroleum and Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) Emeka Ene, and President, Association of International Energy Economics (AIEE), Adeola Akinnisiju, said the issue was a mixture of hope and despair for the country. He said the development would lead to growth and maturity of the oil industry, adding that a second generation of oil companies with capacity to handle big-ticket transactions would emerge in the process. He said: ‘’ Shell is selling its assets to go into a deeper oil

trade, and further re-focus its investments. However, the development would create more exploration opportunities for local firms with capacity to handle big projects. The sale of Shell’s assets will bring more investors into the industry, as against losing them. A new cadre of investors with potentials to drive the sector will emerge in the process. ’’ He said private entrepreneurs drove 70 per cent of investments in China and India, adding that same should drive the oil industry’s growth in the country. Akinnisiju said Nigeria faced the risk of losing foreign direct investments (FDIs), technical know-how and international connections that would help in boosting its crude oil industry. He said the development would scare foreign investors and further aggravate the eco-

nomic situation in the country. According to him, the issue is going to have cumulative effects on the economy because more foreign-owned companies may take the step taken by Shell in the country. Akinnisiju said: ‘’The multinationals share a lot of information. They network a lot. Once one is leaving a country due to lack of security, others would follow. We should expect more oil companies disposing their assets for a safer economic environment soon. “This is a wrong signal to the international community which has a biased mind towards Nigeria. It is bad to hear that foreign investors are leaving Nigeria at a time the country is looking for more.’’ He said Shell, Chevron and others come with huge technical skills, arguing that such skills are difficult to come by.

IGERIANS last year enjoyed unprecedented stable supply of petroleum products. Besides the stability, the pump price also remained stable at N97 per litre through the festive oeriod. Although some motorists slightly hiked their fares, it was not as a result of fuel scarcity, which has in the past characterised such festivities, creating undue hike in fares and suffering for travellers. Those who travelled during the festive periods to different parts of the country, testify that the every part of the country was streamed except in some rural areas where owners of petrol stations adjusted their pump prices to between N100 and N105 per litre. Beside the unpleasant stories of how houses went up in flames and passengers burnt to death following hoarding of fuel or carrying kegs of fuel by motorists in order not to run out of petrol, are not heard of or read. Unlike in the past when retail outlets were dry and the few that sold had long queues, the filling stations have sufficient stock and sell without queues; therefore, there is no need to hoard or carry fuel about in vehicles.

How NNPC sustained supply The sustained sanity in the supply and distribution segment of the downstream petroleum industry, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other relevant agencies in the value chain, such as the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), was achieved based on the directive of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani AlisonMadueke. Mrs Alison-Madueke, the agencies said, directed that all distribution and storage infrastructure be revamped while PPPRA ensured that guidelines on drawing from petroleum subsidy fund (PSF) are strictly followed. It was based on the minister’s directive that the NNPC and PPMC embarked on aggressive revamp of key downstream facilities, such as PPMC depots and product supply pipelines, which have hitherto remained out of use. According to PPMC, only three out of its 23 inland storage depots spread across the country are awaiting repairs, adding that its dilapidated depots and ancilliary pipelines in Aba, Benin, Suleja, Gombe, and product evacuation and reception jetty in Okrika, Rivers State, among others, have been turned around and are working efficiently. To prevent pipeline vandalism and ensure uninterrupted supply and distribution, the minister ordered the deployment of Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) at Arepo and Ije-Ododo, which were havens for pipeline vandals and petrol thieves. The approval of subsea bypass pipeline project to enable import of heavy crude to Kaduna refinery helped in improving products availability. These infrastructure have been abandoned for upwards

•Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke

of 10 years, but the minister ordered their revamp and clearing of the pipelines’ right of way and fixing of the pipelines for efficient distribution of products. The Nigerian Army Engineering Corps was awarded the contract to clear the pipelines right of way across the country; work has been completed on the Atlas Cove- Mosimi-Ibadan axis, Port Harcourt-Bonny line have also been completed while work was ongoing at other lines where people have encroached on and even built houses on top of the pipes, the NNPC said. To supplement the effort of the inland depots, the PPMC said it maintained a sustainable large stock of products at sea on massive vessels, especially offshore Lagos to serve as buffer for 32-day product sufficiency. Also, the continued flow of petroleum products was sustained as a result of implementation of some reform programmes in the last two years. Such reforms, including the implementation of the PSF by the PPPRA, led to huge reduction in national consumption of petrol from 60 million litres per day as witnessed in 2011 to 40 million litres per day, which saved the country billions of naira. Mrs. Alison-Madueke had attributed the success to President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda in the downstream subsector, which led to strategic management of petroleum products supply and distribution. “In spite of these savings,” she said, ‘’we have also been able to maintain stability of products supply, while putting in place, stringent regulatory conditions which would make it difficult for dubious marketers to shortchange the system.” She said the Federal Government had done well in the stopping fuel subsidy scams, adding that efforts at ensuring transparency and accountability were yielding positive results. She also said the reforms were carried out to address pervasive malpractices in the oil and gas sector, to engender public trust and belief in government’s sincerity in the downstream sub-sector.








Minister, experts differ over national carrier

ome experts in the aviation sector have opposed the modalities set for floating a national carrier by the Federal Government . Head of Strategy, Zenith Travel Mr Fidel Olumide Uhunayo and an aviation economist, Mr Taiwo Adenekan, are urging the government to jettison the idea of designating Aero Airlines as the national carrier. According to them, designating a domestic airline out of the existing local carriers, does not other that the government is creating a level playing field for all operators. Ohunayo said the era of designating a single operator as national carrier was gone. Adenekan canvassed an open bid for all international routes by airlines that have capacity to deliver. Ohunayo said: ”The equations that are being moulded for a caesarean delivery of a national carrier should be reviewed and reconsidered in the interest of the industry and the nation at large. A national carrier ought to have exclusivity and protection. “What we need is a national airline policy that will strengthen the industry and our airlines, not a national carrier. The policy should include reduction of taxes, modernisation of air traffic control. “The policy by the government should address how to assist airlines through stabilisaton of aviation fuel prices and provision of a market for the flag carriers through a Fly Nigeria Act. “This involves a legislation that will make mandatory for

Stories by Kelvin Osa-Okunbor Aviation Correspondent

government officials to fly only Nigerian airlines on international routes. Doing this will accelerate economic growth.” He continued: ”Countries that share our present mentality of setting up a new national carrier include Malawi, Zambia, Congo, Ghana and Gambia. Do we choose to belong to this crowd? “Therefore, a country can also be embarrassed by its national carrier; we can ask the Italians, Greek, Mexicans and all the countries in our sub-region. “Most of the people calling for a new national carrier today and linking it to the payment of terminal benefits of former Nigeria Airways staff, worked assiduously to frustrate government efforts in the past. “The industry all over the world has moved from national to legacy to flag and low cost carriers. “ Adenekan said: “The government should put all the lucrative international routes on the table for bid. Any airline that gets the bid based on operational competence should be considered as a national carrier. Such airline should be able to compete with other global carriers and not just designating one domestic carrier as a national airline. I am not convinced it may be the best option.” Other experts, who spoke on

condition of anonymity, have also cautioned against giving undue preference to Aero Airlines. Another airline, which analysts say, has the capacity for being designated national carrier is Arik Air. But its managent said it is not perturbed over plans to designate Aero as a national carrier. Group Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air, Dr Michael ArumemIkhide said: “As an airline, we are not worried. At the end of the day, it is for the benefit of this country. I mean we are a country of 160 million people.The market size here is phenomenonal, market penetration in terms of access to airlines is less than 10 per cent. “For the good of our people, we at Arik Air feel good if it means more travellers, if it means more economic development. “Let it be for the benefit of the customers. “Firstly, the airline must be of higher standard. Secondly, it must be reliable and safe. Let it be run based on international standards and principles and let it be safe. “At the end of the day, it is the passengers that would determine the airline they want to fly.” Another expert, who pleaded not to be named, said: ”Well, this is an interesting subject that often would elicit varied reactions. Generally speaking, it is not a bad idea, but the issue is very sensitive. We should be moving forward and not moving backwards.

• A Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Discovery Air on the tarmac of the Lagos Airport

Medview set for international operations


anaging Director of MedView Airlines Alhaji Muneer Bankole has unveiled plans to start international operations in the first quarter of this year. Bankole said the airline had done feasibility studies on the profitability of the international operations, which will help Nigeria to reciprocate its bilateral services agreement with other countries . He listed the international routes to include Abuja-Dubai, Lagos-Dubai, Kano-Jeddah, Lagos-Dakar, Enugu-Singapore among other routes, which will start in the first quarter of the


Bankole said: ”Our international operations will begin in the first quarter of 2014 and we are going to fly to countries such as Abuja-Dubai, Lagos-Dubai, Kano-Jeddah, Abuja-Jeddah,LagosAccra,Lagos-Dakar,EnuguSingapore,Lagos-Libreville, Nigeria-Israel.” The Medview boss noted that most of the countries that the airline intends to fly had already given permission to it. “Some of the countries affected have granted MedView Airlines the rights to commence operations. I can assure you that

all the necessary documentation has been completed. We intend to commence international operations to some of the destinations in the first quarter of 2014.” He also said the airline flew a total of 339,043 passengers across the country last year. The total number of passengers flown last year, Bankole added, was a little less than its target of 400,000. According to Bankole, M e d V i e w ai r l i n e w o u l d n o t relent in its effort in making its passengers comfortable and also give the customers the value for their money.

“There are different voices on this issue among operators. But, I think the concept of a national carrier is archaic. What most countries are doing is the model of flag carriers. The aviation industry has gone far ahead of archaic models. “I think Nigeria should look in the direction of what other nations have done to designate domestic airlines as flag carriers. Gone are the days of national carrier; it is out of vogue. “Aviation business has gone digital; it is no more analogue, so, why do we need to go back to outdated models. But airline operators are consolidating and talking to the government on how to achieve what is the best for the aviation industry. “We are convinced that the government has good plans to set up a national carrier. I am sure the promoters of the carrier would have done their home work. So that by the time the whole thing is worked out, the picture will become clear and it is going to be a win-win situation for everybody,”he said. But Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah said last week that the national carrier would soon be named. Oduah attributed the delay in delivering the national carrier to

•Princess Oduah

some hitches, adding that the these were being addressed. She, however, did not give details of the problems. Oduah said: “We are trying to rectify that challenge. I think we will do it very soon, but the important thing is that we want to give Nigerians a national carrier that we all aspire to have. That will be a true representation of all of us; that can be bought from the market; that will be professionally and efficiently managed.”

Discovery signs partnership


head of its resumption of operations, Discovery Air has signed technical partnership with British and French firms; ATC Lashman Limited and EAS Perpignor for the management of its fleet. The agreement will provide a template for the two firms to provide technical support for the Boeing 737 aircraft acquired by the airline for its operations. In an interview, the Managing Director of DiscoveryAir Captain Abdulsalami Mohammed said the airline was working hard to announce the take-off date of the carrier after approvals by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). He said: “DiscoveryAir has been working very hard to launch commercial air services in its bid to raise the standards

of air travel in Nigeria by setting new trends in air service within Nigeria and beyond the African continent. “Our launch date is getting very close and a definite date would be announced as soon as we finalise all the regulatory approvals. “We are undergoing a painstaking, professional and transparent process leading to our certification. We have commenced our proving flights using our Boeing 737 aircraft and we expect to conclude the process soonest.” He added that training for the team was ongoing. Ticketing and Reservations, Airport and Office staff training is underway. Cabin Crew staff have been trained and more are undergoing training exercise, he added.

Overland resumes flights to Minna


verland Airways has resumed scheduled flight services from Minna Airport to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos. The service, according to Overland Airways, started last week. Overland Chief Executive Officer Capt. Edward Boyo said: ”The resumption of flight services on the Minna-Abuja, Minna-Lagos and Minna-Ilorin routes is part of our objective of improving interconnectivity and facilitating social and economic ties across Nigeria.” “Overland Airways has also introduced additional morning flights from Abuja to Ilorin and afternoon flight from Lagos to Ilorin.” He said passengers could check-in online.

According to Capt. Boyo, “Minna is an important city in the Northcentral zone and by linking it with Abuja, Lagos and Ilorin, Overland Airways will bring comfort and pleasure to the people of Niger State and the neighbouring states of Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi and Kwara. “Overland’s resumption of service to Minna will support the development drives of these states and other private initiatives geared at improving the socio-economic lives of the peoples. “We, particularly, would like to thank the Chief Servant of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and his Executive Council for their hospitality. We assure air travelers in Niger State that they will be treated to Overland’s exceptional flight experience and courteous service.”






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



•Ojo military barracks as photographed in 1975

After a futile legal tussle, the Ojikutu family of Lagos has launched a fresh bid for compensation for its land acquired by the Federal Government 40 years ago for “public purpose”. SEYI ODEWALE reports.

Family, military in 40-year land battle T

HE 166.6 acres (67.42 hectares) of land in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State was acquired in 1974 by the military government from their father Abdul-Azeez Ojikutu without compensation. The late Ojikutu’s children and executors of his estate consider the government’s action as inappropriate and are determined to ensure that, according to them, “the wrong done their father is redressed”. The children, in another petition, the third in the series written on October 4, last year, implored the Supervising Minister of Defence to intervene in the matter and also ensure the release of the remaining unused 160 acres of land. Their father died barely a year after the land was acquired in November 1974. The petition signed on behalf of the family by Abayomi Ojikutu, a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (FNIM), reads in part. “We write to bring to your attention and for your immediate action our letter dated August 13, 2013 on the above subject-matter addressed to the immediate past Minister of State for Defence. As this matter has been long outstanding and in the interest of justice and fair play, we hereby humbly request the use of your good offices to resolve and release to our estate, the said land measuring 160 acres without further delay.” Two of such letters were written last year by the family. The first, dated May 6, was a reference to the one written on November 6, 2012. In the said letter, the attention of the then Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, was sought to caution the military authority (the Nigeria Army), which allegedly sold over 600 plots from the said land after it had been resolved that the said land would be released to the family. “It has come to our notice that over 600 plots of the said land have been sold by the Nigeria Army to themselves and private individuals in spite of a court order that has been in effect for over 10 years, and an undertaken given to the court by the first and third defendants (Attorney-General of the Federation and the Ministry of Defence) not to erect or carry out any physical structure on the said land. Most of these

sales were done recently,” the letter claimed. The agreement, the family said, followed, a protracted case instituted by them in 2000 demanding compensation or the release of the land to them, after they discovered that the land was not used for the purpose it was acquired. In a 27-paragraph statement deposed to by Mrs Iyabo Foresythe, a medical doctor, representing three others (Alhaji Sheu Ojikutu, Alhaja Amoru Animashaun and Mr Abayomi Ojikutu) at the Federal High Court, Lagos in suit no FHC/L/CS/868/2000, they sought an order directing the defendants (Attorney-General of the Federation, the then Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Ministry of Defence), “jointly and severally to release to us as personal representatives of Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Ojikutu (deceased) the piece or parcel of land measuring 160.2 acres (64.83 hectares) verged brown on Plan No LU/LA/13/99 drawn by L. U. Nwaozo Surveyor, dated December 13, 1999. They also sought “an order directing the defendants jointly and severally, to pay compensation to us being the executors of the estate of the late Alhaji Abudl-Azeez Ojikutu in respect of the parcel of land verged brown on Plan No LU/LA/13/99 drawn by L.U. Nwaozo, Licensed Surveyor, dated December 13, 1999”. In paragraphs five to 10 of her statement of claims, Mrs Foreythe said: “That by virtue of the Federal Government Gazette No 58, Volume 61, dated November 28, 1974, the Federal Government of Nigeria compulsorily acquired the aforesaid parcel of land for public purpose, to wit, for the establishment of the Ojo Military Cantonment; “That in the said Gazette, the third defendant directed any person having a claim over the said land to forward same to the second defendant; “That as directed by the second and third defendants, my late father, Alhaji Ojikutu completed a claim form and forwarded same to the second defendant, but compensation was not paid to him before his demise. “That when compensation was not paid with regards to the compulsory acquisition, we as personal representatives of the estate of the late Alhaji Ojikutu, instructed Barrister Alaba Okupe in 1975, to assist us in

our claim for compensation from the defendants; “That as a result of our request, the seconds defendant by a letter dated October 24, 1975 acknowledged receipt of the letter and assured us that they will refer back to us; “That when we did not hear from the second defendant as assured in their letter of 24/10/75, we instructed Messrs Kao (Nigeria) Limited and Jefs Properties to seek compensation from the defendants.” Other paragraphs of their statement said: “Out of the 166.6 acres compulsorily acquired by the defendants from our late father Alhaji Ojikutu, 160.2 acres have not been used for the purpose for which the land was compulsorily acquired. “That the unused land has been encroached upon by several persons, including one Mrs Evelyn Okorie and other unathorised persons claiming to represent the Nigeria Army, who have resorted to selling portions thereof.” But the defendants denied these claims. In their 14paragraph statement of defence, they only agreed with the claimants’ fifth paragraph, which said that those that had any claim to the said land should forward their claims to the second defendant. They said: “The first and second defendants are not in a position to deny or admit paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 13, 15 and 16 of the claim and put the plaintiffs to the strictest proof thereof.” They also said in paragraph six that one of the claimants, Alhaji Sheu Ojikutu “is not known to the first and third defendants as one of the claimants to Ojo Cantonment. “They averred that the plaintiffs were not the only claimants to the land in dispute and that a survey plan of the entire land acquired for Ojo Cantonment shows that part of the land claimed by the plaintiffs had already been used for the cantonment.” The defendants “further averred that compensation has been paid for the land in dispute”. After some years, the parties with their counsel, agreed to an out-of-court settlement. But, according to •Continued on page 18



PROPERTY/ENVIRONMENT •Continued from page 17

the family, the military frustrated moves to settle the matter as agreed upon. The action taken in April, last year by the Ministry of Defence followed the petition the family wrote in 2012. The ministry wrote to the Managing Partner, Lawbold Legal Practitioner, representing the Ojikutu family, on April 24, last year that a 13-member inter-ministerial committee to address outstanding issues on the Ojo Military Cantonment land in Ojo, Lagos State would pay a seven-day site inspection tour to the said land. Their terms of reference, according to the letter signed on behalf of the Minister of State for Defence, by Ogo G.N, a Deputy Director (Compensation and Lands), include “to verify the claim by the Ojikutu and Balogun families that their properties were parts of the entire land acquired for the Ojo Military Cantonment; verify relevant documents in the payment of compensation, ascertain the veracity of the claims by these families on non-payment of compensation; “To verify all the processes filed in the courts by these fami-

Family, military in 40-year land battle

• Erelu Obada

• Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika

lies, on return of their land, especially the statement of defence filed by the third defendant (Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development) to ascertain its relevance to the position of the ministry in the cases and verify allegations by these families that their parcel of land were demarcated and fenced off from the entire cantonment land and used by Nigeria Army Post Service Housing Scheme.” They are also to “identify the private estate purportedly existing in the Ojo Cantonment, verify what gave rise to the springing up of this estate, persons behind the unwholesome act, verify money allegedly col-

•Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola inaugurating the rehabilitated Simbiat Abiola Road, Ikeja. Lagos. With him (from left) are Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lateef Ibirogba; his Works and Infrastructure counterpart, Dr Obafemi Hamzat; Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Ganiyu Johnson and an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Lagos, Mrs Kemi Nelson.


Ban foreign artisans, says group

ROFESSIONALS in the construction industry have said there may be a dearth of artisans and tradesmen in the industry if the importation of foreign artisans, especially from the West African countries and China, is not addressed. According to them, efforts should be made to make bricklaying and other artisans and trades attractive and rewarding the youth, who are not keen on venturing into such areas. The President, Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), Mr Kunle Awobodu, who spoke in Ikorodu, a Lagos suburb, said investigations have shown that young ones were no longer learning the trade. “The implication here is that the nation will witness paucity of trained bricklayers. Age weakens the body, which implies that the productivity of bricklayers will decline and the scarcity of bricklayers will automatically lead to rise in labour cost,” he said. Awobodu, who led a team of volunteers of the guild to address artisans and tradesmen, urged

Stories by Seyi Odewale

them on the importance of team spirit in the industry. This, he said, would boost growth, adding that building is a product of team work. Hesaid building construction could only be achieved through joint efforts of professionals, artisans and suppliers. The BCPG boss said: “It was impossible for a member of the team, in isolation, to complete a building project successfully. The bricklayer, carpenter, iron bender and other tradesmen have a joint responsibility of coupling various elements into forming a building. Hence, bricklayers should not consider themselves more relevant than other tradesmen. “If a member of the team fails to do his own part appropriately, it can create crisis in the building production process. Hence, construction professionals and artisans can be exemplified by the human body that functions according to the condition of various parts of the body. In view of this, discrimination should be discouraged among construction

workers of different departments or trades.” He added that there was the need for bricklayers to specialise in the aspect of the trade they had technical advantage, noting that it would be difficult to get a bricklayer or mason who would be skilful in all areas of building construction. The Chairman, Igbogbo/Baiyeku Local Council Development Area, Mr. Gbenga Basanya, who hosted the bricklayers, said they needed to form an association to make them more visible and to promote standards. A lecturer at the Government Technical College, Ikorodu, Mr. Wole Ajifowoke, said it was important to upgrade standards of brick laying. He urged the masons to embrace modern techniques to gain patronage. He added that there were academic and technical processes that could enable them improve on their knowledge. The Chairman, Bricklayers Association in Lagos State, Mr. Kayode Fatoki said there was a need for developers to source for bricklayers through the body so that they could easily be traced.

lected to perfect the occupation of the trespassers on the Army land and trace such money.” But, a petition by the Chief of Army Staff to the Ministry of Defence stopped the military authority from the planned inspection. The family in their August 13, last year petition, said: “We also make reference to the Ministry of Defence letter, Joint Services Department, Compensation and Lands’ letter reference Number AD/LAD/006/T/136 dated April 24, 2013 in which we were notified of a pending inspection of the said land under reference by a 13-man committee mandated to resolve all outstanding issues. The said inspection was to commence on May 12, 2013. However, we were informed that due to a petition written by the Chief of Army Staff, the inspection exercise was suspended indefinitely.” Since then, they said, nothing has been said about the land. But they said in their letter that if none of their options of either paying them compensation or releasing the said land to them is considered. “We intend going to the court of public opinion and seek redress under the international charters referred to earlier in this letter to obtain justice denied us for so long,” they said. Alternatively, they said they would have written an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and publish same in tthe papers, but were constrained by the then Minister of State for Defence’s efforts “to settle the matter amicably”. But the military maintains that the plaintiffs are not entitled to any land and payment of compensation. They claimed that the family’s actions were statute barred and should be dismissed.

‘Contribute N500 daily, be landowner’ WITH a daily contribution of as small as N500, anyone can be a landlord, a real estate expert has said. The Managing Director, Adron Homes, Mr. Adetola Emmanuel King, who spoke at an end-of-year dinner and awards organised by his firm, said he would encourage people to own homes by investing little amounts. “The idea is to ensure that with as small as N500 or N1,000 daily contribution, anyone can own a land in our estate. With the ittle amount of money in daily personal savings, we were able to encourage a lot of people to key into the platform we offered them to own a house,” he said. His said his firm had achieved a lot in its two years. In 2014, he promised his firm would build over 30 housing units in its first estate, Treasure Park and Gardens. “When we started, I told myself and my pioneering staff that Adron Homes and Properties Limited was out to deliver affordable houses to the people and would not exist as a mere land speculator. From the onset, we created an amazing soft payment plan that ensured people owned land or a house in our estate without having to pay through their nose.” The firm’s Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Funke Shobowale, said the firm would ensure that homeownership becomes a reality. “When a landowner in any of our estates contacts us to build for them, we show them the different house models and plans we have. We also give them our prices and we sit down to break the construction cost down to a period of six months to two years. “Within this period, we expect the home owner to pay for the cost of the different stages the house gets to while we are constructing. We are daily driven and committed to deliver quality and affordable housing to ordinary Nigerians, and that we shall continue to do,” she said. Awards were given to professionals in the built environment for their contributions to the industry. They included Commissioner for Housing, Lagos State, Mr. Bosun Jeje; National President, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Chief Bode Afolayan and Chairman, Faculty of Housing, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Chief Kola Akomolede.





Gubernatorial outlawry?


•Governor Mimiko presenting 2014 budget estimates to a near-empty house does Nigerian democracy no good

HE news that Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, presented the state’s 2014 Budget estimates to nine out of a 26-member legislature is, from a democratic perspective, something to decry. That, out of the 17 members that shunned the event, 12 loitered around the House of Assembly premises, in apparent protest, is even something more reprehensible. Which self-respecting legislature, in a supposed presidential system with its strict separation of power and rigid checks-and-balances, would yield its holiest-of-holies for the head of the executive to desecrate? Indeed, Governor Mimiko’s budget presentation to nine, out of 26 members, reeks of swashbuckling arrogance, bordering on legislative contempt! Though the House was the direct victim of such sacrilege, the ultimate slight is on Nigeria’s democracy. If the governor can so cynically brush aside the constitutionally guaranteed oversight function of the people, as represented by the assembly, then Nigerian democracy is of a peculiar hue. It was a comic presentation that nevertheless was tragic. Still, it is difficult to blame Dr. Mimiko alone for the debacle, even if he swore to an oath to uphold the Constitution. The sssembly too showed reprehensible cowardice, by not insisting on its right under the law. If it had shown enough guts, the governor would have been forced to do the right thing. From newspaper reports, the mass boycott arose from executive-legislature disagreement over the budget. On December

24, for instance, the legislature had rejected a N1.5 billion reported re-ordering of the 2013 budget, which the governor had sent to the House. So, both sides had had a budgetary face-off. Still, boycotting your own chambers is no way to insist on your oversight function, as the Ondo House has done. Indeed, it is tantamount to running away from duty, due to legislative gutlessness. Whatever Governor Mimiko did wrong, he should have been confronted in the hallowed chambers of the Assembly in plenary, rather than the legislators virtually bolting away. Though Ifedayo Akinsoyinu, majority leader of the House, tried to spin the yarn that most of the House members were on other assignments, that claim sounded hollow — and with all due respect to the honourable legislator, brainless. What assignment could be more important than the money bill for the year? Besides, no less than 12 of the protesting lawmakers were in the vicinity, as the governor purportedly presented the N162 billion 2014 budget. Among the high-profile absentees were Fidelis Akinwolemiwa, the chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, and Akindele Adeniyi, Akinwolemiwa’s vice. Among those at the presentation were Dare Emiola, Deputy Speaker, who presided in the absence of Speaker Samuel Adesina, said to be ill. Governor Mimiko, the ‘Quisling 9’ at his presentation and the ‘Boycotting 17’, particularly the 12 in the assembly’s precincts, ought to be ashamed for disgracing themselves and Nigeria’s fledgling

democracy. The governor must know that the law created his office, so he cannot purport to do things any other way from what the law stipulates. Deputy Speaker Emiola has earned due flak for presiding over a session he knew was procedurally flawed — and fatally too! The protesting 17 ran away from duty: they dared the law, but fled from a governor who the law created! If the governor indeed had erred, he ought to have been confronted in the assembly chambers, not outside. To use the Biblical parallel, the Ondo executive and legislature have sinned and fallen short of the glory of democracy. Let the governor go back and re-present his budget; and let the House members present themselves to do the job they were elected for. But let that be the last time Ondo will treat Nigerians to gubernatorial outlawry and legislative pliancy.

‘To use the Biblical parallel, the Ondo executive and legislature have sinned and fallen short of the glory of democracy. Let the governor go back and re-present his budget; and let the House members present themselves to do the job they were elected for’

Tension of civility


•The president erred in describing the political unease today as normal

HE first Sunday of a New Year usually presents a platform for spiritual homily in churches. The one for 2014 was not different except that President Goodluck Jonathan at the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Area 1, Abuja, where he went for the first Sunday service of the year gave an extempore speech that attempted to distort the reasons behind political tensions in the land. He declared at the COCIN service: “….the political environment is always noisy all over the world. There is nowhere you won’t hear so much noise. Even the United States of America, not long ago… was almost shut down. For so many months, people were worried that the country that had practised democracy for so many years could get to that situation. But that is politics for you.’’ The president missed the point through his incongruous comparison on the shutdown in the United States with what is

‘We know that the intent of Mr. President was to downplay the festering of odious bitter rancour that his presidency has foisted on the nation. In vain can anyone decipher what the president sees as normal in the tension of impunity his reign has created in the country’

happening in our country. We recollect that the President Barrack Obama administration from October 1 to October 16, 2013, suffered a shutdown and curtailed most routine operations after Congress failed to enact legislation appropriating funds for the 2014 fiscal year. And it is on record that regular government operations did not resume until October 17 after an interim appropriations bill was signed into law by the Republican Party dominated Congress. The United States matter arose out of disagreement over policy issues and not petty personal ambition/other detrimental considerations that remain the root cause of political tensions generated in the country by the Jonathan presidency. We know that the intent of Mr. President was to downplay the festering of odious bitter rancour that his presidency has foisted on the nation. In vain can anyone decipher what the president sees as normal in the tension of impunity his reign has created in the country. For a start, could it be that the illegal use of Police institution to circumvent democratically elected Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state by Mrs. Patience Jonathan, with obvious support of her husband, something normal in a democracy? The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) chairmanship election witnessed democratic murder when 16 governors taking sides with the president claimed to have won the NGF election over 19 other governors? Shamefully, the president hosted the defiant 16 after the election to a meeting at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa. Is the kind of tension generated by this disdainful electoral abraca-

dabra what the president sees as normal? We ask again: What about the illegal short payments and later outright non-payment of states’ monthly allocation by the current administration? The president and his wife have generated more tension, albeit for the wrong reasons. Sometime last year, Mrs. Jonathan received an honorary doctorate degree from a foreign university at a time when the nation’s universities were under lock and key. Could tensions from all these be normal? We recollect that disarray in the ruling party has become serious distractions to governance. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, an acknowledged benefactor of President Jonathan, wrote a damning letter in which he accused him of, among others, corruption, bad governance, putting 1000 personalities on a watch list and regrettably, of training snipers in preparation for the 2015 elections. Could avoidable apprehension arising from these weighty allegations deemed to be normal in a democracy? More alarming is that members of the mega opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) are justifiably scared of their lives because of the wanton impunity with which Jonathan rules over the country. President Jonathan should learn to put issues in correct perspectives. His deficiency in this regard might be responsible for the wrong approach to most state policies embarked upon by his administration. We want tension of civility and decorum, not Jonathan’s officially created ones through crass presidential impunity.

Much ado about rising inequality • Location is now slightly less of a determinant for life chances


N his “apostolic exhortation”, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis stated that “today we . . . have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality”. Barack Obama, US president, has remarked that the result of technological, social and political change “is an economy that’s become profoundly unequal and families that are more insecure”. Pope and president are saying much the same thing. But are they right? What is the best response? Between 1870 and 2000, distribution of incomes across the world’s households became hugely unequal. But the determinants of inequality shifted radically over time: in 1870, income distribution within countries determined the bulk of the inequality among the world’s households; by 2000, differences among countries determined the bulk of the by then far more unequal distribution. What mattered most then was not what you were, but where you were born. Research at the World Bank suggests, however, that distribution across the world’s households has in fact become less unequal since 2000. If global inequality has indeed fallen, that would be the first time in two centuries. This small reduction in inequality is the consequence of two offsetting forces: relatively fast growth of average incomes in some very large poor countries, notably China and India, and rising inequality within almost all countries, notably including China. Two groups did relatively well between 1988 and 2008: the top 10 per cent of the global distribution (and especially the top 1 per cent) and those in the fifth to 70th percentiles from the bottom. Two other groups did poorly: the bottom 5 per cent and those from the 70th to 90th percentiles. The picture is the result of three developments: first, the world’s lower and middle-income groups (but not the poorest) did relatively well; second, the upper-middle income groups (made up, in large part, of the lower and middle-income groups of high-income countries) did quite badly; and, finally, the world’s richest people did extraordinarily well. Meanwhile, in most high-income economies distribution of incomes has grown more unequal over the past three decades. Particularly important for the US president is the fact that “since 1979 . . . our productivity is up by more than 90 per cent but the income of the typical family has increased by less than 8 per cent”. This means “the basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed”. What, then, is the best response? First, globalisation has created opportunities for a large swath of humanity. Those opportunities need to be preserved and extended. The world’s better-off should continue to help the poorer to prosper. Second, the combination of globalisation with technological change, financial liberalisation and opportunities for rent extraction have generated highly unequal distribution of gains within nearly all countries. The Pope is right: this is socially corrosive. Unfortunately, the processes that generate the unequal distribution of gains undermined willingness and ability to respond effectively. Third, domestic and global order depend on the ability of states to provide essential public goods. Partly for this reason, the obligation to help the relative losers and particularly the children of such losers is most pressing within countries. Otherwise, the sense of solidarity essential to sustaining rust and consent may be in peril. Finally, countries should help one another. This is particularly true in the area of taxation. The picture is not as bleak as many believe. On the contrary, humanity may be beginning to move away from the situation in which location largely determined life chances. But the challenges created by this very development are huge. The sharing of gains matters. It should not be ignored. – Financial Times

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh

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

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu

•Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon

•Advert Manager Robinson Osirike

•Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina

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

•IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness

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





IR: I urge the government of Enugu State to act immediately and prevent the looming epidemic in Nanchi and the surrounding communities in the state. According to an eight-minute video circulating on the internet, miracle seekers are trooping in their hundreds to this village to bath, swim in the so-called mystery lake. The video reveals disgusting images of people diving, swimming, bathing and fetching dirty, stinking water from this lake in an apparent quest for miracles. Personally I wonder if this is a 'miracle quest' to live or to die. According to a local reporter, some Fulani herdsmen heard an explosion on the evening of November 11. And on getting to the point where the explosion occurred they saw some water gushing out of the ground. The herdsman said it was some 'miracle water'. They gave some of the water to a blind colleague who reportedly got healed. Since this incident, the Nanchi mystery lake as it is now called has turned to a pilgrimage centre. Hundreds of people visit the dirty polluted lake to bath and swim with the hope of experiencing some miracles. Family members take their sick relatives there for healing. Some testified knowing some people who were healed after bathing in the lake. From all indications, people who come to swim in this'mystery lake' will end up going home with dis-


IR: Journalists all over the world are regarded as agents of positive changes in the society. For a report to be considered as worthy of publication, it must not only be accurate, but it must be balanced as well. I came across a report filed by The Nation’s correspondent in Jalingo, Fanen Ihyongo with the above headline quoting the Chairman of Sardauna LGC Dr David Jedua as saying that “for the first time the state is so broke that even the treasury of the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs is empty”. He also quoted

ful episode and refused to intervene is a clear demonstration of the quality of governance and health SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF administration in the country. Both NOT MORE THAN 800 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS. federal and state governments should take urgent measures and E-mail: restrain people from going to swim and bath in Nanchi mystery lake. They should encourage Nigerians to embrace and seek out evidence based cures. The government South-east is at risk too. The sight eases, not cures. Nanchi and the is a strong sign of how brainwashed should educate and get Nigerians of gullible Nigerians zealously neighbouring communities should many Nigeria are and have become. to understand that there is no eviswimming in this polluted mystery brace up for an out break of cholPoverty, ignorance and superstidence that Nanchi lake has healing lake, not minding the filthy nature era and other infections in the tion have turned many ordinary powers, and that anyone who goes of the water, is a clear indication of months ahead unless the governNigerians into miracle seekers. to the lake, swims, baths or drinks the decadent state of the mind in ment brings this hazardous situaLack of adequate health facilities the 'mystery' water will end up conNigeria. Many people are ready to tion under control. has worsened the situation. The fact tracting diseases, not miracle cures. compromise basic health principles Many people are coming from that Enugu state authorities have so • Leo Igwe in their quest for miracles. And this outside Enugu state, so the entire far turned a blind eye on this shameBayreuth, Germany


Enugu’s mystery lake and loomimg epidemic


Can Nigeria still meet the MDGs targets?

IR: In September 2000, about 189 heads of states and governments gathered to reaffirm their faith in the United Nations and to adopt the UN Millennium Declaration. The eight key Goals and 21 Targets that were set and agreed to be attained on or before 2015 are: eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achievement of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction in child mortality rates, improvement in maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS pandemic, malaria other diseases, environmental sustainability as well as developing a global part-

nership for development. Almost 14 years after, Nigeria’s attainment of the set goals have been rated differently from good to bad and to worse, depending on who saying what. One thing that is glaring however is that life has not been a bed of roses under the harsh economic climate prevailing in the nation. At a Water Summit held recently, President Goodluck Jonathan stated that Nigeria needs over N350 billion annually to meet its water and sanitation targets. Vice President, Mohammed Sambo,was also quoted as saying at a Stakeholders’ Meeting in Abuja that “Although Nigeria

the immediate past Secretary to the Taraba State Government Emmanuel Njiwah as saying “Take SURE-P funds for instance; the money has all gone”. First and foremost, the quoted former SSG served under the Acting Governor for almost a year until when he was unceremoniously sacked as a result of his alleged involvement in the looting of flood disaster intervention fund released to the state by the federal government. Since bankruptcy is a gradual process, he had never raised any alarm then; why now?

Secondly, he failed to prove his accusation by not presenting any concrete evidence of bankruptcy against the state government. The state government has been performing its obligations, for instance, salaries are being paid regularly as and at when due, all ongoing projects are being funded. One may wish to ask Dr. David Jedua if Bali-Gembu Road project which is under his immediate constituency has been put on hold due to lack of fund? The Acting Governor just paid over three billion debt incurred by Gov. Suntai among oth-

Re- “Taraba is broke”

has made significant strides in reducing maternal mortality from figures that were above 1000/100,000 live births in 1990 to 545/100,000 live births in 2008, attainment of the health MDGs still remain a challenge in Nigeria, as the current annual reduction in under-five mortality of 4% is far below the 13% annual reduction needed to bend the curve to attain Goal 4 by 2015”. For the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Nigeria is among the 38 countries that have already met the internationally-set hunger eradication targets ahead of 2015! The status of MDGs in Nigeria in-

ers. This is a pure blackmail from people who are bent on sabotaging the effort of the current administration. What baffled me most was that the reporter failed to hear from the state government’s side of the story, which is one of the basic ethics of journalism. Let’s try to be objective in our reportorial duties so that we can boost the credibility of our profession. • Muhammad s. Adamu Auta Jalingo, Taraba State

dicates that the country is unlikely to meet most of the targets because the incidence of poverty is reported to have increased from 54.4 percent in 2004 to 65.1 percent in 2010 while about 10 million children of school going age are out of school. Even though successive governments have worked assiduously in ensuring that compulsory Universal Basic Primary Education becomes the right of every Nigerian child, achievements so far recorded in the sector leave much to be desired. The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education has stated that 35 per cent of Nigeria’s estimated 160 million population, about 56 million is considered to be illiterate. Other contending educational issues include inadequate funding, examination malpractice, poor performances recorded in public examinations and industrial unrest. With about a year to 2015, African countries should rather begin to think beyond the magic year. The post 2015 development agenda should recognize the changed context of the world, the changing geography of poverty and the need not only to improve the content but also put in place an accountability framework. • Adewale Kupoluyi Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta






lambs led to the electoral O matter the partisan fealty, ethslaughter. nic grandstanding or media Then, the governor mobiposturing, the Anambra guberlises, mobilises and mobilises, natorial polls of 2013 did not pass the starting with incessant fixing muster of a clean poll. of the infrastructure of the However the courts decide the case, mind, apart from touching Willy Obiano, the declared winner, is grassroots flesh with his not about to play Umaru Musa Yar’ monthly walk-for-life maAdua: clutching his controversial prize, noeuvres. He calls it health if he wins at the courts, but conceding Olakunle walks. But old Action Group his victory is near-fatally tainted. That (AG) veterans could well call, 08054504169 (Sms only, please) Abimbola would be too stiff an admission for the it “Gbogbo Igba, E stand by” — nasty realpolitik that propelled Mr. “On the ready, always” in Obiano. straight English! Those who Still, there is gripping moral from vote claim “federal might” would fiddling — and Mr. Obiano need not look try, but Osun may well be a far: Governor Peter Obi, his benefactor suicide mission for any elecgic for Jonathan’s lifeline in the 2015 sweepstakes, even if Obi and former Governor Chris Ngige, his electoral rival. toral hanky-panky! is an All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) member, and a Indeed, the contrast between Mr. Obi and Dr. Ngige is stark, Ekiti, unfortunately, would appear less clear cut. And The PDP candidate was in the race. bordering on the dramatic. From the stigma of a court-nulliPunch solid interviews with Governor Kayode Fayemi (7 In Ekiti/Osun gubernatorial polls 2014, Governor Olusegun fied poll, former Governor Ngige emerged the face of sane December 2013) and budding challenger, Opeyemi Bamidele Mimiko, another Jonathan ally, would labour (every pun ingovernance in Awka, a fresh liberating force from the ruthless (28 December 2013), underscore the quagmire: why is Ekiti so tended!) to deliver for presidential protégés (Labour candiclamp of Anambra election fixers. blest that the ruling party there had to invent credible elecdate in Ekiti and PDP candidate in Osun), to return an earlier It was the political equivalent of a Saul turned Paul, so much toral opponents where there was none? presidential favour; and gift himself life after two gubernatoso that Ngige’s gubernatorial exploits provided him the spur Beyond demonisation and lionisation, the bastion of the rial terms. to romp to senatorial victory a few years later. emotive, Mr. Bamidele could have played for painful patience, Again, with a crumbling PDP, such foothold in the South On the other hand, Governor Obi, acclaimed beneficiary of a thus playing Pericles, the wise Greek who endured forced banWest would give the troubled president a bounce in his descourt-reclaimed mandate, should have been an uncompromisishment to later trump his foes to become the greatest Atheperation to remain president post-2015 — at all cost, if necesing ambassador of clean polls. But his unabashed association nian lawgiver ever. By defecting to Labour however, he apsary. Again, it is no coincidence that Mimiko belongs, not to with the abjectly flawed Anambra 2014 vote — that was the pears to have played Coriolanus, the rash Roman, who alPDP, but to Labour. near-unanimous verdict of poll observers — may well be the lowed his traducers to push him into fatal enemy embrace, Labour! At best a platform of convenience, at worst a platelectoral equivalent of a Paul turned Saul! and ended in abject ruin. form of perfidy, and in-between a platform of vacuity, Still, in Nigeria’s polity of convenience, ideals might indeed Should Mr. Bamidele fail, he faces possible political destrucMimiko’s LP has perhaps the worst brand equity in Nigeria’s be desirable, but what rules the roost is crass expediency. So, tion. Should he win, he would engineer a further South West troubled democratic polity. it is with Governor Obi, proud prince of electoral rectitude progressive fissure, the nemesis of sane governance and susBoth party and leader perfectly fit each other though, for unfazed by electoral turpitude, and Mr. Obiano, his protégé! tainable development in the region. Either is no flattering Mimiko’s opponents would swear — and not without good But let no one think Anambra 2013 was a one-off accident or epigram to a promising political career. reasons — that he is unrepentant master of the political self, in debacle; particularly with Prof. Attahiru Jega, the IndependBut the Fayemi gubernatorial court is no less indicted in this which serial perfidy is a ready political tool. ent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chair, entering his sorry pass. For tact, they embraced swashbuckling spin and Still, Jonathan’s impunity-powered political manoeuvring usual post-debacle default setting of piping INEC would use media demonisation, bordering on wilful denial. For clinical and Mimiko’s predictable perfidy would not have mattered lessons learnt to improve on future polls. If you believe that, thinking, they embraced emotive grandstanding that worsmuch, if the South West progressives-in-government had not you probably would believe anything! ened the conflict. Now, those hawks in Fayemi’s court have to manifested, yet again, that penchant to self-destroy. The Ekiti/ Indeed, Anambra 2013 was a dress rehearsal for Ekiti/Osun walk their talk! Osun elections ought to have been a breeze, given the admira2014, just as Ondo 2012 prepared the grounds for the Anambra Again, deja vu, ala 2003: gifting the Ekiti opposition life they ble toil of the sitting governments. Yet, they are condemned manipulation. Any wonder then that like Rotimi Akeredolu, don’t deserve! The definitive difference though, is that whereas to toiling hard for victory, especially in Ekiti. Should Ekiti SAN, in Ondo, Dr. Ngige, the major opposition candidate in the South West Gubernatorial Class of 1999-2003 were perfall, the spectre of an illicit “bandwagon” is real. Anambra came third, not second, at the polls? ceived to have generally underperformed, the present breed In Osun, the Ogbeni-Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has his own The parallels are just too stark to ignore! The constant, of are perceived general high performers. challenges; and the opposition strategy would be to drum up course, is an ultra-desperate Jonathan Presidency. The Ekiti electorate would probably be loath to waste their the religious divides, insisting the Mullah of their malevolent In Anambra, the win of Obi’s protégé was absolutely stratevote for another Fayose-era paralysis. But you can bet the imagination was bent on some Islamist agenda; and calling opposing column to give it their best shot, cook the vote and the other side to electoral arms. claim illicit victory from the Ekiti progressives’ “civil war”! But it is doubtful if the gambit would work. For one, the “Before any desperado blunders If that spectre is real, then the Ekiti warriors have not learnt governor works hard and hollers even louder about it. For into skewing the vote: in the South another the projects are so groundbreaking even the sensory- from history. That is a big shame. Even then, before any desperado blunders into skewing the can feel them, not to talk of citizens endowed with West, electoral robbers always pay challenged vote: in the South West, electoral robbers always pay hefty full faculties. Besides, whatever Osun PDP would offer, with prices! hefty prices! balance of forces on ground, are likely to be no more than

epublican ipples

Anambra 2013, Ekiti, Osun 2014


F Nigerians ever needed iron-clad evidence of outlawry of their national oil corporation, weekend’s response by the General Manager, Media Relations, Group Public Affairs Department, NNPC, Omar Farouk to the firestorm over the alleged missing $10.8billion may have finally supplied one. Not that anyone ever doubted the farce that rules the nation’s finance system as a whole; or the plague of officials helping themselves to the national till that has long become norm. However, the latest revelation of the laissez faire conduct, the outrageously out-of-control practices by a corporation that is supposed to be a creation of statute –with active connivance of top officials of the finance ministry - may have set new limits in outlawry. Let’s start from the very beginning. Late last year, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, had alleged that the corporation failed to remit $49.8bn to the Federation Account for the period spanning 18 months – that is, between January 2012 and July 2013. The problem, as it later turned out was that the figures declared missing had failed to take into account the $39 billion paid by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, into the federation account. I had said on this page that, coming from the nation’s top banker, the ‘omission’ was inexcusable, if not entirely irresponsible. Since then, the officials of the finance and petroleum ministries - including the NNPC, have made valiant attempts to pass off the charge as fiction even when there was still $10.8 billion unaccounted for. Apparently, the corporation’s weekend tale of the missing money was meant to be the final demolition job on the charge by the CBN governor. While I do understand that some so-called defence do not so qualify; the suggestion that the missing money has been spent on behalf of the federal government, is not only worse than no defence at all, it borders on the treasonable! Let’s look at the three-part component of how the money went as told by the NNPC’s spokesman. The first part, he claims represents “the expenses on some of the responsibilities, which the corporation carries out on behalf of the Federal Government with respect to domestic crude oil utilisation. One of such issues is the unpaid subsidies on kerosene and Premium Motor Spirit”. Here, if Nigerians are any familiar with the billions allegedly paid to the scores of ghost importers of petrol and kerosene, the tale about the value being deducted at the source from NNPC’s piggy bank on behalf of the federal government has been told so severally to the point of be-

Policy Sanya Oni 08051101841

Lost and found! ing wearisome. Considering that the same subsidy is also said to be charged on the excess crude account, Nigerians must wonder at what is going on. The same applies to the 32 days’ stock of premium motor spirit at 40 million litres of national consumption per day. Isn’t that supposed to be one-off budget? Of course, while the reserve accounting looks easy and simple and straightforward to determine upfront, NNPC and its allies in government obviously think that they require something outside the cycle of the budget to defray. And the third – you guessed right: the cost “of pipeline vandalism, oil theft and other security issues”. Again, that is supposed to be indeterminate – the kind that requires the rule of thumb to determine. And the three, we are told is what makes up the yet-tobe-reconciled balance of $10.8bn”! Should anyone be surprised at the creative account that seeks to work backwards to the answer? To be candid, the shock would have been if the reconciliation team came up with anything new? To begin with, for a corporation that has long acquired the image of a lawless entity, the self-indicting revelation that the quantum of national obligations – reckoned in billions of dollars from the federation account – could be financed outside of the framework of appropriations can only pass on the altar of the ingrained culture of criminal impunity. Before now, the arguments about the deductibles from the federation account had always centred on the shady operational costs borne by the NNPC in the course of its activities. Quite familiar also is the creative accounting in which all manners of expenses gets passed off to the federation account. Now, the revelation that the corporation has a licence to do as it pleased with the federation account has finally

been declared as legit! So, no money is missing? Only when one accepts that the beneficiaries of the accruals into the federation account actually get the amount due to them can one suggest otherwise. Now to the specifics: Did Finance Minister OkonjoIweala actually claim last year that she had not paid any subsidy on kerosene since she assumed office? At what point was it therefore charged to the NNPC account? Is a case of looking for expenses to charge to the missing money? The latter obviously raises the question of who authorised the payment from the NNPC accounts. Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke? Or the NNPC board which she chairs? Does the board – if it exists – have such powers? Is it the Federal Executive Council? Could they have done so without the authority of the National Assembly? While Nigerians may not have bothered about the laws of the republic being broken by officials sworn to uphold the law, I guess it’s time to worry about the parallel government described as the NNPC; a quasi-government without the strictures of parliament; an entity only answerable to a conclave. Still want to know where the money went? Certainly, it’s not in the books. Try as the reconciliation team might to try, the job goes beyond reconciliation. That itself assumes that the reconcilers have the nerves to do the job. Soon enough, Nigerians would see evidence in the cities and the country-sides when our Abuja overlords unleash their war-chest for 2015. That time, it would be headache for Sanusi as it would be for everyone of us all. Again, it is happy New Year!

‘For a corporation that has long acquired the image of a lawless entity, the self-indicting revelation that the quantum of national obligations – reckoned in billions of dollars from the federation account – could be financed outside of the framework of appropriations can only pass on the altar of the ingrained culture of criminal impunity’





FTENTIMES, human nature bestows on us the instinctive and sprawling capacity and capability to vacillate between extreme options of bad and good demeanour under varying circumstances, but the reality of modern society requires and demands that caution, restraint, modesty, monitoring supervision and reward system are needed and compelling to establish peace, guarantee orderliness, encourage civility, imbibe fellowship, pursue egalitarianism and promote justice for the smooth, modest, organized and unfettered cohabitation and coexistence of humans everywhere. Thus, to all intents and purposes, various forms of governance are devised and put in place for the proper management of society to enhance peaceful coexistence, equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, engender smooth interaction within and across borders and foster unity and harmony amongst the people. The basic irreducible minimum required for the smooth running of society is the establishment of the “rule of law” to guarantee peace, order and good governance. Such an arrangement manifests in the “legislation” of virtually every sphere of human endeavour. These legislations manifest as a body of laws, rules, regulations, acts, bills, statutes, enactments and ordinances – all of which form the barometers to drive all the various sectors of society – social, economic and political. Please observe that all such legislations derive their potency, legitimacy, authority, inspiration and strength from the constitution of the country that ideally and ab initio represents the will, yearnings, aspirations, inspiration and resolve of the hoi polloi. Whilst giving verve to the citizenry and support to all established institutions, the essence of legislation therefore, is to observe, monitor and regulate not only the behaviour of the people as they interact - to avoid skirmishes or breaches of the rule of law, it is also designed to ensure and manage overall best practices in governance, commerce and business - thereby stimulating progress and fostering growth and sustainable development in its full ramifications. This stance and gift of legislation is even more so relevant when the popular and well-acknowledged sanctuary that could underwrite and give succour to the yearnings and aspirations of the people, is the government of the people by the people for the people – this arrangement happens to be the government of the day, here. In fact, political pundits relish and extol democracy as the best form of government currently known to man – the world over. In the end, every sector of society relies on legislation to operate or function well and be part of world order that is the harbinger of international best practices in all perspectives. Technology and its evolving convergence are surely part of this legislative wholesomeness. The foregoing is to acknowledge and under-


Legislative perspectives on technology convergence By Kunle Bello score the incontrovertible importance of legislation as the live wire of a nation more so a developing one as Nigeria. Its impact on the concomitant services generated by the development and deployment of technology - distinct or convergent, is invaluable, as the purpose of technology itself, is to bring about welfare, security, comfort and fulfilment to the citizenry - culminating in growth and sustainable development for the country, at large. In the quest for comfortable, luxurious, safe and secured living especially, since the outset of industrial revolution, man has constantly and irrepressibly toiled in the cumulus waters of research, dynamic innovations and creativity to discover, develop and deploy technology – the scientific knowledge behind machinery and equipment that are meaningful and useful to humanity in time and space. The continual efforts of researchers - in the ambience of an everincreasing demand for cognate services at the marketplace, have brought about gargantuan and meaningful developments in various fields across the globe – thus, enhancing growth and sustainable development for the socio-economic and political advancement of society. Incidentally, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been at the frontiers and over time, at the front burner of development - steering and managing every sector of human endeavour. Today’s ICTs are the drivers of the current global connectivity that has turned the world into a converged global village. Indeed, this growth vehicle (ICT) has turned around small and big economies and still enhancing the fortunes and prosperity of its developers and those that imbibe the culture which Information and Communications Technology (ICT) revolution brought in its trail. As ICT presents an indomitable and inescapable footprint and launching pad for the development of all socio-economic and political sectors, it is therefore the chosen technology on which platform we could examine technology convergence and its interplay with legislation and regulation at the marketplace. Given its sprawling impact on technology development, economic and commercial influence coupled with its widespread use across the globe, the telecoms technology as epitomized by the mobile cellular phone technology especially the GSM extraction, is leading the way and direction in the ICT family. The shrinking and ongoing

HERE is more to the scandalous exposure of the CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as a false whistle blower on the supposedly untidy accounting books of the nation's petroleum sector than a section of the Nigerian Press wants us to believe. Ordinarily, the sensational letter from the CBN Governor to the President raising worrying issues indicating the diversion of earnings from the lucrative crude oil sales by the NNPC is a classical scoop that no newspaper will fail to publish under banner headlines. In this case both the message and the messenger combine to lend credence to the typical Nigerian hear-say and the added spice of a leaked letter could only have proved irresistible to even the most conservative of editors. So on the face of it, the media splash of screaming headlines and crusading editorials literally canonizing the CBN Governor for such a patriotic spilling of the beans and simultaneously bashing not just the NNPC but the entire Goodluck Jonathan Presidency, was to be expected. With the House Speaker's blame game on corruption and former President Obasanjo's hell-raising letter all hitting the headlines within a few days interval, it was indeed the opposition's delight. However, the post-leakage euphoria was dramatically deflated when the Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, CBN Governor made a straight-faced admission of willful exaggeration and inexcusable negligence of official responsibility following the humiliating outcome of a rather belated reconciliation of accounts that provided damning evidence of the CBN Governor's dishonest flippancy. By professional reckoning, the news value of the initial leaked letter from the CBN Governor was just as sensational as his self-indicting factual somersault before the Senate which confirmed not only that the CBN Governor misled the nation but that he did so in spite of having the facts of the matter right under his nose. The Press that was also clearly culpable, as the chosen weapon of mass deception by flagrant disregard of the ethics of news reporting, should have been more outraged by this fiasco than the initial "scoop" that never was. Instead, it was as if the news instincts of the editors had been suddenly turned off. Those that reported the CBN Governor's gaffe at all tucked into inconspicuous portions of their reports, others callously stuck to the CBN Governor's discredited whistle-blowing posturing. Such a bizarre twist in professional standards of news re-

convergence of the erstwhile distinct sectors of telecoms, computing and broadcasting or multimedia, in the face of flourishing broadband technology (fixed and mobile) is the case at issue. It is no longer flummoxing to observe that with a single piece of mobile device you could talk (voice), send text messages (data), browse the Internet (data), watch football matches or drama (video), discuss on live television and radio (media streaming), do online shopping (data), engage in mobile banking (data) or mobile music (voice), enjoy location-based services (data) like personalized weather service or real-time traffic data and also have the benefit of other information services like stocks or horoscope etc. Indeed, the list is virtually endless. THE CONVERGENCE ISSUE Technology convergence is the fusion of erstwhile distinct or separate technologies and indeed, technical entities to achieve a desired synergy of functionalities, management and more diverse and bespoke services. Thus, heterogeneous or separate technologies, systems and networks are continually brought together and implemented using common protocols to enhance uniformity, seamlessness and interoperability - thereby, providing a wider range of diverse services whilst, achieving savings in capital (CAPEX) and operational costs (OPEX) for the network and service providers. A very glaring and incontrovertible front-burner case at issue, is the Information Communication Technology (ICT) in which networks merge, markets merge, services merge and users even merge – all, eliciting a total convergence in the evolutionary ICT domain. Indeed, the convergence between fixed and mobile networks and services often referred to as Fixed and Mobile Convergence (FMC) in the ambience of robust broadband technology that is rapidly diffusing and closing the hitherto, distinct boundaries of Telecoms, Computing and Broadcasting or multimedia sectors, has brought about a number of policy, legislative and regulatory issues. LEGISLATION AND REGULATION The aftermath of globalization of the recent past culminated in the deregulation of the entire marketplace albeit, in varying degrees and also laden with geocentric hue across the globe. Whilst deregulation encourages and promotes competition thereby allowing markets forces to determine pricing regimes and other market processes and procedures, the need to protect consumers from unwholesome and unbridled practices of some industry practitioners - for in-

stance, incumbent or dominant operators, however, has become exceedingly necessary and imminent. To all intents and purposes, legislation gives the regulation of ICT - both in its distinct forms and divergent character, the empowerment and teeth with which to bite and reprimand any erring network or service provider who contravenes any provision of the licence conditions in the course of providing services, irrespective of location - within and across borders. Essentially, such sanctions and penalties that regulators impose for market abuse as a post-licence oversight responsibility, range from monetary fines - a percentage of company's turnover, modification of licence and additional licence obligation, to outright licence revocation. The policy, legislative and regulatory challenges that are thrown up at the instance of ICT convergence are mainly on licensing with its attendant reverberations. Ab initio, specific services or a generic group of services were deserving of separate licences but with convergence, a service provider can now deliver multiple services (converged) to a customer with a single subscriber number on which one bill is raised, and the customer is also served from a single integrated network rather than two distinct (fixed and mobile) terminals. Incidentally, such a flexible service provisioning that obliges a consolidation of different services in a generic categorization or the unification of all services under a single licence or concession referred to as a “Unified Licence” also promises a reduction in operational costs and complexity. This convergence posturing that is being adopted worldwide, as opposed to the traditional service-specific orientation, is based on the principles of technology and service neutrality. There is also the so-called licence-exempt case that is a total departure from the erstwhile licensing procedures. Here, most administrative and traditional formalities are jettisoned giving way to ordinary registration or even simple notification to the regulator of the intent to offering services. Although a wider range of services have been brought into the fold through these over-simplified and flexible reforms, policy-makers and legislators alike are still mulling over the reverberations these reforms are gradually seeping into the industry and marketplace. However, this challenge does not detract anything from the recognition the reforms are giving the rights and obligations of network and service providers. Other important areas of interest where consideration is essential include, spectrum assignment and use, interconnection and numbering scheme. •Bello, A former Managing Director of NITEL presented this paper at West Africa Convergence Conference in Lagos

The limits of criticism By Adamu Gwazuwang porting and brazen adoption of bias and prejudice as hallmarks of journalism was most distasteful coming from leading newspapers that flaunt pious slogans of objectivity and fearlessness on their mastheads. For the avoidance of doubt, the Press deliberately played down the unpatriotic excesses of the CBN Governor who sought to out-do the political opposition in their tendency to smear and sleaze the incumbent President and government and all agencies of government more often than not, without justification. The incontestable fact is that the reconciliation process including the CBN Governor was satisfied that there was nothing like a 49.8 billion dollars of unremitted proceeds from crude oil sales diverted by the NNPC from the federation account. It was also confirmed that the CBN is in possession of the accounts into which the remittances were duly paid but ignored them for reasons yet to be explained by the CBN Governor. As if this attitude is not bad enough, weeks after the CBN Governor has himself expressed remorse over his indiscretions and the sensational press hullaballoo forced into acquiescence by the share weight of corrective information, some newspapers would still rehash discredited statements disowned by the author – the CBN Governor. Discerning Nigerians were aware that the 12 billion dollar figure was not only corrected to about 10.8 billion dollars by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, but further clarified to represent the amount yet to be reconciled at the time of the briefing to the Senate Committee but certainly not "missing." The needless controversy was CBN Governor's tactless face-saving effort following his admission that his phantom figure of 49.8 Billion dollars was in fact a huge misinformation that the minister promptly debunked with convincing finality. The NNPC has declared that by the time the reconciliation process is completed, it will be established that the amount represents some of the responsibilities that it carries out on behalf of the federal government such as the unpaid subsidies on kerosene and premium motor spirit (PMS). Dr. OkonjoIweala was earlier reported to have stated that no subsidy on

kerosene has been paid since she assumed office. It is also on record that since January 2012, NNPC has been importing a bulk of the PMS used in the country as most of the private oil marketing firms stopped importing the product. NNPC has successfully kept the nation well stocked with products, especially PMS, these past two years and the national budgets in the period did not capture subsidy to the corporation. Similarly, the NNPC is required to maintain huge petroleum products reserves in the national territorial waters as strategic reserves in the national interest and at the rate of 40 million litres of PMS national consumption per day, NNPC currently maintains 32 days’ sufficiency of products. The cost of pipeline vandalism and oil theft are security issues affecting over 5000 kilometers of pipelines across the country on which NNPC expends huge resources on pipeline protection and repairs, operational downtime and outright revenue loss from crude oil and product theft and willful spillage. All these make up the yet-to-be-reconciled balance of $10.8bn known to all the parties in the reconciliation process. With all this verified information in public circulation for weeks, it is incomprehensible that some newspapers will adamantly continue dishing out the falsehood. Sadly, there is little or no hope that the errant fringes of the Nigerian Press can be called to order in what is clearly a disservice to the citizenry. The wise citizens should therefore protect themselves from press freedom without responsibility henceforth. • Gwazuwang, a petroleum industry watcher wrote from Abuja.

‘It is also on record that since January 2012, NNPC has been importing a bulk of the PMS used in the country as most of the private oil marketing firms stopped importing the product. NNPC has successfully kept the nation well stocked with products, especially PMS, these past two years and the national budgets in the period did not capture subsidy to the corporation’



NEWS APC chieftain warns PDP against wishful thinking


HIEFTAIN of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State Akinrogun Segun Taiwo has faulted a statement credited to a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southwest, Mr Kashamu Buruji. The PDP regional leader allegedly said APC Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was PDP’s and the nation’s No. 1 enemy. Taiwo described the statement as “disgusting, full of sound and fury, senseless as well as myopic in thought.” The APC chieftain urged Ebonyi State Governor Martins Elechi and others waiting for the APC to break up and President Goodluck Jonathan to continue beyond 2015 to stop building castles in the air. He advised them to follow the steps of the former five PDP governors and 37 House of Representatives’ members. Addressing reporters yesterday in Oyo town, Taiwo urged Dr Jonathan to call his party men to order, exhibit leadership by example by eschewing power intoxication, executive arrogance and intolerance. The APC chieftain advised the President to listen to and learn from constructive criticisms in the interest of national stability. He said: “It is regrettable that the present PDP-led administration lacks a sense of accountability. The ruling party is bereft of good ideas to manage the country’s resources. Yet, the party’s

From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

members and leaders, rather than reflect and cover their heads in shame, go about polluting the environment with odorous comments. “Do they think Nigerians are fools? How on earth do they expect Nigerians to vote again an administration that has made sanity, order and human sanctity alien to the land... due to bad leadership?” Taiwo, a former special adviser to ex-Oyo State Governor Adebayo AlaoAkala, noted that because human dignity and decent yardsticks for measuring success have been eroded by bad governance, most people have resorted to dubious means of acquiring wealth. The APC chieftain wondered why the PDP and the Presidency were desperate

‘It is a matter for regret that the present PDP-led administration lacks a sense of accountability. The ruling party is bereft of good leadership ideas to judiciously manage the country’s resources’ to hurt Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, General Muhammadu Buhari and respected progressives in the opposition. He said the APC chieftains are political leaders, who have been making tireless efforts to save the country from drifting to chaos.

Taiwo warned that the antics of the PDP and the Presidency would only make the progressives more popular. He said: “Tinubu’s name and personality attract fondness and respect. It is obvious that the APC leader has earned for himself a golden name and immortalised himself in the hearts of the present and future generations.” “The sons and daughters of Yorubaland are proud of his achievements. The present and future leaders of the country should emulate these.” The APC chieftain challenged Kashamu to present his credentials for public scrutiny. He added: “They (PDP leaders) need not be in a haste and jittery. Let them wait to witness the mother of all surprises by the APC. The party has set the pace and is determined to take over leadership to give the people the much-expected visionary leadership...”

‘Corps members’ safety my priority’


HE Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Johnson Bamidele Olawumi, has promised to ensure the safety of corps members across the country. Olawumi, who assumed office yesterday as the 16th director-general of the NYSC, said he would ensure that corps members posted to the North are protected. He said: “Corps members should not be afraid. The era of seeking redeployment should be over as mechanisms will be put in motion to ensure the safety of corps members across the country.” Olawunmi promised to be open, fair and transparent in his administration of the NYSC. He called for mutual respcet among the work-

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

ers, saying the office should be accorded the respect it deserves. The NYSC chief promised to ensure that the workers were not denied their entitlements. The outgoing DG, Brig.-Gen. Nnamdi Okore Affia, urged the new management to ensure that the distress call-centre he put in place remained functional. He said: “The distress call-centre should be put to proper use always as this is the best way to ensure that corps members are assisted whenever they are confronted with security challenges.”

TCN targets 20,000MW in five years


HE Chief Executive Officer of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Mack Kast, yesterday said he envisaged a situation in which Nigeria will have four times the present 5,000 megawatts power generation in the next five years. “Right now, we have, say, a capacity of 5,000 megawatts (MW). What is going on in my mind is that in the next five years, we will be able to evacuate four times or more than that,” he said. Kast spoke in Abuja, where he listed the challenges in the Power sector to 522 new engineers from the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN). The TCN chief noted that the electricity distribution companies were handed over to private owners on November 1, last year, with hopes for stable and sufficient power supply. He told the new workers that the challenge was for the transmission sub-sector to stay ahead of the generation capacity to meet the customers’ demand for steady power supply. According to him, the TCN needs complementary workers to accomplish the task ahead. Kast said: “We cannot do this alone. We cannot do with the existing complementary staff; we have to move forward. In moving forward, we have to build the Transmission sector to stay ahead of the generation capacity that has been delivered.

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

“The generation was privatised as at November 1 (last year). With that, it is expected to build and generate more capacity. If they build more capacity, we have to be in a position to evacuate that capacity to the users downstream to the distribution companies downstream. We are the critical sector linking the two. “So, our biggest challenge is to be able to stay ahead of the two... “The people in these areas do really care. What they want is steady power supply at a competitive price. So, that is where we come in, to make sure that we can meet that demand. To do that, it takes a lot of tremendous work.” The TCN chief admonished the workers that what lies ahead of them is not just their jobs but also the opportunity to boost Nigeria’s economy. He added that with an expanded economic growth, the government would have an expanded tax base and, consequently, higher tax collections. NAPTIN’s Director-General Reuben Okeke noted that the TCN could have engaged graduates from elsewhere. He said those employed from the institute made a difference, urging the new staff to overcome the challenges in the Power sector, by increasing capacity and preventing system collapse.

Middlesbrough signs

OMERUO on loan

Newspaper of the Year



A helping hand for widows, orphans in Yobe •PAGE 26

The joy of roasted fish

•PAGE 30

Plateau back from the brink F OR sure, terrorists did their worst, plunging Plateau State, the home of peace and tourism, into crises. But it has clawed its way back from the brink. For two years now, there has been a good measure of stability, even growth. Many towns in the state are fast taking on the status of mega cities. Jos, the capital, is an example. Bukuru, headquarters of Jos South Local Government Area is also becoming another big city. Most of the local government headquarters like Bassa, Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Mangu have been witnessing population explosion over the past two years. Jos-Bukuru metropolis which comprises Jos North and Jos South local government areas is also witnessing population explosion within a spate of two years of its recovery from crises. This is the city that was almost deserted and forlorn between 2001 and 2008 when violence reached its peak.

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

Curfew, state of emergency, silent killings and other atrocities combined to make life in the city a regimented one. This situation resulted in many residents seeking alternative place of abode outside Jos. That was when many residents of the city were forced to go to bed by 6: 00 p.m. daily. This state of affairs lasted for over six

months between the last quarter of 2008 and first quarter of 2009. That was then. Today, Jos the state capital is becoming bloated with population as a result of the peace that has returned to the city since 2010. Those residents who fled the city when violence reigned did not only return en masse, thousands of other Nigerians displaced from their states in the north by insurgents also ran to Jos to take refuge.

‘Some of the advantages of these policies are crime control, conflict resolutions; conflict management, boosting developments, creation of data for easy public administration, management of urbanisation, emergencies and provision of social services, among others’

As at the last quarter of 2010 when insurgency swept through most states of the North, Plateau State had already achieved peace and Jos became the ideal destination for citizens of Northeastern Nigeria who fled their zones as a result of activities of the dreaded Boko Haram. At a point, over 4,000 Christians who are indigenous to Damaturu, Yobe State fled to Jos for safety. They claimed they escaped to Jos from Boko Haram bullets. A lot of families also left Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to reside in Jos. With what was happening in Maiduguri, Jos became a haven of peace. With the new wind of peace blowing across the city of Jos and its environs, the city has returned to its usual hustling and bustling status. Business activities rejuvenated in full swing beyond government’s expectation. Today, it is hard to convince visitors •Continued on page 42

Kogi after 2012 floods •PAGE 32

Christmas tragedy: Church property up in flames •PAGE 42




A helping hand for widow A

MINIYA Mantan Yobe (a trusted friend of women) is the new name of Governor Ibrahim Gaidam. Women gave him the name because of his closeness, commitment and care for them and orphans in the state. Apart approving the sum of N34 million for the 2013 fiscal year for orphans and vulnerable children in the state and other special interventions funds for the well-being of the orphans and widows in the state, Governor Gaidam sometimes engages the vulnerable in confidence building talks to make them realise that their condition does not negate whatever they wish to achieve in their various endeavours. For instance, at the lunching of the 2013 World Ophans Day organised by the state ministry of Women Affairs, Gaidam admonished orphans that there are governors and presidents among them only if they work hard and put behind their present circumstances, noting that “Allah rewards hard work and determination”. Gaidam said: “Don’t allow your present condition as an orphan to deny you your destiny. You just have to work very hard to reverse your present circumstance. You need to know that Allah rewards hard work and determination. Some of you here can become governors, president, commissioners, professors etc in future but only if you work hard,” Gaidam advised. The governor who took time out to challenge the children with his school boy life story narrated how he used to trek barefooted from his village in Yunusari Local Government to Geidam which is over 100km in search of education. He told the orphans that due to his poor background as a child, he was just going to school and never thought he will become governor one day, adding that his hard work, perseverance and commitment has brought his reward from Allah to become governor. Gaidam promised to continue assisting orphans in his capacity as governor and even after his tenure of office expires. According to the commissioner of Women Affairs in Yobe state Hajiya Asmau Kabi Kollo, women have never had it better in the state. Investigation revealed that women have enjoyed greater percentage with a commissioner, two permanent secretaries, over six Senior Special Assistants. Other women have also been appointed in the position of General Manager and Executive Chairman in the state. Hajiya Asmau explained that apart from the government of Ibrahim Gaidam in the last few years embarked on various developmental programs that have touched directly on the welfare of lives of women, children and orphans in the state. Presenting some of her scorecard in the last year, Hajiya Asmau explained all the Women Development Centers in 17 local government areas which were hitherto dormant have been re-activated with skills acquisition materials and equipment to enhance grass root training for women economic empowerment for self-reliance. Another area that the administration of Gaidam has had tremen-

From Duku Joel, Damaturu

dous impact on women according to the commission is the area of healthcare delivery where the government expended the sum of N27million on the Maryam Abatcha Clinic for construction of a Labour and Pediatrics wards

and general renovation at the clinic. In her words: “500 sewing machines, 100 mini grinding machines, 50 deep freezers, 50 sets of beads making materials to 1,300 women, some of whom have already undergone training in these trades under the

•Gaidam with the widows

•The women

Women Development Centres across the state, adding that, the skill acquisition materials cost government about N27 million. To encourage women in agricultural activities for improved food security for sustainable development, government had approved N42 million for poultry

farming and ruminant breeding. “A total of 260 women would benefit from a soft loan of N100, 000.00 each to start up poultry production, while 400 women will benefit from a soft loan of N40, 000.00 each for ruminant breeding. About 850 widows and other vulnerable groups



THE NORTH REPORT Community demands development

ows, orphans in Yobe would be supported with a loan of N30, 000.00 each to launch themselves into useful business, Hajiya Asmau informed. Little wonder, widows and Orphans in Yobe state during the last Ramdan decided to dedicate their fasting for Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam and his gov-

ernment as a mark of appreciation for what he has done for them in the state. Free grains and seed monies were distributed to the vulnerable group on that occasion. Again, the governor was very resolute in his desire to continue to put smile on the faces of the wid-

ows as he said: “It is my belief that an enduring poverty eradication programme must be anchored on the people so that they will come less dependent on the privileged few and the government for the provision of most of their basic needs. This also conforms to our resolve and focus on teaching our

people, ‘how to fish rather than making them depend on fish handout”. For the records, the spirit and moral of a Yobe woman, widowed or not with orphans and other vulnerable group has remained high and bright. Their hopes are still hinge on 2014 with Gov. Gaidam still holds sway as governor.

•The items for the widows

New guidelines for Abuja park operators


ANY Abuja motorists are fed up with park operators who determine how people park their vehicles in the public space. And as a result, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) is set to issue new guidelines that will make them render fair services to the public. This, the authorities say, will reduce the number of complaints lodged with it by people on account of their method of operation.The FCTA has already set up a model for the guidelines, even as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Senator Bala Mohammed has already set up a committee to look into the up street parking.The FCT Secretary of Transport, Engr. Jonathan Ivoke disclosed this in a chat with newsmen during which he acknowledged the alleged shrewd activities of the on-street parking consultants who are short changing the residents. ”The minister has set up a committee to look into the on-street parking in Abuja due to the level of complaints we have been receiving. We realised that some of them do not pay their workers while some pay them very little; which is the reason for most of their behaviours,” he said.Ivoke also added that the managements of on-street parking have no right to occupy open spaces

From Gbenga Omokhunu and Grace Obike

because these are off-street zones. He further said that “unlike their usual ways of removing number plates of cars belonging to offenders, they do not have the mandate to remove anybody’s number plate.He therefore instructed the Directorate of Road Transport Services (DRTS) popularly referred to as VIO, to remove all abandoned vehicles on the FCT highways.He noted that the removal of these abandoned vehicles on the FCT roads will go a long way in improving the level of security as well as reducing traffic bottlenecks experienced most times. Ivoke remarked that some of these abandoned vehicles sometimes cause avoidable accidents.He re-affirmed the commitment of the FCT Administration to complete the multi-billion Naira Abuja rail project by 2015 as promised by the FCT Minister. ”The Abuja rail is a priority project of the Federal Government which would be driven to a logical conclusion to serve residents of the Federal Capital Territory as transportation is life,” he said.


By Gbenga Omokhunu

ESIDENTS of Congo community along Funtaj Road in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have appealed to the council chairman, Mr. Shaban Tete to provide the community with basic infrastructure in this year to ease their prolonged suffering. Checks by our correspondent revealed that members of the community are truly going through hard times due to non-availability of basic infrastructure such as pipe-borne water, electricity, healthcare centres and others that can improve their well-being. Zephaniah Iyah who is indigenous to the community expressed griefs that, since the existence of the community, past administrations have failed to provide dividends of democracy to it, saying that it seemed as if the community has completely been ruled out of the council. “The bad state of this community is becoming unbearable and things are getting worse by the day. There is nothing in this community that can represent the existence of past and present administrations. We have been left behind in all areas of development. “Past administrations have failed to impact positively on our lives and I do not know why we are treated this way. We voted for them as our leaders, but they have failed to lead us well. I am appealing to our present chairman, Mr Shaban Tete to come to our aide and save us from further suffering in this New Year,” he said. Ishiaku Balla, another inhabitant also expressed his disappointment over what he called criminal neglect of the area. He said that because of the neglect those indigenous to Congo Village have been experiencing for a long time, they have completely lost hope of the government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “When I visit Kuje town and other communities that have received some infrastructural improvement from past and present chairmen, I always ask if Congo Village is part of Kuje Area Council. The truth is that the government has disappointed us. I hope this present administration will make a difference and restore our faith in the ruling party. “I sincerely want to appeal to Mr Shaban Tete to come to our rescue. We need potable water supply, even if it is two or three water boreholes, electricity to improve our economic values, healthcare centres to take care of our health needs and other basic infrastructure that will give us a sense of belonging,” he said.

Cleric challenges leaders on accountability


HE Senior Pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), at Yenche community in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Rev. Samson Jonah has challenged political leaders at all levels to be accountable to their electorate. Jonah gave the advice during the thanksgiving service in honour of Hon. Ishaku Shaban Tete. While speaking on the theme, “Leadership with the Fear of God” he urged political leaders to govern their people with honest hearts and leave legacies that would serve as reference point for future leaders. The cleric said: “Leaders must be transparent and committed to work for the benefit of the electorate, saying that for the country to move forward and overcome its present challenges, political leaders must be patient, steadfast and committed to service at all times.” Responding, Hon. Shaban re-affirmed his commitment to the provision of basic necessities of life for the people of Kuje. Shaban urged residents to support his administration’s strides towards achieving present transformation initiative of the government. “What propelled me to thank God is the success recorded during my campaign. I felt it is necessary for me to appreciate Him.

Leaders must be transparent and committed to work for the benefit of the electorate, saying that for the country to move forward and overcome its present challenges, political leaders must be patient, steadfast and committed to service at all times By Gbenga Omokhunu

Over the years, I never expected to be what I am today. With the grace of God, everything has been possible,” he said. Tete further said his administration would achieve more with the support and prayers and constructive advice of the residents. He said this year his administration would concentrate on execution of development projects for the benefit of residents of Kuje.




New life for abandoned Ga

•Minister of State, Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama during the inspection tour of the prison


ASHUA, apart from being the capital of Bade Local Government Area in Yobe State and administrative seat of the famous Bade Emirate, also hosts celebrity prisoners. The late legal icon and human rights crusader, Gani Fawehinmi, was one such. At the mention of ‘Gashua’, what crosses the mind of an average Nigerian in the southern and indeed other sections of the country especially those outside the North eastern axis is nothing but a home of prison or prisoners. But those who know Bade really celebrate its enviable geography, sociology and the history of the people and the emirate. Located at the foot of River Yobe about 200km northwest from the state capital Damaturu, the people of Gashua are highly industrious with very high entrepreneur skills which places the city just second from Potiskum one of the largest economic hubs in Yobe state. They are predominantly fishermen, farmers, and hunters. Though this reporter does not intend to bore readers with the history of the emirate or of the people, it is however imperative to say that the Bade Emirate was a very powerful one that was neither conquered by the famous Kanem Borno Empire nor the Jihadists of great Othman Danfodio after several fierce attacks. The emirate had a fortified military base at Gogaram in the present Jakusko Local Government Area. It is said that the people willingly ceded to Kanen Borno Empire but remained a buffer state. Gani suffered greatly at the Gashua prison. After spending 121 horrific days at the prison in 1989, thanks to former military leader Ibrahim Babangida, Gani in one of

•The administrative block of the prison under construction

From Duku Joel, Damaturu

his interviews painted the gloomy picture of the prison at Gashua: “The cells there are terrible. I was detained there in 1989. So I know what I am saying. The cell is about 18 feet by 10 feet. It is surrounded

by yet another big terrible wall which is 22 feet. So there is no way air is going to penetrate this cell. “The windows are so tiny; it is built in such a way that when you peep out of the windows, it is the outer wall that you will see. The outer wall overshadows the cell completely. There is just a little

space between the cell and the wall. So I started sweating the very moment they opened the cell and locked me in. “The cell I was put is Cell D, which is a solitary confinement, far removed from other cells. The cell has no ceiling; it has only perforated sheets which make heat pen-

etrate fully into the cell. The floor is not cemented; there is no bed, no mattress. In my case, I was given a mat. “Any time I remember that cell, I get agitated because of what I suffered while in detention. At one corner of the room, there is a very small pail, at another corner of the




d Gashua Prisons

•Gashua under repairs

The prison has a vast land mass, enough space for free movement of prisoners to engange in whatever activities they would like to; clean environment with good hygiene will also not be compromised as all that have been put in place in the original design of the project

room is another small pail. I used the one by the left for defecation, the one by the right for urinary purposes. “Anybody who is imprisoned in Gashua is bound to face numerous hardships. The first is lizards. For my room alone, there were no days I counted less than 100 lizards physically. Second are flies. Maiduguri is nothing when you compare it with the flies in Gashua. There are also mosquitoes. Its vibration is the [the kind of] noise you have at the airport when a jet takes off and it usually happens around noon every day.” One silent issue about the Gashua prison is that the real maxi-

mum prison where VIP prisoners are taken was never put to use for the past 30 years after it was started by the then first civilian regime of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. The good news now however is that the Federal Government has re-awarded contract for the completion of the Gashua Maximum prison. The minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama who is the son of the soil recently undertook a visit at prison as part of his tour to inspect Federal Government projects in the state noted that the prisoners would no longer be treated like second class citizens after the completion of the project.

“Apart from strengthen our judicial system, this project is very important to the people of Nigeria because its completion will ensure that prisoners would no longer be treated like second class citizens. “As you can see, the prison has a vast land mass, enough space for free movement of prisoners to engange in whatever activities they would like to; clean environment with good hygiene will also not be compromised as all that have been put in place in the original design of the project”, Dr. Ngama explained. The contract according to the minister was awarded at the cost of N287million. He informed that the contract for the staff quarters of the prison will be awarded this year 2014. Investigation revealed that residents living close to the prison within the span of 1km have been fully compensated as the authorities have embarked on the demolition of the houses to clear the prison environment away from people. The minister also commended the contractor whom he said was not mobilized by government yet his commitment to executing the job is worth emulating. Briefing the minister, the project supervisor said that his men are doing everything possible to ensure that the prison is built on international best practices. He explained that the initial plan of the prison which was conceived for the past thirty years has to be reviewed to meet the modern day standard prison all over the world, adding that the materials for the construction are carefully chosen to stand the test time of over fifty years.

A budget for peace


HE 2014 budget has been tagged “Budget of Peace and Continuity” based on our determination to ensure that the administration is able to deliver dividends of democracy to our people, without which peace cannot be sustained. We have therefore focused attention on completion of ongoing projects in the State while initiating new ones. In the coming year, priority attention would be given to projects that have been rolled over, especially from the 2013 budget which we have pledged to complete”. These were the words of Governor Mukthar Ramalan Yero while, for the first time since his assumption of office he addressed the state House of Assembly. The governor was presenting his first official budget to the house for approval. Yero came into office few days after late Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa presented his 2013 budget to the assembly for consideration and approval. Although there were talks across the state that Governor Yero changed the budget presented by Yakowa, a close scrutiny of the 2013 budget revealed that the assembly made a few adjustments to it without removing any major project captured in it. There are those who believe that the budget was not properly implemented by the government. Barrister Mohammed Musa Soba, Chairman of the Kaduna Salvation Movement is one of those who accused the government of poor implementation of the budget. He said “statistics have shown that the 2013 budget was not up to 20 percent implemented and all the monies budgeted for projects and other services have not been accounted for”. However, Governor Yero told the Assembly that the “an estimate of N179,053,904,185 was appropriated for 2013, out of which N74,553,232,540 was allocated for recurrent expenditure, while the sum of N104,500,681,645 was approved as capital votes. However, as at 31st October 2013, the sum of N49,660,555,331.87 was the actual recurrent expenditure representing 66.6% while actual Capital Expenditure stood at N13,629,642,797.60 which represents 13.04%. It is worthy to note that the budget 2013 was premised on a targeted revenue of N179,053,204,185. However, as at October, 2013 only the sum of N85,062,955,724.56 was realized which represents 47.51% of the projected target”. He however did not say what was responsible for the short fall in the expected revenue to the state. With a revenue projection of N112.6 billion for 2012, Yero said that estimate is similar to the one of 2013 because “it is pertinent to work on a similar projection in view of the overwhelming un-realized commitments in the 2013 budget which have to be rolled-over to 2014 budget. We are determined that the measures that would be adopted to enhance Internally Generated Revenue would succeed as we are fully committed to its implementation. As part of our efforts at prudent management of resources, we have ensured that bulk of the revenue accruable to the State is channeled to infrastructural development for improvement of the overall living conditions of our people”. Interestingly, the state government has decided to pay more attention to the area of water supply, especially the completion of the multi billion naira Zaria regional water supply scheme. Water supply got the lion share of the Kaduna budget with 24 billion naira. He said “provisions have been made for the completion of various water projects across the State. Work is expected to reach advanced stage in the remaining phases of the Zaria Regional Water Scheme, which as you are aware, part of the “

•Governor Yero

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

project is being funded by external loans from both the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Other water supply projects across the State will also receive attention, such as the Emergency Water Supply Programme as well as completion of 680No. Hand Pump Boreholes”. The budget for the water sector was designed to take care of the existing water projects for which the state government drew about N3.5 billion in 2013 from the National Urban Water Sector Reform Project. They include completion of ongoing rehabilitation works and network distribution in Kaduna, Zaria, Kafanchan/ Kagoro, Zonkwa and Saminaka Water Supply. The government according to the budget address intend to begin a drawdown of the African Development Bank (AfDB) facility which was declared effective on 14th November, 2013 when it was launched in Zaria for the development of expansion network distribution and provision of sanitation facilities in schools and other public places for Zaria and six (6) other Local Government Areas. Also, the drawdown of the facility from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for the construction of reservoirs in Zaria and the six (6) LGAs that would benefit from the Zaria Water Project may also begin. Yero is also giving adequate attention to the education sector with about N14 billion for the completion of infrastructures in schools across the state. The Kaduna state University and Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic a good portion of the education budget. Yero said “we have continued to accord the Education sector priority by allocating a huge percentage of Government revenue towards improving teaching and learning environments in the State. In the coming year, Government intends to embark on massive rehabilitation and expansion of infrastructures in existing schools. Funds have also been allocated for the establishment of four (4) new Science Secondary Schools in the State. Various ongoing projects at the State University, the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic and the State College of Education will receive adequate attention” He said further that the plan of the state government is to complete the “Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital, (BDSH) which is being upgraded to a University Teaching Hospital, while we also intend to complete the 300 bed Specialist Hospital at the Kaduna Millennium City. At the grassroots level, we intend to complete the 68No. 8-bed Health Centres next year as well as upgrade the Primary Health Centre Fadan Kagoma. We have also made provision for medical care for critical ailments such as tuberculosis, leprosy and HIV/AIDS. Funds have also been earmarked for the Malaria Control Programme. It is also important to note that two key health care agencies namely; the Kaduna State Primary Health Development Agency (KSPHDA) and the Drug Management Agency (DMA) have commenced full operation and funds have also been proposed for their operations”.




The joy of roasted fish The delicacy of roasted fish is turning erstwhile jobless people into employers of labour in Lokoja, Kogi State capital. MUHAMMAD BASHIR writes

Many have since taken to eating roasted fish rather than the usual pepper soup and other spiced offerings. Hardly can you find a table at a bar where there is no tray of roasted fish. Families move their entire households in the evening to nearby outlets just to have a taste of this delicacy

•Esther processes her fish


T is the confluence capital, where Nigeria was said to have been named. But Lokoja, capital city of Kogi State, is also the ancient town where fresh fish is harvested in considerable quantity. In fact, the city’s aquatic riches are providing jobs for countless numbers of residents. Some of these people have been doing several creative things with fish, one of which is roasting it and selling to connoisseurs. You could say fish is not just generating jobs, but huge cash. To the people of Lokoja, fish used to be a mere staple on the family table. But since the creation of Kogi State, fish has become one of the most expensive items on the residents’ menu, only affordable by moneybags, especially during the dry season. Before the advent of commercial fish ponds, popular hotel operators in Abuja always enjoyed coming down to Lokoja to buy their fish no matter the cost. Travellers going from Lokoja to the east, south and north stop by and purchase fish, thereby making it too exorbitant for the common people in the area. Research has shown that fish business especially the roasted type, known as point-and-kill has become one of the fastest growing businesses in the capital city. Graduates and undergraduates have since turned the business into a means of livelihood. Research has also shown that over 25 per cent of unemployed graduates are into the business, while over 30 per cent sponsor their education with proceeds from it. Many locations in Lokoja, particularly pubs have point-and-kill beside due to customers demand who now believe that consumption of alcohol is nothing if not accompanied by fish not only because of its protein but also because of it peppery taste. Many have since taken to eating roasted fish rather than the usual pepper soup and other spiced offerings. Hardly can you find a table at a bar where there is no tray of roasted fish. Families move their entire households in the evening to nearby outlets just to have a taste of this delicacy. On a lighter mood, most ladies place much demand on point and kill fish in order to top off theuir evenings. Some men have formed the habit of buying roasted fish to make peace or solidify their relationships with their women instead of the usual flowers. Some of the roasted fish sellers who spoke with The Nation, appreciated the level of patronage they enjoy every evening. Madam Esther John at the NUJ press centre in Lokoja said she has been in the fish-selling business for four years. She said the business has not always been rosy because of the high cost of fish. Esther said that she went into the business since she was sacked out the state civil service, following the last workers verification exercise conducted by former administration of Alhaji Ibrahim Idris.

By Muhammad Bashir, Lokoja

The screening report led to the sacking of so many workers. She said what takes up most of her profit is the daily purchase of ingredients to spice the fish. “The money I use in buying fresh and dry pepper, onion, maggi, vegetables cost me a lot; at times I don’t go home with much profit as expect. Can she go into another business? Esther said: “Which other business do you expect me to go into. I am already used to this one, and it is not as if I am not making any profit; it is not much, but I am managing.” This was not in the case of Mr.

•Spiced, roasted and ready

Augustine Emmanuel who expressed happiness with the roasted fish business. Emmanuel who has his business empire opposite Museum in

Lokoja and have three people working for him, said he has been enjoying the business for the past three years. He said the business has been very profitable due to the

high demand by customers. “This business has been helping me in solving almost all my needs. I never go hungry since I ventured into it. I use this business to help

Akume celebrates with the nee


OR the Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume, there couldn’t have been a better way to mark his 60th birthday anniversary than visiting orphanage homes, hospitals, prison yards and setting some convicts free by paying their fines. The activities marking the birthday anniversary celebration of the Senate Minority Leader began on December 26, 2013 with a Mass celebrated by Rev. Father Oliver Ortese in

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

his Chapel at Judges Quarters, Makurdi, the Benue State capital. After the Mass, the former governor of the state, alongside his wife, political associates and friends visited General Hospital in Northbank, Makurdi. At the hospital, he visited each patient from bed to bed and sympathised with them over their sickness. Thereafter, he offset the medical bills of

all those on admission. Addressing the staff of the hospital which was built during his tenure as the governor of the state, the senate minority appealed to nurses and doctors to be patient with their patients as sickness can be so frustrating. The senator later returned to his Makurdi residence for a birthday lecture delivered by Dr. Zack Agundu of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria(ABU) and Professor Alloy Ihyua of Benue State University (BSU)

Makurdi, which was followed by the cutting of the cake by the senator, assisted by his wife and many others, including chieftains of All Progressives Congress (APC). The following day, Senator Akume and his entourage visited Minimum Prison, Makurdi and donated items to the inmates. He paid the fines of 10 convicts and appealed to them to be of good conduct so that that they would not go back to the vice that took them




Council chief advocates unity


•Ready for the fire

Research has shown that fish business especially the roasted type, known as point-and-kill has become one of the fastest growing businesses in the capital city

•Just a few moments before they hit the fire

my self and my relations. In fact I am currently sponsoring some of my younger ones in the school. He said he has never sold less than fifteen fishes, I sell up to 30

to 50 especially when there is high demand. The affordability of these proteinous delicacies is another serious issue to be handle, particu-

lar to those who survive with a very lean resources. The least cost of these are ranging from N1000 and above. Some people have lauded the

the needy to the prison in the first place. After the prisons, Senator Akume moved to Mama Abayol Orphanage Home at Highlevel and danced with the inmates, after which he donated items which included toiletries, soaps and clothing. The climax of activities marking his 60th birthday was on December 28 at his Wannune country home, another big Mass was celebrated at St.Christopher Parish and later a reception was held at his Hill Top Mansion for APC

members across the 23 local government areas of the state. Addressing APC supporters, Senator Akume appealed to them to be patient as 2015 is near and the mistake which the party made in 2011 will not be repeated. He said very soon registration of members will start and advised all APC members to go to their various localities and register. Akume was presented with gifts amid singing and dancing.


fact that buying roasted fish to consume in one instance, shouldn’t be priority, and it is rather waste of money especially in the midst of financial hardship in the country. Mr John Musa, argued that, fish of N1500 is enough to eat with his family for two or three day. “How can I take N1500 to buy just one fish that may not even be enough fro me alone to eat; that is a waste of resources. I’d rather use the money to buy more than one fish directly from the market and eat with my family to satisfaction. I forbid buying point-and-kill fish.” One other issue that raised much heated argument is the potency between fish pond and that of river. Divergent opinion have it that the pond fish taste satisfactory and hygienic, because it clinical breeding, while some believe that river fish is more tasty and proteinous because it was naturally breeded. But Mr. Augustine settled the confusion. He said some customer prefers pond fish fish the more because it is a bit lower in price than the river fish. He said he placed river fish on the fire based on demand by a customer. There is every need for the government to give much emphasis on this venture. It will go along way in taking restive youths out of the streets. And, even more than that, they can also become employers of labour.

By Gbenga Omokhunu

HE Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) Hon. Micah Jiba has advised Christians and Muslims in the council to exhibit spirit of oneness during the New Year celebrations and throughout this year. This, he said, would guarantee national development which, in turn, would make Nigeria a better place for all to live in. Jiba, who gave this advice through the council’s Supervisory Councillor for Special Duties, Hon. Ojo Olumayowa, prayed that this year would be better for every Nigerian, saying that the only way Nigeria can move forward is for Christians and Muslims to see themselves as one and work for the socio-economic advancement of the country. According to Jiba, the leadership of the council, in order to improve the health standard of residents this year, has approved the construction of prototype primary healthcare centre at Lungu community and the completion of Damagaza Police Post to assist the police to maintain law and order in the community. “We are committed to improving the lives of the people of AMAC. That is why we have also approved the rehabilitation of access road at Karmo slaughter house. “We have also approved the construction of multi-purpose sport court for the residents of Area 11 in Garki District and the review of monthly allowance of chiefs of the area council to enable them to attend to pressing issues within their domain. “I want to also urge every resident to live in peace and eschew lifestyle that would cause violence during the New Year celebration and beyond. We should see the period as a time of felicitating with one another, so that we will make Nigeria a better and peaceful place. “I also pray that those things that we did not achieve in last year will be achieved this year. I urge all Nigerians to support and pray for the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and the country, so that this year will be better for all Nigerians,” he said. Jiba frowned at construction of illegal structures at Karu Market, even as he appealed to market officials and other markets in the council to always endeavour to observe the laid down rules before building extensions. He commended the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Abuja chapter for the award of Excellence to him for his commitment to executing people-oriented projects last year, saying that his administration will do more for residents of AMAC this year.

‘The leadership of the council, in order to improve the health standard of residents this year, has approved the construction of prototype primary healthcare centre at Lungu community and the completion of Damagaza Police Post to assist the police to maintain law and order in the community…We are committed to improving the lives of the people of AMAC’




Kogi after 2012 floods


EVER in history has there been such a great number of internally-displaced people (IDP) in Kogi State as a result of natural disaster. The flood ravaged many parts of the country in 2012, but drew great attention to Kogi which was heavily devastated. A total of 623,690 displaced people were accommodated in 87 camps across the state during the period. Months after the flood, several clean-up measures have been taken by the Kogi State government in order to address the people’s gory experience during the period and after. Some of those who have since returned to their homes are still in utmost confusion with regard to coping with life, as many of them are yet to recover from the upset. Judged from the level of damage and destruction caused by the flood, the people have expressed their joy that there was no similar experience last year as it would have been one disaster too many. The natural disaster of 2012 brought with it great flooding of the roads which made them impassable. Many school buildings became refugee camps. Houses were submerged. Properties and infrastructures were badly affected. Farm lands, crops and animals were washed away. The disaster was said to have destroyed property worth billions of Naira. It was one disaster that the people and the Kogi State government are still struggling to come to terms with considering the monumental destruction it caused. As a result of this, there were several donations from governments, good-spirited individuals and corporate organisations. The state received the sum of N753,092,704 with major donations of N500 million, N150 million, N50 million and N10 million,N10 million coming from the Federal Government, Dangote, Jide Omokore, Alhaji Isa Kutepa and Kano State Government respectively. Despite these donations, there have been strong complaints by the people, particularly victims of the flood that nothing tangible has been done to lessen the suffering they are going through after the flood that sacked them from their ancestral homes. But the Kogi State Deputy Governor Yomi Awoniyi who also doubles as Chairman, State Emergency Management Agency said through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Abu Michael that the state was and has been very sensitive to the plight of victims of the flood.

•Lokoja during the floods

By Muhammad Bashir

So much, according to Abu, was and is still being done to alleviate the sticky-situation of genuine flood victims in the state. “Genuine victims of the flood disaster in the state” Abu explained, “can testify that the state has taken the issues of rehabilitation and post-flood management for which the state received some grants very seriously.” Aside the disbursement of N139 million to victims of the disaster in the nine affected local government areas, the government, he said, built 272 houses with another 300 to commence ‘this month. Many people have criticised the housing scheme in terms of its location as nine local government areas were gravely affected. Abu said: “Those completed in Lokoja are among the first phase of housing scheme for majority of its citizens, with special emphasis on relocating those affected and living by the shoreline. The feat of relocating affected persons to houses built by government will be replicated in other affected local government areas as soon as funds are available.” The modalities for giving out the already completed houses, he said, are

The assistance to farmers and fishermen whose farm lands, crops and fish ponds were washed away had been wholesome. I would want the people to appreciate the efforts of government and not play politics with the seriousness government attaches to the rehabilitation of lives of its citizenry being worked out by relevant agencies. Kogi State, investigations revealed, remains the only state that operated relief camps for flood victims six months after the flood had receded. Provision of food stuffs, medicines and clothing for those in the camp was given serious attention. While winding up the camps in February last year, each of the victims received N50, 000 and foodstuffs to assist them resettle in their new homes. However, there were complaints by some people who were given between N3, 000 and N5, 000. This, according to Usman Isah, a resident of Gadumo, was insulting to the psyche

of those who lost all they had. Currently, the state government has almost completed the renovation of most schools where victims of the flood disaster were camped. The renovation exercise cost the government N81million. Similarly, all roads that were affected by the flood, Abu Michael, Chief Press Secretary to Awoniyi explained, was constructed at the cost of N423m. To cushion the effects of washed farmlands, a 6, 500 hectares rice plantation was established along the flood plains of affected local government areas where lots of youths and women are gainfully employed. This has currently placed the state on the

‘Insecurity my greatest challenge’


ENATOR representing Plateau North Senatorial zone in the National Assembly Senator Gyang Pwajok has declared that his greatest challenge in office in the last one year has been how to put an end to the prevailing security challenges in the zone. Senator Pwajok stated this in Jos during an interactive session with newsmen to mark his one year in office. He said: “You all remember the circumstances that led to my election into the Senate. It was the security challenges in my constituency that I promised to tackle head on. ”The security challenges I inherited propelled me to take the bull by the horn and work toward restoration of peace to the troubled parts. This I did in collaboration with stakeholders from my zone. I can say with all confidence that the crises in my constituency have been addressed significantly. It may not be possible to eradicate it immediately, but the spate of attack has been reduced to less than 10 per cent. “Northern Senatorial zone is a hot

The happy aspect of it is that, in spite of the security challenges, our efforts have paid off because we have been able to address the sources of conflict, re-united the people and restored the needed peace…So, as I speak with you, one year after, the spate of bloodshed has reduced significantly From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

bed of Plateau politics in particular and Nigeria in general. For me as a young man to be representing the zone, I feel highly honoured. The peace we are enjoying today resulted from combined efforts. I thank God for the calmness we are experiencing now.” The lawmaker further said: “I have organised series of security meetings geared towards arresting the circle of violence in the state. I visited families of innocent people who have been attacked or killed in night raids. I visited and presented assorted materials to those in the prison beside my constitutional responsibility of good representation and legislation for the people of the zone.

“The happy aspect of it is that, in spite of the security challenges, our efforts have paid off because we have been able to address the sources of conflict, re-united the people and restored the needed peace. “So, as I speak with you, one year after, the spate of bloodshed has reduced significantly. People can graze their livestock and farmers can cultivate their land without any fear of attacks. “We hope to continue to cement the prevailing cordial relationship existing among the people, so as to sustain the current peace and make it a permanent one,” Senator Pwajok said. As part of the efforts to sustain the prevailing peace, Senator Pwajok said: “We organised basketball tourna-


ment for basketball teams in the senatorial zone. The purpose of the competition was to spread the message of peace, tolerance and mutual respect among youths in the zone.” Senator Pwajok further pointed out that he equally visited Jos Prison and donated assorted materials, even as he pledged to support the improvement of the prison schools, library and skill acquisition centre, adding that a town hall which will have various vocational units will also be completed this year.

world map as major rice producer. This initiative, Abu noted, cost the state N200 million. The produce of last harvest was publicly and, through a 60:40 ratio shared between the government and buyers. After the harvest the state government out rightly bought the produce from farmers and issued out cheques to them. Some others who claimed to have worked on the farms recently protested that they were never paid. This, Abu described as untrue and said everyone who worked in the farm had received their wages in spite of support in clearing and other logistic assistance they farmers received from government. Since after the flood, the government has spent much money in the areas of education, housing, transport and health. For instance, six of the primary schools that were used as relief camps are being renovated at the cost of N81, 376,464.55. The post-flood housing estate in the first phase of the scheme which comprised 272 units of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units cost government N504 million. Contracts for fixing badly affected roads were awarded at the cost of N423million. The government, as part of proactive measures, opened alternative east and west routes to avoid the sufferings encountered by commuters during the natural disaster. Government’s effort in the area of dry season farming to make up for the huge loss of farmlands, Abu said, is also most commendable as over 6,500 hectares of cluster rice farmlands under the Fadama programme, an initiative that has cost the government N200 million. He said claims of neglect by some of the victims were unfair; adding that within the resources available, government has continuously addressed the challenges caused by the flood. He restated that donations received by the state during the flood disaster were judiciously used for the purposes for which they were made. Abu said: “The assistance to farmers and fishermen whose farm lands, crops and fish ponds were washed away had been wholesome. I would want the people to appreciate the efforts of government and not play politics with the seriousness government attaches to the rehabilitation of lives of its citizenry. “The process leading to rehabilitation of people and places affected by the flood is an ongoing and continuous exercise.”



Mandela was an iconic leader, freedom fighter and human rights activist who used his ’training as a lawyer to serve, not only his people in South Africa, but the entire humanity. He demonstrated the role a lawyer should play in the interest of the public, which should serve as a lesson to lawyers worldwide. ’ See page 39


INSIDE: Controversy trails Egbe Amofin meeting in Ibadan

-Page 37

Deep seaports: Prospects and challenges

-Page 38

NBA seeks access to detention centres of terror suspects

-Page 39

Why write a Will?

-Page 40

•The scale of justice

How did the judiciary fare in 2013? Some lawyers say it did well; others say. They note that there is room for improvement in 2014. JOSEPH JUBUEZE reports.

The judiciary T of our dream, by lawyers

HE judiciary, the saying goes, is the last hope of the common man. For the institution to live up to this billing, it is expected to fulfil the yearning for justice. Can the nation’s judiciary be said to have delivered on this promise? Some lawyers believe that it has, others note that more could still be done. For now, allegations of corruption still dog the judiciary, while the trial of those indicted hardly gets concluded on time. This delay accounts for why people are embracing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Nearly every commercial agreement has arbitration clauses.

The judiciary is facing challenges, such as inadequate facilities, under-funding, and undue political interference. Even the manner the judiciary is being regulated has been faulted. The National Judicial Council (NJC), which is charged with disciplining erring judges and making judicial policies, is headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and its membership comprises mostly serving judicial officers. It is argued that the CJN as a judicial officer is subject to the supervision of the NJC and as such should not head the institution. The merit in this argument became apparent •Continued on page 34




The judiciary of our dream, by lawyers •Continued from page 33 during the 2011 face off between the then CJN Aloysius Katsina-Alu and former President of the Court of Appeal Justice Isa Ayo Salami, which matter eventually came before the NJC. Although the NJC was presided by the Deputy Chairman then, the CJN’s influence could not be overlooked, as some in the NJC owe their membership to the CJN. It has been suggested that the Chairmanship and membership of the NJC should be dominated by retired judicial officers and complemented by notable persons of integrity to ensure an unbiased supervision of judicial officers. NALYSTS have also faulted the process of appointing judges, say ing there is no transparency. Vacancies are usually not advertised, and the process of recruitment is not made public. This, it is believed, often leads to appointment of judicial officers with little or no integrity, credibility or intellectual capability. There are also procedural deficiencies. A situation where many cases take years to be resolved does not bode well for the judicial system and encourages resort to self-help by disgruntled litigants. Absence of information technology application in court processes is also a problem. The absence of an internet database of decided authorities in Nigeria is said to be one of the major causes of conflicting decisions by different courts. Besides, most judges still write in longhand rather than using recording machine.


•Justice Mukhtar

•Mohammed Adoke (SAN)

•Chief Judge of Federal High Court Ibrahim Auta

•NBA President Okey Wali (SAN)



Noticeable improvements? Last year, however, witnessed a quick determination of some cases. For instance, On December 20, Justice Adeniyi Ademola of a Federal High Court in Abuja sentenced Kabiru Umar, alias Kabiru Sokoto to life imprisonment for his role in terrorist activities, including the December 25, 2011 bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State. Noteworthy is that Sokoto was arraigned on April 13. The NJC also disciplined some judges, retiring Justices Charles Archibong of the Federal High Court and Thomas Naron of the Plateau State High Court. It responded to public outcry by suspending Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court for handing down a two-years jail term with an option of N750,000 fine to an Assistant Director, Police Pension Board, John Yusuf, who pleaded guilty to stealing about N3billon pension funds. Chairman of the Legal Aid Council Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) said politicians, businessmen and traditional rulers must share in the blame for the rot in the judiciary. “It is this class of persons that bribe, intimidate, harass or influence judges to depart from their sacred oath of office and the path of honour and rectitude, a judge who hobnobs with this group may well be unwittingly allowing his position to be compromised and possibly jeopardised,” he said. He also decried the under-funding of the judiciary, saying: “There is no gain saying that an under-funded and financially malnourished judiciary can only breed official corruption and ultimately pose a great hazard to the dispensation of justice and a danger to the polity.”

Lawyers list expectations Lawyers who assessed the judiciary’s performance last year, however, believe that a lot still needs to be done. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Sebastine Hon said the executive must stop what he called a downward budgeting for the judiciary. “I do not understand the reason behind the practice where, every year, the budget for the judiciary and funds made available for it annually continue to dwindle. “The country is growing. We now have more courts and more personnel to man them; there is also the increase in the number of capital projects being executed by the judiciary, but yet its annual budget keeps reducing yearly in billions. The executive should immediately stop this practice. “Then, the salaries and emoluments of judges and other judicial officers should be improved upon. Because when compared with the United State, a magistrate in America is earns more that a Supreme Court Justice in Nigeria. So, there is no good incentive to work.

Some lawyers’ demands •Computerise the courts •Fight corruption in the bar and on the bench •Improve infrastructure •Review the rules •Increase funding •Improve judges salaries, emoluments •Expedite delivery of judgments and rulings •Create regional Supreme Courts to reduce load •Increase number of Supreme Court and Court of Appeal justices •Retrain court staff •Insulate judiciary from political influence •Encourage more judicial activism •Judges appointment must be based on merit and be transparent •The bar must be actively involved, not passive •Judges should be punctual •NJC should publish monthly returns of judges •Nigerians must be ever vigilant to weed out corrupt, lazy judges •Judges should jettison technicalities •Corruption cases should be tried and concluded in a year •Radical overhaul of system needed •Engage senior lawyers to sit in quasi-judicial capacity •Interlocutory appeals should end at Court of Appeal “I will also suggest that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) should originate budgetary proposal and capital expenditure for state courts. That is what the Constitution provides. But the practice over the years is that Chief Judges of states make capital budgeting and submit to state governors or the ex-

ecutive branch. This is wrong and unconstitutional. As a result, corruption and breaches of the rule of law and principle of separation of power occur. “This has resulted in a situation where the executive arm has asphyxiating hold on the judiciary, to the extent that if the governor

does not like your face, as a Chief Judge, he will not approve your budget. If you look at the Constitution, with respect to the establishment and running of these courts, you will find that they are supposed to be funded from the federal pool, not by the state governments,” Hon said. He added that the judiciary should improve in ensuring timeous delivery of judgments and rulings. “I do not like a situation where a matter will start form the High Court, takes four to five years; go to the Court of Appeal, takes another four, five years and then at the Supreme Court, it takes seven eight years. We should be mindful of the axiom that says: Justice delayed is justice denied. “I will also advocate for the creation of regional or state’s Supreme Court’s. This is a federation. There are some matters that ought not to the central Supreme Court. For instance, in the US, the Supreme Court chooses matters it would like to hear. It is not all appeals that are allowed to go to the Supreme Court. “I agree that the Third Alteration Act that amended the Constitution has restricted the type of appeals that could be taken at the Supreme Court, and I don’t think a lot of people are aware of that. “For instance, appeals on the issues of facts or mixed law and facts could no longer go to the Supreme Court. It is only appeals on constitutional issues and issues of law that can go to the Supreme Court. “I will also want an amendment to the Constitution to allow for an increase in the number of Justices at the Supreme Court because the workload is much. We have several divisions of the Court of Appeal, but only has a single Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court is now hearing appeals from governorship disputes, which has also added to its workload. Even the Court of Appeal is under-staffed. Every division of the court is supposed to have at least, two panels of three justices each.” Another Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Norrison Quakers said there are micro and macro problems that should be addressed. “I will start with the micro problems. That is, problems relating to the court system. There is the need to train court’s support staff and the para-legal staff attached to the judicial arm of government. “Then, for the macro problems, which are on a scale, first, there is need for more judges. So many appeals are now pending at the Supreme Court. There is the need for a review of the constitutional provision relating to the number of justices to be appointed at the Supreme Court so that the backlog of appeals can be dealt with. “There also the need to ensure that the judiciary is separate and distinct from political influence. We are gradually heading for the political era, so the Judiciary should be insulated from politicians. This is because allegations of corruption have been raised where politicians are allowed to infiltrate the judiciary and this has affected the image of the Judiciary. But, by and large, the judiciary is not doing badly. “There is need for improvement in this new year. The allegation of corruption in the judiciary must be looked into seriously. Judgment should now be water-tight and judges should be allowed to fully express themselves. They should be allowed to engage in what I will call judicial adventures.” Ikeja Branch chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Monday Ubani said the judiciary last year did not fare well in the fight against corruption, as shown in the notorious pension case, lingering politically exposed cases, fuel scam cases that have not recorded any appreciable progress and the Bode George matter that witnessed acquittal at the Supreme Court. “All these cases earned thumbs down for the judiciary in 2013. However in matters of terrorism, the judiciary at the lower cadre showed sense of urgency and thoroughness in handling some of these cases. Many of these cases were concluded within a recorded time. It is thumbs up for the judiciary in that regard. I “It is hoped that these convictions will not be upturned at the appellate courts by employing technicalities that have not helped the cause of justice in Nigeria. My expectations for the judiciary in 2014 are a judiciary that is justice driven, with complete independence operationally and financially. We need our cases both at the criminal and civil •Continued on page 35




•Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa






The judiciary of our dream, by lawyers

•Continued from page 34

jurisdictions to be handled expeditiously and satisfy the yearnings of litigants for justice. “The law must at all times be applied equally to both the poor and rich man. Our judiciary must be properly equipped with modern facilities that will ensure that best international standards are followed in the dispensation of justice at every sphere of the judiciary. Appointment of judges must be based on merit, while disciplining of judges by NJC and lawyers by the Bar Association must be intensified. “By and large we desire a very independent and strong judiciary that will navigate the judicial ship of the country from destruction and ominous danger that are lurking around the country as we prepare for the national conference and possible election in 2015 that may determine the destiny and direction of this country,” Ubani said. Lagos lawyer and activist Bamidele Aturu believes that the Bar cannot play any worthwhile role unless the leadership appreciates the enormity of the responsibility the profession has in consolidating liberal democracy. “It appears that many of the leading lights of the profession today and by extension the bar are steeped in crass and unprincipled accumulation of resources. It is unfortunate that few lawyers can make the rather obvious connection that personal wealth in a society where there is no rule of law is insecure or unsafe. “I doubt that the existing leadership see the link between liberal democracy and flourishing legal practice. It does not even seem to be concerned at the unacceptable slow pace of justice delivery. If cases take ages to conclude how can a majority of nigerian lawyers be expected to be well off. “I should be delighted if the CJN should make it clear to judges to treat lawyers and litigants with the dignity they deserve. Courts should sit at nine o’clock in the morning except there is an emergency. It is unacceptable that cases will be adjourned at the instance of the court or even lawyers without reasonable cause. This is the area one expects a serious bar to collaborate with the CJN and the NJC. Lawyers also should stop seeking frivolous adjournments. “The NJC should publish regularly the outcome of the monthly returns that judges submit to it so Nigerians can know those who are hardworking and those who are lagging behind. The returns are useless if they are kept in government lockers. Publishing them will put the judges on their toes. “But the NJC should also be wary of an emerging situation in which judges are tempted to strike out cases on flimsiest of excuses or challenge in order to meet the return requirement. “But above all I expect Nigerians to show more interest in the decisions of our court as the citizens constitute then greatest bulwark against judicial tyranny. Judges deserve utmost respect, but they must never be deified as to do so is destructive of the ends of liberal democracy,” Aturu said. University of Lagos (UNILAG) law lecturer Mr Wahab Shittu said the judiciary’s performance in a democracy can only be realistically assessed against the background of compliance with the fundamentals of the democratic tradition,

such as respect for Constitution, rule of law, due process, and fundamental rights. Others, he said, are zero tolerance for corruption, speedy dispensation of justice to forestall delays in the adjudicatory process, fearless, independent and courageous judiciary, respect for the doctrine of separation of powers and transparency and accountability in the administration of justice. Shittu said: “The assessment of the Nigerian judiciary in 2013 must be based the aforementioned parameters and stakeholders must ask themselves whether there was compliance with these indices by the judiciary in the outgoing year. No doubt, in 2013, a large number of high profile cases were in court and judiciary recorded certain landmark judgments in a lot of them. “An objective appraisal of the conclusions reached in each of those cases may be difficult to achieve given the fact that the judges presiding over these cases were in the better position to appreciate the facts, the issues involved, the respective demeanor of witnesses, and other factors which are decisive in the outcome of cases. “However, it is salutary to observe that the judicial machinery was set in motion and the judiciary functioned without interference in the discharge of its constitutional mandate. It would be interesting and plausible to know how some of these decisions complied with precedence and espoused new frontiers in our jurisprudence. “It will also be critical to assess the extent to which these decisions strengthened democracy, supported democratic institutions, adequately resolved issues in controversy and above all, promoted good governance. “One clear improvement in the performance of the judiciary in 2013 is the reforms introduced into the criminal justice administration by the current proactive CJN. These reforms in the nature of practice direction issued by the CJN with respect to criminal matters particularly terrorist and corruption related matters, substantially impacted on speedy dispensation of justice. “Her lordship’s resolve to combat corruption in the judiciary is also legendary and salutary. These reforms and other measures would impact positively on the administration of justice in the coming year,” Shittu said. A lawyer, Ikechukwu Ikeji believes the judiciary in Nigeria performed somewhat below per in 2013. He said: “It was a year when we saw a judge freeing a multi-billion Naira pension scammer after a mere N750, 000 fine. We saw further delays and lack of seriousness on the part of the judiciary in handling corruption cases. “We saw a situation where Justice Salami was vindicated and asked to resume by the appropriate authority having the power of discipline of judges being the National Judicial Council (NJC) but the federal government frustrated the process. “We have been clamouring for the watering down of the powers of the CJN in appointing members of the NJC, a call that has gone unanswered till date. Chief Bode George and Major Hamza al-Mustapha were freed on arguable legal grounds to mention but a few examples. Thankfully though, we recorded some positives with the way the present Chief

Justice raised queries to some judicial officers. A lot of questions still hang on the Nigerian judiciary. Nigerians from all works of life no longer have confidence in the judiciary and this does not augur well for the polity. “There have been attempts by politicians to destroy the judiciary. For example, the ongoing attempt by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State to appoint an outsider unknown to the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended as the Chief Judge of Rivers State, an attempt that is thankfully being resisted by the NJC notwithstanding the fact that the Governor had earlier breached the same Constitution by appointing the same person as Acting Chief Judge. “The same Governor had also failed to obey the judgment of a court reinstating the Chairman and Councilors of a local government council sacked by the Governor. Instead of obeying the court judgment, the Governor went ahead to again pronounce the sacking of the same Chairman and Councilors therefore sitting on appeal on the lawful judgment of a competent court. That was the height of executive impunity,” Ikeji said. According to him, the judiciary has simply not performed well. “My answer is a quick no. The judicial sector has not performed well and has not met the hope of the common man. I speak from experience because I am an active participant. The evil attitude of elevating procedure to substance has continued unabated such that judges allow themselves to be easily controlled by little technicalities that end up destroying the essence of justice. “I would like to see a review of the appointment processes into the judiciary. The present processes lead to all manner of funny results. We need to isolate judges from social activities. The manner in which judges easily mix with politicians and businessmen is an assault on the principle of independence of judiciary. “If you look through pictorial newspaper reports of sundry high society parties, you will see judges sitting in the midst of all manner of society bigwigs. This should be discouraged and a law or regulation put in place to sanction judges who cannot stay away from social functions. It is the familiarity that breeds some of the corruption being witnessed presently. “We also need to call the SANs to order with the manner in which they use their exalted positions to derail and delay justice. If you look around you, most of the problems of the judiciary emanate from SANs who bring all sorts of frivolous applications and with the respect they get from the bench, they are usually heard thereby delaying cases unnecessarily. “I will suggest that every corruption case be tried and concluded under 12 months, irrespective of the circumstances. Let every corruption matter go straight to trial without preliminary applications. This is because unusual situations demand unusual remedies. The Nigerian corruption situation is very unusual and we must take unusual steps to stem the descent,” Ikeji said. Former President, Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Mrs Boma Ozobia, believes judges should not be blamed be•Continued on page 36



LAW COVER CONT’D •Continued from page 35 cause blame game is the easy option but does not provide a solution. She said: “The truth of the matter is that we need a radical and total overhaul of the system to properly address this issue. Nigerian judges are relatively poorly equipped in comparison to their counterparts in the developed Commonwealth. “The Nigerian judiciary is grossly under-funded, which means there are insufficient funds to provide our judges with adequate support by way of properly qualified research assistants, well-resourced libraries, comfortable and wellequipped Courts and other tools that make service on the bench a worthwhile and rewarding undertaking in other countries. “I would like to see the judiciary making more use of the registrars and qualified lawyers in dealing with administrative matters to reduce the burden on judges in the future. It may take more than a year to put in place the required structure in terms of policy and guidance but it is commonplace in many Commonwealth jurisdictions and I commend it to the Nigerian judiciary. “In South Africa for instance senior lawyers are drafted to sit in quasi-judicial capacity to deal with those interminable applications that take up so much of a judicial working time. In England, practicing lawyers sit as Recorders or part time judges for the same reason. I am not saying we should import this practice whole sale but there is much to commend it and it is certainly worth considering. “We all agree that justice delayed is justice denied and we do not want our citizens to get so frustrated with the inefficiencies of the system that they resort to self-help. It is already happening; therefore urgent measures have to be taken to alleviate the situation for the litigant, particularly the poor and disadvantaged in our society,” said Ozobia. A lawyer, Iwilade Akintayo said the most remarkable aspect of the judiciary’s work in 2013 was the sanitisation moves by the CJN. He added: “But I believe the doubts and cynicism towards the ability of our Courts to give absolute justice without interference is still far from removed from the perception of the common person. “This crisis of perception can be gradually solved if the appointment, disciplinary and elevation processes of the judiciary get further insulated from the reckless interferences of the current abysmally shallow political class. “Obviously, the issue of rooting out corruption in the judiciary must continue to take primal place in 2014 and for the judiciary to regain the faith of society, the quality of jurisprudence being espoused by the courts must become glaringly developmental and progressively ideological.

•Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Ayotunde Phillips



The judiciary of our dream, by lawyers “In a year laden with expectations of recalcitrant electoral malfeasance from the entire political class, the judiciary will have to brace up to deepen our electoral jurisprudence in a manner that aims at nothing but the affirmation of the people’s electoral will such that even when the political class fails, as they always do, the judiciary will hopefully hold itself out as an oasis. “Pending the time the people will truly get tired and do the needful to fundamentally reconstruct our broken society, I hope the judiciary will try to serve as a watch to curtail the ever egregious destructions being inflicted on Nigeria’s democratic aspirations by a most unfortunate and rudderless political class. ‘But I seriously doubt if the common person shares my hope – neither can I justifiably blame her/him for the ever present cynicisms,” Akintayo said. For Mr Nojim Tairu, a lawyer, stakeholders should be concerned about how to improve the justice delivery/administration so that the essence of a judicial system can be achieved. He said: “Particularly, we must improve on the speed and time that it takes to get justice done and judgment delivered. This is an area that requires maximum attention so that we do not remain a laughing stock in the committee of nations. Achieving this requires the cooperation of all stakeholders including the lawyers, the judiciary staff and the judges. The responsibility is a shared one. “What we have is a systemic problem that requires a holistic re-examination. It defies individualistic solution. That is, to improve the efficiency of the system, the system, its operators and even the litigants must all be made to adopt a more altruistic approach. “The NBA can do a lot in this regard. NBA should be more involved in sanitising the judicial system. I

This crisis of perception can be gradually solved if the appointment, disciplinary and elevation processes of the judiciary get further insulated from the reckless interferences of the current abysmally shallow political class

look forward to seeing the NBA playing a more critical and proactive roles in reforming the system so that it doesn’t become worse.” Lagos lawyer Emeka Nwadioke it is expected that judicial reforms “will continue and be escalated in the new year.” His words: “Mercifully, the CJN still has her reputation and integrity intact. This is a huge plus for the judiciary. The purging of the rank of crooked judicial officers must be intensified in the new year. “The same is true of efforts to stem delays in justice delivery by enhancing the productivity of judicial officers. However, their remuneration, emoluments and working conditions must be improved upon to further shield them from undue influences. “Accordingly, increased funding and budgetary allocation to the judiciary cannot be overstated – and has indeed become very urgent - to insulate it from interference by the other arms and bolster our nascent democracy. “To ensure speedy dispensation of justice, it remains attractive that interlocutory appeals terminate at the Court of Appeal, even as cases dealing with corruption, kidnapping and

•Executive Secretary, Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, Mrs. Ayodele Odugbesan (right) presenting a plaque to her predecessor, Rev. Olubukola Balogun who was honoured for her ‘outstanding selfless service to the commission’ during the end-of-year party of the commission. With them is Asst. Director, Finance and Administration of the commission, Mr. Omotayo Sasanya.

other grievous crimes must be fasttracked. To be holistic, these reforms should be in tandem with overhauling of police investigation and sundry practices as well as prison reform. “The legal profession thrives on predictability. The spectre of conflicting judgments (especially of the Court of Appeal in election petition cases) was particularly worrisome. The principle of stare decisis must be restored, even as election petition tribunals and panels must be carefully selected to ensure that they are seen to be above board in their decisions. “The same goes for the disciplinary bodies, including the NJC and the LPDC of the Body of Benchers. The perception that the bodies may be prone to a hijack by a ‘cabal of untouchables’to deal with their perceived enemies is unhelpful. Like Caesar’s wife, these bodies must be above reproach.” Nwadioke said the NBA must live up to its role as a defender of the rights of the masses and the foremost promoter of the rule of law. “The NBA has been chided for either being tardy or disinclined to intervene in critical national issues. This must be redressed to restore the NBA’s age-old reputation in this regard. Being an election year for the association, every effort must be made - by way of electoral reforms to ensure that the elections are not only credible but are seen to be so. This will obviate the backlash that occasioned the last NBA elections.

“In light of its widely criticised decision in the Bode George Case and the onerous hurdle of proving electronically obtained evidence – even in an increasingly wired world - as set out in Kubo & Anor v Dickson & 2 Ors (2013) 4 NWLR (1345) 534, it is hoped that occasions will arise for the Supreme Court to revisit these issues, moreso in light of shifting paradigms and the role of digital forensics in this regard,” Nwadioke said. Constitutional lawyer Jonathan Iyieke said “I expect the judiciary – the bench, the bar and NJC to be transparent in all their doing. We need quality justice devoid of venial attributes. Lawyers who are in the habit of pushing litigants to courts even in the face of a most useless and hopeless case are advised to repent. “The NJC should, therefore, buckle up in its supervisory capacity so the cancerous weeds in the judiciary can be uprooted. Judicial proactive ness, transparency, probity, accountability and honesty should be the hallmark of the judiciary in 2014. The CJN should ensure that judicial officers dispense justice between the poor and the rich.” For Lagos lawyer and activist Theophilus Akanwa, the judiciary should be Information and Communication Technology (ICT) complaint. “All courts should have the information technologies that enhance effective and efficient communication between the court, lawyers and litigants. Lawyers and litigants should be made to know through the internet whether the courts are sitting or not. “It is very sad, disheartening and dishonorable that at this age and time, lawyers and litigants including journalists, will pass through the bad state of our roads and traffic, under the sun or rain only to get to the court room and the registrar will tell you the court will not be sitting. “The Honourable Magistrates and judges should inform their registrars early enough of their not sitting to enable them disseminate the information to all parties. “The introduction of the internet in our courts will facilitate quick dispensation of justice. Lawyers can file processes, view the court’s cause list and ascertain the position of their cases on line. The rules of all courts should be made to reflect these amendments. “Corruption should fought severely by the CJN and the NJC. We expect a better judiciary in 2014,” said Akanwa.

Gani Fawehinmi lecture holds Jan. 15


HE late Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual lecture, organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, will hold on January 15 at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja at 10am. According to the Chairman of the branch, Mr. Monday Ubani, the topic for this year’s lecture is: Nigeria at centenary, A nation under bondage? He said the immediate past President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami will chair the event. The lecture will be delivered by the senior Pastor, Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare. The Special Guest of honour is Ondo State Governor Segun Mimiko while Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) is the host. Ubani listed the guests of honour to include Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Ayotunde Phillips; President, Campaign for Democracy (CD), Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin: former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Babarabe Musa; National Chairman, National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr Yusuf Tanko; Mr Femi Falana (SAN), among others. Fawehinmi, born on April 22, 1938 on Ondo, died on September 5, 2009. He was a renowned human rights lawyer, author, publisher of

•The late Chief Fawehinmi

the popular Nigerian Law Reports, politician and philantropist. He studied Law at the Holborn College of Law, University of London. He was a fearless critic of military dictatorship and corruption. In 2008, Fawehinmi rejected one of the highest honours that can be bestowed on a citizen by the government - Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) - in protest of the many years of misrule since Nigeria’s independence. Gani, as he was fondly called, died in the early hours of September 5, 2009 after a prolonged battle with lung cancer. He was 71 years old.




Controversy trails Egbe Amofin meeting in Ibadan


CRUCIAL meeting of Yoruba Law yers Association (Egbe Amofin) billed to hold on January 18, this year at the Afe Babalola Bar Centre in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital is generating controversy. It is the group’s turn to produce the next president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) when the tenure of the incumbent, Mr. Okey Wali (SAN), expires on August 31, this year. NBA Branch chairmen within the group and some prominent members of the Egbe Amofin described the meeting as illegal. The Secretary of the group, Mr. Ranti Ajeleti, however, urged members to attend. “We don’t want a divided home in Egbe Amofin. We welcome everybody. Everybody is free to attend; they are our people and we are not discriminating. They have equal opportunity with everyone and each and everyone of them is qualified to be president of the Bar. “Funke Adekoya (SAN) is good, Dele Adesina (SAN) is good, Niyi Akintola (SAN) is good and Osas Justus Erhabor is fantastic, he is also our own. We have a lot of parameters for them; we will screen them, assess them and take the best out of them. We will really go for the best,” he said of the aspirants.

By Adebisi Onanuga

But Chairman of Ondo State branch of the NBA, who is also serving as the group’s interim spokesman Mr. Kunle Adetowubo questioned the Ibadan meeting. He said: “They are talking of everybody attending the meeting; who and who have they invited? We had a meeting of the 16 branch chairmen at the weekend and none of us confirmed receiving the invitation to the Ibadan meeting. Is this a level playing field? “Why did they convene the meeting in Ibadan? We had a meeting of Egbe on August 17, 2013 held in Abeokuta, which was attended by most of our leaders, including Ajeleti and others, the meeting adjourned to reconvene in the first week in October, 2013 in the Akure home of Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN). The Abeokuta meeting requested all presidential aspirants to address the house, which they did.When they saw that Adesina was leading, they scuttled the arrangement. Is this a level playing field?” He continued: “We set up a committee of seven members to screen the candidates, one of the committee members resigned and they insisted on replacing him with the stooge of one of the candidates. Is this how to provide a level playing field?

“Why are they convening the meeting at Ibadan while the last Egbe Amofin meeting adjourned to the Akure home of Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN)? Is this how to provide a level playing field? “Why did they refuse to attend a meeting called by 16 branch chairmen out of 23 branches of Egbe Amofin? Is this how to be fair to all. Who and who have they invited for the Ibadan meeting? Have they invited the deputy leader of Egbe Amofin, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN)? Have they invited Adesina and others? What about the 16 branch chairmen, as we speak now, there is no invitation from Ajeleti to any one of us about that meeting. Is this how to provide a level playing field?” He said Ajeleti did not have the authority to convene the meeting. He claimed he had been removed as Egbe Amofin’s Secretary, adding that for that reason the Ibadan meeting was illegal. He also said there was nowhere where the minority dictates for the majority in a democracy. “It is never done. The majority has always led the way. “The truth of the matter is that majority of the branches in the West have adopted their candidate in the person of Adesina. We are not interested in their meeting because they are not sincere,” he added.


An Abuja-based lawyer, IHEANYICHUKWU MARAIZU argues that there is nothing legally wrong with appointing the President of the Customary Court of Appeal as state Chief Judge.

Rivers judiciary: Why Amaechi is legally right

•Governor Amaechi


CRISIS of succession is rocking the Rivers State Judiciary and if not checked or halted forthwith, it is capable of worsening the already bad political situation in that state.

How it all started On August 19, last year, the former Chief Judge of Rivers State retired, thereby making it imperative for a successor to be appointed immediately. In the exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 271 (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria (as Amended), the state Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, appointed the Hon. Justice P. N. C. Agumagu (President of the Rivers State Customary Court of Appeal) to act as the Chief Judge pending the appointment of a substantive Chief Judge. It was this appointment that sparked off the controversy which has raged unabated in the state Judiciary from August 20, 2013 when it was made till date. The appointment was criticised by some powerful interests in the state, who hinged their criticisms on the same Section 271 (4) of the Constitution on which the appointment was based in the first place. The vociferous critics, who rejected the acting appointment made by the governor charged that Justice Agumagu is not the most senior judge of the High Court of Rivers State whom the Constitution says must be appointed to act as the Chief Judge. They argue that the Customary Court of Appeal of whic Justice Agumagu is the President is not part of the High Court of Rivers State. This is notwithstanding the fact that it is part of the state Judiciary. The Rivers State Government explained that the said Justice Agumagu was appointed and sworn in as a Judge of the Rivers State High Court long before the rest of his colleagues. He (Justice Agumagu) was only seconded to the Customary Court of Appeal upon its

establishment.To it (Rivers State Government) therefore, Justice Agumagu is the most senior Judge of the High Court of the state. According to Section 271 (4) of the Constitution, if the office of the Chief Judge of a state is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office or until the person holding the office has assumed those functions, the Governor of the State shall appoint the most senior Judge of the High Court to perform those functions. This unambiguous provision of the constitution will be examined later against the refusal of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to recognise Justice Agumagu. No one has disputed the fact that Justice Agumagu was appointed and sworn in as a judge of the High Court of Rivers State long before the rest of his contemporaries. What remains to be determined is whether this undisputed fact makes him the most senior judge of the High Court of Rivers State. As has been pointed out above, the position of the Rivers State Government is that Justice Agumagu is the most senior judge of the High Court of Rivers State. It, therefore, believes that it has satisfied the requirements of Section 271 (4) of the Constitution. The antagonists of the government counter this position by insisting that the Customary Court of Appeal where Justice Agumagu works is not part of the High Court. To this group therefore, the government should do the right thing by appointing somebody from the High Court. In my humble opinion, the proponents of this view (that is, that the Customary Court of Appeal is not part of the High Court) are wrong. In the first place, the president and other judges of the Customary Court of Appeal are High Court Judges. No one can be appointed to the office of a judge of the Customary Court of Appeal without being first sworn in as a High Court judge. The only difference is in the nature of duties performed by judges of the High Court and those of the Customary Court of Appeal. Whereas judges of the High Court handle all manner of cases (in exercise of both original and appellate jurisdictions), those of the Customary Court of Appeal only handle appeals emanating from Customary Courts. In some places, original jurisdiction has by law been conferred on Customary Courts of Appeal on specific subject matters. In the Federal Capital Territory for example, the Customary Court of Appeal Act has been amended to confer original jurisdiction (to the exclusion of any other Court) on the Customary Court of Appeal in chieftaincy

disputes. Apart from the differences in their duties, there is no other difference between judges of the High Court and those of the Customary Court of Appeal. The qualification for appointment in both cases is the same. Thus Section 271 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that for anybody to be qualified to be appointed a judge of the High Court of a state, the person must be qualified to practise as a legal practitioner in Nigeria and must have been so qualified for not less than 10 years. Section 281 (3) of the same constitution equally requires a person who wishes to be appointed president or a judge of the Customary Court of Appeal to be not less than 10 years at the Bar. Apart from qualification, appeals from the High Court go straight to the Court of Appeal. The same thing is applicable to appeals emanating from the Customary Court of Appeal. Customary Courts of Appeal and the High Courts have coordinate or concurrent jurisdiction. None can, therefore, sit on appeal in cases emanating from the other. Section 210 of the 1999 Constitution is very clear on this point. It is needless to add that the Conditions of Service for all judicial officers are the same (see inter alia Section 291 of the 1999 Constitution). I have taken the pains to highlight the foregoing points just to prove that the High Court of a state is not in any way superior to the Customary Court of Appeal of that state. In the light of this, there is no reason the president of the Customary Court of Appeal cannot act as, or, indeed, be the Chief Judge of a state. This is my humble submission and I stand to be corrected. The only thing that can disqualify the president of a Customary

But it is imperative to point out that the NJC lacks the power to meddle into an appointment validly made by the governor as Section 271 (4) of the Constitution is clear as to whose duty it is to appoint an acting Chief Judge whenever a vacancy arises

Court of Appeal from acting as or becoming the Chief Judge is if he is not the most senior judge. In the instant case, the fact that the person appointed to act as the Chief Judge of Rivers State is the most senior judge in the State is not in dispute. It will, therefore, not only be unfair, but also a dangerous precedent to disqualify him merely because he works in Customary Court of Appeal. The contention that the Customary Court of Appeal is not part of the High Court is in my respectful opinion fatally flawed. This is because the proponents of that view seem to understand the word “court” as a building. It is apparently for this reason that they erroneously argue that the Customary Court of Appeal is not part of the High Court. This is ridiculous to say the least. Section 258 (1) of the Evidence Act 2011 defines the “court” to include all judges and magistrates and ... all persons legally authorised to take evidence. In the light of this statutory definition of “court”, how can it be reasonably argued that a High Court judge is not part of the High Court merely because he works outside the building designated as High Court? The role of National Judicial Council (NJC) As noted above, the NJC rejected the acting appointment made by the Rivers State Governor in preference for the person it sees as the most senior judge of the Rivers State High Court. The NJC reportedly followed up this position by writing to all judges in the state directing them not to accept acting appointment from the state governor or face its wrath. Needless to say that by this singular act, the NJC has worsened an already bad situation. But it is imperative to point out that the NJC lacks the power to meddle into an appointment validly made by the governor as Section 271 (4) of the Constitution is clear as to whose duty it is to appoint an acting Chief Judge whenever a vacancy arises. More importantly, by directing the governor as to how he should perform his constitutional duty, the NJC is in breach of the principle of Separation of Powers enshrined in the Constitution. Being a body made up of human beings, the NJC cannot lay claim to infallibility. Whenever it errs therefore (as in the instant case), the NJC should have the humility to admit its error and retrace its steps. The political situation in Rivers State is already bad enough. If the stalemate in the state judiciary is not quickly resolved, anarchy could result and only God can predict what will happen next.



LEGAL OPINION Lagos lawyer CHIJIOKE EMEKA examines the legal framework for deep seaports development and the economy at a workshop on Maritime Law organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS)

Deep seaports: Prospects and challenges T

HE global maritime trend is fast moving in the direction of deep seaports. Deep sea ports are also called “deepwater ports”. In the global maritime industry, out of about 100 seaport developments being executed, approximately 75 per cent are deep seaports or terminals.The balance is believed to be mostly inland waterway ports and jetties. The statistics alone readily makes deep seaport development the current issue in the maritime infrastructure sector. The global scramble for deep seaports is linked to the increasing embrace by maritime architects and engineers of very large carriers, which are considered “economical vessels”. This preference for mega ships which can only berth in deep drafts, is expected to continue and increase. It is like the evolution of cars from small and slow to big and fast. Expectedly, with her large maritime space, huge maritime potentials and undisputed leadership position in cargo traffic on the West and Central African region, Nigeria’s maritime sector is central to her economic development as a transport, commerce, resource and recreational factor. With such massive maritime capacities and potentials, Nigeria cannot be expected at the rear lines in the scramble for deep seaports in the global maritime industry. Even with poor indigenous vessel operational involvement, Nigerian huge container, dry and wet bulk cargo traffic is a regional force, a fact well-known to even regional competitors. With the intense competition on the regional maritime space, the imperative to maintain the lead and attain an undisputed hub status in the region as a transshipment centre, is more compelling. It is also common knowledge that the existing ports, especially Apapa and Tin Can Ports in the Lagos axis, are overstretched with the attendant inordinate delays in cargo handling and processing. With capacity for 60 million metric tonnes of cargo handling, the ports run at 100 million metric tonnes. This is expected to increase. The maritime industry, effectively harnessed, has the capacity to be a big factor in the national economy; with revenue, at maximum potentials, capable of competing with oil and gas revenue. Maritime revenue can be a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a nation. Nigeria has huge maritime potentials begging to be tapped. These and more issues would seem to define the economic imperatives for deep seaports development in Nigeria. The purpose of this paper is therefore to examine the mechanics of deep seaports; evaluate, albeit within a limited space, the potential impact of a deep seaport on the economy; critically examine the prospects for development of deep seaports in Nigeria and the possible challenges before that project. It will then conclude with recommendations.

What is a deep seaport? Deep seaport defies a universal definition. There are several descriptive definitions accorded a deep seaport which converge at a consensus that measures it in terms of its capability to berth mega vessels, particularly in the context of the depth of draft. Thus while standard ports have drafts of average of six to nine metres, the draft of a deep seaport is in the higher range of 10 to 18 metres and above. [The EECVquay of the Port of Rotterdam in Netherlands has a draft of 24 metres (78 feet), making it, along with the Terminal of Ponta da Madeira in Brazil, one of only two available mooring locations for the largest bulk cargo ship in the world, the iron ore bulk carrier MS Berge Stahl when fully loaded. The Berge Stahl’s draft of 23 metres (75 feet) leaves only one metre (3ft) of underkeel clearance. It can thus only dock in a restricted tidal window]. A deep seaport is also defined to be any port with the capability of accommodating a fully laden Panamax ship [The EECV-quay of the Port of Rotterdam in Netherlands has a draft of 24 metres (78 feet), making it, along with the Terminal of Ponta da Madeira in Brazil, one of only two available mooring locations for the largest bulk cargo ship in the world, the iron ore bulk carrier MS Berge Stahl when fully loaded. The Berge Stahl’s draft of 23 meters (75 feet) leaves only one metre (three feet) of under-keel clearance. It can thus only dock in a restricted tidal window], or even a Post-Panamax ship. A Panamax port is, therefore, a deep seaport that can accommodate a fully laden Panamax ship or Post-Panamax ship. The list of Panamax-compliant ports is expected to change when Panama Canal’s expansion project is completed, expectedly in 2015. “Panamax” and “New Panamax” are terms based on the size limits for ships traveling

(Transshipment base)

•Director-General, NIALS, Prof. Ephiphany Azinge (SAN)


through the Panama Canal. The limits and requirements are published by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), as “Vessel Requirements”, which also describe topics like exceptional dry seasonal limits, propulsion, communications, and detailed ship design. The allowable size is limited by the width and length of the available lock chambers, by the depth of water in the canal, and by the height of the Bridge of the Americas since the bridge’s construction. The dimensions, which have influenced the design of cargo ships, naval vessels, and passenger ships, issue clear parameters for ships that would traverse the canal. Since the opening of the canal in 1914, Panamax specifications have been in effect. Ships that do not fall within the Panamax dimensions are called “Post-Panamax”. In 2009, the ACP published the “New Panamax” that will be in effect when the canal’s third set of locks, larger than the current two, becomes operational in 2015. Post-Panamax or Over-Panamax denote ships larger than Panamax that do not fit into existing specifications, such as supertankers and the largest modern container ships [The EECV-quay of the Port of Rotterdam in Netherlands has a draft of 24 metres (78 feet), making it, along with the Terminal of Ponta da Madeira in Brazil, one of only two available mooring locations for the largest bulk cargo ship in the world, the iron ore bulk carrier MS Berge Stahl when fully loaded. The Berge Stahl’s draft of 23 metres (75 feet) leaves only one metre (3 feet) of underkeel clearance. It can thus only dock in a restricted tidal window]. The US Deep Water Port Act 1974 [33 U.S.C.S. § 1502(10). DWPA was amended in 1984, 1990, 1995 and 1996. See also the Marine Transport Security Act of 2002 (MTSA), passed by Congress after assessing the risks affecting the maritime environment, including the potential hazards of LNG, post 9/11. In November 2002, the MTSA was signed into law formally amending the DWPA to extend the definition of deepwater ports to include natural gas facilities; and implement measures to improve vessel and facility security](DWPA) defines a Deep Water Port as “any fixed or floating man-made structure other than a vessel, or any group of such structures, located beyond the territorial sea and off the coast of the United States and which are used or intended for use as a port or terminal for the loading or unloading and further handling of oil for transportation to any State.” This, not being a universal definition, the requirement of a seaward high water mark location is a variant of the US statutory specification, but it underlines the fact that most deep seaports are located beyond seaward boundaries. A regular port is contiguously joined to the shoreline and projects therefrom. From the standpoint of the US legislation, many deep seaports are built at a maritime location away from the natural shoreline, or even on island locations and then bridged to the mainland. But it is normal for a deep seaport to proceed from the shore at a location where the naturally occurring shoreside draft is unusually deep, as in the proposed Ibaka Deep Seaport in Akwa Ibom State. Ibaka is said to have a naturally occurring draft of about 15 metres. It is suggested that a deep seaport for Post-

Panamax ships will increasingly be required to have at least 45 foot sea draft (summer) with 50 required for many larger Post-Panamax ships in service and on order. There will likely be increasing pressure for minimum air draft for Post-Panamax vessels as well in the definition of deep ocean ports at completion of widening of the Panama Canal. Also beyond the depth of draft, some structural specifications for container handling capacity ought to be met by a deep seaport. Thus, a deep seaport handling containers for ‘Lift On/ Lift Off’ (LO/LO) vessels is expected to have at least moveable and more regularly track run cranes with capability to lift containers 22 rows deep without vessel turn. A port that can only handle container LO/LO with ship’s own gear is not considered a deep seaport. To attract sufficient traffic, a deep seaport would need to be equipped with at least three and more regularly eight to 10 container cranes capable of simultaneous operation for at least two Panamax Ships at the same time or it will not be viable. Furthermore, due to the on quay storage required for most Panamax and Post-Panamax operations, finger piers are very hard to work and impossible to work for more than one such vessel at a time with yard hustling equipment. In summary, a deep seawater port would qualify as a seaport with capacity, artificial or natural, to berth and handle very large vessels, in terms of depth of draft and cargo handling operations capacities.

Impact of a deep seaport on economy Recently, the Federal Government announced plans for development of deep seaports in Nigeria. Several names had since cropped up, including Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos State, Ibaka Deep Seaport in Akwa Ibom State, Badagry Deep Seaport in Lagos State, Olokola Deep Seaport in Ondo State, Ogidigben Deep Seaport near Escravos in Delta State, and Agge Deep Seaport in Bayelsa State. There are mentions of Bonny and Calabar seaports in Rivers and Cross River states. It is not clear which ones are official Federal Government locations and which ones fall under State Government and private agitations. The announcement generated mixed reactions, including excitement, interest and controversies altogether. Leaving the controversies aside for a while, there is no doubt that a deep seaport will be a masterstroke for the Nigerian economy. The proposed Lekki Deep Seaport which is already being developed by a publicprivate partnership led by the Tolaram Group, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for the Federal Government and Lagos State Government, when completed promises to be an economic hub for both local and the national economy. True to its description the Lekki Deep Seaport promises to be a unique gateway, offering Nigeria opportunities to enter the rapidly growing West African market. It will be the largest port in Nigeria, offering the biggest potential container footprint and accessibility facilities for larger shipping vessels, than any port in the West African region.

Regional Load Centre

Since the primary benefit of a deep seaport is its capability to handle larger vessels, this capacity brings with it many advantages to the nation’s maritime industry and fall-out economic gains. Since Nigeria is already a dominant market for ships bound for West and Central Africa regions, a deep seaport will increase Nigeria’s chance to attain regional shipping hub status. There is a subtle competition for the undisputed regional hub in West Africa shipping. The principal competitors are Nigeria and her closest west coastal neighbour, Benin Republic. Nigerian importers who complain of high charges or bureaucratic bottlenecks at Nigerian ports; or who simply desire to evade charges, saw Benin seaports as better havens. Due to one or a combination of these factors, at some point about 80 per cent of used cars displayed for sale at the Nigerian open market were smuggled in through the Benin land border. Against this background, Nigeria and Benin are jostling over who becomes the load centre in West Africa, also known as transshipment base. Even with Nigeria’s population and market advantage, the Lagos ports are threatened in the race by natural seaports and ongoing development of a deep seaport in Cotonou. It has been suspected that the project is targeted against the market to secure international preference over Nigeria. Some years ago, the World Bank carried out a survey on ports in the region and the report favoured Abidjan ports and Cotonou as load centres in West Africa. Despite Nigeria’s huge market, Lagos ports lost out due to corruption and bureaucratic bottlenecks. This was a time of ubiquitous port and customs agencies with unending arrays of desks at the ports; a situation that has changed with ports reforms that ushered in world class operators who now work together with the NPA for more seamless port operations. As several West African countries enter the race for transshipment status, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are making efforts to deepen seaports in the near future, while Benin is developing a very strategic deep seaport at Seme-Kpodi, close to Badagry. The port will have capacity for mega vessels and expected to attract vessels with a single voyage of 15,000 TEU, and seen as a clear case of effort to wrestle the load centre base from Nigeria, a state of affairs that would cause a depletion in Nigeria’s current and projectable maritime earnings.

Job creation potentials and increased employment of services As the largest importer and exporter in West African region a deep seaport and regional hub status attained, Nigeria will benefit economically from increased maritime and general trade volumes. Benefits of attaining regional hub status include potential to create directly and indirectly, approximately three to four million jobs over a five year period and a 70 per cent cut in vessel turn-around time. It will also increase revenue from berthing charges and handling charges for the transshipment of cargoes. The whole enhanced general maritime activities will create jobs and improve per capita earnings, which are important factors in GDP economics. The frenzy in Nigeria for deep seaports can be understood from these backgrounds. The multiplier effects on the economy if Nigeria attains regional transshipment status, will be huge. A deep seaport firms up the quest for the status. As a primary destination for ships bound for West Africa, a position complemented by hub port capabilities, transshipment in Nigeria would in these circumstances become a valid and compelling business decision, with collateral shuttle services from Nigeria to other ports in the region. Flowing from this are cumulative fallouts including development of local bunker markets, ship agency representation, marine insurance sales, more robust port dues and royalties payable to government, increase in the range of handling services, ship repair and dockyard services, pilotage, legal services, including positioning as a regional arbitration centre and development of other professional maritime services. •To be continued next week




NBA seeks access to detention centres of terror suspects


HE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has sought to be granted access to the centres where suspected terrorists were held. It said it needed to visit the centres to ensure that the human rights of those held were not abused. The association also condemned extra-judicial killings. Its President Okey Wali (SAN) called on security agents to observe international best practices and rules in combating terrorism. He said it was gratifying that the military authorities had acknowledged that for close to one year, they have detained over 1,400 suspects. The military, he said, also claimed to have recommended 500 for trial, 167 to be freed and 614 cases to be reviewed. The implication is that these suspects have been in detention for several months in violation of constitutional stipulations. “This is constitutionally unacceptable,” the NBA chief said. “We, therefore, urge the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Chief of Defence Staff to grant the NBA access to the detention facilities in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to access the condition of those centres and the number of persons detained and for how long they have been detained,” Wali said. NBA called on the all those who have one form of grievance or the other to explore peaceful and non-violent means of redress. It added that nothing justified the killing of innocent citizens or persons of different faiths because of what they do not know. “Nothing justifies the mindless destruction going on in different parts of the country. We must continuously and continually work on our federation for purposes of strengthening the bond of unity and brotherhood in the country. “Unexplained and challenging security situations must make us stronger and we must at this time stand firmly with our troops that are in the line of fire with an enemy that is very mobile and vicious. “More fundamentally is the fact that we do not seem to have a coherent, forward looking and acceptable national security policy and strategy. Our national security strategy is obviously reactive and episodic,” Wali said. NBA called on President Goodluck Jonathan to constitute and convene an all-Nigerian national security conference to draw up a comprehensive and coherent national security policy strategy that can respond to the changing domestic and international situation. “Since the present security strategy in Nigeria is reactive, episodic and ad-hoc, no serious country can operate on such loose security infrastructure. “In our fight against violent crimes, we must never lose the soul of compassion and empathy on account of the security challenges facing the country,” Wali said. Wali said NBA, last year, resolved to look at the fundamental right to life against the background of extra-judicial executions and other rights violations and implications for national security. “We decided to focus on the right to life because the fundamental law of the land, which is the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) guarantees the right to life and provides very clear constitutional basis, when someone’s right to life can be abridged. “Even in those circumstances, very clear safeguards are provided, because life as they say in local parlance, has no duplicate and has no photocopy and if someone’s life is taken

By John Austin Unachukwu

away, it cannot be reversed. The right to life is therefore fundamental and inalienable to the human person. Yet it seems we have lost the value for life in Nigeria.” He continued: “While it is unacceptable that Nigerians will continue to die on account of insurgency, robbery and mindless kidnappings, it is unconstitutional, illegal and immoral for state and non-state actors to engage in extra-judicial execution of Nigerians who have not been found guilty by a properly constituted court of law. “It is also not sufficient to plead the doctrine of necessity occasioned by rising crime and criminality and the deadly insurgency challenges, to engage in extra judicial killings and executions. “While we recognise the fact that where there is rise in crime and criminality people are jittery and more nervous about the constitutional protection of our liberties, believing that suspects should be detained indefinitely and not given their due process rights. “However, it is in moments of difficult security challenges that the citizens must become more vigilant in the defence and protection of the rights of the citizens.” The association admitted that battling insurgency was not mean task, but that the law must always be respected. “We acknowledge that our security agencies have been engaged in difficult insurgency and militancy operations. “We support our military and other security agencies who day and night toil to make sure that we remain safe, but we will continue to urge them to observe the rules of engagement in their operations and not to engage in indiscriminate execution of persons who are mere suspects, no matter the circumstances,” the NBA boss said. Wali said it appeared as if the country had lost its soul and no longer regarded the right to life as important. “On a daily basis we are regaled with bizarre statistics of the number of persons that have lost their lives in questionable and unacceptable circumstances. “We flip through the newspapers and behold these statistics and pictures and simply move ahead, because we have become immune to shock. The lives of Nigerians are wasted on account of ethnic, communal and religious conflicts, and we do not bath an eyelid,” he said. Speaking at an event to mark the International Human Rights Day, Wali said the country must continue to reflect on the past. “More often, it is our refusal to look at the past and learn from our challenges that leads us into making the same mistakes in human rights defence and protection. “For when we sincerely interrogate our past, we will find out that those that trampled the fundamental rights of the people in the past have always and I say always appealed to be afforded their rights when they are out of power and in difficulties.” On Mandela, he said: “Let me pay tribute to the greatest symbol of human rights and human rights activist of this century, the late President Nelson Mandela. “Mandela was an iconic leader, freedom fighter and human rights activist who used his training as a lawyer to serve, not only his people in South Africa, but the entire humanity. “He demonstrated the role a lawyer should play in the interest of the public, which should serve as a lesson to lawyers worldwide.”

•From left; Publicity Secretary, NBA, Afam Obi; Treasurer, Joyce Oduah; Legal Adviser, Sule Usman and 2nd Asst Secretary, U. F. O. Nnaemeka

•Festus Okoye (left) and First Vice-President NBA, Osas Justy Erhabor

•Justice Amina Augie (JCA) and Murtala Aminu(Galadima Adamawa)

•From left: Former General Secretary, NBA Dele Adesina (SAN); Hon. Fadima Murtala Aminu and Chinos Obiagwu

•From left: Hon. Chile Igbawua; Mamman Mike Osunma (SAN) and former NBA General Secretary, Rafiu Lawal Rabana (SAN

•From left: Chairman, NBA Kaduna Branch, Anthony Iloaganachi; former chairman NBA Kaduna Branch, Obi Anozie; A. Adepodun (SAN) and former NBA General Secretary Ibrahim Eddy Mark



LEGAL OPINION Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch ONYEKACHI UBANI explains the requirements for writing a Will, adding that a testator can also make a miniature Will called Codici.

Why write a Will? T

HAT death is inevitable is no longer debatable. It started from the Garden of Eden where Eve and Adam were deceived by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit. The punishment for that disobedience was the ultimate pronouncement by the Almighty God that death will be the ultimate price man and woman will have to pay for that grave infraction. It has remained like that from that time till today. Out of dust we came and to it shall we all return; none is exempted – the rich, the poor, the beautiful and the ugly, the white and the blacks. In the light of this fact of life, every man and woman is expected to put his or her house in order prior to death to avoid certain ugly happenings that crop up after departure especially when that exit is so sudden. The rate at which colleagues and fellow Nigerians are dying daily necessitated this write up. It becomes more imperative when one discovers that often times when these people drop dead, the dependants are left to struggle with the relatives of the deceased over his real and personal properties. It is more appalling in certain cultures where the parents or relatives of the deceased are culturally allowed to take precedence over the dependants in sharing the properties of the deceased. The dependants are usually left in the dark to suffer perpetually especially when they are of school age with no other source of help. We advise that a Will be written by every matured adult with dependants to mitigate the hardship that usually occur to them in the absence of these loved ones. Talking about putting one’s house in order, we must learn a good lesson from one man called Ahithophel in the bible. He gave Absalom the son of David advice but Absalom rejected his wise counsel and preferred that of Hushai, not knowing that the Lord God had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster to Absalom. That night when Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out to his house in his home town. Bible recorded that “he put his house in order and then hanged himself”. By putting his house in order, it meant that he may have written a Will or may have shared his properties appropriately to his dependants before hanging himself. How many of us today behave like that man called Ahithophel by putting our house in order? The moment you are of age and have properties both real and personal to pass inter-vivos to a favoured beneficiary, then you are qualified to write a Will. The one who writes a Will is known in law as a Testator. A Statutory Will is one made in accordance with the provisions of the relevant statutes in force. Some of the relevant laws governing Will in Nigeria include the Wills Act 1837, Wills Act Amendment Act 1852, Wills Edict 1990 of Lagos State etc. For a Will to be valid, the Maker of the Will must ensure that he or she complies with the necessary requirements prescribed by the relevant laws governing the making of Wills. If the making of a Will complies strictly with requirements of the governing law, the courts will give efficacy to it by the grant of a Probate. It is, therefore, advisable that a Testator should hire a competent hand with the necessary skills and sufficient expertise to produce a Will that will pass the test of the law while reflecting the wishes of the Testator accurately. There is oral Will too. It is called Nuncupative Will and it takes effect under Customary Law. It is an oral directive of someone made in anticipation of death before credible witnesses. It can be made either in good or in bad health. A Will is a document that speaks only after the death of the Testator; it is a testamentary. A Will is nothing until the death of the Maker. He or she can amend it, cancel it by destroying it. Until death, it remains a mere declaration of intention. Therefore a beneficiary under a Will can only take interest in any property disposed by Will only after the death of the Testator. (I am sure you must have watched films, seen or heard of a Testator whose death is facilitated by a potential beneficiary who have a prior knowledge of the contents of his Will and knows that he

or she cannot take interest in the properties devised until the death of the Testator). It is bad, but it is a reality. Due to the fact that a Will speaks only upon the death of the Testator, the courts have laid down strict rules to ensure full observance of statutory requirements in the making of Wills. The purpose of this is to ensure that no fraud or lies are committed against the dead who is no longer available to defend what is written down about his wish. The burden of proof rests upon the party propounding the Will and he or she must satisfy the conscience of the court that the instrument so propounded is the last Will of a free and capable Testator. There are so many definitions of a Will by various authors, but the definition that suits and satisfies me is the one given by Dr. Kole Abayomi my former lecturer at the Law School, who defined a Will, thus: “A revocable document voluntarily made, executed and witnessed according to law by a Testator with sound disposing mind wherein he disposes of his property subject to any limitation imposed by law and wherein he gives such other directives as he may deem fit to his personal representatives otherwise known as his executors who administer his estate in accordance with the wishes manifested in the Will”. These key words should be noted in this definition. They are: 1. Revocable document 2. Voluntarily made, executed and witnessed 3. A Testator with a sound disposing mind 4. Subject to limitations imposed by law 5. To personal representatives known as executors to administer 6. His wishes manifested in the Will The requirements of proper form and due execution of a Will is worthy to be expanded here for the general public to know. a)A Will should be in writing. Section 9 of the Will Act 1837 provides for this assertion. This Act is of general application unless a specific law in any state derogates from that provision. b)A Will is subject to amendment, alteration at the pleasure of the Testator while alive. It cannot be tampered with upon death, else it shall be declared null and void. c)For a Will to be binding, the subject matter, meaning the gift, must be identifiable. It should not be unclear or vague. Secondly there must be certainty of obligation. What this means is that for the court to recognise an obligation and ensure enforceability, the obligations must be very clear as mere intention will not be approved by the courts. Thirdly the Will must comply with statutory requirements. Disposition of things like land requires alienation to be in writing (see S.5(2) Law Reform (contract) Act of 1961. Due execution of a will It is also very important to note that due regard and attention is paid by the courts on how a Will is executed by the Testator. In Nigeria almost all if not all the states have a provision in their State Laws on Wills. These laws have taken into account the Wills Amendment Act of 1852. The Wills Laws clearly take care of all the requirements of due execution including the positioning of the signature. Basically duly executed Will must be in this form. a)A Will must be in writing. It could be handwritten or typed. b)It must be signed either by the Testator or by any other person in his presence and by his direction. Signature for this purpose may be a cross, an initial, rubber stamp or a name or signature. A thumb print can also be accepted. Where an illiterate executes a Will, an attestation clause called illiterate jurat should be inserted asserting that the contents of the Will had first been read over to the illiterate Testator who appeared perfectly to understand and approve of same. Same applies to a blind person. c)The signature of the Testator may be acknowledged. As alternative to signing his signature, the Testator can acknowledge his signature and the law allows it and regards it as valid provided that other conditions are met. d)The position of the signature must be such as to ensure that the Testator intends to give effect to the Will with his signature. It is obvious that any disposition or directive coming after a


signature may be regarded as a nullity. e)The Will must be signed by the Testator or someone else in his presence and at his direction (or acknowledged by the Testator) in the presence of at least two witnesses present at the same time. In the presence of witnesses, means actual visual presence of two of the witnesses. It is a strict rule that must be complied with, else the Will will be voided. On no account should the witnesses attest to what they have not seen or witnessed. Therefore they must see the Testator sign his signature or acknowledge his signature. The witnesses must see the signature before their own attestation. It is imperative to warn that any Will in which the Testator put his signature after the attestation of the witnesses shall be regarded as a void document. If a Will has complied with all these conditions specified therein, there is a presumption of due execution in its favour. The law presumes that that which is required to be done has indeed been done. This is otherwise known as presumption of regularity. Capacity to make a Will is also key. Age wise and the soundness of mind are usually an issue. If it is proven that at the time the Will is made that the Testator is of an unsound mind or of insane delusion or is suffering from such an ailment that impairs him from knowing what he was doing, the Will will be set aside. The test for all times is “has the Testator the requisite sound disposing mind at the time the will was made”? If the answer is in the alternative, the Will be held to be valid. Similarly if a will is made under undue influence or pressure from any quarter whatsoever, that can vitiate the entire process. Finally, a testator can also in his lifetime make a miniature Will called Codicil while alive. It must comply with all the requirements of a Will or else it can be voided. Codicils is annexed to or supplemental to or related to a Will previously executed. It is part of the major Will and should be taken or read together. It is used for many purposes part of which include a) Correcting the initial Will b) Taking care of new acquired properties c) Replacing or appointing new executors. d) Correcting a clerical error in the major will etc. This is where we will stop today, but note that the purpose of this write-up is to educate fellow Nigerians on how to put their houses in order before they are called home by their Maker. It is not meant to provide all that you need to know concerning a Will. It is advised that any one who intends to write a Will should consult a lawyer who is skillful in the act of writing of a Will to help do the needful including ensuring the proper deposit of the Will at the appropriate Probate Registry in the State. A Will is proven upon the death of the Testator and a grant of a Probate is made when all the requirements of a valid will is satisfied by the Officials at the Probate Registry. •Concluded

A lawyer, ROBERT OMOTE, examines the constitutionality of budget presentation by a minister on behalf of the President

Should a minister present the national budget?


NDER the Seventh Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended), which expressly provides for the oath of office, the President is expected to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; to preserve and defend the constitution of the country. Section 1 (1) of the 1999 Constitution resonates the supremacy of the constitution. In Hope Democratic Party v Obi (2012, ALL FWLR (PT612), 1620 @ 1625 R.4, the apex court rule confirm the supremacy of the constitution as binding on all persons, institutions and authorities in Nigeria. In consequence, the failure to follow any of the provisions renders the steps taken unconstitutional, null and void. The validity of Budget Presentation by Mr. President The validity of budget presentation by the president is captured in S.81(1) of the extant constitution as amended. It provides thus: “The President shall cause to be prepared and laid before each house of the National Assemble at anytime in each financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the Federation for next following financial year.” In the lexicon of law in general, the word “shall” connotes a mandatory concept. The Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th edition at page 1499 defines it as “something mandatory that

drafters typically intend and that courts typically uphold.” In Agip v Agip (2010) 2Scm 1 @ 16,R22, the apex court maintains that when the word “shall” is used in a statue, it is not permissive, it is mandatory, its imports is that a thing must be done. Budget presentation from the import of S.81 (1) is the constitutional responsibility of the President and no one else. Budget Presentation by a Minister The President, seemingly overwhelmed by the perceived and anticipated boos from members of the National Assembly, has wittingly delegated the Finance Minister to represent him at the 2014 budget presentation under the guise of being protected by the provision of S.148 (1). This section provide thus: “The President may in his discretion assign to Vice President or any Minister of the government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the government of the federation including the administration of any department of government.” The 2014 budget presentation by the finance minister, when analysed in contest with the provision of S.148(1), does not suggest that the President can negotiate, abdicate or sacrifice a reverence exercise of annual budget presentation.

The above scenario notwithstanding, S.67 (2) of the same constitution unequivocally permits the presence of the finance minister on such occasion. The aforesaid section provides: “A minister of the government of the Federation shall attend either house of the National Assembly, if invited to explain to the house the conduct of his or her ministry and in particular when the affairs of that ministry are under discussion.” Conclusion The general law is that procedures or conditions are provided for by a statue within which a budget can be presented and except where the statue admits of exception (and in this case, there is none), such procedures or conditions must be complied with in other to inject life into the statue, constitution or the polity in general. Equating, therefore, S. 81 (1) with any other provision(s) in the extant constitution smack of irrelevance of technical rules of interpretation. Delegating the Finance Minister to lay the annual budget before the National Assembly amounts to constitutional negligence which has further eroded and corroded the executive power of an imperial President: delegatus non potest delegare.


Journey to the cold city

LATEAU State is known mostly for its cold and interesting weather. Located at the coldest part of the country, coupled with its mountainous terrain, funseekers and tourists usually visit this beautiful state popularly known as “Home of Peace and Tourism” even though recent events in the state seem to question the verity of peace in the Plateau. People troop into the state to relax and reflect due to the coolness which is caused by its weather. Plateau State is located in Nigeria’s middle belt. With an area of 26,899 square kilometres, the state has an estimated population of about three million people. The state is named after the picturesque Jos Plateau, a mountainous area in the north of the state with captivating rock formations. Bare rocks are scattered across the grasslands, which cover the plateau. Though situated in the tropical zone, a higher altitude means that Plateau State has a near temperate climate with an average temperature of between 18 and 22°C. Harmattan winds cause the coldest weather between December and February. What most may not link to Jos is that the state itself can be a tourist attraction which cannot be exhausted in a hurry. The mountainous terrain of the Jos environment which has saved its people from invasion in the olden days can now be turned into an attraction for funloving individuals. Apart from its Zoo and wildlife park, Jos also has bodies of waters which the fun-loving people have

From Grace Obike

gladly turned into resorts. The Rayfield resort for instance, although most of the residents turn the river into their source of water for building and other domestic uses, is also a place of strolls, picnics, parties and in some instance, recreational boating. However, the most interesting feature of Jos, apart from the above, is its rocks. The Sheri Hills, for instance, consist of different individual rocks which leaves a person in wonder of the greatness of God, mostly unique in its features, all cocooned in an environment. The rocky area of the Sheri Hills used to be known for the crowd of young people who gather on the

rocks for picnics and parties. It used to draw large crowds but recently, like most parts of Jos, the hills are quiet even for the Yuletide period when most people go to their homes in different parts of the country. Sunday Damshit, a resident of Jos believes that the city is, most times, cool and not as noisy as bigger cities like Abuja. Damshit, who resides in far away Bukuru (a suburb of Jos) said: “Bukuru is actually a little far from Sheri Hills but I love to come here once in a while to relax and read books. This is really a good place to think and get creative. “The fact is that this place used to attract a lot of young people, family and friends who enjoy partying here. Recently, however, due to insecurity,

Jos and most of the interesting places in this town have become a shadow of itself.” Another resident, Esther Lere, who is a florist in Rayfield said: “If not for the insecurity in the town, Jos is a very nice town. Check your history and you will find out that a lot of influential and important people used to stay in Jos at a point. A lot of Europeans love the weather because it is very similar to theirs and the city used to be multi-cultural and with all the religions all living in peace until the recent state of insecurity in the town. “We are optimistic that Jos can get back to what it used to be again. In time, the security situation will be resolved and people will come back to Jos to reside. The fact is Jos has a lot

Bukuru is actually a little far from Shere Hills but I love to come here once in a while to relax and read books. This is really a good place to think and get creative. The fact is that this place used to attract a lot of young people, family and friends who enjoy partying here. Recently, however, due to insecurity, Jos and most of the interesting places in this town have become a shadow of themselves


Page 41


to give in terms of its people and environment.” Another important attraction in Jos can be found in Kyarang in Mangu Local Government Area. “Kyarang is the place where the famous Swan Water factory is located. The village houses a natural spring pond where locals believe that a huge swan lives and only comes out on rare occasions to repair the water. The water that comes out from a rock is crystal clean and villagers drink from it freely without fear. The biggest landmark of Kyarang is the volcanic mountain that is also seen drawn on the swan water bottle. Abigail is indigenous to Kyarang but teaches in Jos. She said: “I grew up in the village and drank from the spring water. The water is very pure. Although some people worship the swan, I don’t. But she comes out ones in a while and has been there for more than 100 years. At least, that is what my people believe in.” Another notable place is Gindiri which has huge cave-like rock known as dutsen lamba (meaning the rock with a mark), the popular dancing bridge which was used as a bridge before the construction of a better bridge and lots more. These and many more are places that a fun-lover and visitor to Jos can visit without spending much money unlike other tourist sites outside the country. A lot of Europeans love the weather because it is very close to their own and the city used to be multicultural and with all the religion all living in peace until the security situation. “We are optimistic that Jos can get •Continued on page 46




T was a black Christmas and a day that will not be easily forgotten in the history of St Kizito’s Catholic Church, Kuje. It was a day fire razed half of the office and residential building of the Parish Priest. The cause of the fire could not be ascertained. During the Morning Mass on that day, little did members and leaders of the church know that tragedy was lurking around to play out later in the evening. It all started about 4:15 in the evening according to an eyewitness who was passing by the church when the fire started. Suddenly, the witness said, a flame was noticed coming out of the church premises and just to find out what was happening, a Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) vehicle was seen driving on speed towards the gate of the church. Immediately, fire water-laden tanker was also following the vehicle. People were running haphazardly shouting ‘fire, fire’ while security men whose district headquarters is located opposite the church, were also running towards the same direction to find out what was happening. People gathered at the entrance of the church clamouring for the gate to be opened to enable them to help in salvaging the situation. After several attempts, the gate was opened and onlookers, security operatives and fire fighters rushed to the scene of the blaze. It was discovered, to their chagrin that the fire had started long before people outside the church noticed it. Men of the fire service later put out the fire which could have razed the entire building that was housing the Parish Priest, other Reverend Fathers and church workers. One of the church workers told Abuja Review that most of them were sleeping when the fire started. It was when they suddenly woke up that they noticed smoke was coming out from one of the rooms. The worker, who pleaded anonymity and could not tell what caused the outbreak of fire, said all efforts to put out the fire were futile. “It was my colleague that woke me up, if not, I would have been dead by now. But I thank God. I do not know what went wrong. I am still in

One of the church workers told Abuja Review that most of them were sleeping when the fire started. It was when they suddenly woke up that they noticed smoke was coming out from one of the rooms


Christmas tragedy: Church property up in flames

By Gbenga Omokhunu

shock,” the source said. Some valuables were removed from the building when men of the fire service were putting out the fire. Mr. Tokunbo Cletus who led the

Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) team to the scene said: “We were on patrol when we saw smoke coming out from the church premises. We have to put a call through to the officer of the fire service to rescue the

situation. We had to rush down here with them. “We noticed the fire incident around past four in the evening. The cause of the fire was not known. It could be a generator spark or from the kitchen.” The leader of the officials of the fire service who did not disclose his identity said: “My advice to people now is to be very careful and ensure that they have firefighting equipment in their homes. If there was firefighting equipment in this house, the fire outbreak would have been tackled.” Rev. Father Michael Ngoka, the Parish Priest of the St. Kizito’s Catholic Church, Kuje said: “I was at the prison celebrating Christmas with the inmates. It is the annual visit of the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja be-

cause every Christmas Day, he goes to the prison to see the inmates and interact with them. So, when he comes, the Priest who works around here is supposed to be there to receive him. “It was a drama-sketch that was going on when a security officer alerted me. He said he had a message for me and I followed him out of the prison premises. He told me that there is a problem at home that he just got information that there is fire in my house and they need me. On hearing that in did not even go back to the Archbishop to inform him of my leave, the message came so sudden and I was a little bit worry to know if anybody was hurt or killed in the process. “I took off and as I was coming I was calling the fathers, seminarians, the cook the house boy and nobody was picking not knowing that they were here and when I came in there was a crowd and everybody was busy helping out that was the reason they did not pick my calls. “It was when I got here and I saw the crowd that it dawned on me that my house was in danger. The generator was on when I left the prisons, usually we run generator in the afternoon. But I did not get the details of what caused the fire outbreak. I do not think it’s the kitchen because it began from the room of the parish priest. Everything there was completely burnt to ashes. At least other rooms they were able to evacuate certain things out. There must have been a spark somewhere. “But in any case I give glory to God, my major concern when I was driving down I was praying that there should be no casualty. The distance between prisons and here is ten minute but it looked like one day drive. I was speeding to come home but home was so long and it looked like it was unreachable. I am calm that everybody is fine is just that we lost so many valuables to the inferno.” No one could explain the cause of the ugly incident but the fact remains that everyone should be careful especially during this dry season.

policies are crime control, conflict resolutions; conflict management, boosting developments, creation of data for easy public administration, management of urbanisation, emergencies and provision of social services, among others.” Continuing, he said: “Already, this administration has come up with a

new Greater Jos Master Plan on which all developments would be based. So, this committee is working in full compliance with the provisions of the new Master Plan. We are going to work mostly in conjunction with traditional rulers who are the custodians of culture and traditions of the people, as well as various stakeholders to play key roles in the project. “The street naming will showcase the cultural heritage of people of Plateau State as well as the history of the state. Some of the existing street names that have no relevance to the state’s history, culture and tradition will be changed. “The research committee is also in consultation with some states across the country to see their various models of street naming and house numbering. At the end, we should be able to come up with the best formula to enable government to reposition the city. “The state has a legal framework in the form of Jos Metropolitan Development Board (JMDB) which is a creation of the state House of Assembly. We are even contemplating changing the name of JMDB to reflect the new challenges. Instead of calling it Jos Metropolitan Development Board (JMDB), it may be called Plateau State Metropolitan Development Board (PSMDB). Kwaja confirmed that the street naming and house numbering project will be completed before the end of Governor Jang’s administration in May, 2015.

Plateau back from the brink •Continued from page 25 to the city that Jos is a city recovering from myriad of crises. The current source of worry in Jos is that of congestion which resulted from human and vehicular traffic that is on the increase. Both private and commercial owners of vehicles battle daily to determine which street to avoid and which street to ply. Many residents planned to avoid the busiest streets like Ahmadu Bello Way, Murtala Muhammed Way, Tafawa Balewa and Bauchi Road, among others. In spite of the decentralisation of Terminus Market, the central areas remain the busiest streets in the city as most businesses are concentration in these areas. Following the congestion that has become a daily feature of Jos, Governor Da Jonah David Jang has been making frantic efforts to make the state habitable for all. Some of the measures he has taken to this effect are conversion of most streets to dual carriage ways and the construction of new roads at the suburb. This has been government’s deliberate policies aimed at decongest-

•Jos ing the city centre. In addition, there are several committees and task forces in place whose responsibility is expansion of the city. For instance, there are task forces on city renewal, internal revenue generation and street and house naming, among others. Mr Chris Kwaja who is the chairman of research sub-com-

mittee of the street naming and house numbering task force said: “The state government, in responding to current socio-economic challenges of the post-conflict life of the state, has set machinery in motion to reposition the state particularly Jos that is fast becoming a mega city. “Some of the advantages of these




Live in Kaduna, work in Abuja T

•Ongoing work on the Kaduna/Abuja fast train project

You may even arrive your office and start work before someone that lives in Abuja. Government will make sure that the fare is affordable. We planned to have nine railway stations between Kaduna and Abuja where the trains will be making brief stop-overs to drop and pick passengers

HE idea of having a fast rail track linking the Federal Capital Territory and Kaduna was first mooted by Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo when he was the governor of Kaduna State. Then, the rail track was to be designed to link the Kaduna Millennium City on the eastern flank of Kaduna metropolis and to provide easy transport for people who might want to live in Kaduna and work in Abuja. But it was evident that the state government will not have the amount of money needed to execute such a huge project. Considering the fact that rail transport in the country has been almost an exclusive preserve of the federal government, the Sambo began a subtle move to get the federal government to buy into the project and his plans materialised when he was appointed the Vice President. He sold the idea to the federal government under President Goodluck Jonathan who bought into it. But rather than terminate at the Millennium City, the fast rail track was diverted to Rigassa, a suburb of Kaduna metropolis believed by many in Kaduna to be a no go area for Christians. President Goodluck Jonathan was billed to flag off the construction of the fast rail track at Rigassa during his presidential campaign to Kaduna in 2011, but cancelled the idea at the last minute due to security reports. In buying into the project, the government decided on carrying it out along with a total rehabilitation of existing rail lines across the country. The project was awarded to the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) at the cost of about 850 million dollars. The project which is already 70 percent completed is about 186 kilometres long with about nine stations along the line from Kaduna to Abuja. The construction of the track is expected to be beneficial to the various communities through which the fast train is expected to pass through, but many of them are not convinced that about government sincerity completing the project especially the fact that there are limited information about the project. The Federal Director of Railways, Engr. Barau Gafar said that the project was initially awarded in 2006 as part of government plans to revitalise the railway sector to run from Lagos to Kano, adding that the government decided to segment it to six parts namely Lagos to Ibadan, Ibadan to Ilorin, Ilorin to Minna, Minna to Abuja, Abuja to Kaduna. He also told the good governance tour team which visited the project recently that the government decided to commence with two segments which are Lagos to Ibadan and Abuja to Kaduna, saying “we started Abuja to Kaduna in the year 2010 precisely. The contract was awarded to CCECC at total cost of 849 million US dollars”. He disclosed that when completed, then fast train would run at a speed of between 120km to 150 km per hour, and anyone living in Kaduna will be able to travel to Abuja in approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Spokesman of the construction company, James Lee, said the project has not suffered any setbacks since its commencement as there was no land acquisition problem while funding from the government has been regular and coming as and when due. Lee said that even in China, projects like the rail project are handled for about three years, describing the government as good clients assuring that the project will be handed over to the government in Decem-

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna ber 2014. However, a tour of the project by The Nation revealed that communities that are supposed to ben-


efit from the project have mixed feelings about the project. While some are not comfortable with government sincerity and commitment to the project, others think it is a blessing to them, believing

that when completed, it will open up their communities. For example, residents of Rigassa which is the terminal point of the track in Kaduna are not happy that President Goodluck Jonathan failed to come to the community in 2011 to flag off the construction of the rail tracks. The date for the flag off coincided with the presidential campaign in Kaduna. Even though the contractors said that they have not had any problem with acquiring land for the project, some of the farmers complained that they have lost large portion of their farm land to the project without any form of compensation by the government. Former Minister of Transport, Yusuf Suleiman under whose tenure the project began was quoted by a national daily newspaper as saying that when completed and put to use, the project will afford a lot of residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and those that have business in the nation’s capital, to reside in Kaduna or any of the railway towns and villages along the rail line to visit the FCT, do their businesses and return the same day. There is the belief however that this will help bring down the cost of living within the FCT, especially cost of residential accommodation which has continued to be on the rise. Suleiman

was also quoted as saying initially; the manufacturers of the fast train had offered the Nigerian government a faster train which they rejected. He said “when we went to China to negotiate about the trains, the manufacturers offered us the engines that cover 450 kilometers per hour but we rejected that. We consulted President Jonathan who agreed with us that electric train engines that can cover 450 kilometers per hour will not be the best for a country like ours where animals graze freely and in most of the villages the train will pass through, people are used to crossing railway lines with their animals in a way that of the speed of such trains will be dangerous. We therefore, opted for the type that can cover 200 to 250 kilometers per hour. With that type, it means when you leave Kaduna by 7am you are sure of being in Abuja by 8am. By that you may even arrive your office and start work before someone that lives in Abuja. Government will make sure that the fare is affordable. We planned to have nine railway stations between Kaduna and Abuja where the trains will be making brief stop-overs to drop and pick passengers”. The former minister said further that as part of the trans•Continued on page 48

Governors' wives' award coming

HE Most Valuable Governor’s Wives Award (MVGWA) ceremony has been scheduled to take place in Abuja on February 10, 2014. A statement made available to Abuja Review by the team leader Tom Obulu said the “MVGWA is designed to lead a new phenomenon in the assessment and recognition of the governors’ wives who are providing complementary help to the governors’ achievements. “The governors’ wives have become part of the democratic team

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

that has been providing grassroots developments, hence, the institution of this award. The theme of the award is ‘Grassroots Transformation in Nigeria: The Roles of Governors’ Wives NGOs as Champion’.” He noted that the 36 governors’ wives were assessed based on their non-governmental organisations (NGO) project available in their domains and their impacts on the people were also

considered. The statement added that 13 governors’ wives who were shortlisted came from votes cast by the people on the internet over a couple of months. Recounting the selection process, he said through the adoption of sustainability, empowerment, impact, change agent and corporate branding criteria, the MVGWA shortlisted six for the emerging recipients for the year 2012/2013. He reeled off the nominees in

their alphabetical order of state: Mrs. Mercy Orji, wife of Abia State governor, Mrs. Ekaete Godswill Akpabio wife of Akwa Ibom State governor, Mrs. Yemisi Dosima, wife of Benue State governor and others. The statement further stated Abia State emerged from SouthEast zone with her family changing project entitled “Family Enhancement Initiative” and North Central Benue zone, wife of Benue State governor dazzled the region with her SEV- AV Foundation.




Residents seek development R of satellite towns ESIDENTS of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have appealed to the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed to concentrate more on the development of satellite towns this year. Some of the residents who spoke with Abuja Review in Gwagwalada, Kwali, Zuba, Kuje and Kubwa said that the promise by the administration to decongest the city centre by developing of satellite towns were still unfulfilled. One of the residents, Abdullahi Zaki stated that good road network, stable potable water and electricity supply were still inadequate in satellite towns, adding that most contracts awarded in such areas have been abandoned and forgotten. “Some contracts awarded in the area council for a very long time are still not completed. Such areas are the Kuje-Gwagwalada Road, Gwagwalada Iziom-Dobi Road, Yebu Road in Kwali and many other roads. When a community is cut off from others because of bad road, it is always hard for development to get to that community,” he said. Another resident in Gwagwalada, George Ikwu, expressed worry that the idea of decongestion of the city


‘Some contracts awarded in the area council for a very long time are still not completed. Such areas are the KujeGwagwalada Road, Gwagwalada IziomDobi Road, Yebu Road in Kwali and many other roads. When a community is cut off from others because of bad road, it is always hard for development to get to that community’ By Gbenga Omokhunu

centre would be a mirage if the administration did not put enough effort in the development of the satellite towns, adding that some of the agencies that had headquarters in Gwagwalada had relocated to the city centre. “I know of one agency, FCT Muslims Pilgrims Board. I don’t know

what happened but I know its secretariat has returned to the city centre. If things continue like this, we will have problem in the near future. If there are infrastructure in the satellite towns, people will come down and live there,” he said. Isa Abubakar Zuba stated that the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed has performed well in terms of restoring the Master Plan

of the capital city and in the area of opening of more districts in the territory. “The minister has really worked because no leader is perfect. He can only work to the best of his knowledge and ability. But he needs to concentrate on projects and programme that are community and people-oriented. He should concentrate on projects that will benefit the common man on areas such as low-cost housing for the low-income earners. “Yes, some of the agencies and ministries should be taken to places like Gugu in Orozo Ward of the FCT, Karshi, Abaji so that traffic jam will reduce drastically,” he said. He also stated that residents could complement the efforts of government by ensuring environmental cleanliness, maintenance of sewer lines, avoiding indiscriminate pasting of posters, ensuring highway safety and the monitoring of development projects in the FCT.

Christians urged to seek peace

CLERIC, Rev. Fr. Innocent Oyibo has urged Christians to seek the face of God as it is Him that they would get lasting peace. Rev. Fr Oyibo gave the advice in his homily during a Mass to celebrate the beginning of the New Year at St John Mary Vianney Quasi Catholic Church Kubwa. He stated that peace was embedded in the face of God and would be unveiled only to those that seek his face. “Peace is hidden and embedded in the face of the Lord. One cannot have any peace until the face of God is uncovered in the hearts of those who seek Him. If you want to know peace, search for the face of Jesus Christ which has been revealed to us by the virtue of His birth through His mother, Mary,’’ he said. He revealed that on January 1 every year has been dedicated by the Catholic Church in Nigeria to

By Gbenga Omokhunu

celebrate the Feast of Mary, the Queen of Peace in Nigeria, adding that it gives the Catholic faithful the opportunity of praying for peace in the country. “We all pray that peace will continue to reign in our hearts, in our families and our country. If there is no peace in our hearts, there won’t be peace in our families and our country in general,” he said. Rev. Fr Oyibo also urged Christians to present their New Year resolution to God who would aid them to fulfill them, even as he prayed that God should bless people’s good intentions. Earlier during the vigil Mass, the Parish Priest, Rev Fr. Sebastian Musa had urged Christians to always live a life of thanksgiving, adding that despite various problems they had

‘Even with the various problems we face, we should always thank God for keeping us alive from the beginning of the year to the end. Some started the race with us and are dead but we are still alive. It is neither because of our might or righteousness; it is through the privilege we received from God’ experienced during the past year, they should always thank God for the gift of life. “Even with the various problems we face, we should always thank God for keeping us alive from the

Berger Roundabout, Abuja

beginning of the year to the end. Some started the race with us and are dead but we are still alive. It is neither because of our might or righteousness, it is through the privilege we received from God,” he said.

Traders protest developer's N5m demand From John Ofikhenua, Abuja


HE Association of Wuye Ultra-modern Market Allotttees have protested the demand of N5 million by a private developer All Purpose Shelters Limited. Members of the association took to the streets of Utako District of the Federal Capital Territory carrying placards with inscriptions such as "Wuye Market allottees say no to ejection," "11 years after ejection, handover our shops," "Rich Nigerians are terrorising our lives," and "Mama CJN, save our souls, let justice prevail," among others. According to the solicitor to the association, Barrister Sepribo Peters, the developer's request for N5 million from the shop owners is no longer a compensation but exploitation. He alleged that despite the court order issued by Justice O.A. Musa asking the parties to maintain the status quo ante, the All Purpose Shelter Market has planned to re-open the market. The solicitor noted that the association embarked on the peaceful protest to urge government to prevail on the developer to put on hold any plan to re-open the market. He said alternatively government should prevail on All Purpose Shelters Limited to hand over the shops to the owners. His words: "These poor unfortunate market people that had their shops burnt are now requested to pay N5 million. How come that the compensation is now N5 million? It is no longer compensation but exploitation. "So, that is why we went to court and the court said everybody should maintain the status quo ante, meaning everybody should stay where he is, nobody should open the market. "But now All Purpose Shelters said they are going to re-open the market. If we don't make this peaceful protest against the planned re-opening of the market, there will be trouble. So, to that extent, we are saying government should intervene for them to obey the court order or they should hand over the shops to us." Speaking with journalists, one of the members, Mr. Obiefule Luke recalled that they were occupants of the burnt New Market in 2001. The minister promised to compensate the shop owners with shops in Garki, Mabuchi and Wuye. According to him, the shop owners paid N2, 000, N5, 000, and N8, 000 respectively for the three different categories of shops. Till date, he said, they are yet to get their shops. He noted that a private developer -All Purpose Shelters Limited-that was unknown to them came up with a request for N3 million, N3.5 million and N5 million for the same shops they had already paid for. But despite an order of Justice O.A. Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Apo Abuja asking the parties to maintain the status quo ante, the shop owners alleged that the developer has perfected plans to sell the shops to different owners this month. Meanwhile, the solicitor to the association noted that the demand of N5 million from the victims of the fire incident is no longer a compensation but exploitation.




•The interior of the Federal Secretariat as workers resumed from the New Year holiday in Abuja

•A disagreement over a worker’s impounded car at a park-and-pay location in Abuja


•The news at the newstands as workers resumed from New Year holiday in Abuja

Minister advises Nigerians on unity

HE FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed has congratulated Nigerians, especially those residing in the Federal Capital Territory as they mark the New Year. In his New Year message, the minister urged Nigerians to re-dedicate themselves to the building of a united Nigeria where generations yet unborn would be proud. According to him, this year is very special to the country because it marks the 100th year of the amalgamation of the Northern and the Southern Protectorates of Nigeria. Senator Mohammed called for patriotism where love for the country is most paramount, even as he urged them to shun any act that could bring about division. He said Nigerians should pray for their fatherland as well as its leadership, for God to

By Gbenga Omokhunu

continue to guide, protect and give President Goodluck Jonathan the strength and wisdom to steer the affairs of state, thereby implementing the transformation agenda of the Federal Government. He appreciated God for sparing our lives to witness this New Year celebration, in spite of the daunting security challenges facing some parts of the country. Senator Mohammed urged Nigerians, particularly residents of the FCT irrespective of their religious beliefs or political inclinations, to continue to live in peace and harmony with one another. Mohammed enjoined residents to remain steadfast, believe in the capability of Nigeria’s leadership and be their brothers’ keepers, in

‘Nigerians should pray for their fatherland as well as its leadership, for God to continue to guide, protect and give President Goodluck Jonathan the strength and wisdom to steer the affairs of state, thereby implementing the transformation agenda of the Federal Government’ keeping with the customs and traditions of Africa. The minister expressed the commitment of his administration to provide a serene and clean environment in consonance with the Road Map of his administration and transformation agenda of President Jonathan. On security, the minister further assured that

all security outfits in the Federal Capital Territory are working together and are more than ever prepared to remain on top of any unexpected security breach. He, however, charged the residents to always assist the security agents with useful information on any suspicious movement because, he said, security is everybody’s business.





T is no longer news that President Goodluck Jonathan made so many promises to Nigerians as part of his 2014 New Year's message. Topmost of the promises, from one's viewpoint, is the promise to ensure minimum of 18-hour daily electricity supply in the country this year. He also assured that the economy would receive a great boost this year, adding that many job opportunities would be created for the teeming unemployed youths. Cost of governance, he said, will be drastically reduced in the year while measures have been put in place to fight corruption in the system. After dropping my family at an eatery in the city on the New Year's Day as a starting point for the celebration, I decided to quickly go round to feel the pulse of the city (not in my car). The commuter bus I boarded from Berger Roundabout was not filled up and the normal scenario where passengers stand and hang on buses did not play out as many people have traveled outside the city while some were at home celebrating the New Year. A businessman, who was discussing with his friend in Pidgin English as they entered the bus also from Berger Roundabout (they probably had met after long years of separation), was narrating how his business based in the Eastern part of the country has been plummeting. The two friends took the vacant seat meant for two persons directly in front of me. The businessman, who was also holding a copy of the day's edition of The Nation Newspapers with the big caption 'Jonathan plans 18-hour daily power supply as APC seeks change', narrated to his friend that he came with his family to stay with his elder brother for the festive period in Mararaba (a Nasarawa State border town to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The discussion between the two friends then shifted to President Jonathan's New Year's message to Nigerians as captured by the newspaper. The businessman (who probably must have mentioned his line of business to his friend before they boarded the bus), was explaining to his friend how his business (which he didn't mention in the bus) will really turn around and become profitable if the government could really provide minimum of 18-hour daily electricity supply for his business in a village in the East. He told his friend that he spends an average of N20,000 per day to run his electricity generating set in his

Jonathan's promises factory. Apart from the expenses on fuel, he said his total cost of production in a month is also jerked up due to high cost of transportation of raw materials from source to his factory. This, he said, resulted from the bad condition of the roads and inflation. Surprisingly, the commuter who was on the same seat with me joined the discussion and narrated how his hair barbing salon business in Mararaba was experiencing the same hard times. Stressing that the area where he stays in Mararaba only has between one or two-hour electricity supply per day, adding that he rely mainly on his electricity generating set for his salon business. He said: "If Jona can do this for us, it's carry-go for him in 2015." Another passenger adjacent to the two friends in front of me had borrowed The Nation Newspaper from the businessman. After reading the newspaper, he also joined the discussion. He narrated how he has been surviving through menial jobs since he graduated from university since 2002. He was hopeful and prayed that God would answer his prayers this year by making him to get one of

From the Villa By Augustine Ehikioya the jobs to be created this year. While Jonathan has insisted that Nigerians are now very close to stable power supply in the country, the three commuters' recounting their awful business experiences may appear like dogs seriously salivating because they could see their masters approaching with their meals. I will really not blame them so much because of what they have gone through over the years. The slogans of 'Housing for all by the Year 2000', 'Health for all by Year

2000' were among the messages and loopholes the military regimes used to deceive and drain the national treasury before the current democratic dispensation which began in 1999. Fourteen years on after deluge of promises with year 2000 as target, majority of Nigerians still don't have a room where they lay their heads, let alone owning their houses. Accessing primary healthcare is still a mirage for them. There are some Nigerians, not only lunatics, convert bus stops pavilions, under bridges and uncompleted buildings into

Journey to the cold city •Continued from page 41 back to what it used to be again, in time the security situation will be resolved and people will return, the fact is that, Jos has a lot to give in terms of its people and environment.” Another important attraction in Jos can be found in Mangu local government, in a place called Kyarang, Kyarang is the place where the famous Swan water factory is located; the village houses a natural spring pond where locals believe that a huge swan lives and only comes out on rare occasions to repair the water. The water that comes out from a rock is crystal clean and villagers drink from it freely without fear and the biggest landmark of Kyarang is the volcanic mountains that is also seen drawn on the swan bottle. Abigail, a teacher in Jos who comes from Kyarang said, “I grew up in the village and drank from the spring water, the water is very pure and although some people worship the swan, I don’t but she comes out ones in awhile and have been there for more than 100 years, at least that is what my people believe in.” Other places like Gindiri with its huge cave like rock known as the dutsen lamba (meaning the rock with a mark), the popular dancing bridge which was used as a bridge before the construction of a better bridge and lots more. These and many more, are places that a visitor and fun lover to Jos can visit without spending much unlike visits to other tourist sites outside the country.

their bedrooms at nights. So much money was also spent on power sector among others during ex-President Obasanjo's two tenures between 1999 and 2007 with very little to show for it. This year will really make it possible for Nigerians to know where to place this administration and know if all they have been hearing are like the several white elephant projects of the past administrations through which so much money was spent on projects that didn't impact positively on the lives of the people. We really hope that government gets it right this time round because Nigerians have really suffered exceedingly all these years in the midst of abundant God-given human and natural resources with which He blessed the country. So, there is no doubt that Nigerians are really waiting and holding the President by his promises. We also hope and pray that preparations towards next years' general elections (though the President has not decided whether to run or not) will not deter the administration from fulfilling its promises for Nigerians this year.




Makurdi’s new face at Yuletide


•The colours of Christmas in Makurdi

The road was to welcome back Benue indigenes who were away within and outside the country to appreciate what democracy is all about, so that they can also find an opportunity to invest back home and contribute to the development of the state

TIME to travel, eat, drink and rest with loved ones. That is what Christmas is to many. For, Governor Gabriel Suswam, however, it is a time to work more and even take his people by surprise. During the Yuletide, the governor transformed Makurdi, the state capital, through a massive rehabilitation of infrastructures, especially roads and public buildings. At the beginning of the December, the Ministry of Works, contracted Hajaig Construction Company to rehabilitate major township roads and streets in the state capital. Some of the popular streets and roads that were rehabilitated are Kashim Ibrahim Road on old GRA, Iyorchia Ayu Road in Wurukum, Old Otukpo Road, Ogiri Oko Road, all in Makurdi. The road leading to Government House Makurdi, where the office and residence of Governor Gabriel Suswam was given a new look as asphalt was laid with well pave street and flower planted in the middle . Apart from the roads and streets, attention was also given to almost all the round about in the state capital as they wear a new look. From Wurkum Round about, Mr, Biggs Roundabout, Highllevel Roundabout, Police headquarters Roundabout and Government House Roundabout were lavishly decorated bythe state government in preparation for the Yuletide . Each roundabout was painted in black and white colours, with Christmas trees and light that illuminated the city at night through the period of Christmas and New year. Government House Makurdi, the seat of power also witness massive renovations and decorations, with each section of the three wing building which housed the governor’s office, and that of the governor’s wife, Chief of Staff and Permanent Secretary, Government House Administration change into christmas colours and lights. In a telephone interview with The Nation, Commissioner for Works, Hon. John Ngbede gave reasons for the massive renovations of Makurdi township roads during festive season. “Christmas and New Year are a festive season and there is expected high volume of vehicular and human movement. As a responsible government there is need to put in place critical infrastructure to boost the tourism sector. Ngbede said that Benue is one of the most peaceful states in the country today, and tourism is the fourth money spinning industry in the country, so the duty of government is to create the enabling environment to attract investors and holiday makers. He said roads are a critical sector which can boost economy of a state. Apart from festive season, the works commissioner noted that dry season just set in after heavy rains and it is the best period to renovate or construct roads. But in all, he said the road was to welcome back Benue indigenes who were away within and outside the country to appreciate what democracy is all about, so that they can also find an opportunity to invest back home and

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

contribute to the development of the state. Mr Felix Atume, a lecturer with

•One of the roads

Federal University of Technology Minna, who was recently home commended the government for the massive rehabilitated road and decoration of streets in

Christmas colours. Mr Atume said Governor Suswam has taken Makurdi to a higher level and called on those in diapora to support his administration.

For fun seekers during the Yuletide, it was a befitting Christmas with colours and illuminations reflecting the new look of the state capital.




Live in Kaduna, work in Abuja •Continued from page 43 formation agenda of President Jonathan which is targeted at improving the living conditions of Nigerians and other foreigners living in the country, the transport sector is being transformed in a way that will yield dividends and improve the nation’s economy. Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo who flag off the laying of the fast rail track at Idu in the Federal Capital Territory said the government was committed to completing all rail projects across the country as part of its transformation agenda. Sambo was unhappy that the sector which is key to the development of any society has been neglected over the years. He said “as you are fully aware, this Administration accords top priority to the development of infrastructure as a component of the Transformation Agenda as well as the Vision 20:2020. In that regard, several projects covering critical sectors in transportation like Roads, Waterways, Aviation, and in Power Supply, Housing and the development of critical projects and programmes are being undertaken by this Administration and are at various stages of completion. This is an ad- •A flyover under construction ministration that keeps to its promises”. Sambo said that the government was committed to adequately fund the project, pointing out that part of the funds will be provided through the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) and an additional $500 million concessionary loan from China EXIM Bank, who are co- financing the project. While regretting the neglect of the rail sector over the years, the Vice President said that with the articulation of the 25 years Strategic Rail Vision and in partnership with the private sector, the railways would return back to its glorious days, saying “in our efforts to ensure adequate funding for the Transformation Agenda, Government has created the enabling environment for the private sector to play significant roles. This Administration is determined to concession the railway facilities upon completion. Similarly, opportunities abound for Foreign Direct Investments in this important sector”. •A road construction work


Plateau restates commitment to service delivery P

It is service delivery in the sense that being a government whose tenure will elapse by May 2015; this New Year will be used to complete all ongoing projects. There are numerous of such projects spread across the state. There is the possibility of initiating new projects if necessary, but such new projects must be completed this same year

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

necessary, but such new projects must be completed this same year. “This does not mean that no projects have been completed since the inception of this administration. President Jonathan came to inaugurate a number of projects in 2011. Now that we are approaching the final year of this administration, all arrangements have been concluded to ensure all ongoing projects are completed by June, this year. Mr

LATEAU State Governor Jonah David Jang has said his administration would focus more on service delivery to the people this year. This, he said, would be achieved through massive infrastructural development which would have direct impact on the life of the people. He also said his administration would establish more novel development projects that are necessary for the well-being of the people, even as he said all ongoing projects spread across the state would be completed. Governor Jang spoke during the last executive council meeting for 2013 held at Government House Jishe, Jos. Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Commissioner for Information Yiljap Abraham said: “Government has tagged 2014 as a year of service delivery for the Da Jonah Jang-led administration because this year is the last full year the administration has left. In 2015, the administration will bid the people farewell. “It is service delivery in the sense that being a government whose tenure will elapse by May 2015; this New Year will be used to complete all ongoing projects. There are numerous of such projects spread across the state. There is the possibility of initiating new projects if

Public servants get wake-up call

President will come to inaugurate them. “Funds for these projects have been made available to contractors. The government does not owe any contractor, and we expect them to complete the projects according to specifications and ensure they deliver on time without compromising quality. “The government has presented the 2014 budget called ‘Budget of Continuity and Inclusive Growth’. It’s aimed at completing all ongo-

ing projects as we have resolved not to leave any project uncompleted at the end of our tenure.” said Yiljap Continuing, Yiljap said: “All the commissioners serving in this administration are expected to submit progress report on progress of all ongoing projects to government. There will be close monitoring of ongoing projects this year to ensure that government realised its dream of completing them by June, this year. The government had embarked on a mid-term review last year to ascertain the administration’s level of commitment. “After a three-day retreat, it was confirmed government is on track and has not derailed from its focus.

By Gbenga Omokhunu

HE Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed has threatened to sack any Secretary or Director that is found wanting in the performance of his or her duties to the expectations of government and the people. The minister stated this during an emergency meeting with the FCT Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, FCT Permanent Secretary, Engr. John O. Chukwu, some Mandate Secretaries, Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, (AMMC) and some Directors whose duties have direct bearing with Municipal/Social Services and the day-to-day running of the FCT administration. Mohammed issued one-week ultimatum during which he expects drastic changes in the areas of environment, particularly garbage collection, social menace like street hawking, begging and commercial sex workers as well as enforcement of total ban on commercial motorcycles (okada) in designated areas. According to the statement issued by the Assistant Director/ Chief Press Secretary, Muhammad Sule, the minister warned that any political appointee or public servant who is not prepared to show commitment to duty should do the needful by resigning. He lamented a situation where Ad-Hoc committees are set up to handle jobs that are statutory in nature, even as he attributed this to lackadaisical, nonchalant attitude and even sabotage on the part of some members of staff. The minister warned that no public servant is indispensable as his administration would soon embark on re-assessment and re-adjustment which is not intended to cause pain but to make the system work more effectively. Mohammed further warned that the FCT Administration would not accept a situation where some secretaries and directors attempt to create loyalty and dynasty in the system rather than carrying all staff along. The FCT Minister of State, Olajumoke Akinjide at the meeting supported the minister and reiterated that a solution must be found to all these ugly problems. Speaking at the meeting, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Engr. John Chukwu also warned that the riot act signals that it’s no longer business as usual. Chukwu advised all public servants in the FCT Administration to wake up to their responsibilities, management of Abuja city must be done effectively in tune with the transformation agenda of the Federal Government. Meanwhile, the minister has directed the Permanent Secretary to continue with the meeting to further look into all grey areas and come up with workable solutions. Mohammed also directed that where necessary, changes should be made to ensure efficiency and service delivery. Others who participated in the meeting included Coordinator, AMMC, Secretaries of Social Development Secretariat as well as Directors of Establishment and Training; Abuja Environmental Protection Board and Directorate of Road Traffic Services.




Two Nigerians make board of regional advertising body

Drug kingpin who cannot be deported


Princewill Oluoha, 37, from Nigeria, cannot be deported after immigration officials ruled he is a good father who once took his family to a Peppa Pig theme park, reports Daily Mail.


CONVICTED drug kingpin cannot be deported after immigration officials ruled he is a good father who once took his family to a Peppa Pig theme park. Princewill Oluoha, 37, from Nigeria, was sentenced to seven years for an attempted plot to smuggle £1m of cocaine to Britain in 2010. Although the Home Office are desperately trying to deport him, he has been allowed to remain in the UK because he claims he plays a key role in the life of his British daughter.

By Adedeji Ademigbuji

HE President of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN),Mr. Charles Chijide and the association’s General Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Ajufo, have been elected president and general secretary of the West African body of Out of Home Advertising Association. The newly formed body, Federation West Africa Publicity Exterior or better known West African Federation of Out of Home Advertising (WAFOOHA) also has on its executive council level, Mr. Togbo Mensah, a Ghanaian as first vice-president and Mr. Mahama Coulibaly, of Cote D'voire as second vicepresident. Mr. Frank Dossa, from the Republic of Benin and Mr. Derick Afriye, also a Ghanaian, were elected Treasurer and Director of Protocol. In a statement, Ajufo said the association was formed in view of the pre-eminent role out-of-home advertising has been playing in brand building in recent times. Besides, he said member countries in West African countries saw the need to come together as one body because of the peculiarities of each markets and in recognition of the universality of their practice and operations. Chijide solicited for co-operation, collaboration rather than competition amongst practitioners. He stated that the existence of such a regional body cannot be over emphasized in view of the evolution of digital advertising which is revolutionizing the old traditional out-of-home practice.

UNICEF to collaborate with North to bring one million girls back to school

•Oluoha and child at a theme park.

Oluoha, who came to Britain in 2007, has two children and has been pictured enjoying himself with his family at Peppa Pig World, an amusement park in the New Forest based on the children’s cartoon. At hearing in April last year, a Home Office bid to return Oluoha to Nigeria failed after a judge heard evidence from his partner about how he helps bring up his daughter.

A recent appeal was thrown out. Oluoha, who is thought to be on licence and immigration bail, told The Sun: “I want to concentrate on being the best dad.” It comes months after a violent foreign criminal who held a knife to the throat of a victim overturned a government attempt to deport him due to his “right to family life”. Lee Corbin, 50, has been

allowed to stay in Britain because of what a court described as his “amazing” relationship with seven children he has fathered by three different women. Corbin has 75 criminal convictions to his name and has been handed jail sentences totalling more than 16 years since he came to this country in 1978. The Home Office said it remains determined to deport Oluoha.


HE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative to Nigeria, Ms. Jean Gough, says the organisation will collaborate with State Governments in the North to bring one million girls back to school in seven years. Jean spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos. She listed states that would benefit from the seven-year girlchild education initiative as Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger, Kastina and Bauchi. “We have observed a widening gap between the education of boys in the South and girls in the North. Therefore, in 2014, we are to ensure that in the next seven years, one million girls in the northern part of Nigeria come back to school. “We will be working through the various education systems of our partners to ensure that all girls in these states return to school,” she said. Jean said the project was aimed at ensuring that boys and girls had equal access to education.






The recent defection of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains to the progressive camp has imposed new challenges of reconciliation in the Kwara State All Progressives Congress (APC). Group Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU examines the task before the harmonisation and reconciliation committees in the state.

APC’s burden of reconciliation in Kwara


HE crowd at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Secretariat, Ilorin, capital of Kwara State, was huge on that historic day. Something strange was about to happen. Some party stalwarts turned up with brooms, the symbol of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and they were not molested. For many party members, it was a moment of suspense. But, the cloud of anxiety fizzled out when the leader, Senator Bukola Saraki, arrived at the venue. Accompanied by the governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, members of the State Executive Council, many lawmakers and other party officers, the former governor broke the news. “We have resolved to join the APC,” he told the gathering. There was wild jubilation. Party chieftains danced to talking drums. Although there were dissenting voices among the few PDP ‘federal politicians’, who objected to the defection, it was evident that the PDP had suddenly become a ghost of itself in Kwara State. The ruling party instantly became a struggling opposition platform facing the prospects of extinction. But there are some hurdles for the APC to cross, despite the enlargement of its coast. The defection has polarised the chapter. The sudden re-alignment of the progressive and conservative blocs jolted many out of the delusion that Saraki could seek refuge in a party that is fundamentally opposed to his political ideas and the orientation of his illustrious father, the late Second Republic Senate Leader, Dr. Olusola Saraki. While the APC chieftains from Kwara, including the Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, exuded happiness, the camp of the former governorship candidate, Mr. Dele Belgore (SAN), has demonstrated caution. Whenever the APC reconciliation train rolls into Kwara, the old APC members and the defectors will have the opportunity to articulate their concerns and ventilate their grievances before the peace committee led by former Edo State Governor John Odiegie-Oyegun. The committee is busy with a similar task in Kano and Sokoto states. Party leaders, who expressed delight at the realignment, agreed that a sort of political adjustment was required on the part of the foesturned allies. “Both have to accept the reality of compulsory cohabitation for political growth and survival, and the compelling need for the management of the achievement,” said the Southwest APC leader, Otunba Niyi Adebayo. The challenge of adaptation, observers point out, relates to the non-negotiable fact that the leadership of the APC may shift from Belgore to Saraki/Ahmed clan, judging by the numerical strength of the defectors to the party. The old and new chieftains must see themselves as members of a family, forgive and forget the past. A PDP defector, Hon. Bolarinwa Bashir, said that, for old and the new members, the Kwara APC is now a joint enterprise, adding that the task before the harmonisation committee is to approach its work with diligence and patriotism. For true progressives, it is a new dawn in the Northcentral state. From the days of the foremost leader, the late Chief Sunday Olawoyin, and his compatriots, Alhaji Sule Maito and Chief Bello Ijumu, the progressives have never attained power in the old Kwara axis. They have only operated from the sidelines of power as opposition arrow heads. In a state where politics has been shaped by ethnicity, religion and poverty, the Saraki political dynasty has been a great factor. Although a handful of people in Ilorin, the capital, and majority of the Igbonna and Ebolo ethnic nationalities have always followed the footpaths of Awolowo in politics, their combined efforts have not reduced the growing influence of the strongman, the late Waziri Saraki, since the Second Republic. To analysts, the crisis of confidence between the two antagonistic camps in Kwara is not beyond expectation. It is similar to the crisis brewing in Sokoto State between the old and new APC members, led by former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa and Governor Aliyu Wamakko. It is the same trend in Kano State,

• Ahmed

• Belgore

where the forces loyal to former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso are at war. But, the point of departure is that, while Wamakko and Kwankwaso are governors, Belgore is a former governorship candidate. In Kwara, although Saraki and Belgore have aristocrat backgrounds, they have operated from opposite political camps. Saraki and Belgore were political foes in 2011 during the governorship election. The governor, who had emerged as the undisputed leader of the PDP family, even when his father was still alive, worked for the victory of Ahmed during the governorship contest. It was a bitter contest between Ahmed and Belgore. When the electoral commission declared Ahmed as the governor, Belgore said the poll was rigged. The acrimonious relationship continued between Belgore’s men and the PDP in the post-

• Saraki

• Mohammed

election period. The former Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) flag bearer became the opposition leader in Kwara. He challenged every action and step taken by the governor, saying that they were not in the public interest. During the recent local government polls, Belgore and Saraki’s men clashed. Although the ACN claimed that it won the Ofa Council chairmanship, the state electoral agency declared the PDP candidate as the winner. Hell was let loose. But, the PDP chairman assumed office. The dust generated by the controversial council poll had not settled when the news that PDP chieftains were on their way to the APC was broken. The APC interim chairman, Rev. Bunmi Olusona, complained that, during the negotiation with the PDP defectors in Kwara, the chapter was not consulted. Party sources said that this was debatable because many of the negotiations and consultations between the APC and the new PDP were done in a hurry. But, Olusona

‘Nobody will oppress anybody in the APC. The party will be in control of the party machinery. There is the party constitution and the leadership will emerge by the will of the people’

also rekindled the old rivalry, saying that Saraki, who “oppressed“ the opposition as the governor, has now become the leader of the larger APC family. He also alleged that Ahmed has not lived up to expectation, but he did not tender proofs. “The struggle of the progressives in Kwara all these years has been about the liberation of our people from the clique that sees Kwara as a fief and its people some sorts of serfs to be exploited. The dream of winning this struggle is about to be killed through the handover of the APC structure to Bukola Saraki, who is the face of this oppression,” said the interim chairman. But, a Kwara politician said at the weekend: “There is no permanent enemy in politics, but permanent interest. Even, Pa Olawoyin and Oloye Saraki embraced politically in the Third Republic.” Olusona also took an exception to the alleged remarks of his former counterpart, Ishola Balogun-Fulani of the PDP, who has now defected to the APC, that the APC had no structure before the defection. “This statement has created so much disenchantment,” he fumed. Despite Balogun-Fulani’s denial of the statement, Olusona is still combative as he holds on to the allegation. He made references to the 2011 governorship results to show that the ACN was a party to reckon with. Olusona recalled that while PDP scored 252,803 votes, the ACN had 154,434, adding that, if today another election is conducted, the APC will defeat the PDP. According to sources, the pre-defection APC leaders are gripped by the fear of the future. “The number of defectors has overwhelmed the old members. During the party membership registration, the defectors will have an upper hand and they may be in a position to elect party chairmen and other officers at the ward, local government and state levels”, said an APC chieftain from Ilorin. Belgore’s followers also fear that, in 2015, Saraki’s group may insist on producing the governorship candidate for the election. The fear is accentuated by the fact that the senatorial seat in Kwara Central may also not be vacant as Saraki is interested in keeping it. Saraki and Belgore are from the same senatorial district. Thus, in the senatorial contest, Belgore has a slim chance. Olusona maintained that the old APC will not accept Saraki’s leadership. Many APC members have dissociated themselves from this remark. A party stalwart, who craved for anonymity, cautioned against making inflammatory statements about the defection, instead of applauding the efforts of the interim APC leaders, who have worked tirelessly for the realignment of forces nationwide. He appealed to the aggrieved APC members for understanding. He urged the old and new members to work together in harmony for progress. The chieftain clarified that the majority of the APC members in Kwara are happy about the defection. He described it as part of the strategic processes that will lead to the attainment of federal power by the APC in 2015. “We need to make sacrifices. Our national leaders are making sacrifices. We need to make sacrifices too at the state level. Three parties fused to become the APC in Kwara ACN, ANPP and CPC. The old ACN does not make up the APC. Therefore, we should not create division. We know try to make sure that we use this opportunity of defection to soar to progress,” he added. Following the defection of the New PDP, the APC Interim Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, promised a level playing field for all, saying that the APC will be a party of equal founders and joiners. Echoing him, Adebayo said: “Nobody will oppress anybody in the APC. The party will be in control of the party machinery. There is the party constitution and the leadership will emerge by the will of the people.” When contacted on the phone, Odigie-Oyegun expressed optimism that all is well in Kwara APC. He said the priority of his committee is the reconciliation of party chieftains in Sokoto and Kano states. He however, said that he is in touch with the Kwara APC leaders. “We have the belief that that challenge can be solved locally in Kwara,” he added.



POLITICS A social critic, Mohammed Yidikawu, examines the activities of the Gombe State government and contends that Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo deserves a second term because he has lived up to expectation.

‘Dankwambo deserves second term’


IGERIANS have a responsibility to monitor the performance of their elected representatives in government, thus keeping them on their toes. By and large, the whole essence of leadership is to serve the people. In a federal system, such as ours, with a 36 states-structure, the leadership at the state levels must be seen to be making the desired impacts. It must also be accountable. For us in Gombe State, having been carved out of the defunct Bauchi State in October 1996, ours has turned out to be a model in state creation. The dreams and aspirations of our founding fathers have not been dashed. We recall, with the deepest sense of patriotism, the various sacrifices made by the late Dr. Suleimanu Kumo, Alh. Baba Manu (ABM), the immediate past and present Emir of Gombe, late Yunusa Kaltungo, Usman Faruk, Yerima Abdullahi, Abubakar Habu Hashidu, Gen. Timothy M-Shelpidi, Saidu Umar Kumo, etc. Already in Gombe, we have accorded them a place of honour and pride. The success or otherwise of any state creation movement depends largely on putting in place the right and purposeful leadership. That, we have succeeded in Gombe, thereby ranking us far above many other states of the federation. From 1996 to date, we have had an unbroken record of relative peace and tranquility. Not only that, from the onset of the pioneer military government, when the state was at its infancy, to the dawn of the Hashidu – led civilian administration between 1999 – 2003, to Goje’s 2003 – 2011 era up to the assumption to power by the incumbent Hassan Dankwambo – led administration from 2011 to date, Gombe has witnessed an unprecedented social and economic transformation. With this unbroken chain of successes, we owe it a duty to speak out loud and clear that we must maintain the tempo and sustain the momentum of our developmental drive, for we cannot afford relegation. Of particular mention is the gigantic transformation and super infrastructural change that has been put in place by the Dankwambo in less than four years. The question now is, what more of if given an additional one more term? We are not unaware of the countless nocturnal meetings and clandestine moves by certain groups of desperate politicians from along the Abuja – Kaduna axis to not only undermine the efforts of the Governor but are also hell bend on giving him a “fight” in order to take over power from him come 2015. Although it is their legitimate right to assemble, aspire or campaign for any elective position in this country, but we find it however distasteful to allow such a gang up to succeed in displacing a performing leader whose passion for the love and care of our dear State is unparalleled. For this, we will continue to talk. We will continue to write, mobilize and awaken the consciousness of our people to appreciate having a meaningful leadership like that of Dankwambo, than the urge for a regime change for the mere fun of it. The current grouping to challenge the Governor is nothing but a realignment and marriage of strange bed fellows coming together overnight for the pursuit and protection of their selfish interest having failed to change Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo’s non-conformist posture of placing the progress and overall development of Gombe far above any personal or primordial considerations. Amazingly, they hardly dispute his performance rating at any given opportunity, press inter-

• Dankwambo

views or at public fora, but yet, to them, to pull down Dankwambo, is a task that must be done. But at whose benefit, we don’t know. From the onset of his administration, the governor has made a clarion call to all prominent sons and daughters of Gombe to come home and assist in moving the state forward. While some have responded, others have deliberately chosen to stay away and only awaiting for the slightest opportunity to pick holes in his style of leadership, and forment trouble. Such is their stock in trade and therefore would never see anything good or positive about the government. All they needed was power and power only. But if one may ask, was their various ambitions informed on the grounds of Dankwambo’s gross incompetence or non-performance? If yes, how? And if no, why then the desperation to cut the Governor to size? It is worthy of note that, among the illustrious sons of the state, who have found it worthy to openly declare their support to the governor was the present Minister of Transport, Senator Idris A. Umar. The minister’s support to the governor is quite glaring. This fine gentleman of captivating humility and whose unblemished track records in both public and private life stands him high among his equals in the state, is mincing no words in his avowed determination to support Dankwambo, the PDP and for the success of Mr. President in 2015. Of particular mention also is a renowned businessman and party stalwart, Alh. Dr. Bala Bello Tinka whose unquantifiable support in the deployment of his Talba Neighbor to Neighbor campaign network is fantastic. There is also a former gubernatorial aspirant of PDP in the state, Alh. Abdulkadir Hamma

‘We are not unaware about the countless nocturnal meetings and clandestine moves by certain groups of desperate politicians from along the Abuja – Kaduna axis to not only undermine the efforts of the Governor but are also hell bend on giving him a “fight” in order to take over power from him come 2015’

Saleh, whose conspicuous presence in most of the Governor’s official functions is well noted, etc. There are other notable technocrats, elderstatemen, partisan and nonpartisan politicians and organizations and groups that have identified with the state Governor. This is how it should be. One major interesting thing is that, Dankwambo has not made his intention clear whatsoever to re-contest for election come 2015, but it is borne out of the decision of the majority Gombawas to sound yet another clarion call on him to re-contest so as to accomplish his task of taking Gombe to enviable heights. No doubt, Governor Dankwambo has brought about a radical change through his multidimensional approach in the affairs of governance in Gombe state. As a man of fine mind and fine ideals, Dankwambo was able to serve and preserve Gombe to the extent that it has today become not only an investor’s destination but a tourist delight. We cannot fold our arms and allow persons with polluted minds to plunge us back to the terrible era of comedy politics, vendetta, terror and aggression. It is worthy of note that Dankwambo is not after popularity but doing what is right. Let me restate my earlier position once again that “no contemporary leader has done so much for Gombe State and within a very short period of time as Governor Dankwambo.” Time and space could not allow me belabor his entire achievements as chronicled in my earlier write ups. On a special note also, I wish to commend the state Governor for the wonderful opportunity in taking advantage of the existing understanding with Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to attract the support and assistance of the Federal Government in the area of the provision of more democracy dividends to our people, especially on the proposed completion of the multi-billion naira Dadin-kowa Hydro Electric Power Project and in the up-grading of the Gombe Airport to real international standard. The recent decision by Mr. President also to assist the North-East Sub-region through a comprehensive intervention policy is commendable. Also, for the past 16 years that the Gombe fuel depot ceased to operate, fuel is now being pumped regularly, thereby eliminating the notorious long queues at filling stations. We also commend Mr. President for the understanding in giving a total facelift and re-construction of the over 240km Gombe – Kaltungo – Numan – Yola road abandoned in the last fifteen years or there about, including the collapsed Gombe – Mallam Sidi bridge that connect the State Capital to the famous Ashaka Cement Factory. For these, and many others, we commend Mr. President and urge him to do even more for Gombe State as we step into the new year 2014. Finally, another big question begging for answer from these desperate politicians is: was it just out of sheer disdain or strong aversion that they wanted to use other unconventional methods like the use of money, lies and deceit to undo a performer? or was it because of the pains of their previously crushed and shattered ambitions that they now want to take advantage of the level playing ground created by Dankwambo’s simplicity, magnanimity and sense of fairness to re-launch themselves back to prominence? To any right thinking fellow however, allowing Governor Dankwambo more time to consolidate and accomplish his task, is the only path of honour. For us, no retreat, no surrender. Yidikawu wrote from Gombe.

EKITI 2014


Governorship aspirant unfolds plans

ORMER High Commissioner to Canada and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Ekiti State Ambassador Dare Bejide has said that his administration will focus on youth development, if elected as the governor. He called for a vibrant youth policy, urging the government to meet the needs of the vital segment of the population because of its volatility and vulnerability. Bejide said: “We, as a nation, need a robust and meaningful youth policy that should be a strategic anchor of sustainable agenda for transformation.” The PDP chieftain spoke in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, where the PDP National Youth Vanguard performed his investiture as its patron. Noting that the youths constitute about 65 per cent of the population, he said that “this calls for constant re-thinking, re-assessment of priorities, adequate financial resources and effective implementation of policies.” Bejide lamented that youths have resorted to crime and other social vices, owing to unemployment. He lauded the intervention programmes of President Goodluck Jonathan for the youths, including the Youth Empowerment Programme, Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria and SURE-P, adding that they have reduced unemployment. The politician charged the youths to “act as agents of change, instead of waiting for the government to do everything for them”. He also urged the PDP National Youth Vanguard to rise to the task of “sensitising the youth to their roles and responsibilities in society.” The National President of the group, Hon. Beke Apere, said that Bejide was honoured because of his credentials and antecedents as a prominent and dedicated leader of the PDP. The Southwest Coordinator, Hon Dele Dumiye, and Ekiti State Coordinator, Ambassador Gbenga Olofin, described the aspirant as a mobiliser and rallying point for the PDP in Ekiti State. • Bejide

‘I‘ll turn Ekiti around in 18 months’


By Musa Odoshimokhe

KITI State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant Mr Bisi Omoyeni has said that he will turn around the for tune of the state within his first 18 months in office, if elected as the governor. The former deputy governor spoke with reporters at the end of the PDP stakeholders’ meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Aso Villa, Abuja. He promised to tackle youth unemployment, hunger and poverty in the state. He said: “Ekiti people are suffering in the midst of plenty. Our youths are in despair; their future is in danger because of our indolence, insensitivity and lack of adequate planning. God has blessed us with enormous material resources. The only thing that is needed is the managerial and leadership capabilities with which we can turn around the fortune of the Ekiti people”. Omoyeni added: “Turning around Ekiti is not a rocked science. What we need is the will, focus, experience and a workable plan to bring the best SME’s model to Ekiti, a model that will create small and medium business holdings, cottage industries and farm groups, utilising the economy of scale, which will encourage the utilization of intermediate technology for the rapid economic development of our dear state. “With the potentials in agriculture, we can scale up the production of our numerous cash crops to improve household income earnings, and this will trigger a production-based economy, which we have always desired.” The banker-turned politician urged the people to elect leaders with the right attitude, experience and character in the next election. Also, the leadership of the PDP has commended Omoyeni for his humility and maturity, stressing that he has been pursuing his ambition in a peaceful manner. Speaking in Ode, the Chairman of the party in Gbonyi Council, Hon. Israel Ajayi, urged other governorship aspirants to borrow a leaf from Ohe said: “This is the kind of leader that Ekiti deserves for now; a man with impeccable character, a humble and respectful leader, a paragon of peace and progress and a good listener. Ekiti people will be happy to have Omoyeni as governor on October 16, this year”. The aspirant called for unity and cooperation among the contenders, saying thait is the only panacea to a peaceful election. Omoyemi said: “We must reason together, we must work together and chose a candidate that can defeat the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the next election. We all know this time, it is the turn of the South. In the South, we are aware of where the votes are. We cannot afford to gamble. We must make the right choice in the interest of all”. • Omoyeni






Cancer is a killer disease, which requires a lot of money to treat. The disease does not discriminate between the rich and the poor. The poor cannot afford the treatment cost. Outof-pocket payment for treatment, experts argue, is not ideal. They are calling for a cancer fund to save the situation. WALE ADEPOJU reports.

Making cancer treatment cheaper


ANY cancer patients are finding it hard to pay for their treatment. Reason: high treatment cost. To help such patients, experts are clamouring for either the inclusion in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) or subsidy by the Federal Government. Last year, some patients, especially children, died because of their inability to raise money for treatment. A businessman, Mr Charles Ukanwa, lost his nine-year-old daughter, Chioma, to leukaemia, cancer of the blood, because of lack of money. His daughter missed her treatment a couple of times. Also, a trader, Mrs Ann Ekpo, almost lost her 19-monthold baby Esther, to the disease but for the timely intervention of well-meaning Nigerians who supported her. Mr Muyiwa Olanipekun, a civil servant, is still struggling to pay for the treatment of his son, Timothy. The boy may have died but for the expertise of doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), who came to his aid. The World Health Organisation (WHO), which observed that more than 70 per cent of cancer deaths occur in low and middle income countries , is urging the government to subsidise treatment cost. The WHO noted that the risk of coming down with or dying of cancer is higher in the developed world. Head, Paediatric Department, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof Adebola Akinsulie, said cancer could be devastating when a patient is made to pay out-of-pocket, adding: “Every Nigerian could be asked to donate N100 to support cancer treatment. This would translate to over N1 billion.” LUTH Consultant Radiotherapist and Oncologist, Prof Remi Ajekigbe said early detection and prompt medical attention would make treatment easier. Ajekigbe said no fewer than 100,000 new cancer cases were recorded yearly, adding that about two million people are living with the disease. Akinsulie said early detection may improve the possibility of patients being cured. According to him, cancer in children can be cured if presented early. He said children should tell their parents anytime they notice changes in their body. “When children start seeing what we refer to as ‘flashes’ in their eyes, it can be a sign, of retinoblastoma – cancer of the eye or when the tummy is growing so hard and you can palpate something hard, that too may be a sign of cancer of the kidney. It is only in leukaemia that people don’t get many signs but there are still some signs because it affects the blood. Some children may feel

Nine-year-old cancer patient suffers relapse •Boy requires N3m for treatment


AN nine-year-old Joseph Olorunlagbara overcome his battle with cancer of the bone described as right lower limb osteosarcome? He has lost his right limb to the disease. Master Olorunlagbara is full of life. Like any child his age, he likes jumping about, but he can no longer do so. His leg, which is cancerous, has been amputated. But, the leg is yet to heal. Doctors wanted to amputate it again before his father, Pastor Sunday Olorunlagbara, protested. Following his protest, little Joseph has been placed on radiotherapy. The Nation published a story on him on January 8, 2013 but up till now Master Olorunlagbara has yet to raise money for his treatment. He said: “The wound was not healing after the treatment, so I took him to the hospital for some test to be carried out on the leg. That was when they told me he has cancer. “We have been to some specialist hospitals, but his ailment persisted. Some family friends advised we try Eko Hospital, Lagos so we did and in December, 2011, he went thorough chemotherapy and radiation under Consultant Radiologist and Oncologist, Prof Josbert Kofi-Duncan. Since radiotherapy costs money, the family needs help to enable Joseph undergo treatment. He must undergo radiotherapy sessions for five days every week for seven weeks at the Eko Hospital. Joseph is one of many children battling with one cancer or the other. His dad said a pupil pushed his son while going out on break at school and he broke his femur bone. He said a traditional bone-setter treated him and Joseph was on his feet again by December 2011. But the worse happened when Joseph couldn’t get up to undress on January 10, last year, the day he was supposed to see the bonesetter. “The shock discovery we noticed was that the leg had become shorter than the other one. So, I contacted Dr Segun Odunaike at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos (NOHIL) and he instructed that a Plaster of Paris (POP) should be cast on the leg. After that, my son couldn’t sleep all through the night. The following day, I took him back to the hospital and the POP was removed and part of his diseased bone was removed for pathological analysis. After the test, it was discovered that my son had cancer of the bone,’” he said. The doctor recommended Dr Samuel Eyesan of Bowen University, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, “who asked us to take the sample to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and after 21 days the histological report showed that my son has high grade osteosarcoma. “That was when they ordered my son’s leg to be amputated. But the leg

became swollen again after about two months. So, we did magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and they asked for further amputation, but I protested that what has been cut was close to his buttock and they saw reasons with me. And a team of experts met and agreed that we should place him on radiotherapy. “That was when Dr Odunaike recommended Prof Ketiku to help manage the disease.” Prof Duncan said cancer should not be seen as a death sentence. People can live through it if it is detected early and managed well. An oncologist at LUTH, Dr Remi Ajekigbe, said early detection is important for effective cancer management. He said: “Patients often present their cases late.” He said Nigeria lacks the expertise in cancer of the bone treatment. The government should do something about this as bone cancer cases are increasing, he added. Eyesan, formerly a staff member of NOHIL, said he had trained some experts, adding that more are needed to sub-specialise. Eyesan said the Federal Government should look into that aspect of bone cancer management. An expert in paediatric cancer at LUTH, Dr Edamisan Temiye, said more should be done by the government about cancer in children. He said the cancer drugs for them are expensive, adding that they are often neglected when it comes to proffering solution to cancer problems. He said children deserve similar, if not better cancer treatment and management. Pastor Olorunlagbara is appealing to well-meaning Nigerians, corporate bodies and the government to save his dying son. His account number: Olorunlagbara Sunday: UBA 2001112603. He can be contacted on 07031661803, 07084290066 and 08074842799.

tired and this is why some doctors wrongly treat malaria instead of investigating into the blood for proper diagnosis,” he said.

Ajekigbe said the country should have cancer centres in various parts of the country, adding that it only has three at the moment,

•Master Olorunlagbara

to manage the disease. It will be a good thing, he said: “If the country can have at least one machine in each geo-political zone.” The machines, he said, are expensive but the country could procure some to increase access. “Government needs to subsidise the cost of treatment or include the disease in the NHIS. It is very expensive to manage it through out-of-pocket payment,” he added. The oncologist identified junk foods and sedentary lifestyle as factors that predispose people to the disease, describing them as carcinogenic. Akinsulie said cancer treatment in the country compared with other developed countries lay in proper diagnosis, availability of resources to manage it and proper management on good time. “Most cancers are picked very early in the advanced countries, which is why the outcome always turns out good. Cancer of the kidney, otherwise known as nephroblastoma, can be curtailed in less than six months, but other cancers are not so. Oncologists may treat other cancers for two years and the survival rate may be only 30 per cent, especially if it is presented late. “So, dedication is needed. For example, every Nigerian could be asked to donate N100 each and this would translate to over N1 billion, which doctors can use to treat cancer patients. Treating cancer can be better if people can donate for it. There can be a ‘Friends of Leukaemia or nephroblastoma group. St Judes Hospital in the United States was willing to collaborate with LUTH. It wanted LUTH to start and run the programme before it would join it. Their fear is that they don’t want people who would steal their fund,” he said. Akinsulie said an estimated five children visited the hospital as cancer patients weekly. Most complaints are on nephroblastom a. Acute lymphoblastoma is the most common, affecting the blood. Also common is retinoblastoma, he added. Akinsulie urged parents or guardians to observe the way their children walk or stand to see if they have abnormal gait. The various non-govenmental organisations (NGOs) and other support groups can also help to raise funds for treatment. The Managing Director, Children Living With Cancer Foundation (CLWCF), Dr Nneka Nwobi, said more awareness was needed to reduce paediatric cancer in Nigeria. She said: “Cancer is an expensive disease, even for the rich, but it is a lot less expensive when diagnosed early and treatment started in time. Also, early attention and care for children living with cancer through awareness can stimulate the people to help them know what to do.”

‘Nigeria’s growth rate alarming’


OW can Nigeria tackle its high growth challenge? It is by embracing family planning, say experts. They spoke at the unveiling of the global programme for reproductive health commodity security survey and other RHCS documents. Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health (MoH), Dr Femi Olugbile, said total and adolescent fertility rates were high but modern contraceptive use remains low. Olugbile, represented by the Director, Family Health and Nutrition, in his ministry, Dr Modele Osunkiyesi, said despite global efforts, progress on enabling women and girls to access contraception had stalled over the last decades. Head, Lagos Liaison Office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Omolaso Omosehin, said the survey was to get information that would be used by policy makers and planners to make decisions and improve health services. She said the long-lasting reversible contraceptives have not been well-embraced. Dr Omosehin said: “We also discovered that when we talk about stock out of commodities, we have more of the commodities of the services present in the tertiary health facilities, but unfortunately we know that majority of Nigerians will go for services in primary healthcare facilities. “So, lots of people are still missing opportunities; we have also noticed that the number of facilities that should be offering these services are not offering them. “We realised that a lot of people would love to go for the long-lasting reversible contraceptive but cannot because they are not aware of it. Also, there are no adequate trained staff. “

How to prevent killer diseases


By Oluoma Omehie

NEUMONIA, diarrhoea and hepatitis B are preventable, a community health physician at Lagos University Teaching Hospital(LUTH), Dr David Karatu has said. According to him, they are known as childhood killer diseases because they affect more children than the adults. Others are diphtheria, measles, pertussis or whooping cough, poliomyelitis, rubella, tetanus and childhood tuberculosis (TB), anaemia, asthma and bronchiolitis cancer, chicken pox, dental carries, Down syndrome, ricketts, congenital heart disease, influenza, leukemia, meningitis, rheumatic fever, and others. He said Nigeria may not reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 because it has not achieved much in the past 13 years it started the programme He said: “In a scale of 100, we should be at 25 and I don’t think it will be possible to reach the expected goal within two years, unless with God’s miracle.”




•From left: Chairman, Joint Health Sector Unions and President, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria Comrade Wabba Ayuba; President Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of NigeriaDr Godswill C. Okara; President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Olumide Akintayo and President, Association of Radiographers of Nigeria Dr Mark Okeji at a conference by the Assembly of Healthcare Professional and Joint Health Sector Unions on Contemporary Development in the Health Sector at Pharmacy House, Anthony Village, Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

APC faults accusation of religious bias


HE Interim National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lai Mohammed, has faulted the accusation of religious bias in the composition of the party’s Interim Executive Committee. Mohammed’s comments followed accusation of religious bias raised in a statement circulated in Abuja yesterday by a former Ambassador to Spain, Mallam Yusuf Mamman and a group, under the aegis of Religious Equity Promotion Council (REPC). Mamman and the REPC accused the APC of having Muslim members in the party’s Interim Executive Committee, a situation which they said typified the Muslim Brotherhood Party in Egypt. REPC Secretary-General Rev Tanko Garba and the former ambassador also said the APC was projecting Muslims as its presidential aspirants, saying the party wants to Islamise Nigeria. The statement said: “It is not out of the ordinary that members of the Interim Executive Committee of the APC are Muslims. Does it mean that the APC would be the Nigerian version of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Party? “Check this out: the APC leader for the North is General Muhammadu Buhari who

From Gbade Ogunwale and John Ofikhenua, Abuja

is a Muslim; the party leader for the South is Senator Bola Tinubu, a Muslim. “The National Chairman, Abdulkareem Bisi Akande, is a Muslim; Deputy National Chairman Aminu Bello Masari is a Muslim; National Secretary Tijani Musa Tumsah; Deputy National Secretary Nasir el-Rufai; and the National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed are Muslims. “The National Treasurer, Sadiya Umar Faruq; National Financial Secretary Shuaibu Musa; National Youth Leader Abubakar Lado; National Legal Adviser Muiz Banire; Deputy National Auditor Bala Jubrin and National Woman Leader Sharia Ikeazor (Muslim Convert) are Muslims. “Also, the party’s ex-officio members, Muiru Muse and Yemi Sanusi, are Muslims. “Does it mean that there are no Christians worthy enough to occupy these executive positions? Where is their sense of religious balancing, if not to deliberately cause religious disharmony in Nigeria.” But APC’s spokesman countered that the party, which has its members across the country, cannot afford to imagine any singular religious affiliation. Speaking in a telephone chat with The Nation, yester-

Gombe to spend N107b


OMBE State is to spend N107 billion in the fiscal year. An analysis of the “budget of restoration” shows that Capital Expenditure received a larger share with N63 billion, representing 59.45 per cent. Commissioner for Finance Hassan Muhammadu said N43 billion, representing 50.55 per cent, was earmarked for Recurrent Expenditure. A breakdown shows that the economy got the lion share with N43 billion. This was followed by the social sector, which got N16 billion. Muhammadu said the marginal increase as against last year’s revised budget was due to the desire to im-

From Vincent Ohonbamu, Gombe

pact positively on the lives of the people. He said the priority areas were education, youth empowerment and poverty alleviation, agriculture, health, environment and potable water supply, works and infrastructure as well as creating the enabling environment for foreign and domestic investors. The commissioner said government would track all incomes and expenditures in compliance with the relevant budgetary provisions. The government was to spend N108billion last year but later revised it to N99 billion to optimise resources utilisation.

day, Mohammed explained that of the 25 Interim National Executive Committee membership, 18 are Muslims; 17 are Christians. He warned religious bigots and their official sponsors against setting the country on fire through sponsored religious disharmony. The APC spokesman said no party in Nigeria can survive on religion, adding that it is stupid to tar the APC with a religious paint when the party has not conducted its national convention. “The APC is just six months old after the merger. Our party is a broad-based party from all religions,” Mohammed said. He accused the Presidency of sponsoring Yusuf Mamman to denigrate the APC, stressing that “anybody that knows Yusuf Mamman’s history will not be surprised at whatever he says.” Cautioning President Goodluck Jonathan not to set Nigeria on fire with religion, Mohammed noted that his (Jonathan’s) association with Mamman was an evidence of the President’s desperation. Mohammed said the APC would reflect the nation’s religious diversity during its national convention. He promised that during its convention, APC would reflect religious tolerance.

Police: two killed in Kaduna


HE police in Kaduna State have confirmed that two persons were killed in Manchok, Kaura Local Government Area, following a clashbetweennomadsand residents. Police spokesman Aminu Lawal told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that four were injured during the clash on Sunday. Lawal said some settlements belonging to nomads were burnt. The victims are receiving treatment at the Kafanchan General Hospital. He said although details of the clash had not been provided, security had been strengthened in the area. “Normalcy has been restored, as our men are on ground to forestall any breach of peace.’’




Council poll: APGA members vow to vote against party


•Stakeholders’ meeting ends in deadlock •ANSIEC distributes non-sensitive materials

LL Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidates, whose names were substituted after the primary for the January 11 local government election in Anambra State, have vowed to mobilise their supporters against the party. They said they were aggrieved because the APGA leadership dropped them after winning the August 17 primary. A stakeholders’ meeting at the Governor’s Lodge at the weekend ended in a deadlock. A source, who spoke to The Nation yesterday, said the leaders urged the

‘A source, who spoke to The Nation yesterday, said the leaders urged the dropped candidates to support those selected’ From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

dropped candidates to support those selected. The source said members protested against the party’s decision to drop the candidates, who won the primary election.

Some protesting councils included Orumba South, Anaocha, Awka South, Awka North, Nnewi South, Ihiala, Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Dunukofia and Njikoka. Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) yesterday began the distribution of non- sensitive material, including ballot boxes. One of the chairmanship candidates of the Labour Party (LP) in Awka South, Ozo Uche Ifediorah, was sighted yesterday with party members at its office in Awka South finalising his campaign.

‘APC set for smooth ride in 2015’


HE Chairman of ItireIkate Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos State, Mr. Hakeeem Bamgbola, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) will have a smooth ride in the 2015 elections. He spoke yesterday in Lagos at the 50th birthday celebration of a chieftain of the APC in Isolo LCDA, Hakeem Adelabu-Soule. Bamgbola said the party controls 16 states, adding that based on its performance, after the 2015 elections, it will take over Abuja “because Nigerians want good governance.”

By Tokunbo Ogunsami

The Itire-Ikate LCDA boss said the merger of the progressives was a good development for the country, urging them to cooperate to move the nation forward. He hailed Governor Babatunde Fashola for turning Lagos State into a Centre of Excellence and for controlling flood in Isolo and other areas. Adelabu-Soule enjoined Nigerians to support Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and other APC leaders to ensure the party wins next year to realise the dream of bringing the divi-


dends of democracy to the doorsteps of everybody. He lauded the leaders of the party for their dynamism, saying: “APC will salvage this country from disintegration and bring it at par with other advanced countries in 2015.”

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


like oral sex but I hear that one can also contact a sexually transmitted disease through oral sex. Since I cannot wear a condom over my mouth, what else can I do for protection? Samson

Samson there is a novelty called a Dental Dam. It is made of latex, the same material most condoms are made of and it comes in square flat sheets. You place it over the female genitals before oral stimulation to serve as a protective barrier between the mouth and the genitals. It is flavoured too and tastes like candy. So you can use a Dental Dam for your protection – Uche I am 63 years old and I suffer from weak erection. My friends say Rhino 5 is the best. I want it – Barrister Femi Hello Femi, Rhino 5 is out of stock but we now have Red Lips Premium, which is even more powerful. Red Lips Premium gives hard erections, enlarges the penis, controls premature ejaculation and enables multiple rounds and staying power. One capsule also lasts for almost a week and it is a natural supplement. So you will like it – Uche What causes this disease of premature ejaculation and how can it be cured? I cannot go more than two minutes before ejaculating and even to get another erection after that takes a long time plus the tiredness – Geoffrey Premature ejaculation can be caused by a variety of factors such as anxiety, hereditary, masturbation and penile sensitivity amongst other things. It is not a disease. Doing your PC Muscle exercises can help you with ejaculatory control in the long term. But to start lasting longer instantly, you will need to use certain ointments and penis sleeves during intercourse. Delay Creams such as Max Control Delay Spray will help you last longer. The use of Penile Sleeves like Futurotic Penis Extender will also help reduce penile sensitivity and prolong intimacy. If you want to shorten the time it takes to get a second erection and get stamina as well, then you will need an erection enhancing supplement like Exploding Thunder– Uche

My wife and I are trying to have a baby. So far, we have not been lucky so we have started taking the fertility medicine Repro Aid. But I also would like something that will make the sperm plenty because after sex, the sperm will just pour out of my wife and it is strange. Thanks – God’s Power God’s Power it is normal for semen to flow out from the woman after sex. Semen is not magnetic so part of it must flow out. Women who are trying to have children are advised to lie on their backs and lift their legs after sex for 10 to 15 minutes. This will ensure that the semen gets to the egg during ovulation. So your wife should do that. But if you still want to increase the volume of your semen, then take Max Load supplement – Uche The only time I enjoy sex is when I get oral sex but I don’t get it with my husband. How can I get him to give me oral sex? I am also interested in your new G Spot Vibrators – Regina Hygiene is the big issue for men when it comes to oral sex. Women are always so covered up, which contributes to vaginal odour. I recommend showering before sex and using flavoured lubricants that will hide body odours such as 69 Nipple and Clit Arousal Gel. Also carry wet wipes with you that you can use to clean up when you cannot take a shower before sex. Summer’s Eve Feminine Cleansing Cloth is great for keeping fresh. As for the G spot Vibrators, go for the Seven Sensations 7 Function G Spot Vibrator. It is very good and affordable – Uche That’s it for today. Happy New Year. Adults in need of these treatments/novelties can place their orders online at or call us on 08051924159 or 07086754515 and we will process and deliver them to you wherever you are in Nigeria. For enquiries, email us at - Uche Edochie, MD, Zee Virtual Media.





OUTH Africa’s credit rating is likely to be constrained at current levels for the foreseeable future, due to high levels of poverty and unemployment, Moody’s Investors Service said. Wide income disparities, poor education standards and high crime levels are also limiting the rating within the Baa range, the New York-based company said in an emailed report today. Moody’s lowered the rating in September 2012 to Baa1, the thirdlowest investment-grade level, with a negative outlook, as economic growth slowed and the

South Africa rating to be constrained in Baa Range, Moody’s says government’s budget deficit widened. Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings have a BBB assessment on the nation’s debt, one level above Moody’s. South Africa’s credit strengths included “manageable albeit rising public debt,” complementary monetary, fiscal and exchange

rate policies and a strong natural resource base, Moody’s said. Poor labor productivity, a weak national savings rate and substantial infrastructure constraints are credit challenges, the ratings company said. While higher savings and investment rates may help boost the ratings, a downgrade could occur “should the

government’s direct debt rise much above 45 per cent of gross domestic product,” Moody’s said. The unemployment rate was 24.7 percent in the third quarter, while the government is projecting gross debt will climb to 47.7 percent in the year through March 2017. Interest Rates. Moody’s said the central bank is unlikely to raise interest rates until late 2014 and it doesn’t expect the government to post budget surpluses until the fiscal. year through March 2016 at the earliest. The Reserve Bank has kept

its key rate unchanged at 5 percent since July 2012. The rand extended its gain after Moody’s statement, rising 1 percent to 10.6505 against the dollar as of 5:02 p.m. The government bond due in December 2026 was unchanged at 8.28 percent. Almost half the time, government bond yields fall when a rating action suggests they should climb, or they increase even as a change signals a decline, according to data compiled by Bloomberg on more than 300 upgrades, downgrades and outlook changes since 1974 and through December 2012.

Kenyan shilling weakens, bank stocks push shares higher


•Buildings Stand Illuminated at Night in Nairobi Kenya, East Africa's biggest economy, plans to add 5,500 megawatts of electricity output to its grid in 40 months, almost 2,000 megawatts of that from coal, to help accelerate annual economic growth to more than 10 percent from a projected 5.5 percent to 6 percent this year. Photographer: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

Ivory Coast cocoa regions see rains after two dry weeks


AIN fell across most of Ivory Coast’s main cocoa growing regions last week following two weeks of dry weather, raising farmers’ hopes of steady output in the second half of the country’s October-to-March main crop harvest. The 2013/14 season opened in the world’s top cocoa grower in October and exporters estimated that 932,000 tonnes of beans had been delivered to Ivorian ports by January 5, up from 721,000 tonnes in the same period last season. Still, exporters and merchants believe that Ivorian production may fall off sharply next month as a result of poor weather in the run-up to the start of the season. Last week’s rainfall, which came amid Ivory Coast’s November-to-March dry season, may improve bean quality in the weeks and months ahead while ensuring continued output, farmers told Reuters. “We’re happy here. There were three good showers in a row. The plantations are very green,” said

Amadou Diallo, who farms on the outskirts of the southern region of Divo. “The moisture will give the trees the strength to resist the dry weather,” he said. HIGHER PRICES Global prices have risen on concerns that poor weather across West Africa ahead of the 2013/14 season, coupled with rebounding demand for chocolate, will lead to a deficit. However, the robust supplies continuing to reach Ivory Coast ports helped to temper the bull market last week. May cocoa on Liffe inched up 4 pounds, or 0.2 percent, to 1,721 pounds a tonne at 1254 GMT on Monday, above Friday’s seven-week low of 1,674 pounds. ICE March cocoa was up $12 or 0.4 percent at $2,711 per tonne. In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, an analyst reported 18 millimetres of rainfall during the week, up from none the previous

week. “We can expect the kind of large beans prized by exporters until at least February,” said Koffi Kouame, who farms in the outskirts of Soubre. In the western region of Duekoue, farmers reported two abundant downpours. “There are still enough cherelles (small pods) which need moisture. We will still be harvesting in March and the beans will be good quality,” said Duekoue farmer and cooperative manager Amara Kone. In the central western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s cocoa, farmers also reported two downpours. “These rains will lay the groundwork for good flowering for the mid-crop,” said Attoungbre Kouame, who farms near Daloa. Good growing conditions were reported in the southeastern region of Aboisso, in the western regions of Gagnoa, Bouafle and Meagui and in the southern regions of Agboville and Tiassale. In the eastern region of Abengourou, farmers reported scattered showers.

Egypt Suez Canal master plan to be finalised infrastructure work on the GYPT has invited 14 consorin nine months 2015 project will begin, Memish said. tia to bid for a chance to say


how they would develop the Suez Canal area, officials said on Monday, aiming to attract more ships and revenue to shore up the country’s finances. The Suez Canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and brings in around $5 billion a year, a source of hard currency whose importance has risen since a popular uprising in 2011 scared off tourists and foreign investors. “We must move dynamically ... Investors must find service here at an international level because if they do not find it here they will go some place else,” Mohab Memish, head of the Suez Canal Authority, said at a press conference in Ismailiya. Egypt wants to turn 76,000 square

kilometres (29,000 square miles) around the canal into an international industrial and logistics hub, reviving economic development after more than three years of economic and political turmoil. The approved consortia will be able to buy bidding documents from January 8-23.Egypt Suez Canal master plan to be finalised in nine months A winning consortium will be selected in the next three months and will have a further 6 months to come up with a master plan, Memish said. Egypt’s Interim Prime Minister Hazem elBeblawi said the master plan will be presented to the cabinet within nine months. In November Egypt will host an international conference for investors and in early

Gulf allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait came to Egypt’s aid by pledging a combined $12 billion after the army, prompted by mass protests, overthrew the country’s first elected leader Mohamed Mursi in July. But Egypt is in dire need of longerterm development to generate revenues and tackle youth unemployment, estimated at over 20 percent. The Suez Canal project was a main feature in the campaigns of the most prominent candidates in the 2012 election. It was adopted by the Mursi administration but opposition groups accused him of attempting to seize and sell public land to foreign countries. Memish said the project would be put to the public for national discussion before it is adopted.

HE Kenyan shilling weakened on Monday due to dollar demand from the manufacturing and energy sectors and traders said it would remain under pressure in coming days, while the Kenyan stock exchange’s main index closed higher. At close of trade at 1300 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 86.95/87.05 to the U.S. dollar, compared with Friday’s close of 86.80/87.00. The shilling touched an intra-day low of 87.10/20 earlier in the session. “It’s been a bit of a ping-pong day,” said a senior trader at one commercial bank. “We are waiting for the majority of the liquidity to come back to the market, then we will get a feel of what’s going on.” Earlier in the session, traders said the shilling had weakened on the increased corporate demand for dollars. “The market has opened on a weaker note after real demand from corporate clients pushed it up. (Demand for dollars is) from manufacturing and energy,” said Sheikh Mehran, a senior trader at KCB Bank Group. Traders said they expected the shilling to trade in a range of 86.90

to 87.50 in the days ahead. Technical analysis of the 14-day and 50day weighted moving averages suggested the shilling would continue to weaken. The shilling has shed 0.4 percent against the dollar since the start of 2014. BANK STOCKS GAIN On the Nairobi Securities Exchange, the main NSE-20 Share Index was up 39.39 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 4,940.51, due especially to gains by banks and by telecommunications firm Safaricom. Equity Bank was up 3.9 percent at 33.00 shillings per share after earlier surging 4.7 percent to 33.25 shillings. Kenya Commercial Bank closed the session up 1 percent at 48.50 shillings after rising 2.6 percent to 49.25 shillings. Safaricom, which is typically the most traded stock on the exchange, closed 2.3 percent higher at 11.05 shillings a share after jumping 3.2 percent to 11.15 shillings in earlier trade. “A lot of investors have decided to come in to take in long positions for the year,” said Daniel Kuyoh, research analyst at Kingdom Security. He said investors expected banks to report solid full year results, which are due by the end of March.

Russian ship held by Senegalese Navy in fishing dispute A RUSSIAN trawler is being held by Senegal’s navy after it was seized on Jan. 3 for suspected illegal fishing, according to Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Minister El Ali Haidar. The Oleg Naydenov vessel had more than 70 crew members on board when it was seized by Senegalese authorities in the country’s southern territorial waters near neighboring Guinea Bissau, Haidar told reporters yesterday. “It’s a big fishing ship which is now at the military port in Dakar since Saturday night under the surveillance of armed forces,” Haidar said. Senegal plans to increase its fine of 200 million francs ($414,000) as the vessel is a repeat offender, the minister said. Fishing is one of Senegal’s main economic resources. Prime Minister Aminata Toure told members of parliament in October that the fishing industry employs as many as 600,000 people and the government aims to increase its contribution to the West African country’s economy.

Libyan navy stops oil export from mutinous east THE Libyan navy has prevented an oil tanker from loading crude at the eastern port of Es-Sider which has been seized by protesters, staterun National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Monday. “The Libyan navy....dealt on Sunday with a Malta-flagged tanker which tried entering es-Sider port in cooperation with an illegal group to load and smuggle crude oil,” NOC said in a statement. A group seeking autonomy for eastern Libya seized the port and two others last year to demand a greater share of Libya’s oil wealth. It has repeatedly said it might sell crude on its own, bypassing the central government, but there had been no sign so far it had contracted foreign buyers. The group, based in Ajdabiya in the east, was not immediately available for comment. NOC did not say whether any military force had been used, saying only: “The Libyan navy prevented the tanker from reaching Es-Sider.” Libya had warned the owner of the ship that approaching the port had been illegal and warned it would stop any tanker trying “to smuggle and steal Libyan oil illegally.” The heavily-armed group calling for autonomy and a greater share of oil sales is occupying the eastern Ras Lanuf, Es-Sider and Zuweitina ports, which previously accounted for 600,000 barrels a day of oil exports. NOC extended on Saturday force majeure for the ports, a legal term to cover the suspension of contract obligations.






As busy as the Lagos ports are, they were not patronised by large vessels in 2013. Why? The shallowness of their waters. Will things be better in 2014? According to operators, unless the Federal Government addresses this challenge, Nigeria will continue to be an outsider in the multibillion dollar international maritime trade. OLUWAKEMI DAUDA reports.


PERATORS are not satisfied with development in the maritime industry in 2013. They are calling on the Federal Government to develop the Lagos ports to serve as a hub for cargoes coming to West and Central Africa in 2014. They believe that a well managed deep seaport can boost the economy and create jobs for millions. The hike in rice duty, the restriction on fish and cement importation, new and fairly used vehicles duty, long cargo dwell time, depth of ports, bill on transport reform, are some of the reference points in the industry. Others are the need to review the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Nigeria Railway Corporattion (NRC) Acts, extension of destination Inspection Scheme, meeting the International Ships and Ports Facilities Security (ISPS) code and the proposed ban on fish importation.

100% rice levy and 10% import duty The imposition of a 10 per cent import duty on rice and the increase on its rice levy from 50 per cent to 100 per cent early last year, have serious effect on the break bulk terminals as handling of rice cargo accounts for more than half of their revenue. Investigation revealed that hike in import duty on rice, the restriction imposed on the importation of fish and on cement, took a huge toll on the income of the breakbulk terminals as their revenue dropped by over 60 per cent. When contacted, some of the operators of the major break bulk cargo terminals in Lagos and Port Harcourt, including ENL Consortium, Greenview Development Nigeria Limited, Joseph Dam, and PTOL Terminal, said they have not handled rice vessels since March, last year due to the 100 per cent rice levy and 10 per cent import duty. A senior official of one of the terminals in Apapa, who craved anonymity, told The Nation that as a result of the measure announced in February last year through a circular signed by Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) Director, Trade and Exchange, W. D. Gotring, very few rice vessels berthed at the ports last year as rice shipments meant for the markets were channelled to the port of Cotonou, Benin Republic and later smuggled into the country. Restriction imposed on imported fish The silent and abrupt ban on importation of fish with effect from Novermebr 1, last year, crippled the operations of most of the terminals in the ports as fish represents the second highest revenue earner for the operators. Speaking in Lagos, the General Manager of the major break bulk terminal in the country, ENL Consortium, Mr Mark Walsh, said: “The government banned fish importation since October 31, last year. Before we were doing 20,000 tonnes of fish every month, but now, that is gone. Any bill of laden after that date cannot be brought to Nigeria,” he said. A fish trader in Lagos, who does not want his name in print, said with yearly fish demand estimated at 2.66 million metric tons (MMT), Nigeria produces about 0.78MMT leaving a demand-supply gap of about 1.8MMT. “From the ban on cement to the increase in the tariffs on rice and now fish is no longer coming in, it

Still a no-go area for large vessels

• Umar

• MD NPA Habib Abdullahi

• Abdullahi

• Akpobolokemi

has been very difficult. We have lost up to 800,000 tonnes since January, this year. But you see rice in the market. All the vessels bringing rice are going to Cotonou and the rice is somehow making its way back to Nigeria,” he alleged. Operators stressed the need for the government to look at the allegation to find a lasting solution to the policy this year. President-General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Mr Anthony Nted, said the review would also reduce smuggling of the commodity.

pansion plans, and both TICT and Ports and Cargo Handling Services are operating almost with RTGs (rubber tired gantry cranes), which have dramatically increased the yard capacity. The average dwelltime days (the time spent between a container being discharged and leaving the terminal) has also gone down by about 40 per cent.

tional Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC). The review of the Acts, Lagos said, has become necessary to encourage active participation of the private sector and state governments in the development of water and rail transportation in the country. Operators said they would see if the review would be carried out or not this year.

Gross Registered Tonnage mainly due to the constant capital and maintenance dredging of the channels at the nation’s ports by the Lagos Channel Management (LCM) and Bonny Channel Company (BCC).

New auto policy Last year, the Federal Government introduced a new auto policy by hiking the import duty payable on both new and fairly used vehicles to 70 per cent. In a memo sent by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy andFinance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to the ComptrollerGeneral of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Dikko Inde Abdullahi, last year, she directed that imported fully built unit (FBU) cars would henceforth attract 35 per cent duty and 35 per cent levy. But the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) joined other stakeholders to condemn the policy, saying it is capable of inflicting severe pains on Nigerians. Speaking in Kaduna at the union’s 12th Harmattan School, its President, Comrade Abdulwahed Omar, berated the government for its penchant for initiating policies capable of inflicting pains on the people. Also, top auto dealers, acting under the Auto Manufacturers’ Representatives Group in Nigeria protested against the new policy. The group protested to President Goodluck Jonathan, accusing the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, of acting unilaterally without recourse to those that would be affected by the policy. The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) also condemned the policy, describing it as “harsh and not well thought through”. Stakeholders said since the government is adamant in implementing the policy, they were waiting to see how it would be used to grow the automotive industry this year. Terminal operators Many terminal operators made major investments in the early part of last year. These have resulted in reduction in ports congestion. APMT Apapa early last year initiated the final phase of their ex-

Long dwell time of cargoes The long dwell time of cargoes at the ports is one of the major problems of the ports last year. Investigations revealed that it takes importers and agents up to 21 days to take delivery of their containers from the ports despite the 24-hour port operation introduced by the government. Findings showed that the major factors responsible for the high dwell time is poor clearing process and graft. Bill on transport reform The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, said last year that the Federal Government had initiated a Transport Reform Bill aimed at encouraging the participation of states and local governments in the sector. Stakeholders said they want a synergy between the three tiers of government this year to boost transportation. NIMASA In the first half of the year, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) shut down the operations of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) over unpaid levies. Its Director-General, Patrick Akpobolokemi, insisted that the money must be paid. On capacity building, NIMASA sent about 1,400 cadets to various maritime institutions abroad for maritime training programmes. The cadets were those shortlisted from the applicants examined and screened for the 2013/2014 admission into various maritime training institutions abroad to study nautical sciences, marine engineering and naval architecture up to degree level. The cadets are sponsored wholly by NIMASA under a new scheme of the Nigeria Seafarers’ Development Programme (NSDP) – a programme initiated pursuant to its statutory responsibility of human capacity development in the nation’s maritime industry. Lagos seeks review of NIWA, NRC Acts Last year, the Lagos State government called for the immediate repeal of the laws setting up the Na-

10-year tax holiday Last year, President Jonathan said the Federal Government would offer a 10-year tax holiday for local tyre manufacturers. The President made the declaration at the opening ceremony of the Lagos International Trade Fair. Terminal operators and clearing agents urged the government to put in place measures that would prevent the abuse of the tax holiday this year. Shippers Council The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) made frantic efforts to checkmate arbitrary port charges at the sea ports. It held a meeting with terminal operators and others to address port charges to ensure that nobody was made to pay for what he has not incurred. The council promised shippers the establishment of an acceptable port charges in a manner that neither importers and exporters, nor the port concessionaires would lose money. It said it would intervene in tariffs, benchmarking and service delivery. Customs takes over inspection at ports The Federal Government ceded the Destination Inspection Scheme hitherto handled by Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited, Societe Generale de Surveillance and Global Scansystems Limited to the Nigeria Customs Service. Also, Customs said last year that it had trained over 300 staff in scanner equipment management, to ensure that the nation enjoys a better scanning regime, after the take over. The management has also selected and delivered these courses to over 300 NCS officers, and this is reinforced by a programme of coaching by experts in operating scanners for customs around the world. In last quarter of the year, Customs introduced the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) to replace the Risk Assessment Report (RAR). Operators said they were willing to assist Customs in making PAAR a success. Gross tonnage of vessels The ports recorded increase in the

NPA and channel maintenance Record from NPA indicated that LCM dredged 53.5 million cubic metres of sand at the Lagos port channel since 2006, while a total of 24 critical wrecks were removed, while the volume dredged by BCC from 2006 to date is 43.5 cubic metres with 14 wrecks removed at the port channels outside Lagos. Also, Bonny channel from its previous 12.50 metres draught has been deepened to 14.30 metres thereby increasing its width from 215 meters to 230 metres. The successful wreck removal campaign being undertaken by the NPA also ensured safe navigation of vessels and protection of marine environment among other economic benefits. Apart from crude oil terminals, 1,366 ocean going vessels with total Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of 34,640,530 gross tonnes called at Nigerian Ports in the third quarter of last year. The Lagos Port Complex (LPC), recorded a GRT of 9,263,180 gross tonnes showing an increase of 12.3 per cent over the third quarter of 2012 figure 8,250,315 gross tonnes, while 369 ocean going vessels were handled at the port within the first quarter. Also, Rivers Port Complex recorded a total GRT of 1,371,846 gross tonnes, reflecting a decrease of 11.2 per cent as against 1,526,002 achieved in the third quarter of last year, with 108 ocean-going vessels handled at the end of the third quarter. The Onne Port complex recorded a gross registered tonnage of 9,709,984 gross tonnes, 15.7 per cent decline compared with 11,238,781 gross tonnes, leaving the port with 219 ocean going vessels in the period under review. Calabar Port complex recorded a GRT of 751,553 gross tonnes showing a growth of 15 per cent over 653, 077 recorded in the corresponding period of 2012. It also handled 35 vessels within the period under review. In a related development, the Delta Port Complex handled a GRT of 2,346,612 showing an increase. However, importation of general cargo through Onne Port in Rivers State was reduced by 30 per cent; this was largely compensated with an increase of 60 per cent in volume of gas.









BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL Deutsche Bank, U.S. shareholders settle lawsuit over mortgages


EUTSCHE Bank AG has settled a U.S. lawsuit in which shareholders accused it of misrepresenting its ability to handle risks associated with mortgage debt prior to the 2008 financial crisis. The settlement in principle was disclosed in a filing on Thursday by Deutsche Bank's lawyers in the U.S.

District Court in Manhattan. Terms were not disclosed, and final paperwork is expected within 30 days, the filing said. Shareholders accused Deutsche Bank of misleading them about its risk management and the underwriting on mortgage debt it packaged and sold, as well as being too slow to take writedowns.

They said this contributed to an 87per-cent drop in the German bank's share price from May, 2007, to January, 2009. The settlement came after U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest on Oct. 29 refused to let the case proceed as a class action, citing flaws in the methods and conclusions reached by an expert hired by the shareholders.

Canada will face pressure to raise interest rates

• BASF crop protection division president, Markus Heldt and


INANCE Minister Jim Flaherty said Canada will face global pressure to raise interest rates in 2014, as the United States begins to step back from its policy of extraordinary economic stimulus through intervention in bond markets. The decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to move away from its quantitative easing policy - in which the central bank creates billions of dollars to buy financial assets each month - comes amid signs the American economy is beginning to heat up, which would boost demand for Canadian imports. At the same time, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz has signalled rates in this country aren't likely to change for some time, as the bank juggles the risk of excessive borrowing by Canadians against that of sluggish inflation. But the Fed's reduction of quantitative easing, dubbed tapering, adds to pressure from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and International Monetary Fund for Canada to hike rates, Mr. Flaherty said Sunday. "I think the pressure will be there, because the Fed in the U.S. should stop printing money, and taper off as they say," Mr. Flaherty, referring to the dialling back of U.S. bondbuying, told CTV in an interview aired Sunday. "The OECD and the IMF have both said to Canada we ought to let our interest rates go up a bit. So there'll be some pressure there for that to happen." Mr. Flaherty stopped short, however, of saying what he thinks Mr. Poloz should do, with the minister's spokeswoman saying Sunday that's the "domain of the Bank of Canada." With soaring personal debt levels and a heated housing market, any rise in interest rates could deliver a sharp jab to the Canadian economy. Last month in Montreal, Mr. Poloz stuck with the status quo of an official policy rate of 1 per cent, saying rates will "stay where they are for quite some time." However, a November OECD report said Bank of Canada interestrate hikes "may begin by late 2014 to avoid a buildup of inflationary pressures." The OECD projections assumed the rate would be hiked in late 2014 and raised to 2.25 per cent more than double its current rate by the end of 2015. The IMF said in October it expected Canada to consider raising rates, or a "gradual tightening" of monetary policy, in late 2014. But the IMF also said in a report a month later that the Bank of Canada "can afford to wait before starting to raise policy rates towards more normal levels," but that policy makers must "remain vigilant against the potential risks" of keeping rates low, such as pension funds' "increased reliance on non-traditional investment strategies." Mr. Flaherty also said Sunday that Mr. Poloz had indicated to him there could "be some softening in the dollar," as compared to the U.S. dollar, something the Finance Minister signalled he'd welcome, to some extent, as a boost for exporters. "But the [Canadian] dollar in the 90s somewhere, it's good for manufacturing and we can still travel reasonably," Mr. Flaherty told CTV. The dollar is currently around 94 cents U.S.

Denials of class certification can boost litigation costs and make it harder for plaintiffs to obtain large recoveries. Plaintiffs included the Building Trades United Pension Trust Fund of Elm Grove, Wis., and two mutual funds. John Grant, a lawyers for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Boeing on track to be top plane maker for second year


fed into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Microsoft Corp. "As the nation's leader in wind energy - both in installed capacity and number of turbines - Texas represents a natural extension for Enbridge's growing U.S. renewable energy portfolio," said Don Thompson, Enbridge's vice president of green power and transmission. With the latest investment, Enbridge - which has also invested in geothermal and solar projects has more than 1,800 megawatts of green electricity capacity in its port-

folio. That's enough to supply more than 590,000 homes. Enbridge, better known as a major North American crude oil shipper, says it has made a "neutral footprint" commitment to generate a kilowatt of renewable energy for every kilowatt of conventional electricity its liquids pipeline operations consume. Its shares fell about one per cent, or 50 cents, to $45.59 Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Last week, another major Canadian pipeline giant, TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) acquired the Mississippi Mills solar project in eastern Ontario.

OEING Co has delivered a record 648 jetliners in 2013, beating its own target and likely securing its place as the world’s biggest plane maker for the second year in a row. Boeing's delivery tally beat its forecast of up to 645 jets for the year and was 7.8 per cent higher than last year’s total. The tally is likely to exceed deliveries by rival Airbus Group NV <AIR.PA>, which is targeting up to 620 deliveries in 2013. Airbus is due to announce annual its orders and deliveries on January 13. Boeing delivered 601 jets in 2012. The Chicago-based aerospace and defence company also said on Monday it booked gross orders of 1,531 jetliners, a record, and net orders of 1,355 aircraft in 2013. Net orders are the total after subtracting cancellations. Boeing's tally appeared to put Airbus in reach of regaining the lead on orders for 2013 even while lagging behind on deliveries. Based on announcements of 98 orders since the end of November, the European planemaker has already reached 1,471 gross orders and 1,412 net orders, putting it ahead of Boeing on new business once cancellations are removed. Airbus typically unveils new business when it gives its final figures for the year and industry sources say it is determined to win the orders race for 2013. Investors closely watch the deliveries total since plane makers book the bulk of the revenue from airplane sales when the aircraft are taken by customers.

107, dated December 11, was obtained by Reuters. There's been no official confirmation of the document, which was addressed to government agencies at the central and local level. An index of the biggest mainland stocks closed at its lowest level in five months on Monday, as concerns about the new regulations weighed down the market. China's policymakers are concerned that the country's economy has become overly reliant on borrowing to fuel growth and that debt-fueled investment has created

massive overcapacity in many industries. If strictly implemented, the deleveraging push could put China's economy on a more sustainable long-term path by reducing the risk of a bad-debt crisis. But short-term growth would likely fall as a reduction in credit growth spurs a fall in spending. "One can predict that growth of total social financing will slow and fixed-asset investment will also slow," said Liu Yuhui, director of the financial focal point laboratory at the Chinese Academy of Social

Sciences, a government think tank, referring to the central bank's measure of total credit from all sources. "If this isn't accompanied by various forms of debt restructuring, some sectors may see their funding chains broken and there could be defaults," he said. An official audit released last week showed that China's local government debt reached 17.9 trillion yuan at end-June 2013, or up from 10.7 trillion at end-2010. Local governments are among the largest recipients of shadow bank loans.

settlements with federal prosecutors in Manhattan and regulators in Washington, the bank will have paid some $20 billion to resolve government investigations over the last 12 months. JPMorgan's Madoff settlements, the people briefed on the case said, would also involve a so-called deferred prosecution agreement, a criminal action that would essentially suspend an indictment as long as JPMorgan acknowledged the facts of the government's case and changed its behavior. The agreement, nearly unheard-of for a giant American bank and typically em-

ployed only when misconduct is extreme, underscores the magnitude of the case against JPMorgan. The bank's settlement talks with the authorities, reported by The New York Times last month, thrust JPMorgan into the spotlight on the fifth anniversary of Madoff's arrest. Under the terms of the deals, the bank will pay more than $1 billion to the prosecutors in Manhattan and the remainder to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and a unit of the Treasury Department investigating broader breakdowns in the bank's safeguards against money laundering. The government plans to

earmark some of the payout for Madoff's victims, according to the people briefed on the case, who spoke on condition they not be named because they were not authorized to discuss private settlement talks. JPMorgan at one point discussed a so-called tolling agreement with prosecutors that would essentially extend the five-year legal deadline for bringing a case, one person said. The deadline might have otherwise expired late last year. JPMorgan declined to comment for this article, but has publicly maintained that "all personnel acted in good faith" in the Madoff matter.

crop protection business director for Australia and NZ, Tony Moskal at an event

Enbridge invests $200m in Texas wind power project

NBRIDGE Inc. has announced a deal to invest US$200-million in a 110-megawatt wind project in Texas. The Keechi Wind Project is being built with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc., a Coloradobased firm that has worked with Enbridge on three other wind projects. Construction for Keechi Wind began last month and is expected to reach completion in early 2015. Once it begins commercial operations, insurance company MetLife Inc. will provide tax equity financing for the project Power from Keechi Wind will be

Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Renee Calabro declined to comment. The lawsuit is separate from Deutsche Bank's agreement last month to pay $1.9-billion (U.S.) to settle claims it defrauded U.S. government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the sale of mortgagebacked securities. The most recently settled case is IBEW Local 90 Pension Fund et al v. Deutsche Bank AG et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-04209.

China makes fresh bid to curb shadow banking, contain debt risk


HINA’S cabinet has published guidelines strengthening regulation of risky off-balance-sheet lending in a new effort to address growing financial risks from an explosion in debt. The State Council's guidelines call for tighter regulation of banks' off-balance-sheet lending and say that trust companies - the biggest non-bank players in what's called "shadow banking" - should return to their original purpose as asset managers and not engage in "credit-type" business. A copy of the council's Document


JPMorgan nears $2b deal in Madoff case

ORKING through a long list of legal problems, JPMorgan Chase is starting the new year with another steep payout to the government. The bank plans to reach as soon as this week roughly $2 billion in criminal and civil settlements with federal authorities who suspect that it ignored signs of Bernard L. Madoff's Ponzi scheme, according to people briefed on the case. JPMorgan Chase warns nearly half a million cash card accounts were vulnerable to hackers with personal information put at risk. All told, after reaching the Madoff




Dancem, breweries sustain market’s upswing


ANGOTE Cement Plc, Guinness Nigeria Plc and Nigerian Breweries Plc rallied to mitigate a tensed market situation on Monday as the Nigerian stock market opened to a scurry of profit-taking transactions and cautious bargain-hunting. With 30 losers to 29 gainers, the gains by the trio of Dangote Cement, Nigerian Breweries and Guinness Nigeria- three highly capitalised stocks, supported the overall market situation to a marginal positive close with daily average gain of 0.14 per cent. Dangote Cement, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE’s) most capitalised stock, topped the gainers’ list with a gain of N4 to close at N224. Guinness Nigeria, the seventh most capitalised stock, followed with a gain

of N2.95 to close at N239.95. Nigerian Breweries, the second most capitalised stock, placed third on the gainers’ list with a gain of N1.99 to close at N167.99. In spite of losses by several top-10 stocks, the gains by the three leading stocks nudged the overall market capitalisation of all quoted equities to N13.283 trillion as against its opening value of N13.265 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the main index at the NSE, also inched up by 0.14 per cent from 41,450.48 points to 41,507.30 points. This pushed the average year-to-date return for 2014 to 0.43 per cent. Other top gainers included Union Dicon Salt, which added N1.23 to close at N13.31; Union Bank of Nigeria rose by 48 kobo to N10.48, Eterna added 25 kobo to close at N5.29, PZ Cussons Nigeria gained 24

kobo to close at N37.99, Red Star Express rose by 21 kobo to N4.47, Evans Medical chalked up 20 kobo to close at N4.24 while African Prudential Registrars rose by 15 kobo to close at N3.81 per share. Several stocks that had headlined the bullish rally in 2013 were on the sell side yesterday with Nestle Nigeria leading the pack with a loss of N12 to close at N1,170. Forte, which recorded the highest gain in 2013, followed with a loss of N2.64 to close at N90. Oando dropped by N2.59 to close at N24.07. CAP lost N1.75 to close at N46.70 while Zenith Bank dropped by 89 kobo to N24.21. Total turnover stood at 326.01 million shares valued at N2.91 billion in 5,366 deals. NEM Insurance was the most active stock with a turnover of 37.43 million shares worth N33.72 million in 175 deals. United Bank for Africa (UBA) trailed with a turnover of 36.17 million shares worth N340.14 million in 402 deals. Japaul Oil and Maritime Services placed third with 29.28 million shares worth N19.30 million in 273 deals.





RenCap: Nigeria has lowest debt ratio in emerging market


IGERIA has some of the lowest public and external debt ratios in the emerging market space as well as some of the best current account and budget ratios, Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital (RenCap), Charles Robertson has said. In a report obtained by The Nation, titled: Thoughts from a Renaissance Man-Big Revisions in Nigeria, he said the ratio points to the fact that Nigeria might be a safe haven for investors in 2014. This, he said, means that asset prices should rise due to continued inflows to frontier funds, or at least be protected from downside risk. Robertson said the strong run in Kenyan equities in 2013, despite their large twin deficits, only reinforced the view recently expressed by RenCap that Nigeria offered

By Collins Nweze

better value than Kenya in 2014. He however identified four negative reasons for investors to be concerned about Nigeria. Firstly, he said based on expected Fed tapering, Nigerian Eurobonds is to rise by perhaps 50 to100 basis points (bpts), and local currency sub-investment grade bond yields to rise by 150 bpts or more. The main counter-argument here is falling inflation and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rebasing. Secondly, he said the consensus is that oil will only slip marginally from $109 last year to $105 this year. “But while still a minority view, a number of investors fear Brent oil prices will drop into the $90s in 2014, due to

expanded supply from Iran, Iraq and/or Libya,” he said. Robertson also said Nigeria’s last parliamentary and presidential elections were in May 2011, and could come anywhere between December 2014 and middle of 2015. “The election process tends to result in large preelection spending, a fall in foreign exchange reserves, and pressure on the currency,” he said. He added that the current CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, is very well regarded by international investors. “They believe he presents clearly and transparently; he has a good record on currency stability, in reducing inflation and in cleaning up the banking system. In the 12 months to June 2013, foreign portfolio inflows were $24 billion, ac-

cording to the CBN’s quarterly balance of payment statistics, of which $14 billion were in equities and $10 billion were in debt. “His term expires around June 2014, and currently there is no clarity on who will be the new governor. At least five names were mentioned in our visit last week. We cannot ignore the risk that in the run-up to elections, a large share of that $24 billion reverses direction,” he said. The economist also said there is need for clarity on the 2014 budget and, in particular, on the nominal GDP data assumptions with which we were struggling. He said the CBN will likely keep policy tight, given fiscal uncertainty. “We do not expect rates to fall before June 2014, despite the re-

Access Bank sells Ivorien unit to Afriland


CCESS Bank has sold its loss-making Ivory Coast subsidiary to Cameroon’s Afriland First Bank Group for $1 million, according to a bank official and a filing with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Reuters said the lender, Nigeria’s fourth largest bank in terms of assets, according to its website, held total assets of N1.745 trillion ($10.99 billion) at the end of 2012. However, it has failed to make its mark in Ivory Coast, French-speaking West

Africa’s largest economy, since it began operations there in 2008. Access Bank filed a statement with the NSE over the weekend announcing the transfer of ownership. It said the sale had received regulatory approval from both the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Central Bank of West African States but gave no further details regarding the deal. “Afriland First Bank Group purchased the majority shares of Access (Bank Cote

d’Ivoire), which were nearly 97 per cent. The bank will now be called Afriland First Bank Cote d’Ivoire,” Jacob Amematekpo, a bank administrator and minority shareholder in the Ivorian unit, told Reuters. “The sale price was $1 million, because the bank had problems,” he said on Monday. The Ivorien unit’s losses after tax were almost 3.4 billion naira in 2012, according to Access Bank’s financial report for that

year. Amematekpo said upon completion of the purchase, Afriland injected 17 billion CFA francs ($35.28 million) into the unit, bringing its total capital up to 38 billion CFA francs. Afriland, founded in 1987, began branching out from its flagship bank in Cameroon in 1994 and now operates subsidiaries in Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Zambia, South Sudan, and Guinea.

Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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


OBB Rate Call Rate

Current Market 5495.33 N552.20

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m



Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012



12.08 1.23 0.69 0.94 0.63 0.56 5.04 4.04 4.26 2.28

C/PRICE 13.31 1.35 0.75 1.02 0.68 0.60 5.29 4.24 4.47 2.39

%CHANGE 1.23 0.12 0.06 0.08 0.05 0.04 0.25 0.20 0.21 0.11

LOSERS AS AT 6-01-14


O/PRICE 26.66 5.50 1.24 2.50 2.30 2.56 2.59 1.30 3.36 0.70

C/PRICE 24.07 5.23 1.18 2.38 2.19 2.44 2.47 1.24 3.21 0.67

Year Start Offer

Current Before

Current After

CUV Start %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51













NGN USD NGN GBP 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%

%CHANGE 2.59 0.27 0.06 0.12 0.11 0.12 0.12 0.06 0.15 0.03

rency trader, said in a phone interview. “Over the year, we’re still constructive on the dollar” as the US economic outlook improves. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the currency against 10 major peers, dropped 0.2 percent to 1,023.79 after climbing to 1,029.67 on January 2, the highest since September 9. It completed a six-day rally on November 1. The dollar fell 0.3 per cent to 1.3635 per euro after rising to $1.3572, the highest level since Dec. 5. The greenback slid 0.6 per cent to 104.27 yen, while the Japanese currency advanced 0.2 percent to 142.17 per euro. South Korea’s won weakened the most in six months against the dollar the dollar, dropping 1 percent to close at 1,065.42. The currency jumped 7.2 percent against the greenback in the past six months.

Amount Demanded ($) 150m 138m 113m

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

Date 2-7-12 27-6-12 22-6-12

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

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


HE dollar fell for the first time in five days, ending its longest rally in two months, after a report showed services unexpectedly declined in December. Bloomberg report said the euro climbed from a one-month low against the dollar as industry data confirmed the region’s services output expanded for a fifth month before the European Central Bank discusses interest rates on January 9. South Korea’s won tumbled on bets the central bank will cut borrowing costs. South Africa’s rand gained after Moody’s Investors Service said the country will retain its investmentgrade credit rating. “There was a bit of dollar weakness off that data,” Alan Ruskin, the New York-based global head of Group of 10 foreign-exchange at Deutsche Bank, the world’s largest cur-

Amount Offered ($) 350m 350m 350m

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

Dollar falls on services report


MANAGED FUNDS Initial Quotation Price N8250.00 N1000.00

• DMO D-G Abraham Nwankwo



markable success in fighting inflation. “With headline inflation around eight per cent, and real rates back at the four per cent levels last seen in 2007, we see a good chance of further disinflation in 2014. “While we expect a modest sell-off in local bonds due to Fed tapering and a possible widening of the budget deficit in naira terms, the improved real rates situation might limit the rise in local bond yields to around 13.5 per cent in 2014 on average,” he said.

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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%


19-09-13 11.432.09 35,891.90

23-09-13 11.494.75 36,088.64

% Change -




Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833




NEWS Ngige weeps over high number of inmates From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Onitsha


HE lawmaker representing Anambra Central, Senator Chris Ngige, yesterday wept for hundreds of youths languishing in prisons. He lamented the high number of inmates in Onitsha Prisons, which is accommodating 793 instead of 326 inmates. Ngige urged the Federal Government to be more proactive in the welfare of the inmates and appoint more judges for speedy dispensation of justice. He said the Senate would legislate on the decongestion of prisons. Ngige said the Senate, through the Committee on Judiciary, had made a recommendation, which would lead to decongestion of the prisons. He said the National Assembly is also working on another recommendation to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) for more judges to be appointed. The Comptroller of Onitsha Prisons, Mr. Ndupu Azuka, hailed Ngige for celebrating with the inmates.

Activists flay rights’ violation in Bayelsa

Three dead, 27 injured in Ebonyi accident


HREE persons died yesterday and 27 injured in an accident on the 135 axis of the Enugu-Abakaliki Expressway. Another crash occurred on the Oso Edda axis of the Afikpo-Okigwe Expressway in Ebonyi State. An official of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said nobody died in the EnuguAbakaliki Expressway accident, while the Afikpo-Okigwe Expressway crash claimed

From Ogochukwu Anioke, Abakaliki

three lives. He said: “While our team was on duty on the Oso-Edda axis of the Afikpo-Okigwe Expressway, they got a distress call that a red trailer with registration number KGE 95 XA had a head-on with a white Toyota Hiace bus with number plate XA 805 KP. Three occupants of the Hiace bus died.

“Our men, who went to the accident scene to rescue the victims, attributed the crash to dangerous driving. Sixteen persons were in the vehicle 10 men and six women. Three of the men died on the spot, while 10 were injured.” The FRSC official said the injured were taken to Mater Miserecodia Hospital, Afikpo and the deceased deposited at the hospital morgue. He said the accident on the 135 axis of the Enugu-Abaka-

liki Expressway involved another white Toyota Hiace bus with registration number AAA 210 XY, belonging to a mass transit company in the state and a black Volkswagen gulf with number plate KNM 60 AA. The 17 passengers involved in the crash were injured and taken to hospital by policemen patrolling the expressway. The victims, the FRSC official said, were taken to Ez-

25 parties for Anambra poll


By Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor

•Anambra State Governor Peter Obi with the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Uju Okeke, during the launch of the distribution of 700, 000 free textbooks for primary schools... yesterday.

CTIVISTS have sought a halt to human rights’ violation in Bayelsa State, describing it as the worst in the country in the last 12 months. Speaking at a media parley in Lagos under the aegis of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), the groups, represented by Mr. Samuel Olorunwa, referred to the alleged abduction and detention of Mr. Tonye Okio over his Facebook comments against the Governor Seriake Dickson administration. “Okio spent Christmas in detention with criminals and was denied access to his family. As we stand before you today in freedom, a fellow Nigerian is suffering unimaginable political persecution,” they said. They noted that Okio was abducted from his Abuja home and detained under harsh and dehumanising conditions, saying he might die unless action was taken to save him. To draw global attention to the plight of the detainee, the groups said they had launched the “Free Tonye Okio Global Campaign” across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. “On October 26, armed men invaded Okio’s Abuja home and whisked him away. He was tortured, humiliated and made to suffer depression. The abductors wanted to bundle him to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, by air through Port Harcourt, but the air trip was aborted. He was subsequently taken by road, chained like an animal and remanded in police custody. For several days at the police station, he was not allowed access to his family and friends. He was subjected to indignities.”

UNN crisis deepens as workers protest


zamgbo General Hospital and later transferred to the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki. He advised drivers to avoid reckless driving on the Abakaliki-Afikpo Expressway, which is still under construction. The FRSC official urged the Federal Ministry of Transport to expedite action on the rehabilitation of the Abomege axis of the Afikpo-Abakaliki Expressway, which he described as a death trap.


HE crisis rocking the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) is deepening, with the university workers protesting yesterday. They asked the Federal Government to recall the ProChancellor, Dr. Emeka Enejere. The protesters marched on the Nsukka campus, converging on Freedom Square. The Chairman of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of UNN staff, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Abada, told reporters that the unions were demanding the recall of Dr. Enejere, removal of Vice-Chancellor Prof. Bartho Okolo and a judicial panel of enquiry by the Federal Government into the alleged atrocities committed by the vice-chancellor. Abada said the workers sup-

From Chris Oji, Enugu

ported Enejere and the Governing Council. Abada, who chairs the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNN chapter, said the union would protest until its demands were met. On whether UNN has reopened as directed by ASUU, he said the union cannot ask students to resume. According to him, such function was the prerogative of the vice-chancellor and the university administration. He noted that the workers were not on strike, but protesting the illegalities perpetrated. The Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU),

UNN branch, Comrade Paul Obododike, decried the attitude of Prof. Okolo and urged members to be steadfast in their struggle. On why they did not attend a meeting convened by the vice-chancellor yesterday, Obododike said the venue of the meeting was not ideal. He said such a meeting should be held on the main campus in Nsukka.


The Chairman of the NonAcademic Staff Union (NASU), Comrade Godfrey Ugwu, said UNN was in a shambles. He said he supported the call for a judicial panel of enquiry. Ugwu said the protest would ensure that future generations in UNN benefit from the resources of the Federal Government.

CCC holds crusade

HE 14th edition of the Genesis Crusade of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) will hold on January 10 in the church auditorium at Araromi city, Iyana Oteyi, Papa Ilaro Road, Ogun State from 8pm till 5am. The theme of the crusade is: “As long as He remaineth” (Gen. 8: 22). The church spokesman said the crusade is an annual programme, which holds every second Friday in January to win souls for God.

Imo APC wants PDP to apologise for 12 years of misrule


CTIVITIES in Obowo Local Government Area of Imo State were disrupted yesterday, as All Progressives Congress (APC) youths trooped out in support of the party and the Governor Rochas Okorocha administration. Over 5,000 youths marched through major roads and streets in Obowo, which ended at Okenalogho Secondary School, where a rally was held. Addressing the crowd, Commissioner for Finance, Deacon Chike Okafor, who is an indigene of Obowo, urged youths to be wary of vain politicians as 2015 approaches. He enjoined them to ask why Obowo council was abandoned during the 12 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration. Okafor, who stressed the need for Obowo to sustain and

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

consolidate on their gains from the APC administration in less than three years, advised youths to use their energies on meaningful ventures, adding: “This administration has done for us what no other administration has done for Obowo since the f the late Governor Sam Mbakwe.” Listing the gains of the APC administration, the commissioner said the wife of the governor built over 12 units of houses for indigent women in Obowo, in addition to the biggest industrial market in the country, the Umungwa Industrial Market, popularly called ‘Malaysia market’, built by the Okorocha administration. Citing the ultra-modern classroom blocks in every

ward in Obowo, the almost completed state-of-the-art general hospital, free education and others, Okafor said: “We have seen the PDP for 12 years with little or no legacy to show for its over one decade of governance. We have also seen the APC administration, which in less than three years, has proven its mark, signposting incontrovertible signature projects across the state and impacting on the lives of residents.” The commissioner recalled that by 2011 when they assumed office, 80 per cent of Obowo was without electricity. “The story is different today due to the intervention of the Okorocha administration. The communities today have energised transformers,” he added.

Okafor announced to the admiration of the youth, the commencement of his youth empowerment programme and the building of six houses for indigent women in Obowo. Speaking on behalf of the youth, Mr. Steve Uzoamachi said the indigenes have been freed from the PDP maladministration, adding: “We say no to deceitful leaders. We are sure from what we have seen that APC has come to bring change in our state. Let me assure you that every sound reasoning youth in the state will embrace and support the APC government.” He said: “We want the PDP to apologise for the 12 years of misrule. They should as a condition to being forgiven, support an administration, which has done much to correct their years of failure.”

WENTY-FIVE parties will participate in Saturday’s Anambra State council poll. The Acting Chairman of the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC), Mr. Sylvester Okonkwo, told reporters yesterday in Awka. He said the number was the highest in the country in the history of council poll. Okonkwo listed some of the parties as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Action Alliance (AA), All Progressives Congress (APC), Labour Party (LP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Accord. He said he received a text message from the APC, notifying it of its withdrawal, adding that there was no official letter. According to him, the text message, simply signed “SDS”, was also sent to Governor Peter Obi. “I only got a text message from APC, saying it will not participate because of the flawed voter register used in the governorship poll. “The party said since its governorship candidate is in court challenging the same register, it will not participate in any election where the same register will be used. “But we already have the names of some of their candidates for the poll,” Okonkwo said. He said security had been tightened. The ANSIEC chair denied allegations that the commission plans to ensure victory for APGA, saying the sensitive materials were intact. Okonkwo urged voters to come out and vote for the candidates of their choice.

Anambra to resettle 159 indigenes From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Onitsha


NAMBRA State government yesterday met with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on the 280 Nigerians repatriated from the conflict-torn Central African Republic (CAR). A statement by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Osaeloka Obaze, said Governor Peter Obi has ordered that the 159 indigenes be resettled. He hailed the Federal Government and NEMA for the assistance. The statement said Obi directed the SSG to work with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and Anambra Liaison Office in Abuja to ensure that the indigenes were catered for.



NEWS Gunmen kill ex-Edo director of pensions

Police: we’re not under pressure to release suspects From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

From Osagie Otabor, Benin



FORMER Director of Pensions in Edo State, Mr. Friday Ewansigha, has been killed by gunmen suspected to be hired assassins. He was shot in his home at Evbuotubu in Egor Local Government. The deceased, 56, was the director responsible for conveying executive council (exco) meetings. He was said to have been shot on December 13, but died two weeks later at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. Family sources said the late Ewansigha was shot when finding out why his generator suddenly went off. The source said the killers disconnected the generator to force the victim to come out of his home. Governor Adams Oshiomhole and exco members held a minute’s silence for the deceased during yesterday’s meeting. The governor, who described the slain director as a dedicated worker, vowed that the assassins would be arrested. Said he: “The late director was a dedicated man. He was dedicated to his duties. We will miss him. “The police are investigating the incident. We will do our best to get the killers and bring them to justice.” Police spokesman Moses Eguavoen pleaded for time to allow him confirm the “incident from the DPO of Evbotubu Police Station.”

Akwa Ibom PDP reaffirms support for Jonathan, Akpabio


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State has asserted that at no point during the New Year get-together and the enlarged caucus meeting of the party in Uyo, was any issue concerning the purported removal of the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, discussed. The state PDP Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo, recalled that at the parley, attended by over 700 party leaders, including past and present chairmen of the 31 chapters and 329 wards, as well as elected and appointed members of the PDP, only two key decisions were taken. The decisions he said, were the commendation of Governor Godswill Akpabio and the endorsement of President Gooodluck Jonathan for a second term.

•Dr. Olukayode Oguntimehin (left); Mrs. Jokotola Ojosipe-Ogundimu (second left); Mr. Michael Olajuwon Dawodu (second right); Olujimi Nunayon Hotonu (right); Mrs. Oluwatoyin Adepeju Adegbuji-Onikoyi (left, behind); Mrs. Florence Adebola Ogunfidodo (second left, behind); Mr. Yinka Gbemi Olaniyi (second right, behind); and Mrs. Margaret Titilayo Solarin (right, behind), taking oath of office during the swearing in of new permanent secretaries at the Lagos House, Ikeja... yesterday. PHOTO:OMOSEHIN MOSES

Claims of defection unsettles Bayelsa PDP T

HERE was agitation in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bayelsa State chapter, yesterday, following reports that two million of its members had defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). PDP leaders were said to be angry that the report mentioned aides to Governor Seriake Dickson among persons, who dumped PDP for APC. The Richard Kpodo-led APC on Sunday claimed that two million people, including unnamed aides to Dickson, had joined the party. Interim Secretary of the APC Mr. Godwin Sidi said the new members would be received this week after the inauguration of the party’s

•’APC’s claims are laughable’ From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

secretariat. He said: “We have over two million supporters in Bayelsa State. If the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP manipulates President Goodluck Jonathan to run in 2015, nobody in Bayelsa will vote for him besides Dickson and a few of his executive council (exco) members. Some of the SAs and commissioners have indicated interest to join the APC. “Although we are mindful of black legs trying to infil-

trate into the party, we have taken a decision to allow people from other parties join in order to defeat PDP in 2015. “Arrangements have been put in place for the APC. My humble self, Kpodo and other members find it expedient to defect to the APC with our supporters. “The decision to move to the APC was taken due to the fact that every peace talk within the PDP has failed. We have also found out that PDP is on life support and it

will soon die. “We do not want to witness such a tragedy in a party we have tried over the years to build. “The APC secretariat will be opened this week. We are on ground.” But PDP dismissed APC’s claim, describing it as frivolous. It insisted that no exco member could defect to a party that had yet to find its feet in the state. PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr. Osom Makbere described Kpodo and his group as a bunch of miscreants and disillusioned persons. He said the claim of APC that it had above two million supporters was laughable, considering the state’s population.

Kidnappers demand N50m to free minor


BDUCTORS of Okali, the six-year-old son of the former Commissioner for Local Government and Community Development in Bayelsa State, Mr. Godknows Powell, has demanded N50 million to free him. The boy was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on January 1 at Etegwe, a suburb of Yenagoa, the state capital. It was learnt that the victim was abducted about 12:45am when returning

From Mike Odiegwu Yenagoa

from church. Okali was with his mother when the hoodlums accosted them and whisked him away to an unknown place. Powell, who served as the commissioner in the Timipre Sylva administration, was also the chairman of Yenagoa Local Government when Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was the governor. A security source said the kidnappers established con-

tact with the victim’s family two days after the incident. He said the abductors, whose location was unknown, warned them against involving security outfits in their negotiations. The source, who pleaded anonymity, said the hoodlums insisted on N50 million. He added: “We know the kidnappers will reduce the ransom. It is their normal practice. They always place high amount on their vic-

tims, only to reduce it later through negotiation.” On what the security agencies are doing to free the boy, he said: “Cases of kidnapping are delicate and security agencies, especially the police, have remained clueless on how to handle them. “They claim they are on top of the matter, but the fact is, they are as helpless as the victim. They don’t know how to approach the matter because in most cases, their interventions turn tragic.”

Panel to facilitate take over of Otuoke Hospital


HE Federal Government has set up an 11member committee for the transfer of the 40-bed Otuoke Cottage Hospital. It has two weeks to submit its report. The committee, inaugurated yesterday by the Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, is to assess the facilities at the Otuoke Cottage Hospital and draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the take over of the facility by the Federal Ministry of Health, to serve as an outreach of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yenagoa. Besides, the Dr. Patience Osinubi-led committee is to assess the human resources for health requirement of the

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

hospital and determine the Organogram for the linkage of the Otuoke Cottage Hospital to the FMC, Yenogoa. Dr. Osinubi is the Director of Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health. The committee is also to recommend other measures necessary for the smooth running of the hospital under the new ownership scheme. Other members of the committee include: Dr. Gods owed Eseimokumoh, Director of Medical Services (representing Bayelsa State governor); Dr. Tabowei, Acting Medical Director, Otuoke, also representing the governor; Chief Francis Egele, At-

torney-General (representative of the governor; Dr. Brisibe Seiyefa and Dr. Mai Yakubu, representatives of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); Alhaji Mohammed Dambu, Chairman, Board of Management, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa; Dr. E. Etubu, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa; Mrs. C. Ibekwe, Legal Adviser, Federal Ministry of Health; Dr. Yang Oke, Senior Special Assistant to the Minister; and Dr. M. Onwudiwe, Head, FMC. The facility had been under-utilised since it was inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan a few months ago.


The project was initially abandoned by the then Bayelsa State government, only for Jonathan, then acting president, to direct the then Minister of Health Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, to assess the place with a view to completing the project.

IVERS State Police Command yesterday denied receiving an order from anywhere to release the six persons held over alleged gun-running. The command made the denial in Port Harcourt. The suspects: Sunday Elisha, Uche Jenikachi, Ibinabo Lawson, Okechukwu Okoro, Jerry Tonye and Daniel Ibito-Anga were arrested last Friday at Ogu, the headquarters of Ogu/Bolo Local Government, during a routine patrol in the area by men of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) and handed over to the police. The suspects were alleged to be political aides to the lawmaker representing Rivers South-East in the National Assembly, Senator Sekibo Thompson and the member representing Ogu/Bolo in the House of Assembly and the self-acclaimed Speaker, Evans Bipi. It was widely reported in the media yesterday that Commissioner of Police Mbu Joseph Mbu had received an order, apparently from the seat of power (Abuja), to release the suspects. But police spokesman Ahmad Mohammad said there was no such order to release the suspects, describing it as baseless, misleading and mis-

I’m hale and hearty, says Oshiomhole


DO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has debunked a rumour that he was injured in an accident at Ewu in Esan Central Local Government on December 28. Presiding over the first executive council (exco) meeting yesterday, Oshiomhole debunked the rumour that he was injured and flown abroad, following the accident. He reassured the people that he is well and alive and that he has reason to thank God. Said he: “It is true that on December 28 about 10am, I was heading from my village to Benin City to receive the Vice-President, who was visiting Uromi to attend the birthday celebration of Chief Tony Anenih. Although he was on a private visit, I was obliged by protocol to receive him. “I believe somewhere in Ewu, a bus carrying goods veered off its lane and hit my car. But for the fact that the car is armoured, it would have somersaulted. “We were lucky that we were not speeding. So it was possible for the vehicles in my convoy to stop, otherwise, they would have run into my car and one thing would have led to the other.” Thanking God for His mercy, Oshiomhole said: “All of us in the car, my ADC, driver and myself were having our seatbelts on. The airbags were activated. Nothing happened to any of us. I went to the airport to receive the Vice-President after the accident.”



NEWS Kwara stops work on hotel

Woman dies in governor’s office


From Jide Orintunsin, Minna


HERE was tragedy yesterday in Minna, Niger State, when a 46-year-old woman, identified as Hajiya Belkisu Mahmoud, slumped and died in the office of Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu. It was gathered that the woman, a mother of three, had waited several hours to see the governor but was denied access. Officials said the governor had a lot of files to treat due to the New Year break. But shortly after she was ushered into the governor’s office, she reportedly slumped. A source said the woman, suspected to be asthmatic, was taken to the Minna General Hospital, where doctors confirmed her dead. The source said the woman, who was on a private visit, was delayed in the waiting hall because her name was not on the approved protocol list of those to see the governor. There was no official statement from the government but it was learnt that the governor hurriedly left the office after the incident. Doctors at the Minna General Hospital refused to comment.

Kano to train 442 From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


ANO State Government is to train 442 physically challenged persons under its empowerment programme. The Director-General of the State Hisbah Board, Abba Sufi, said the physically challenged persons were evacuated from the streets, following the ban on street begging. “We held a meeting with their officials yesterday during which we informed them of the government’s plan. “The government will train them in various trades so they will be financially empowered to own their own businesses,’’he said. Sufi said the government has screened 40 others, who would be employed in the civil service very soon. “We have screened 40 others with various qualifications and will soon be employed in the civil service.” Sufi said the government directed local government councils to cater for all those who lack the capacity to do any business by providing them with monthly allowance of N10, 000. The director called on all physically challenged persons to go to their respective local governments to register to enable them benefit from the empowerment programme. On returnees from the Central African Republic, Sufi said the state had dispatched vehicles to Abuja to bring the state's 300 indigenes. “As soon as they arrive in Kano, they would be transported to their local governments,” he said.

•Part of the 14 shops at Kuje Market in Abuja gutted by fire yesterday.


30 killed in Plateau morning attack


•Survivor: soldiers did it •‘STF must be queried’

HIRTY people have been killed in an early morning attack reportedly carried out by gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, in Shonong village of Bashit District, Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State. It was gathered that 25 others were injured and over 40 houses set ablaze by the attackers yesterday. An eyewitness said the attackers stormed Shonong community, which consists of four villages, at about 7am, shooting sporadically and killing over 30 people. The attack was said to have lasted till noon with no security intervention. A survivor, Shom Toma,

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

who is receiving treatment at the Vom Christian Hospital, said the attackers stormed the village at about 7am when most of the villagers had gone to their farms, killing mostly children, women and the aged. He said he narrowly escaped as he was molding blocks around his house when the invaders arrived. An eyewitness said 30 bodies have been discovered and the search operation is still on as many of the injured victims fled into the bush for safety. He said many residents are still missing, among them children. The witness said soldiers

of the Special Task Force did not come to their rescue. It was learnt that the acting village heads of Attarkar and Shonong villages were killed two days before Christmas. The Majority Leader of the House of Assembly and member representing Riyom Constituency, Daniel Dem, confirmed that over 30 people were killed. He said despite the presence of the personnel of the Special Task Force (STF) in the area, the gunmen still operated with impunity. “If the military were there in the village and the attack took place at about 8am and lasted till noon, then the military has so many questions to answer.”

Dem, who visited survivors at the Vom Christian Hospital, said: “We have security men there and if the attack started from 8am till noon, I think something must be wrong, what are the military there for? “If there was an attack from morning till noon and people were killed, houses razed, I think the military should be asked why they are there to protect lives and property. “We have tried to get in touch with them and they said they are on ground. They should please explain what happened from morning till noon. This is absurd and I am begining to suspect some connivance.”

Taraba not broke, says acting governor


HE Taraba State government yesterday disproved a statement by the Chairman of Sardauna Local Government Area, David Jedua, that the state was broke. Commissioner for Information Ate Sale Kundu said: “The attention of the Taraba State government has been drawn to reports that the state is broke. It is not true.” Kundu and the Chief Press Secretary to the Acting Governor Kefas Sule briefed reporters in the conference hall of the acting governor’s office. They were acting on the directive of the Acting Governor Garba Umar. Kundu denied the allegations that the state executive council was planning to remove recuperating Governor Danbaba Suntai. He said Umar was working according to the plans and principles of his boss (Suntai). “It is strange. We have never discussed removing the governor at any of our meetings. We only discuss memos on how to complete the ongoing projects,” he said. Kundu said: “Salaries are being paid on time, usually between 22nd and 23rd of every month. “Last September, Taraba State made history, by paying

From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

salaries without allocation from the Federal Government. “Contractors are being paid, that is why they are on sites working.” He also said the N18, 000 minimum wage was being implemented in the state. Former Secretary to the State Government(SSG) Emmanuel Njiwah had alleged that “heavy looting” was going on in the state through the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the SURE-P Scheme. But Kundu said when he contacted the Adviser for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Bashir Marafa, the Adviser said salaries have been paid in all the local governments. He added that the Commissioner for Social Welfare, Youth and Sports, who doubles as Chairman of SURE-P, Hadi Lau, told him that the government was following “due process” in the disbursement of the SURE-P funds. Answering a question on why local government workers’ salaries were delayed in October and November, the commissioner said the Sardauna chairman “may be

‘ It is strange. We

have never discussed removing the governor at any of our meetings. We only discuss memos on how to complete the ongoing projects

right in one way or the other.” He said there were so many issues in Sardauna Local Government, which he could not speak about at the briefing. Kundu could not explain why the executive sent a supplementary budget bill of N1 billion for the 2013 fiscal year to the House of Assembly. The bill was sent to the House yesterday. The commissioner said the Adviser on the Bureau for Lo-

cal Governments was trying to reach Jedua. Jedua is also to meet with the acting governor. Kefas said Umar wants to watch the video clip of the occasion in which the council chairman said the state was bankrupt. “This is to allow the acting governor to establish whether or not the statement is truly Jedua’s.” The issue attracted a flurry of reactions on the social media. Over 45, 000 people reacted –mainly on Facebook- with most of them hailing Jedua and faulting the government. Soon after the briefing, some lecturers at the State University told The Nation that they have not been paid their salaries. Another council chairman said for seven months they have been having difficulties paying salaries. A worker of Sardauna Local Government, who pleaded for anonymity, warned that Jedua should not be chastised for telling the truth. “He is an elected council chairman, it is better that he opens up on the challenges confronting him; he owes his people that accountability,” he said.

HE Kwara State Government yesterday ordered work to be stopped on a three-storey hotel at the Government Residential Area (GRA) in Ilorin, the state capital. The Executive Secretary, Town Planning and Development Authority (TPDA), AbdulRaheem Adeoti, gave the order during an on-thespot assessment of the work. Adeoti said the proprietor of the hotel failed to obtain the necessary documents before he started converting the property to commercial purpose. He said the latest clamp down will serve as a deterrent. Adeoti said the government would not condone illegality in the name of development. The director said construction was on for more than two years, and the proprietor allowed monitoring agents access recently, when it was discovered that the building would serve as a hotel. “The purpose of the structure has become a public knowledge, hence government’s decision to wield the big stick. “Residents of the area no longer feel safe. Their privacy will not be guaranteed anymore. “We are not going to allow a hotel of that nature in the GRA,’’ Adeoti said. He advised the owner of the structure to report to the TPDA for proper documentation and assessment.

Praises for Ajimobi’s wife By Jeremiah Oke

THE caretaker committee chairman of Ibadan South East Local Government Area of Oyo State, Najimdeen BolajiAbass, has praised the governor’s wife, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, for her contributions to human development in the state. He said it is an indication that human development is one of the major priorities of the present administration. The council boss, who spoke at the empowerment of 200 youths and artisans in Ibadan, said Mrs. Ajimobi has proved that the administration has the people in mind. Bolaji-Abass said: “I want to urge the beneficiaries to make the best and judicious use of the materials and accept it as the only means through which the government can make its citizens self sufficient.

Church programme MOUNTAIN Salem Gospel of Zion World Wide will hold its Salem 2014 with seven days revival session at its national head quarters: Itedo Akogun Olodumare Salem Community, Itun Oba, Yaba, Lagos. The programme which started yesterday will end on Sunday. Morning session starts at 5am and evening session at 5pm. The theme is ‘Touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm’ The Chief Host and founder, Dr. B.O. Elebiju, said everyone who attends the programme will be protected from attacks.



NEWS Cash crunch stalls work on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Continued from page 4

•Sheikh Abdur Rahman Ahmad, National Missioner, Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria (right) greeting (from left) Prof. Daud Noibi, Executive Secretary, Muslim Ummah of South West of Nigeria; Sheikh Abdul Hakeem Akewusola, Chief Imam of Badagry Division; Alhaji Musiliu Smith, former Inspector General of Police and Sheikh Abdul Hafeez Abou, Baba Adinni of Nigeria during the “Muslim Pray for the Nation’ PHOTO: TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO event, a joint Muslim forum initiative held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos…at the weekend.

Bombs: Govt fingers Wike’s group, others Continued from page 4

the court premises confirmed it was bomb, while those who live farther away thought it was gun shots. “There was supposed to have been a court case involving Hon. Evans this (yesterday) morning, and when the lawyers got to court this (yesterday) morning, they found that the premises where the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), office is located had been burnt. Where they were there, they discovered that there were still unexploded devices that were there. The Police Anti-Bomb squad arrived at the place (scene) and confirmed that the explosives were bomb. “The lawyers were still around when these things were happening, between 10 and 11 am, the Police Anti-Bomb

squad were still around taking stock of what has happened. “At Okehi, it wasn’t an explosion. The Registrar of the court at Okehi confirmed that files were gathered together and set ablaze. “We are unable to establish by who, but we can establish that they were arson. We cannot say what their intention was at this point because we do not have that as at now, but it could be possible that there was an attempt at governance. “Knowing things that have happened at Okehi in respect of the political cases going on, as a government we are mindful that this may not be totally unrelated to matters affecting the Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA). The state government’s image maker explained why the government thinks it was Bipi

and Wike’s GDI members/supporters that carried out the acts. “The reasons we say that is because again of the things that have happened in both Etche and Omuma, when GDI attempted to do their launching they broke into the secretariat and there was violence, and because we have seen these spate of violence by GDI member we are certain that this violence that are occurring have the signature of members of the GDI and the PDP as currently known. “We will like the security agencies to take these matters seriously because it concerns the lives of Rivers people. “This is not the first explosion as you (the media) are aware of in the recent time. You are aware that there was a mild one at the office of the Deputy Governor. We are still awaiting

the security agencies’ report on that matter “Your also aware of series of explosion going on around the Abonnema Wharf area of Mile One last December. We are also waiting for the reports from the security agencies. “Since these occurred, we have been silent as a government to let the security agencies take the lead. They have failed to take the lead and also failed to tell Rivers people what all of these are about. “As people who have the responsibility of protecting lives and property, Rivers State government frowns at this, and we are calling on the security agency(Police), to please keep politics out of the way , protect the lives and property of the people.” Boms urged Mbu to protect people’s lives and property.

suspected members of the PDP and the GDI (Grassroots Development Initiative, which has as Grand Patron, the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike), the Rivers State Police Command and other security agencies in the state are yet to make arrest and it appears that they are not in any hurry to investigate this spate of bombings and attacks.” The opposition party also pleaded with the authorities to compel security agencies to wake up to their responsibilities of securing lives and properties of the state’s residents by promptly arresting, investigating and prosecuting all those involved in violence. APC stated that the quick action should be taken by the security agencies, to avert a situation whereby individuals and groups would resort to selfhelp. The representative of Omuma/Etche Constituency in the House of Representatives (Ogbonna Nwuke) also said the razing of the Okehi court raised many questions, especially why any reasonable person would want to attack court premises. Nwuke said: “Enemies of democracy are at work. Those who do not want to respect the rights of others, those who do believe in the rule of law and those who have no regard for people’s lives are at work. “The law enforcement agencies should apprehend these faceless persons, who for political reasons, think the best thing to do is to turn Rivers State into an environment of terror. This is the worst thing that should happen in this country. “The judiciary should take note that there are people who

do not believe in the rule of law there are people who do not believe in the justice system and there are people out to intimidate others by all means, all in the name of politics.” The former Rivers information commissioner also urged law enforcement agents to protect the interest of the common man, which the judicial process represents. Nwuke added that emphasis must be placed on the fact that people could find justice when they go to court, have access to the law courts, with the judicial officers adequately protected. Obuah said: “The case that temporarily restrained Hon. Evans Bipi from parading himself as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly was to come up today (yesterday) at the Ahoada high Court. “Our team of lawyers, made up of over 10 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) from Abuja and Lagos arrived at the Ahoada High Court this (yesterday) morning to argue for the vacation of the interim order and saw the senseless and barbaric destruction of the Court. “The PDP makes bold to suspect that the reported bombing was carried out by the agents of the Rivers State Government to prevent the court from sitting, so that the court would not be able to vacate the interim order made by the Ahoada High Court Judge, Hon Justice Charles Wali. “Their aim also of bombing the Ahoada High Court is to further create a state of insecurity in Rivers State, to justify their continuous call for the removal of the State Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu.

“The PDP wishes to remind Rotimi Amaechi and his agents of darkness that the interim order issued by Justice Charles Wali of the Ahoada High Court lasted for only seven days, and it has since expired. Therefore, bombing the court to prevent it from sitting is a wasted, wicked, callous and shameful exercise by agents of Governor Rotimi Amaechi. “The PDP condemns Rotimi Amaechi’s desperation for power and assures that Amaechi will be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order in Rivers State.” Justice Wali also ordered that the status quo ante bellum prior to the July 9 fracas on the floor of the Rivers House of Assembly be maintained. He ordered that Bipi must stop calling himself, acknowledging, allowing himself to be addressed as speaker or writing to any person/authority whatsoever in that capacity. The judge also restrained Bipi from presiding either at plenary or committee of the House as speaker and acting in any manner whatsoever as the speaker. Bipi must also not do anything to obstruct, hinder, prevent or disturb Amachree from performing his duties as the speaker. Security agencies to enforce the order. The suit was filed by the Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly (Amachree) and his deputy, Leyii Kwanee, with the Rivers House of Assembly, other lawmakers and the security agencies as defendants. Bipi, however, vowed never to obey a “kangaroo” order, insisting that he remained the speaker.

Rivers High Court bombed Continued from page 4

rading himself as Speaker of the State Assembly.” The party said rather than file papers and argue their case in court, its opponents had resorted to preventing the court from sitting through planting of bombs at the court premises. The statement went on: “Just yesterday, six individuals reportedly linked to Hon. Evans Bipi and Senator George Sekibo (the representative of Rivers East Senatorial District, an ally of the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience, who wants to be Rivers Governor in 2015) were arrested on their way to Ogu/Bolo with seven AK-47 assault weapons, among others, by men of the JTF.” The party said the arrest of the six associates of Sekibo and Bipi had confirmed its worst fears that the PDP had resorted to using terrorism as official party policy. It insisted that it had every reason to strongly believe that the arrested, well-armed six men were part of the ruthless snipers PDP trained for use against political opponents. APC said: “Despite the PDP openly announcing the verdict that Justice Adama IyayiLaminkanra would give on the Obio/Akpor Local Government Council case, many weeks before the verdict was handed down, the APC did not resort to violence against the person of Justice Laminkanra, her court and any member or institution of the judiciary in Rivers State before, during and after the verdict was given. “We are deeply surprised that despite the obvious perpetration of these dastardly acts of violence against the judiciary by

and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke(SAN); the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; Yabawa Lawan Wabi; Abdullahi Musa Elayo; Comfort SaroWiwa; Chief A.U. Kanu; Mrs. Janet F. Adeyemi; and Mr. Aminu Diko. A member of the ICRC board, who spoke in confidence, said: “The government is proposing to go back to the concession alternative to enable it get investors to execute the project. “This is the case because of cash flow. The resources are not there due to competing needs. “The concession will involve a sort of PPP with the participation of Julius Berger, RCC, investors, the Infrastructure Bank and the government. “There is a challenge however , we may need to waive procedures to make the project a reality. Yet, many people have reservations about this backdoor approach. “Yet, no investor will buy into

a back-door method. If care is not taken, we may return to the same spot on the project.” Responding to a question, the source added: “The President meant well and as a Governing Board, we will assist him to achieve his goal.” A top source at the Federal Ministry of Works drew our attention to the provision for the wxpressway in the 2014 Budget. He was not willing to entertain any question on the project. A part of the budget reads: •Rehabilitation and Asphalt overlay of Benin-Shagamu Expressway (Benin-Ofosu) N500 million •Rehabilitation of LagosShagamu-Ibadan dual carriageway section 1 N5 billion •Reconstruction of the outstanding section of Benin-OfosuOre-Ajebandele-Shagamu Expressway phase III N750 million •Rehabilitation of ShagamuAjebandele-Ore road section 1 Ajebandele-Ofosu road in Ondo state N78,153,148 •Lagos-Ibadan concession project management/consultancy services N23 million

APC to Fed Govt: you’re incompetent Continued from page 4

On the accusation of inconsistency and double standards leveled against its leaders, the APC said the Presidency was simply shooting the breeze. ‘’The problem with this Presidency is that it still cannot get over the fact that our leaders, including Chief Bisi Akande, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, have decided to put their differences aside and make personal sacrifices to rescue Nigeria from the PDP death grip. The Presidency cannot understand why the permutations of its fake political consultants, that personality clashes between Buhari and Asiwaju will not let the APC see the light of day, have failed. ‘’Also, they have been gripped with mortal fear that the leadership of the APC has reached out to all Nigerians, irrespective of their political leanings. They cannot understand that those who are genuinely committed to rebuilding a nation that has been made so fractious by a bungling

ruling party must be flexible and accommodating, while holding on tight to their principles,’’ the party said. It urged the Jonathan presidency to expend its energy on telling Nigerians why it should not be voted out in 2015 for running the most incompetent administration yet in our country’s history. It should explain to Nigerians why billions of naira have been squirreled away under its watch. It should tell Nigerians why they spent their Christmas and New Year holidays in darkness; why most of our qualified youth are unemployed, and why the government’s contrived economic growth has yet to result in economic development (that’s hoping they know the difference). ‘’These are the issues that should bother this clueless presidency, not whether the APC asked President Jonathan to respond to a letter or not. We are for issue-based engagements, not frivolity-based exchanges,’’ APC said.

Igbo leaders reject Okurounmu Panel’s report Continued from page 4

Ikedife, Mrs Maria Okwor, Chief Enechi Onyia (SAN), Mr. Chris Okoye, Elliot Uko and Igwe Aja Nwachukwu, among others. The secretary of the group and former Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Prof Elochukwu Amucheazi, told reporters that the Igbo position on the conference would be made public by the end of this month. He said they were totally opposed to any recommendation that would have anything to do with the retention of any aspect of the 1999 Constitution. Only a new constitution would be acceptable to Nigerians, he said. Amucheazi said the position of the Igbo leaders is that the conference should be for all ethnic nationalities, being the only way the people would be carried along in the process. “The advisory council seems to be thinking of the amendment of the constitution and we met to see how to inform the president that this is not in order because we are thinking of an entirely new constitution. What we are saying is that we must have a way of informing the president and Nigerians that the recommendation is not in order and in trying to do this, you can see this is the meeting of Con-

cerned Igbo Leaders of Thought and we are bringing in Ohanaeze to have a reconciliation in two weeks time because we want Ndigbo to be united in this. “We want this country to survive and we are doing all in our power to make it survive. We are working out the content of the constitution and when we are through with it, we are going to invite all Igbo groups to have a say on it. “In other words, Ndigbo have rejected the recommendation of PAC. If this is a conference of all nationalities, all ethnic nationalities should be represented. What we are saying is that if we are using the geo-political zones, we must make sure that all ethnic units are represented. “Again, it is not delegates through adult suffrage by individuals on their own merit but that the ethnic nationalities will have a way of nominating people to it. So we are dealing with nationalities and this is an issue that seem to be misunderstood. We want ethnic nationalities and not senatorial zones,” he said. The Igbo leaders also demanded that the new constitution should not pass through the National Assembly but should be subjected to a referendum. The leadership crisis rocking Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Amucheazi said, will be sorted out at their next meeting on January 18.



FOREIGN NEWS Severe weather batters North America


ARTS of the United States and Canada are braced for potentially record-breaking low temperatures as a blast of arctic air blows across North America. A winter storm has already blanketed areas of Canada and the north-eastern US with up to 2ft (60 cm) of snow. More than 3,600 flights were cancelled on Monday, on top of thousands grounded over the weekend. Schools have been closed in several U.S states and residents urged to stay indoors for their own safety. The storm and the deep cold have been blamed for 16 deaths in recent days. Ice-breakers have been deployed to Lake Michigan as the weather worsens In developments across the region: “A power failure in Newfoundland, in Canada, late on Sunday left 90,000 homes without electricity. It was a blow to residents already trying to deal with rolling blackouts and the aftermath of a blizzard, CTV News reports “The National Weather Service in Kansas City predicted a low of -22C (-8F) for Monday morning, shy of the record low for this date of 25C (-13F) set in 1912. But lifethreatening wind chills will make it feel much colder, the Kansas City Star reports. “South Dakota's carries a report about farmers trying to keep their cattle warm, as the cold


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Agu Ifeoma Louisa, and now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Chuks Ifeoma Louisa. All former documents remain valid. National Directorate of Employment and general public should please take note.

PUBLIC NOTICE OLADOSU I, formerly Mrs. Oladosu Nuratu with Date of Birthd 21/10/1969, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Akasoro Nuratu. All former document remain valid. General public should be please take note.

PUBLIC NOTICE STREET NAMING I FABIAN OJUAH wish to inform the general public that I have applied to Isolo Local Council Development Area, that the street adjacent BEST TIME AVENUE off ago palace way ago, be named as FAB OJUAH STREET in my favour, This is for the information of Isolo L.C.D.A and the general public.

PUBLIC NOTICE OMOKHUALE I formerly known and addressed as MISS OMOKHUALE EBOSELU, and now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ODIGIE-JOEL EBOSELU. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

MAXWELL I formerly known and addressed as MAXWELL JUDITH CHIDIEBERE, and now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ALUKA JUDITH CHIDIEBERE. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. PUBLIC NOTICE CHANGE OF NAME YUSUF I, Formerly known and addressed as MISS. YUSUF OLALEYE AFUSAT ADUKE now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. OLALEYE AFUSAT ADUKE . All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

weather can have a devastating impact on herds. “In Indiana, a state of emergency has been declared in several north-west counties, allowing only emergency or law enforcement vehicles on the roads “In Thunder Bay, Ontario, where the temperature on Monday morning was -33C (27F), skate rental business owner Roy Laham told the Chronicle-Journal newspaper he had only 20 customers on Sunday, down from the usual 200-300. Temperatures in the north and central US could feel as low as -51C (-60F) with the effect of wind chill, forecasters say. “The coldest weather in years will be making its presence known from the Upper Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic region for the beginning of the work week,” the US National Weather Service said in a statement. The states of Ohio, South Dakota and Illinois are among those set to be hit. Tennessee and Kentucky are forecast to see several inches of snow. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn called the storm “one for the record books” on Monday, warning Illinois residents to take precautions until it passed. An emergency room doctor in Minneapolis, Minnesota, told the Associated Press news agency he saw frostbite injuries occur even through protective clothing. What is causing the frigid conditions in such a wide swath of the US? On Monday evening the frigid weather is set to fall on the north-east US, where residents are still digging out from the week's deadly snowstorm. In eastern Canada, the temperatures are expected to drop quickly throughout Monday. Freezing rain caused long airport delays in Toronto and Ottawa. In New York City, temperatures are expected to drop from 11C (52F) to roughly 12C (10F) overnight. Environment Canada’s David Phillips told the BBC the rapid temperature drop expected about 24 degrees C in 24 hours in cities such as Toronto - means residents could be driving or walking on roads that are “like a rink of ice”. Cold temperatures could bring lows not seen in 20 years. Some parts of Canada could see as much as 60cm (23in) of snow over just a few days, Mr Phillips said. “We have experienced winters like this from time to time, but this one is quite brutal with much snowfall to match the cold,” Bill Brant, who lives in the south-east of the Canadian province of Manitoba, told the BBC in an email.

German Chancellor Merkel fractures pelvis in skiing accident


ERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel has fractured a bone in her pelvis in a cross-country skiing accident in Switzerland, her spokesman said. She will have to remain lying down as much as possible in the next three weeks and several visits will be cancelled, Steffen Seibert said. She also suffered heavy bruising in the accident, in the alpine Engadine region of eastern Switzerland. Ms Merkel was not skiing

fast at the time, the spokesman added. He called the injury “severe bruising linked with a partial fracture on the left, rear part of the pelvis”. Immediately after the accident, during the Christmas holiday in December, Ms Merkel was not aware that part of her pelvis had been fractured, the spokesman said. It was a visit to her doctor on Friday that revealed the exact injury. He did not give details about


just days after fellow German Michael Schumacher's lifethreatening skiing accident in France. The Formula One motor racing star, who retired in 2012, is in a medically-induced coma and has had brain surgery after slamming his head on a rock while skiing off-piste at the French alpine resort of Meribel. His injury has sparked much debate about speed on the slopes and the risks some skiers take.

•Chancellor Merkel went skiing with bodyguards during a Christmas break in St Moritz.

Sudan, South Sudan move to protect oil fields


UDAN and South Sudan have begun talks to deploy a joint force to protect oilfields in the South threatened by rebels, Sudan’s foreign minister said. Sudan’s President Omar alBashir flew to South Sudan to discuss the unrest there with his counterpart, Salva Kiir. The conflict pits supporters of Mr Kiir against rebels led by his sacked deputy, Riek Machar. At least 1,000 people have been killed since violence erupted on December 15. The violence started after Mr Kiir accused Mr Machar of attempting a coup - an allegation he denies. Nearly 200,000 people have been displaced in the conflict, which has taken on ethnic undertones. Mr Kiir is from the majority Dinka community and Mr Machar from the Nuer

group. Yesterday, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Karti said Mr Bashir and Mr Kiir were “in consultations about the deployment of a mixed force to protect the oilfields in the South”. However neither of the presidents referred to the proposal during their joint news conference in the South Sudanese capital Juba. When it seceded from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan ended up with most of the oilfields But it has to export the oil using pipelines through ports in Sudanss territory. The government in Khartoum now fears its oil revenue will be disrupted by the fighting in the South. The BBC's South Sudan analyst James Copnall says it will be an extraordinary development if Sudanese forces return

Monster waves slam into UK

AVES up to 27 feet (8.2 meters) high slammed into Britain’s southwestern coast yesterday, as lashing winds and heavy rain battered parts of the U.K. and coastal residents braced for another round of flooding. The monster waves were recorded at Land’s End, the southwestern tip of the U.K. In Aberystwyth in Wales, seafront homes, businesses

how it happened. She was skiing near the resort of St Moritz. Ms Merkel still intends to chair a cabinet meeting on Wednesday - the first gathering of all her coalition ministers. She is now walking with the aid of crutches. But mostly she will be working from home. She has cancelled a trip to Poland this week and will not receive Luxembourg’s new prime minister Xavier Bettel in Berlin, the spokesman said. Ms Merkel's injury comes

and student residence halls were evacuated as high tides hit the Welsh coast. The Met Office, Britain’s weather forecasting body, warned of wind gusts up to 70 mph (113 kph) and exceptionally large waves along the coasts of Wales, southwest England and Northern Ireland. At least seven people have died in a wave of stormy weather that has battered

Britain since December, including a man killed when his mobility scooter fell into a river in Oxford, southern England. The Environment Agency issued three severe flood warnings yesterday - meaning there is a threat to life and property - for the county of Dorset in southwestern England, as well as more than 300 less serious flood alerts.

to the South. At least two million people died during the north-south conflict. Separately, the two warring parties in South Sudan have begun direct talks in Ethiopia aiming at a ceasefire. Analysts say that by seizing Bentiu, the capital of the oilproducing Unity State, the rebels have in effect been able to hold the country to ransom and made their bargaining position much stronger. However, not much progress has been made at the Ethiopia talks so far, Mr Kiir said at the news conference with President Bashir. He said his government would not meet Mr Machar’s demand to release 11 of his political allies accused of plotting a coup. They would be held accountable for the violence in South Sudan, Mr Kiir added. The BBC’s Alastair Leithead was with government troops when they were ambushed President Bashir called on the two sides to end the conflict through dialogue, saying Sudan would not back the rebels. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is also due to hold talks with the opposing factions, in an attempt to push them to agree to a cessation of hostilities. China is a major investor in South Sudan's oil industry. Also yesterday, the South

Sudanese government announced it had agreed to a cessation of hostilities with a rebel it has been fighting for nearly two years, David Yau Yau. It had been feared that Mr Yau Yau, who has troops in Jonglei state, would join the new rebellion. Mr Yau Yau previously said he took up arms to win greater rights for his Murle ethnic group, rather than to overthrow the government. In another development, the United Nations said militiamen had taken control of a UN food warehouse in Bentiu and that UN vehicles had been commandeered in the rebelheld town of Bor. “This makes it very, very difficult for us to continue our work - the sole purpose of which is reaching civilians in need,” said Toby Lanzer, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan. Heavy fighting is continuing to the south of Bor, says the BBC’s Alastair Leithead, who was on the road between Juba and Bor. The rebels include a former military division made up of thousands of men who switched sides, our correspondent says. Until a ceasefire is agreed, fighting is expected to continue or even intensify, he adds. The latest trouble has its roots in tensions that go back long before 2011.




Remembering JK Randle Even in death his memory lingers. The memory of the late Lisa of Lagos, Chief Joseph Koshoniola Randle (JK Randle) was brought to the fore when a remembrance and thanksgiving service was held in his honour at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina in Lagos. AMIDU ARIJE was there.


T was 2pm on Tuesday when the thanksgiving service for the late Lisa of Lagos, Chief Joseph Koshoniola (JK) Randle was held at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos. Members of his family led by Bashorun JK Randle wore joyful looks. That the day was a Tuesday did not stop people from trooping in large number. The legacies of the late JK Randle were too tempting for them not to honour him. JK Randle died in 1956 at 47. He was medical practitioner and renowned swimmer. He led the Nigeria athletes team to the 1956 Olympic games. He was the founder of the Island Club. He was also chairman of Lagos Race Club. The opening hymn - Christ is our corner stone was taken to commence the memorial service. During the service led by Rev Charles Alabi; a call was made to the members of his family to emulate the virtues of their father. The clergy urged the congregation to emulate the late

JK Randle and imbibe his culture of virtues and holiness. He told them that there is life after death, so they should worship God wholeheartedly. After his sermon, the Randle family made a huge donation to the church. Bashorun Randle was happy for the legacies his father left behind. He said he will continue to uphold his father’s legacies. His wife, Folashade was beside him. He said the service was meant to remember his father. “It is not just to remember our ancestors, but to also remember the values they have left behind. We are all brothers and sisters whatever your religion does not matter we must all live in peace,” he said. According to him, the deceased devoted his time and energy to public service, saying “he was very anxious to get a good name.” “I have given you the most important thing that will stand the test of time - that is good name and that is what you need, if you have a good

name, you have everything “ he quoted his father’s sayings. After the service, a reception was held at the XKPMG HOUSE, Park View Ikoyi Lagos. The reception reunited people who have seen one another for a long time. The juju Maestro, King Sunny Ade was on band stand, dishing music to the delight of all present. Guests on the occasion include former Ogun State Governor Aremo Olusegun Osoba and wife Derin; Ms Ayo Randle; Dr Towry Coker; Princess Adewunmi Karounwi; Mrs Selina Akinyanju; Prof Adebayo William; Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria Lagos chapter, Bishop George Amu; Chief Ajibola Ogunsola; Supo Shonibare; Rev Monsignor Christopher and Prof Ade Elebute; Prof Soga Sofela; Chief Jide Damazio; former Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) Rector Olawumi Gasper; Air vice Marshal Martins Funsho; Ambassador Musiliu Obanikoro among others.

•Bashorun Randle and his wife Folasade

•Aremo Osoba and his wife, Derin

•Prof William (left) and Chief Shonibare

•Otunba Adekunle Ojora and his wife, Ojuolape

•Prof. John Godwin; his wife Jill and Dr Lanre Towry-Coker (middle)

•Air Vice Marshal Martins Funsho (left) and Dr Olumude Philips




SPORT EXTRA Pulis to deal in Speroni CRYSTAL Palace manager Tony Pulis admits he is ready to hand goalkeeper Julian Speroni a new contract. The 34-year-old is out-ofcontract in the summer and is yet to hold talks with the


club he joined back in 2004. Speroni himself admits that he wants to stay at Selhurst Park but admits anything can happen in football. "We haven't spoken as of yet so I don't know what's going to happen," he said. "I love this club. I've been here 10 years now. But in football you never know." But Pulis underlined his commitment to keep the Argentine and said: "Speroni, along with half a dozen of the other players, has been absolutely superb since I have come into the club. "Of course (I would like to keep him) and he has been at the club how long? For 15 years? Or 120 years or whatever it is."

Koren calm on contract talks

HULL midfielder Robert Koren says there is no rush to enter into discussions regarding a contract extension. The Slovenian playmaker will see his current deal at the KC Stadium expire at the end of the season. No talks have been held regarding fresh terms, suggesting that Koren is facing up to an uncertain future. The 33-year-old acknowledges, though, that the club's focus at present is locked on their efforts to preserve their Premier League status. Once that situation becomes clearer, Koren will then be informed of where he stands and whether a new deal will be tabled. He told Sportal: "So far, there have been no talks, but we'll see how things develop, "Much will depend on how the season unfolds.

At the end, we will sit down and we what happens. "For now, I have a contract until the end of the season and I'm in no hurry. I'm focused on my work and I'll do everything to help Hull City reach their goals. "I'm working from week to week and I'm not interested in what will happen in a few months."


STOKE manager Mark Hughes has no intention of allowing Kenwyne Jones or Jermaine Pennant to leave in January. Both men have found themselves on the fringes of the first team fold at the Britannia Stadium this season. Their situation has not improved since Hughes succeeded Tony Pulis over the summer and speculation has suggested that they could soon be on their way to pastures new. Hughes, though, believes that both have a role to play with the Potters - with Premier League competition demanding strength in depth. He said in The Sentinel on Jones, who was among the goals in Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup third round victory over Leicester City: "Kenwyne has had to be patient and I haven't been able to give him too many opportunities. "He lost his place to Peter (Crouch) and has had to bide his time, but when he plays like that he will always be a threat to teams." Pressed on whether he may be allowed to move on, Hughes added: "That's not the intention. We've had problems scoring goals and so we've got to keep players who can get you a goal, and he showed he's an option for

us." On Pennant, who failed to make the match day squad against the Foxes, Hughes said: "He's here until the end of the season, at least." Meanwhile, Hughes has also confirmed that he is to re-explore the option of bringing USA international Juan Agudelo on board, with it possible that a second work permit application could be lodged for the New England Revolution striker in March. The Welshman said: "We are just keeping in touch and inviting him over when we can. "He will have a few days with us again like he did before Christmas. We want to see if there's any potential to do anything with him."

MANCHESTER United manager David Moyes is refusing to "hype up" the prospect of new faces arriving at Old Moyes suffered another of those hefty punches he repeatedly talks about having to take on Sunday as United were beaten 2-1 by Swansea in the FA Cup. It represented only the second time in 30 years the Red Devils have been beaten in the third round of the competition and meant they were losing for the fifth time on home soil this season, and the fourth in six games. Yet, for all the speculation about new arrivals to bolster a flagging squad during the transfer window, Moyes realises it is by no means certain they will be secured. "I have said I will try to get players but it will probably be doubtful in January. I have said that quite consistently," he said. "There is an urgency that we would like to bring players in but are those players available in January?

"There is no point in me hyping it up and saying we are because players we would like to bring in are probably not available." Wilfried Bony's lastminute header was enough to give the visitors' victory after Javier Hernandez had equalised Wayne Routledge's opener. And though United were without seven senior players, including Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, and had substitute Fabio sent off just four minutes after his introduction in the secondhalf following an injury to Rio Ferdinand, Moyes did not try to defend the situation. "No (not an excuse to have seven players out)," said Moyes. "We have another big game in 48 hours time so we had to keep that in mind but there are no excuses. "We had a very strong team out. Just about every player on the pitch was an international." Ferdinand looks set for a spell on the sidelines after limping off with a knee problem, although Michael Carrick and, possibly, Rooney, will be fit for the Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg at Sunderland on Tuesday. "You can definitely see we are lacking that little bit of confidence when we get into the final third at times," he said. "We need to get back to winning ways and be hard to play against. Most importantly, we need to take something out of the good play we have had in games.


Moyes plays down transfer hype


Pearson eyes Phillips move LEICESTER City boss Nigel Pearson has hinted that he will look to sign Kevin Phillips after saying that it would be "silly" not to be interested. Phillips, who left Crystal Palace in December, has been linked with the Foxes after saying he had already talked to one manager. The 40-year-old striker added that he would only move to a Midlands team, further hinting at a potential stint at the King Power Stadium. Pearson did not directly admit that he is looking to sign the veteran frontman, but his praise of Phillips has indicated a definite interest. "The last time I worked with him, he scored a hattrick - so I would be a bit silly not to be partly interested, but we will see what

Hughes: Duo are going nowhere

happens," said Pearson, referring to Phillips' performance in a 5-1 win by West Brom at Ipswich seven years ago. "I have worked with him before and I know what he is like, so you can read a bit into that. "The Midlands is a big place with a lot of clubs. We are in the Midlands, so maybe we are in there. "I don't speculate on other people's players. You could argue he is a free agent but what I'm saying is, there is a way of dealing with adding to your squad. "Am I interested? You will have to wait and see. "The bottom line with anything around this period of the year, and with any transfer window, is that there are a lot of names being thrown around." After the Championship leaders' disappointing 2-1 loss to Stoke in the FA Cup on Saturday, Pearson did admit that he would like to add a couple of players to his promotion-chasing squad, but will go about any transfers in a way that he is comfortable with. "I don't like to talk about another manager's players," he added to the Leicester Mercury. "I don't have too much problem with other people talking about it, but I choose to do it in a way you are accustomed to.



Hammers chiefs back Allardyce WEST HAM manager Sam Allardyce has been given the support of the club's cochairmen David Sullivan and David Gold in an open letter published on the Hammers' official website. The duo also confirmed in the letter that they are close to completing their first signing of the January transfer window. Allardyce is the only manager of a side currently in the bottom five of the Barclays Premier League who was in charge at the start of the season and, following this weekend's 5-0 FA Cup thrashing at the hands of Nottingham Forest, there has been speculation the 59year-old may be the next boss out of work. The one bright area for West Ham has been the Capital One Cup, in which they beat rivals Tottenham in the last round to set up a semi-final meeting with Manchester City, the first leg of which takes place at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening. Sullivan and Gold have backed Allardyce to move the club up from 19th place in the table and, with the support of vice-chairman Karren Brady, they will also use their own experiences to overcome West Ham's current plight. "We know Sam has not lost his ambition or desire and is committed to making West Ham United a great Premier League club," the open letter read. "Sam has been handed a near impossible task of coming through three crucial games in the space of six days with a squad of only 14 fit and available senior players. "We have experienced difficult times before and we know what will get us results - hard work, determination and perseverance. "To that end, we are all working round the clock to do everything in our powers to help arrest our slump in form." It is the seemingly evergrowing injury list at West Ham that has been highlighted as the main reason for the club's poor run, which has seen them fail to win a league game since November 30. Andy Carroll has yet to feature this season while James Tomkins, Winston Reid, James Collins, Mark Noble and Ricardo Vaz Te are also injured and captain Kevin Nolan is currently banned. Sullivan and Gold

revealed in their letter that they are close to providing Allardyce with more players and believe once their current crop of crocked talent start returning to action things will get easier for the Hammers. "Our first priority is to get our key players fit," the letter continued. "Our record signing Andy Carroll continues to make good progress following his return to first-team training and he should be back on the pitch very soon...Trust us, Andy Carroll is desperate to play and is ready to do his bit for the team and we are confident that the return of all of our injured players will lead to an upturn in our fortunes. "Thereafter, our second priority is to bring in the new talent needed to bolster our squad in the most needed areas. "January is not an easy time to do business but we are pleased to confirm we are close to securing one of our key striking targets. A defender is high on the list of priorities as well and progress is being made on that front." Everton defender Johnny Heitinga rejected a move to Upton Park last week and Allardyce has conceded attracting players to compete in a relegation battle may prove 'impossible' but, with talent such as Monaco forward Lacina Traore reportedly closing in on a loan move, any business will be welcomed by everyone involved with West Ham. Allardyce, meanwhile, has warned that there will be no reinforcements at the back before the daunting trip to free-scoring City. Tomkins, Reid and Collins leave a sizeable gap in the heart of defence and it looks set to remain at the Etihad Stadium. "First-team players were rested (against Forest) to play Wednesday, the last thing I wanted to do was have players going in to the semi-final fatigued or not as fresh as City, who have a much bigger, more talented squad," he said. "We planned to get as many fit for Wednesday and Saturday as possible but I don't think by Wednesday we'll have any defenders fit certainly. By Saturday we might. "All of our defenders in central areas are missing and until they are back fit again and stay fit it puts us in a very, very difficult situation."



SPORT EXTRA Blatter slams Brazil over World Cup preparations


IFA president Sepp Blatter has accused Brazil of being badly prepared with five months to go before it hosts this year's World Cup. Six of the host nation's 12 stadiums have failed to meet FIFA's 31 December completion deadline. Three workers have been killed in recent accidents at stadiums in Sao Paulo and Manaus. "No country has been so far behind in preparations since I have been at FIFA," Blatter told a Swiss newspaper. “It is the only host nation which has had so much time seven years - in which to prepare. Brazil has started work much too late” The 77-year-old has worked for FIFA since 1975, becoming president in 1998. He added: "It is the only host nation which has had so much time - seven years - in which to

Glo-CAF Awards: Keshi targets Best Coach category

•Isaac Success


Isaac Success moving to Italy today


E D E R A T I O N Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Under-17 World Cup winner, Isaac Success will today depart the country for Italy to continue the four deal with Italian Serie A side Udinese worth 1.4 million Euros. He will be loaned to Granada afterwards. The Golden Eaglets’ striker could not complete the competition hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), due to injury sustained at the group stage, but has now recovered and he’s on his way to seeking


By Bowale Odukale greener pastures in Europe. Sky Sport had reported that Udinese are on the verge of completing a deal for the Nigerian forward after the World Cup. The youngster caught the eye of Zebrette scouts at the cadet competition, and the Serie A side have moved quickly to beat other interested sides to the player’s signature. Success, 17 started the World Cup in style, scoring two goals in the first two

group games, but the injury picked up in the 3-3 draw with Sweden saw him miss the remainder of the tournament. Speaking with NationSport he said: “I will be traveling to my club because right from when I was signed by Udinese after the World Cup and have not been opportuned to go to the club. “When you are signed to a big club you need to go and show yourself to the fans so I am going there tomorrow just to present myself to the club and try to fit into the

first team” he added. He expressed delight in joining a big club like Udinese, as he stated that his target is to win and achieve big things with the club. In his words: “My target of going as a player is to win and achieve what the team has not achieved before. “ It’s a privilege, I feel so excited and I can’t expresses everything that is inside of me going there, also to meet great players like Antonio Di Natale who can inspire me so I wish to go there and raise the team better than what it used to be.”

Injured Walcott to miss World Cup

RSENAL and England have been rocked by the news that forward Theo Walcott will miss the rest of the season and the World Cup due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his left knee. The Gunners confirmed on their official website that Walcott is likely to be out for at least six months as a result of the problem sustained in the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Tottenham at the weekend. Walcott was taken from the field on a stretcher – and was saubsequently pelted with objects thrown from the away end – after appearing to jar his knee when making a tackle during the closing stages of the encounter although the injury has turned out to be more severe. The 24-year-old did not appear to be in severe pain as he was carried off the field at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and even signalled ``2-0'' in the direction of 5,000strong Tottenham fans, as missiles, including coins and plastic bottles, were seen to hit medical staff as they carried the stretcher around to the tunnel on the halfway line. Walcott learned on Monday that he would face no disciplinary action for his hand gesture, but the latest news is much more

devastating. “After coming off injured in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur, the club regrettably announces that Theo Walcott has sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee,” said the statement on the club’s official website, “Theo will have surgery in London in the near future and is expected to be out for at least six months, therefore missing the remainder of the season and the World Cup in Brazil in the summer.” The news will be desperately disappointing for Gunners boss Arsene

Wenger, who may be forced to bolster his options in the January transfer window as a result of his striker shortage. Walcott was given a rare outing up front against Spurs, with Olivier Giroud ruled out due to illness and Nicklas Bendtner expected to miss all of January with his ankle problem picked up when scoring a late goal in the 2-0 win over Cardiff on New Year’s Day. Walcott would also have been hoping to play a starring role for England at the World Cup in Brazil this summer. He missed the final two qualifiers against


prepare." The tournament opens on 12 June when the host nation face Croatia in Sao Paulo's Arena Corinthians, where two workers died when a crane collapsed on to part of the roof on 27 November. That accident delayed the stadium's completion date by several months, and it is not expected to be ready until midApril. Construction problems and public protests about the financial costs of hosting the World Cup have beset Brazil's preparations for the tournament. Brazil - which lasted hosted the World Cup in 1950 - was awarded this year's finals in 2007. But when asked if the country had understood the scale of the work required, Blatter replied: "No. Brazil has just found out what it means and has started work much too late."

Montenegro and Poland due to injury, where Tottenham’s Andros Townsend excelled in Walcott’s usual role on the right wing. It was anticipated Walcott and Townsend would be in direct competition with each other for a starting berth although both would have been expected to be on the plane to Brazil. The former Southampton forward is yet to play in a World Cup match, having been unused when he was a shock selection in SvenGoran Eriksson’s squad in 2006, while his omission by Fabio Capello four years later was equally surprising.


HE coach of the Nigeria national team, the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, has admitted that he will be honoured to be named the best coach on the continent at the Glo CAF Awards. However, the man who led the Eagles to their third Nations Cup victory in South Africa last January, confessed that he is

happy to wait and see what the outcome will be. Keshi who is primed for the award and may not depart with the national team to South Africa on Tuesday evening. The man fondly called Big Boss, is favoured to bag the prestigious Coach of the Year Award.

Cardiff renews interest in Yobo


ETER Odemwingie’s Cardiff City has rekindled interest in Super Eagles and Fenerbahçe defender Joseph Yobo according to Turkish newspaper Fanatik. The Bluebirds wish to strengthen the central defence over the winter transfer window after conceding the second highest number of goals in the league 33. Cardiff came close to signing Yobo last summer, however, the 33-year-old was reluctant to move away from Istanbul due to his family having settled into life in Turkey. Yobo who has a lot of experience playing in England having spent eight seasons playing for Everton, last month played down Fenerbahce exit but

it appears the Nigerian international is now open to a move in order to boost his chances of earning a recall to the Nigerian national team ahead of World Cup 2014. The 33-year-old has struggled for playing time under new Fenerbahçe manager Ersun Yanal and has only made one league appearance this season. Fenerbahçe is facing pressure as competition for foreign spaces increase. The Yellow Canaries currently have 10 foreign players on their books. The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) introduced a ruling last summer only permitting 10 foreign players perclub in the and allowing only six foreign players on the field at any one time for the 2013-14 season.

Bendel Insurance resumes training after Xmas break


ENDEL Insurance on Monday resumed training ahead of their Pro-league match with First Bank FC on Lagos on the January 25. The Benin based club who went on break for the Christmas two weeks ago, have also signed 35 players to prosecute the 2013/2014 league season. According to the media officer, Ben Ogbemudia, the 35 players is made up of some of the old players as well as five from the Amodu Shaibu academy. Others are from both premier, pro and nationwide leagues across the country. The sole administrator of the club who also doubles as the head of the technical department of the club, Austin Eguavoen said with the crop of players, the club would gain promotion to the elite division. He, therefore, solicited for the cooperation of the interim board led by the secretary to the state government; Prof. Julius

•Signs 35 players From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin Ihonvbere and the state governor to enable the club have a successful league campaign this season. While charging the players to be up and doing, he urged the supporters of the club to turn out enmass to give total support to the club in all their matches. Meanwhile, a group who identify themselves as lovers of Bendel Insurance yesterday appealed to governor Adams Oshiomhole to, as a matter of concern release funds for the players sign on fees. The leader of the group, Lucky Anderson said payment of the sign on fees and prompt release to the club would enhance their chances of gaining promotion to the elite division next season. He also appealed for mass support whenever the club plays at home.


‘Before any desperado blunders into skewing the vote: in the South West, electoral robbers always pay hefty prices’ TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2014 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM





IX hours before they rang in the new year, I was already responding to wishes of Happy New Year with great diffidence. I was hoping that, no later than June 2014, when the municipal power supply will be so abundant that private generators would become sentimental archaisms, I would be able to snag up one at a bargain price for the house up-country as an insurance against any relapse of the bad old days of darkness. Going by what President Goodluck Jonathan had given the public to understand some three years ago, generators would no longer be the prized assets that they were; they would be little more than junk and just a shade less than toxic machinery, and their owners would be locked in a fierce competition to determine who could give them away fastest – “dash” them out —as Dr Jonathan phrased it. My dream generator was a 25KVA affair that could light up the premises and power all the appliances in full throttle. I harboured no illusion that I would qualify for that kind of dash or any dash for that matter from Aso Rock. But I was hoping that if they decided to auction the gensets (shorthand for generating set) instead of dashing them out, I might with some luck post a successful bid for one on offer. Imagine my disappointment, then, when I read an advance copy of Dr Jonathan’s New Year message in this newspaper saying that despite the great progress that has been made in that sector, no more than 18 hours of electricity a day was guaranteed for 2014. For 18, read 12 hours of power supply on the average. No individuals and no organisations, it is now clear, are going to be auctioning their generators, much less dashing them out. In fact, Aso Rock, which had floated that beguiling idea, has wisely provided some N700 million in its budget for the fueling and maintenance of its gensets that are said to number close to a hundred. With that kind of hardware to manage and coordinate, it is a surprise that they do not have a cabinet-rank Senior Special Adviser on Generators in residence. As things stand now, it is unlikely that I will be able to acquire the genset of my dream this year, or even the next. Not a promising note to start a new year. A friend tells me that the uncle of his grand nephew also entered the 2014 on a note that is just as discomposing. On learning several months ago that the government was set to privatise Nigeria’s oil refineries that had been advertised for decades as irreparably broken, he had raided his investment portfolio to position himself to function as a major player whenever the plants come



Matters arising

•Dr. Jonathan

under new management, convinced that privatisation is just what is required to turn them into high-yield gold mines. The announcement had been made by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Ms Diezani Alison-Madueke, no less, in London, before an audience of hard-headed businessmen and women who can sniff an investment opportunity from a thousand miles. That was good enough for the uncle of my friend’s grand nephew, who is as cagey as they come in this business. The well-known fact that the Minister has the President’s ear to at least the same extent as the Princess Stella Oduah, boss of the scandal-plagued Ministry of Aviation, virtually settled the matter. Even if Dr Jonathan had not confirmed from on high that that the refineries were indeed marked for privatisation, the uncle of my friend’s grand



Can The Presidency imagine how electrified the audience and indeed the nation would be if Dr Jonathan were to shed his habitual resource-control outfit or his federal-character ensembles for snazzy Giorgio Armani suit or designer casuals and take the stage at a cool nightclub in Abuja – no, Lagos –...

nephew would still have considered the whole thing a done deal. You cannot imagine how shattered he was when word came from Aso Rock the other day that the refineries were not slated for privatisation, that no decision had been taken to that effect, and that no Minister – not even one who has the President’s ear, they should have added – could take it upon herself to contemplate, much less actualise, such a proceeding. Those elusive foreign investors, disobliging even when there is policy consistency backed by attractive inducements, can hardly be blamed if they concluded that Nigeria is not yet safe for capital and that they are better off taking their funds to friendlier climes. I hope Dr Jonathan and his oil minister will offer them and the nation’s creditors, not forgetting the IMF, clear and convincing an-



ONFLICTING news about the country’s challenged oil refineries demonstrate not only pathetic confusion in the presidency but also hopeless visionlessness. Against the backdrop of a looming strike by the country’s two main oil workers’ unions, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), over the federal government’s reported plan to privatise its four refineries, the presidency’s denial gives cause for reflection about the structures of power and how they often operate at cross-purposes. It is noteworthy that PENGASSAN, the 15,000-member white-collar union, according to its president, Babatunde Ogun, is scheduled for talks with officials of the Petroleum and Labour Ministries on January 7; and the group has indicated the possibility of a strike, if government does not drop the alleged intention to sell the refineries. The 30,000-member blue-collar NUPENG may also consider an industrial action, if the government does not back down, said its secretary-general, Elijah Okougbo. In a joint statement on December 18 last year, the unions declared that the alleged proposed sale of the refineries in Port

Refineries’ yo-yo Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, is “against the overall national interest and in the interest of a few,” arguing that it “will transfer government monopoly to cartels that will dictate the market.” Understandably, the oil workers had grounds for concern, following a presidential audit of the plants last year that recommended their sale based on alleged inadequate state funding and “sub-optimal performance.” To add to their discomfiture, this position was apparently reinforced by Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani AlisonMadueke, in an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa in London where she said, “We would like to see major infrastructure entities, such as refineries, moving out of government hands into the private sector.” Indeed, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has also indicated that it is preparing the guidelines for the privatisation of the refineries. With such alarming signals from official quarters, it would appear that the oil workers were not just crying wolf. But, strangely,


swers for this policy somersault. In this season of goodwill, it is meet and proper to dwell on one image of Dr Jonathan that brightened my holiday, in case you missed it. The picture shows him in a church or chapel, surrounded by the faithful, an acoustic guitar strapped across his shoulder. It was not clear whether he was preparing to strum or had just finished strumming the guitar. But it was clear that he is a practised performer on that instrument at praise worship, most likely of the traditional type rather than gospel pop. For, I cannot imagine him rocking and swaying and strumming lustily as the band belts out tunes evocative of rock ‘n’ roll or rhythm and blues. But who knows! It may well be that such a setting offers him a chance to shake off that starchy gait, to loosen up, to escape from the burdens of office and savour the kind of life he has not known since they railroaded him into this presidency thing. If that is the case, I say ride on. Mr President. That office needs to be humanised the way President Bill Clinton humanised his office when he donned sun glasses and played the sax in prime time on the Arsenio Hall Show. President Barack Obama humanises the office not just by the way he relates to his daughters in public, but by playing basketball with his friends on the White House grounds. Pardon me for inserting him into this matter, but your predecessor, our own Olusegun Obasanjo, did the same through his exertions playing squash. He still plays squash these days when not writing missives. Can The Presidency imagine how electrified the audience and indeed the nation would be if Dr Jonathan were to shed his habitual resource-control outfit or his federal-character ensembles for snazzy Giorgio Armani suit or designer casuals and take the stage at a cool nightclub in Abuja –no, Lagos – to accompany the resident band on his guitar and may be throw in a solo rendition as a bonus? It would be worth at least a million additional votes in 2015. And if Aso Rock were to take the road show nationwide, with Information Minister Labaran Maku in tow preaching the Gospel of Transformation and Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina heralding the end of hunger as Dr Jonathan’s guitar belts out stirring tunes, this could turn around the PDP’s sinking fortunes, lock up the 2015 race, and shame all those noisy defectors. •For comments, send SMS to 08111813080

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above the opposite is exactly what the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, would want the public to believe. According to him, “Government is not going to sell any refineries. There is no such plan and there is no presidential approval for such. Nobody, not even the minister of petroleum, has the powers to sell any government property.” This statement clearly contradicts the minister and the BPE, raising the question whether Abati was actually speaking for the government. Why is government seemingly speaking from both sides of the mouth? Obviously, the functions of government should not include perplexing the people, but the President Goodluck Jonathan administration probably thinks otherwise. It is instructive that the presidential audit identified inadequate state funding and “suboptimal performance” as the bane of the refineries; and it is logical to assume that the one influences the other. Isn’t it puzzling that the government is not providing sufficient funding for a sector that is the country’s major revenue earner? It is sheer senselessness, especially when juxtaposed with the mindboggling financial corruption that has come to define government business in the country.

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 Jan 7, 2014  
The Nation Jan 7, 2014